I was going to say that this is the nerdiest thing I’ve done in public in a while. But I was presenting at MakerFaire just a couple of months ago, so I guess not. I digress.
Hi-definition TVs have been around for long enough that they’ve actually become pretty affordable. You can find most of your favorite shows on Blu-Ray, and most any broadcast or cable channel provides an HD version for viewing. A suspicious missing entrant was Star Trek: The Next Generation.
It turns out that while TNG was shot on film, and had the necessary resolution for HD, it was edited on video. That means the resolution of the final cut was really lousy for anything beyond your run-of-the-mill 1987 television set. So Paramount and CBS (who own Star Trek) have been tirelessly working to
get your money produce new HD versions of the episodes. As a pleasant promotional side-effect, they’ve been holding movie theater screenings of restored episodes.
I wasn’t particularly interested in the season 1 release. But a week ago I decided that I might in fact be interested in watching some season 2 episodes at a theater. The two episodes to be shown were The Measure of a Man and Q Who.
We arrived at the Theater about 30 minutes early. It was a good thing too, because there were still some decent seats left. We sat through many minutes of Star Trek trivia and some commercials, interviews, previews. Tragically, somewhere in the middle of that stuff something broke. We got to watch the first 2 minutes of Q Who a couple of times, and due to satellite problems the theater manager said that they were going to try and download the episode again and just move us onto the second part of the presentation.
There were a lot of funny outtakes, an interview with the cast (Michael Dorn does a dead-on Patrick Stewart) and we got to The Measure of a Man. The episode went off without a hitch. There were (apparently) 13 minutes of extra footage. They had been so well-woven in though that I didn’t know what was new or old. The episode really is a great one as Picard argues for Data’s right to explore his potential as a sentient being. It’s taken me a while to understand the final point of the episode, because I don’t think that Picard makes the case that Data is sentient. His point (and I think I must be the only one thick-headed enough not to see this) is that we don’t know what Data is. We don’t know if he’s sentient, we don’t know if there’s more to him that stored information and heuristic methods. And we might never know. The point is that because we don’t know we can’t decide. I’m also a little disappointed that we didn’t see Captain Phillipa Louvois after this. She and Picard had some interesting chemistry that I thought would have been worth exploring. (of course, they barely managed that between Crusher and Picard in 6 seasons and
a movie 4 movies)
After Measure I was pretty much ready to call it a night. It turned out to be a mixed-blessing that the theater failed to get the other episode. I found as the night moved on that I was in fact really disappointed that I didn’t get to see Q Who on the big screen. The Borg have always been my favorite TNG villains. Q Who isn’t a fantastic episode, but it is the introduction to the Borg. I remain disappointed this morning.
Hykel said on our way home “I love Star Trek”. I do too, and I think I never appreciated how many people did, and still do. Though I camped myself over in the “nerdy” group growing up, I think quite a few more people than would admit it watched Star Trek The Next Generation. It was a brilliant show.
I’m looking forward to the Season 3 special event.
Also, event producers: I don’t care how you do it, but you sure as heck better put on a special event to show both episodes of The Best of Both Worlds back-to-back. I know they’re not in the same season, but I want to watch that as a cinematic experience. Those episodes deserve it. Make it happen.