04) “The Naked Time” Original Airdate: (09/29/66) Remaster Airdate: (09/30/06)
Other than the opening shot of the Enterprise in orbit around the retooled Psi 2000 (the original episode merely showed the ship cruising along in space), the first major upgrade in the episode is the insertion of a new CG environment for the establishing shot on the planet’s surface. The CG matte has replaced stock footage of a snow-covered mountain range with the exterior vantage of a barely visible, blizzard-blasted research base sitting atop a bluff. This tableau is similar, in style and composition, to the alien landscapes used with great regularity on TNG, so kudos to the RM team for deftly bridging the generation gap. The most significant catalyst to this episode’s visual renaissance is the decaying orbit sequences: as the Enterprise continues plummeting toward Psi 2000, its angle to the planet becomes more drastic and the planet flies by faster and faster the farther the ship falls into the planet’s gravity well. The new progression of viewscreen images has replaced the poorly defined close-up shots along the planet’s equator with a swiftly moving, crisply rendered CG planet. The need to pull free from Psi 2000 is made even more imperative in the RM episode when the ship’s entry into the atmosphere creates amber bursts along the bottom of the main viewer…a superb visual flourish. Aboard the ship, sparks fly and smoke rises as Scotty cuts into a bulkhead with a non-emitting phaser. Appropriately, the RM team has added a red phaser beam into these shots. The circular cluster of stars, which represents a time dilation, has been touched up but is a marginal improvement at best. The last item on the fix-it list for this episode, and the one that really puts it over the top, is the shipboard chronometer that Sulu references at the end of the show. Originally the numbers rolled by on an old-style counter, but the new display is much more fluid (though still not quite digital). Cheesy dials and switches have been removed from the face of the instrument and verbiage denoting hours, minutes and seconds has been replaced by stardate and shipboard designations. This is one revision that just had to be made, and graphics expert Okuda proved himself more than equal to the task. Each of this episode’s modifications was skillfully and painstakingly implemented. If possible, this Trek classic is even more enjoyable now thanks to some choice RM improvements.
Money Shot: Any of the decaying orbit shots, as seen from the ship’s main viewer.
Wish List: More convincing FX on the cluster of stars representing the backward movement in time.
Remaster Grade: A+