03) “The Devil in the Dark” Original Airdate: (03/09/67) Remaster Airdate: (09/23/06)
Though “Devil” has undergone very few changes from its original presentation, the selected modifications implemented by the RM team are significant. The original matte painting of the underground mining complex on Janus VI looks exceedingly hokey by today’s standards. Though the inhabiting structures have remained virtually identical to those in the earlier backdrop, the new CG rendering is a breathtaking, photorealistic environment. One of the more egalitarian changes is the addition of incandescent lighting, which spills down onto the cluster of industrial buildings from three light fixtures attached to the roof of the cavern. At the beginning of the teaser, an establishing shot of the mining compound pans from right to left (opposite of the original) before zooming in to reveal a tiny miner walking through a doorway into the mine. Thanks to a quick cut, the transition into the next scene—where the miner meets his untimely demise—works extremely well from both an editing and aesthetic standpoint. This enhancement has brought much needed vitality to the formerly static shots. Another scene that’s been cleaned up is the burrowing Horta shot—the superheating granite wall looks considerably more realistic now than it did in the original thanks to the addition of rising clouds of steam, a shimmering heat effect and a more gradual dissolution of the flame-seared cave wall. The “No Kill I” sequence was decent for its time and didn’t necessarily require a RM reworking. At episode’s end, after pergium production is back in full swing, smoke billows out of the stack of one factory and two miners can be seen working just outside the office window…very nice touches. At first glance, the alterations to this episode might not seem all that groundbreaking, but remember, the devil is in the details.
Money Shot: The new CG matte of the Janus complex with a diminutive miner approaching the shaft entrance.
Wish List: A CG Horta with a more believable appearance and movements, cleaned up FX on all phaser beams and a visual overhaul of the shoddy white sprites that emanate from the point of impact on the Horta’s silicone hide.
Remaster Grade: A-