Star Trek: TNG coming to Blu-ray

So, you may not agree with me that The Next Generation is the best of Trek, but it’s still a pretty big deal that CBS has decided to release the series, not just on Blu-ray, but remastered to today’s standards.

A lot of old series are being put out on Blu-ray, but most of them are upconverted from the DVD editions, which are themselves upconverted from the VHS or Beta cuts that the series originally ran from when it was broadcast.

Not so with Star Trek: The Next Generation. Video engineers took the original film out from the vaults, digitized all of the more than 25k reels of film from the original shoots, and recreated all of the original cuts and special effects from scratch.

This was obviously a truly massive undertaking, and quite fitting, as 2012 will mark the 25th anniversary of the beginning of the 7 season series.

“Fans have been clamoring for a high-definition release of Star Trek: The Next Generation,” says Ken Ross, Executive Vice President and General Manager of CBS Entertainment, in the official announcement.

“Transferring the series to high-definition presented difficult technical challenges, but our team has come up with a process to create true 1080p HD masters with true HD visual effects. We can’t wait to show fans how pristine the series looks and sounds with our upcoming Blu-ray releases.”

Because of all the work involved, the series will release slowly, possibly only one or two seasons per year, though the full release schedule is not yet been described. The first release will be a sampler of sorts, to show fans what the newly reforged series will look like (and perhaps to gauge interest in it). That disc is called Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Next Level: A Taste of TNG in High Definition.

The disc will contain the remastered versions of the double-length pilot, Encounter at Farpoint, and two of the more famous episodes of the series, Sins of the Father from season 3 and The Inner Light from season 5.

The sample disc will be released on January 31, 2012 for about $22.