Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Star Trek Remastered

I know a lot of people have been dogging on this idea, and I'm certainly far from sold on it myself, but having seen the trailer now, I'm more willing than ever to give it a chance. I particularly like that they've made the movements of the starships as clunky as ever, but simply cleaned up the images and made the planets a little sexier. I found the bit about the score interesting, as well.

Ultimately, it's a lot of time, money, and effort poured into a completely unnecessary venture, but hey, it's not my money, so what the hell?

Hmm. That doesn't look too bad. Certainly not what I was fearing, but those are just little clips. I suspect I'll have to see an episode in its entirety before I can pass judgement.

Lucky thing we ordered Dish Network last week, huh?
I can certainly watch TOS without the updated effects and be perfectly happy. But as long as they're doing this, and they stick to doing it in the way they've described (no changes to the story or narrative, etc.), heck yeah, I'm there.
Tch, they've got some woman to sing the theremin part of the theme tune. Pretty ironic considering this is all about teching-up the show.
Was that a theremin originally? I always thought it was a generic opera singer. Have I been wrong these many years? (Well, it wouldn't be the first time...)
I thought it was an operatic singer myself. Sounds way too organic to be a theremin.

Speaking of the theremin, have you seen this?

Dr. Samuel J. Hoffman and the Theremin
Well, now you've got me. Wikipedia the All-Seeing (in its special entry for the Star Trek Original Series Theme Song) says it was a milestone use of the theremin, but also mentions a soprano singer (Loulie Jean Norman). And the entry for Theremin mentions its use in the Star Trek theme tune. I dunno. Maybe they started with one and moved to the other at some point.

And JLB, the theremin sounds thoroughly organic - in skilled hands, it can sound just like the human voice (the "thereminvox", they used to call it).
Huh. I've never heard it played to "organic" effect. It's always been that weird, surreal whistling tone. I'll have to investigate further.
I recommend the works of Goldfrapp and Portishead. Also, to a lesser extent, Lydia Kavina. Goldfrapp's the real stand-out - I just can't tell when she's playing the theremin and when she's making the noises herself.
The original theme had a singer as well, and never a theramin. There are *actually* lyrics to this song, (penned by Roddenberry). They are bad and were never used (he basically did it to grab 1/2 of Sandy Courage's composer royalty.

The original theme was recut, because they had to pay the singer an "acting" royalty, so to save $$, they recut it with a basic instrumental melody (still NOT a theramin).
OK, let me clear this up. I've been watching reruns of TOS over and over again like a mental patient for some 30 years, since I was three or four years old, so I know a thing or three about this show. There were FOUR different arrangements of the classic Trek theme used for the original series.

The first version, heard only in the unaired first pilot, "The Cage", used a female singer to sing the melody. The second version was recorded for the second pilot, "Where No Man Has Gone Before". It was in this version that a Theremin (or similar type of instrument) was used to play the melody. This gave it a more tradition eerie sci-fi sound. This second version was also used for the early episodes of the series. Later, still during the first season, it was replaced by the more familiar and conventional string section to play the melody. The even more familiar fourth and final version, once again used a female singer to sing the melody. This version was used for the second and third seasons of the series. It is NOT the same version as that used for "The Cage". The backing rhythm between the two arrangements is noticeably different.

Here endeth the lesson.
Hey, thanks for clearing that up!
Actually, the third season theme was a re-recording of the second-season version so there were five versions of the theme song in the original series.
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