Yesterday afternoon, it came to my attention that, in honor of the 40th anniversary of Trek, Paramount had gone the trouble of digitally remastering all 79 episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series, and it would be airing on several local TV stations around the country. My reading comprehension must not be too good, though, because I missed the part where the News.com article mentioned that the episodes would begin airing this weekend. It was only when I was re-reading to make a post about it that I discovered that most stations aired the first of the episodes (which are not being shown in chronological order) yesterday, but some would be airing it today. I did a little poking around to find out two things: 1) Is a local station in my area even showing them? 2) When are they airing it?
It wasn’t too hard to find out that the local ABC station was airing the episodes. It took a little more work to find out when. By my logic, if a studio is going to go through the trouble of remastering an show in HD and digitally clean up and even add some special effects, then the stations airing it would at least stick it at a somewhat reasonable time. I mean, I’m not expecting prime time on a Saturday night or anything, but I figured maybe in a late-night timeslot or sometime in the sun-just-came-up morning. No such luck in the case of my local affiliate. They’re airing the episodes at 2:30 a.m. on Sundays. Okay, so I was still awake at that time, and I usually am, but I’m going to guess that the core audience for these episodes are going to be middle-aged or pushing their way out into retirement, and they aren’t exactly the people I’d expect to be able to stay up that late. DVRs and VCRs are your friends, folks, though there’s still something to be said for being able to curl up on the couch and watch something you’ve been planning and waiting for all week.
The part of me that always likes to give people the benefit of the doubt thought that maybe it was just my local affiliate (which does have a tendancy to do really dumb shit sometimes) that was giving Trek the shaft. It turns out that there is an affiliate in another part of the state that is giving the show a little bit better treatment: it’s airing at 12:30 a.m. on Sundays (Saturday night, really). Affiliates reported on by another blogger (whom I don’t know, I just found his post in a Google search of this whole subject) are airing the episodes at 1 a.m. and 4 a.m. I agree, Eugene, infomercials get better treatment.
Just to add insult to injury, there were supposedly two episodes that were supposed to air in this inaugural week (this, according to Startrek.com). Neither of the affiliates that I personally checked up on appeared to have aired the second episode. Figures. There’s always BitTorrent, I guess, though a quick search through my three main tracker sources hasn’t turned up anything yet.
On the bright side, the News.com article also mentioned that TVLand will start airing episodes of TOS starting November 17. It’s unclear at this point as to whether they will also be airing the remasters or if they’ll be airing the original broadcast cuts. Either way, most cable subscribers will at least be able to get their classic Trek on again, probably at a normal time. G4TV already airs episodes of TOS in their “Star Trek: 2.0” format, as well as “classic” episodes, but G4 is typically only available to digital and premium cable subscribers.