Why is it so inconceivable that CBS would later release a "re-remastered" S2 set sometime down the road? There's ample recent precedent for studios remastering botched BD releases (from multiple studios: The Fifth Element, Gladiator, The French Connection, and Patton come to mind).
Motion pictures are cheaper to remaster than an entire season of television -- two hours of material versus ten in this case. Moreover, none of the releases you've listed involved re-compositing of visual effects -- just going back to the film elements and striking an improved transfer.
Agreed, but as I mentioned, CBS would not have to start from scratch. In the case of CBS-D the infrastructure for the project is already in place from S1 and S3 (and hopefully further seasons), much of which is unique to this project, DS9, and VOY. The elements for S2 have been scanned and the shot lists have been compiled. The audio seems fine this time around. That leaves replacing only the problematic HTV visual material.
From what I can gather, the flaws in HTV's work seem to fall into 4 main categories:
1. Misaligned motion control passes and visible matte lines
2. Lighting and shading mismatches on miniature elements
3. Poor-quality / low-res starfields and other digital elements (mainly planets, but including that horrid
probe launch CG Enterprise from "Where Silence Has Lease")
4. Excessive DNR, mainly in miniature shots
From what I understand the live-action VFX comps (hand phasers, viewscreens, etc.) for S2 are generally well done (with the exception of one dodgy bluescreen window shot from "The Measure of a Man" mentioned earlier). So assuming there are not excessive DNR issues with the live-action footage (haven't read about any yet), that pretty much leaves the space / ship shots (and not ALL of them by any means either). Someone would have to chime in with how many minutes of the total running time of S2 (15 hours or so) are taken up by such shots, but I'm guessing it's not a lot, and there's lots of repetition. Next, consider how many of those flawed elements could be quickly replaced by elements already done better by CBS-D. Roughly how many minutes would we be talking about? How much work? Certainly nothing like completely recompositing the entire season, or even a two hour feature with extensive VFX. For the sake of brevity I'm oversimplifying a bit (there may be complications from procedural, maybe even software / equipment differences between CBS-D and HTV for example), but that's essentially it.
In any case, I was really referring to the business considerations, which as I'm sure you know are quite different from a feature to a television project and this one in particular. The feature films I mentioned were examples of studios remastering product that they really didn't have
to. The benefit to the studios from re-releasing these titles was to sell additional units and generate some positive press in the process (and I see only thumbs up when a studio does this sort of thing; those that care are just glad to have an improved product and ultimately couldn't care less about a recall are trade-in program). The primary market for the TNG-R project is TV syndication. As has been mentioned many times, the revenues from the BD release are gravy; the real money will come from selling TNG in HD in syndication for years to come.
I think CBS has learned (or will soon learn) its lesson from its experience with HTV and will better vet the post houses that are used going forward, hopefully choosing ones with VFX experience. Lost BD sales aside, I don't think the bosses want 6 great looking seasons of their "flagship" Trek series (thanks Marina!
) and one substandard one. It is really in their best business interests that the overall package look as good as is practical. I also know for a fact that there are some "movie people" at Fox that dictated the re-releases of "The French Connection" and "Patton", stating in the case of the latter that they learned their lesson on the excessive application of DNR and that it would not happen again; the re-release confirms this (and I hope they do the same for Predator!). I'd like to think there are some of these same type of people at CBS; if not we might be watching SD upconverts instead of a completely recomposited series. Of course I'm glad we're not!
The question really is, would goodwill, positive press, concern for quality, pride in the franchise, and lastly recovered lost BD sales (starting with my own) outweigh the variable costs involved in recompositing / replacing the xx minutes of S2 that really
need it. I think it might, but the bosses may need some prodding. By no means do I think it will happen next week or even next year, but my hope is that they revise the overly ambitious TNG-R release schedule to allow CBS-D to do the whole run (and allow for greater consistency from season to season), or hire outside (and even CBS-D is
outside really; "in-house" is a misnomer since they're their own profit center, etc.) facilities that are a better fit for the project. Oh yeah, hold the project managers accountable for quality control and replace them if necessary. With all due respect, if that's the Okudas, then so be it.
CBS might revisit this season down the road, but it wouldn't be a cheap and easy proposition. (Not to mention, it would alienate a lot of fans who spent money on an inferior product).
If it happens I definitely see it happening during some sort of hiatus for the facility in question. For example, say CBS-D does S7, perhaps they could squeeze an S2 redo between that and a possible DS9-R project. Also, as I said higher-quality re-releases are typically well-received; whether the re-release is done with a recall, mail-in replacement, trade-in, or full repurchase would depend on the timing. And at the risk of incurring the wrath of the "it's good enough" crowd, it just sends completely
the wrong message to spend money on an inferior product to begin with. BillJ mentioned he was unhappy with what he's seen but he's buying S2 to "support the project"; I simply cannot understand this. Even if the project needed our "support" (it doesn't), it's happening, again, for business reasons. Especially given the circumstances with HTV there's no way CBS would abandon the project if S2s sales suffered. Of course, if you're happy with S2 as it is now, I respect your opinion; by all means buy it and enjoy it. S2 is one of my favorite seasons of TNG (it and S1 have a special place with me) and the extras do look amazing (kudos to Burnett and his team on those), so it will pain me to pass on this release. Instead I'll be picking up the TOS score box set on Monday (at over 3 times the price of S2 but that's where my Trek money's going next week). Why on earth anyone would buy S2 if they know they're not going to be happy with it completely
eludes me. For myself, I'll buy S2 when they re-remaster it, even if it's months or years down the road. I've waited this long, right? If it's never done I'll survive, knowing I didn't support a shoddy product.