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These Machine Learning-Enhanced Clips Might Be Our Only Chance of Seeing HD Star Trek: Voyager Any Time Soon

It’s not perfect, but it’s better than what we’ve got right now.
It’s not perfect, but it’s better than what we’ve got right now.
Image: CBS

The story of why we’ve yet to see high definition re-releases of Star Trek: Voyager and Deep Space Nine akin to the Blu-ray releases of The Next Generation is long known at this point. Sadly, the process is too complex and involved, and the footage is too difficult to unmesh from its CG special effects, for it to be worth it to CBS. At least fans are stepping in to give us a glimpse at what could be.

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While there have been attempts both officially and unofficially before—What We Left Behind, the expansive, loving crowdfunded documentary for Deep Space Nine produced by former co-showrunner Ira Steven Behr, for example, managed to produce new HD clips of the show as part of its runtime, and fans had previously turned to machine learning to enhance small segments to give a passable HD effect. But now a similar technique has been used to give a look at not just what Benjamin Sisko and his crew could look like in that crisp HD goodness, but how Captain Janeway and her Delta Quadrant-stranded fellows could, too.

Made by Trek fan Billy Reichard and recently shared on r/StarTrek, these clips use Gigapixel AI and Topaz Labs Video AI to attempt to polish up the standard definition Voyager footage—taken from “Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy, “Endgame, and “Scorpion”—into something akin to 4K footage.

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It’s not truly 4K, of course. It’s the work of one diligent fan, and imperfect in comparison to the proper remastering that could be undertaken by a giant corporation like CBS. Reichard also mostly danced around VFX-heavy shots, which we know are the bane of any current official attempts to remaster either Voyager or Deep Space Nine. But still, the effect is impressive enough, and significantly cleaner than what we do have on the likes of Netflix and CBS All Access, to give us a moment to dream. And even with the relative difficulty of cleaning up the show’s VFX, Voyager’s opening titles look pretty fantastic either way:

One day, maybe. One day. The year 2020 is after all, the 25th anniversary of Voyager’s debut. Maybe CBS could throw us a bone in the form of a remaster announcement? We can only hope. You can check out a few more clips on Reichard’s YouTube channel, including some from Deep Space Nine for good measure.


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James is a News Editor at io9. He wants pictures. Pictures of Spider-Man!

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DISCUSSION

cartoonivore
Cartoonivore

So what happened to The Doctor after the synth ban? Did they shut him down too? Did anybody go on a month long space adventure to try and bring him back?