During the San Diego Comic-Con, it has been revealed that A&E Home Entertainment will release Space: 1999 - Season 1 on Blu-ray on November 2. No technical details are available, other than it will be a "complete, uncut and restored in high definition" release, in pillarboxed 1.33:1 video.
The series, originally shot on 35mm film, was restored BBC studios, which posted a detailed description of the work done. The telecine was done from a new interpositive. Even with the new film elements, a great deal of grading was still occasionally required.
Dust and scratches have been removed in two stages. The first process is automatic, but the BBC emphasizes that it is important not to have it "too high"; otherwise, "an unnaturally flat and 'plastic' looking smeary image can result." In the second stage, the Digital clean-up team, armed with pen and tablet, painstakingly removes remaining defects and areas of larger damage.
Also, the opening titles were rebuilt from the best available materials in HD.
As to audio, the current video tape masters exhibited a highly variable sound quality between episodes, with peak distortion, crackle, print-through, wow and other problems. Extra audio elements were shipped over from the US.
Great show though some ep in season 1 are a bit slow. Hopefully season 2 will come out soon. Carlton DVD/Video in the uk already delivered a brilliant remastered pic on DVD a few yrs back. Her's hoping this will be even better.
Between this and the Twilight Zone, I hope classic TV does well on BD. Series like this and TZ have great potential. Props to companies like Image and A&E for believing that classic TV shows other than Star Trek: TOS have devoted fanbases!
This information about the audio is taken from the BBC website article which was done from a longer restoration article that BBC's Jonathan Wood (the telecine operator who did the HD transfers) wrote for the UK DVD release 5 years ago. This release used SD conversions from the HD masters and the audio elements mentioned. There is still a great deal of variable sound quality between episodes, even though the quality was significantly improved.
A classic sci-fi series and will definitely be buying! Having seen the two HD eps (Black Sun/War Games) available on the net though, I personally wouldn't mind having the 16:9 versions either as I didn't think they looked bad at all the way they were framed but 4:3 pillar-boxed still IS the way they should be released primarily without a doubt.
The first season of this show was pretty spectacular for an early to mid seventies production. Sprawling sets, moody lighting, excellent soundtracks all due to a massive budget at the time. Some of the sci-fi elements were far fetched, but it was like nothing else on TV at the time. The first season still holds up well today. The second season was a completely different story as Fred Frieberger (the guy who killed Star Trek in its third season) took over and completely butchered the show.
Hopefully these Blu-rays will look even better than the excellent Granada/Network Region 2 DVDs released back in 2006.