Star Trek: The Next Generation Season One Blu-ray
Director - Various
Cast - Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes
Country of Origin - USA
Discs - 6
MSRP - $129.95
Distributor - CBS Home Video
Reviewer - Scott MacDonald
The Series (3.5/5)
I'll cut to the chase, I've always been more of a Whovian than a Trekkie, and when I do watch Star Trek I've always found myself gravitating toward the original series, more than any of the other spinoffs. The original series had a nice 60's pulp feel to it, that always seemed like an extension of 50's and 60's science fiction movies, except with a weekly budget.
However, my friends growing up loved Next Generation, and I frequently found myself sitting through episodes at their houses, I remember enjoying myself, but never quite connecting. A while ago I tried to watch it again, but now it appeared dated (in a bad way), and the TV presentation was quite washed out and faded.
When the Blu-ray's were announced I knew it was the best time ever to get on board with Star Trek: The Next Generation. I have found that this format in particular has brought out the best in material, and things I have found myself not liking in the past (for example Easy Rider), I have found new enjoyment through their Blu-ray restoration.
I am happy to say my assessment was correct. I knew going in that season one of Star Trek: The Next Generation is not considered by many fans to be the high water mark of the series, but from word of mouth a good few classics were contained in the set. With this in mind, and my already tempered expectations, I threw myself in head first.
First off, the assessment that not every episode is a winner is quite accurate, but over a 22 episode season there is pretty much guaranteed to always be a clunker or two. However, there are quite a few superior episodes in this set. Including the pilot episodes Encounters at Farpoint, The Naked Now (a sequel to the TOS episode the Naked Time), Where No One Has Gone Before, The Battle, Hide and Q, and more. I found that even some of the lesser episodes were enjoyable, although their were quite a few I can't imagine myself going back and rewatching.
Unlike the latter series' Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Voyager, Next Generation continues the original series tradition of utilizing primarily self contained episodes. This pretty much means you can skip around the set if you want to just watch the classics, and avoid the filler without feeling left behind.
Overall, it's a great start to an excellent sci-fi series, and this being my first continuous viewing of the series, I am now excitedly waiting for Season 2.
Over the years I have always found Star Trek: The Next Generation to be a quite bland and washed out looking show. It turns out that those must have been the TV prints I was watching, because this set is a true stunner of a home video release.
The show has been presented in it's original 1:33:1 broadcast ratio in a glorious 1080p transfer that goes back to the original 35mm film negatives for the restoration. To put it simply, the level of detail and depth in the image is incredible. The colors on display are vibrant, bright, and POP from the screen. The black levels and flesh tones are deep, and due to the 35mm nature of the source there are even traces of film grain throughout. The highlight of the restoration are the effects shots (like the Enterprise flying past a planet) that were totally remastered, and now look comparable to something you might see in a movie today.
Paramount/CBS have included a multitude of listening options including a much touted 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track in English. The track sounds as good as the video looks, with dialogue, music, and effects blending together nicely, and working together to give your speakers a bit of a workout. I did not pick up on any pops, cracks, or hissing throughout the track.
CBS have created some exclusive extras on this set, alongside porting over some older supplementary materials to create quite a full package. To start with the new Disc 1 has a wonderful restoration documentary called Energized: Taking Star Trek: The Next Generation to the Next Level. Disc 6 contains Star Date Revisited a 93 minute documentary on the shows production from inception through creation, and continuing it through 7 seasons and beyond!
The archival material is all presented on discs 1 and 6. Disc 1 has a few promos for the series as well as introduction to Star Trek: TNG for those familiar with it's predecessor. Disc 6 contains the majority of the archival supplementary material. This includes a few featurettes like Selected Crew Analysis where one of the writers (Rick Berman) discusses writing episodes from scratch with no prior character history to go on.
Rick, in a separate featurette entitled the Making of a Legend discusses his design ideas behind the show, and how he wanted to make the show look more epic in scope that other programs of the day. This is followed up by Memorable Moments a 17 minute short featuring cast and crew discussing memorable moments from episodes in season 1. We then have the beginning which talks about the shows inception (also covered in the new mater), and a gag reel.
Star Trek: The Next Generation is an absolute classic of a sci-fi series, and looks absolutely gorgeous on Blu-ray. The extras are detailed and interesting. This release comes highly recommended!
Does anyone else want to see an irritating cast member Sci-Fi Deathmatch, Adric (Doctor Who) vs. Wesley Crusher?
Email at Scott@eurocultav.com to discuss.