Star Trek: The Next Generation Season Two Blu-ray
Director - Various
Cast - Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes
Country of Origin - USA
Discs - 5
Distributor - CBS Home Video
Reviewer - Scott MacDonald
Date - 02/18/13
The Series (3.5/5)
Many TV series no matter how great take some time to truly find their identity. Star Trek: The Next Generation having to draw obvious comparisons to it's legendary original series predecessor had a little bit of a harder time forging a new identity in it's infancy. The first series of the show felt like a modern (at the time) continuation of the concept, themes, and even the plot lines of the original series. It was a welcome return for sure, but how long could simply more of the same worked.
Luckily, when Season 2 aired the shows writers decided to move forward into new territory. Yes, the stories were still steeped in Star Trek continuity, although they were essentially all one off episodes were everything was resolved by the end. That being said the stories were meatier and deeper than they were in the prior season. The first season has some great and classic episodes, but nothing that could be deemed a masterpiece of sci-fi television.
This would change in the Ninth episode of this series. The Measure of a Man takes the android Data, and puts him on trial to defend his sentience. Compared to the episodes surrounding it, it truly stands out as a masterpiece of TV, and a enthralling piece of dramatic story telling. It involves the Enterprise crew working to keep Data aboard when a Starfleet scientist is determined to dissect him in order to find discover how to mass produce him.
We also have the introduction of Next Generation's best known villains The Borg, in the episode Q Who. Their introduction is powerful, and mysterious, and while the ending is a literal Deux Ex Machina, it leaves their eventual return wide open with a nice air of suspense. We, also get what is until this point the finest Riker-centric episode in Matter of Honor where an exchange program finds the first officer on board a Klingon ship where the leaders are under the impression the Enterprise is preparing to attack. Riker must decide where his allegiances lie, with the Klingons he has recently pledged an Oath to serve, or Starfleet and his friends aboard the Enterprise.
It would be short-sighed to suggest these are the only great episodes in the lot, as opposed to Series 1, I found myself enjoying far more episodes with increased frequency in Season 2. Some additional highlights included.
The Schizoid Man which sees Data finding a strange connection with a dying scientist in his final hours.
Elementary, Dear Data finds Data and LaForge caught up in a Sherlock Holmes style mystery. I coincidentally caught this after a rewatch of Sherlock Series 2, and thus got even more enjoyment out of it.
Where Silence Has Lease finds the Enterprise trapped in a hole in space, and unable to escape. It is a nice suspenseful episode, and had me enthralled a good bit of it's running time.
Time Squared plays with time lines in a really fun way as a shuttle craft found to be part of the Enterprise from it's future precedes a tragedy aboard the ship.
Star Trek: The Next Generation The Complete Season 2 comes to Blu-ray in a completely outstanding 1080p AVC encoded 1:33:1 fullframe transfer preserving the ratio of the shows original broadcast. These episodes look phenomenal, detail is outstanding all the way through, black levels are solid, colors pop nicely. There is a nice organic grain structure at play during the episodes as well. There is a bit of print damage in the form of infrequent white specks, but aside from that I did not find anything to really complain about it.
The Blu-ray comes with a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track. This track sound absolutely fantastic with all the dialogue coming through loud and clear, the music and sound effects coming through quite nicely as well. I did not detect any instances of pops, cracks, or hissing on the track, and optional subtitles are included in a variety of languages.
Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 2 comes to Blu-ray completely loaded with extra features. The first disc contains a On-Air promo for the overall Season. We then get Energized Part 2 which discusses the changes between Season 1 and 2, and the requirements this season took to come to HD. We then get a 17 minute episode of Reading Rainbow (with Levar Burton) that has a Star Trek: TNG theme. We then get a look at a commercial for the Reading Rainbow iTunes app. We then get a SD archival featurette that runs 17 minutes long and discusses certain production aspects of Season 2.
The second disc in the set contains 2 extended cuts of Measure of a Man the 57 Minute Extended Cut with Deleted Scenes Inserted Back in and HD. There is also the 55 minute Hybrid Extended cut with this is bit rougher, and is without post production effects. We then have a commentary by Melinda Snodgrass, and Denise and Michael Okuda on the HD extended version of the episode.
The third disc contains a 10 minute Gag real, an Archival Mission log on Penny Juday the series coordinator, and another Archival Mission Log that interviews certain members of the cast and crew including Patrick Stewart, Gene Rodenberry, LeVar Burton, and more. The Fourth disc has a Q Who commentary with Dan Curry, Rob Bowman, Mike Okuda, and Denise Okuda. We also get an Archival Mission Log discussing various episodes with the cast and crew.
The Fifth and final disc sees a good many of the new extras. The disc kicks off with the highly advertised Reunification extra. This hour long extra sees the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation reuniting and reminiscing about their time on the show. We then have Make it So: Continuing Star Trek: The Next Generation, Part 1: Strange New Worlds, this discusses various aspects of the first 2 series of the show from certain plot points to fan reception of the series. This is followed up by Make it So: Continuing Star Trek: The Next Generation, Part 2: New Life and New Civilizations, which discusses the direction the series was going in with Series 2, the replacement of Dr. Crusher with Pulaski, and more. Both of these combined run about 75 minutes in length. We then get an Archival Mission Log called Overview Year 2 rounding out the set that discusses Dr. Pulaski, Whoopi Goldberg's Guinan character, The Ten-Forward set construction and more.
Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 2 picks up, and and moves forward from where Season 1 left off. It has a great number of excellent episodes, and the audio/video restoration is absolutely phenomenal. The set contains an overwhelming amount of extras as well. Star Trek: The Next Generation Series 2 can come nothing, but HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.