The Series (4/5)
DVD was an amazing change from VHS. There was a sharper image, no more having to rewind, but still things could be better. IT seems during the DVD era, my opinions on film and TV shows rarely changed from their pre-existing viewpoint. Blu-ray on the other hand has changed my perspective drastically on films and TV shows I had previously written off. I have probably written this elsewhere in my prior reviews, but I was not a fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation during it's initial run, during it's reruns it just looked washed out and bland to me.
While I did find myself occasionally watching and enjoying the pulpy original show, something about Star Trek always seemed militaristic, and being a very anti-authoritarian sort of teenager, it never caught me. I watched plenty of classic Doctor Who in those days with PBS re-runs of Tom Bakerís space bohemian being a particular sci-fi idol. His demeanor contrasted greatly with that of the Enterprise crew as he was not one forced to work for anyone (OK, the occasional Timelord mission), he could go anywhere and do anything.
None the less, when I heard about Next Generation's Blu-ray release, I wanted to check it out, and to my surprise, I fell for it pretty damn hard. In between I also began to watch Enterprise and found to my shock as well, that I similarly enjoyed that. Now that Season 7 of Star Trek: The Next Generation is out I am happy to have made the journey with this Enterprise crew, and only lament that I did not get into it sooner.
Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 7 follows up from what could be considered the finest Season of the entire run. In comparison, anything they do would be considered lesser work, that being said it does not appear the creators attempted to top their prior creations. The fact is this season as a whole feels less in competition with previous work, and truly like a series of denouements building up to the excellent series finale All Good Things. So many characters seemingly get a moment to shine throughout the series almost as if they are given a nice bow out before the series final send off.
Like with the 6 prior Seasons the seventh has a mix of very good, and not so good episodes, but honestly is this a shock to anyone? Even outside the realm of Star Trek, it is completely rare for a season of 22 episodes to be good all the way through. For the most part even the bad episodes here manage to have entertaining elements. The season finale All Good Things it should be said outright, is such a fantastic closer for the series. For those interested parties All Good Things is also available on Blu-ray as a standalone release with exclusive extra features.
The first few series of Next Generation on Blu-ray were very nice looking, but occasionally flawed in the A/V department. CBS starting with the later series took the restoration work in house, and the results have been nothing short of astounding. All the episodes are presented in their original 1:33:1 aspect ratio in HD 1080p transfers. The colors in these transfers are excellent, fine and facial detail is excellent, and black levels are deep. There is a nice natural grain structure that is never overwhelming throughout the presentation.
There are multiple audio options including a DTS-HD MA 7.1 and a 2.0 Stereo track I stuck with the 2.0 track for my viewing and was quite impressed by the sound. The dialogue, score, and effects came through brilliantly, and I could find nothing to detract from the experience.
Much like the prior releases Season 7 mixes the old with the new. We get documentaries, commentaries, deleted scenes, promos, and gag reels. Some of them are from the prior DVD's and some of them are newly created for this release. The sheer volume of the content is massive, and it should leave no fan wanting more.
Star Trek: The Next Generation Season Seven is an absolutely fantastic close to an excellent series. The A/V restoration looks and sounds beautiful, and makes me long for a Deep Space Nine restoration (what can I say? I'm hooked). This release is, of course, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.