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Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 1 Blu-ray Review

The Blu-ray edition of the first season of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” will wow you.

In the 25 episode first season of “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” we are introduced to the crew of the Starship Enterprise (Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Commander William Riker, Deanna Troi, Dr. Beverly Crusher, Data, Worf, Geordi La Forge, Wesley Crusher, and Tasha Yar). Their mission, as you no doubt know from the credits, is “to seek out new life and new civilizations” and “to boldly go where no one has gone before.” Naturally, their adventures in the first season are rather varied as they encounter a world run by women, crystalized lifeforms, The Traveler, a deadly tar creature, Q, Ferengi, Klingons, and much more.

When it comes to “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” the first season gets unfairly criticized sometimes. Granted, the first season is far from perfect. Jonathan Frakes is a bit rough around the edges as Lt. Riker, the writers are trying to figure out characters such as Worf, Picard is a bit of a grump (especially towards Wesley), certain episodes (like “Angel One”) are uneven, and Tasha Yar is rather annoying due to Denise Crosby’s less than stellar acting skills. But, if you can look past these flaws, you’ll realize there is so much to admire here.

People seem to forget that a lot of the TNG mainstays and fan favorites are introduced in season 1. We see the Ferengi, the new look Klingons, Q, the Holodeck, Data’s brother Lore, Troi’s mother Lwaxana Troi, etc. Additionally, there are a number of beloved episodes including (but not limited to) “Datalore,” “Hide And Q,” “The Big Goodbye,” “Skin Of Evil,” and “Where No One Has Gone Before.” Add in smart writing, relevant themes, a complex cast of characters on board the Enterprise (especially Data), galaxy wide adventures, and it’s hard not to get swept up into Gene Roddenberry’s unique vision of the future.

Summary: “Star Trek: The Next Generation” season 1 Blu-ray is a must buy set that is worth every penny of its pricetag. Even if you have seen these episodes countless times, you will no doubt fall in love with the show all over again. Bring on the remaining 6 seasons!

Video/Audio:

As most Trek fans know, time has not been kind to TNG in terms of the visuals. Whether it’s being watched on TV stations in standard def or hi-def televisions, the series looks flat out rough in this day and age. Thankfully, we no longer have to watch it on TV and, to be quite honest, why would you after seeing this Blu-ray set? The episodes (which are presented in 4:3 1080p) look absolutely incredible thanks to the award worthy remaster work and the gorgeous newly created revised F/X shots.

In watching these episodes again, you’ll feel like you are watching the series anew. From the striking colors (see Data’s eyes and the sky on “Hide And Q”) and the Enterprise corridor details to the lights on the starships and the breathtaking planet shots, everything simply looks better than it ever has here. It may sound like I’m spewing hyperbole here, but words really cannot accurately describe how good these episodes look in hi-def.

This set contains a newly remixed English 7.1 DTS-HD track with the option to play the original English Stereo track as well as 5 other Stereo language tracks. From the sounds of the Enterprise swooping by to the futuristic technology sound f/x, the 7.1 audio track is definitely a step up from the standard Stereo track, but it’s not 7.1 level quality here. It still sounds like a TV show Stereo track even with the new improvements and not like say a recent feature film released on Blu-ray which would use ALL of the 7.1 audio track.

Extras:
* Promos for all 25 episodes (not in hi-def), a season 1 promo, and an intro. to the series promo.
* A trailer for the upcoming “Star Trek: The Next Generation” season 2 Blu-ray.
* “Energized! Taking The Next Generation To The Next Level”- An in-depth hi-def featurette about the incredible restoration process. Not only is it nice to learn about the people involved in this restoration, but it’s also fascinating to learn about this daunting project.
* A better than usual gag reel (not in hi-def).
* “The Beginning”- A standard definition featurette that contains interviews with the cast and crew and discussions about how TNG came about.
* “Selected Crew Analysis”- Another standard def featurette in which the cast and crew chat about the complications of launching a new Trek series.
* “The Making Of A Legend”- Another old school SD featurette that covers the sets and visual f/x,
* “Memorable Missions”- The cast and crew talk about their favorite moments and episodes from season 1.
* “Stardate Revisted: The Origin Of Star Trek: The Next Generation”- A newly made hi-def 3 part documentary containing archival and newly shot interviews with everyone from Rick Berman to Patrick Stewart. The docu covers the “Inception” of TNG from a producing and writing perspective, the preparation/pre-production for the “Launch” of the series, and the “Continuing Mission” of creating the show from various aspects (such as production design and visual f/x). Lovingly put together by “Free Enterprise” director Robert Meyer Burnett and Roger Lay, Jr. , this extra feature contains loads of great material such as wardrobe and make-up tests (the Worf and Data ones are especially cool), behind-the-scenes stories, outtakes, casting tidbits, fun facts about the opening credits, etc. A must see.

July 23, 2012 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , , , , , ,

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