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Star Trek: The Next Generation - Blu-ray Review

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Star Trek: The Next Generation blu-ray

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4 stars

Twenty years after the days of Captain Kirk, Bones, and Mr Spock, Gene Roddenberry was invited by Paramount to create a new Star Trek show; something to which he had little interest in doing. His original cast were finding success on the big screen; he had been ousted from creative control of the films, after a dismal presentation for the follow up to the lacklustre Motion Picture; and it wasn’t something that fired him up creatively at all. When it became obvious that the studio were going to move forward with or without him, and after seeing where they were thinking of taking it (space cadets!), Roddenberry set to task on creating lightning in a bottle twice…

The result was one of the most popular syndicated television shows in history; one that created almost twenty years of continuous Star Trek on television, with three spin offs following. Star Trek: The Next Generation cemented, along with the original cast on the big screen, that Roddenberry’s universe was a powerful franchise and money spinner, and ever since, we have never been starved for more of it for too long.

Led by the indomitable Patrick Stewart, the new cast quickly established themselves and their characters in their own right. Their series exceeded the original show’s run by four seasons, and went from a rather shaky beginning to a show people lamented the end of in 1994.

As the new century dawned, and DVD was being voraciously consumed by the world, The Next Generation was released to acclaim and fanfare. But something interesting occurred for this reviewer, especially watching the first season (made in 1986): Next Gen was showing its age. The picture was murky, the effects faired worst of all. It seemed our nostalgic memories might have had us recalling the beginning of this show through beer goggles, as it were. In short, the shows, some brilliant/some lacklustre at best, looked like crap.

Well, another decade has passed. HDTVs are in many homes now, and the studios are diligently remastering, preserving, and delivering film and television greats of yore for the masses and for history. Hungry Star Trek fans have been waiting for the announcement that The Next Generation would be among them. The wait is over, and at no small expense of time and money from the studio. You see, back in the 80s/90s, when this show was produced, it was shot on film, but edited on low resolution video. For anyone who has popped their Next Generation DVDs into a blu ray player and watched it on a high definition set, you would know how awful they look. For the studio to rectify this, they had to go back to the original camera negatives and judiciously scan them all, then reedit every episode, and recombine all the effects to bring it to life in a way that we have never seen.

The sampler disc, a three episode selection from various seasons of the show, demonstrates exactly why going through this process is worth every second and every penny. What they’ve accomplished is remarkable. It’s truly like watching it for the first time. With so much detail hidden before, the high definition transfer not only does justice to colours, faces, and backgrounds, but especially to the effects themselves—they’re restored from original elements not remade with CGI, and are the most dramatic example of what we’ve missed these last 25 years. This sampler effectively lets us know that, as each season is released, watching The Next Generation is going to be a new experience, not just a repeat release of the DVDs ten years ago. To highlight this, albeit circumstantially(?), the episode Sins of the Father on the sampler has 13 seconds of missing footage that they had to replace with upscaled footage: it sticks out like a sore thumb. Whatever lay ahead, the remastering of this show has given it a vitality and genuine reason (instead of a gimmick) to revisit.

{2jtab: Film Details}

Star Trek: The Next Generation blu-rayMPAA Rating: TV-PG.
Director
: Cliff Bole; Les Landau; Winrich Kolbe; others
Writer(s)
: Gene Roddenberry; Ronald D. Moore; Brannon Braga; more
Cast: Patrick Stewart; Jonathan Frakes; LeVar Burton; Michael Dorn; Marina Sirtis
Genre: Sci Fi | Action
Tagline:
New Stars. New Stories. New Worlds To Explore.
Memorable Movie Quote: "In your position it's important to ask yourself one question: what would Picard do?"
Distributor:
Paramount Pictures
Release Date:

DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
January 31, 2012

Synopsis: Set decades after Captain James T. Kirk's 5-year mission, a new generation of Starfleet officers in a new Enterprise set off on their own mission to go where no one has gone before.

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Star Trek: The Next Generation blu-ray

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
4 stars

3 Stars



Blu-ray Experience
3.5 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Star Trek: The Next Generation Blu-ray - The Next Level

Available on Blu-ray - January 31, 2012
Screen Formats: 1.33:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, French, Spanish, Japanese, German, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit); English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (48kHz, 24-bit); French: Dolby Digital 2.0; Spanish: Dolby Digital 2.0; German: Dolby Digital 2.0; Japanese: Dolby Digital 2.0
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
Playback: Region-free

Don’t expect it to look like it was made in 2012. This is a faithfully restored show (I would have liked to have seen updated CGI effects in addition to the originals, like the Star Trek blu rays) so the picture is 4:3, not widescreen, as originally broadcast. Film grain is intact, detail is superb, and colours are vibrant and textured. There is a tendency to be heavy handed with the contrast, which affects the blacks some: they’re deep and rich but lack shadow detail and seem a little artificial. The space scenes, especially of the Enterprise, are amazing and show textures and colours of the ship never seen. The sound, a new 7.1 DTS-HD mix, is vastly superior to anything we’ve heard before. Special features are non-existent: this sampler is a special feature in and of itself. It does have a trailer for the upcoming season one boxset.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

  • "Star Trek: The Next Generation:" Season One Blu-ray Trailer (1080p, 1:38)
  • Star Trek PADD -- iPad App Promo Spot (1080p, 0:32)
  • A Hint of HD "Star Trek: The Next Generation" HD Teaser Promo (1080p, 1:12)

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