Star Trek: The Next Generation – Complete 1st Season on Blu-ray
Cast: Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, Denise Crosby, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Marina Sirtis, Wil Wheaton, John DeLancie
Creator: Gene Roddenberry
New York University '00
"I don't think you're dumb... I just think at times you're under-exposed to information." -Murphy Brown
Star Trek: The Next Generation – Complete 1st Season on Blu-ray
Review By: Dan Deevy
Wow. You will NOT be able to take your eyes off your screen. The Blu-ray conversion for the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation is fantastic! The colors are more vivid the sounds sharper and the overall experience of watching it is just breathtaking.
You can literally pause the show at any time and be staring at an image of such high quality that if you wanted to, you could create a high quality still from it. In the past any time you tried something like that you’d end up with a blurry image at best. This leap forward is truly amazing and HAS to be seen to be appreciated.
I literally found myself grinning like an idiot throughout almost the entire 27 hour viewing time that it took to get through everything on this set. It’s silly but seeing the show that I grew up on given this amazing facelift without actually changing anything but instead remaining true to the original vision for the show is really quite something. In some other cases, like the George Lucas Star Wars case, they will completely alter what has existed for decades in favor of what they think people would like to see now. Thankfully, the powers that be who currently control the fate of Star Trek understood that fans would NOT appreciate that. So instead, they spent a huge amount of money and invested an incredible amount of man hours to make what was achieved back in 1987 look as good as it could ever possibly look. And they succeeded! TNG has NEVER looked better.
When I first realized that I’d be reviewing this title I had thought that since I knew the episodes so well already that I’d just watch of few of them to see how the enhancements looked and of course watch the new special features. After about ten minutes of the premiere episode Encounter at Farpoint though, I knew I’d be watching every single episode on all six discs! This conversion breathed such incredible new life into these already amazing episodes that I decided it was well worth the time investment to watch them all before sitting down to write this review… and that’s exactly what I did.
The only downside to these amazing advancements is naturally all of the on screen errors that were previously undetectable are now blatantly obvious. People will probably talk about the make-up first and foremost but for me it was the constant use of stunt men and body doubles that look nothing like the actors themselves. In fact, in Encounter at Farpoint Denise Crosby’s stunt person is a guy. Later in the season he’s replaced with a woman but it’s still jarringly obvious when it isn’t Denise.
Another downside to going through this painstakingly difficult and lengthy process is that mistakes are bound to
Those are just a couple of things that I noticed on my first quick viewing of the season; I’m sure other Trekkies will find many more, but it does only prove how great everything else looks that when there are mistakes they stand out like a sore Standard Def thumb.
The best part of the behind-the-scenes featurettes is that they remind us of how much the climate of television and entertainment in general has changed over the last 25 years. We tend to forget that TNG was never expected to be successful. Nearly everyone was convinced that this attempt to revive a classic, iconic series with an entirely new group of players was beyond absurd. And it wasn’t until I was watching one of these docs that I remembered back to when I heard about TNG being created and at the tender age of 9 I asked the obvious question, which apparently everyone else in the world was asking as well, “How can they do it without Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock?”
Of course now 25 years, 4 movies, 3 additional spin offs later it seems like a no-brainer, but back then it was a fools bet.
Another great thing about these latest interviews with the cast and crew taking place so long after the conclusion of the series is that people are more free to give real answers to questions as opposed to the ‘studio approved P.C.’ answers we’ve been getting up until now. There are stories of Gene Roddenberry being difficult to work with, being uncompromising and in some senses actually holding the evolution of Star Trek back. I’ve NEVER heard anything like this before. But it’s all part of the fact that he was just a regular man like everyone else; he had his short comings and flaws but that didn’t take away from his remarkable genius. I just wish we as a society would allow our heroes their flaws instead of trying to hide them for 50 years.
We also get to see some original screen and make up tests with each main character that have never been released
Casting secrets are also revealed that will blow your mind. I can only hope that in season two we get the real story on the departure of Gates McFadden and then in season three, the story of her return and Diana Muldaur’s exit.
One knit-picky old man complaint with the design that I do have is that the on screen controls are in an incredibly small, hard to read font. It’s as though you’re trying to actually read one of the panels on the show; and we all know how impossible that is.
It’s also interesting to watch as the season continues how the sets become more and more complete. As with any show budget was a main factor in the evolution of the look of the series. As amazing as the sets looked for the pilot it was clear that there was a lot more they wanted to do that they simply didn’t have the money for. You’ll notice as the episodes, and eventually the seasons, go by more and more control panels start popping up in every area of the ship. In fact in the episode Where No One Has Gone Before engineering looks bare. When you compare that set from season one to season three there is an enormous difference.
There’s also the very obvious lack of bridge sets for alien ships; most notably the Ferengi and the first Klingon Battle Cruiser we meet. Whenever we see the Ferengi on the view screen they are standing in front of a solid white backdrop and the Klingons a black one with some logos on it, both of which just scream, “We couldn’t afford to build another set for this shot.”
Every episode is of course amazing to watch but as with all seasons there are some standouts. The first is our introductory episode to the Ferengi (who were originally intended to be TNG’s version of the Klingons), entitled The Last Outpost. Visually of course everything looks brand new. The Ferengi Marauder, their energy whips and later in the episode the T’Kon Empire’s Guardian effects could not look better.
Datalore was another wonderful show where we meet Data’s evil twin brother for the first time, Hide & Q when Q tempts Riker with the power of the Q, the amazing Klingon episode Heart of Glory that finally gives Worf a back story, The Arsenal of Freedom which is by far and away the best ensemble episode of the season, Symbiosis which tackles the issue of drug addiction in a way that only Star Trek can, and of course A Skin of Evil where we lose the gorgeous Denise Crosby to a black oil slick with a bad attitude.
And lastly I have to
I was honestly hoping for more from the Gag Reel; it’s basically all the stuff that if you were going to conventions in the 90’s you’ve seen already. But that was really my only disappointment on the set.
All in all the only downside to watching and owning Star Trek: The Next Generation The Complete 1st Season on Blu-ray is that we now have to wait at least another 6 months before we get our next taste with season 2!