For the first time ever, you can experience all 25 season one episodes in glorious 1080p high definition, with true high definition visual effects and English language digitally remastered 7.1 sound - or with the original audio. You'll witness new picture detail and depth and enjoy spectacular visual effects that have been painstakingly re-created from the original film elements... not upconverted from videotape! Join Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) and the enture crew of the Enterprise on a voyage to the next generation... of Star Trek: The Next Generation
10 years ago CBS launched Star Trek: The Next Generation on DVD, and now they're bringing the series to Blu-ray. While the show was initially shot on film, all the effects shots were mastered to tape, making it a difficult task to do an HD release. They have painstakingly recreated every effects shot using the original film, and have added some CGI for a few shots to make it suitable for a high definition release. Earlier this year they put out a test disc called "The Next Level" which featured the 2-hour pilot, as well as two other episodes. It was a brilliant move by CBS Home Video, as it provided a cheap disc for fans to buy so they could see the work being done on the series for themselves, as well as allowed them to experiment with the conversion process. Now they've completed work on the entire first season and made it available along with brand new bonus material.
This 6-disc set includes all 25 episodes from the first season:
Disc 1 (3:02:26)
Encounter at Farpoint (1:31:22)
The Naked Now (45:34)
Code of Honor (45:30)
Disc 2 (3:47:47)
The Last Outpost (45:36)
Where no one has Gone Before (45:34)
Lonely Among Us (45:33)
The Battle (45:31)
Disc 3 (3:47:42)
Hide and Q (45:32)
The Big Goodbye (45:32)
Angel One (45:32)
Disc 4 (3:47:40)
Too Short a Season (45:31)
When the Bough Breaks (45:35)
Home Soil (45:33)
Coming of Age (45:29)
Disc 5 (3:47:38)
Heart of Glory (45:33)
The Arsenal of Freedom (45:32)
Skin of Evil (45:31)
We'll Always Have Paris (45:31)
Disc 6 (1:31:10)
The Neutral Zone (45:34)
Sometimes I get a bit teary-eyed when I see things of beauty; I got a bit teary-eyed watching this. The picture on this set, while not perfect, is the best the show has ever looked. The countless hours spent to restore the effects shots certainly paid off when you're able to view the amazing amount of detail in the Enterprise as it slowly passes by the camera. The picture is Full Frame (1.33:1), which is the only way the show should be seen. I'm glad they addressed this in the wonderful "Energized! Taking the Next Generation to the Next Level" featurette, as some people actually wanted to watch it in widescreen (which is just wrong). The DVDs suffered from color-shifting in nearly every episode, but that's not an issue on the Blu-rays. Special effects shots on DVD were fuzzy because they were mastered to tape, but the recreation of the scenes for the BD release have completely fixed that issue as well. There are a few problems you'll notice on the BDs though; some grain (more noticeable in a few scenes), as well as a slight flicker in some parts of the image. I went back and looked at the DVDs and noticed the flicker in the same places as the BDs, so it's clearly an issue with the original film, it's just more noticeable on the BD release due to the higher resolution (it's also pretty rare, and not that distracting). There are 2 seconds of film that couldn't be located for "We'll Always Have Paris," so upconverted SD material was used (and this is marked on the packaging, and the disc menu). There's a chapter after the opening of each episode, and each disc has a "play all" option.
The video quality of this is a huge upgrade from the DVDs.
While it's not the first 7.1 release of a TV show, Star Trek: The Next Generation continues the 7.1 format started with the release of "The Original Series" a few years ago. Along with doing a new transfer of the video, CBS Home Video also did a new mix of the audio, providing an English 7.1 DTS HD-Master Audio track (along with the original stereo track). I have a 7.1 setup, and I've found very few movies actually contain a 7.1 mix. I really liked the new mix for the show because it corrected some problems with the DVD release, and also added some nice atmosphere to the show. The side and rear surrounds aren't that noticeable in their use, but are used for the hum of the ship, and other atmospheric sounds. The bass sounds awesome on this release, providing a nice bit of punch when needed. There are also German, Spanish, French, Italian and Japanese audio tracks, and subtitles in English, Danish, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, Dutch, Norwegian, Finnish and Swedish. Wow!
These are SD promos for all the episodes on the set.
Energized! Taking the Next Generation to the Next Level (23:46)
An absolutely wonderful featurette on the process of creating the HD version of the show. Everything you'd want to know about the process, including why the show isn't redone in 16:9, is answered here. It's an awesome piece.
Introduction to the Series (2:45)
A quick introduction to the series from 1987.
Promo #1 (1:36)
Promo #2 (0:36)
Promo #3 (0:37)
Season One Promo (4:07)
Stardate Revisited: The Origin of Star Trek: The Next Generation (1:41:14)
A wonderful 3-part documentary on the series. Normally I list all the participants for something like this, but the list of participants is so long and impressive, I'll let you discover them for yourself. This is such a wonderful tribute to the series.
Part 1: Inception (28:09)
Part 2: Launch (32:13)
Part 3: The Continuing Mission (32:42)
Gag Reel (8:10)
The Beginning (18:01)
This featurette including interviews with the cast and crew that worked on the show. They talk about casting choices and the fact that many of the fans from the original series were upset about the thought of a new Star Trek show. Material created for the DVD set.
Selected Crew Analysis (15:18)
The cast share funny stories from their auditions, the fact that the characters and writers stumbled a few times in the first season, and the actors discuss their characters. Material created for the DVD set.
Making of a Legend (15:27)
This one deals with the work that goes into a Star Trek production. Everything from the sets, the look of the show, photographic effects, the secret behind the transporter effect, makeup and the graphic design of the computers are covered in this featurette. Material created for the DVD set.
Memorable Missions (17:04)
Cast and crew share their memories of: Heart of Glory, Where No One Has Gone Before, The Arsenal of Freedom, Lonely Among Us, 11001001, The Last Outpost, Justice, Conspiracy, Code of Honor and Skin of Evil. Material created for the DVD set.
What CBS Home Video has done with this series is absolutely amazing. To take all the original elements and rebuild the special effects shots obviously takes a ton of work, but wow, the results are outstanding. While the show is 25 years old, the material looks like it was shot a few years ago (obviously the aspect ratio gives it away). The 3-part documentary is an absolute must-watch, and I loved that it'll be continued on the second season BD release as well. I'm also thankful they created a featurette on the restoration of the series because it's a fascinating look at the amount of work that went into the set. It's also great to have all the original season 1 DVD material in the set, so fans can replace their DVDs with the BDs and not miss out on anything. Of course that material is DVD quality, not HD.
Star Trek: The Next Generation will always be my favorite of the Trek shows, and I absolutely love this Blu-ray release. While watching this series again, one thing became extremely clear to me: we need another Star Trek series on TV.