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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > TV > Adventure > Space Opera > Action > Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season One + Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season Two (1987 – 1989/Paramount/CBS Blu-ray Sets)

Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season One + Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season Two (1987 – 1989/Paramount/CBS Blu-ray Sets)


Picture: B+     Sound: B (*Episodes with errors: C)/B+     Extras: B+     Episodes: B/B+



Star Trek: The Next Generation premiered 21 years after the original series and managed to cleverly reinvigorate a beloved series.


The storyline for Next Generation takes place in the 2360’s or about 100 years after the original series was set.  For seven seasons (128 episodes) fans were treated to some of the most epic Star Trek adventures ever created, along the way managing to create several theatrical films, innumerable amounts of merchandise, and a split fan base that to this day questions Kirk or Picard?


Season One (shot on 35mm film) was not the best season of the series, but rather set the ground work to embark a much larger journey.  It is hard to see while viewing this Blu-ray (as effects have been cleaned-up/altered), but the special effects were quite armature, as were the scripts.  The episodes had mostly self contained story arcs with choppy dialogue and blatantly transparent moral messages.  At its heart, however, it was Star Trek and that fact along with a brilliant cast the series became an instant classic.  Above all of the other actors it was the classically trained, charismatic Patrick Stewart who stood out as the lead actor, playing Captain Jean-Luc Picard as a stern, but compassionate Captain and believable leader.


As previously mentioned Season One wasn’t very epic, but did set up some very key elements that would be carried throughout the 7 season run.  Villains such as Ferengi, Q, the Romulans, Data’s evil twin Lure, and even allusions to The Borg were made in this season.  Character dynamics and technical aspects of this new trek series were established.  The ships capabilities, crewmates relationships with each other, internal struggles, an unsteady truce with the Klingon Empire, and even ‘future sex’ (episode “Naked Now”) were all aspects explored.  The season gained much critical praise and even a few awards.  Rejuvenating the Trek franchise was one of the best things to happen to television and Next Generation remains a fan favorite that is continuously referenced, studied, and adored.


Season Two of Next Generation was a step up from Season One, continuing on with the established mythos (along with elements from the original series) while concurrently adding new layers of depth and lore.  Character development took center stage; giving the series a more dramatic presence as viewers experienced how the crew of The Enterprise interacted with the rest of the universe and its inhabitants.  The series suddenly felt more refined as writers honed in on what they wanted the series to be (or what Roddenberry wanted it to be) and the cast became more confident in who their characters were.  The crew of The Enterprise had goals, dreams, and pasts; the series garnered the same camaraderie as the original series, but took it to the next level.  Viewers felt more connected with Trek than they ever were in the past as the characters were infused with back stories that made the audience invest more in the characters, while concomitantly delivering a hefty dose of sci-fi action/adventure.


In Season 2, long story arcs became common place, again solidifying the decision to focus on character development and the creation of a universe that fans could invest in over many seasons.  In the episode “Q Who?” audiences are introduced to the (now classic) Borg; an established race of Star Trek villains that peak fans interest to this day.  Characters across the board were given depth allowing us to get in the heads of Geordi La Forge (played by LeVar Burton) as Chief Engineer, Data the android (played by Brent Spiner) showing the internal struggle of his robot design with his human programming [even giving us the great episode “Elementary, Dear Data” that recreates a Sherlock Holmes mystery], and even the great Jean-Luc Picard as his leadership skills are pushed to their limits.  Season Two was most definitely a step up from Season One, showing that if Season One laid out the basics, Season Two exemplified that Star Trek was back and here to stay.


The technical aspects of these new Blu-ray sets are amazing for many reasons, even with a few audio bumps in the road.  The entire series has been remastered and Paramount cut no corners to make the series look excellent here on Blu-ray.  The image is a clear, clean, concise and getting to that point was no easy task.  What fans had experienced on DVD up until this point were transfers from late 80s/early 90s VHS tapes; as the series was filmed on 35mm, but transferred to tape for editing purposes.  What Paramount did for this Blu-ray release was nothing short of amazing as they dug deep into the archives to find the 35mm originals and then transfer them to the 1.33 X 1 High Definition we have here.  Painstakingly they removed years of debris, dirt and grime to achieve a brilliant High Definition presentation.  The colors are bright, the blacks are inky and framing, and the detail is astonishingly clear.


With this release, the fans can finally take in the visual complexities of the series; the detailed make-ups, great model work, meticulous set design, and much more are all showcased here on the first two seasons Star Trek: The Next Generation Blu-rays.  The audio is where we hit a few bumps in the road.  Season One (discs 1,3, & 4) have issues with the audio mapping which is quite distracting; for that reason I have given Season One a lower rating in the audio department. I should mention, however, if buyers contact Paramount they will replace these discs free of charge.  With that said the episodes that do were are quite good and the 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (MA) lossless surround tracks are lively and uses the entire soundscape.  Season One (in the episodes that work) and Season Two’s audio presentations have great depth utilizing all of the surrounds with ease, allowing listeners to hear every ‘buzz’ and ‘ding’ occurring on The Enterprise.  The directionality is wonderful and the musical scores will astonish any Trek fan. The set is incredibly alive with sound, never giving the speakers a rest and putting the viewer right in the heart of the action.


* NOTE: If you think you have a set of Season One that has the audio defects on the English 7.1 DTS Master Audio track on some episodes where the front channels are inaccurate, e-mail (phe.stng@bydeluxe.com) or call (1-877-335-8936 from 8AM to 6PM Pacific Time) for replacements of Discs 1, 3 and 4 from CBS and they’ll help you from there.


Season One extras:

·         Energized! Taking the Next Generation to the Next Level

·         Promo #1-3

·         Season One Promo

·         Introduction to the Series

·         Stardate Revisited (A excellent set of featurettes that explore the creation of Next Generation, casting, model work/set design, and much more)

o        The Origin of The Next Generation: Part 1 – Inception

o        The Origin of The Next Generation: Part 2 – Launch

o        The Origin of The Next Generation: Part 3 – The Continuing Mission

·         Gag Reel

·         The Beginning

·         Selected Crew Analysis

·         The Making of a Legend

o        Takes a look at the creation of the ship

·         Memorable Missions

o        Cast/crew looking back at their favorite episodes


Season Two’s extras are filled to the brim with wonderful featurettes that you can’t get anywhere else.  They fondly reminisce on the series while delivering a ton of information.  Extras include:

·         1998 On Air Season Two Promo

·         1988 Reading Rainbow Segment with LeVar Burton

·         2012 iTunes Reading Rainbow Promo

·         Archival Mission Log: Departmental Briefing Year 2 – Production

·         Energized! Season Two Tech Update

·         “The Measure of a Man” HD Extended Version and Hybrid Extended Version

·         Audio Commentary on “The Measure of a Man”

·         Archival Mission Logs

o        Inside Starfleet Archives: Penny Juday Star Trek Coordinator

o        Selected Crew Analysis Year Two

o        Departmental Analysis Year Two: Memorable Missions

o        Mission Overview Year Two

·         Gag Reel

·         Audio Commentary on “Q Who?”

·         Reunification: 25 Years After Star Trek Next Generation

·         Make it so

o        Continuing Star Trek the Next Generation, Part 1: Strange New Worlds

o        Continuing Star Trek the Next Generation, Part 2: New Life, New Civilizations


These are great sets and TOTALLY worth owning.  BUY THEM!  Just remember to get you replacement discs as noted above…



-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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