TV on Blu-ray: “Star Trek: The Next Generation Season One”

Written by Television, TV on Blu-ray

Scott Malchus may be a little too excited about TNG Season One on Blu-ray.

I know what you may be thinking. “Great, another fan boy review of TNG that’s gonna slather affectionate juices all over my monitor with praise for the latest Star Trek release!” Dude, chill. I’m not that kind of fan. I didn’t even get into TNG until the second season, so I never saw season one until it was well into repeats. Furthermore, I don’t have the kind of undying love for the Star Trek universe that causes some men to wear pointy ears and pick fights with Wookies. I like TNG for one reason: It was a well produced television series that bucked the networks and ventured into that part of space called “syndication” and proved the naysayers (“Tch, yeah right, like anyone’s gonna watch a spinoff of a cult TV series”) wrong.

Even if you’re not a fanatic of Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG), this newly remastered Blu-ray collection of the first season is a must see. Sure, the series was finding it’s footing throughout its first episodes and yes, it lived under the huge shadow of the original series from the 60’s, as well as the immensely popular Star Trek movies that had been released throughout the 80’s. But by the end of season one, any fan of plain old good storytelling, be it science fiction, action/adventure or drama, had to admit that TNG had found its own voice.

With this immaculate Blu-ray release, besides the great acting by the likes of Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Bett Spiner, Gates McFadden, Michael Dorn and LeVar Burton, you can also experience how beautiful and groundbreaking the show was in terms of production value, especially for a syndicated series. The producers of the remastering process went back to the original film negatives (stored in a vault somewhere in the middle of nowhere) and began their painstaking work from there. Those of you worried that the effects were mucked with by digital artists (a la what George Lucas did to Star Wars) can rest easy. The restoration artists worked with the original models created and cleaned up the original digital effects. Those effects look crisp and flawless.

If you have only seen TNG in standard definition (as it has appeared in reruns for over 20 years), this Blu-ray release is the best possible way to experience TNG. Again, the stories in season one are a little hokey at times, but watching season one  got me pumped up for future seasons (Borg anybody?), when the series really hit its stride and it became one of the best shows on television, period. Don’t believe me about how great this series looks? That’s okay, the producers of the Blu-ray have included an excellent featurette about the painstaking process that went into restoring season one (and future episodes), complete with before and after examples. That is just one of the bountiful of bonus features that are included in the season one collection. Overall, there are 95 minutes of new documentaries featuring all new cast and crew interviews. My favorite is the featurette that documents that origin of TNG.

Fans of the show are probably wetting their pants over this release, but casual admirers should definitely give this their attention as this is one of the best TV series rereleases I’ve seen in recent years.

Okay, so maybe I got a little too excited about this release. Sorry.