on 24 July 2012
It's a shame that Amazon have included the DVD reviews under the blu ray product because although the stories are the same the product is completely different. I just received the blu ray box set of season 1 today.
The Next Generation was shot of film (both live action and special effects) however both were immediately transferred to standard definition tape, and they used this tape to edit the episode together and composite the special effects into the live action, and it is this tape copy that is the source for the old DVDs and what was and is broadcast on television. Paramount have gone back to the original film negatives and scanned them in high definition and have re-composited and re-edited and cleaned up every single episode shot for shot. Some people may be complaining and wondering why the blu ray release is apparently so expensive, well this is why, it's taken A LOT of manpower and resource to make these.
I have all TNG episodes on DVD so I watched the first episode "Encounter at Farpoint" on DVD to familiarize myself with it and then on blu ray.
For anyone who says that they are happy with the DVDs seriously needs their head examining. The picture quality on the blu ray release is totally and utterly stunning, I cannot overstate how spectacular it looks. The DVDs picture is blurry, fuzzy with incorrect colour timing and terrible picture smearing.
The blu ray picture on the other hand is pin sharp with correct colour balance. Watching the Enterprise D slide into view for the first time my jaw literally dropped, instead of a fuzzy ship with blurry windows, a deflector dish consisting of a fuzzy blue ring and vague details which you got on the DVD, on the blu ray the stunning work of the model makers can be seen in crisp detail, the ship surface actually has a richness and shimmer to it I'd never seen before.
When Q first appears on the bridge his armour which just seemed dull and lifeless before you can now see highlights glinting off the detailed designs on its surface and details on it you couldn't see before. Panels glint under the studio lights, costume details stand out, the displays look crisp.
Also now that the colours have been corrected everything looks more natural and you no longer get colour bleed between surfaces and people's faces no longer look sunburnt.
The only downside to such quality is that it also meant I could spot a piece of fluff on the bridge carpet and noticed the edge of a power cable going into Data's console at the front of the bridge, details you wouldn't have seen before because the original pictures were only in NTSC resolution of 525 lines.
The sound has also been remixed from 5.1 to 7.1. I only have a 5.1 setup but the sound seems a lot more immersive and the dialogue much clearer than on the DVD releases, perhaps because on blu ray the sound is not compressed.
The episodes retain their square 4:3 picture format (ie they are not in widescreen) just like the blu ray releases of The Original Series, they have done this because this is how they were shot, the only way to make them widescreen would be to zoom the picture in but you would lose too much picture from the top and bottom, so a headshot would suddenly become eyebrow to lips shots, and you can't zoom out sideways any further because literally just out of the 4:3 frame was where the crew were standing with light reflectors and boom mics. It's dependent on the viewer but you soon forget you're watching it in 4:3 after a few moments and then it seems no different to watching a widescreen programme.
As a Star Trek TNG fan is this blu ray release worth £50 - Yes! Absolutely! It looks like it was shot yesterday. The improvements over the DVD release are truly astronomical.
In 1987 Paramount undertook one of the bravest gambits in their history. They revived their most famous franchise, Star Trek, as a new, ongoing television series. Unable to afford to bring back the original actors, they created a new ship and a new crew, boldly going where no-one had gone before roughly a century after the events of the original series. Everyone expected the new series to flop badly, but instead it was an instant smash hit. 27 million people watched the pilot and the show would go on to last for seven seasons and 178 episodes (a hundred episodes more than the original series). It spawned no less than three spin-offs (the superb Deep Space Nine and the somewhat-less-accomplished Voyager and Enterprise) and led to a resurrection in small-screen SF shows of all stripes.
It would be fair to say that the series did not start off at its most promising, however. The show spends most of its 25-episode first season finding its feet. Fierce behind-the-scenes battles between Gene Roddenberry and his writers resulted in some muddled scripts, whilst Roddenberry's own vision of an egalitarian, equal future are let down by some dubious sexism (it's not until quite late in the season that the female characters get some interesting storylines and cool moments) and racial stereotyping (the episode Code of Honour is particularly wince-inducing in this regard), severe enough to draw criticism from the show's own star.
What saves the first season from early disintegration is Patrick Stewart's thoughtful and intelligent performance as Captain Jean-Luc Picard. Stewart hits the ground running and never gives anything less than 100% to the role and to the scripts, regardless of how hammy the dialogue or how embarrassing the storyline. His co-stars are more variable but generally improve as the season goes along, with arguably only Denise Crosby not hitting the same level of quality as the rest of the cast by the end of the season. Brent Spiner, in particular, embraces his role as the android Data with enthusiasm and aplomb.
It can also be said that, generally, the season improves as it goes along. Early episodes include the aforementioned stereotype-filled Code of Honour and the excruciatingly awful Justice (Jogging Aryans try to kill Wesley Crusher for crushing a flowerbed but relent when even their own Space Alien God thing realises this is lame). Elsewhere, the likes of Where No-One Has Gone Before and The Last Outpost hint at potentially interesting ideas, only to be weakened by sloppy execution. The failure of the Ferengi to impress as villains and the difficulty of using the super-powered Q (a fine performance by John de Lancie) too frequently both leave the show without a convincing set of antagonists, although the rise of the Romulans as a threat towards the end of the season does alleviate this issue. Later on we have more solid episodes like 11001001 (which sets up an intriguing alien race, only for them never to appear again), The Arsenal of Freedom (a brainless but nonetheless effective action episode) and Skin of Evil (which, despite one of the worst alien costumes in the show's history and some poor voice work, does offer up some solid dialogue and the biggest shock in the entire show's run), whilst even weaker episodes show some promise. Angel One has an unappealing premise (the crew visit a planet where women are the 'dominant' gender) but there are some surprising flashes of competence (particularly the notion of the women of the planet being larger and stronger than the men, who are all played by actors of limited height) before it falls apart into embarrassing sexism. Symbiosis sets up a genuinely unsettling and complex moral mess for Picard to deal with, but sabotages it with an awful, "Drugs are bad, m'kay," message.
A special word must be reserved for Conspiracy, probably the most unexpectedly violent episode in the entire history of Star Trek and certainly the goriest, featuring people's heads exploding after being hit by phaser blasts and monstrous creatures (though awfully-realised) eating their way out of corpses. For those planning to revisit the series with younger children, caution is advised with regard to this episode.
Ultimately, the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation is horrendously uneven. Even the worst episodes usually have flashes of competence, but there is a notable lack of really strong, totally satisfying episodes (Datalore and Heart of Glory probably come the closets, but even they have problems). That said, there is a certain amount of enjoyment and interest to be gained by seeing the cast improving episode-by-episode, and certainly by seeing the impressive remastering job that has been performed on the series.
To bring Star Trek: The Next Generation to high definition, a team of editors had to fully re-edit and reassemble every single episode from scratch. This involved retrieving the original film canisters (all 25,000 of them) from storage and re-inserting every optical effect in the series. It was a huge job, apparently taking some six months and costing more than $9 million for the first season alone (hence the somewhat high price for the Blu-Ray set). However, their work has paid off. The show now looks like it was filmed yesterday, with the re-editing of the show using modern equipment having the most satisfying side-effective of eliminating all bluescreen artifacts from the series. Matte lines around spaceships are now a thing of the past and the slight discolourations as characters passed in front of viewscreens or windows are now gone. The series looks vivid and impressive, fifty times better than it ever has before. Each episode is also accompanied by its trailer which remains in standard-definition, allowing viewers to see how effective the re-mastering has been.
This first season release is also accompanied by a number of new documentaries, featuring new retrospectives from the cast and crew on its creation as well as the new editing team on the remastering job. These documentaries are a welcome addition, featuring some interesting perspective and trivia about the series. All of the special features from the 2002 DVD release have also been included, albeit still in standard definition.
In terms of quality of the episodes themselves (***), the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation can be said to be 'watchably disappointing'. However, the fantastic remastering job and the extra content rise the overall quality of this set (****) to something far more worthwhile and interesting. The series is available on Blu-Ray now (UK, USA).
on 3 March 2002
Paramount seem to have listened, planned and are going about releasing quality DVD box sets with extras. One season is planned for release every 2 months
The great news is that the picture has been remastered and the sound remixed into Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. 4 new documentaries have been created for this release lasting for an hour. Presentationally the box sets form a neat library of 7 packs when placed alongside each other. A booklet is also included per box.
Season 1 of The Next Generation has only a few outstanding stories. The rest (looking like they are from the eighties) tend to spend too much time on supporting characters such as Wesley Crusher. Fortunately Patrick Stewart does such a superb job of leading the cast, the weaker stories can be forgiven for the most part.
An excellent release with the entire 7 seasons on the way. Fingers crossed for Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise releases soon!
Encounter at Farpoint
The Naked Now
Code of Honor
The Last Outpost
Where No One Has Gone Before
Lonely Among Us
Hide and Q
The Big Goodbye
Too Short a Season
When the Bough Breaks
Coming of Age
Heart of Glory
The Arsenal of Freedom
Skin of Evil
We'll Always Have Paris
The Neutral Zone
on 18 October 2006
Before I bought this version I tried to find a really helpfull review regarding the extras as DVD extras and NOT package content but everywhere I looked it said no extras on this version! it's NOT true! The dvd extras are on the 7-th disc just like on the other release so if you want STNG in a very nice slim version go ahead and buy it at a fantastic price! Those plastic boxes are so clumsy and unelegant!
on 30 July 2012
UPDATE: Hey tvshowsondvd.com just posted a replacement program is in the works!!! CBS posted the following:
Dear Star Trek Fans,
We have discovered an anomaly in the English 7.1 DTS Master Audio track in our Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 1 Blu-ray Box set. There are some episodes that inadvertently had their front channel designations incorrectly mapped, resulting in an undesired playback experience when listening to them in a 7.1 or 5.1 Surround Sound environment.
We are quickly working to remedy the situation. Replacement discs (Disc 1, 3 and 4) will be made available free of charge. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for details regarding the replacement program or call 001 877 335 8936.
We strive to provide our fans the best Blu-ray experience possible and sincerely apologize for this inconvenience.
Now I have a multi region blu ray player, so if they send me region A discs im okay with that.
they couldnt confirm whether the discs would be region A or B. But paramount releases tend to be region free, and seeing as this release is a 25 year old show I doubt it will be region coded.
good to know anyway for those who have already bought the sets and if there is no word from CBS/Paramount Uk/Europe about a disc replacement program, at least there is the american avenue to go down.
ive already called, I had to give them a code that is on the inner ring of the reverse side of the disc and they said they will begin posting replacement discs out mid august!
Overall this release is outstanding. The picture quality is everything you would expect from a blu ray really.
There are audio issues with the following episodes: Encounter at Farpoint, Encountr at Farpoint, Hide and Q, The Big Goodbye, Datalore, 11001001 and Too Short a Season.
to be honest, i didnt even notice the audio issue on E @ Farpoint until I read about it and went to check.
the problem is that the spoken parts of the audio tracks on these episodes are distributed unevenly across the speakers for anyone using a digital surround sound system.
which causes problems for anyone who have their speakers spread out throughout the room, as the speech will sound as if its only coming from one corner.
Im deaf in one ear, so i have problems discerning where sounds come from anyways, so i have always had all my speakers in one area.... which is probably why i never noticed the problem initially.
despite this setback, the episodes are still very watchable. it hasnt dented my enjoyment of them at all. for those who cant cope with the unbalanced sound, you can always revert back to the 2.0 track originally broadcast by going to the main menu which sorts out the problem.
The one episode that is VERY noticeable in relation to unbalanced sound is 'Haven'. for the first 2 mins 27 seconds the sound is very echoy and tinny. then all of a sudden it goes back to proper 7.1 dts.... the jump is very noticeable and jarring.
In addition to this, in Haven from about 28 minutes on (starts in the scene in the holodeck with Riker, Troi and her fiancee) there is a noticable echo effect on all the audio and remains until the end of the episode.
again, to avoid this annoyance you can revert to the 2.0 track which doesnt have the same problem.
some users are reporting lip syncing problems on the 3rd installment of special features on the 6th disc. some are not. that problem at least would seem to be an issue with settings on individual players, rather than the discs themselves.
i checked my 3rd part of the special features and no problem whatsoever with me.
no word yet from CBS/Paramount what they are going to do about this, but its been said that they are already investigating.....
the problem is noticeable, but it only really stands out in Haven. and to a much lesser degree in the other episodes listed.
im still really enjoying the series! but i do sincerely hope some sort of disc replacment program is rolled out......
it would damage sales of future seasons if they didnt.
I give the video quality and special effects a full five stars. the audio problems, given the price this set cost is very dissapointing which is why ive rated the product overall as three stars.
I sincerely hope CBS/Paramount issue replacment discs for consumers.
If the problem is left as it is, I would not be buying future seasons!
on 12 April 2002
As a Star Trek fan, I've been waiting the release of the various TV series on DVD ever since the format was invented, and some years later it has finally become avaiable. And what a release! The entire first season of The Next Generation on seven discs in one handy box! The tantilizing promise that all seven seasons will be released in matching boxes to make an impressive block of silvery plastic on your shelf to announce proudly to the world that the occupant of this house is indeed a follower of the true way - Star Trek.
Can it all be true? Perhaps. Firstly the outer packaging is sturdy, decorative and fairly well thought out - full marks there. The folding container inside which holds seven discs is clever, and has a long schematic image of the Enterprise in it's glory - but it is constructed from somewhat flimsy card and has a tendency to buckle and tear giving it a somewhat limited lifespan - 3/10. The disks themselves contain around four episodes each, and are printed to match the folding thingy. For some reason Paramount have only printed the title of one episode from each disc on it's label requiring you to look through the handy booklet to find a particular episode if, like me, you cannot remember which comes where - 8/10 there. The menu is clear, and very 'Trek' in look and feel following the computer console styling which appears all over the place in Star Trek. The reproduction of the episodes is good, but not great - although it's
difficult to tell wether to pin the blame on the DVD transfer, NTSC to PAL conversion or the original film/video medium - certainly the quality isn't quite what I'd expect from a DVD and little or no digital enhancement his evident. The image is a little soft and pixelated, and the sound, whilst dolby stereo, is somewhat hollow and flat. For all that, the quality is far superior video and probably digital broadcast, and after peering at it for a bit these things fade into the background and you no longer notice. Certainly anything can be ignored when faced with the tight costumes, wooden acting and tounge-through-cheek plots that so characterises the first season or any Star Trek series.
As for the episodes themselves, it is a real pleasure to watch the first season once more - this is, after all, the season that brought Star Trek from the 60's/70's pop culture icon it was into the multi-media contemporary cult industry it has become. The last disc contains a variety of special featurettes with cast and crew reminising about the rebirth of Star Trek and the fun and hard work put into the first year, the technical details of Star trek production and much more - I hope the other boxed sets have something similar, or better. 9 out of 10 - although I would have preffered more on Star Trek itself - perhaps something about the ships, crew or races, the technology, history of the Federation or the galaxy at large - certainly there is enough material to draw on for this.
Maybe eight discs next time please.
Star Trek, like X-Files is a popular series and could also have been released on individual discs so the cost can be spread a bit, similar to Farscape. Hopefully Paramount will release DS9 and Voyager in similar packaging to maintain the sense of continuity within Star Trek. It would also be nice to have some idea of the release schedule for the remaining six seasons - some of us need to be put out of our misery, and told when we can have our next fix!
For Trekophiles this collecton is a something of a dream come true, and I would tell the world to go buy it.
Enjoy - I did.
on 24 July 2012
Sadly I can't give this the full 5 stars as the audio mix is wrong in EaF.
The centre speaker is mixed with the front right speaker so the dialogue all sounds like it is coming from the corner of my living room.
The remastering is superb, and the amount of work that has gone into this project makes me happy to buy at this price.
Frustrating though that the audio was not checked, especially as the audio is mixed correctly on the sampler disk.
I have knocked a further * off this review as more and more audio problems crop up as you go through the set.
The stereo audio track for EaF has synching problems as do the the extras, one of the wrongly mixed 7:1 tracks gets out of synch with itself so you get a bit of echo on Haven.
on 12 December 2001
The Next Generation hits DVD as the first Star Trek series to do so on Region 2 DVD. Although not as good as the latter seasons, season 1 sets the scene for the show and for it's spin-offs Deep Space Nine and Voyager, establishing the Federation in the 24th century. We meet some old friends like the Klingons in Heart of Glory and Romulans in The Neutral Zone and some new ones : the Ferengi in The Last Outpost and The Battle. Season 1 also establishes the backgrouds of Next Generations main charachters, primarly Captain Picard, Commander Riker and Data, the android with human aspirations. It also brings up the first Holodeck episode The Big Goodbye and several reacurring carachters : Q in Encounter at Farpoint and later in Hide and Q, the Traveler in Where No One Has Gone Before, Lore, Datas "brother" in Datalore and Lwaxana Troi in Haven. A good start for a great series and a must have for any Trek fan.
on 27 July 2011
The Next Generation was what got me interested in the Star Trek universe in the 1990s. I can recall waiting for the start of each new series avidly but, somehow, I never got around to buying them until now. It's interesting to go back and see the beginnings of the franchise revitalisation in light of the later series (Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise).
Whilst this slim line edition is definitely in the right price range if you want the complete collection; it's a visibly bumpy ride in many ways. If you're used to the now everyday clarity of HD televisions and Blu-Ray discs then it's a help to be realistic about the quality of something filmed over twenty years ago. The picture quality can be very de-saturated and also with the odd speckle or hair-like line appearing. It's probably not a good idea to watch this on a widescreen television without changing the aspect ratio either (if it doesn't automatically adjust it to 4:3). If you remember the series with affection, as I do, then these details are not going to be a huge problem. What can be rather fiddly, and which I've encountered on two different DVD players, is that the odd disc will automatically start playing an episode dubbed in German. If you are a German speaker this is not a problem, of course, but it does mean having to reset the audio to your chosen language if that is not the case.
As to the episodes themselves? Well, I grew to love the characters and settings but, depending on your taste, this isn't the finest series of TNG. Whatever the internal problems that might have been at work; the writing struggles and fails quite awfully (for episodes like Code of Honor, Angel One, Justice and The Last Outpost viewing them once is quite enough). The characterisation is uneven from episode to episode and this obviously made it difficult for the actors to really get to grips with who they are portraying. They also had to contend with some truly dreadful dialogue which has since passed into Star Trek legend. For me; one of the greatest problems is the sententious speech-making. In later seasons there would be a greater depth to the moral and ethical questions raised but all too often you find yourself being beaten over the head with arguments which lack any subtlety whatsoever.
However, there are moments where you can visibly see what would become great. Patrick Stewart's Picard playing off against John de Lancie's Q gives some of the most entertaining scenes and there is a genuine sense of enjoyment to them. The same can be said for the outrageous Lwaxana Troi (actually I disliked Majel Barrett-Roddenberry's Lwaxana character the first time round but now I adore her appearances in Star Trek series). The story concepts are by no means all bad, all the time, such as the early outing for the holodeck-based episodes. Again, mileage may vary depending on what you enjoy.
Overall, worth having if you want to complete your collection or to see the start of what did become an amazing science-fiction show.
on 3 March 2002
Almost fifteen years after its striking debut, "Star Trek: The Next Generation" has become the stuff of legend - even if success didn't come overnight. While TNG's latter seasons are revered by millions the world over, its first two seasons were dogged with problems and are looked backed upon with embarrassment and nostalgia in equal measure. Not only was the production crew defining an entire 24th century for the first time, but writers came and went like there was no tomorrow (additionally, towards the close of the first season, the notorious Writers' Guild strike of 1988 stunted production yet further). So it was that many early episodes ran at a sedate pace, featured questionable acting and lacked any tangible characterisation.
Fortunately, despite their shaky on-screen realisations, each and every season one episode was backed by a story filled with good intent. Be it the rousing maiden voyage of the Enterprise-D in "Encounter at Farpoint" in which Q places humanity on trial for overstepping its bounds, the provocative "Justice" in which Wesley is sentenced to death for a minor infraction, the light-hearted romp of "The Big Goodbye" with Picard trapped in a virtual 40's America, or the dark and eerie "Conspiracy" in which Starfleet is shaken to its roots by a sinister alien force, TNG's first season delivers top-grade entertainment again and again.
Laugh if you will and shudder if you must (if not for the reasons above then for the sorely dated visual effects and production values), but when rewatching TNG, let the fine stories of season one engage your mind like no other show can. Only by snapping up the "Complete Series 1" collection at the earliest opportunity can you call yourself a true fan of TNG. As Picard would say, make it so!