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on 24 September 2017
FANTASIC!!!! I love the new graphics and the picture quality is beyond superb. It also has one of my all time favs on it. The Inner Light.
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VINE VOICEon 4 February 2012
I was very excited when I found out that Star Trek: The Next Generation was being converted into blu-ray, and even more so when they revealed how meticulous the conversion will be. This sample gives you a taste of what the brilliant Okudas, and everyone else at CBS/Paramount, are capable of doing. It includes three episodes - Encounter at Farpoint, Sins of the Father, and Inner Light - but it's worth noting that you're actually getting four since Farpoint is a two-parter.

THE EPISODES:

First, a quick word on the episodes. Encounter at Farpoint obviously isn't one of the strongest TNG episodes, but watching it again after quite a long time made me realise just how big a foundation this episode built for the characters (and story direction) we would all come to love over the following seven seasons. Sure, the pacing is a bit scatter-brain and the premise is very TOS-esque, but otherwise it's a joy to watch just for the memories it invokes.

Sins of the Father is, in my opinion, the strongest of the three. TNG did so well to turn the Klingon Empire from pantomime villains to a fully fleshed Alpha Quadrant species and this episode is just one example of it. Picard and Worf always had their best moments in these episodes, and there a fair few tear-jerkers here. Finally, there's Inner Light, which tends to be one of the most lauded TNG stories. Personally, I did find it emotionally devastating the first time around, but it isn't one that I would choose to watch again and again.

THE VIDEO:

Wow, there just aren't enough words to describe the video quality of the episodes... amazing, phenomenal, incredible and mind-blowing would be just a few possibilities. The clarity of the image, vibrancy of the colours and quality of the special effects are all top notch. Sure, there are a few problems now and then, such as a little over-saturation of colour, some graining and blurring (particularly on Farpoint episode), but that doesn't prevent this release standing lightyears above the standard definition episodes we normally watch. The video also allows you to spot intricate details that you won't be able to see normally, and some weaker elements which are less welcome (for example, Data's very obvious stunt double on the holodeck in Farpoint).

The one (very minor) setback is that the newer the episode is, the less you notice the difference. With seasons 1-3 we are bound to be blown away by the difference from our memories of the episodes, but from season 4-7 the quality of the special effects and video generally tended to gradually improve. This means that, although the video is undoubtedly incredible and the special effects will remain a pleasant surprise because we've not seen them that way before, I don't think the difference will be so big as to justify a blu-ray double dip for those later seasons (although most fans will obviously buy them anyway!).

THE SOUND:

The surround sound is another great success. The hum of the Enterprise engines is ever-present in the ship scenes and beautifully balanced for immersive effect. The other sound effects are equally impressive but the stand out winner is the musical score, which has always been one of Star Trek's strongest elements and really brings the stories to life. A tear came to the eye as old McCoy and Data walked down the Enterprise corridor and the music piped up.

EXTRAS:

There aren't any except a couple of trailers, but it doesn't really matter.

CONCLUSION:

You might be questioning the true value of paying for a few episodes if you're thinking about buying the full sets anyway. The obvious answer is that these full season blu-rays are not going to be cheap, especially given the the money CBS/Paramount has invested in converting the show and re-doing the special effects. Therefore, it's best to be sure it's worth the dosh... and this release proves beyond any doubt that it most definitely is worth it. For a few quid, why not watch these few episodes in all their hi-def glory, and revel in how amazing it's going to be to sit down and watch the rest!
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on 31 December 2014
Great product but did not come with the slip cover, Amazon needs to sort this out!
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on 16 April 2012
This Blu Ray gives a great glimpse into what the rest of the 7 series will be like when they are all fully restored over the next few years. Granted, The Inner Light and Sins of the Father don't have too many special effects to show off but they still look crystal clear and sound brilliantly (except for 13 seconds of Sins of the Father which were up-converted from video because at the time CBS had not found the original negatives, they have now and it will all be corrected in time for Season 3 release)

Both episodes of Encounter at Farpoint are on here, in this episode you see the biggest and best increase in quality. The first series suffered from a horrible red tint all over the place, well that has gone and all the colours are back the way they should be, very vibrant and not bleeding into each other, it looks like it was filmed just recently it looks that good.

The Next Generation was filmed in a 4:3 ratio, not 16:9 widescreen ratio, it has always been 4:3 and will always be 4:3, even the blu ray versions, there is no point in releasing these discs in 16:9 ratio because there simply is no picture to fill the gap as it was never filmed, so don't expect any of this to be in widescreen, however, it does not take away from the experience or disappoint.

Seeing the new intro for the first time is absolutely amazing, I was in awe, and still am in awe, at seeing how gorgeous the Enterprise looks in high definition, it's so clear you think you can reach out and touch it! The TNG theme is much better too, it is crystal clear and you can hear sounds and instruments that you could not hear before in the original, it's an amazing job.

The only downside to this Blu Ray is that now because it is so crystal clear on a large screen I can spot the stunt doubles haha. See if you can spot them in Encounter at Far Point
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on 31 January 2012
A lot of people are complaining that these newly remastered 'TNG' Blu Rays aren't in widescreen, but that's because they weren't originally filmed in widescreen. The only way to make these episodes widescreen would be to cut and stretch the image, but as I've seen demonstrated, you then lose picture from the top and bottom of the screen. You wouldn't see more of the scene, 'cos it was never actually captured!
Why stretch the image, just to lose the full screen of what was filmed? You wouldn't gain anything. Instead, you'd lose half of the image!!

I have no criticism for this release. You could argue that they should've recreated all of the special effects (as they did with the Original Series Blu Rays)instead of just brushing up the originals, and in some scenes, they actually have recreated the whole image, but not all. That said, if they'd changed things too dramatically, it would've ruined the whole feel of the show.

Looking forward to the first season box set later in 2012. It feels great to be excited about 'The Next Generation' again. They feel new!
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on 24 July 2014
great dvd
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on 31 January 2012
This is in reply to all the "It's not fair, it doesn't fill my TV... why do I have these black borders at the sides?" people:

The ratio on the Blu-ray discs is the same as it ever was for Star Trek: The Next Generation. Same as it was shot in, same as it was broadcast in, same as it was presented on VHS and the same as it was presented on DVD. Why on earth some people expect Blu-ray to magically alter this situation is beyond me, but you only have to note the two and one star reviews to see they are. The series was filmed in 4:3, a quarter of a century ago, long before anyone envisaged that we'd all have 16:9 widescreen TV's in our homes in the future. "But I could make my Star Trek TNG DVD's play in widescreen", I hear you cry. No, actually you couldn't. What you were doing was stretching or zooming the image to fill your widescreen TV. This is fake widescreen, and something purists never do, but was quite easy to achieve with a standard definition DVD, on a standard definition DVD player, over a standard definition connection. This is HD though, and stretching or faking widescreen is not really an option. "Why?", I hear you cry. Well, HDTV resolutions are either 720p or 1080i/p... 1280x720 or 1920x1080. These are 16:9 'widescreen' resolutions by default. This means that your Blu-ray player HAS to display everything as a 16:9 image. In the case of films and TV shows shot and framed for cinema or 16:9 broadcast, it will fill your widescreen TV. Sometimes with small black borders at the top and bottom if they have chosen to present the original cinematic ratio. Now, when they are presenting a 4:3 image on HD Blu-ray... this same rule applies. It HAS to be displayed as part of a 16:9 frame. Meaning the 4:3 picture displayed correctly in the middle of the screen, and two black bars, one either side of your TV's screen, which all forms the 16:9 frame. It is pretty much unavoidable.

"But wasn't there more screen information on the 35mm negatives", you may ask. Well Mike Okuda has said in some scenes there was. Not all, but *some*. However, in many of the scenes there was lights stands, bare studio, crew and other equipment in the wider frame. In other words, it was framed *purely* for 4:3 broadcast.

So zooming and pan scanning was the only other alternative. I have ONE DVD set that had this treatment out of the thousands I own. The TV series 'From Earth to the Moon'. This was shot and framed for 4:3 broadcast, and it was released in America in the correct ratio. However, when it released in the UK, for some bizarre reason, they decided to zoom the image out to 16:9. The result is not pretty... you think those black bars at the side of the screen are ugly? You have not seen ugly! From Earth to the Moon in Region 2 DVD is the most claustrophobic and fuzzy mess you will ever witness. There was also a huge public outcry when they recently did this same thing to The World at War documentary series, and people returned their box sets in droves. It literally means that in closely shot scenes, of which there many in Star Trek: TNG, that people's faces are cut off at the eyebrows, and legs are cut off at the knees. Further, it will no longer be true HD as you are zooming the image. Think passport photo blew up to A4 size. In other words, it is FAR too much of a sacrifice to even contemplate for something as cherished as Star Trek. Had they done this to Star Trek, there would have been an outrcry from fans, and they wouldn't be selling too many box sets. Of that I can assure you. Plus, the people charged to see that this franchise is represented the best way it can be, people like Mike and Densise Okuda, who oversaw this restoration, could never sanction such a travesty.

So I can only suggest you try get used to those black borders at the sides, as if you have a fondness for anything filmed for TV from this era or before, that is how your Blu-ray discs will come. It is the same for Star Trek: The Original Series on Blu-ray, seasons 1-3 of Farscape on Blu-ray... anything and everything that was shot for 4:3 broadcast. It is also true of many films, such as It's a Wonderful Life on Blu-ray, and very old films like The Wizard of Oz. All of these come with fixed black borders in HD. It isn't some sinister Big Brother forcing you to watch it a certain way, it is literally the only way they can present 4:3 without totally ruining the composition. The good news is that everyone goes through this stage when they first play 4:3 on their widescreen sets. At first you can't help but be conscious of the offending black bars. However, hand on heart, I never even see them now, and many people will tell you the same. Your brain just cancels them out. It just takes time, and a little appreciation for why this situation happens.

Back to the Star Trek The Next Generation: The Next Level on Blu-ray:

It is superb. There are details no one has ever seen before. This series may have been shot on 35mm film, but it was edited and stored on videotape. Even on DVD we were watching videotape resolution and quality. I believe one popular sci-fi magazine had nicknamed it "Blurry Trek" in a preview from before it was even broadcast. All that is in the past now, or at least it will be when we can buy all seven seasons on Blu-ray. Unlike with Star Trek: TOS Remastered, which I loved, they have not chosen to re-create the special effects scenes in CGI. Instead, they have re-composited the images from the original negatives (a far more lengthy and costly exercise than new CGI). So what we are seeing is the original effects and the original studio models in all their HD glory. Elsewhere, they have lovingly restored every last frame, freeing it of dust and debris. The grain structure is still in tact, meaning no sacrifice in fine detail from the use of DNR filtering. The result is beautiful. Colours and contrast are perfect... rich, deep blacks and vibrantly coloured Starfleet uniforms. One of the biggest let downs for me as regards the DVD sets was that they didn't try and restore the series a little back then. This meant washed out VHS quality colours. Not so here, I'm pleased to report.

The sound is impressive when listening to it in the context of the era it was made. It is not a modern summer blockbuster made with multichannel audio, it was only ever recorded in stereo. So they have fashioned a 7.1 surround sound mix from what they had. With this in mind, I am impressed with both levels and channel separation. Decent speakers will punch the air in all the right places, mark my words.

In summary, it is a huge success. Pre-orders for the complete season sets will be the easiest purchasing decisions I will ever make. This teaser disc also comes with a five pound 'cashback' voucher, to offset against the cost of the first season on Blu-ray. You send your receipt for the first season off with this voucher, and they send you a cheque for five pounds. It effectively means this teaser disc will cost you peanuts, and will let you taste TNG in HD eight months sooner than those waiting for the complete season sets. What are you waiting for? Just buy it!
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on 31 January 2012
Having just finished watching these sampler episodes I have to concur with the other reviews. Simply astonishing. You are simply not prepared for the quality of picture and sound or viewing experience. They are like having Motion pictures at 45 minutes. Thankfully they are in the proper 4/3 academy ratio in which they were shot. Why would you want them in widescreen. You would have to loose serious information to do that. The dire "World at War" anyone?
The effects upgrades are amazing and where the effects have been changed they enhance the experience. It's to be expected as a lot of effects simply couldn't be upgraded to HD as they were done on videotape.
I didn't even notice the 13 seconds of SD footage in "Sins of the Father" such was the very high standard of conversion on that missing piece of footage.
The freshness of the episodes is amazing. They look as they were shot today not 25 years ago. As one reviewer has already said, the preorder for all the seasons is a day one purchase.
Get your orders in now.

Roger Shore
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VINE VOICEon 31 January 2012
Star Trek The Next Generation - The Next Level is a 3 episode preview of the newly restored Next Generation series, now in HD. This includes the feature-length pilot; Encounter at Farpoint (which is still one of the best TV pilots out there in my opinion).

Right from the start the picture quality is noticeably different to the old DVDs. It is even more amazing considering just how bad the old DVDs were (almost VHS quality picture throughout).

It's 4:3 instead of widescreen, which means black borders either side of the screen, but as the originals were not designed for widescreens it's not surprising. I actually tried the widescreen zoom on my Sony HD TV and it worked perfectly, with the obvious issue of everything being a little stretched, but the option is there if you really need it.

The sound quality is also much improved, with a surround sound option that works surprisingly well and all voices were very clear and sound effects suitably beefed up for surround.

Special effects seem to be cleaned up with a little detail added, rather than fully replaced by CGI. It works without looking out of place and although it can't prevent some effects from being dated it feels like it belongs with the rest of the picture.

The Bluray begins with an advert that contains some sound bytes from various people involved in the restoration. The other content on the disc is completed by an ad for the iPad App and the add found on Amazon, all presented in a ship's computer style menu.

Lastly, if you're debating whether this disc is worth spending the money on, the included £5 off voucher, which you can redeem once you've bought the whole first season, may sweeten the deal.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 31 January 2012
As a geeky teenager I loved Star Trek: TNG, and as a geeky thirty-something I've loved revisiting it. I was a bit apprehensive at this Blu-Ray release, the TV series was fantastic but it never looked great - it always seemed a bit 'soft' and the DVDs never looked any better than it did on TV (hardly distinguishable from VHS to be honest). But this Blu-Ray brings a two-and-a-half-decade series back onto screens and it manages to look better than it has ever looked, it's doesn't just look better - it looks fantastic.

This is a teaser and contains only three episodes: The first Episode 'Encounter at Farpoint'), 'Sins of the Father' (from series 3), and 'The Inner Light' (from series 5). Whether the choice of episodes is the right one to showcase ST:TNG is always going to be a matter of debate amongst fans, but including the pilot seems to be a natural choice to show how it all began, Sins of the Father depicts how we view Klingons has changed since the days of Captain Kirk (though not completely) and The Inner Light is probably one of the best episodes from the TV series - very thought provoking and a great bit of drama/Sci-Fi.

The first thing to hit you is the level of detail - these were originally captured on film and it shows - I thought the increase in resolution would be wasted and would reveal only minor improvements but I was wrong. Electronic displays look absolutely superb, fabrics have textures, and you can even see the few hairs on Picard's head! Colours seem boosted but not unnaturally so, the whole thing looks vibrant and the visual effects which have been improved have been done subtly and in-keeping with the series. The bridge of the enterprise is more colourful than I remember it and even the quite ropey uniforms of the first series look better with their more striking reds, blues, and yellows. This is clearly a labour of love rather than an automated process designed to synthetically upscale the picture, the original 4:3 aspect ratio has been maintained rather than cropped - I don't understand why some have complained about this, I appreciate that we are used to 16:9 TV series now, but to artificially create a 16:9 image by distorting the image or cutting bits off it, is crazy. There aren't really any extras on this disk other than trailers and promotional material (which is available online) - but I suspect the actual releases will document how this remastering was achieved. Film grain is present but never hinders the enjoyment, it's not intrusive and simply shows how the smooth picture we've seen before now was a smeared and overly soft transfer of the original medium.

In a nutshell: It feels like I'm watching this for the time - and to be honest I am in some ways as I can see things now which were never visible before. I was cynical about this new transfer from film but I'm more than happy to have been proven wrong. I was going to give this 4 stars as it is a bare-bones release, but for the budget price I feel I can give nothing less than 5. I can't wait to see the Borg cube in high-definition, make it so!
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