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Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 1 
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ST NEXT GEN SEASON 1 - DISC 1-; ST NEXT GEN SEASON 1 - DISC 2-; ST NEXT GEN SEASON 1 - DISC 3-; ST NEXT GEN SEASON 1 - DISC 4-; ST NEXT GEN SEASON 1 - DISC 5-; ST NEXT GEN SEASON 1 - DISC 6-; ST NEXT GEN SEASON 1 - DISC 7-
In 1987, some 20 years after the original series had ended, Star Trek: the Next Generation was launched into a decade renowned for its materialistic greed, but also for its hesitant steps towards a more unified world order. Creator Gene Roddenberry revised his vision of humanity's future accordingly, shifting the Trek timeline 80 years on and reinventing the new Starship Enterprise as an Ark-like exploration vessel full of families, schools, soothing recreational facilities and a maternally pacifying computer voice (Roddenberry's wife, Majel Barrett).
The Next Generation crew were not soldiers, but scientists and diplomats. Unlike the fiercely individualistic Captain Kirk, Patrick Stewart's patrician Captain Jean-Luc Picard was a model team leader: no matter how desperate the crisis, he ensured that everyone got to sit round the conference room table and talk it over. And in a true late-1980s touch, a key member of the Bridge crew was psychoanalyst Counsellor Troi, always on hand to discuss everyone's feelings. Even the slogan change to "Where no one has gone before" acknowledged that there's no "one" in a team. But for all its earnest political correctness and an over-reliance on "technobabble", good stories played by an appealing ensemble cast were at the heart of the show's success. --Paul Tonks
On the DVD: Star Trek: The Next Generation comes to DVD in a distinctively packaged seven-disc set. This is reproduced for all seven series, thus forming a handsome collection. The outer gunmetal grey case is plastic, and the discs themselves are held in a rather flimsy cardboard fold-out sleeve. Each disc has nicely done animated menus and audio/subtitle options for each episode--though no "play all" facility. Disc 7 also includes bonus features in the shape of informative cast and crew interviews (both new and from the launch of Season 1), subdivided into four chapters: "The Beginning", "Selected Crew Analysis", "The Making of a Legend" and "Memorable Missions". Picture is adequate 4:3 with good Dolby 5.1 showing off the innovative sound effects. --Mark Walker
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But you know what? That's exactly what they've done. And not only that, you know that 13 seconds of camera negative that was missing from Sins of the Father? They found that too, so when the Season 3 box set comes out, that episode, along with every single one of the other 177, will be complete and in full HD.
Many, many people have bashed Paramount over the last 15 years for their less-than-stellar DVD releases, me being one of them. Well, with this one box set (so far), they're forgiven. It's really quite hard to explain how much better the show looks. And it's not just the VFX, which do look great, it's the live footage too. When you see it, you'll honestly wonder how the hell this wonderful show got such a terrible presentation for the last 25 years. Of course, not every shot it great; in Encounter at Farpoint there is a shot of Patrick Stewart standing up in court before Q where there is a darkened area at the top of the screen and this is still present, clearly it was a photographic shortfall and any that are present throughout the series were simple shot that way. But that is honestly the only niggle I can think of. The actors look more real than ever, so you'll see the highs (and lows) of their performances more clearly than ever. The model work done originally is, for the most part, astoundingly good. Some missing or damaged effects elements have either been recreated digitally or replaced, but everything works. You'll most likely love the restoration featurette; I recommend watching it first to fully appreciate the effort that has been put in. It answers that question of why the show isn't presented in 16:9, which basically is impossible because almost every shot was framed to be matted out at 4:3, all model work was composited in a 4:3 frame so there is no further information to present outside of this, etc. I expect most fans of the show who saw it first time around understand all this and don't care.
I for one was never a huge fan of Season 1 (or Season 7) but I've watched half of this set and I'm just loving it. So I can't imagine how much I'm going to enjoy the next set. Any questions, just post a comment and I'll try to reply ASAP.
We can indeed, when the remastering is as good as Season One's. Just as they did with The Original Series, CBS have retrieved the show's original celluloid from their vault - well, all except two seconds' worth - and made it look as good as new. Motion is now rock solid, detail amazing, colour pure and true. The only fly in the ointment is that sometimes it's just about possible to make out a bit of grain, but only people with perception as keen as Geordi's visor's would notice it, unless they were positively looking for it.
Unlike TOS, TNG comes without the option of modern CGI, but the remastered visual effects have been polished up so beautifully that this doesn't feel anything to regret. As for audio, the discs follow TOS's in giving us 7.1 channel DTS HD MA: the lossless encoding reproduces dialogue immaculately, but is merciless in exposing the occasional tinniness of the score, especially any fleeting electronica and the chromium-plated title music. (The first release of this collection notoriously shipped with several audio defects, but my copy, bought directly from amazon.co.uk in October 2012, was flawless.)
Extras supplement the featurettes from the DVD edition with a documentary about the conversion of the show for Blu, ninety minutes or so of newly taped interviews and a funnier than usual gag reel, which comes with a picture quality the like of which I haven't seen since the Post Office inflicted VHS commercials on its queues back in the 1980s. Mentioning VHS reminds me that the discs come in a case as slim as a movie's, so that an entire season of HD Star Trek now takes up only half the shelf space of an old-fashioned two-episode cassette.
So, to buy or not to buy? TNG's first season was probably its weakest, with writers like Michael Piller and Ronald Moore yet to beam on board. Nevertheless, there are many episodes that are thoroughly entertaining: as well as the powerful pilot, there's a second story with the marvellous Q, and it has been fun revisiting Lore, Dixon Hill and sundry Klingons and Romulans. Season One is also memorable for an episode reminiscent of Alien, which has the distinction of being the only Star Trek ep ever banned by the BBC! And even the season's harshest critic would have to concede that long before its end, its magnificent cast were well on the way to discovering their characters' potential. But what ultimately makes this Blu-box an essential purchase for any Trekkie lucky enough to be able to afford it is, I think, the sheer glory of CBS's remastering. The new discs' audio-visual quality transcends DVD's by such a wide margin that if you buy this box, you'll almost feel as though as you're seeing TNG for the first time.
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