Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Complete Series (Blu-ray)

June 14, 2016 47 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Season One

It’s hard to believe, but it’s now been a quarter of a century since we were first introduced to Star Trek: The Next Generation. I remember when the series launched and though I wasn’t really a “Trekkie” myself, I didn’t think it had a snowball’s chance in hell of surviving. Ok, I was wrong. What the series did was re-ignite the Star Trek franchise and gave birth to three more series’: Star Trek: Deep Space NineStar Trek: Voyager and the aptly-titled Enterprise. I’m sure that every person out there has their favorite and no doubt there are die-hard fans who think that the original was and still is the only thing in the Star Trek universe. Still, it can’t be denied that creator Gene Roddenberry’s vision has made quite the cultural impact in the fifty years since its inception.

For the uninitiated, this new series (the next generation, I guess we could say) really has nothing to do with the original series. Yes, it’s the same basic principle…”to boldy go where no one has gone before…” but the cast is different and more diverse and it’s also been 88 years since Capt. James T. Kirk and the gang explored the galaxy. With higher production values than its predecessor, Star Trek: The Next Generation was different from the onset. We spend the first season getting to know the new cast and crew led by the charismatic Capt. Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) and his right-hand man, Cmdr. William Riker (Jonathan Frakes). As mentioned, the cast is a bit more diverse. While there are no Vulcan’s to be found, we do have a Klingon in Lt. Worf (Michael Dorn), an android with Lt. Cmdr. Data (Brent Spiner), a female head of security – Lt. Yar (Denise Crosby, granddaughter of Hollywood icon Bing Crosby) and a “spiritual” advisor with Counselor Troi (Marina Sirtis).

The first season takes us pretty much everywhere, from their first encounter in the first episode with “Q” (John De Lancie, a recurring character in the series until the bitter end) who puts the crew on trial for the crimes against humanity to “Where No One Has Gone Before” which takes the crew a billion miles away from home (this was the central theme in Star Trek: Voyager). After watching all 25 episodes, I now remember why I enjoyed the series so much. It’s well-acted, well-written and seeing it on Blu-ray, it’s never looked better. There are “Kirk” men and there are “Picard” men and I’m one of the latter. No offense to Capt. Kirk, but he was just too corny for me. Star Trek: The Next Generation remains my favorite of the Star Trek Universe, and with good reason – it’s entertaining and paved the way for so many more science-fiction series’ to come.

Season Two

With the unparalleled success of the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, more were bound to come.  After all, Trekkies are a rabid group and with the lack of science-fiction television in the late 80’s, this was one of only a few that people could really sink their teeth into.  Captain Jean-Luc Picard and crew had successfully navigated the uncharted areas of space in the first season, giving us insight into a new cast and crew (and some more colorful uniforms than they had back in the 60’s).  The second season explored more into the personal lives and psyche of the crew, namely with the major characters: Capt. Picard, Riker and Data to name a few.  The season had its first extended episode with “The Measure of a Man” in which the “human” side of Data is explored.  Was he just a machine or something more?  “Q” from the first season makes another appearance as well, showing us that he can still ham it up with the best of them.

The second season might also best be remembered for doing what makes good television shows great – it managed to maintain the audience (in fact, it grew in popularity) and also told stories that were well-received by a large majority of the audience.  Clearly the first season of this show wasn’t a fluke and it showed the ever-growing popularity of the Star Trek name, but also good writing, acting and directing.  Of course there’s really nothing “new” in this second season aside from how it looks and sounds, and that’s what Paramount is banking on.  We get some new supplemental features and, of course, the breathtaking visuals that have literally been re-designed from the ground up.

Season Three

“Resistance is futile.  You will be assimilated.”

Amazing how one line of dialogue spoken by a fictional race of beings can really sum up an entire show that ran for seven seasons, no?  As the  crew of the Enterprise delved even more deeply into their mission to “seek out new life and new civilizations” so to did the audience.  The third season gave us some of the more memorable episodes, my personal favorite episode with “Yesterday’s Enterprise” and the first cliffhanger of the series with “The Best of Both Worlds – Part I”  (Part II is already available as a one disc set or you can wait until Season Four hits).  This third season really saw the cast and crew hitting its stride as well, the actors were more comfortable in their roles, the writing though it had its troubles, was top notch and the plots more original.  Already there were “Kirk vs. Picard” battles as to who the better Captain really was.  For what it’s worth, I’m a Picard man.

If you’re a fan of the series then you already know what to expect, more of the same and I think that the third, fourth and fifth seasons were among the best.  Actually I think that’s essentially the case with pretty much every show.  Of note some episodes that I really enjoyed were “The Offspring”, “Yesterday’s Enterprise”, “Tin Man” and of course “The Best of Both Worlds – Part I.”  No doubt everyone has their favorites, but we’re not even halfway done with Star Trek: The Next Generation on Blu-ray, so if you’ve enjoyed them so far, this offers up more of the same.

Season Four

Many view the third, fourth and fifth seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation as the best of the series.  The cast was now “seasoned”, the ratings were higher, the budgets weren’t a concern and the writing was top notch.  Add to that the season began with the second part of the first cliffhanger in “The Best of Both Worlds” in which the Borg had assimilated Capt. Picard (Patrick Stewart) into one of their own.  Ironically enough, the season would end with another cliffhanger in “Redepmtion.”  Moreso this season really delved into the personal lives and relationships of not ony the main characters, but some of the more “overlooked” ones as well.  Picard and Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton) share an episode in “Final Mission”, the crew of the Enterprise plays out Robin Hood (literally) in one of my favorite episodes: “Qpid.” And we get some further development into Worf’s character when we meet Alexander (Jon Paul Steuer). Yes, it might be said that family is at the heart of this season and that’s something that’s always been the focus of in the television series.  Gene Roddenberry’s vision was a race working together to explore the depths of space, all the while overcoming the petty things that made the human race what it is.

This fourth season is no departure from the previous ones; we get high quality audio and video in addition to a wealth of supplements. Additionally I have to say that this season includes a few of my favorite episodes with the aforementioned “Qpid”, “Suddenly Human” starring Chad Allen as Jono in an episode that my brother and I still quote to this very day as well as “The Drumhead” where every member of the Enterprise is under interrogation.  Having watched the first four seasons I realize why the show is so popular and is really has stood the test of time.  The writing continued to improve this season (not that it ever needed much improvement) but Ronald D. Moore really took it to the next level here.  The crew of the Enterprise felt more like a close knit family than some of the other shows out there, we felt that each and every person had a story and that we knew them more than the paper-thin characters on other shows.  No doubt if you’re reading this that you’re a fan of the show.  It never really slowed down after this and paved the way for the four feature films that followed after the show’s end in 1994. Highly recommended.

Season Five

I’d remarked in my review of the fourth season, that the third, fourth and fifth seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation were among the show’s best.  I stand behind that.  Well that and it’s pretty much universally (pardon the pun) agreed that those three seasons really were the series’ best.  The show was a worldwide success was approaching the monumental 100 episode mark.  Still, the writing contented to improve, the characters were very familiar with their roles (both on and off screen) and the show contented to deliver week after week.  The fifth season starts with a bang as we’re treated to the second part of Redemption (the season ending cliffhanger from Season Four).  These two part season finale/season openers worked well for the show and at the end of the fifth season the crew of the Enterprise meets Ambassador Spock (Leonard Nimoy) in a marriage that will unite the Original Series with that of the Next Generation.  This happens again, of course, in Star Trek: Generations.

Though individual choices vary from season to season, I have to say that the fifth season contains a few of my personal favorites.  Yes, not many out there are fans of the Wesley Crusher (Will Wheaton) character, but I always liked him.  In “The Game” he and Ensign Lefler (a then unknown Ashley Judd) try to figure out the addictive nature of an addictive game before it destroys the ship.  Probably one of the most universally-acclaimed episodes is “The Inner Light” in which Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) is struck by a beam of electricity and lives an entire life in the blink of an eye.  It’s a stage for Stewart’s amazing acting abilities as well as a great episode.  Another of my favorites is “Cause and Effect” in which the Enteprise brings Deja Vu to a new level as they literally relive the same day, over and over, only to end with the ship blowing up.  Truthfully there’s something for everyone in this season and it’s probably the last truly great season of the show (not that the sixth and seventh seasons were bad by any means).  And, let’s face it, if you own the first four are you really going to stop now?

Season Six

The sixth season of Star Trek: The Next Generation was the last great season of the show. That’s not to say that the seventh (and final) season was bad, but it was widely-known that the seventh season was to be the last, they were going onto feature films and the same spark just wasn’t there.  But that’s another season and this is the review of the sixth season, which contained some of my favorite episodes. The two part “Chain of Command” has already been covered, but those were just two episodes of what turned out to be a season chock full of great episodes. It’s clear that the cast and crew were very comfortable with their roles and the storytelling was just brimming with creative ideas.  Picard gets a chance to undo some of his mistakes in “Tapestry”, we meet not one but two (very different) William Riker’s in “Second Chances” and we see the crew of the Enterprise as children (though in physical form only) in “Rascals.”

What really sets this season apart from the others is the strong story lines. Many of these episodes aren’t just stand alone episodes that have nothing in common with another. No, it seems that the writers went a bit deeper here. Consider “Ship in a Bottle” in which Data (Brent Spiner) and Geordi (LeVar Burton) are reprising their roles as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson only to once again encounter Professor Moriarty (Daniel Davis) who has been trapped inside the ship’s computer since season two – and he’s aware of it! The aforementioned “Second Chances” examines the possibility of two William Riker’s as one has become trapped on a planet and duplicated while the other has continued to progress with his life. Trek fans will know of the previous relationship between Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Counselor Troi (Marina Sirtis) as this is examined. Of course these are only samples of what to expect in this, the last great season of the show.

Season Seven

There’s no denying that Star Trek: The Next Generation’s success literally set the stage for future Trek series to come. In the wake of TNG’s acclaim were several new series: Deep Space NineVoyager and Enterprise (each with their own unique take on the root of Star Trek) and J.J. Abrams’ reboot of the Star Trek movies in 2009. I’m not saying that these would’t have existed without TNG, but it’s hard to imagine them without it. Looking back twenty years later, it’s hard to believe that it’s really been that long since the series ended. The four subsequent movies were good, not great, but good and the cast and crew of the show remains as big of fans as we are. But, well, this is it. There will be no more seasons on Blu-ray, nothing more to look forward to, no more supplements and no more re-mastered episodes. It all ends here.

The seventh season of the show was undoubtedly a good one. I’ve commented in past seasons about the actors’ and their familiarity with their respective characters, the show’s continual immersion in the world of Trek and the hit and miss episodes along the way. When the seventh season aired in late 1993, there was no denying that feature films would be in the mix. It was a given.  That’s not to say that they didn’t pay attention to the final season of the show, but there was focus on the big screen as well. While not one of the best seasons, the final season did have a few highlights (for me, at least) with the coup de gras being All Good Things…With this being the final season, there aren’t many “character arcs” to speak of as it would be pretty pointless to introduce them, only to end the series.  Of note, we do find Troi (Marina Sirtis) and Worf (Michael Dorn) on the verge of a relationship. As a true fan of the series, I find it difficult to say there are “bad” episodes, but the consensus seems to be that there are more in this season than in others. Still, fans of TNG will not waste any time in snatching this up to complete their Blu-ray collection.

Video: How’s it look?

It’s a bit difficult to assign an overall score to 176 individual episodes, but by and large each and every season looks the best if ever has. Ever since “Encounter at Farpoint”, I’ve been blown away by the visual clarity present in these season sets. Paramount’s commitment to the Star Trek franchise and The Next Generation in particular is a tip of the hat to the show’s fans. The restoration is simply beautiful exposing new levels of detail and color and the new special effects, though discrete, do give the episodes a more modern look and feel.  There’s really nothing new I can say here that didn’t apply to the first five seasons – they’ve done a fine job with these and I eagerly anticipate the final seasons to round out my collection.

Audio: How’s it sound?

There are a few episodes that showcase a bit more than others, but by and large these seasons are concurrent with the previous five.  Although each episode has been given a new DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack simply sounds amazing.  Vocals are strong and well-centered with the constant hum of the Enterprise heard in nearly every scene.  I’m sounding like a broken record here, but these really do exhibit a richness and depth that literally wasn’t possible when these aired.  The LFE are active, phasers sound like they’re in the same room as you and Jerry Goldsmith’s score simply resonates.  What more can a Trekkie ask for?

Supplements: What are the extras?

Season One

While not brimming with supplements, the ones included are pretty interesting.  I did enjoy the aforementioned “Energized! Taking The Next Generation to the Next Level”, as it showed the great lengths that they went to give us, the fans, the definitive edition of this show.  Re-creating scenery, lights, shadows and special effects all paid off and I’m sure that die-hard fans will appreciate the effort that went into this restoration process.  The first disc also houses “Star Trek: The Next Generation Archives: The Launch” which gives us an overview of the series along with a few promotional shots (to see how far the video quality has come, check these out.  You’ll think you’re watching with Vaseline on your eyes).  Each episode does also have promos, though the next series of featurettes is on the sixth disc which contains “Stardate Revisited: The Origin of Star Trek: The Next Generation.”  This is shown in HD and has interviews with the cast and crew as they reflect upon the series as a whole, its inception and reception.  There are some archival mission logs as well “The Beginning”, “Selected Crew Analysis”, “The Making of a Legend” and “Memorable Missions.”  If this season is any indication of those to come (and I don’t know why it wouldn’t be) then I’m pumped about the remaining six seasons.

Season Two

I’d probably have been happy with the improved audio and video, but Paramount is giving back to the fans by releasing some new featurettes.  As mentioned, we’ve got the first “extended” episode with “The Measure of a Man” which is one of two episodes that features a commentary track (“Q Who” being the other).  There’s a cast reunion that’s shown in HD and the continuing documentary (ala Harry Potter) is shown in the second installment.  We do get a gag reel as well as a few deleted scenes and the ever present “Archival Mission Logs.”

Season Three

This third season also gives us a nice selection of supplements as well.  We begin with a very robust documentary, aptly-titled “Resistance is Futile. Assimilating  Star Trek: The Next Generation” in this three part venture we find out just about everything we want to know about the third season of the show with a focus on Michael Piller, the man credited for bringing the show into the limelight.  Next up is “Star Trek: The Next Generation, Inside the Writer’s Room” hosted by Seth “I’m everywhere” MacFarlane and ultimate Trekkie, this is a look at the writing in this season, how influential it really was and the long-lasting effects that this season had on the show itself.  “A Tribute to Michael Piller” is just that, a look at the man who really gave the show its start and what made it work.  We also have audio commentaries on two episodes: “Yesterday’s Enterprise” (actually there are two commentaries on that one) and “Sins of the Father” as well as some promos for each episode, some gag reels and the ever-present “Archival Mission Logs.”

Season Four

If you own these on standard DVD then you’ll already be familiar with the lion’s share of the supplements as they’re simply ported over from the previous set.  But the sixth disc does contain some new material, so why don’t we start there?  We begin with “In Conversation: The Star Trek Art Department” as we have a group meeting with several of the figureheads of the show as they discuss their roles in the show, the visual effects and the challenges of making the technology believable.  “Relativity: The Family Saga of Star Trek: The Next Generation Part 1: Homecoming” now that’s a mouthful.  We get some interviews with the cast and crew as they digest the season and its success from the previous year and the show surpassing the original series run.  Truly this was a bona fide Trek and we get the inside scoop here.  This is followed by “Relativity: The Family Saga of Star Trek: The Next Generation Part 2: Posterity” as we get some information on some of the intra-personal characters on the show; namely Riker and Troi, Data (in his portrayal of his creator, Dr. Noonian Soong) as well as some insight on Worf and Wesley Crusher. Also included are some deleted scenes from various episodes and a gag reel.

Additionally, we get the existing supplements found on the other five discs.  As mentioned, these aren’t new to this set, but still make a worthwhile addition.  Included are two audio commentaries on “Brothers” and “Family” with writer Ronald D. Moore, Mike and Denise Okuda to name a few.  Each disc also features the “Archival Mission Logs” which focus on selected character development as well as some more technical aspects like set decoration and production design.  Everything you want is here, folks.  And if you already own the first three seasons are you really going to stop now?

Season Five

For those that have the original TNG seasons on standard DVD, some of these features will look the same (and dated), but there are some other, newer supplements to make note of, so let’s take a look at the features that season five has to offer.

  •  Audio Commentaries – Four episodes contain and audio commentary and if memory serves, these were also present on the standard DVD sets. Those that were most appealing to me were “Cause and Effect” and “The Inner Light.”  We get a bevy of participants for these four episodes, but I have to say that “The Inner Light” was the one that seemed the most genuine and sincere.  Morgan Gendel and Mike & Denise Okuda are the participants and with the original writer on board, we get more of a sense of what the episode was trying to say. It’s a great listen to one of the series’ most talked-about episodes.
  •  Deleted Scenes  – Seven episodes have a deleted scene or two and while these are interesting to watch, none really offer that much information as to why they were cut or any value added if they were in the final cut of the show.
  •  Archival Mission Logs
    Mission Overview: Year Five

       – Is literally that. It’s an 18 minute look at the season, with some of the highlights of the show and features the appearance of Ambassador Spock in the season-ending “Unification” as well as a few of the other key episodes of the season.

Departmental Briefing Year Five: Production – A few of the season’s episodes are spotlighted here with particular emphasis on “The Inner Light”, though “Ethics”, “Cause and Effect” and “The First Duty” are all explored as well.

Departmental Briefing Year Five: Visual Effects – Though it now seems totally dated, we get a look at the then cutting-egdge special effects for the show. We get to see how the holodeck “worked”, the show’s title credits as well as some other assorted effects.

Memorable Missions – This is somewhat of a highlight reel from some of the season’s more notable episodes: “The Game,” “Hero Worship,” “The First Duty,” “The Perfect Mate,” and “Disaster” are all covered.

A Tribute to Gene Roddenberry – Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, died in 1991 and though this supplement is vintage, it does give us a good look at the show’s creator.

Intergalactic Guest Stars – The cast and crew reflect on some of the show’s guest stars and notable in the fifth season alone were Ashley Judd and Kelsey Grammer.

Alien Speak – I’ve often wondered if the actors have ever dropped a line while speaking in an alien language?  At any rate, this segment gives us a look at some of the languages features like Vulcan, Klingon and Borg.

  •  In Conversation: The Music of Star Trek: The Next Generation – New to this Blu-ray set is a 75 minute discussion with Jeff Bond, author of The Music of Star Trek.  Granted, it’s musically-focused but it’s a nice (and new) addition to this Blu-ray set and well worth a watch.
  •  Requiem: A Remembrance of Star Trek: The Next Generation Part One: The Needs of the Many – Another new to Blu-ray feature andtThe first of a two part segment that really focus on series creator Gene Roddenberry.  We get some vintage footage from a 1981 speech he did as well as some insight from the cast and crew.
  •  Requiem: A Remembrance of Star Trek: The Next Generation Part Two: The Needs of the Few – The second part of this is dedicated more to the remembrance of Roddenberry, but branches out and looks at some of the background characters like O’Brien (Colm Meany) and focuses on Wil Wheaton’s character.
  •  Gag Reel
  •  Episodic Promos – Each episode comes with a 30 second promo and as I’ve mentioned before, if you want to see how much the picture quality has improved, give a few of these a watch.

Season Six

Paramount continues to offer up the goods when it comes to supplements. As mentioned in our “Chain of Command” review, the supplements on that disc are exclusive to that set and are not a part of this season’s extras.

  •  Audio Commentaries – Three episodes contain audio commentaries (four if you count “Chain of Command”) and the first two feature Ronald D. Moore as well as Mike and Denise Okuda (those essentially responsible for getting this season on Blu-ray) on “Relics” and “Tapestry.” “Tapestry” is one of my favorite episodes of the series, so I was intrigued by this track as it’s full of little nuances here and there that I’d never realized.  Likewise “Relics” is just as interesting.  The third is for “Frame of Mind” which focuses on the acting of Jonathan Frakes and is more technical in nature as Moore and the Okuda’s aren’t present, rather it’s the Director James Conway and Director of Photography Jonathan West.
  •  Deleted Scenes  – Many of the episodes feature deleted scenes and what I like about the way they’re structured is that they’re set up with a brief text-based statement telling us what’s going on. Some are deleted all together while many are just extended scenes. The episodes that feature them are as follows: “Time’s Arrow: Part II”, “Relics”, “Q Who”, “Ship in a Bottle”, “Face of the Enemy”, “Tapestry”, “Birthright: Part II”, “The Chase” and “Rightful Heir.”
  •  Archival Mission Logs
    Mission Overview: Year Six

    •  Certain key episodes are looked at here, mainly those that have been mentioned earlier in this review. Also of note is the appearance of Stephen Hawking as well as the set up for the first spin-off of the show:
      Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

    Bold New Directions – Patrick Stewart and LeVar Burton both directed an episode in this season and their respective episodes are looked at.

    Departmental Briefing Year Six: Production – The re-creation of the original Enterprise is looked at as well as the creation of the Dyson Sphere.

     Departmental  Briefing Year Six Profile: Dan Curry  – The visual effects master himself is profiled and we get a tour of his home (circa 1993) and some of the relics he’s kept over his time on the show.

    Special Crew Profile: Lt. Commander Data – More than just an android, Brent Spiner the actor is profiled as is his “emotionless” character that he plays.

    Select Historical Data – This is kind of all over the place focusing on props, actors and everything in between.

    Inside Starfleet Archives: Sets and Props – James Mees, the set decorator, gives us a tour of a day in his life and what it takes to do his job.

    •  Beyond the Five Year Mission – The Evolution of Star Trek: The Next Generation: Part I – The Lithosphere – The first of a three-part new documentary is showcased, though it focuses almost entirely on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. I never really got into that show as much as TNG, but actors from that show are featured here. There are a few TNG-related things like the proposed killing of William Riker in “Second Chances” but nothing terribly interesting as it pertains to TNG.
    •  Beyond the Five Year Mission – The Evolution of Star Trek: The Next Generation: Part II – The Biosphere – Far more interesting is this second installment with Production Designer Richard James and Director of Photography Jonathan West as they discuss a few of the physical things from the season (removing the plexiglass from Ten Forward) as well as some stories from Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan. This is full of little tidbits like that and well worth a watch.
    •  Beyond the Five Year Mission – The Evolution of Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Noosphere – The final installment focuses on the actors of the show as well as an interview with Whoopi Goldberg who portrayed Guinan on the show. Bear in mind this was only a year or two after she won her Academy Award for Ghost and had a runaway hit with Sister Act, so her comments (vulgar though they may be) are interesting to say the least. Also profiled is the amusing John de Lancie who portrayed the recurring character Q on the show. This one was very enjoyable to watch.
    •  Gag Reel
    •  Episodic Promos – Each episode comes with a 30 second promo and as I’ve mentioned before, if you want to see how much the picture quality has improved, give a few of these a watch.

Season Seven

  •  Audio Commentaries – Again, there are three episodes that feature an audio commentary, two were from the previously-released DVD sets (Parallels and Lower Decks) while one is new to this Blu-ray in Preemptive Strike. There is a new audio commentary for All Good Things… but it’s only present on the stand-alone version (reviewed here). The tracks are all about the same, with tons of information about the particular episode and little factoids here and there. I think it’s a nice touch to add a new track with this Blu-ray, though, admittedly, Preemptive Strike wasn’t my favorite of the bunch. Oh well, ’tis better to have than have not.
  •  Deleted Scenes  – All of the deleted scenes on this set are new to the Blu-ray and all are presented in a very nice format with a splash screen setting up the scene so we get a point of reference.  Again, All Good Things…contains some deleted scenes as well, though those are exclusive to the standalone disc.  The episodes included are: Descent, Part II, Liaisons, Gambit: Parts I and II, Dark Page, Inheritance, Parallels, Sub Rosa, Thine Own Self, Masks, Genesis, Journey’s End, Firstborn, Bloodlines and Preemptive Strike.
  •  Archival Mission Logs
    Mission Overview: Year Seven

       – As we might expect, this one kind of wraps everything up. Several key relationships are explored, mainly Picard and Crusher as well as Will Wheaton’s last episode and the like. It’s a nice, encompassing piece that ties is all together nicely.

A Captain’s Tribute

     – Patrick Stewart regals us with some of the funny (and not so funny) moments on the set, his relationship outside the screen with some of the actors and some tales of his role of a lifetime.

Departmental Briefing Year Seven: Production -Certain key episodes are looked at with some of the focus being on the female characters. As is the case with all of these mission logs, there is no new material here and all is ported over from the previously-released DVD sets..

 Starfleet Moments and Memories  – As the name suggests, this one pretty much has it all as well. Some of the lighter moments are featured as well as some of the awards that the show didn’t win, the impact that the show had on the Trek universe and a bit more.

Special Profiles – The supporting and recurring characters of Q (John de Lancie) as well as Lwaxana Troi (Majel Barrett). I’m sure this comes as no shock, but I’ll mention it anyway, Majel Barrett was Mrs. Gene Roddenberry as well as the voice of the ship’s computer on the TNG show. John de Lancie’s segment is a bit more interesting as he explores how he continued to “improve” the character of Q.

Archival Mission Log: Inside Starfleet Archives: Dressing The Future – Marina Sirtis and costume designer Robert Blackman take a look at some of the costumes used throughout the series as well as some for the final episode.

Archival Mission Log: The Making of “All Good Things…” – A look at the making of the final episode, some of the themes explored within as well as the cast and visual effects used for the series finale.

    •  The Sky’s the Limit: The Eclipse of Star Trek: The Next Generation Part One: Umbra  – The first of a three part segment that’s new to this Blu-ray release. There was a lot going on in season seven not only from a plot standpoint, but also from a production one as well. This focuses on the plot lines for the season, setting up endings as well as the feature film and starting a new Trek series with Star Trek: Voyager. People complain about the “weakness” of the final season, but this at least provides some insight as to why.
    •  The Sky’s the Limit: The Eclipse of Star Trek: The Next Generation Part One: Penumbra – This one pretty  much has it all, with collaborations from just about everyone who has seen, heard or even touched the show, we get insight into the series, it’s ending and subsequent beginning on the big screen.  Die-hard Trekkie Seth MacFarlane is back with some insight as well.
    •  The Sky’s the Limit: The Eclipse of Star Trek: The Next Generation Part One: Antumbra – The main cast as well as some guest stars like Whoopi Goldberg and John de Lancie look back at the series that changed their lives.  Certain episodes are featured as well as some personal anecdotes. Certainly this is a more personal feature to those that were featured, but Star Trek has always been about family.
    •  Gag Reel – The highlight is watching Riker chase an ensign around the set.
    •  Journey’s End: The Saga of Star Trek: The Next Generation – Hosted by none other than William Riker himself (Jonathan Frakes), this takes a look back at the show, its characters, story arcs, set design and just about everything in between. Originally aired prior to the release of the series finale, it’s a great inclusion on this disc.
    •  Closed Set: A Tour of the Real Enterprise – Mike and Denise Okuda give us a “home video” look at the set of the show that wasn’t available to the public…until now! Or 2002 when this originally was a part of the DVD set.
    •  In Conversation: Lensing Star Trek: The Next Generation – One of the new features for this Blu-ray release is a real gem. We don’t really get a look at the casting of directors for television shows and we get a look at some of the different methods that the episodes were produced, the difference in style and rhythm of the directors as well as how influential Patrick Stewart really was on set. It’s a nice look at a side of filmmaking we don’t often see in supplemental form.
    •  Episodic Promos – Each episode comes with a 30 second promo and as I’ve mentioned before, if you want to see how much the picture quality has improved, give a few of these a watch.

The Bottom Line

Good news and bad news…The good is that if, for some reason, you’ve been waiting for the entire series so you could procure the adventures of Picard and crew for the lowest price – well then, this is for you. Considering each of the individual sets retailed for nearly $100 upon their initial release(s), this is a no-brainer. The bad – no new supplements have been produced for this set. Then again, plenty were produced for the Blu-ray’s themselves, so that’s not a huge deal. The “double” bad news is that the stand alone episodes along the way (“The Best of Both Worlds”, “Redemption”, “Unification”, “Chain of Command” and “All Good Things…”) are not included. And for those that know, these discs contained supplements not present in the season’s extras. In essence, it’s not a “definitive” set, but if you’re just looking to have the entire series on Blu-ray then this is what you’re looking for. If you already own the seasons, this is just a lower cost/fancier way of presenting them.

Disc Scores