Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season Seven (Blu-ray)

December 9, 2014 12 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

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 Nine, Voyager 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?

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 six 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?

This final season is consistent with the rest of the series in that it ports over the standard definition extras from the DVD set and some new features exclusive to the Blu-ray.

  • 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.

Disc Scores