Star Trek: TNG – Season One

January 28, 2012 10 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Perhaps the only question that’s been asked more often than “Who is better, Kirk or Picard?” is “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” That’s about the closest comparison I can draw. Fans of Star Trek, better-known as “Trekkies” are some of the more rigorous fans out there. They love Star Trek, in almost any way, shape or form and will do most anything to get more of it. In the 60’s, Gene Roddenberry (creator of Star Trek) gave us the original series, and hence introducing us to William Shater (a man, who for all intensive purposes, still won’t go away) and the rest of the crew. Though the budget was low, the effects cheesy and the plots kind of predictable; it became a cult classic and though it was cancelled after only 70 some odd episodes, it won fans for a lifetime.

Now let us flash forward some twenty years into the “future” (a mere light year for fans of the show). The year is 1986 and a new Star Trek is upon us. This is a new crew with a new ship and different adventures. Commanded by a bald-headed (but according to TV Guide “still sexy”) captain (Patrick Stewart), this Enterprise was out to truly go where no one had gone before. Now I’ll be the first to admit that I am a fan of the Next Generation. The previous series was long before my time, it was way too cheesy for me and I found I could relate to the newer series a lot easier. Does that make me a bad person? I’m sure it does in some people’s eyes! But I digress…

Now as the cast readily admits, the first season of any show is getting to know the cast and crew, it’s alomst like a litmus test to see if it will work. That’s why when relying upon hindsight, the first season of most any show will be the “bad” season. As the show progresses, it makes more money, the actors develop on their characters and the effects get more special. But Star Trek: The Next Generation was another brainchild of Roddenberry’s and he was given complete control here. The show was also not on a network, it was made for syndication, so they had no network to deal with, thus giving them more flexibility with it.

And so it went…for seven seasons and almost 200 episodes. The cast of The Next Generation is still coasting off their popularity today, as they are making their fourth movie as this is being written. And I do have to give some props to Paramount who has finally done what other studios seem to be missing…release the whole thing if you have it! It took us some 2 years to get all of the original episodes of Star Trek on DVD, with Paramount only releasing 2 episodes every two months. Well, now all 7 seasons will be released in the entire calendar year of 2002. Essentially they’re releasing a season every 6 weeks. How cool is that? Well, hopefully it’s a sign of things to come (from Paramount and other studios as well). For your reference, here is a break down of the episodes you can find on the first season:

Disc 1:
Encounter At Farpoint
The Naked Now
Code Of Honor

Disc 2:
The Last Outpost
Where No One Has Gone Before
Lonely Among Us

Disc 3:
The Battle
Hide And Q
The Big Goodbye

Disc 4:
Angel One
Too Short A Season

Disc 5:
When The Bough Breaks
Home Soil
Coming Of Age
Heart Of Glory

Disc 6:
The Arsenal Of Freedom
Skin Of Evil
We’ll Always Have Paris

Disc 7:
The Neutral Zone
(Special Features)

Video: How does it look?

All of the episodes are presented in a full-frame presentation. While this is the first season, and the “budget” was a bit limited, I have to say that these look just as good as when I first saw them. Though I do have to admit that some episodes look terrible, with artifacting out the wazoo! The color palette used is very muted, showing that ‘futuristic’ time frame, but the DVD’s bring out everything and make it look better, but they can also make it look worse. Still, I haven’t had the opportunity to review many TV shows on DVD and this is better than I’ve seen them look during their original broadcast. Not much to complain about here, though errors do exist, it’s the best they’ve looked and most likely will.

Audio: How does it sound?

Just like the original Star Trek series, these are re-mastered in Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. Unlike the original 5.1 series, these actually sound good. Obviously the twenty year time difference between the two makes most of the difference, but the increased budget does as well. Dialog is very clear, though I felt that some times there was a bit of a “hiss” to it. The surround effects could have been used a bit more, I feel. During the pilot episode, the opening credits had the starship whizzing by and thereby activating the surround channels, but during the rest of the episodes I didn’t notice the same effect. Could have just been me, but I feel that the sound could have used a bit of tweaking. Still, it’s the best these have ever sounded, so you’ll have to trust me when I say you won’t be let down.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Paramount must have thought that the whole season being released at once was treat enough. Though the disc does feature some featurettes and a collectable booklet, the set is relatively short on supplements. But let’s talk packaging. I personally like the packaging, though when the set is folded out so that all seven discs are revealed, it’s about 2 feet long! But I doubt many people will have the whole thing folded out for that long. Housed in a heavy cardbord case, each season is color coded (Season One is maroon), which I feel is a nice touch. As far as extras go, we find four featurettes on the seventh (and final) disc. The first is aptly titled “The Beginning” which tells of how the series got started, interviews with the “future” cast and crew and is more of a look back on how the show got started. I only know that some of the footage is old, because Roddenberry is featured here and he passed away in 1991, but the image quality is very good here. This brings us to “Mission Profiles” which is a sometimes painstaking look at how the cast was actually cast for their respective parts. It seems that some actors were called back only a few times while Worf and Troi (Michael Dorn and Marina Sirtis respectively) were literally the last ones cast. While interesting, we can’t really feel sorry for them as they’re all millionaires now. Next up is “Memorabe Missions” which is pretty self-explanatory. The cast remembers and we are shown some of the missions and how they were done. Did you know that the “Skin of Evil” was actually toner’s ink and Metamucil? This and more! Finally, we are greeted with “The Making of a Legend” which tells us how the set was designed and how it was made. Improved budget and such were all part of the ship looking sleeker and is evidently the opposite of the original series. While the four of these featurettes measured over an hour in time, it looks that each season will have it’s host of them, so I think there will be all there is to know about Star Trek: The Next Generation before the year is out. Fans of the series will want to try and find this for the lowest price, as these are a bit pricy (around $100 per season). Still, fans of the series are some of the most die hard fans out there, so money will most likely not be an issue. Recommended for fans and for everyone else wondering what the deal is, check it out as well.

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