Star Trek: TNG – Season Two

January 28, 2012 8 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Here we are…again. With the initial season of Star Trek: The Next Generation becoming a fair success, the second season is back with some more money, better effects and (for the most part) the same crew. Yes, Tasha Yar (Denise Crosby) has left, but fear not…she’ll return in some “alternate” episodes and in many flashbacks. Dr. Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden) has been replaced with Dr. Pulaski (Diana Muldaur – formermerly of L.A. Law) but she only lasts one season. So a lot of things are different, but yet they still remain the same. The series tried to tackle a little bit more this time around with some pretty deep episodes. One of my personal favorites was “The Royale” in which Riker, Data and Worf are all stuck inside a living adaption of a cheap novel. This is also the season where Q (John DeLance) introduces the crew to the alien life form, the Borg. As many fans of the series know, the Borg are a race that plague the Enterprise throughout the series and are even the subject of one of the movies (First Contact).

As mentioned above, and actually even on the interior of the box, there was a writer’s guild strike that plagued the series. Down from it’s usual 26 episodes, there are only 22 in the second season. But, I tend to like most of them, even if they had not yet worked out all of the kinks. True, the characters are starting to develop, but there is still some work to be done. A very unfavorite of most Star Trek fans, Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton), seems to have more lines and more of a part this season, but I think in either the third or fourth season, he goes away to Starfleet Academy, so it won’t be much longer now! In any case, Paramount is delivering what so many other studios are attempting to do (I mean how long are we going to have to wait for another season of “The Simpson’s” or “Sex and the City”)? Fans of the series, get ready to fork over another $100 or so. Is it worth it? Yes? But the bad news is that there’s five seasons left! Here’s the episodes of the second season:

Disc 1:
The Child
Where The Silence Has Lease
Elementary, Dear Data
The Outrageous Okona

Disc 2:
Loud As A Whisper
The Schizoid Man
Unnatural Selection
A Matter Of Honor

Disc 3:
The Measure Of A Man
The Dauphin
The Royale

Disc 4:
Time Squared
The Icarus Factor
Pen Pals
Q Who?

Disc 5:
Samaritan Snare
Up The Long Ladder
The Emissary

Disc 6:
Peak Performance
Shades Of Gray
(Special Features)

Video: How does it look?

All of the episodes are presented in a full-frame presentation. While this is the second season, the stakes were a bit higher. 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, though it’s mostly limited to indoor shots. 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?

Though it doesn’t feature a plentiful selection of extras, the last disc of the set does contain 5 featurettes (up from 4 last season, but then again we were “shorted” 4 episodes). We’ll see if the trend continues…The first of which is the Mission Overview: Year Two. This very similar to the first year’s mission overview, but they reflect upon some of the changes to the show (addition of two actors and some new construction on the set). It’s nice an informative, and probably what we’ll come to expect for all of the season’s “Mission Overviews”. Next up is the Selected Crew Analysis: Year Two. Again, just like the first season, this features interviews with the cast of the Enterprise and how they are continuing to develop their characters for the show. Not the most interesting feature, but we do see that they at least care enough to try to work harder. And that’s good. We then find Departmental Briefings: Production and Memorable Missions. These are two featurettes that concentrate on what makes Star Trek unique–makeup and production. We get a pretty good look at the basis for the Enterprise as well as some make up for Worf and the Borg among others. It’s very easy to overlook some of this stuff, but it looks as if make up artists are some of the most overworked and underappreciated people in showbusiness! Lastly, we come to Inside Starfleet Archives. This shows us how one woman (Penny Judy) attempts to keep track of all of the props that are used in the Star Trek Universe. Certainly a daunting task, she’s given her own 18 minute featurette! While the supplements aren’t ones that will keep you occupied for hours, they are still interesting. I’m sure we can expect more of the same from Paramount in future seasons of Star Trek: TNG. Until then, stay tuned…

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