Star Trek: The Next Generation-Season Two (Blu-ray) (1987)

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Released 12-Dec-2012

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Star Trek Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Featurette-The Beginning
Featurette-Selected Crew Analysis
Featurette-The Making Of A Legend
Featurette-Memorable Missions
Featurette-Energized: Taking The Next Generation To The Next Level
Featurette-Documentary – Stardate Revisited: The Origin of Star Trek: T
Featurette-Gag Reel
Audio Commentary-Episode length "The Measure of a Man"
Audio Commentary-Episode length "Q Who?"
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1987
Running Time 1000:54 (Case: 998)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (5)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Corey Allen
Paul Lynch
Russ Mayberry
Richard Colla
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Patrick Stewart
Jonathan Frakes
Levar Burton
Michael Dorn
Brent Spiner
Marina Sirtis
Diana Muldaur
Whoopi Goldberg
Wil Wheaton
Case Gatefold
RPI $79.95 Music Dennis McCarthy
Ron Jones
Fred Steiner


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English DTS HD Master Audio 7.1 (6912Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles Danish
German
English
Spanish
French
Italian
Dutch
Norwegian
Swedish
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Star Trek : The Next Generation was created by Gene Roddenberry as part of the Star Trek franchise twenty-one years after the original Star Trek series. Premiering in September 1987, the new series  continued for a total of 178 episodes, spread over seven years. This was the longest run for any show in the Star Trek franchise. Earning numerous awards during the course of its run, Star Trek : The Next Generation is frequently listed amongst the best television programs of all time. Season Two of the famed series has now been released on Blu-ray, and, as the blurb justifiably states, it looks and sounds "like never before". Evidently CBS did the high definition upgrade of Season One inhouse, but were forced to outsource the work on Season Two. Other reviewers have made slightly unfavourable comparisons between the first two seasons on Blu-ray, but without the side-by-side comparison, what we have on the release of Season Two is outstanding.

    Sit back, put your feet up and see and hear the episodes of this series in quality that was simply not possible twenty-five years ago. Preserving the original square screen format, the image is, for at least 95% of the time, brilliant, and the sound crystal sharp. Surround activity has been added whenever  the opportunity arises,  with space craft repeatedly whizzing behind us, and the thudding of the Enterprise engines immersing us in the world of these intrepid space travellers. In The Next Generation we advance approximately one hundred years from the mission of the original Enterprise crew, which was commanded by James T. Kirk. Almost every episode begins with voice-over narration from the new commander, Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), delivered in that actor's smoothly mellifluous tones. The chain of command extends to the ship's first officer, William Riker (Jonathan Frakes), and the third in command, the android Data (Brent Spiner). We also have on board the Klingon Lieutenant Worf (Michael Dorn), Giordi La Forge (LeVar Burton), the young helmsman who progresses to chief engineer, the ship's counselor Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis), the new chief medical officer, Katherine Pulaski (Diana Muldaur), the young ensign Wesley (Wil Wheaton) and the chief, Miles O'Brien (Colm Meaney). In the ship's bar, Ten Forward., the "set ém up Joe" bartender dispensing wisdom with the cocktails is Guinan,  played by non other than Whoopi Golberg. If the bridge is the brain of the craft and the engines the muscle, then the  recreational bar often becomes the soul of the Enterprise.

    Spread over five discs, the twenty-two episodes that make up Season Two are :

Disc One :
The Child
Where Silence Has Lease
Elementary, Dear Data
The Outrageous Okona
Loud as a Whisper

Disc Two :
The Schizoid Man
Unnatural Selection
A Matter of Honour
The Measure of a Man

Disc Three :
The Dauphin
Contagion
The Royale
Time Squared
The Icarus Factor

Disc Four :
Pen Pals
Q Who?
Samaritan Snare
Up the Long Ladder
Manhunt

Disc Five :
The Emissary
Peak Performance
Shades of Gray

    The second season of the series was hit by a writers' strike and shortened to the twenty-two episodes we have here. The season finale may be considered a let down, and there are also some other inferior episodes along the way. However, there are other episodes that are up amongst the best. This was a series that relied heavily on dialogue, and creator Gene Roddenberry was frequently exploring major themes of humanity, with at times heavy-handed  literary references and pretensions. However, with the general lack of intelligence in so much of today's writing, what was seen thirty years ago as pretentious now looks more learned and provocative. Perhaps the writing is at its best when the natural setting of a poker game is used to explore the depths of existence. Watching these  episodes anew, undoubtedly with a fresh perspective encouraged by the excellence of the presentation, many of them have a depth  I had previously summarily dismissed. Many of these themes involve the character of Data, as we see his evolution from android toward human sensitivities, and the exploration of the meaning of existence and man's place in the universe. Performances throughout are faultless, even if the characters are at times flat and given little room for development. Joining the cast for this one season, Diana Muldaur was a controversial addition to the crew, however the criticism is of the character, and not the actress. Dominating the entire season is Patrick Stewart, who gives a weight and credibility to every beautiful syllable he utters. It is hard to believe that I first saw this actor way back in 1961 on stage at Sydney's Theatre Royal when he was a member of the touring Old Vic Company, headed on that tour by Vivien Leigh.

    Whether you are a longtime fan, or new to the world of Enterprise, Star Trek : The Next Generation is a superior TV series. In the Blu-ray format this is a classic series with image and audio quality that is a revelation. This is wonderful, legendary television.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    It is hard to imagine that we will ever see a twenty-five year old series look better than this. In its high definition reincarnation, Star Trek : The Next Generation is a new and exciting experience.
    The 1080p transfer is presented at the original broadcast ratio of 1.33:1, necessitating black bars each side of the central "square" image.
    Firstly, let's admit that the image is not perfect. There is the very occasional minor white flecking, and the blacks do not quite deepen to the inkiest we have become accustomed to. There are also fluctuations in the presence of grain. For maybe 95% of the footage the grain is nigh invisible, but occasionally there is a shot where the grain is quite heavy. I guess this derives from the original film stock used. These are, however, minor flaws in an otherwise brilliant presentation. Detail is remarkable, quite dazzling in the intricate exteriors of the mightily impressive Enterprise. Once inside the ship the detail is evident in the costumes, furnishings and fixtures. The humans are exposed mercilessly, with every crease on Patrick Stewart's face, and every detail of the make-up for Brent Spiner's android, and Michael Dorn's Klingorn. At times the exposure of the women's faces is cruelly severe, the make-up not having been designed for the scrutiny of today's high definition.
    Colours are vibrant and rich, whether in the costumes or the furnishings and fixtures of the ship. Skin tones are excellent, allowing for the variations in applied make-up.
    This is a remarkable achievement in restoration.

    Subtitles are available  in :
       Descriptive Subtitles in English for the Hearing Impaired
       Danish
       German
       Spanish
       French
       Italian
       Japanese
       Dutch
       Norwegian
       Finish
       Swedish

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The restoration of this series does not end with the image. The audio has also been given a massive upgrade.
    The discs contain a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 lossless soundtrack. Sadly, my system is not capable of reproduction beyond 5.1, so my comments would only be more glowing if I had heard the 7.1 the discs contain.
    Principally dialogue driven, every syllable is crystal clear, front and centre and without any sync issues. Despite the expansion of the effects and music, the dialogue is never compromised.
    Various effects are distributed around the soundfield, their direction highlighted and isolated with brilliantly specific clarity. The underlying hum of the ship's engines provides an ambient background for the complete sound design. Rumblings of the enterprise also receive emphasis from the sub-woofer. The music is also deep and impressive, with Alexander Courage's maintitle theme mightily impressive making full use of the surrounds.
    This is an excellent soundtrack, that totally belies its age.

    This disc contains eight audio streams. First there are the English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, and the English DTS HD-Master Audio 5.1. In addition there are Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround Encouded tracks available in English, German, Spanish, French, Italian and Japanese.




Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There is an abundance of extra material that truly enhances the experience of watching this season of the series.

Menu

    The full 16:9 menu is a vibrant combination of live action in two separate areas, animation accompanied by rumblings of the engines of Enterprise. Designed to resemble the control panel display of the space ship, though complex when first viewed, navigation is simple. Options are the same on each of the five discs, and are :

                Play All

                Episodes : When selected a list of the episodes on that disc is displayed. There is then the option to play that episode with or without its episodic promo.
                                  We are also given that episodes original broadcast Air Date and its series Stardate.                                  

                Setup : Selection leads to the audio language option (seven choices) and the subtitle option (eleven choices).

                Additional Data : Extras as detailed below.

                                                                    

Disc One :

Episodic Promos :
These are approximately thirty seconds each.

1988 On-Air Season Two Promo (SD 1:08) :
A short teaser for the season.

Energized! Season Two Tech Update (HD 7:56) :

Dan Curry plus Michael and Denise Okuda discuss changes from Season 1 to Season 2 and the process of conversion to high definition.

1988 Reading Rainbow w. LeVar Burton (SD 17:03) :
This is a delightful introduction by LeVar Burton to a Star Trek themed episode of his children's program.

2012 Reading Rainbow iTunes Promo (HD 1:36) :
Burton
introduces his new Reading Rainbow app.

Archival Mission Log : Departmental Briefing Year Two : Production (SD 17:32) :
This is a vintage behind-the-scenes featurette showing storyboarding, miniature construction, costumes, score and other aspects of the production.

Disc Two :

Episodic Promos :
These are approximately thirty seconds each.

Extended Version : The Measure of a Man (HD 57:35) :
The extended version of this excellent episode contains thirteen minutes of material edited from the original broadcast. Restored from a preserved VHS copy of the excised material, and with this material seamlessly integrated, this is a must see extra.

Audio Commentary : The Measure of a Man (Extended Version) :
Episode length commentary by Melinda Snodgrass and Mike and Denise Okuda.

Hybrid Extended Version : The Measure of a Man (HD/SD 55:50) :
This is a mix of the original broadcast footage in HD, and in SD the VHS footage prior to restoration, without the benefit of sound effects and music.

Disc Three :

Deleted Scene :
A short deleted scene from The Icarus Factor .

Episodic Promos :
These are approximately thirty seconds each.

Gag Reel (HD 10:30) :
The usual gaffes.

Archival Mission Log : Inside Starfleet Archives (SD 17:33) :
Penny Juday
talks about her role as Star Strek archivist, most interestingly taking us on a tour of the archives. Juday discusses the secrets of props and miniatures construction.

Archival Mission Log : Selected Crew Analysis Year Two (SD 13:46) :
An analysis of the season is offered by Patrick Stewart, LeVar Burton, Gene Roddenberry, Wesley Cruster, Rick Berman, Wil Wheaton, Marina Sertis, Diana Muldaur and Peter Lauritson.

Disc Four :

Episodic Promos :
These are approximately thirty seconds each.

Audio Commentary :
Episode length commentary on Q Who?, delivered by Dan Curry, Rob Bowman and Mike and Denise Okuda.

Deleted Scenes :
Deleted scenes are from two episodes, Samaritan Snare and Up the Long Ladder.

Archival Mission Log : Departmental Analysis Year Two : Memorable Missions (SD 16:33) :
Cast and crew discuss the season's highlight episodes, Loud as a Whisper, The Icarus Factor, Up the Long Ladder, The Dauphin, Manhunt, The Measure of a Man. and Elementary, Dear Data.

Disc Five :

Episodic Promos :
These are approximately thirty seconds each.

Reunification : 25 Years After : Star Trek : The Next Generation (HD 61:53) :
At a cast reunion all of the main cast members share their memories and reminiscences about working on the series.

Making It So : Continuing Star Trek : The Next generation (HD) :
Part 1 : Strange New Worlds (39:28) :

The cast and crew discuss aspects  of Season 1, such as character, scripts, the writers'strike, the contribution of  Melinda Snodgrass, and Rob Bowman's direction.
Part 2 : New Life and New Civilizations (42:01) :

The cast and crew discuss Gates McFadedn's departure from the series, Diana Muldaur's involvement, Gene Roddenberry's philosophy for the world of the series, Whoopi Golberg's role, John de Lancie's appearances, cast performances, life on the set, the budget, visual effects and much, much more.

Archival Mission Log : Mission Overview Year Two (SD 14:43) :
Finally there is a look at Diana Muldaur's work, Whoopi Golberg's character and the building of the Ten Forward set, plus Gene Roddenberry's vision of the future and the show's success.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The local release is identical to the U.S. release.

Summary

   This series has improved with age. The writing is inteligent, if a mite too self-conscious, and the performances timeless. Technically, for its day, it was a TV wonder, and now, in the Blu-ray format, it looks and sounds incredible, with an astonishing resotoration of image and sound. The five disc release is crammed with hour upon hour of extras, making a package that I will want to keep revisiting. This is one of the great releases of the year.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BLU RAY BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung LA55A950D1F : 55 inch LCD HD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

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