Star Trek: The Next Generation-Season 2 (1989)

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Released 3-Jul-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Star Trek Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Mission Overview
Featurette-Selected Crew Analysis
Featurette-Departmental Briefing: Production
Featurette-Departmental Briefing: Memorable Missions
Featurette-Starfleet Archives
Booklet-Episode listing
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1989
Running Time 1062:36 (Case: 957)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (6)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Rob Bowman
Winrich Kolbe
Joseph L. Scanlam
Cliff Bole
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Patrick Stewart
Jonathan Frakes
Levar Burton
Michael Dorn
Marina Sirtis
Brent Spiner
Wil Wheaton
Diana Muldaur
Whoopi Goldberg
Case Gatefold
RPI $229.95 Music Dennis McCarthy
Ron Jones


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
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 Yes, rare
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    This is the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation. You'll find my review of Season One here.

    The second season makes some important changes to the standard character list. Dr Crusher has been appointed head of Star Fleet Medical, so her place on the Enterprise has been taken by another highly skilled doctor, a Doctor Kate Pulaski (Diana Muldaur). Geordi La Forge has been promoted to Chief Engineer (good thing too - the first season we got through several Chief Engineers - this season we see a few assistants for Geordi, but that's OK). And the most important addition of all is an off-duty lounge / bar - positioned right at the front of the saucer section, called Ten Forward. The hostess of Ten Forward is Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg). All of these changes are hurled at us at warp speed in the first few minutes of the first episode of the season - I guess they didn't feel like waiting for us to stumble across the changes in a more leisurely fashion.

    I find it amusing that Diana Muldaur is shown in the credits as "special appearance" - she appears in almost every episode of the season, and is a key character in several. One of the extras on the sixth disc reveals that she appeared in two episodes of the original Star Trek series (once as a brunette, once as a blonde); she was a little younger at the time...

    Then again, Whoopi Goldberg is listed on the credits as a guest star. She is in almost as many episodes, but her role is smaller. I was mildly amused to note that she seems to do more counselling than the ship's Counsellor - Troi spends most of her time "feeling" things.

    Another guest star (this season) is Colm Meaney, playing Transporter Chief O'Brien. He became so popular he was made part of the core crew on Deep Space Nine.

    The episodes are almost in numerical order, and that numerical order matches the stardates. Once again, the lengths of the episodes are extremely consistent. The score is handled by just two composers, with Dennis McCarthy taking all the odd-numbered episodes, and Ron Jones taking all but one of the even-numbered episodes.

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Title

Stardate Director Music Time  
127 The Child 42073.1 Rob Bowman Dennis McCarthy 43:36 Quick intro to new characters, and an immaculate conception
128 Where Silence Has Lease 42193.6 Winrich Kolbe Ron Jones 43:39 The Enterprise is caught in a void, and studied
129 Elementary, Dear Data 42286.3 Rob Bowman Dennis McCarthy 43:35 What kind of foe can challenge Data?
130 The Outrageous Okona 42402.7 Robert Becker Ron Jones 43:37 Captain Okona is in heavy demand...
132 Loud as a Whisper 42477.2 Larry Shaw Ron Jones 43:31 The best negotiator in the Federation can't listen to arguments
131 The Schizoid Man 42437.5 Les Landau Dennis McCarthy 43:37 A brilliant, if egotistical, specialist in cybernetics in a dying body
133 Unnatural Selection 42494.8 Paul Lynch Dennis McCarthy 43:23 The wisdom, or otherwise, of genetically engineering humans
134 A Matter of Honor 42506.5 Rob Bowman Ron Jones 43:35 Riker on assignment to a Klingon ship
135 The Measure of a Man 42523.7 Robert Scheerer Dennis McCarthy 43:39 Is Data man or machine - who owns him?
136 The Dauphin 42568.8 Rob Bowman Dennis McCarthy 43:37 Wesley's first encounter with a girl - this one is unusual
137 Contagion 42609.1 Joseph L Scanlan Dennis McCarthy 43:39 Are there "bugs" in the design of the Galaxy class starship?
138 The Royale 42625.4 Cliff Bole Ron Jones 43:35 What's a 20th century casino/hotel doing on a poisonous planet?
139 Time Squared 42679.2 Joseph L Scanlan Dennis McCarthy 43:36 Why would Captain Picard run from the destruction of the Enterprise?
140 The Icarus Factor 42686.4 Robert Iscove Ron Jones 43:36 Riker's father charms everyone but his son
141 Pen Pals 42695.3 Winrich Kolba Dennis McCarthy 43:36 The Prime Directive versus a young girl's life
142 Q Who? 42761.3 Rob Bowman Ron Jones 43:36 First encounter with someone we'll get to know
143 Samaritan Snare 42779.1 Les Landau Dennis McCarthy 43:38 The Pakleds are not bright, but they are avaricious
144 Up the Long Ladder 42823.2 Winrich Kolbe Ron Jones 43:38 "Back to nature" confronts a society that's rejected nature
145 Manhunt 42859.2 Rob Bowman Dennis McCarthy 43:33 Lwuxana Troi is back, and looking for a husband...
146 The Emissary 42901.3 Cliff Bole Ron Jones 43:38 K'Ehleyr illuminates another side of Worf
147 Peak Performance 42923.4 Robert Scheerer Dennis McCarthy 43:37 Master strategist Kolrami supervises war games
148 Shades of Gray 42976.1 Rob Bowman Ron Jones 43:35 Riker fighting for his life, in his dreams

    They are still making slight changes to the uniforms in this season. Dr Pulaski wears a variant of the standard uniform, with a tunic over trousers - perhaps Diana Muldaur wanted to conceal a figure flaw? Deanna Troi's uniform is now closer in colour to the others (unlike the grey it was in the first season), but it continues to have a low neckline - if she were to wear standard insignia of rank they'd have to be fastened onto her collar bone. Picard's dress uniform in Manhunt is worn with tights, rather than trousers. The other change was one I missed until it was discussed in one of the extras - Worf's sash changes from fabric to metal.

    I was pleased to see Q (John de Lancie) only appearing once, and in an episode that was far less offensive than usual. It was rather interesting to see the confrontation between Q and Guinan - the two have history, apparently.

    There are some well-known bit players in this season. Mick Fleetwood (of Fleetwood Mac) appears as a catatonic alien in Manhunt. One of the extras mentions that John de Lancie's wife appears in the episode Loud as a Whisper (she's in the chorus) - her interview is amusing. Amanda McBroom appears as a JAG officer in The Measure of a Man. Riker's father is played by Mitchell Ryan in The Icarus Factor. Dietrich Bader from Drew Carey plays a tactical officer in The Emissary - he is perhaps the most distracting piece of casting (of course, The Drew Carey Show was made much later). Oh, and Armin Shimerman (who will later play Quark in Deep Space Nine, and Principal Snyder in Buffy the Vampire Slayer) plays yet another Ferengi, this time called Bracter.

    The infamous poker games start in this season - Data learns more about human nature at the poker table. I'm looking forward to a particular poker game, which features (I think) the only person ever to play himself in this show - do you know who that is? That game comes in a later season.

    By the way, in The Icarus Factor two characters engage in a bout of anbojitsu, characterised as "the ultimate martial art" - excuse me while I choke on my breakfast (everyone knows that the ultimate martial art is Sinanju). Scriptwriters should know better than to use terms like "ultimate".

    In this season, the show has found its feet, and is starting to tackle some big questions: "what is death?", "what defines a sentient being?", "where is the line between compassion and interference?". These are the sorts of questions that make Star Trek more than simple entertainment. This is a worthy addition to your collection.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The DVD is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and therefore is not 16x9 enhanced. That's what we expected.

    The picture is acceptable, ranging from badly out of focus (see 8:26 in Peak Performance, 40:14 in Q Who?, 18:30 in The Royale, 26:21 in The Schizoid Man, 10:48 in Loud as a Whisper, and, worst of all, 39:59 in Elementary, Dear Data) to nice and clear on most close-ups - generally the picture is just a touch soft. Shadow detail is mostly acceptable, but some of the darker scenes drop off into black far too quickly (have a look at Holme's room in Elementary, Dear Data, for example). There are traces of low-level noise on occasion, but it's rarely annoying. There are moments of grain, but not too bad.

    Colour is quite good. There's still some variation between episodes, but it is nowhere near as bad as in the first season - it is noticeable that the command uniforms are distinctly maroon in some episodes, and rather more red in others. There are still moments of striation on the maroon uniforms (look at 16:51 in The Child, for example), but quite a bit less than in the first season. The blue glow of the warp nacelles looks like oversaturation, but it is meant to look like that.

    There are numerous film artefacts, but they are mostly quite small. There's a watermark at 36:44 in The Schizoid Man. There are numerous flecks, such as the white spot at 38:48 in Unnatural Selection, or 18:59 in The Icarus Factor.

    The worst artefacts, however, are the aliasing effects, particularly on external shots of the starship. The edges of the ship ripple quite badly on some shots, as does the star field at 9:01 in Q Who?. The details of the warp nacelles alias quite often. I fear this is all the result of conversion from NTSC to PAL - I'd be interested to hear if the R1 displays this problem as badly.

    There's some edge enhancement on a few occasions, but the only objectionable example I noted was at 15:29 in Up the Long Ladder.

    Again, this is not a fabulous transfer, but it is not dreadful, and it is probably the best quality we'll ever see for these episodes.

    There are ten subtitle tracks, including both English and English for the Hearing Impaired. I watched a lot of the English subtitles, and they are mostly very good - well-timed, accurate, and very easy to read. There are errors, but they're not troubling.

    The six (note: one fewer than Season One, because there are only 22 episodes, not 25) discs are single-sided and dual layered. There are no layer changes in episodes, because there are four episodes per disc, with two on each layer.

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

Audio

    The soundtrack is presented in five languages - I only listened to the English. It is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1, but it makes little use of the 5.1 layout.

    The dialogue is clear and comprehensible. I noticed one audio sync issue - an ADR slip around 29:20 in The Measure of a Man, but it's only noticeable if you're looking hard.

    The score is the work of two composers; Dennis McCarthy and Ron Jones. They take alternate episodes, and manage to produce consistent scores which get the job done. One of the extras mentions that they used orchestral music (complete with six French horns) because electronic/synthesized music tended to blend in too much with the ambient noises.

    The surrounds don't do much - they mostly echo the score from the front channels. There are minor touches of ambient noise, but it's negligible. The subwoofer kicks in occasionally, especially when we're outside the ship, hearing the oh-so-realistic sound of ships' engines. Basically this is a mostly frontal mix, centre-focussed, with occasional bursts of noticeable stereo. That's OK - it still sounds better than it did when broadcast - there's quite a bit more bass than you might expect.

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

Extras

Menu

    There is an opening transition (same on every disc, but different to the Season One transition), plus animation and sound within every menu. The menus are styled after ST: TNG (LCARS) control panels - they are simple to operate, as well as attractive. We get music behind the episode selection menu, but Star Trek ambience behind the rest (thank goodness - the music starts to wear thin after a while!).

Featurette - Mission Overview - Year Two (14:29)

    A discussion of the changes between the first and second seasons - quite interesting, especially given that it has been assembled from interviews shot at different times from 1988 through to 2001. It's rather fun to see Diana Muldaur in scenes from the original Star Trek series.

Featurette - Selected Crew Analysis (13:32

    I expected this to be mostly about the new characters. It's not (that's in the previous featurette) - this is more about the changes some of the characters are going through, and how they are adapting. There's a little overlap with the previous documentary, but not enough to really annoy..

Featurette - Departmental Briefing - Production (17:18)

    Some interesting insights into the production of the show, including some discussion of the music. The costume designer on ST:TNG has more problems than a normal wardrobe person....

Featurette - Memorable Missions (16:19)

    Interviews with crew members about seven of the twenty two missions. One of the more interesting revelations is that computer graphic morphing was undeveloped back in 1988, so the morphs in The Dauphin were done by animators - they were painted. That explains the quality....

Featurette - Starfleet Archives (17:19)

    A lengthy interview (shot some time back) with a woman who collects and collates materials from the show. It's fun to see some of the miniatures used for things like Starbases.

Booklet (12 pages)

    This is little more than an attractive listing of the episodes to be found in this set.

R4 vs R1

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

    This box-set is already released in Region 1, and it seems that the features are the same as ours. The two differences are that the R1 is NTSC (which might be an advantage, given the effects were created in NTSC), and it comes in a cardboard box (our plastic box continues for the R2 and R4). I'll let you work out which one you want.

Summary

    The next step for the TV series, on six fairly good DVDs.

    The video quality is quite variable, however it is good more than it's bad.

    The audio quality is good..

    The extras are at least as good as the first season's.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Sunday, July 07, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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