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Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Best of Both Worlds

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#1 of 14 Neil Middlemiss

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Posted May 05 2013 - 05:20 PM

Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Best of Both Worlds

The Best of Both Worlds in many ways represents the best of what Star Trek: The Next Generation gave to television. Fans of the series will remember with great clarity the moment when the words ‘To Be Continued’ came up shortly after Commander Riker gave the order to fire on the Picard-led Borg cube. Those three words let it be known that eager fans would have to wait the entire summer to find out what would happen next. Great cliffhangers will spark discussion around the table with friends or the water cooler at work, and The Best of Both Worlds Part 1 sparked an enormous response from the fan community. Lauded by fans and critics, The Best of Both Worlds earned an Emmy "Outstanding Art Direction for a Series" and "Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series" and has been ranked among TV Guide’s 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time. Worthy praise and plaudits indeed for the episodes which solidified the Borg as one of the greatest nemesis of all time and cemented the excellence of The Next Generation not only as a science-fiction television series, but as an excellent dramatic series in its own right.


Cover Art


Studio: Paramount

Distributed By: N/A

Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Audio: English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD, English 2.0 DTS-HDMA, Spanish 2.0 DD, French 2.0 DD, Other

Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish, French, Dutch, Other

Rating: Not Rated

Run Time: 1 Hr. 25 Min.

Package Includes: Blu-ray, UltraViolet

Amaray Case with foldout slipcase

Disc Type: BD25 (single layer)

Region: A

Release Date: 04/30/2013

MSRP: $24.99




The Production Rating: 4/5

Responding to a distress call from a Federation colony, the crew of the Starship Enterprise discovers a decimated landscape where the colony used to be. Preliminary evidence points to the hive-minded threat of the Borg, a formidable species encountered by Starfleet’s flagship when the omnipotent Q thrust the ship to the edges of explored space a few years earlier. Arriving on the Enterprise under the omen of ill-tidings for the Federation is Admiral Hanson (George Murdock) who will oversee the response, accompanied by Lt. Commander Shelby (Elizabeth Dennehy), a relative expert on the Borg who has been temporarily assigned to the Enterprise. Shelby is a sprightly officer with designs on assuming Riker’s role as Picard’s right-hand having heard that Riker had been offered the captainship of the U.S.S Melbourne.

Once confirmed that it was the Borg responsible for the destroyed outpost, Picard and crew make haste in tracking down the Borg. A lone cube is found but when engaged by the Enterprise, they demand that Picard beam over. An unusual move for the assimilation-driven species and when the Enterprise is attacked, the Enterprise warps away. But the Cube is in close pursuit. A brief game of hide-and-seek only delays the Borg assault, one in which Captain Picard is abducted and soon transformed into Locutus, voice of the Borg and a new enemy that, as Riker acknowledges, knows the crew of the Enterprise better than they know themselves. The altered Picard is forced to lead the Borg cube’s in an assault against the federation, leaving a wake of starship carnage on its way to Earth and threatening the very existence of humanity.

Though assembled here as a mini-movie, editing parts one and two of The Best of Both Worlds together, the moment that represented the jaw-dropping cliffhanger, as Commander Riker orders Picard on the Borg Cube fired upon, still conjures a terrific sense of thrill and tension. The rest of the story that follows may not completely live up to the excellence of the first half, though it still stands a solid closeout to a high point in history of The Next Generation. Where the first half bubbles with tension and drama, the second half is turned more inward and thus, feels a little smaller – but Patrick Stewart delivers the acting goods and the action certainly satisfied the millions of fans who eagerly waited over that summer to see what would happen to their beloved Captain Picard.

Beyond the big and bold scope of the show and the simmering threat marking the lead up to the episodes first encounter with the hive minded foe, the real treasure of this two part episode – edited together as a seamless feature – is the focus on character. Aside from the emotional focus of the crew’s response to their captain’s abduction, Commander Riker wrestles with career choices and an eager replacement-wannabe, Lt. Cmdr. Shelby, nipping at his heels. Prior to his abduction, Picard ponders the danger his crew will face and, as he does from time to time, ponders the possibilities with Guinan in Ten-Forward after hours. These are the moments that elevate these episodes from merely action oriented entertainment. The Best of Both Worlds represents a bravely balanced approach to what in aggregate is an action-packed story. There is a seriousness about the first half; a brilliantly written sense of foreboding, aided by a superb score from Ron Jones which features a lightly militaristic drum line with a high-register violin accompanying the mystery that pivots to synth voices and energetic brass when the nemesis appears. Patrick Stewart is uncannily good commanding his talented crew as they engage the enemy. His diplomatically inclined character rises to the challenge of battle with Stewart’s thespian skills gripping to witness. The rest of the cast each play an important part of the character tapestry against which the larger plot plays out. For fans of the series, The Best of Both Worlds is among the very best this series has to offer; enthralling storytelling wrapped up in visual effects splendor, thrills aplenty and intelligent drama at the core of it all.



Video Rating: 4.5/5  3D Rating: NA

Paramount and CBS continue to impress with the quality of their extraordinary remastering of Star Trek: The Next Generation. As a reminder, the show’s visual effects were shot on film requiring every visual effects element to be re-compositioned (rather than suffer an upconversion from videotape). This requires re-cutting over 25,000 film reels, meticulously rebuilding the episodes and preserving the original episodes in lush detail transferred to high-definition detail.

Colors are outstanding in this newly edited together ‘feature’. The new uniforms (introduced at the beginning of the third season) are bright, black levels are strong and aside from 3-seconds of upconverted standard definition footage (the original footage was missing and therefore unavailable for the proper remastering), looks crisp and superb. The re-compositioned (and refreshed) visual effects are excellent with the details on planets faithful to the original intent.

The level of detail in these remastered episodes – as evidenced by the superb first three seasons now available – is a sight to behold. Perhaps we are able to see more detail than we need to (seams in clothing, the secrets of the make-up effects and so on) but my goodness; I continue to marvel at how marvelous The Next Generation looks on Blu-ray.



Audio Rating: 4/5

I’ve said this of all of The Next Generation episodes on Blu-ray, but the 7.1 DTS-HD track is a winner. The whoosh of the enterprise in the opening credits (whooshing towards and past the camera) fills the surrounds completely and Jerry Goldsmiths reconfigured theme from Star Trek: The Motion Picture fanfares gloriously. The hum of the ship (and the beeps and other electronic noises that abound on the bridge) is clear and present and other sounds such as phaser fire, the thousands of Borg voices speaking in unison, the crackle of the Borg cutting the side of the Enterprise and so on are all terrifically represented hear. Ron Jones outstanding score is also gloriously presented.

Also included is a DTS-HD 2.0 track that more closely resembles the stereo presentation of its original airing.



Special Features Rating: 3.5/5

A relatively light but meaningful set of extra features accompany this release including a lively audio commentary featuring Cliff Bole, director of both parts. The Gag reel, also restored, has some good moments and the featurette, at 30 minutes, is able to cover a number of elements that make these episodes stand out, including the cast, visual effects and music.

Audio Commentary by Cliff Bole, Mike & Denise Okuda and Elizabeth Dennehy (Lt. Cmdr. Shelby)

New Featurette – Regeneration: Engaging the Borg

Gag Reel

Episodic Promos: Part 1 and Part 2



Overall Rating: 4/5

In the canon of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the events at Wolf 359 are legendary. Starfleet’s first line of defense against an approaching lone Borg cube suffering catastrophic losses of life and vessels; a captured Jean-Luc Picard, ‘altered’ by the Borg, helping lay waste to the Federation assault fleet (a fact that will haunt Picard for the rest of his life), and a crew of the Enterprise devastated by the loss of their captain, stand as defining moments for the series. This is what great television can do; stay with you and entertain and fulfill you regardless of how many times you have seen it. Heck, I still get goose bumps as the camera pans around Commander Riker during the closing moments of the first episode as he has no choice but to order the Enterprise fire upon the Borg cube where Picard is unwillingly held. And in High Definition with impressive DTS-HD 7.1 audio that moment has never been better.

The Best of Both Worlds is highly entertaining television though presented as a single ‘mini-movie’, I do feel that something is lost without the words ‘To be continued’ not flashing onscreen following Riker’s order to fire. Timed with the release of Season Three on Blu-ray, which contains just the first part, this standalone release offers the chance to see the second part without waiting several months for the release of Season Four.

I imagine most will simply wait for the release of the next season to see Best of Both Worlds Part 2, but there is something unique about this release. For Season Four it appears the two-part Klingon focused episodes of Redemption Parts 1 and 2 will get the same re-edited treatment, which I welcome, but the season sets are the real treasure.


Reviewed By: Neil Middlemiss


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#2 of 14 Jason_V

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Posted May 05 2013 - 06:13 PM

The Best of Both Worlds is highly entertaining television though presented as a single ‘mini-movie’, I do feel that something is lost without the words ‘To be continued’ not flashing onscreen following Riker’s order to fire.

 

Completely agreed, Neil.  This edit feels very...smashed together, for lack of a better term.  There should be some tension and build up to the moment when the deflector fires.  In the original cut, at the beginning of part 2, there is some dialogue and then the music swells.  In this cut, it just goes from "Mr. Worf...Fire!" to the deflector. 

 



#3 of 14 Tino

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Posted May 05 2013 - 06:15 PM

Nice review Neil. Got this for $5 this past Tuesday with a Target deal price match and an upgrade and save coupon. Best $5 I ever spent.
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#4 of 14 Kevin EK

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Posted May 06 2013 - 03:12 PM

I don't mind the edit that much.  I remember being distinctly uncomfortable with the opening of Part 2, where everyone is just looking at each other through the viewscreen and waiting for the blast to go off.  With this cut, they go right to the chase.

 

As I understand it, the bonus content on the BOBW Blu will be exclusive to it - meaning that the commentary, the gag reel and the featurette will not be available anywhere else.  For me, this was an easy purchase.  I don't know that I would have the same reaction to a combo set for "Redemption" or the subsequent cliffhangers.  "Redemption" was really two separate episodes in spite of the one minor cliffhanger element, and its second part wound up trying to do way too many things in one hour.   "Time's Arrow" had an intriguing first part and a really disappointing second part.  "Descent" had a great teaser in its first part but completely fell apart after that.

 

The real challenge for the guys putting these Blus together is what will they find to attract people to the final two years of the show.  There are some good eps in the 6th year, but that year will really be more about the bonus content for me.  The final year was so bad I never even picked up the season on DVD.  That was a situation where I could count the episodes I liked on the fingers of one hand.

 

But for the third and fourth seasons of the show, there's some gold in them there hills...



#5 of 14 Jason_V

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Posted May 06 2013 - 04:05 PM

The problem for BoBW and, presumably Descent later down the road, is that part I ends and part II begins in the same place.  Part I is designed as a cliffhanger with the mounting tension to bring you back for the next episode.  That story beat isn't supposed to come in the middle of the episode like that.

 

However, this will be less of a problem for Redemption and Time's Arrow.  The second part picks up in a different time and place from where part I ends up.  Descent will be the same issue considering where the cut is. 

 

I'll still get all the re-edits, of course.  They're fun to see.



#6 of 14 atcolomb

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Posted May 06 2013 - 06:00 PM

Seen this episode many times on tv but to see it on Blu-ray makes it much better and what a crisp bright picture!



#7 of 14 TonyD

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Posted May 06 2013 - 09:17 PM

T

Nice review Neil. Got this for $5 this past Tuesday with a Target deal price match and an upgrade and save coupon. Best $5 I ever spent.


It was only $10 at target?

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#8 of 14 Keith Cobby

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Posted May 07 2013 - 06:40 AM

I had decided not to collect TNG on blu-ray so I am delighted that these episodes are available on a stand-alone disc. They will make a nice double feature with First Contact (in my view the best of all the Star Trek films).



#9 of 14 Jason_V

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Posted May 07 2013 - 07:04 AM

T
It was only $10 at target?

 

There was a deal if you bought S3 and this disc together: $10 off both.



#10 of 14 TonyD

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Posted May 14 2013 - 08:55 PM

"Audio Commentary by Cliff Bole, Mike & Denise Okuda and Elizabeth Denny (Lt. Cmdr. Shelby)"

From the review, it should be Dennehy and she is Brian Dennehy's daughter.

Anyway watched it tonight and it was a blast.

It might be 15 years since I've seen an ep of this show all the way through.

Btw in the doc couldn't they have cleaned Dennehy's shirt? It looks like she just had a powdered donut and used her shirt as a table.

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#11 of 14 bryan4999

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Posted May 15 2013 - 01:07 PM

Btw in the doc couldn't they have cleaned Dennehy's shirt? It looks like she just had a powdered donut and used her shirt as a table.

 

So true. She was charming but that shirt was distracting. Yikes.



#12 of 14 Neil Middlemiss

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Posted May 19 2013 - 05:33 AM

"Audio Commentary by Cliff Bole, Mike & Denise Okuda and Elizabeth Denny (Lt. Cmdr. Shelby)"

From the review, it should be Dennehy and she is Brian Dennehy's daughter.

 

Fixed. Thanks. 


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#13 of 14 Jeff Jacobson

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Posted June 02 2013 - 06:08 PM

Completely agreed, Neil.  This edit feels very...smashed together, for lack of a better term.  There should be some tension and build up to the moment when the deflector fires.  In the original cut, at the beginning of part 2, there is some dialogue and then the music swells.  In this cut, it just goes from "Mr. Worf...Fire!" to the deflector. 

 

That's odd. It was also aired as a "movie" after part 2 came out, but it wasn't cut like this. I think it cut to black after Riker gives the order to fire, then you hear Majel say something like, "and now the conclusion", then part two plays. (The scenes in part 2 with superimposed credids lacked them in this version, but I think that was the only change.)



#14 of 14 Jason_V

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Posted June 02 2013 - 06:50 PM

^ I heard the same thing, that the cut on the BD is the one international audiences got.  I never saw it AND I can't confirm that's true.  But I'll always stand by the story working better in two parts, as intended. 







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