HTF REVIEW: "Star Trek: The Next Generation" Season Four (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Aug 27, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    Star Trek : The Next Generation
    Season Four

    Studio: Paramount
    Year: 1990
    Rated: NR
    Aspect Ratio: Full Frame

    Welcome to the 24th Century
    October 10, 1986, seventeen years after the
    cancellation of the original Star Trek series,
    Paramount launched a new generation of Star
    Trek with an all-new cast of characters. The
    show went on to have an Emmy award-winning
    seven-year run. It has become the best Star
    Trek series of all time.
    On September 3rd, Paramount will release
    the fourth season set of Star Trek The Next
    Generation, on their way to releasing all
    7 seasons by year's end. Thus far, the release
    of these sets has been a rousing success for the
    studio, and they seem to improve with each release.
    Star Trek TNG Season Four arrives as
    all previous seasons arrived, in a deluxe
    boxed 7-pane gatefold package that opens up to
    an impressive span, holding the entire fourth
    season laid out across 7 DVDs placed in plastic
    hub housing. A total of 26 episodes span this
    series, with each of the 6 discs containing four
    episodes each and the 7th disc containing two
    episodes + supplements. Paramount has also
    given the set its own unique appearance by giving
    the packaging a predominantly green color scheme so
    that it can easily be differentiated from other
    On the flip side gatefold's end pocket sits a
    small pamphlet that opens to a 17 1/2" 2-sided
    fold-out. On the one side is a 4 page foldout that
    contains an artist's rendering of the entire cast.
    Flip the booklet over and you'll find a picture of
    one of Star Trek's most famous villains, Q. On the
    opposite pages, Episodes are listed in alphabetical
    order, complete with airdate, stardate, and what
    disc that episode appears on.
    Season Four showed a complete maturing of
    the cast as the episodes started dealing more with
    family themes. Data and Picard are reunited with
    their brothers, Worf meets the son he never knew he
    had, and Data has a relationship with a human
    crew member. The season concentrates more on
    Picard and Worf, fleshing out their characters.
    You can also see that the cast members seem much
    more relaxed, having more fun with their roles.
    Paramount has also done a little tinkering with
    this set by touching up the opening sequence and
    revising the menus. More on that in a moment.
    I watched three complete episodes from this boxed
    set in order to get an idea of how good the
    audio and video quality presentation is. I picked
    perhaps the three best episodes of that season....
    The Best of both Worlds Part II is perhaps
    the most anticipated return from a cliffhanger ever
    in sci-fi TV history. At the close of last season,
    Captain Picard had been captured. As the new season
    begins, his captors have mutilated him into a half-Borg,
    half-human called Locutus, and have been manipulating
    him to gain insight into human behavior to aid their
    plan to conquer Earth and enslave humanity. As the
    Borg move closer to Earth, Riker, Data and the rest
    of the Enterprise crew race to find a vulnerable spot
    in the Borg that will enable them to defeat this enemy.
    Reunion introduces us to K'Ehleyr, a
    half-human, half-Klingon ambassador who requests
    permission to come aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise to
    speak with Picard. Worf is noticeably agitated when
    the woman, his former mate, materializes accompanied
    by a young Klingon boy. K'Ehleyr tells Worf that the
    boy, Alexander, is their son. Meanwhile, Picard
    boards the Klingon ship, and K'Mpec requests his
    help in arbitrating the power struggle between his
    two potential successors. One of the contestants
    has been secretly poisoning him, and Picard must
    determine who is the murderer and prevent him
    from assuming K'Mpec's post.
    Redemption follows up the Reunion
    episode with another great series cliffhanger.
    The U.S.S. Enterprise travels to the Klingon Empire
    where Picard is to attend the installation of Gowron,
    the new Leader of the High Council. En route, the
    starship is intercepted by a Klingon ship bearing
    Gowron, who informs Picard that the Duras family
    is amassing a rebel faction and plotting civil war
    against the Empire. Duras, the slain challenger
    for leadership of the High Council, was responsible
    for Worf's discommendation and was also found guilty
    of conspiring with the Romulans. Worf begs Picard
    to intervene in the Klingon disputes, but Picard
    stands by his commitment to stay out of Klingon
    internal affairs. Picard then orders Worf to return
    to the U.S.S. Enterprise, leaving a torn Worf to
    ponder whether he will remain with Starfleet or
    return to his people.
    How is the transfer?
    With there being several weeks placed between
    each review of these season sets, it's often hard
    to remember how good the preceding season set
    looked. However, by all accounts, each season
    seems to be looking better and better. Perhaps
    some of this is attributed to improved production
    value, but I notice that the overall transfers seem
    to be improving as well (as if there was really a
    need for improvement).
    Picture is clean and blemish free. What I
    specifically noticed about the transfer was the
    lack of video noise that you would expect to show
    up on such things like the dark panels inside
    Picard's office. There is absolutely no noise.
    In Reunion, you notice that the scenes
    inside the Klingon ship are primarily lit with
    intense red and blue lighting that don't come
    across as smeared or oversaturated. Even the
    deep reds of Worf's quarters come off without
    a hint of any noise.
    Most any unusual noise in the picture comes in the
    expected areas during the opening and closing credits
    as well as some rainbow color banding in a few of the
    effects shots of spaceship flyovers. All of this is
    very minor, and I blame it on source elements.
    The 5.1 soundtrack is basically as good as it
    has been with all the other sets. The hum of the
    Enterprise's motors can always be heard in the
    rear channels, supplemented by a little bit of bass
    response through the LFE channel. Surround effects
    are never as distinct from channel to channel as
    a theatrical movie would be, but I remind myself
    about the television production value. There is
    a real nice sequence in The Best Of Both Worlds
    Part II
    inside the engine room, as the LFE
    channel awakens with pulsating beats of power that
    you can actually feel.
    Special Features
    The DVD begins exactly as all previous seasons
    with an animated sequence that features the
    planet Saturn, as character faces dissolve in
    and out of the planet surface. With each new set,
    Paramount has made some slight modifications to
    the facial sequences used. The character faces
    remain the same, but they are taken from separate
    A computer seemingly loads the episode retrieval log....
    Welcome to the Main Menu that has been replicated
    to look like the ship's computer mainframe.
    The initial menu lists all the episodes and
    features appearing on that particular DVD.
    You will notice that Paramount has modified
    the menu structure ever so slightly to give it
    a more sleeker look.
    Once you select the episode, you have several
    options laid out before you. ENGAGE will
    immediately start the episode. COMMUNICATIONS
    lets you select either ENGLISH STEREO or ENGLISH
    5.1 SURROUND. It is here that you can also turn
    subtitles on, if you wish. CHAPTER LOG
    breaks the episode down by scenes, with individual
    picture stills allowing you to quickly access your
    favorite points in the episode.
    Disc 7 holds the DVD's extra content. Let's take
    a look at it....
    Stardate 44001.4 Welcome to Mission Logs:
    Year Four. This is the place you'll find
    an interesting blend of added material.
    Mission Overview begins with a triumphant
    overview of the fourth season featuring a montage
    of the season's very best moments. We originally
    met Executive Producer Michael Piller in the third
    season supplements. He was about to leave the
    series at the end of the third season, only to be
    brought back at Roddenberry's request for The
    Best Of Both Worlds
    . In an interview from
    this past January, Piller talks about the frustrations
    involved in concluding last season's cliffhanger.
    In fact, he had no idea how it was all going to
    be resolved until the actors received their scripts.
    In an interview from 2001, Patrick Stewart talks
    about how coincidental it is that favorite episodes
    of the cast in general often become the most
    remembered of the season. Michael Piller talks
    about how this season broke Star Trek barriers by
    making the stories more serialized, often taking
    many episodes to tell a complete story. These
    stories proved to be successful as viewers watched
    their characters grow as relationships were tested
    from episode to episode. The best example of this
    can be found in episodes like Reunion
    and Redemption. The featurette turns to
    the popularity of the villain Q, as Jonathan
    Frakes (in a 2001 interview) describes how
    creatively the character was used in the series
    as if he was a member of the family. Cast
    members talk about the Qpid episode where
    they all got to dress in costumes for a fun
    recreation of Robin Hood. This featurette closes
    on a high note where on the set of the Enterprise
    bridge, a thankful Gene Roddenberry is presented
    with a cake celebrating the 100th episode. Truly
    a moment for the history books.
    (length: approx. 16 minutes)
    Selected Crew Analysis begins with a
    1991 interview with Wil Wheaton who talks about
    his decision to leave the show after the fourth
    season. In another interview from this year,
    Wheaton talks about how much he enjoyed working
    with Patrick Stewart. Patrick helped Will develop
    his innermost acting talents. Patrick Stewart
    talks about how much he admired the young actor,
    particularly his eagerness in becoming a better
    actor. There is much reflection on their biggest
    episode together, Final Mission, where
    Wesley Crusher's character greatly matures. Through
    clips, some of the finer moments involving Wes and
    Picard are shown, alongside an interesting story on
    how the writers skillfully enhanced their relationship.
    Marina Sirtis (Counselor Troi) talks about her
    feelings of not being featured as much as other
    characters in all the season episodes. She talks
    very proudly about her character. Jennifer
    Hetrick (Vash) talks about the strong persona of
    her character and her attitude towards Captain
    Picard. She tells a very funny story about her
    tricorder light that suddenly fizzles out and her
    remarks about it needing new batteries. Jonathan
    Frakes (Riker) talks about doing his own stunts.
    He recalls a very funny story about his the fight
    scenes from Qpid where he ends up in a
    hospital emergency room. Not funny? Wait till you
    hear what happened.
    (length: approx. 16.5 minutes)
    Departmental Briefing: Production begins
    with Patrick Steward talking about Jonathan Frakes
    uncanny style of Directing and comparing it to
    his own desires of directing (which he did with
    In Theory). There are some nice behind-the-
    camera shots of Steward directing his fellow actors
    on the set. Jonathan Frakes talks about the
    responsibilities of being a director, most notably
    being able to prepare for sudden change. There's
    a wonderfully warm story of how Frakes was able to
    direct a child actor (who was later recast).
    Director David Livingston talks about his shaky first
    experience as a director of The Mind's Eye,
    which took him on to bigger and better things.
    This featurette wraps up with a really cool piece
    on MAKEUP, where we meet Make-up designer
    Michael Westmore who describes the process of
    applying makeup to Brent Spiner (Data). At the
    early hour of 4am, we watch Brent go through the
    various stages of makeup with layers of prosthetics
    added. There is also a look at the makeup process
    involving Patrick Stewart as he evolves into a
    half-human Borg.
    (length: approx. 16 minutes)
    New Life and New Civilizations looks at
    the challenges of finding outdoor locations that
    reflect upon the 24th century rather than the
    20th century. Director David Livingston takes
    us through Japanese gardens and water treatment
    plants that were used as Starfleet Academy and
    other futuristic locales. The crew thoroughly
    enjoyed the outdoor locations, treating it as a
    sort of field day. We watch how Matte Paintings
    were integrated into these 20th century locations
    to make them feel more futuristic. In fact, most
    of this featurette concentrates on how the magic
    of Hollywood turned modern locales into futuristic
    ones. Next we visit a post production facility
    where all the visual and sonic information is put
    together for each episode. We see some nice stills
    of the many models that were built (and later blown
    up). It's interesting to learn about the devastated
    ships that were seen in Best of Both Worlds Part
    as most of them were recycled models pulled
    from past TV shows and features. This featurette
    ends with a really cool, in-depth look at how the
    Borg ship was built and ultimately exploded.
    (length: approx. 13 minutes)
    Chronicles From The Final Frontier begins
    with writers Ronald D. Moore, Brannon Braga and
    Jeri Taylor talking about the new direction that
    Michael Piller wanted to take the show. That
    direction, of course, was to make the series more
    character orientated, de-emphasizing the alien of
    the week concept. Michael Piller talks about his
    relationship and trust with his writers, feeling
    confident that they can continue upholding the
    series long after he is gone. This is the story
    of the writers who sought to change the direction
    of the series, but first had to learn the history
    of the original series. It's interesting to learn
    how heated the writers would get with one another
    over their story ideas, only to break for lunch and
    leave it all behind. The writers reflect upon some
    of their favorite episodes and why they were so
    special to them. There's also an interesting
    interview with Denise Crosby (Lt. Tasha/Sela) who
    talks about coming back to the show in the episode
    Redemption. The writers talk about the
    challenge of writing the Klingon storyline, as
    Worf's character continued to evolve in episode
    after episode.
    (length: approx. 17.5 minutes)
    Final Thoughts
    What more is there to say? As I watch this
    fourth season of Star Trek The Next Generation,
    I can't help but marvel over how mature this
    show has become with its exploration into character
    relationships that only solidify the fact that
    this is one of the finest science fiction shows
    of its time.
    Paramount continues to release season sets that
    are geared specifically for the fan base, never
    forgetting the reason why the show has stood the
    test of time.
    Release Date: September 3, 2002
  2. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

    Apr 9, 2000
    Likes Received:
    Portland, OR
    Real Name:
    Are the screenshots broken for anyone else?
  3. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator

    Jul 3, 1997
    Likes Received:
    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein
    If there are any problems viewing the screenshots
    (they show up fine on this end), please email
    me with specific details including what browser
    you are using rather than cluttering up this
    thread with technical feedback.
  4. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

    Aug 3, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Ron, I tried to send you mail reporting the absence of pics here, too. Delivery failed..."Over Quota". Sorry. [​IMG]
    I strongly urge you to look at the following episodes which you didn't bring up in your review (the three you mentioned were great; these should be added to that list): Family, Brothers, Remember Me, Future Imperfect, Final Mission, Data's Day, Devil's Due, Clues, First Contact, Galaxy's Child, The Nth Degree, QPid, The Drumhead, Half A Life, The Host, In Theory.
    Good, unillustrated review. [​IMG]
  5. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator

    Jul 3, 1997
    Likes Received:
    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    Thanks for the kudos!

    I have piles of DVDs waiting to be reviewed
    this week. I checked out just three episodes
    and I'll look into others at some other point.

    As far as the screenshots....

    Since we just changed servers the screenshots
    will take a day to filter over. Please check
    back to this thread.
  6. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

    Aug 3, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Okay. Weird, though...the box shot comes through all right! It's just the captures that are missing.
    Oh: you're welcome! [​IMG]
  7. gregstaten

    gregstaten Supporting Actor

    Aug 1, 1997
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    Great review, Ron. I received these yesterday and haven't cracked it open yet. I may have to tonight!

  8. Aryn Leroux

    Aryn Leroux Screenwriter

    Aug 19, 2001
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    As Always good job Ron. I look forward to next tuesday so i can watch best of both worlds part II!
  9. Brenton

    Brenton Screenwriter

    Jun 25, 2002
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  10. Joseph J.D

    Joseph J.D Cinematographer

    Dec 4, 2001
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    Looking forward to picking this one up early next week. Time once again to go where no-one has gone before.[​IMG] Good review Ron.[​IMG]
  11. Clay Autery

    Clay Autery Stunt Coordinator

    Oct 23, 2000
    Likes Received:
    I'll be at COSTCO on the 3rd to pick this set up too.... The first three seasons are among my most prized members of my DVD collection!!! [​IMG]
  12. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

    Aug 3, 2001
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  13. John Berggren

    John Berggren Producer

    Jun 17, 1999
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    As usual, an excellent review. I can't wait to pick this one up. I just hope I have time to catch up to watching season 4.
  14. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

    Jun 3, 1999
    Likes Received:
    Thanks for the reviews, Ron--even though you're preaching to the choir! Can't wait for my box to arrive.
  15. Greg O' Connel

    Greg O' Connel Stunt Coordinator

    Apr 10, 2000
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    If any Star Trek fans out there can't wait until the 3rd for this set, I just saw it today in a certain mall-based audio/video store. Just FYI. Ahem. [​IMG]
  16. John Parris

    John Parris Stunt Coordinator

    Aug 10, 2002
    Likes Received:
    These DVDs are quite simply a dream come true for me. I got the first three on a discount while I was working at Best Buy, but this season's going to take a slightly larger chunk out of my wallet I guess.
    I've always dreamt of having all the episodes at hand like this, and now I can't stop watching them.
    Excellent review, as always. I know I'll be at Best Buy with bells on teusday morning when they open! [​IMG]
    Anyone have any information relating to DS9 or Voyage or even Enterprise DVDs? I hadnt heard anything official...just wondering if they're planning on it...
  17. Aryn Leroux

    Aryn Leroux Screenwriter

    Aug 19, 2001
    Likes Received:
    The Plan is to have all 7-seasons of DS9 released in 2003. I would imagine voyager would be 2004.
  18. Steven_J_H

    Steven_J_H Stunt Coordinator

    Mar 30, 2002
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    I will be picking this set up at BB on Tuesday (with the extra disc). Great review Ron. [​IMG]
  19. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

    Aug 24, 2001
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    My Best Buy does not have those extra DVDs. I don't know why...
  20. todd stone

    todd stone Screenwriter

    Dec 1, 2000
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    hey guys, what episode and what season, is the episode where the enterprise is caught in a loop and keeps blowing up, only to have data figure out the decision made by the rank of riker is why they kept dying?

    I believe it starts with a poker scene.....

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