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

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Mar 15, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    Star Trek: The Next Generation
    Season One

    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.
    Sixteen years after its television premier,
    Paramount Home Video is giving the ultimate
    homage to this series by releasing it in an
    amazing series-by-series package in which
    Executive Producer Rick Berman notes, "Every
    element of this collection has been carefully
    created with you, the Star Trek fan in mind."
    Paramount was not going to repeat their original
    mistake with handling Star Trek television product
    on DVD. The original series was released in no
    less than 40 individual volumes containing two
    episodes each. Even more frustrating was the fact
    that it took the studio over two years to get the
    entire series out. One can easily forgive Paramount
    knowing that this was their very television entry
    at a time when no other studio was releasing
    television product. The studio was nearly getting
    their feet wet and as you can see, learned by
    their mistakes.
    I have to admit that I was a bit surprised at
    first by the packaging. Many of the early pictures
    of the packaging made it look like this set was
    coming in a large plastic outer case. I was quite
    surprised to find it housed instead in cardboard.
    I am not totally disappointed, however, as this is
    THE most attractive television boxed-set I have
    seen thus far. The pictures above show a very
    strong and durable outer cardboard box that opens
    up to a gatefold enclosure inside.
    Star Trek The Next Generation Season One is
    presented in a very handsome 7-pane gatefold that
    opens up to an impressive span, holding the entire
    first season laid out across 7 DVDs placed in plastic
    housing. A total of 25 episodes are presented here,
    all available for the first time in 5.1 surround sound.
    Inside the gatefold's end pocket sits a small
    pamphlet that opens to an impressive 26 1/2"
    2-sided fold-out. The one side features artist
    renderings of all the main Star Trek characters
    and various ships including those belonging to
    the Romulans and Klingons. The second side begins
    with a Welcome introduction by Executive Producer,
    Rick Berman. There are then individual pictures
    and summaries of each of the show's characters.
    Two pages of this booklet are devoted to
    The Episodes which are listed in alphabetical
    order. I would have preferred listing by air date.
    In any case, a quick reference tells you the
    original air date of each episode and what
    corresponding disc that episode appears on.
    How is the transfer?
    Generally, the series looks quite good. My
    initial problem was that I was used to watching
    so much film on DVD over the past few weeks, and
    watching a TV show on DVD is a totally different
    First of all, the series is presented in its
    original broadcast "Full Frame". This is going
    to ultimately bother viewers with anamorphic sets,
    but ultimately, it's no more difficult to adjust
    to over regular broadcast television.
    Second, I had to come to terms that this was
    not going to be a film-like presentation. The
    picture looks generally good, but just because
    I like to nit pick, there are a few oddities I
    did notice. The show's titles have a lot of video
    noise in them. Many of the effect shots show
    picture shimmer. There are some shots of Captain
    Picard in "Encounter at Farpoint" that show an
    excessive amount of redness in his face compared
    to the other surrounding characters. Am I being
    a bit too nit picky? You bet! The transfer is
    probably as good as the source was, and I have no
    major gripes about the picture quality.
    You would think that by the look of Data's
    face, he had the same sonic experience I did
    listening to these episodes. The new 5.1
    Dolby Digital mix is absolutely stunning.
    Crank your system up, because you are going
    to be blown away not just by the 5 channels
    of crisp, direction-defined sound, but also by
    the amount of LFE sound that had my SV SUBWOOFER
    shaking the floor as the Enterprise rolled on
    by. The most impressive example of bass sound
    came in the show's final episode, "The Neutral
    Zone" when a Romulan ship suddenly decloaks and
    roars upon the screen.
    What I enjoyed most about this 5.1 mix is that
    the soundstage is set up so that you are placed
    in the Captain's chair as the action happens in
    front of you, and the hum of the ship's engines
    are placed behind you. Such detail makes these
    episodes more than just a viewing experience.
    Special Features
    It's the little added touches that totally
    immerses the viewer into the Star Trek experience.
    As you pop in the disc, you are greeted with a newly
    produced animated sequence. The planet Saturn
    appears, as character faces dissolve in and out of
    the planet surface. The Enterprise makes her way
    across the front of the planet as the show's titles
    appear, ending the sequence.
    A computer seemingly loads the episode retrieval
    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.
    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....
    Labeled as Mission Logs, there is an
    interesting blend of added material here for fans.
    Take a walk down memory lane with In the
    beginning. A newly produced featurette
    intercut with original 1985 interviews brings
    us onto the Paramount lot and onto the show's
    soundstage as we see crew putting together the
    massive sets. In the background, cast members
    give a toast to the new crew of the Enterprise.
    Executive Producer Gene Roddenberry and Supervising
    Producer Robert Justman (who both worked on the
    original series) reflect on putting this new show
    together and why it had to be done with a new cast.
    Each of the cast members tell their stories of
    coming aboard as cast members and how they were
    just overwhelmed by the futuristic look of the
    sets and computers. We then get a glimpse of
    production designs that include all the effects
    shots done with miniatures. Pat Sweeney from
    Industrial Light & Magic shows us a brand new
    technique called the "max-stretch" which will
    enable the Enterprise to go into warp speed. This
    17-minute featurette ends with all the cast members
    reflecting on Gene Roddenberry and his true visions
    for the 24th century.
    Opening season jitters run amok in Selected
    Crew Analysis. Produced in 1985-86, we are
    taken on the set to talk to Patrick Stewart,
    Jonathan Frakes, Gates McFadden and the rest of
    the crew who talk about the jitters of doing a
    television series that would probably never come
    close to the original. This is a really fun piece
    that through fast edits, tells the story of
    countless auditions and near misses that each cast
    member had. The cast later talk about the
    development of their characters over the seasons
    from hairstyles that changed (see Worf's humorous
    Lena Horne look) to evolving relationships between
    the characters. Frakes and Steward end this 15-minute
    featurette commenting about how a huge cast working
    70-80 hours a week together, still managed to be
    a happy one.
    Executive Producer Rick Berman describes the
    Enterprise as "a substitute for Mother Earth"
    in The making of a legend. This 15-minute
    featurette looks at the concept of creating
    a futuristic film-like show for broadcast TV.
    One of the most interesting aspects of creating
    a show about the 24th century is that every
    prop seen has to be manufactured. This includes
    everything from medical equipment to simple items
    that sat on shelves in shipmate quarters. Even
    a planet's surface required materials to be used
    in a way they were never used before. This show
    was produced right before digital effects became
    the norm, and thus, all the effects had to be
    done with opticals. We are treated to a look at
    how the transport "beam up" is created with the
    different layers of effects. It's interesting
    to watch how all the props (from guns to tricorders)
    have been updated from the original series in order
    to show how much has been advanced since then.
    Next up we take a look at the things that MAKE
    the character from Worf's make-up to Geordi's visor.
    We are then taken on a soundstage where the orchestra
    lays down the score for the episodes.
    Jonathan Frakes talks about Metamucil and black
    printer's ink as one of his most Memorable
    Missions. Patrick Steward remembers how
    the entire set was in hysterics for 45-minutes
    because Frakes couldn't say his dialogue. FX
    Supervisor Dan Curry laughs about a shampoo
    bottle and an Easter Egg became a desperate
    last-minute killer robot. This 17-minute
    featurette is a fun look at how special episodes
    have special memories for members of the cast
    and crew.
    Let me give special kudos to Paramount for
    presenting all of these featurettes with the
    option to add subtitles.
    Final Thoughts
    This is a very special moment for Star Trek
    fans and Paramount Home Video.
    Fans finally get treated with the respect
    they deserve as Paramount really pulls out the
    stops with a season boxed set that doesn't cut
    corners. The studio is being very aggressive,
    promising to release all 7 seasons this year.
    What other studio is giving that sort of priority
    to their seasons of sets?
    I would boldly go where no reviewer has gone
    before and say that this is the ONE series that
    is worth the investment whether you have ever
    watched a single episode or not. You see, Star
    Trek speaks a universal language about ourselves
    and how we get along together amongst different
    races. I think that Supervising Producer Robert
    Justman said it best....
    "What Star Trek is about, what the series is about morality and that hasn't changed
    one bit since the early days back in 1965 and '66."

    Amen! Now buy the set!
    Release Date: March 26, 2002
  2. Jay W

    Jay W Supporting Actor

    Oct 5, 1999
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    Very comprehensive review Ron, in particular thanks for showing in detail the packaging for the set. I have this one on order, and even though I'm a little dissapointed we didn't get the plastic cases the R2 sets have I'll be picking all of these up.
  3. Josh_Hill

    Josh_Hill Screenwriter

    Jan 6, 2002
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    Very nice review. I may just pick this up sometime next month. I am not a big ST fan, but I generally like TNG, so, I dont know.
  4. PhilipG

    PhilipG Cinematographer

    Jan 13, 2000
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  5. PhilipG

    PhilipG Cinematographer

    Jan 13, 2000
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    Additional: I don't suppose there are any nice Easter Eggs (= episode trailers) included...?
  6. Dave Simpson

    Dave Simpson Second Unit

    Sep 18, 1999
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  7. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

    Aug 3, 2001
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    [daffy duck]Mine! Mine! Mine! Noone Elses! All Mine! I'm a wealthy miser... [/daffy duck]
    Wow, Ron! GREAT review and GREAT PICTURES!! Awesome stuff.
    The funny thing is that I should have ANTICIPATED that the menu design would be in that style, but it never occurred to me! [​IMG] Looks awesome, though.
  8. Carl Johnson

    Carl Johnson Cinematographer

    May 6, 1999
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    Carl III
    My plan was to pass on the first few seasons of TNG but now I just might have to rethink that.......
  9. CaptDS9E

    CaptDS9E Cinematographer

    Apr 18, 1999
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    The screen caps look awesome. Cant wait to try a side by side comparison to the VHS tapes I have is. Ron when you said the surround track is excellent when the romulan ship decloaks, i can only wait till next year when hopefully DS9 is released where lots of battling and cloaking/decloaking happens :)

  10. Frank Anderson

    Frank Anderson Cinematographer

    Jun 7, 1999
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    Long range sensors show this thing is awesome!
    Great review Ron. I can’t wait to own it. Love the Lcars menu. And it sounds like the 5.1 rocks. Looks like the only thing that sucks is the packaging. I so look forward to having this thing take up an entire table to unfold. But nevertheless, I got my TNG on DVD (well in 10 days at least).
  11. Jeff Webb

    Jeff Webb Auditioning

    Aug 5, 2000
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    EXCELLENT!!!! I have been waiting for this show for two and a half years. It was definately worth the wait.
  12. Kai Zas

    Kai Zas Second Unit

    Jan 24, 2002
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    I've already ordered the R1 version, but can we expect a R2 review (maybe packaging only) from Ron here at the forum?
  13. Richard Ruffner

    Richard Ruffner Stunt Coordinator

    Jul 4, 2001
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    As far as packaging goes, I've found the packaging on Cosmos (same kind, folds out across a table) to be really nice for multi set (7 or so) DVD's. I'm very happy with this packaging.
  14. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

    Dec 4, 1999
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  15. Bill Crosthwait

    Bill Crosthwait Second Unit

    Apr 30, 2000
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    Thanks for the great review. I can't wait till march 26th.
  16. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

    Jun 3, 1999
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    I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to my copy[ies]. My heart's a poundin'. Thanks for the lust-inducing review, Ron. Man, I can't friggin' wait!
  17. Peter Rohlfs

    Peter Rohlfs Stunt Coordinator

    Dec 21, 1998
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    My preorder came early, I watched the extras and Farpoint.

    I like the packaging EXCEPT the paper that was added to the outside box. It goes across the back, under the box and onto the front. It is glued on the front and back. There is noway to open the set without remoing (risking glue spots on the box) or cutting it. I chose to cut it at the front fold.

    I like the documentaries, but would like the year of the interview identified since some seem to be new interviews and some from the time of the 1st season.

    A better restoration effort should have been made on Farpoint. I understand effects shots showing problems from compositing, but there are alot of zero effects shot scenes with white flecks (sp?) in them. Since the camera is often not moving at the time frames before or after could have been used to remove these. For example look at the closeup of Picard in his 1st ready room meeting with Riker. A big white fleck appears to the left of his face in the dark shadow. These are constantly appearing in dark areas.

    Don't know if the problem is in the other epeisodes.

    Based on what I've seen so far, sound A-, picture B+.

  18. Ron Dodolak

    Ron Dodolak Auditioning

    Jul 25, 1999
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  19. Michael St. Clair

    May 3, 1999
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    If this bothers any of the OAR-loving brethren here, they should blame their widescreen sets' poor handling of 4:3 material, not the original production itself.
  20. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

    Feb 14, 2002
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    Great review, Ron [​IMG] I placed my order a couple days ago.
    I love the packaging, but I just know it's not gonna last. So I'll be ordering a few Amaray cases too :p

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