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

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Apr 26, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    Star Trek: The Next Generation
    Season Two

    Year: 1988-1989
    Rated: NR
    Film Length: 16 Hours 39 min.
    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.
    May 7th, 2002, nearly sixteen years later,
    Paramount is just getting its feet wet with
    releasing Season Two of Star Trek
    The Next Generation. Paramount's mission:
    to release the entire seven seasons on DVD by
    year's end. It's a feat where no studio has
    gone before, and Paramount should be commended
    for their commitment to not only this series,
    but to Star Trek fans everywhere.
    Star Trek TNG Season Two arrives
    with a few changes over its previous first
    season predecessor. Like the first set, Season
    Two is presented in a very handsome 7-pane gatefold
    that opens up to an impressive span, holding the
    entire second season laid out across 6 DVDs placed
    in plastic housing. The reason for 1 less DVD in
    this set is because the second season was delayed
    and shortened to 22 episodes (instead of the usual
    26) due to the Writer's Guild strike in 1988.
    Paramount has also given the set its own unique
    appearance by giving the packaging a predominantly
    orange color scheme so that it can easily be
    differentiated from other seasons.
    Inside the gatefold's end pocket sits a smaller
    pamphlet than Season One, that opens to a 17 1/2"
    2-sided fold-out. The one side features artist
    renderings of all the main Star Trek characters
    including Dr. Pulaski. The second side begins
    with a very short paragraph explaining the changes
    you will find in Season Two. Beneath is a
    schematic drawing of the Enterprise with all its
    features listed in text. On the opposite pages,
    Episodes are listed in alphabetical order, complete
    with airdate, stardate, and what disc that episode
    appears on.
    The packaging is not the only thing to sport
    changes, either. The series itself went through
    some changes during its second series run. Dr.
    Kate Pulaski (Diana Muldaur) replaced Dr. Crusher.
    Worf gets promoted to Security officer after
    Denise Crosby left in Season One. Changes
    withstanding, historically Season Two isn't
    considered to be one of the better seasons as
    the show was still trying to find its way.
    I watched two 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 two best episodes of that season....
    Elementary, Dear Data is one of the
    first episodes to make extended use of the ship's
    holodeck. With some time to kill, Data and
    Geordi have some fun playing Sherlock Holmes
    and Dr. Watson. The problem is, Data is so
    fluently knowledgeable of every Holmes case that
    he immediately solves them all, leaving Geordi
    to wonder where all the fun of it is? Geordi
    gives the holodeck computer an ultimate challenge:
    create an adversary capable of defeating Data.
    That adversary is Professor Moriarity who takes
    control of the ship's computer threatening to
    use that power to ensure his mortality.
    The Measure of a Man allows Capatin Picard
    to shine! Is Data a machine or does he have a
    soul? That is the question plaguing the Captain
    as Starfleet orders the android to be taken off
    the Enterprise for a highly dangerous experiment.
    Captain Picard orders a hearing to resolve the
    issue once and for all. With Lt. Commander Riker
    unwillingly prosecuting his comrade, does Data
    stand a chance?
    How is the Transfer?
    Overall picture quality has not changed from
    the original boxed set. I could sit here and
    nitpick about the amount of video noise that
    is evident in the show's title credits, or
    in some of the special effects shots. But you
    know what? The transfer looks as good as the
    source material probably did, and I can't see
    anyone complaining about the video presentation.
    The audio quality is the most impressive part
    of the presentation. Mixed in a new 5.1
    Dolby Digital mix, you'll be surprised at how
    much you become the center of the Enterprise
    action. Dialogue stays firmly in the center
    channel as the main action and music fills the
    front sound stage. Completing the entire audio
    experience is the sound of the ships engines,
    continually evident in the rear speakers and
    supplemented by rattling bass in the LFE channel.
    There is so much subwoofer response, I could
    actually feel the power of Enterprise.
    Special Features
    The DVD begins exactly as Season One began
    with an animated sequence that features the
    planet Saturn, as character faces dissolve in and
    out of the planet surface. The face of Dr.Pulaski
    is seen for the very first time.
    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 6 holds the DVD's extra content. I think
    the extra content is even better and more expanded
    in this set over the first season set. Let's take
    a look at it....
    Labeled as Mission Logs, there is an
    interesting blend of added material here for fans.
    Stardate 42073.1. Welcome to Mission Overview
    Year Two. In a 2001 interview, Executive
    Producer Rick Berman talks about the success of
    the first season and how that energy contributed
    to Season Two. New sets were built, a new Doctor
    was brought on board, and the actors and writers
    were definitely getting more comfortable with
    the whole experience. In a 1988 interview, Gene
    Roddenbery promises that Dr. Pulaski will be
    very much like a female Dr. McCoy. Actress Diana
    Muldaur reflects upon her days in the original
    Star Trek series, and her anticipations of coming
    aboard for this Next Generation series. Gene
    Roddenberry reflects on how actress Whoopie Goldberg
    was brought to the show. Whoopie came to Gene,
    wanting the part, explaining that seeing a black
    woman on the original series gave her inspiration
    into her own future. With Whoopie's character
    now in place, a new set was built to reflect the
    off-duty activity of the ship personnel. We see
    workers building the set that ultimately became
    the ship's bar. Tribute is given to creator Gene
    Roddenberry, starting with Co-Executive Producer
    Maurice Hurley reflecting on a conversation he
    had with Gene on deflectors vs. shields. Diana
    Muldaur and Whoopie Goldberg talk about the 21st
    Century and Roddenberry's vision of that world.
    It's an interesting piece on just how far the
    show had traveled since season one.
    (length: approx. 14 minutes)
    Selected Crew Analysis Year Two begins
    as Patrick Stewart talks about how quickly the
    cast has melded with each other. He happily
    quirps, "Being the boss is a wonderful job"
    and warns that we are only on the threshold of
    understanding who the principal characters of
    the cast really are. This featurette visits
    each of the primary cast members: Patrick
    Stewart, Levar Burton, Jonathan Frakes, Wil
    Wheaton and Marina Sirtis who talk about their
    expectations for Season Two, as well some of
    the changes made in their characters. As they
    describe all of this, key scenes are presented
    that show off their characters.
    (length: approx. 13 minutes)
    Welcome to Starfleet Archives and beautiful
    Paramount Studios where we meet Star Trek
    Coordinator Penny Juday, who works on the backlot,
    maintaining the Star Trek archives. Penny shows
    us her vast collection of Star Trek artifacts,
    drawings and blueprints that span the entire
    legacy from the original series through feature
    films. With the new Star Trek Nemesis in
    production, Penny goes through the well documented
    warehouse searching through 35 years of material
    in order to find props she needs. We get a tour
    of one of the 6 warehouses on the Paramount lot
    that store boxes that look like it came out of
    the Indiana Jones movie. You'll be in complete
    awe as dozens of models and props are shown in
    the warehouse, and then as seen in either one
    of the series shows or features. My favorite?
    The large model of Checkov's ear that a deadly
    bug burrowed into (Star Trek II). One of the
    biggest emotional surprises that Penny found is
    revealed at the end of this documentary - don't
    miss it.
    (length: approx. 17 minutes)
    Departmental Briefing Year Two begins with
    Production. It is here that we see the
    evolution of Star Trek's most memorable villains,
    The Borg. Visual Effects Supervisor Dan Curry
    shows us models of the Borg "cube" ship and the
    visual complexities involved. Through original
    concept drawings, we see how original ideas became
    final product. Writing gives an overview
    on the procedures of writing a show from initial
    ideas that come from the writers, to the final
    thumbprint from Roddenberry. In Costumes,
    Costume Designer Durinda Rice Wood shows us
    some conceptual drawings and tells us how much
    she enjoys going to the hardware store to pick
    up items that comprise Star Trek costumes. From
    Klingon Women to Whoopie Goldberg, we get an idea
    of the elements that make up the costumes. In
    Props, Property Master Alan Sims talks
    about creating the food of the future. His biggest
    task came in creating Klingon Food. Music
    introduces us to Composer Dennis McCarthy who
    discusses how the music was toned down as not to
    interfere with the show's main action. We see
    musicians on the scoring stage performing the
    music tracks for the show. Key sequences are
    shown to illustrate the importance of music in
    a particular scene.
    (length: approx. 17 minutes)
    Everyone has their most Memorable Missions.
    Here cast and crew talk about their favorite
    episodes, sharing special memories associated
    with it. In one segment. John Tesh talks about
    the remarkable experience of playing a Klingon --
    especially with the makeup and costume. It's
    kind of cool to watch him walk across the
    Paramount backlot in complete costume. Property
    Master Alan Sims recalls his favorite episode
    that featured his very pregnant wife. Whether
    it be costume or visual effects related, there
    is always a special Season Two memory for the
    cast and crew of Next Generation.
    Every single piece of supplemental material
    can be viewed with the option of SUBTITLES
    by selecting the COMMUNICATIONS menu choice.
    Way to go, Paramount!
    Final Thoughts
    I must again say that I am very proud that
    Paramount has given all this consideration to
    Star Trek fans by putting together such an
    elaborate series set and getting this complete
    series out within a single year.
    One can't help but be in complete awe of
    the overall ambient experience that Paramount
    has created with these DVDs. From animated
    menus that mimic a ship's computer to a
    5.1 mix that puts you in the Captain's chair,
    to a quality assortment of supplemental material.
    Take all of that and put it in a handsome
    collector's box and you have the most impressive
    television release any studio has put out on DVD
    to date.
    Release Date: May 7, 2002
  2. Sam Davatchi

    Sam Davatchi Producer

    Sep 15, 1999
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    Can’t wait! Have to finish season one immediately!
  3. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

    Aug 3, 2001
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    Another nice review, Ron. And I am SOOOO jealous that you have this already! :p)
    I am looking forward to this one for some of the pinnacle episodes, esp. Measure of a Man. But also because it clears the way for the penultimate TNG season, #3! [​IMG]
  4. CaptDS9E

    CaptDS9E Cinematographer

    Apr 18, 1999
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    I just finished Season 1 two days ago. Cant wait to get my hands on this one. In the meantime, Ill just watch transformers:)

  5. Henry Colonna

    Henry Colonna Stunt Coordinator

    Oct 20, 2000
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    I'm still going slowly through season one. That DVD set was extremely well done, but my problem is just that the quality of those episodes is low. My enthusiasm for watching them is not so strong, even though my desire to own the boxed set was, if that makes any sense. Season two is not much better. The show started really going in Season Three, in my opinion.

    I disagree only with the statement "you have the most impressive television release any studio has put out on DVD

    to date."

    I thought the Twin Peaks set was more impressive, with its incredible video quality, sound, script notes, menu system, and main menu graphics, which really gave a feel for the show. I cannot wait for Season two!!!!
  6. Frank Anderson

    Frank Anderson Cinematographer

    Jun 7, 1999
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    Envy is a sin right?

    I do not wish to sin but Ron you make it hard not to when you keep getting these sets so early.
  7. Mark_Davis

    Mark_Davis Extra

    Mar 26, 2002
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  8. Michael St. Clair

    May 3, 1999
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    Trek:TNG just can't match Twin Peaks because there is no final edited film to transfer from for TNG. The series was produced on video after live action photography.

    Picture quality will improve some towards the end of the series when component (not composite) video masters are available.
  9. Jeff Bamberger

    Jeff Bamberger Second Unit

    Sep 15, 1999
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    Ok. Now if I could just hit the lottery, I could afford all of these......

    I will have all 7 eventually, but I see it taking about 2-3 years (1 for birthday, 2 for holidays, 3 for birthday, etc.......
  10. todd stone

    todd stone Screenwriter

    Dec 1, 2000
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    Excellent Ron!
    I cannot wait. Although I never did like the DR replacement, it was only temporary [​IMG]
  11. Joel C

    Joel C Screenwriter

    Oct 23, 1999
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  12. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

    Aug 3, 2001
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  13. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

    Jun 3, 1999
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    Ron: I was sold on this before your review, but now you've only made the wait all the more agonizing. Um, do you plan on keeping your screener copy of this set? Just zap me an e-mail. Thanks. [​IMG] JB
  14. Sam Davatchi

    Sam Davatchi Producer

    Sep 15, 1999
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    OK! I guess I’m a lucky dog. Today went to get the Friends season one and instead found TNG season 2. [​IMG] Now I have to finish season one in warp 9! About season 2. Season 2 is definitely not bad. It’s the continuation of the growth of the series. It contains some of the better episodes and a foreshadowing of the things to come. It also contains the first appearance of the Borg, one of the greatest creative achievements of TNG. If you want to get more excited about this season, also read the reviews of digital bits and DVDfile.
  15. Joseph J.D

    Joseph J.D Cinematographer

    Dec 4, 2001
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    Thanks for your review Ron! I watched the final Season One episode last night and am going through the supplements tonight. Looking forward to Season Two in a week-and-half.[​IMG] Gotta say that May is gonna be a busy month viewing-wise. I will have to divide my time between both ST:TNG2 and X-Files season 5...not to mention Friends Season 1...jeez..I think May is going to be spent indoors.[​IMG]
  16. Sam Davatchi

    Sam Davatchi Producer

    Sep 15, 1999
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  17. Lloyd White

    Lloyd White Stunt Coordinator

    Oct 19, 2000
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  18. Sam Davatchi

    Sam Davatchi Producer

    Sep 15, 1999
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    Thanks. I was a little troubled that my link didn’t rank some of my favorite episodes high. Your link ranks them more to my taste!
  19. Derrick_Ellis

    Derrick_Ellis Stunt Coordinator

    Jun 30, 1997
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    Looks like I'll be giving more blood to cover the costs of all the TNG box sets. [​IMG] And I think they need a space on the shelf all to themselves. [​IMG]
  20. Chris Lock

    Chris Lock Second Unit

    Jul 1, 1999
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    Anyone know why this seems to be priced a bit higher than the first season, although it has one less disc?

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