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

Ronald Epstein

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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
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.
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
 

David Lambert

Senior HTF Member
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Aug 3, 2001
Messages
11,377
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!
 

CaptDS9E

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Messages
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Real Name
Joey
I just finished Season 1 two days ago. Cant wait to get my hands on this one. In the meantime, Ill just watch transformers:)

capt
 

Henry Colonna

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
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Messages
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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!!!!
 

Frank Anderson

Senior HTF Member
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Jun 7, 1999
Messages
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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.
 

Michael St. Clair

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May 3, 1999
Messages
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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.
 

Jeff Bamberger

Second Unit
Joined
Sep 15, 1999
Messages
495
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.......
 

Jack Briggs

Senior HTF Member
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Jun 3, 1999
Messages
16,805
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.
JB
 

Sam Davatchi

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SamD
OK! I guess I’m a lucky dog. Today went to get the Friends season one and instead found TNG season 2.
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.
 

Lloyd White

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Sam Davatchi

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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!
 

Derrick_Ellis

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jun 30, 1997
Messages
131
Looks like I'll be giving more blood to cover the costs of all the TNG box sets.
And I think they need a space on the shelf all to themselves.
 

Chris Lock

Second Unit
Joined
Jul 1, 1999
Messages
258
Anyone know why this seems to be priced a bit higher than the first season, although it has one less disc?
 

David Lambert

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Joined
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Messages
11,377


For places that are doing that - and not everyone is (Costco $94.99, same as S1) - it might be as simple as that they are ordering in a lesser volume, so the volume discount isn't as great.

Although noone has said, I'm sure that S2 has the same No-MSRP/No-MAP model that S1 did.
 

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