There are some shows that in all of the grand history of television serve as bench marks of entertainment, not only for the respective genre but for the medium itself. One of those shows is without question “Star Trek”, this show and its subsequent spinoffs were some of the more groundbreaking hour long episodic television episodes ever produced. Out this week from our friends at CBS TV and Paramount Home Video is the first season of the reemergence of “Star Trek” as a television force in 1987 with “Star Trek: The Next Generation” now available for the first time on Blu-Ray.
Starring Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes & Brent Spiner
“Star Trek: The Next Generation” is set in the 24th century; decades after the adventures of the original series as we follow Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Stewart), Commander William Riker (Frakes) and the entire crew of the Starship Enterprise. A brand new Enterprise NCC 1701-D as they travel out to distant worlds to seek out new life and truly go where no one has gone before.
In reality, the first season of what we shall refer to from now on as ‘TNG’ was a big gamble as none of the major networks wanted to embrace the idea for rebooting the show, because quite frankly no one thought it would work and that made their gamble of producing the show for first run syndication all the more risky, but ultimately that much more profitable. The early episodes in the series were admittedly a little rough as internal squabbles between Gene Roddenberry and other writers made for some occasionally stilted and corny dialogue, but the foundation was there and the ensemble of actors led by the Shakespearean trained Patrick Stewart along with the writers had laid the ground work for these characters to grow, and for a public that was hungry for anything Star Trek this was a very solid start.
The attraction of the original series was primarily about the interaction between the three primary characters in the show, but with TNG it was really more of an ensemble from minute one. Patrick Stewart coming from his classically trained background intelligently gave Captain Jean Luc Picard a very different voice and swagger to that of William Shatner’s Captain Kirk, allowing the audiences to invest in the character in a very different way. Jonathan Frakes’ Riker was a little more in the mode of the star hopping action hero and gave fans what they were looking for in regards to a reminder to the classic series. Unlike the classic series, the ensemble got to shine as Brent Spiner, Michael Dorn, LeVar Burton and a young Wil Wheaton all had their moments in the sun and through the course of the first & subsequent seasons they developed and each character in the main cast was just as important as the other.
In talking with scenic art supervisor’s on the show who are also overseeing the restoration of the Blu-Ray’s Michael & Denise Okuda, the process of beginning to restore this show and upgrade to high definition began in 2005 as David Grant and Ryan Adams from CBS Television were on mission spearheading the idea of bringing the series into high definition, but due to the complex nature of the elements of the series it took this long to get it to the public. With a strict mandate of altering as little of the visual effects of feel of the show as humanly possible from the original elements they combed through the original 35 mm that were stored with care and were still and great shape and after all these years, and with the culmination of this week’s special event screenings where everything looked fantastic as it does, according to Denise Okuda ‘Seeing it on the big screen and now remastered on Blu-Ray, was like opening presents on Christmas Day’.
While admittedly there are some dialogue and story elements that were a little corny even 25 years ago, there is no question that “Star Trek: The Next Generation Season One” on Blu-Ray is one of the most beautiful sets to have ever been produced and a fantastic example of what scanning from the original film elements can produce on Blu-Ray.
5 out of 5 stars.
“Star Trek: The Next Generation Season One” is now available to rent on Blu-Ray at video stores all across Canada; it is also available for purchase at all major retailers like amazon.ca or HMV.
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