Friday, September 6, 2013


Season Three Blu-Ray Set
So my fiancée and I have been collecting the new STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION Blu-Ray seasons as they've come out -- and by the way, how do you tell when you've met the one for you? When she's more excited than you are that TNG is being released on Blu-Ray! But anyway -- we've been picking them up but not really watching them. We checked out "Where No One Has Gone Before" from the season one set when it first came out, but otherwise, between work, wedding planning, and current TV, we've had little chance to view any more episodes.

Finally, with some spare time last weekend, I decided to check out a few random episodes from seasons three and four. With the fiancée's blessing, since she was out for the day, I watched a handful of episodes which bring me fond memories from my youth: season three's "The Hunted", and season four's "Data's Day", "The Drumhead", and "The Mind's Eye". Not all considered classics, but all episodes I hadn't viewed in many years.

I have to say, I'm really impressed with these. My understanding is that the special effects had to be entirely re-composited, as they only existed in their original separate film elements, or in their finished form on videotape. Well, everything was reassembled masterfully. The effects look just like I remember.

Beyond that, I'm very impressed with the high-def exterior shots of the Enterprise and other ships. I'm a proponent of CGI when done well, but there's something about a well-lit, professionally photographed model that blows anything computer-generated out of the water.

The makeup looks terrific, too. I really wasn't sure what to expect here. I had fearful visions of seeing the seam between Worf's forehead and Michael Dorn's face, or of being able to tell that Brent Spiner was caked in gold makeup to look like an android. But for the most part, my fears were unfounded -- everything looks surprisingly seamless.

The one deficiency I noted in viewing this admittedly small sample is the matte paintings. Mattes are a long STAR TREK tradition, going back to the original series, used for establishing shots of alien landscapes. In standard definition all those years ago, a matte looked like it could be a real place, especially with moving vehicles or actors superimposed onto the foreground. But unfortunately, in high definition, a matte looks like... a painting. Not realistic at all.

Season Four Blu-Ray Set

But if that's all I'll have to live with in these Blu releases, I'm happy. Everything else looks and sounds terrific. Someday we'll sit down and watch the whole series. Maybe not until we're retired in a few decades, but it'll happen! In the meantime, I'll just pop in the occasional episode when the mood strikes me, and admire the best-looking NEXT GENERATION ever.

Only three more TNG seasons remain to be released on Blu. Season five is a no-brainer for me, and even though I find seasons six and seven to be highly uneven -- seven especially -- we'll pick them all up. And I'll be crossing my fingers and hoping against hope that when the TNG Blu-Rays run their course, my favorite TV series of all time -- STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE -- will get the HD treatment next!!


  1. Man, I really, really hope DS9 gets the HD treatment. I will buy those day-off release, no questions asked. It's easily my favorite Trek series, and if not my favorite TV show of all time, darn near close.

    I picked up the first season of TNG on blu ray but haven't gotten the others yet (I will at some point). Like you, I only watched a smattering of episodes but was really impressed by the transfer.

    "The Hunted" - which was one that? That's the only one of the group you cited that I can't recall...

  2. Do you hear that, CBS?? At least two people will buy DS9 Blu-Ray sets! I actually know a third, now that I think about it -- so at least three people will buy DS9 Blu-Ray sets! The gauntlet is thrown!

    "The Hunted" is the episode with the genetically engineered super solider, Roga Danar, who escapes from a penal colony and leads the Enterprise crew on a merry chase throughout the ship. I absolutely loved that one as a kid. Though it's probably most notable for guest-starring James Cromwell (not as Zefram Cochrane).