‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’: Season 1 Blu-ray review

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Great Riker’s beard! The first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation has finally made it to Blu-ray, looking more impressive than a Borg conga line.

Chances are you’ve seen these episodes a hundred times before, so we’re not going to focus on them, other than to say that Season 1 is one of the weakest of TNG‘s run. But however you feel about the show’s freshman year, or however familiar with it you are, the remastering of it for Blu-Ray should be enough to draw you back for another watch.

The dramatic increase in quality has given all 25 episodes (set across 6 discs) a filmic quality that old fans will greatly appreciate. It’s as if Tasha Yar is dropping dead right there in your living room.

Early seasons of TNG look like they’ve been filmed through a layer of Vaseline, but after an extensive and expensive conversion process to 1080p, everything from the starships to the shine on Jean-Luc Picard’s head looks glorious. The footage has been painstakingly restored from the original 35mm film rather than upscaled from video tape, with effects being redone in high definition. The attention to detail cannot be faulted, and is noticeably impressive in the effects-heavy opener, Encounter at Farpoint.

The colours are deep and rich, the image is as sharp as a Klingon bat’leth, and the textures of the sets, especially the leather and glass of the bridge, really pop out from the screen. And it’s testament to the show’s make-up department that the prostheses still look impressive; there’s nary a join to be seen in the Klingon make-up on Michael Dorn’s face. The result is a 25 year old show that – choice of hairstyles aside – almost looks like it was made yesterday.

The sound has also had an upgrade and now everything from the deep thrum of the Enterprise’s engines to Dennis McCarthy’s lush score is as crisp and clear as the picture. We watched it in the remixed 7.1 Dolby (you can also choose the original audio) and the quality is sure to please even those with the acoustic awareness of a Ferengi.

Toss those Next Generation DVDs into the nearest escape pod. It may sound superficial (and expensive), but until Paramount remaster The Next Generation for Holodeck, Blu-ray really is the unparalleled way to enjoy the continuing voyages of the Starship Enterprise.

Extras: Two brand new HD documentaries, Energised!: Taking The Next Generation to the Next Level and Stardate Revisited: The Origin of Star Trek: The Next Generation, which feature new interviews with the cast and crew.

Energised! in particular is worth watching as it details the painfully extensive upgrading process. There’s also the original launch promos for the series and promos for each episode afterwards, 4 featurettes and a gag reel. No commentaries though, which is a bit of a shame.

Released on Blu-ray on Monday 23rd July 2012 by Paramount Home Entertainment.

> Buy the Blu-ray boxset on Amazon.

What’s your favourite episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation? Let us know below…