Review: Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 1 Blu-ray + New Preview Images | TrekMovie.com
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Review: Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 1 Blu-ray + New Preview Images July 23, 2012

by Anthony Pascale , Filed under: DVD/Blu-ray,Review,TNG,TNG Remastered , trackback

The first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation is finally here in HD. Just in time for the 25th anniversary, the series makes its debut on Blu-ray on Tuesday. TrekMovie has had some time to check out the new set and it is impressive. More details and photos in our review.

 

REVIEW: Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 1 Blu-ray

Seeing Star Trek: The Next Generation on Blu-ray is something I wasn’t sure was ever going to happen. Sure it seems like the logical next step after CBS completed their work bringing the original Star Trek to HD and Blu-ray a few years ago, but as been detailed on this site before, TNG was not ready for HD. It wasn’t shot in HD and to make matters worse, it was edited on videotape. CBS even tried to do some upresolution tests on the show (which are shown and discussed in an excellent documentary on disc one), but after those were shown to be insufficient they bit the multi-million dollar bullet and decided to rebuild the show using the original film elements, and Trek fans are the better for it.


HD shot from "Lonely Among Us"

In a way, the project to bring TNG into HD is not unlike the creation of the show itself back in the 80s. It too faced a number of hurdles to get on the air, including pioneering the market for syndicated drama. And of course creating a sequel TV series had also never really been done and many fans (and those in the media) questioned whether a new show could ever live up to the original Star Trek series, which had itself morphed into a successful feature film franchise at the time. But now in hindsight we know that Star Trek: The Next Generation not only got past its first season, but thrived by creating a whole new (pardon the pun) generation of Star Trek fans, and eventually it too spawned its own feature film franchise, and led the way to launching three more TV series. And that whole new era of Star Trek began in 1987 with this now remastered first season of TNG. 

However, in recent years watching TNG on TV syndication or on DVDs has been a bit of a let down, at least for me. The show just didn’t look that good on a modern HD TV. The same was true (if not even worse) when the series was released for streaming online and at Netflix. But watching Star Trek: The Next Generation in on Blu-ray brings me right back to the excitement of Trek’s return to TV in 1987. It feels like a brand new show, with the exception of it being in 4:3 aspect ratio (more on that below).


Before and after shots from "Where No One Has Gone Before"

Watching the Blu-ray, you will notice details you never saw before, but the new HD transfer goes beyond just adding additional definition to the show. The colors are much more vibrant and and feel more real. Of course fans will be especially impressed with the visual effects shots which now appear to be theatrical film quality. Unlike with the HD version of the original Star Trek series, the CBS team has gone out of their way to match the original effects as exactly as possibly. Shots like the USS Enterprise pulling into a Starbase in "11001001" will of course blow your mind, but I was also especially impressed with the improvement in quality you see with mundane establishing shots of the ship orbiting various (previously out of focus) planets.




Check out these before and after shots of planets from "Encounter at Farpoint," "The Arsenal of Freedom," and "Justice"

Beyond the remastered visual effects based on original film elements, the new Blu-ray set also features a few brand new CG visual effects. These are mostly limited to things that were done originally in video like the transporter effect, phasers, and photon torpedoes. Probably the most notable new CG effect was the Crystalline Entity from "Datalore," which actually was originally done in CG but they used a new more detailed model for HD. Although in this case I think they may have tried to match the original too much, and I think they could have used current technology to make the entity appear to be even more detailed and facetted.


Crystalline Entity from "Datalore"

And then there is the 7.1 DTS sound which has also been rebuilt from the ground up. You can even hear the Enterprise whoosh over you! All this is combined with the beautiful music from season one (some of the best of the series) sounding better than ever. The net result, along with the visuals, is to create a cinematic feel you don’t get even with a typical modern network TV series.


Three Datas in "We’ll Always Have Paris"

So the new set looks fantastic and sounds amazing, but what about the actual episodes? Let’s face it, season one is a mixed bag. The skirts are shorter (even on the men), the stories are looser, and the speachifying and pontificating is more strident. Every episode seems at least once take a moment to explain to us how people in the 24th century people are really much better than those of us trapped in the backward 20th century.

To be sure there are a number of clunkers from eye-rolling Space Africans in "Code of Honor" to having to constantly resist the urge to punch your nice HD TV every time Wesley saves the day, like in "The Battle" (but at least we get to hear Picard say "Shut up Wesley!" in "Datalore"). And don’t even get me started on how ludicrously bad of a villain the Ferengi were, especially in their introductory episode "The Last Outpost" (and they don’t get much better in "The Battle." Thankfully Deep Space Nine later reimagined the Ferengi into a much more interesting (and now beloved) Star Trek race. And the planet full of hot scantly clad joggers episode ("Justice") is so bad that it is in "Spock’s Brain" territory (which may make it a good thing now, at least for MST3K type mockery).


The Enterprise faces off against the Ferengi in "The Last Outpost" – at least their ships are kind of cool

But season one also has its highlights. I’ve always been partial to the sometimes silly "Arsenal of Freedom," guest starring character actor Vincent Schiavelli as the Minsonian weapons salesman. The new visual effects also made one of my faves "Where No One Has Gone Before" even better at epitomizing Star Trek’s exploration of different ideas. And in reviewing the show its fun to see the first instances of many things that will be perennial tropes of 21 seasons of 24th century Trek, like our first holodeck malfunction, in "The Big Goodbye." Of course there are introductions of some key recurring characters such as John deLancie’s Q. , Majel Barrett’s Lwaxana Troi, and Brent Spiner as his own evil brother Lore. And in "Heart of Glory" we get our first taste of Klingon honor, that will be delved into throughout TNG, DS9 and Voyager. Watching the first season of TNG you get sparks of the greatness that show will eventually achieve. It is not unlike looking back at home movies of a baby’s first steps.

And even though the show was focused on stand-alone episodes, season one had its share of continuing threads including Q’s fascination with humans, the Starfleet conspiracy, and even setting up the Borg in the season finale "The Neutral Zone." We also got the beginnings of seeing what could have been an interesting character arc from Denise Crosby’s Lt. Yar dealing with her past on a very much less than ideal 24th century upbringing, but alas that was all wiped out by a silly black slime creature in "Skin of Evil."


Michael Dorn in background, ready to step in as soon as Denise Crosby (R) exits the series

As for the packaging, it is fairly basic with a sturdy Blu-ray wallet holding the six-disc set along with a sleeve. The reverse side of the wallet cover has the disc by disc details. The navigation system is (of course) done in a LCARS style with subtle animations and is very straightforward.


Menu navigation for Star Trek: TNG Blu-ray set

Also worth mentioning is the excellent set of extras for the set. Firstly the DVD featurettes have been carried over to the set, but there are also new featurettes. Notably there is the aforementioned "Energized: Taking the Next Generation to the Next Level" documentary about the HD project.  The doc goes behind the scenes at CBS and shows you every step of the very complicated process for bringing TNG into HD. By the way, for those who have been wondering why they didn’t do the show in widescreen, there is a section explaining how both the live action and effects shots could not be remastered in widescreen.


The above shot from the documentary featurette shows why TNG couldn’t be done in widescreen (without cropping)

If you are determined to watch the show in widescreen you can always use your TV’s stretch or zoom feature. I tried watching in zoom and it looked pretty good, except some times the cropping makes the close-ups look way too close up.


Testing wide screen "zoom" (which crops top and bottom)

And any fan interested in the genesis of the show will be riveted by the three part documentary "Stardate Revisited: The Origin of Star Trek: The Next Generation." Even the most knowledgeable fan is sure to learn a lot from the cast and crew of the show. It is refreshing that CBS allowed the doc’s filmmakers to show these Star Trek vets discuss both the highs and lows of that first season. In addition they seem to have found all sorts of interesting behind the scenes bits of film, including makeup and wardrobe tests. Keep your eye out on the last disc for an easter egg featuring Brent Spiner reciting an entire scene from Shakespeare’s "The Merchant of Venice" while they were doing camera tests on his make-up. There is also a gag reel, which is a lot of fun (although it was transferred from tape so it isn’t in HD).


Brent Spiner tries out his make-up for Data

The bottom line is that season one of Star Trek: The Next Generation on Blu-ray is highly recommended for any fan of the series. You will find yourself rediscovering TNG and appreciating both the little things and the big ideas put forward by creator Gene Roddenberry all over again. The remastering of the show, the new and improved effects, the music and sound all add up to what feels like a new experience for this classic series.

Now that the set price is down to around $60 (which is just a bit over $2/episode) it should now fall into more fans budgets. And if you can’t buy it, find a way to rent it or borrow it from a fan, especially to see the new special feature documentaries.

I very much look forward to Season 2 (this set includes a preview trailer) and the rest of the series.


Riker wonders if he should grow a beard for the next season and show all these other guys who is the real man

Available Tuesday – price drop to $59.99

The first Blu-ray season for Star Trek: The Next Generation comes out July 24th. The six-disc set includes HD remasters (in 1080p and 7.1 DTS audio) of all 26 episodes, plus brand new special features (see below for full details). The official retail price (according to CBS) is $118.00 in the US (which is actually a little less than the MSRP for Star Trek: TOS Blu-ray Season 1).

You can pre-order the set at discounted prices. Walmart is selling it for $78.86  Amazon has lowered their price to $59.99 which appears to match Best Buy .

Walmart – USA BestBuy – USA Amazon – USA
Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season One
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$78.86
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Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season One
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$59.99
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The set is also available for pre-order at Amazon sites around the world.

Canada UK Germany

 

Episode reviews coming soon

TrekMovie.com will be doing individual reviews for each episode from the remastered TNG starting later this week. Just like we did with the original series, we will review every single episode of TNG-R, wrapping up season one around the time that the season two Blu-ray set is released later this year.

And check out TrekMovie’s interview with Mike and Denise Okuda, talking about the S1 set as well as future seasons.

Comments

1. Bennie - July 24, 2012

Looks great.

2. Elias Javalis - July 24, 2012

Honestly, i dont care about the criticism. Season 1 was really something back in 1987! Had to wait 3 years to watch it my country!! I ve ordered it! It is the best gift for a trekkie!! Sound/looks great, many extras!

All i need, is a blu ray device, and the season 1 to steer it…….buy!!!!!

3. Jeff O'Connor - July 24, 2012

Engage.

4. PR - July 24, 2012

Ah excellent, $59 in the US, £50 in the UK… must have been all that localisation they had to do :-/

5. captain_neill - July 24, 2012

It is an amazing set. The detail is amazing and the features are great.

Did anyone think Haven sounded a bit tinny in the audio, more so at the start. just the audio, music and sound effects were fine, when the 7.1 audio was playing through the standard TV speakers? And the same with 11001001 did it sound echoy.

My friend who has the proper 7.1 set up said it was there when he switched back to his standard speakers but gone when he put his 7.1 system on. Anyone else notice this?

6. Tanner Waterbury - July 24, 2012

MST2K? Is that a spinoff of the Mystery Sciene theater 3000/MST3K? I keed I keed….but seriously, those are some GORGEOUS shots!

7. New Horizon - July 24, 2012

There have been some sound issues reported. For those of you with surround systems, this may be an issue.

The character dialogue in some episodes has been mixed into the front right and front left speaker….in addition to the center. Here is the compiled list from over at TREkBBS.

FL = front left
C = center
FR = front right

“Encounter at Farpoint” – C, FR
“The Naked Now” – C
“Code of Honor” – C
“The Last Outpost” – C
“Where No One Has Gone Before” – C
“Lonely Among Us” – C
“Justice” – C
“The Battle” – C
“Hide and Q” – FL, C, FR
“Haven” – FL, C, FR
“The Big Goodbye” – FL, C, FR
“Datalore” – FL, C, FR
“Angel One” – C
“11001001″ – FL, C, FR
“Too Short a Season” – FL, C, FR
“When the Bough Breaks” – C
“Home Soil” – C
“Coming of Age” – C
“Heart of Glory” – C
“The Arsenal of Freedom” – C
“Symbiosis” – C
“Skin of Evil” – C
“We’ll Always Have Paris” – C
“Conspiracy” – C
“The Neutral Zone” – C

8. Elias Javalis - July 24, 2012

Anthony if i may ask, is there an official word for season 2? The rumors floating around say December!

9. captain_neill - July 24, 2012

7

Would that explain why it sounds tinny in Haven and 11001001 for when played through the regualr TV speakers?

At start of haven it sounds like they are speaking through intercom then gets a bit louder just before the main titles.

10. jed - July 24, 2012

Said it before and i’ll say it again, I feel like i’m taking crazy pills!
CBS does this amazing job with TNG and Classic Trek BUT
Paramount still doesn’t think that we need STTMP DE on Blu Ray or new transfers for the other movies!!!

11. Iain - July 24, 2012

4:3 ratio? Not worth the effort watching it on a wide screen TV. Oh well.

12. spock - July 24, 2012

I went last night. The extras were really interesting. Season 2 looks even better with the newly filmed cast reunion roundtable discussion about the series.

13. New Horizon - July 24, 2012

9 –

I’m not sure, but I don’t think it should affect anyone watching with regular TV speakers as the sound would be mixed down to a two speaker mix in that case.

At first folks thought it was only a problem with Encounter at Farpoint and hoped for a disk replacement program. Now that the issue across several disks, I’m not sure what CBS will do…if anything. It seems Farpoint is worse though as the dialogue is not evenly distributed between the 3 speakers…it’s off to one side. Would be very distracting for anyone with a 5.1, 7.1 system.

Hopefully a fair solution will be reached.

14. Adam Clark - July 24, 2012

For the doco looking at the move to HD, does it talk about the creation of the lossless 7.1 soundtrack?

15. spock - July 24, 2012

Season 1 was so bad. Wesley is Star Trek’s version of Jar Jar Binks. Looking back the writers did such a disservice to the show with the way Wesley was written. I think it would have been much better for the show if they wrote him out of a lot of those early episodes. Highly trained star fleet crew constantly needs to be saved by a kid. It undermined the other characters. It was fun to see the behind the scenes make up and costume tests. Wheaton was lucky they didn’t use that hairstyle they showed lmao

16. DJT - July 24, 2012

buyin’ this TODAY!

whoop, whoop!

(wish i coulda gone to tng theater event)

17. ShaunieB - July 24, 2012

I have to agree about the sound issue. I got the boxset yesterday, and after getting over the initial excitement I sat down to watch “Encounter at Farpoint” and noticed straight away on the opening titles that the sound was a little off right up until Picard’s opening monologue begins, but I have so far only watched the first half of Encounter at Farpoint so can’t comment on other episodes.

However, sound issues aside the one thing that struck me is the beauty of the new transfers… The Enterprise – D, never my fave ship I will admit, looks beautiful and shows that for all the great sequences CGI has given us, a real model filmed by experts in their fields cannot be beaten. The exterior shots of the Enterprise in the first episode alone are amazing, I found myself pausing and just looking at individual frames. As cliché as I’m sure it’s going to sound, it was almost like seeing it for the first time. The detail and clarity that was always there but never seen is astounding.

The rest of the episode is pretty sweet too. I’ve watched all Star Trek from beginning to end many times, thank you DVD boxset marathons, and wasn’t convinced when reading about “seeing things and noticing details” that just weren’t clear enough before…. but I have to eat my words on that one… for starters, in “Encounter – Part 1″ when Q first appears and changes his outfit to the 1940′s era soldiers uniform I noticed for the first time that he is actually holding a cigarette in his hand, a small detail that completes the look but that I have never noticed before.

When I first heard about this project, I will admit, my first thought was “Great, another way to get some money out of us!” but after having seen it for myself in my own home…. it was £55 very well spent.

18. Salvador Nogueira - July 24, 2012

My set was already dispatched from Amazon UK and now I have to wait til it gets to Brazil. By the way, I’d like to send a message to any CBS folks out there… please, include Brazilian Portuguese subtitles (if not audio track) in future releases! A few extra subs won’t hurt disc space-wise, and would make a hell of a difference for us down here!

Hope they get to address the audio problem as well.

Cheers!

19. Gaius Ross - July 24, 2012

just checked on amazon.com and it is £45.56 inc shipping to the UK. Stupid huh. Don’t know it it will get custom charges though. I did tick gift though.

20. Calastir - July 24, 2012

Well, to me a planet over 40.000 kilometers away (maximum transporter range) with a starship in front of it should be out of focus.

Compare this actual picture of the planet Mars taken by Hubble Space Telescope at a distance of 55,760,220 kilometers without any other object (starship or otherwise) in front of it…
http://science.nationalgeographic.com/science/photos/mars/

21. jas_montreal - July 24, 2012

85… Too expensive!

22. Sebastian S. - July 24, 2012

Very nice.
A lot of love was put into this set. Makes me wish I were more of a TNG fan, but sadly, I’m just not as into it these days. The DVDs I have of it (couple seasons) are enough for me, really.

Now, if they do this kind of restoration for DS9? I’m SO in….. ;-D

23. Damian - July 24, 2012

Don’t really understand the complaints about 4:3. As an avid Hitchcock movie fan, I enjoy watching many of his films before VistaVision even though they were 4:3. I even forget the bars on the sides after a while. I’d rather see a film or show in its original presentation then some fake me out widescreen. I certainly would not let it deter me from buying a movie or show I love.

One thing that helps for my particular TV is my TV is black. So basically the black bars on the side are sort of hidden into the TV anyway, esp. when it’s dark.

24. captain_neill - July 24, 2012

13

Well having had a look through the discs, only Haven and 11001001 has the off sounding dialogue. And it is only the dialogue as the music and sound effects sound normal. In the first few mins of haven sounds like it is coming through the intercom and then for the rest the dialogue is just echoy.

There is an echo tinny tone to dialogue also in 11001001 .

however, when played in the original audio they sound great. But a friend who has the 7.1 set up saif that is goes away when you have it through the proper set up but did say that it was echoy and tinny through the stereo standard of a TV.

Was just curious to know if anyone else noticed this.

25. Kevin - July 24, 2012

From what I’ve been able to piece together about TNG, the reasons why the first seasons were terrible were because:

-Gene Roddenberry went crazy (if Rick Berman is to be believed).

-The writers had no idea how to write a 15 y/o wunderkind properly (if Whil Wheaton is to be believed).

-Jonathan Frakes had no beard (if TVtropes is to be believed).

26. boxker - July 24, 2012

My wish for the later seasons would be to get rid of Dennis McCarthy’s score and music cues which was absolutely boring and mundane. I wonder if they could make the Enterprise D actually appear to be 3 time the size of the original Enterprise.

27. pg - July 24, 2012

It’s pretty hilarious the stigma is Next Generation was successful thanks to Gene’s vision… Yikes. Sounds like he was almost the reason it crashed and burned with some of the zany ideas he had going into this..

Paramount would have been taking less of a risk if they’d got Harve Bennett, who knew how to run a TV show, to slide over into executive producing a new Trek series back then, along with co-producing a film every 2 years… Imagine that for a parallel universe eh?

28. Salvador Nogueira - July 24, 2012

I guess they needed Gene to reassure the fans the new series would be true to the spirit of Star Trek. They were freaking out back then with the idea of a replacement for Kirk, Spock and Bones. Imagine how they would feel if Gene was also replaced by Harve… that’s the same reason Paramount kept Gene as executive consultant for the movies, even though they never bothered to care about his ideas…

29. JohnRambo - July 24, 2012

Season 1 was the best

30. Ken - July 24, 2012

Wish this was available on iTunes.

31. Myself - July 24, 2012

To think I bought Season 1 on DVD back in the day for $160.

32. CmdrR - July 24, 2012

“Me! It’s me!”
–Data

33. Jim Williams - July 24, 2012

I went to the theater showing last night of “Datalore” and “Where No One Has Gone Before”, which also included some of the documentary footage from the Season 1 Blu-Ray set. I had a great time and the theater (in Maryland) was full. The Crystaline Entity looked very nice. Some of the early make-up tests in the documentary had us all laughing.

34. star trackie - July 24, 2012

I’m not a fan of TNG, in fact I think most of it is over-rated, paint-by-numbers, 80′s tv…not what I wanted in my Star Trek… but I’ll admit they did a fine job with this restoration. I worked at a TV station in the 80′s and these look better than the direct satellite feeds we recieved back in the day! Sadly, the stories and acting will always be the same…sigh.

Suffice it to say I won’t be watching them again, but my hat is off to those who undertook such a daunting task, a technical marvel to be sure.

35. SFC3 - July 24, 2012

I watched “The Battle”, which was spectacular. The Stargazer was amazing, and everything felt more alive. The colors were vibrant, and even in Conspiracy, the head exploding was much better.

I have a feeling when I watched all the episodes in order I’m going to be angry at this sound issue…

36. Daoud - July 24, 2012

Season 1 was a very worthy successor to TOS Season 3. ;)
.
But in the Fall of ’87, it was new, it was exciting, and it was all we had, save for the occasional TOS movie production.

37. Duncan Macleod - July 24, 2012

The people who complain about the 4:3 are either entitled jackasses or like 20 years old. It was filmed for 4:3 there is no way to crop it without it looking terrible. These are probably the same people who stretch their 4:3 content (Rather than zoom) because it is supposed to “fit the screen” .

38. RetroWarbird - July 24, 2012

I’ve always kind of loved the idiosyncrasies of Season 1 TNG. I mean TNG was “the show” back in the day. It was the one that got me into Trek, sneaking downstairs to watch it from the hallway because new episodes were on “past my bedtime”. And compared to the old VHS episodes of TOS Dad was borrowing from the library, it seemed far shinier and more interesting to me as a 6 or 7 year old.

Nowadays I like DS9 better, and from an artistic standpoint, as an artist, I like TOS most of all. It was just so stylish – and that’s what I like about this HD update. Look how much style is added by the crisper imagery, brighter colors and better looking planet orbit shots.

Continuing on that thought, while Season 1 is inarguably the worst of Next Gen, somehow now post-all-Trek, I really like how beholden it is to The Original Series. As a fan you really get to watch Star Trek transition from one form (Hammy exposition and preaching, godlike entities toying with humans and space races who are blatantly just allegorical) into something new. Part of that was the cast bonding in a way that was unique to them (Same reason the old Shatner/Nimoy/Kelly trio worked so well) and part of it was the concerted effort to be a little more nuanced in the allegory.

Can’t wait to really geek out over all the ships and planets and energies.

39. captain_neill - July 24, 2012

35

if you have the standard speakers only on TV watching them in original audio is fine.

But my friend has said it defintely sounds better if you have full 7.1 set up rather than 7.1 playing through your standard speakers of your TV. Also as I previously said it seems to just be dialogue.

40. RetroWarbird - July 24, 2012

Oh and my original point which I forgot while I was diatribing; I think I might actually like Spiner’s makeup test look better than the final Data we all know and love. The greener eyes and silvery hair feel more “Android”, and remind me of other great androids from Ridley Scott movies.

41. jeyl - July 24, 2012

Thanks for the review Anthony.

One more thing. Where is our Star Trek II 30th Anniversary coverage?

42. SFC3 - July 24, 2012

39
I have surround sound, and can hear the problems on 11001101 or what ever it’s called even without them on. I hope tehy give us something to fix this.

43. MC1 Doug - July 24, 2012

Can we please get past the Wesley Crusher hate fest? Please?

44. SuperBat - July 24, 2012

Looks great, but I’m currently in the middle of Season 4 as I re-watch the series during the 25th anniversary. So I won’t be buying any of these sets until well after the whole series is out and I’m convinced I need to rewatch them all again.

45. VZX - July 24, 2012

I don’t understant how people don’t understand that it can’t be made into widescreen. I think that pic above sums it up, if you want widescreen you’ll see stage lights and other things that were not meant to be seen. Duh.

Anyway, this transfer looks great! Here’s hoping for DS9!!!!

46. Dave R - July 24, 2012

Looks GREAT, Less Filling!

47. Dr. Cheis - July 24, 2012

I was hoping we’d get these on TV at some point.

48. Thomas Jensen - July 24, 2012

Not a fan of the first season, but will go forward and purchase the second, etc.

It occured to me after reading about the music in this season that the lousy ‘supermarket’ background music in the subsquent seasons could be replaced in this new reworking of the series. That was one of the minuses of the series, overall. Of course, there were exceptions.

Too bad the music is so mundane.

49. Crusade2267 - July 24, 2012

#43

Last night at the Times Square screening, some PR person started giving a speech before the show, and got some lukewarm claps when he mentioned Wil Wheaton. Then, someone shouted out that his “personal friend” should get some more love, and there would be no Wesley hating allowed.

That someone was LeVar Burton.

And he was right. Wesley may have been poorly written for the first season, but he did get better, and he was inspirational to me, as I was only a few years younger than the charicter when the show was on. In fact, after that, Wil Wheaton and Wesley Crusher got a lot of applause throughout the evening.

50. T'Cal - July 24, 2012

I forgot what the date was yesterday and when I asked my son, he said the 23rd and we suddenly remembered that TNG was being shown at the movies. With an hour to go, we made it with no time to spare and it was well worth it! The extras, the visuals, the sound, etc. Stunning. With the price coming down to the mid $50 range, I’m in to upgrade my complete DVD collection of TNG. Bastards!!!

51. Browncoat1984 - July 24, 2012

I still need to finish watching the Original Star Trek remastered Blu Rays lol. But I’ll think about getting this when I get around to finish watching TOS on Blu Ray (I’m about halfway through season 1). By then it’ll probably be down to like $40 or 50. I would recommend to anybody who can, wait until Christmas because I bet it’ll be on sale.

52. Damian - July 24, 2012

37–I hate “stretching” a 4:3 show to fit a widescreen myself. First of all, it just look’s horrible. You talk about TV adding 10 lbs, my lord, stretching makes Brittney Spears look obese. How can people think that looks good?

Zooming wouldn’t really be an option for me either, as you would lose the top and bottom parts of the picture. No, when I do buy this, I’ll just leave it at 4:3.

53. Damian - July 24, 2012

BTW–Can anyone tell me, did they get rid of that horrible moving starfield behind the planets and so forth that they did up to season 3?

54. Curious Cadet - July 24, 2012

@37

Duncan, well you are entitled to your opinion. It’s also a bit more complicated than that. However, CBS is catering to those people in the UK and Japan. No less than CBS owned CBS action channel in the UK, airs a 16:9 cropped version of TOS live action scenes combined with the 16:9 cgi exterior shots.

I’m glad we have the 4:3 original ratio for posterity, but even that is showing more of the frame than was ever intended thanks to the generous overscan area of 70s & 80s TVs.

In the end, CBS is most likely planning to sell a 16:9 crop of TNG into international TV markets, and possibly even domestic markets, just like they did with TOS. Despite the documentary, I have heard from a knowledgable source that at least some of the exterior shots may have been restored in 16:9 just like TOS (particularly the ILM VistaVision elements). Again, this fits with CBS’ own actions with respect to current sales of TOS and future proofing the series. And this is unfortunate, because they will merely crop the 4:3 picture like they did with TOS, rather than crop all of the available picture.

But I don’t understand why 4:3 is a deal breaker. There never will be a true 16:9 version of TNG, and there is no denying how amazing this looks. And as Anthony points out, using the zoom function on your TV does at least as good a job as CBS did with TOS, if not better. What is needed on TVs going forward is more minute control over zooming — for me the perfect zoom for this Blu Ray would be zooming the picture to the action safe area of the scanned picture, which is arguably the only image the director framed and intended to be seen, with the effect of widening the picture to about 14:9, giving the series a much more cinematic feel which it deserves, especially with this amazing restoration.

55. Anthony Pascale - July 24, 2012

Not sure why the 4:3 debate comes up over and over when it has been made pretty clear that the show just couldn’t be done in WS without cropping. And if you are OK with that, then just use your TV remote to zoom and you can get it in WS. I added a pic (see article above) of a test I ran doing WS Zoom on my TV and it looks OK.

Bottom line: You want WS, do it yourself, but there was no way for CBS to make this set WS without cropping and that would have been unacceptable as the main release.

56. jay - July 24, 2012

It doesn’t bother me, I’m fine with black bars (either top/bottom or left/right), but my previous widescreen TV had a “panorama” mode for 4×3 material. It took just a smidge off the top and bottom, and then it would start stretching the sides to fill out the left and right sides of the screens. It wasn’t terribly distorting, and I really only used it when watching TV shows. Movies I would just leave pillarboxed.

57. Sebastian S. - July 24, 2012

I have the same policy about 4:3 as I do about 3D in the theatre; if that’s the way the show was originally shot? Then that’s the way I want to see it.
ST-TNG was shot in 4:3.

That ends the debate for me…

58. Gary Seven - July 24, 2012

#49-
It was so fun last night when Levar Burton came unexpectedly to take Q&A before the sceening at Times Square. Sometimes its fun living in NYC.

59. Matt Wright - July 24, 2012

#14 – Yes there is a section of the documentary about the sound restoration and re-mixing. Basically they tried the best they could to get the original analog tracks fixed up (pop/hiss/etc. removal) for the standard stereo track and then they took the elements and went to work mixing into a surround sound mix.

60. Penguin - July 24, 2012

Watched wnohgb and datalore last night on the big screen. Wow, you know I always thought that they were exaggerating when they said it could hold up on the big screen. Nope, it holds. Looked great, and I hadn’t seen datalore in ages. Bad stunt double not withstanding the effects were great nd true to the show. In fact one I thought was original but it wasn’t

61. Parosu' Grasu' - July 24, 2012

I for one am really looking forward to the individual episode reviews. I read almost all the TOS ones a few years ago and I cant wait for the TNGs.

62. Damian - July 24, 2012

57–Agreed. Even in 4:3, with my 40 inch TV, it still is a lot larger then it was when I first saw TNG on my tube TV back in the day.

63. Curious Cadet - July 24, 2012

@62 & 57

Considering the average picture tube size in 1987 was around 19″, I’ve no doubt. My 32″ flat screen renders about a 25″ 4:3, which is still smaller than my last 27″ CRT.

But you are also seeing considerably more picture than you saw in the late 80s, since they have given us the entire TV transmitted area, including the overscan area which was never really intended to be part of the framing — it was just protection for the few well calibrated TVs that could display more of the edges than most. So theoretically it would look even larger than it does now. To that end, we still not really seeing it the way it was intended, though it’s a lot closer than cropping it 16:9.

In the sampler, Sins of The Father was transferred and cropped to the TV action safe area. This results in some really claustrophobic close ups … But this is how I remember TNG when I watched in the 80s on my cheap 19″ CRT. Though it’s a bit too dramatic by today’s standards, it’s a TV directorial style that was pretty common in the 80s. But that is how TNG is supposed to look. If you look at some of the wide shots on the BluRay, you will see a lot of empty space on the edges, and in many shots on the bridge a lot of the glaring overheads above the actors heads, which certainly weren’t intended as part of the composition — yet we get them thanks to the inclusion of the entire overscan area being included.

64. hypnotoad42 - July 24, 2012

@#30 –

Ken, why would you want it as a streaming video? The compression used for streaming would fritter away detail, sharpness, color gamut, and shadow detail… and, thus render the whole project pointless. Streaming SD DVD copies is sufficient, until the bandwidth gets to – well – 24th century levels to handle the amount of data that could be transferred so quickly and consistently to so many…

A shame that the eps couldn’t be redone natively in widescreen, but it’s hardly a deal-breaker… as others have said, the zoom function works wonders and yields the same effect but without imposing it on everyone who wants 4:3 as it was intentionally framed to be…

These Blu-Ray sets are long overdue but well worth it…

Amusingly, at the time of this writing, Walmart sells it for $20 more than Best Buy (or other outlets)…

65. hypnotoad42 - July 24, 2012

@#49 –

Thank you for posting that info.

Wil Wheaton is indeed a perfectly decent person, having to struggle with a lot of bad writing – it’s hardly his fault, nor should he be scapegoated as such. Later years (starting with season 2!) do elevate his character into somebody more real and it shows.

66. hypnotoad42 - July 24, 2012

@#10 -

True, but had de-noise filters been applied less aggressively, even the existing BR releases of I, III-VI would look far better. Too much grain was removed, and along with it some detail was removed as well. Even the previous transfers themselves wouldn’t have been as bad if it wasn’t for the excessive noise removal…

I suspect a further release where they’re all given the good treatment will come about, but until then…

67. True Original Spock's Brain - July 24, 2012

I’m glad I waited so many years and never bought the DVDs. Will wait to buy used at about $1.50/episode…

68. The Original Spock's Brain - July 24, 2012

Sorry it’s “The”; that iOS spelling correction… ;-)

69. Dan T. Johnson - July 24, 2012

Bought and viewed, may not be the best episodes but DAMN do they look goooood.

70. Promo Boy - July 24, 2012

There I was– for seven years… SLAVISHLY taping each and every TNG episode as it aired–on VHS– every Saturday night.–regardless of hot dates, (there were a few) big events (weddings) and life changing occasions, (my daughter’s birth). Now they come out with TNG on BluRay! What should I do- throw away seven years of dedicated VHS tapes in favor of the the latest technology?

Hell yes.

Ever see what old VHS tapes look like? It ain’t pretty.So much for wasting seven years of my life. Picard: you owe me an apology!

71. Jonboc - July 24, 2012

TNG is so drastically removed from the formula set forth in TOS, I never found it engaging in the least….mostly a 7 year exercise in unrealized potential. having said that, the remastering looks so good that I will definitely nextflix the handful of episodes that seemed to rise above mediocrity…delivering Trek that, I felt, was worthy of its namesake. The effects work seems particularly impressive, but the regular footage appears a bit soft for 1080p. I won’t buy it, but I’ll definitely will check out some of the episodes.

72. Glob - July 24, 2012

Anyone who watches a square video image s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d to fill their widescreen is an idiot.

Zooming is fine – it merely crops some usually unnecessary image at the top and bottom. But there is never any excuse for watching fat, distorted, funhouse images by stretching them.

73. Gregster - July 24, 2012

I got the last set at my local Best Buy. According to the Web site both area stores are sold out. I just watched ‘Energized’. It is so good. Such an amazing amount of work to put this all together

74. the Dogfaced Boy - July 24, 2012

I was in the school of wanting them to do everything possible to make this a wide-screen edition.

And to quote Anthony, I’m not sure how “doing WS Zoom on my TV and it looks OK” and “there was no way for CBS to make this set WS without cropping and that would have been unacceptable as the main release” both can be true.

I could not get over the fact that there was part of the picture that was cropped anyway. Sure you might have a boom here and there. CG it out.

TOS was a 60′s show. It had a charm of nostalgia. TNG was supposed to be the next generation. It shouldn’t look like a relic. I was perfectly willing to say, I just can’t watch TNG. I’ll pass. I’ll wait until the holograph version. Oh wait, they can’t do that. It was made to be seen in 4:3.

I got the sample blu-ray to be sure I could not deal with the 4:3. I’m not sure what’s going on with my blu-ray player, my HD tv, but the disc fills the screen and it looks fine. It looks great. I can’t figure out how to get the bars to show. I’ll have to plug in my HD TOS. It had the bars. I’ve bought a different player since I watch it. Maybe that’s it.

Bottom line. It looks great in WS.

75. Matthew - July 24, 2012

just got my copy! on disc 1, there is a promo titled “Season One Promo” — when was this made? after the end of Season 1? I ask b/c it singles out all of the crew members except Tasha Yar and calls Worf the “security chief” — I found this interesting!

76. Allen Williams - July 24, 2012

@72 Glob – My parents do that. I can’t stand their tv when I’m visiting. I wish they would either crop or leave it alone. My computer has an additional option on it that works pretty well, but its still not perfect. It dynamically stretches the content so that the center is preserved in its original aspect ratio, but it gets worse on the sides. I’ve used that sometimes, but I generally prefer to just leave it alone.

77. Magic_Al - July 24, 2012

A whole lot of movies are wider than 16×9 and have black bars on the top and bottom without generating the controversy of a 4×3 TV show with bars on the side. I don’t get it. At least in 4×3 the picture is the full height of your TV.

78. Anthony Pascale - July 24, 2012

I think my point was pretty clear. Yes CBS theoretically could have released the set as a cropped widescreen but why should they do that when they would be providing fans with no choice but watch it in WS and they would be losing information. By releasing it in the original format, they leave it up to buyers if they want to crop it or not using their TV or Blu-ray’s built in features.

I’m sorrry but i continue to be astounded that this is an issue for discussion…it seems pretty straightforward.

79. the Dogfaced Boy - July 24, 2012

78. There would have been nothing wrong with pushing a button and getting an unaltered 4:3 screen. :)

I just wanted them to put in as much effort as possible to provide as much of a true wide screen picture as possible.

I though a stretched/cropped picture would look as horrible as some of the posters here seem to think it would. Apparently it doesn’t.

80. AJ - July 24, 2012

Digital Bits reports that CBS is taking the sound issues seriously, and is ‘looking into’ them. I’ll stay away until CBS says they are fixing it, or they say it’s not going to be fixed. I want to avoid a recall. Been there, done that.

81. Justin Olson - July 24, 2012

@ 5 & 24 captain_neil:

Definitely hear an echo on “Haven”. It starts at 27:27 when Troi meets Riker on the holodeck and continues until the end of the episode. It’s probably occurring because the dialogue in the left and right channel (which isn’t supposed to be there in the first place!) goes out of sync with the center channel.

82. MJ - July 24, 2012

“Digital Bits reports that CBS is taking the sound issues seriously, and is ‘looking into’ them. I’ll stay away until CBS says they are fixing it, or they say it’s not going to be fixed. I want to avoid a recall. Been there, done that.”

Yea, this is going to be a deal-breaker for many fans.

83. Matthew - July 24, 2012

the special features address why the release wasn’t in widescreen…and in large measure it’s because camera equipment is in the way! to extend the shot would show things that aren’t meant to be seen, as they were filming for TV!

84. Xeos - July 24, 2012

#78 yes there would be, it would be an altered version of the original content, cropping the top and bottom of the original intended show. Not acceptable.

85. Will - July 24, 2012

@”I think that pic above sums it up, if you want widescreen you’ll see stage lights and other things that were not meant to be seen. Duh.”

Light stands and other things are now easy to remove, thanks to the motion equivalent of Photoshop. But it is a choice to stick with 4:3 and I’m fine with that choice.

NOW, any screenshots of the slime monster from Skin of Evil (did they improve it?) and any screenshots of that Roger Corman-level episode where a member of Starfleet was filled with bugs? How did they fix that mess?

86. Zaku - July 24, 2012

38,70 € at Amazon.it :)

http://www.amazon.it/gp/product/B008HYKH8Q/ref=oh_details_o03_s00_i00

87. captain_neill - July 25, 2012

81

Are you watching it through 7.1 speakers or the standard television speakers of a television?

88. captain_neill - July 25, 2012

81

To me it is slightly lower for first couple of mins

89. Justin Olson - July 25, 2012

^ 7.1

90. captain_neill - July 25, 2012

89

See I am just watching it through the TV with standard speakers, so when I switch to original audio its fine.

My friend who has 7.1 set up said 11001001 sounded fine through this system but that the track sound echoy through the standard speakers.

As I have standard speakers, original audio works fine.

91. Adam Clark - July 25, 2012

This talk of the dialogue coming from other speakers instead of just in the centre, it is just like my “Godzilla vs Destoroyah” DVD.

92. (The Late) Richard Dawson's Ruffled Shirt - July 25, 2012

My opinion on the inevitable WS debate whenever TNG and Blu-ray come about…

Fish Gotta Swim.
Birds gotta fly.
Trekkie’s gotta bitch.

93. VZX - July 25, 2012

74 and 85:

Actually, I think that TNG was mostly filmed in a 4×3 frame ratio, so all that extra stuff on the sides doesn’t even exist. How would you “CG” all the sets, actors, etc. for the edges for every single frame of every episode? Not only that, but it would look like crap! CG humans don’t even look good on a big-budget movie, how would they look on the sides of the image of a Blu-ray release?

Look: It just is not possible to make this show into 16×9 screen ratio. Well, maybe with magic.

94. Damian - July 25, 2012

78–I have to agree. Choices are always better. If you want widescreen that bad, zoom it yourself. But don’t force me to watch it cropped because you can’t bear to see bars on the side of the TV. This is probably the best of both worlds (pun intended). If you want it as originally filmed, leave it be, if you have to have WS, zoom it. What’s the big deal.

95. Dave - July 25, 2012

Actually CGing out the sides to make it widescreen is a simple process. The problem is time and cost that stops them from doing it.

96. Justin Olson - July 25, 2012

^ And good taste!

97. VZX - July 25, 2012

95: Dave:

What do you mean “CGing out the sides?” Wouldn’t they have to “CG IN the sides” to make it widescreen? The sides need to be added, not taken away.

98. Justin Olson - July 25, 2012

^ I think he’s talking about erasing production equipment like c-stands and flags, etc. (see photo above) and replacing those areas with clean CG backgrounds — presumably even CG characters. That would certainly not be a simple process… far from it. And to my knowledge, such a process has never be used to convert one aspect ratio to another.

99. Dave - July 25, 2012

I mean simple in as much as the technology exists and has been used for years. It’s not like anything new needs to be invented.

100. Curious Cadet - July 25, 2012

@ 97 & 98

Guys, Dave@95 is correct, this is a simple process, but time and money prevent them from doing it.

But you have to understand the problem which is, the sides are there, there’s just stuff in the way that makes them unusable. The CGI process means the computer looks at similar shots where those things are not in the way and then uses that info to fill in the sides. The same is true for film damage. It’s done in TV and film all the time. So the issue is NOT fabricating brand new material for the sides, that would be ridiculous.

That said, I’ve not seen anyone mention the bigger issue, which is the shot is specifically composed for a 4:3 frame. So opening up the sides would throw the visual composition off. In particular using the full Academy aperture, the actual image extracted for TV transmission (what they transferred for DVD & BluRay), is offset to the right of the film frame. This means any expansion of the frame will have to be mostly to the left of center throwing the focus off to the right of any 16:9 frame. This would truly be unacceptable.

Given these realities, while there are any number of ways to make the aspect ratio wider without compromising artistic integrity, none of it achieves 16:9. So the 4:3 aspect ratio is really the best overall choice, especially for posterity. My only complaint is that we are actually seeing much more of the 4:3 frame than was ever intended thanks to the inclusion of the overscan protection area, so we’re not even really getting the original frame composition either.

101. VZX - July 25, 2012

100. Curious Cadet:

That makes a lot of sense, thank you. The offsetting of the shots would be just stupid and really not worth the widescreen.

Question: I thought that a lot of TNG was actually shot on videotape and not on film, if that is the case then wouldn’t those images already be shot in the 4:3 ratio? And, if so, then the extra “sides” wouldn’t even exist.

102. Anthony Pascale - July 25, 2012

Why wont this 4:3 thing die? It cannot ‘simply’ be done without cropping. And anyone can self-crop using their TV remote. There is no way to make this a built in feature of the set unless they double the size of the set to have a cropped and non-cropped version. It is your TV or your Blu-ray that can do the cropping simply.

I can’t think of a single example of a show that was shot in 4:3 (and not futureproofing WS) where they have produced a non-cropped WS Blu-ray.

Demanding they produce a non-cropped WS set seems to me like demanding the set get delivered to you by unicorn.

103. DJ Neelix - July 25, 2012

@102 AP -
Didn’t they do something like that for the DVD release of Babylon 5?

104. Joseph Chapes - July 25, 2012

102. Why not quite an example, but Babylon 5 was shot/composed to work as 4×3 and WS. When the DVDs came out, they released WS versions of the B5 episodes. Of course, there issues with shots where all the characters were clustered in the center of the shot. Also, all of the visual effects were rendered as 4×3, so they had to be cropped for the WS version, causing all shots with visual effects to look blurry.

Now, B5 was produced after TNG, around the same time as DS9 and Voyager. My question is this, is if possible that by the time DS9 and Voyager were being produced, the producers had the same foresight as the B5 producers to compose for 4×3 and WS? If they did, then there could be a possibility of WS DS9 and Voyager. I don’t know, but just a thought.

Joseph

105. AJ - July 25, 2012

From “Digital BIts” Wed afternoon:

“Okay, just a quick update re: CBS’s Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season One Blu-ray set. There is a confirmed audio issue that affects 7 episodes in the set – Encounter at Farpoint, Hide and Q, The Big Goodbye, Datalore, 11001001 and Too Short a Season. (Naturally, none of the episodes I watched prior to my review!) The impact is that in the DTS 7.1 mixes for these episodes, character dialogue that should normally be in the center channel is also mixed into the front left and right channels. The other episodes are unaffected. However, there’s a secondary audio issue being reported as well in which the PCM audio for some of the extra features on Disc One and Disc Six plays out of sync on at least some models of Blu-ray player. CBS has begun investigating both issues. As soon as we get some kind of official word from them as to what they find to be the cause and how they’re going to fix the problems, we’ll let you all know.”

106. Anthony Pascale - July 25, 2012

RE: Audio
I am looking into this as well and will hopefully have a report on this.

107. StarFleetVeteran - July 25, 2012

I’m currently watching Haven, with just the speakers on the TV, and the audio sounds AWFUL. It’s seriously getting on my nerves. I hope they’ll fix this and maybe consider replacing discs for those of us with the problem. Otherwise, I have no complaints. TNG Remastered is just simply awesome.

108. Mr. Snark - July 25, 2012

Why isn’t this TrekMovie review page in widescreen? I’m not reading it until it is.

109. Justin Olson - July 25, 2012

@ 100 Curious Cadet:

Film damage comes and goes, allowing artists to use good frames to fix bad ones. That’s easy to understand.

C-stands, masks, flags, dolly track, and other production equipment would be present on ALL frames where they were photographed beyond the TV Trans. area… so where are they going to get the clean empty images of the set (images without production equipment) with the exact same lighting, angles and focal length? The digital artist needs a clean image to replace with to do what you are suggesting.

You’d have to have images of the set from every possible angle, in every possible lighting condition to cover over any equipment.

The kind of software driven CGI process you’re referring to that can somehow magically and simply add a clean image over an equipment cluttered image doesn’t exist to my knowledge… and AFAIK has NEVER been used to convert a film or TV show from one aspect ratio to another.

If you have an example, please share… because I would definitely like to know. Seriously.

110. captain_neill - July 25, 2012

Only Haven and 11001001 are most notable to me.

Watched Haven today on the original audio.

111. EFFeX - July 25, 2012

I don’t use surround on my TV, mainly just the built in speakers. Does the audio issues make these episodes unwatchable?

112. the Dogfaced Boy - July 25, 2012

I’m sure they have video of every console, every view screen, every angle of the bridge, without booms and cameras. When Picard walks from one side of the bridge to the other, you have most of what you need there. Cameras didn’t bob and weave much like they do today so you don’t have to worry much about angles.

“AFAIK has NEVER been used to convert a film or TV show from one aspect ratio to another”. Who would expect a tech show like Trek to be a trailblazzer. When Get Smart figures out how to do it, maybe Trek can jump in on the cheap.

113. Red Dead Ryan - July 25, 2012

#102.

I’m afraid that for some people, if it isn’t in widescreen, it just isn’t good enough. A sad fact of life. There’s no pleasing some Trekkies. :-(

114. Curious Cadet - July 25, 2012

@109 Justin Olson

I stand corrected. My point was that any attempt to create a 16:9 picture would involve the added time and expense of cleaning up the problematic parts of the image, not fabricating original footage to fill out the sides. In the case of a fixed camera and stationary objects, you are correct, this is not something that could be easily automated. However in my limited experience in a digital video suite using systems like Inferno, I have seen some pretty amazing fixes using any material available that even remotely matches the obscured frame. But these are also pain-staking fixes, and are very expensive and time consuming.

Looking at that frame grab Anthony used from “Energized” featurette, are we looking at Academy TV aperture, or the entire exposed film frame?

I readily concede if the lights and C stands are typical of the majority of the shots, and this indeed represents the edge of a 16:9 frame, then there is nothing either easy or simple about removing them, not that I endorse such efforts even if they were.

Either way, your earlier point about dramatically changing the shot composition is more important to me than any physical limitations of making the conversion. Did the featurette touch on this overriding aesthetic point at all? Gaining 16:9 at the expense of throwing the entire image off balance is definitely foolish no matter the cost.

115. Justin Olson - July 25, 2012

@114 Curious Cadet:

That frame grab from the “Entergized” featurette is showing the full height of TV Transmitted together with the width of full camera aperture:

http://img31.imageshack.us/img31/8230/sttngframewithmarksocn.jpg

Roughly 1.62:1. Unfortunately no, the featurette didn’t bring up the off-balance point… they just stuck to the general aesthetic point that changing it to 16:9 would alter the intended composition.

116. Jim Nightshade - July 26, 2012

ok heres what i hate—can someone explain why when we get dvds they dont fill the whole 16/9 screen….zoom on my vizio doesnt work in hidef only the squish n stretch everything works–why do they even have that….but wghen u watch the same movies on hide cable they always fill up the 16/9 screen?
disney enhanced for 16/9 are the only releases that do fill your screen….wish they all did that…

117. Adam Clark - July 26, 2012

Here in Australia, there are 3 stores with differeing price tags:

Big W – $68
JB Hi-Fi – $75
EzyDVD – $86

118. idiot detector - July 26, 2012

Wow I can’t believe there are some muppets here who want the show cropped into 16:9.

Let me spell it out for you mongs. YOU WILL SEE LESS PICTURE THAT WAY.

119. VZX - July 26, 2012

108: Best comment of the week. Nicely done.

120. Frank169 - July 26, 2012

# 37 said “The people who complain about the 4:3 are either entitled jackasses or like 20 years old.”

Then I can’t help but remind Mr. Macleod that the “Hint of HD” teaser with this beautiful USS Enterprise widescreen shot (ILM shot the VFX in native 15:9) on the Next Level sampler Blu-ray was heralded with the line “reborn for the next generation” which I believe will include many people around 20 years old.

One argument in the format debate had been “You can’t travel back in time and shoot the series in widescreen”. Quite correct, but I am rather certain that any director would have shot the above illustrated “original exposed negative” in widescreen by capturing the same image information as a widescreen extraction from the existing 4:3 image would yield.

With close-up shots that’s quite a different matter but I don’t believe there are any disturbing objects in the yet unseen camera negative areas left and right (unless there is a makeup assistant holding a fan rather close to an actor’s face which we haven’t seen yet).

I don’t know whether Gene Roddenberry would be laughing or crying about the temper tantrums of the 4:3 fundamentalists. But I think he’d be more interested to make the TNG stories and his vision of the future available and palatable to as many people of the “next” generation as possible.

There’s nothing wrong with a version of the original braodcasting format in 4:3 but neither would be anything wrong with a sensical widescreen extraction approach. TNG is not about the art of cinematography, it’s about the art of entertainment.

121. New Horizon - July 26, 2012

Well, here is the deal folks.

In most cases they’ve given us more visible area than the original broadcast area. This allows folks to use the zoom / stretch function of their televisions to make their own 16 x 9 cropped version of the show.

With the amount of work required to restore this show, I can’t see how it would have been feasible to invest all that time into cropping the show and then having to make sure each scene was cropped in such a way that it didn’t cut off the image in horrible ways.

At least with the expanded 4×3 release we’ve been given…we can employ the technology at our own fingertips to either watch the original…or zoom / stretch it to suit our tastes.

I used zoom / stretch on the bluray sampler, and it looked fine for the most part…although some scenes had the tops of heads cut off.

Is it perfect? No. Is it passable? Yes.

The show is what it is. So do the 16×9 cropping yourselves and enjoy the HD experience.

122. The Hub - July 26, 2012

@102, 103

Babylon 5 live action was indeed shot in widescreen, but CGI and composite shots were all 4:3 to reduce rendering time, with the intention that they’d be re-rendered for a proper widescreen treatment when the time was right.

Then the morons at Warner Bros locked it all away in a single warehouse, which later burned down, so all the original CGI and composite work was lost.

The end result: widescreen live action (good quality), pure CGI shots had top and bottom cropped (decent quality, but missing original details), and cropped composite shots (terrible quality, even on a 26″ CRT 10 years ago… on my 42″ LED today it’s unbearable).

In my not-so-humble opinion they should have released the Babylon 5 DVDs in 4:3 and avoided this whole mess. The extra stuff in the live widescreen were never seen in the original broadcast, so it never added *anything* to any scene, and going widescreen forced the massive degradation in quality/detail for everything with CGI in it (which was a lot–many sets were 100% virtual).

In short: Thank goodness the TNG BluRays remain in 4:3.

123. Curious Cadet - July 26, 2012

@ 121

New Horizon, I don’t disagree with your assessment.

But, when you say you can’t see how it would have been feasible to adjust crop, well that’s what they did with Seinfeld. Granted Seinfeld didn’t have to re-composite a lot of effects shots. But honestly, reframing each shot once all the restoration work had been done would be the easiest part.

We will see soon enough if CBS sells a cropped version of the show in other territories for broadcast as they did with TOS. And If they take as little care as they did with the TOS (as reported here on Trekmovie), basically zooming in on the center and lopping off the top and bottom equally, then that will be a disaster. I suspect they will as there is some evidence that many of the exterior shots were restored 16:9 as they were for TOS.

@ 120

Frank, thanks for your even tempered assessment. You are absolutely correct, the fact CBS themselves broadcast cropped versions of TOS in the UK shows that they understand, or at least think they must pander to the under 20 crowd which expects the picture to fill the entire screen, much like kids born in 80s expect TV shows to be in color (I’m sure most of us remember the colorizing craze). Maybe this will pass, maybe it won’t, but it is a reality. RCA would have never been able to sell color television sets if they couldn’t convince the networks to spend the money to produce color TV shows in the 60s. Its a business. And anybody who thinks CBS didn’t sit ere and have many discussions about aspect ration, and how they were going to accommodate 16:9 after they decided to restore 4:3 is being naive.

4:3 is the correct decision here for posterity. But CBS has to be prepared to supply the market demands. Perhaps those kids CBS is targeting will one day be mature enough to accept the validity of 4:3 OAR, but then they’ll have to attract the next generation. BluRay is for purists, not general audiences. So CBS will almost certainly be cropping TNG for TV syndication purposes in some markets, and once the HDTV flat panel market matures, likely everywhere.

My biggest complaint here is that modern TVs have these arbitrary “zoom” settings which give you all or nothing in most cases, and often eliminate options based on the kind of signal present as Jim Nightshade points out. Yes TNG gives you more picture, which I also have issue with, but the zooming can’t be custom calibrated for the kind of image you may want. For me, something in the 14:9 range would be acceptable with reduced black bars (as originalleat intended as a compromise between 16:9 & 4:3), but I can’t get anything like that with available consumer TV options. I’ve been watching some old 4:3 TV series and realized that for the most part, these series have transferred the action safe area only. So zooming these shows definitely alters the image significantly. For TNG, I wish I could zoom them just to the action safe area on my TV so I could see it the way it was originally intended.

124. StarFleetVeteran - July 26, 2012

Y’all need to go whine about your widescreen issues somewhere else to make room for REAL issues like the messed up audio.

125. Ryan Spooner - July 26, 2012

Glad it’s not just me that is having audio issues. I skipped EaF so the first I noticed was at the start of Haven. Extremely tinny audio, really jarring. I’m watching on my tv with stereo speakers attached.

Hope they do something about it.

126. Justin Olson - July 26, 2012

^ See post #7 to learn where the audio issues are.

The first 2:25 of the DTS-HD track on “Haven” is particularly poor sounding, mixed down to 2.0 on the TV speakers… then it suddenly switches and is fine… then at 27:27 you can hear the echo kick in until the end of the episode, just like in full 7.1.

The same goes for “11001001″. Everyone sounds like Darth Vader! — this time for the whole episode.

127. StarFleetVeteran - July 26, 2012

Yeah Haven and 11001001 were the two I really noticed it on. Somewhat on The Big Goodbye.

128. jimj - July 27, 2012

Were those same audio issues on the “teasrer” dvd for “Encounter At Farpoint”? If so, why was it not noticed then?? Enquiring minds want to know.

129. Captain Pansey-ass - July 27, 2012

No they weren’t.

130. captain_neill - July 27, 2012

Is anyone just watching the episodes in the orignal audio then?

How do they sound in full 7.1 set up?

131. Captain Pan - July 28, 2012

The Australian release has been postponed until september 5th. Presumably will have the corrected audio.

132. Adam Clark - July 30, 2012

Spoke to Paramount’s Star Trek brand manager this afternoon, the Australian version with corrected audio should be in stores between Aug 20 and 30.

133. Joseph Chapes - July 30, 2012

I’m just curious if anyone has figured out which two seconds of “We’ll Always Have Paris” features the upconverted SD video. According to the back of the blu ray, there are two seconds in this episode that has been upconverted. I just wondered what the story was behind that two seconds.

134. Frank169 - July 31, 2012

@ 124

The audio issue has been resolved (i.e. exchange program has begun)

@ 123

Since CBS has preserved the TNG images along with the expendable overscan areas the directors didn’t expect us to see, the only way to get rid of these (and arrive at an aspect ratio of 14:9) is a flat screen with overscan or a front projector like the Optoma HD 8300 with a masking feature that eliminates the traditional overscan areas exactly down to action safe (but maintains 1:1 pixel mapping and Full HD resolution).

@ 122

Because something technical went terribly wrong during the letterboxing of the 4:3 CGI VFX of BABYLON 5 (the same crap happened to Warner’s remake of THE SHINING), we would have been better off, if they had left it in 4:3, you’re absolutely right. However, this has no relevance for TNG as ILM did the VFX on VistaVision film and in 15:9 (as the ugraded ILM shots, presented at Comic Con two weeks ago, revealed).

135. Curious Cadet - July 31, 2012

#134 —

I wish the options to do this were more extensive on commercial sets. Unfortunately they expand the sides of a 4:3 picture to the edges of 16:9, which is rarely appropriate. Honestly I don’t understand why there isn’t at a minimum a 14:9 option conceived for this purpose and used primarily outside the US. No, I do know why … it’s the obsession in this country for filling the screen. But 14:9 narrows the black strips on the sides, expands the picture without cropping anything and gives the 4:3 picture a more acceptable aspect ratio in the face of widescreen.

In the following examples, the inclusion of the overscan area in the Blu Ray demonstrates how this additional picture information should not have been used. In the first example, the entire TV Transmitted Area present on the Blu Ray is shown. The next example shows the overscan area removed down to the TV Action Safe area, which the director would have seen clearly through a ground glass on the camera. The additional material was meant only as a protection against older, cheap, and poorly adjusted TVs, and would not have been seen on most sets of the day. Including it in the Blu Ray throws the composition off just as much as cropping to 16:9. Note how distracting the lights are at the top of the picture, drawing your eyes up to them, while the Action Safe area focuses the eyes on the center of the picture. Picard, Riker and Troi are all much closer, as are Worf and Yar. We no longer are looking under Data and Jordi’s chairs. In the final example, the TV Action Safe has been opened up on the sides only to include the overscan area. But notice how this subtle 10% expansion gives the picture a much more modern and cinematic look, while the black side-bars are much less claustrophobic than a typical 4:3 pillarbox. Again, expanding the overscan to the sides only, is no less correct than providing the entire overscan area. Both are arbitrary decisions for including additional material. Now these examples are not quite 14:9, to which I say they might have been able to give us just enough more clean picture from the original aperture to bring it up. Nevertheless, I would be happy with the ability to zoom it this way with the subsequent loss of 1:1 resolution — which would be substantially less than that resulting from the typical TV zoom feature.

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8161/7688874490_05001610b5_b.jpg

136. Fake User - August 10, 2012

@133, it’s at 12:25. Data, Riker, and Picard are hovering around the science station talking about other reports of the temporal “hiccup”

http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/We%27ll_Always_Have_Paris_%28episode%29#Remastered_version

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