Star Trek: The Next Generation “Unification” Blu-ray review November 15, 2013by Matt Wright , Filed under: DVD/Blu-ray,TNG Remastered , trackback
Along with the boxed set of Season 5, the single disc release of ”Unification”, the special 25th anniversary celebration of the two generations meeting, will also be available to purchase on November 19 in the USA. As with other single-disc releases, both parts have been edited together to make one 90-minute TV movie.
As with “The Best of Both Worlds” and “Redemption” before it, “Unification” comes in a cardboard slipcover that opens up to artwork showing the other major characters in the episode.
This episode was made to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Star Trek, it was a tantalizing concept for fans at the time, to see someone from our beloved TOS crew on a mission that involved our newly beloved TNG characters. Spock being a long-lived Vulcan was of the logical choice. We also knew “Unification” would contain a hint about the much anticipated finale of the TOS cast’s cinematic run, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, due out a month later. I remember being so excited to see the crossing over and even the tiny hint Spock drops in the episode about “cowboy diplomacy” and his involvement with the Klingon peace talks, left me salivating for December when The Undiscovered Country would be released.
Seeing how Sarek has deteriorated in the year or so since we last saw him is heartbreaking. Picard finishing the Vulcan salutation for him is a moment that could have been cheesy but was executed perfectly by Patrick Stewart.
We also get to see more of Sela’s manipulation of politics in the Alpha Quadrant, first brought to light in “Redemption.” Sela makes one last try at destabilizing the Federation, this time with the idea of twisting Spock’s unification concept to use as a ruse to conquer Vulcan. Much of her plan is flimsy, but at the time anyway, we didn’t care too much, it was really just a framework to see Spock and the TNG heroes solve what could have turned into a major crisis for the Federation.
The end with Spock mind melding with Picard to get a sense of his father (Sarek) is a major Trekkie moment.
Video and Audio Quality
CBS Digital is back doing the full episode (and all of Season 5), and it’s gorgeous as usual. As with other darker episodes the new transfer of the film to HD helps with the details in the dark caves on Romulus and onboard the Klingon Bird of Prey.
One of the most stunning Enterprise shots of the series debuts here. The “hull scraping” shot of the Enterprise D in the Qualor II depot is amazing. What’s more amazing is that it turns out this shot is of CBS Digital’s newly upgraded CGI Enterprise model! They did a fantastic job.
While they were going through the episode, the CBS Digital team fixed two outstanding issues with Unification II. Both are pretty well known oversights. The first is that Galorndon Core was mistakenly made a tan color in this episode, it was blue when we last saw it in season 3’s “The Enemy.” This was of course an easy fix, as the team had already rendered the planet for season 3.
The other well known issue is the “sound guy in the vase” reflection in the Romulan proconsul’s office. The reflection of the sound guy was removed digitally for the Blu-ray release.
Note that all of the new bonus material here is exclusive to this single-disc release and is not found on the Season 5 set.
Audio Commentary by Jeri Taylor (Season 5 producer and teleplay writer for “Unification I”) and the Okudas – It’s really nice to hear from Jeri Taylor, this is her first (and thus far only) commentary for the TNG Blu-ray project. She talks about her process, how she was honored to write part of the momentous occasion of TOS and TNG coming together for the 25th anniversary. There’s lots of complementary talk about Michael Pillar as the executive producer. She loved writing for Sarek and Perin, she really could understand the characters. Later they discuss how Jeri, as a pro from many other TV shows, mentored the young writing staff.
From One Generation to the Next: The Making of “Unification” (16:43) – Interview bits with Rick Berman, Marc Cushing (original pitch author of S3 episode “Sarek”), they discuss how “Sarek” started to set the precedent for carefully incorporating TOS characters into TNG when it was appropriate. Berman made a bit of a trade with the ST VI people, Michael Dorn as Worf’s ancestor in ST VI for Nimoy in TNG and that they’d work in hints in “Unification” about what was to come with ST VI in December. Michael Dorn discusses growing up being a fan of TOS, and how great it was to be on the ST VI set as Colonel Worf working with the TOS actors. Gates McFadden talks about not really knowing Nimoy from TOS, but from seeing him on the stage. Denise Crosby talks about the irony of finally getting to have a meaty role as a recurring guest star in season 4 and season 5 when she couldn’t as a main character.
Deleted Scene (1:43) – A deleted scene from Part I. Picard greets Perin (Sarek’s wife) in the transporter room and they discuss Sarek’s deteriorating condition as they walk.
Episode Promos from 1991