Review: Star Trek: The Next Generation Theater Event + LeVar Burton Defends Wil Wheaton At NYC Event

Last night CBS and Fathom Entertainment held special one night only theater screenings of two episodes from the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation. This celebration of the 25th anniversary of the show was also a way to promote today’s release of the first season of the show on Blu-ray. TrekMovie’s John Tenuto share’s his thoughts on the event with a recap and review, including some tidbits shown that aren’t on the S1 release. Also find out what LeVar Burton had to say about Wesley when he attended the NYC screening.


RECAP & REVIEW: Star Trek: The Next Generation July 23 Theater Screening

It was strange to be at a movie theater so close in time to the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado to see Fathom’s Star Trek: The Next Generation 25th Anniversary Movie Event. In fact, it was obvious from the police presence to the careful scrutiny all received going in that things have changed, at least temporarily, for American film goers. The experience of going to a theater had shades of what it was like to fly in an airplane immediately after September 11th, 2001. Tragedies can change the way we think about and experience even the most common events, like attending a movie. And yet, appropriately, it was at this Star Trek movie event that good will and humanity shined through everyone’s courtesy and common interests. To say it was heartening to have a great time in a theater full of strangers who are also fellow fans is an understatement. Perhaps they aren’t strangers after all…

My wife Maria Jose, son Nicky, and I went to the Regal Lincolnshire Theaters in Illinois for the 7:00PM showing. Like with all the other screenings, patrons arriving early were treated to a Star Trek: TNG trivia game on the big screen. By the time the program began, there were only about 15 empty seats in the large auditorium. Reports from other locations also indicate full or close to capacity crowds across the country. I cannot remember ever being at a theater that packed before, despite going to many films on opening day. It was a welcomed sign of the continued enthusiasm for Star Trek.

The first item on the program was a Season One Blu-ray bonus feature detailing remastering of TNG into HD. There was an audible gasp when new version of the Crystalline Entity was shown next to its original standard definition presentation. However, it was great to learn how much respect the new team has for the original artists and their concern for not changing anything that didn’t need to be changed. That being said, any effects not done in camera, such as phasers and transporter beams, had to be recreated for the Blu-ray versions. The comment by one of the artists that they are trying to match every single sprinkle and light in the transporter to match the original showing was a good indication of the new effect’s team respect.

Then Denise and Michael Okuda appeared in a special video made for the theater screenings, informing us why “Where No One Has Gone Before” was selected as one of the two episodes showing that evening, mostly because of its spectacular effects and more importantly, its representation of the major themes of Star Trek.

The episode itself was everything promised. The effects are amazing, and I can’t wait to rewatch it again today when the Blu-ray is available. Most enjoyable was watching the episode with fellow fans, whose laughter and applause was at exactly the right moments. This wasn’t a Rocky Horror Picture Show crowd. Instead, we all quietly watched the episodes (no distracting cell phone lights activating that I could see!) and enjoyed the humor and adventure. The biggest laugh was for Chief Engineer Argyle’s well deserved ignoring of the arrogant Mr. Kosinski.

A surprise was the excellent bonus featured in between the two episodes, which featured never before seen costume and makeup tests (Data with green and orange eyes!). The inclusion of bloopers and the joviality of the crew on the set elicited many laughs. Plus, there was a great deal of trivia in the documentary.

Denise and Mike Okuda also shared some great trivia (not on the S1 set) as they introduced “Datalore” including the fact that Mike was almost Noonien Soong! In the original script, Lore and Data look at a picture of their creator, and Mike was slated to be the one photographed. It was also learned that “Datalore” was Gene Roddenberry’s last writing credit for Star Trek.

The episode was very fun, with Brent Spiner’s performance being a highlight. The Crystalline Entity gets a “wow” for certain. And the crowd reaction to “Shut up, Wesley!” was worth the price of admission. Seeing the great demise action sequence of Lore being tossed by Data into the transporter beam was a great thrill on the big screen. 

At our screening, there was a glitch during the scene where Lore is disabling Data. Supposedly a few theaters lost their feed permanently at that point. That is the only technical problem we have learned about. For us, it wasn’t too bad, but for other fans it would have been disappointing to not see the ending of the episode for sure!

The conclusion of the evening’s program was a preview of the Season 2 footage. The Borg look great, and the bonus features which include a reunion of all the TNG cast together looks to be fun and heartwarming. Especially intriguing is the promise of deleted scenes from “Measure of a Man.” Unfortunately, no exact date other than “2012” or “soon” were given.

All in all, a wonderful fun community event. We hope that CBS/Paramount considers this kind of event for each of the seasons…can’t you just see “The Best of Both Worlds” on the big screen?

Signing off screen for TNG event on July 23, 2012

LeVar Burton surprises fans at Times Square Screening + Wheaton’s free eBook reviews

Star Trek: TNG’s LeVar Burton was in NYC yesterday and he decided to check out the event on his own (incognito). TrekMovie reader George Hill sends in this account:

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.

Other highlights:

  • He gave a lot of respect to the fan who came dressed as Geordi.
  • One fan asked how long it took Data to get made up. He responded that Data never got made up, Brent Spiner did, and that they weren’t actually in that spaceship. When the fans got a little restless at that, he said that he meant they weren’t in it “all the time.” Because they beamed down to planets and Starfleet Academy sometimes.
  • He revealed that he has only seen about 80 episodes of TNG, since watching the show they did weeks ago was difficult to do when it was in production.
  • He talked about Voyager episode "Timeless," and how much he enjoyed being Captain.
  • He talked about his directing experience in "Second Chances" as “a double dose of Frakes.”
  • I asked how he managed to have the time to do both Star Trek: TNG and Reading Rainbow. He answered that given the universe is expanding, and space and time are expanding, there is always more time. Also, Rick Berman was very supportive of children’s TV, and allowed some flexibility to keep Reading Rainbow alive.

Speaking of Wil Wheaton, the former TNG actor and current professional geek, has released a free ebook featuring reviews of the two episodes which were shown at the event. These have been taken from his "Memories of the Future" collection. You can download the free ebook here.

Share your experience below

Did you get a chance to attend one of the screenings? Share your thoughts on the event below? Did people show up in costume? Do you have any fun photos? Post links below or send in photos to


Available Today  – 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 order the set at discounted prices.  Amazon has lowered their price to $59.99 which appears to match Best Buy. Walmart is selling it for $78.86 

Amazon – USA Walmart – USA BestBuy – USA
Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season One
Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season One

The set is also available for pre-order at Amazon sites around the world.

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The feed died at the Stratford Square, Bloomingdale, Illinois showing during the first 15-20 minutes of Datalore and was never restored. Very aggravating. Wish I could have seen the rest of the episode (I wanted to see the episodes, not the Okudas-with all due respect). Otherwise, the episodes looked great!

Hating on Wesley is one thing but Wil Wheaton doesn’t deserve it. He didn’t write the character, only read what he was given.

I’m glad LeVar Burton called them out on it.

I never understood the hate for Wes. He was supposed to be an incredibly smart kid who was a bit awkward and had major dad issues. He started off as a character I wasn’t really into and developed into a good jr officer aboard the ship once he took the helm and was given a standard uniform. The one thing I wish they had done with him would be to make him a character who lost his childhood, who didn’t know how to connect with other kids. He’s super smart, and he lost his dad at an extremely early age so he’d be protective of his mother and would have been forced to ‘grow up’ much faster than he should have. If anything, he should’ve been a much more layered kid.

The event at Century Rio 24 in Albuquerque was very well attended and glitch-free. A few folks came in uniform. Surprisingly, most of the Starfleet personnel seemed to be very young. Interest in Star Trek spans more than a couple of generations now. I enjoyed both episodes. Some of the dialogue was very amusing, more so than the first time around. The screen test footage was striking and the audience really enjoyed seeing the actors doing nothing at all. I hope there will be more events like this in the future.

Does anybody remember the Star Trek celebrity edition of The Weakest Link (that show really came and went huh?) Wasn’t there some major tension going on between Wil and Roxann Dawson? The Voyager actors really seemed to have an issue with Wil during that entire show. Not sure what that was about, and hopefully I’m not the only one who remembers that. I’ll post the youtube link if I can find it.

The one in Warrenville, Illinois also glitched. It was disappointing because I was really looking forward to seeing the beautiful Crystalline Entity, but at least I got to see the Shut up, Wesley scene, which got plenty of laughs! Overall, it was great. I work at the Regal where I saw it, and we had 6 employees go, myself included.

5 – I think Wil was flirting too much with Roxann, who was married at the time.


Amen Mark to more events like this!

Wesley was really annoyingly written in season 1. I wish they picked better episodes to show from season 1, however seeing the documentaries was worth it. This set is going to have a lot of cool stuff

I got my TNG BD. Where did they get the pic of the Enterprise D that’s on the reverse of the insert? Looks like a JJ Abrams shot from the end credits of STAR TREK. Gunna watch me sum today.

cool it worked! (ive never posted before) my friends and I went to the screening in montreal and it was super awesome! the theatre was PACKED and there were no glitches, people were in costume and were applauded when they walked in and no one was shy to just turn around and talk about trek before and after the screening. It looked awesome up on the big screen and idk about other cities, but in mtl there was a vote of what old movies ppl wanna see on the big screen again and now on the 30th we get to go see wrath of khan all remastered and stuff, it looked awesome! biggest laughs were the SHUT UP WESLEY! moment, the shot where the asian dude in the man skirt walks into the corridor, and Dorn’s screen test where he’s like “don’t f*** with me”

I’ve been listening to Wil’s podcasts where he reads excerpts from his book “Memories of the Future”, and Wil makes fun of the Wesley character many times. He knows the character was poorly written and that fans greatly disliked him. He even does funny voices when he’s quoting his own dialogue. That’s what’s awesome about Wil is that he’s secure enough to not take himself too seriously.

Wow, nice to hear of such large crowds attending this. If a couple of season 1 episodes can bring out the Trekkies, just imagine what Best of Both Worlds and Yesterday’s Enterprise could do!

Hope CBS is listening….

packed theater in evanston, il! i was surprised. hopefully they take this as a hint to keep doing these kinds of events, and not just for trekkies but for all teh geeks!

But what pair of season 2 episodes could they show…? Hmm…
How about “Q Who” and… “The Measure of a Man.”

“Contagion” and “Time Squared” are also good choices, I think.

The HD remastering is really really great. The packaging around it is not.

The most annoying part of being a decades-long fan is the completely disingenuous interviews and phony “reunions” with the cast where they tell the exact same 5 stories over and over and over and over that they recite at every convention every week in every city; complete with fake laughter.

I appreciate that they can’t tell the real stories from the set and what would most likely be the incredible stories of controversy, tensions, etc.

The only people watching these alleged “bonus” features are longtime fans. How many times can we hear the exact same anecdotes over and over again.

There is nothing new to say. So why have these interviews that only contain the Paramount-sanctioned anecdotes?

You want to impress fans? Show new outtakes and flubs. Create some episodes with alternate takes and scenes. Produce something NEW.

Even the outtakes they showed at the screening last night were from that one lame VHS tape of bloopers that have been circulating at convention dealer tables since day-1 and that have been on YouTube for years.

It’s lazy production value. Why save all that film with all that content if there is never ever an intention for anyone to see it?

While I enjoyed the event very much and it was interesting, I still see no reason to go out and buy TNG on blu-ray.

They did the same type of remastering they did with TOS-R which was to go in and replace visual effects with CGI. The difference is that it is not as noticeable with TNG-R.

But then again what do I know I’ve only been a fan for 40 years…

I was really hoping they were going to show footage of Patrick Stewart with his hair piece screen test. That would have been a gem! I really enjoyed watching TNG on the big screen. It was a dream come true. I hope they keep doing this for each release. The episodes look amazing!!!!!!! SO HAPPY I CAUGHT THIS EVENT!

I’m glad Burton has watched some TNG, but I’m a little disappointed he hasn’t seen all of it after all these years. Still, it is far better than the impression I get from Shatner about how much TOS or any Trek he has viewed. Actors who don’t watch their own performances annoy me; it is your work…you should want to evaluate it, self-critique it, learn from it, and see the bigger picture. To me there is no excuse for not doing it, and it comes off smacking of either laziness or contempt for the very media through which you make your living. /rant

Actually, that’s not the case. Acting, directing and writing (among other movie making skills) walk a fine line between honoring the structure of the story/scene (to keep the arc intact) and the spontaneity of the performance (to keep the delivery energized and alive). From a professional standpoint, I have found that watching yourself too closely or too often makes your next delivery of the same lines seem oddly hollow. Believe me, a professional is exposed to their own work enough to grow as an artist, without seeking out – or reveling in – past glories (or failures).

Agreed on Wes — never really got “the hate” deal with him and most TNG fans. What a backwords fandom we have where a loser like Garrett Wang is revered by many while a great guy like Will Wheaton is despised by many. That is just ass-backwards thinking by many fans who I think are just jealous that they did not have a childhood on the Enterprise like Wes Crusher got…yea, I think this really comes down to petty jealousy from many fans.

Am I the only one who had a crush on Wesley Crusher?


Uh, yes.

Never hated Wes, when I got older and started using the web I read about the hate the character got from certain fans, was quite puzzled since I never saw Wes as annoying. He was what I wanted to do/be like in Trek and loved following the characters career to becoming a Starfleet officer, although was a bit gutted how they left the character in TNG (even if it was Will who pushed for this). However as we know from Nemesis he becomes a fully fledged officer lol so glad it worked out…somehow ;)

Wesley was great. Although if Gerrold had convinced Gene to stick with his original idea of a brilliant young *girl* as Crusher’s daughter… that would have been a fascinating role model for young girls in sciences and mathematics and engineering.
Instead we got Eugene Wesley Roddenberry’s image of himself as a child personified….

#17 – Vice Admiral Baxter — Well I’ve been a fan for 40 years as well, and the Blu Ray version is worth every penny. And probably a few more.



@16 “The most annoying part of being a decades-long fan is the completely disingenuous interviews and phony “reunions” with the cast where they tell the exact same 5 stories over and over and over and over that they recite at every convention every week in every city; complete with fake laughter…How many times can we hear the exact same anecdotes over and over again. There is nothing new to say. So why have these interviews that only contain the Paramount-sanctioned anecdotes?”


I attended an AMC Theater in Clifton, NJ, and unfortunately the morons there didn’t bother to check the projection. There were diagonal wavy/fuzzy lines throughout, and it looked like I was watching on a giant TV with an over the air antenna. Completed ruined the experience!!!!! I’ve been to other Fathom Events re-releases in the past and not had an issue. This basically wasted my money.

@22 nope you’re not. I realised I was crushing on Wesley when I saw him in his cadet uniform. Hey, he looked good in red and he was smart and by that time he wasn’t the kid anymore that I had issues with in the early seasons.

@29 “I attended an AMC Theater in Clifton, NJ, and unfortunately the morons there didn’t bother to check the projection. There were diagonal wavy/fuzzy lines throughout, and it looked like I was watching on a giant TV with an over the air antenna.”

That is the problem with trying to present video with only 1080P max resolution to theater-sized screens with need 4K resoultion to match film quality. It looks like VHS playing on a 40-inch flatscreen. They should have published disclaimers on this at the movie theaters showing this.

17. Vice_Admiral_Baxter –

“They did the same type of remastering they did with TOS-R which was to go in and replace visual effects with CGI. The difference is that it is not as noticeable with TNG-R.”

You understand this is really not the case. TNG physical models were photographed on film and generally composited (and certain rotoscope effects) applied on Quantel boxes, i.e. “printed” to videotape.

TNG planets also used a Quantel video effect where you could wrap a low-rez bitmap around a sphere and get a NTSC-quality “planet” in real time. It was a neat gimmick in 1986, I assure you.

The HD effort is using the original plates of the model shots and recompositing them at HD resolution. Very few CGI replacements seem to have been performed.

>> But then again what do I know I’ve only been a fan for 40 years…

I began in 1973, so you have a year on me. You should understand the technology better than I do by now.

Wil knows better than anyone how irritating Wesley could be. But actor and character are two separate things. I think most fans understand that.

@29 That is the problem with trying to present video with only 1080P max resolution to theater-sized screens with need 4K resoultion to match film quality.

Whew, I hate to be “that guy” tonight, but you know that most digital projection you see is not 4k, right? The DCI Spec is only half that, and the more common projectors handle flat (1.85:1) presentations at 1998×1080.

For most images, you can’t tell the difference between 1080 and a more standard DCDM package (the slightly higher resolution distribution master) unless you know what to look for.

Yes, there are 4k projectors, and they will become more common, but the flaws you experienced probably had nothing to do with pixel depth.

Why exactly does the title say that Levar Burton defends Wil Wheaton?

I went to the Pembroke Pines (FL) Cinemark Paradise Event. Some fans went dressing the TNG uniform and others like me with star trek T-shirts. It was nice to see TNG remastered nicely in the big screen and see that even though this show was not advertise in the regular media, it brought many fans together again and marked the 25 years of TNG. This shows how much fans are loyal to star trek and that there are lot of us out there. The folks who organized this event could have worked together with the fan clubs to have some fans in uniform in each of the theaters to help to promote the event better, it would be cooler and would encourage local fans to meet more often in their cities.
I also could share some snapshots to many trekker friends I have in Brazil (FFESP – São Paulo Federation –, since the event did not took place there.



Because he did? It’s right there in the article.

@34. 4K digitial resolution to the human eye sitting 1/3 the way back from the screen is approximately equal to the resolution of 35MM film. 2K digital is not as good, and 1080P (essentially 1K) is poor.

Blu-Ray 1080P is certainly outstanding for large home video systems and even small theater screens, but it is not appropriate to provide adqueate resolution for 50-foot theater screens. 2K isn’t that great as well, but it is the starting point for digital projection, so we are stuck with it until all theaters are at 4K or higher.

So, yes, I completely stand by my comments that seeing ST-TNG episodes on a 50-foot screen is not an optimal viewing experience.

I was worried there would be booing or groaning when Wesley appeared om screen. To my great pleasure there was none, not to say there wasn’t a good bit of cheering at “shut up, Wesley!”

We didn’t have a problem with our feed in Columbus, Ohio, but I did miss my exit ram on my way to the theater, and got stuck in a long line waiting to pick up my ticket. Missed about 5 minutes of the special feature at the start, and I had to sit in the front right corner of the room.

Why do they even put seats there? The perspective is horrible, and it looks like everybody has giant hands!

I took my sons to the same theatre in Lincolnshire, IL. We remembered at 6:00 pm that it was the 23rd and the day of TNG’s showing so we left immediately. We walked in finding the only three seats together and sat down seconds after the into began. This was a great time. The episodes looked amazing and the extras were fun and informative. Let’s hope CBS does this for each season or, better yet, showing two-part episodes on the pig screen such as Best of Both Words, Gambit, Unification, All Good Things, and the rest.

The showing convinced me to pony up and upgrade to BD for TNG. But what do I do with my complete DVD set???

In my theater there were green dots all over the screen. It was even worse in areas of the image that were darker. Brighter scenes wern’t affected as much or even at all. The feed itself wasn’t interupted though. I’m surprised it was a feed. Why didn’t they just have the theaters download a 4k uncompressed master file for the event similar to what they do with movies these days? (I heard somewhere that CBS has been doing this in 4k all along to make it “future proofed”)


Down in front!

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!

@ 38 MJ:

Remember that the ‘K’ refers to the horizontal dimension… so 1920 x 1080 is essentially 2K, not 1K. Again, 3rd generation 35mm release prints have a resolution of about 88 lines per mm, so:

35mm 1.85:1 ‘flat’ projection – 1844 x 997 equivalent
35mm 2.39:1 ‘scope’ projection – 1844 x 1542 equivalent (before 2X stretch)

That’s examining the print itself… the perceivable resolution on screen goes because the image has to pass through the projector mechanism and lens. By the time the image hits the screen, the vertical resolution of 1.85:1 film goes down to around 875 visible lines.

So, you see, the 2K standard of 1998 x 1080 already exceeds typical 35mm projection.

Yes, absolutely. Shut up Wesley, indeed. The following video should be required viewing. Horrible, horrible character.

I was at the Times Square showing. Mr. Burton’s staff for Reading Rainbow was doing interviews along the line before the show, which they said probably would go to their website. Inside the theater, while the CBS executive was greeting the crowd and explaining how Geordi “drove the ship”, Mr. Burton came in along the side of the stage with a hat tilted down to reduce attention, and then shouted out the support for Mr. Wheaton at the right point, as a way of greeting the crowd. That was fun, and Mr. Burton was quite animated the whole time he did a 15 min Q&A. It was a very positive experience.

The improved resolution of the program definitely provided enough more to see that it was like a different show. As the producers put it, “as it was always intended to be seen”. This was very satisfying. To give a resolution metric, it wasn’t quite sharp enough to read the joke lines on the various signs, but it did let you see the turbolift was made of painted and not perfectly joined wood. :-)

One of the lines getting a big laugh was towards the end of Datalore where Wes blurts out to his mom “I heard you know how to turn Data on!” while they are trying to revive him. Couldn’t even hear her response.

Re Wesley’s character, I think it was possible that visions of Lost in Space and giant carrots might have been on some people’s minds, e.g. network strategy pushing its way in so that they could make it a “family” show. The documentaries screened did show Mr. Roddenberry discussing how much they also faced network demands to do things like put US flags and a chaplain aboard.

#47 that was for the original series since it was on a network. He stated that he was freer to do things on TNG since they didn’t have a network. However his new version of the future had no basis in reality and killed any sort of drama they could dig up in the stories since the main characters could not be in conflict with one another.

I don’t get the anti-Wesley hate. I always thought Wesley Crusher was cool. Yeah, he might’ve been a little too “perfect”, but at least he used his talents for constructive purposes. He was a far better and more interesting character than either Sulu or Harry Kim.

Garrett Wang acts like a clown and gets a better reception than Wil Wheaton, who seems like genuinely nice guy? Really? That’s just dumb. I guess a lot of Trekkies are plain ole’ jerks.


I never really had a huge problem with Wesley. The writing early on in TNG was pretty weak all around in the early episodes so you can’t fault a 15 year-old kid for something someone else wrote. They started writing better for him in season 2 and by the third season he was definitely more “down to earth”.