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

Blu-ray Release Date: July 24, 2012
Price: Blu-ray: $129.99
Studio: CBS/Paramount

Star Trek: The Next Generation sceneTrekkies have reason to rejoice (as do the more serious-minded legions of Trekkers) with the arrival of Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season 1 on Blu-ray. Not coincidentally, we’re thinking, the first season of the popular science fiction-adventure TV series celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2012.

Star Trek: The Next Generation is set decades after Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner, TV’s Celebrity Bowling) and company’s 5-year mission in the original Star Trek series from the 1960s. The new generation of Starfleet officers in a new Enterprise set off on their own 24th Century mission to go where no one has gone before. Among the Enterprise’s officers are Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart, TV’s I, Claudius), Commander William T. Riker (Jonathan Frakes), Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton, TV’s Roots), Counselor Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis, InAlienable), Lt. Commander Data (Brent Spiner), Lieutenant Worf (Michael Dorn, TV’s Family Guy: It’s a Trap), Dr. Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden) and Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton, Stand By Me).

The television show ran for a whopping seven seasons before hopping onto the big screen for a handful of larger-than-life movie adventures.

The Blu-ray edition of Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season 1 is retransferred from original film elements and features 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. The six-disc Blu-ray set also contains a slew of bonus material, including archival footage and a gag reel. Some of the material is new and some is vintage stuff that originally appeared on the Next Generation DVD release from 2002.

The new stuff is two documentaries, Energized: Taking The Next Generation to The Next Level and, exclusive to Blu-ray, Stardate Revisited — The Origin of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

The three-part Stardate Revisited looks at the science-fiction television series’ beginnings. The first part, “Inception,” features interviews with staff writers D.C. Fontana and David Gerrold talking about the early days of the show and franchise creator Gene Roddenberry’s mission to develop a program that would live up to the cultural phenomenon of the first series. (Original series lovers, you’ve got to admit Next Generation at least did that.) “Inception” also has the TV show’s executive producer Rick Berman looking back at the pre-production period, including casting choices, and art department experts looking at the design process for the Enterprise and 24th century Starfleet gear.

The documentary’s part two, “Launch,” includes new interviews with cast members Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Marina Sirtis, Brent Spiner, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden and Wil Wheaton, and contains bloppers and makeup and screentest footage. Among the bits are Burton and Spiner trying different versions of the visor and Data makeup.

The third part, “The Continuing Mission,” contains interviews with Berman and producers David Livingston and Peter Lauritson about the creation of the first season from script to final edit. Members of the special effects team also look at the effects, from motion control photography to video compositing techniques.

And! Denise Crosby and other cast members talk about the controversial decision to kill off her character, and Eugene Roddenberry shares memories of his father, Gene.

The other documentary, Energized, contains behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with the visual effects artists and film restoration technicians.


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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.