Blu-Ray Review- Star Trek: The Next Generation Season Six
Distributor: Paramount/CBS Home Entertainment
Street Date: June 24th 2014
Technical Specifications: 1080P, Color, 4:3 Aspect Ratio, 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
- Season Six- 19 Hours, 35 Minutes
- Chain of Command- 86 Minutes
Whenever CBS and Paramount release a new season of Star Trek: The Next Generation on Blu-Ray, it gives me the opportunity to reminisce about my childhood. This was my show. I was four years old when the series premiered and ten when it ended its seven-year mission. This was the perfect age to grow up with Star Trek, and I have the greatest of memories just sitting around our “big screen” RCA television with my Father, sister, and Uncles every week to tune in. We were nerds, and proud of it, and you better believe that everyone in the room recited the opening narration (“The Captain’s Oath”) in unison at the beginning of every episode. This wasn’t just an ordinary science fiction show either. Sure, it had phasers, gadgets, and interstellar travel. But it also had so much heart. These were characters we grew to love and respect, and when they were in danger, we were on the edge of our seats.
With the release of Season Six, we’re very close to having the entire TNG series available in High Definition. At the beginning of this season, we’re given the thrilling conclusion of the Season Five cliffhanger, Time’s Arrow, with Data’s rescue from 1890’s earth by the crew. Things take a slightly lame turn with the second episode, Realm of Fear, with the annoying Reginald Barclay’s fear of the transporter and the crew’s subsequent efforts to figure out what invisible creature is attacking him, or if he is truly a victim of “transporter psychosis.”
Luckily, there is an abundance of truly standout episodes throughout Season Six. With Relics, we get to see the return of Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott (James Doohan), who has been trapped in a transporter buffer for quite some time. Scott and Picard’s holodeck exploration of the Original Series’ Enterprise is particularly touching and nostalgic. In A Fistful of Data’s, one of my personal favorite episodes, Worf and his son enjoy a holodeck recreation of The Wild West, only to have the program affect the ship’s stability. Data’s western accent and increasingly bizarre behaviors in this episode are a series highlight, and still bring the laughs.
Then of course we have the phenomenal two-part Chain of Command episodes, which as you can see from the pictures above, are also available as a separate stand-alone Blu-Ray edition. Captain Picard’s mission into Cardassian territory, and his subsequent capture and torture make for some of the most harrowing and heartbreaking moments from the entire series. Patrick Stewart’s performances on these particular episodes remain some of the best of his long and respected career. In Birthright Part I and II, we have the Deep Space Nine crossover episode where Worf is told that his Father is actually alive, and being held captive by the Romulan Empire. The final episode of the season, Descent, brings the Borg back onto the series, and features a fun cameo from Stephen Hawking.
Revisiting TNG: Season Six in High Definition was an absolute treat, and there is no denying that this particular season is one of the best of the entire series, with only a handful of mediocre episodes. The writing, performances, and storylines are endlessly engaging. Star Trek: The Next Generation remains one of the best television shows of our time.
It’s no secret how much time and effort CBS and Paramount have put in to making Star Trek: The Next Generation shine in High Definition. One of the original marketing trailers for the Season One Blu-Ray set showcased the extensive restoration efforts, which included re-cutting the show scene-by-scene from the original film negative, updating the special effects, and cleaning up any unnecessary anomalies. Season Six looks as stellar as the past five seasons, with incredibly accurate color reproduction, nice authentic film grain intact, and practically blemish free. Fine object detail on everything from the Starfleet costumes to alien makeup is incredibly clear, and the subtle special effects updates work incredibly well for the show. For TNG fans, this is as good as it gets. Hat’s off to everyone at CBS and Paramount who put in the hard work required to bring the High Definition shine to The Next Generation.
The 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track included herein is well balanced and dynamic, offering a consistently pleasant and accurate audio experience. Dialogue, background effects (phasers, bridge sounds), and the amazing musical score are all handled with near perfection.
Paramount and CBS have provided Trekkie’s with an outstanding array of special features, including brand new HD supplements, and carry-over features from the DVD releases. Here’s a breakdown of what’s included:
- Audio Commentaries- The following episodes contain audio commentaries from both cast and crew throughout the six included discs: Relics, Tapestry, Frame of Mind, and Chain of Command (included episodes but separate release commentary). The commentaries are generally fun and insightful into the making of select episodes.
- Deleted Scenes- The following episodes contain deleted scenes on their respective discs: Time’s Arrow Part II, Relics, Q Who, Ship in a Bottle, Face of the Enemy, Tapestry, Birthright Part II, The Chase, Rightful Heir, and Chain of Command (on separate release).
- Archival Mission Logs- These are really fun and engaging featurettes that fans will recognize as being carried over from the wonderful DVD releases. The Mission Logs are included on discs one, four, and five.
- Gag Reels- The gag reels are included here as a roughly five minute special feature on the season set, as well as a short feature on the separate release for Chain of Command. These are an absolute blast, and it’s wonderful to see the crew of the Enterprise goofing around and flubbing their lines on the set.
- Beyond the Five-Year Mission: The Evolution of Star Trek: The Next Generation Parts I, II, and III- These brand new HD featurettes are all included on the final sixth disc of the Blu-Ray set, and are incredibly well filmed, edited, and continue to be oodles of fun for TNG fans. CBS and Paramount could have just carried over the catalog special features from the DVD releases (which they did), but instead they went above and beyond to get the original cast and crews together to discuss this beloved show. This look back at the Sixth Season last roughly an hour and a half, and feature insight into everything from hairstyles and costumes to Deep Space Nine’s launch and more. The cast has such a wonderful sense of humor, and it was great seeing what the old crew has been up to since.
Season Six– As you can see from the “Unboxing” pictures below, this Blu-Ray release from CBS and Paramount Home Entertainment includes a great slipcover set that matches the design of the previous releases, this time with a purple background. Captain Picard, Geordi La Forge, and Beverly Crusher highlight the insignia in the middle this time around. On the reverse of the slipcover and packaging you’ll find a season synopsis, a before and after re-mastering production still, and a listing of select special features for the set. Inside you’ll find the now standard blue design for the Blu-Ray discs themselves, and episode listings on the reverse of the slip-sheet.
Chain of Command– This separate release for Chain of Command: Parts I and II features a wonderful slipcover that opens up to reveal a beautifully designed art piece featuring the captured Picard, Ronny Cox, and the sinister Cardassians. The fold-out slipcover locks into place with a small Velcro tab.
Revisiting the sixth season of Star Trek: The Next Generation in High Definition was an absolute treat, and there is no denying that this particular season is one of the best of the entire series, with only a handful of mediocre episodes. The writing, performances, and storylines are endlessly engaging. This Blu-Ray set from CBS and Paramount features jaw-dropping High Definition restorations that have been painstakingly re-cut from the original camera negatives, a powerful and dynamic audio presentation, and fantastic bonus features, both new and carried over from past DVD releases. Star Trek: The Next Generation Season Six gets my absolute highest recommendation, and is a must-own Blu-Ray for fans of the series.
Pete Macabre (“Film Fan” Pete)
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