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Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season 7 / All Good Things (Blu-ray Review)

Star-Trek-TNG-Season 7We’ve come to the end of an impressive run of Blu-rays from CBS and Paramount with the release of Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season 7.  A three year mission, that is.  Now, the complete Original Series, Next Generation Series and Enterprise Series are all available on Blu-ray with glorious and stunning high definition picture quality.  Seriously, one look at the remastering on these and you’ll be pretty stunned, especially with what they’ve done to The Original Series (We’re talking almost modern quality here).  The big question now is whether or not they will go forth and start bringing the “ahead of its time” Deep Space Nine faction to Blu-ray.  That is something that is in the air.  Apparently CBS and Paramount are really eager and wanting to pull the trigger on it, but its a risk as the show has a big following, but not as much as the first two series.  From what I’ve read, the way you can let them know you want it is by speaking with your wallet and purchasing the Blu-rays that are already out there (Petitions do you no good as those are pretty much “false promises” by many who sign).  As I close out this fine series, I cross my fingers hoping Deep Space Nine is coming soon, and with the 50th anniversary of Star Trek right around the corner, it’d be the perfect treat.

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Season 

The Next Generation’s final season comes after the series finished its incredibly impressive run from seasons 3 through 6, and was indeed the fall off point after that incredibly meaty quality run.  Most longer running shows will have their best runs usually start in their 3rd season and fly on quality through their 5th or 6th.  While a step down as many would see it, the season still managed to produce plenty of quality episodes and close on in a very satisfying manner, making you feel that it was pretty solid overall.  Not greatness, but a nice “good” to tack onto that.

Season 7 had a rather unusual task of having to sort of set up the future of the brand, spending time in the season not on itself but on the future beyond its run.  Running parallel to Next Generation was the beginning of the next series Deep Space Nine.  This is the first time two different Trek shows would be on during the same calendar year.  Also, starting the next year would be Star Trek: Voyager.  Of course these wouldn’t be the final Voyages of The Next Generation crew.  The same year it went off the air, the first feature film with the Next Generation cast, Generations, would be hitting theaters.  They would go on to star in three more cinematic adventures, their final being Nemesis in 2002.

While fans do see this season as a step down, this was the first and only Next Generation Star Trek season, let alone Star Trek anything in general to be nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series.  Its actually the only syndicated show in history to be nominated as such to this day.  For total, it was nominated for 9 Emmys ranging from 5 different episodes.  Its sometimes hard for some to remember, but Star Trek: The Next Generation was actually quite popular and made a significant cultural impact during its run.  You didn’t have to be just your run of the mill sci-fi geek back in the late 80s/90s to know what a Borg was, and the entire crew were pretty much household names

Star-Trek-TNG-All-Good-ThingsCBS and Paramount are also making available for purchase, the two-part series finale All Good Things, in a stand-alone release.  This isn’t the first time its been done, usually with the release of each seasons will be a stand-alone of one of the cliffhanger episodes from the season.  Or it’ll be the finale of that current season and the premiere of the next season as they are tied together.  The two episodes are edited together to play as sort of their own little film; the opener and credits are removed from the 2nd part episode.  To make them even more rich and worth your time, the disc comes with its own bonus material unique from the season release.  This time they have chosen the series finale which is a great way to check it out, especially because its one of the more satisfying series’ finales of any show of all time.  I’ve decided to lump it in with this review instead of separate because I kind of feel it goes with it and they’ll have the same spec scoring.

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Episode Listing

Descent, Part II

Liaisons

Interface

Gambit, Part I

Gambit, Part II

Phantasms

Dark Page

Attached

Force Of Nature

Inheritance

Parallels

The Pegasus

Homeward

Sub Rosa

Lower Decks

Thine Own Self

Masks

Eye Of The Beholder

Genesis

Journey’s End

Firstborn

Bloodlines

Emergence

Preemptive Strike

All Good Things…, Part I

All Good Things…, Part II

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Clarity/Detail:  As always, these Star Trek sets look nothing short of showing the extraordinary hard work that’s been put into them.  If you’ve seen the previous Next Generation seasons on Blu-ray, then you know exactly what to expect here.  Detail is pretty impressive when it comes to seeing surfaces and makeup effects in their full glory.  Also, fabrics show plenty of texture and detail.  Once again, a fantastic job.

Depth:  Really solid work with background and foreground images.  On the light end of blurry background objects and such.

Black Levels:  Strong and rich.  No real crushing to report.  Space, as always, its mesmerizing to look at.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are accurate and bold.  The uniform colors always look really rich here in these Blu-ray transfers.

Flesh Tones:  Natural and consistent.  I must note that while not human, the detail on Worf and Data’s skin is phenomenal.

Noise/Artifacts:  Some slight noise at times.  Minor blocking issues can occur if you really pay close attention to a few background spots.  Nothing, however, to keep this from looking great.

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 7.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 Dolby Digital, German 2.0 Dolby Digital, Spanish 2.0 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Italian 2.0 Dolby Digital, Japanese 2.0 Dolby Digital

  • All Good Things: English 7.1 DTS-HD MA, English Dolby Digital 2.0, German 2.0 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Japanese, German, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish

  • All Good Things: English SDH, German

Dynamics: Once again, another home run for the CBS/Paramount team here.  This is a loud, boisterous and “Engage”ing experience to listen to.  Its a well thought out, crafted and executed 7.1 track that makes use of every aspect as natural as it can without ever appearing forced or overdone.

Low Frequency Extension: Phaser blasts and explosions pump in through your subwoofer putting it into work as well as crash sounds and the like.  For a show of its age and time, the subwoofer participation and effectiveness is, as always, very impressive.

Surround Sound Presentation:  These are always incredibly fun tracks.  The ambient noises here are wonderfully varied throughout and give you a full feeling of being on the bridge and other environments.  Screen movement and action is well represented in this 7 channel arena of sound.  Oh and that score is just wonderfully woven in here through all the speakers.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Crisp, loud and clear.  Front heavy and center-focused.

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Extras 

Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season 7 and All Good Things do not come with any sort of digital copies of episodes.  They each come with nifty slip covers though.  Also, each episode (and All Good Things) come with Episodic Promos that are in Standard Definition running around 35 seconds apiece.

Disc 1

Deleted Scenes

  • Descent, Part II (HD, 2:08)
  • Liaisons (HD, 1:40)
  • Gambit, Part I (HD, 7:11)
  • Gambit, Part II (HD, 3:22)

Archival Mission Log

  • Mission Overview Year Seven (SD, 14:47) – A look at the relationships and character arcs and movement in the show’s final season.

Disc 2

Deleted Scenes

  • Dark Page (HD, 3:05)

In Conversation: Lensing Star Trek: The Next Generation (HD, 42:13) – Focusing on how the directors came to be hired for the show, the role of the camera operator and how the crew and cast got along throughout the years of the show’s run.

Gag Reel (HD, 4:53)

Archival Mission Log

  • A Captain’s Tribute (SD, 16:31) – Patrick Stewart and Michael Dorn reflect on their lives and relationships working on the show.
  • Departmental Briefing Year Seven: Production (SD, 15:46) – A look back at a handful of episodes are well as some of the stronger female characters on the show.

Disc 3

Deleted Scenes

  • Inheritance (HD, 6:23)
  • Parallels (HD, 1:44)
  • Sub Rosa (HD, 4:00)

Audio Commentary

  • Parallels – A Brannon Braga commentary track recorded in 2008.

Archival Mission Log

  • Starfleet Moments & Memories (SD, 30:02) – A full on look back at the series run, its characters, relationships, careers, award wins and misses.

Disc 4

Deleted Scenes

  • Thine Own Self (HD, :59)
  • Masks (HD, 3:49)
  • Genesis (HD, 1:09)

Audio Commentary

  • Lower Decks – Featuring writer Rene Echevarria and experts Mike and Denise Okuda.

Archival Mission Log

  • Special Profiles (SD, 15:18) – A look back at Q, as well as a closer look at Troi.

Disc 5

Deleted Scenes

  • Journey’s End (HD, 2:28)
  • Firstborn (HD, 4:12)
  • Bloodlines (HD, 1:50)
  • Preemptive Strike (HD, 4:06)

Audio Commentary

  • Preemptive Strike – Featuring writers Rene Echevarria, Naren Shankar and experts Mike and Denise Okuda.

Closed Set: A Tour Of The Real Enterprise (SD, 11:23) – A home video tour of the sets of Star Trek: The Next Generation that were otherwise close off from any studio tours.

Archival Mission Log

  • Inside Starfleet Archives: Dressing The Future (SD, 10:27) – A look at the costuming of the series and its evolution as well as for the final episode.

Disc 6

The Sky’s The Limit: The Eclipse Of Star Trek: The Next Generaton

  • Part 1: Umbra (HD, 29:43) – Discusses the writing of the season and trying to wrap things up and leave no loose ends.  This one also goes into how they needed to set up Voyager during this season.  It highlights some episodes and talks about their Award nomination and wins.  This one covers a lot, but those of some of the more hot topics.
  • Part 2: Penumbra (HD, 28:44) – A look back at the technology, effects, science, scheduling and an appreciation of the cast of the series.  This one also features Seth MacFarlane.
  • Part 3: Antumbra (HD, 30:13) – The cast looks back at certain episodes and talks about their lives and careers during and after the shows’ end.

Journey’s End: The Saga Of Star Trek: The Next Generation (SD, 45:23) – A vintage special, hosted by Jonathan Frakes, that takes a good general look back at the series leading up to the finale and also touches on Deep Space Nine, Voyager and the upcoming Generations.

Archival Mission Log

  • The Making Of “All Good Things…” (SD, 17:44) – This is an old supplemental feature on the making of the final episode.  If you’re looking for the new one, its on the All Good Things release.

All Good Things (Stand-Alone Release Only)

Audio Commentary

  • With writers Ronald D. Moore, Brannon Braga and Blu-ray Special Features Producer Roger Lay.

The Unknown Possibilities Of Existence: Making “All Good Things” (HD, 26:00) – Both cast and crew go back through making the episodes and the emotions and feelings wrapping things up.  It also talks about going into and making Generations as well.

Deleted Scenes (HD, 7:49)

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Summary 

This 3 year Blu-ray mission has come to its close in a pretty fantastic fashion.  As usual, Star Trek: The Next Generation both looks and sounds superb on Blu-ray, this seventh season is no exception.  While not the best season, by far, its still a good and satisfactory one with a hell of a closeout in its final episode.  There are extras galore, and not just vintage ones, there are plenty of new, exciting interviews to dig into for days.  Both the Season 7 release and the All Good Things stand-alone are well put together, terrific releases.  Fans will want to have both, collectors maybe just the season release and casuals or timid folks can test out All Good Things.  To be quite cheesey about it, the Star Trek releases from CBS and Paramount have been “All Good Things”.  Let’s now hope that Deep Space Nine can pick up the torch and carry us through the next few years!

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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