I have been a long time Star Trek: The Next Generation fan so when it was announced that CBS was going to redo the entire TNG series on Bluray I was very excited. For years, I had to put up with lackluster video quality on my TNG DVDs, especially in the earlier seasons. The later seasons on DVD looked a lot better than say Season 1 but still I always just made the excuse that the show was made in 1987 and that was that.
Well oh my goodness this release on Bluray goes beyond my expectations.
If you own the TNG DVDs or have watched them on cable you will immediately realize that the jump up in video quality is SUBSTANTIAL! It is literally a night and day difference. The colors no longer look washed out or faded. Skin tones are natural. The level of detail in some shots is so impressive it almost looks like it was shot recently. Amazingly enough, some of the details that were unable to be seen in the DVDs can now be seen quite easily, such as computer readouts or text on doors, hallways, etc. The special effects were also re-composited and in some cases CG was used if they were unable to find the original film. For example, the Chrystalline entity was completely redone with CG and it looks VERY GOOD!! All episodes from Season 1 have been updated in HD except for 2 secs of "We'll always have Paris," because they couldn't find the original film. The 2 secs in upcoverted SD is noticeable if you're looking for it. The menu for the episode actually notifies you of this missing footage (a nice touch). Overall, the video upgrade is so good that it makes worth upgrading your TNG DVDs on that point alone!
Also, the show is in 4:3 not 16:9. If you wanna complain that the show should be done in 16:9 then you obviously don't understand that its just not possible (at least not without spending a fortune). Please google the reasons why, I'm not gonna go into them here.
The entire audio track for each episode has been remixed and it sounds a lot better. It won't blow you away or anything since TNG is not a particularly booming soundtrack but the sounds definitely sound more clear. I think the 7.1 was a little overkill for this release because from what I've read the show was not recorded with anything more than stereo in mind so the surrounds on a 7.1 system do not really get used all that much. I guess CBS wanted to bring TNG into the 21st century so to speak so they made 7.1. Overall, Its a great sounding set for a show that was recorded in 1987.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The original release of this bluray on July 24 set had an audio error on several episodes (audio channels had been mixed incorrectly). CBS has since released that they are offering replacement discs for the affected consumers free of charge. Please google this information just in case you get some of the affected discs.
There are some excellent new special features on this set and the original DVD special features are also included. The two new documentaries explain how the remastering process works (very interesting) and there is also a documentary on how the show got started and how the cast came together (also very interesting). The new documentaries are approximately 2 hrs total.
I personally think the choice of packaging was a good move by CBS. I honestly do not like big honking boxsets that take up way too much space on my shelf. This bluray set keeps in simple with 6 discs in an expanded blu ray case with a slip cover overtop. My only gripe is that the episode list is behind disc one so you have to remove disc one to see the episode list. I wish they would have included a booklet or something for the episode list.
To be blunt this remastering project for TNG is AMAZING. The quality difference for the video is mind blowing. Sure, season 1 of TNG is the weakest season of the show but there are still some good episodes. However, the quality difference in the audio and video is reason alone to rebuy this set.
Please everyone, support these bluray sets so all Star Trek shows can go through this remastering process. I also really want DS9 on BluRay :)