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Star Trek: The Next Generation (S1)
DVD disk
10.08.2004 By: The Shootin Surgeon
Star Trek: The Next Generation (S1) order

Patrick Stewart
Jonathan Frakes
Brent Spiner


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Do I really need to explain? Several years after Captain Kirk and the crew of the original series return to Earth, a new mission is launched aboard a brand new Starship Enterprise. Under the guise of Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Stewart), a brand new crew takes to the galaxy and goes boldly where no man has gone before. Continuing with the undaunted spirit of exploration of their predecessors, this crew is faced with alien threats and a complicated web of interpersonal relationships among crew members.
Definitely. I was just coming of age at the time this series hit, where I was starting to get interested in older episodes of the original series. This was a beautiful way to expand on the limited knowledge that I had of Star Trek at the time but it always felt right, and it always felt like it fully respected the spirit of Kirk and his crew. Beginning with the vastly redesigned Enterprise, this was a series which would set the tone for all the other Star Trek spin-offs that would follow. The elegance of the ship was the cornerstone of the series and what gave it not only credibility, but a true feeling that mankind had evolved in the seventy-five years between the two missions. Add to that, the class and dignity Patrick Stewart brought to the role of Captain Picard and you had two rock-solid building blocks on which the series would lay its foundation.

The first season, as would be expected, was one of introductions. Introductions to characters, introductions to new alliances between races that were enemies in the past, introductions to new villains, new planets and some concepts of life forms that were unimaginable previously. Standouts included John de Lancie as "Q", an omniscient demi-god of a life form who would become the ship's tormentor over the length of the season and a personal nemesis of Picard's, and regular cast members Brent Spiner and Michael Dorn. The two, an android and a Klingon respectively, would become linchpins of the show, along with Jonathan Frakes, who was admirable as First Officer Riker.

It all made up for the emasculated performance of LeVar Burton as Geordi Laforge and Marina Sirtis as Counselor Deanna Troi, a mind-reading betazoid whose acting skills were similar to those of a wounded reindeer. Another deception through Season 1 was the quick departure of the very sexy Denise Crosby, who played Security chief Tasha Yar and who pulled a David Caruso, leaving the show for greener pastures only to disappear forever into the sea of Hollywood has-beens...

Overall, Season 1 was a most satisfying one and it lay a solid base for a series that would go on to last seven more years. The episodes included in this collection will surely be appreciated by fans.

Disc 1: Encounter at Farpoint, The Naked Now, Code of Honor

Disc 2: The Last Outpost, Where No One Has Gone Before, Lonely Among Us, Justice

Disc 3: The Battle, Hide and Q, Haven, The Big Goodbye

Disc 4: Datalore, Angel One, 11001001, Too Short a Season

Disc 5: When the Bough Breaks, Home Soil, Coming of Age, Heart of Glory

Disc 6: The Arsenal of Freedom, Symbiosis, Skin of Evil, We'll Always Have Paris

Disc 7: Conspiracy, The Neutral Zone, Extras
Despite the beautiful appearance of the box-set packaging, I was a bit let down by the special feature content on this collection. A bit let down not by the quality, but by the quantity. What was on the discs was very good but there just didn't seem to be enough. I guess I'll attribute that to the producers pacing themselves since they plan to release the next seven seasons this year as well.

The bonus material basically consists of four small documentaries, all of which are very well made and interesting enough to actually matter. The first one is entitled "The Beginning" (20 minutes) and includes discussions by cast and crew, including Star Trek's creator, Gene Rodenberry, discussing the series in a "making of" style of clip. From conceptual ideas, to technical challenges, casting decisions and storyline direction, everything is discussed in a very insightful way.

Following that is a 15-minute feature called "Selected Crew Analysis", in which the actors discuss their characters' development, background, capacities and any other tidbits of information that viewers may find interesting. Pretty cool but again, we get to see LeVar Burton act like a drooling child. On the other hand, Marina Sirtis shows us why we were able to put up with her acting for seven years: because she's hot!

Next in the lineup is another 15-minute spot entitled "The Making of a Legend", discussing among other topics visual effects, make-up, music, etc., this pretty complete documentary will help you discover the innards of the series. It's made even more interesting by the fact that this was filmed prior to the CGI boom, and that most of the effects had to rely on actual imagination and creativity in order to be accomplished, you'll be given a brief insight into this disappearing art.

Hitting cleanup is a clip called "Memorable Missions". At 15-minutes in length, this feature consists of cast & crew members recapping some of the pivotal moments of the first season. This will undoubtedly be a recurring featurette on the rest of the Season issues, and is pretty neat. They discuss shooting anecdotes, plot line effect and any other topics related to important facets of a season, such as new characters and departing characters, weird special effect disasters stories and others of the like.

There probably could have been more, but like I said before, what was there...was good.
Whether or not you're a huge Star Trek fan is what will determine this for you. With almost 30 hours of footage, this will definitely not be available in video stores so a purchase is your option. At about $100 US, they're not giving the thing away and if you plan on acquiring the entire series, you'll be shelling about $700 out by the end of the year. If you're a big fan, you'll appreciate the solid stories and the familiar characters, not to mention the package itself, which is extremely attractive. For casual fans, you may find a rental store that will rent the season out disc-by-disc. If so, look above to see which episodes you're interested in and pick them up individually. I'll be honest though, this thing looks damn good sitting on my shelf.
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