Somewhat over a year ago, I mentioned the sampler Blu-Ray that was issued as a preview for the actual release of Star Trek: The Next Generation (ST:TNG from here on) in glorious high definition. I was impressed by the quality of the work, which made the sample episodes look significantly better than they did when first broadcast, and a lot better than the DVD releases.
But I didn’t rush into buying the first season when it was released, on the quite sensible grounds that I had a big pile of stuff to watch already, this was material I’d seen before, and well, who wants to pay the full price for that kind of thing? As it turned out, my hesitation turned out to be a Good Thing. In a seriously embarrassing oops moment, CBS managed to make a mess of the audio on some of the episodes. This was such a major problem that the discs were withdrawn from sale until new ones could be produced, and people who bought them were given free replacements.
So, eventually, I bought the first season at a moderately sensible price, and even more eventually, got on with watching it all over again. Now the generally accepted notion about ST:TNG is that it didn’t really get to be all that good until the third season, and it is true to a point that not everything was quite right in the debut season. For a start, Riker without the beard never looked right, and the ever-changing chief engineers were a bit of a mess, but there are signs here of how great ST:TNG would become. For a start, there’s Patrick Stewart, a man who can express more with a look than many actors can with an impassioned speech. As an aside, his appearance in the BBC TV adaptation of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was a prime example of this. In a scene where George Smiley is attempting to persuade him to defect, he utters not a word and still dominates the scene. That wouldn’t be all that remarkable if Smiley hadn’t been played by Sir Alec Guinness…
Anyway, there is much to enjoy here – if it’s been a while since you last watched the show, it’s good to get to know those characters all over again, and to see just how good your memory of the stories is.
As with the sampler, the remastering is quite simply stunning. The colours are brighter, everything is sharper and the effects are much more, err, effective.
There’s a selection of new features, which include members of the cast talking about how they got the parts, and other such things. Some of the material from the DVDs is also included.
I was sufficiently impressed that I ordered Season 2 immediately after finishing this set. I started watching that last week, so I might have managed to finish it before Season 3 comes out at the end of April.
Summary: if you’ve enjoyed ST:TNG in the past, you’ll enjoy it more in this gloriously restored version. And if you’ve never seen ST:TNG, get on with it!
 This was meant to be done by the producers sending replacement discs to people who requested them, but I understand Amazon did the decent thing and sent out new sets to all customers who’d bought the duff ones.
 I found I recalled most of what was going to happen, but there were details and nuances that had slipped my mind