The first season of “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” which began airing in 1987, has historically been somewhat maligned for clunky plots and uneven character development. But in the restored Blu-ray presentation of the first season, the show sparkles visually like never before, allowing fans to see what worked about the first season. Yes, it’s still flawed, especially considering how good “The Next Generation” became over its run. But the first season introduces many characters that became beloved in Trek lore: Patrick Stewart’s Jean-Luc Picard probably chief among them.
Picard was the captain of a new starship Enterprise, bigger and more expansive; to hold the ship’s crew and their families, as new vistas throughout space were explored.
The show was set about 100 years after the original “Star Trek” series, the beloved 1960s science fiction program created by Gene Roddenberry. Roddenberry was also responsible for bringing “The Next Generation” to television, where it became a hit in first-run syndication.
To create the Blu-ray edition of “The Next Generation,” those responsible for the “Trek” franchise went back to the original 35 mm camera negatives. Elements were restored and improved for high-definition presentation, while making sure the content of the original program stayed the same. It’s the best “TNG” has ever looked, and a huge improvement visually from the DVD presentation.
The series begins with the two-hour premiere “Encounter at Farpoint,” which introduces John de Lancie’s quippy, powerful alien known as “Q.” The show stumbles through some clunky episodes, but over the course of the season begins to find its footing, with compelling performances from Stewart and from Brent Spiner as the android officer, Data.
The set contains each episodic promo, shown on television promoting the next week’s episode. There are also a multitude of special features, including a look back at how “Next Generation” was created, and an examination of how the show was brought to the Blu-ray format. There are also multiple archival features about the series’ launch, as well as interviews with the cast and crew.
— Matthew Price
From Friday’s The Oklahoman