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on May 3, 2013
After reading some of the other reviews and comments I too am tired of the ignorant "complaints" about the TNG BRD releases being somehow "inferior" or inherently "bad" because they are in 4:3 aspect ratio with the "pillar bars" present on 16:9 TV/Monitors. Although I appreciate that the vast public has largely been educated as to the crime that was "Pan and Scan" which was applied to theatrical movies which were shot in wide formats to make them fill 4:3 TVs for home video in the past, as the title states if you think this is a problem with ST:TNG (or ST:TOS for that matter) you don't know what you're talking about. If you have the Season 1 BRD set there is a short but very concise featurette that explains all the reasons why the show cannot be presented in 16:9 format. I highly recommend that you watch this featurette, it's freely available on youtube here: [...] (if the link is broken or isn't displayed just search "Why TNG BluRay is 4:3" on YouTube and you'll find it).

In any case:
1) In 1987 nobody knew that 16:9 would become the preferred format for high-definition television broadcasts in less than 15 years; nor that 16:9 would become the dominant format for home televisions. TVs in 1987 were all 4:3 aspect and had a lower effective resolution than your smartphone today probably does.

2) Although the show is shot on 16:9 film all the shots were composed for a 4:3 matte, at the time the producers had no reasonable requirement or expectation that it should ever be composed for 16:9 (see point 1). Therefore crew and equipment is often visible in many shots outside the 4:3 matte. The film itself in these areas was not handled as carefully as the composed shot and often has excessive grain and scratches from handling because again, there was never the assumption that those parts of the film would ever be used in the final broadcast.

3) From point #2 the only other viable option would have been to "push in" or "zoom into" the clean 4:3 shots and loose visual information at the top and bottom of the shot; effectively re-imagining the visual composition of each episode. CBS refused to do this as it violated one of their prime directives that this was a restoration and not anything else. Also many Blu-Ray players and HDTV monitors have zoom functions that allow you to do this yourself. I know on my Oppo BDP-83 Blu-Ray player I can set it to "full" zoom operation where it will take a 4:3 image with pillars and push into it so that the pillars are eliminated and the upper and lower portions of the 4:3 image are cropped. Also some TVs allow you to stretch a 4:3 image out to 16:9 with a kind of "fish bowl" type of effect (which I personally find generally horrible). Thus, seeing as how I can ruin the shot myself there was no reason for CBS to force it onto us by doing it permanently. Again they chose to give us a restored version for which they should have all our gratitude for preserving this program as it was originally conceived (unlike other science fiction producers that may or may not make movies about wars in the stars and refuse to provide proper restorations of their original products).

4) Furthermore many of the composite shots which used models were cropped to a 4:3 composition. This is dramatically demonstrated in the aforementioned featurette where a CBS technician shows us footage for the season 1 episode "10101001" where the Enterprise D is shown docking at a federation Space Dock, the film elements for the Space Dock were reused from the Star Trek III motion picture. Although they had full 16:9 shots for those scenes since ST:III was shot for a wide aspect, the composites of the Enterprise D model were cropped to 4:3 (this is visually demonstrated by playing the 4:3 composite over the 16:9 background shot). Meaning that they would have either had to recreate the Big-D in full CGI and rebuild the scene or use the original model shot and leave it as a 4:3 scene (or push into the scene as described in point #3). The point is moot however when the rest of the episode could not have been "made into" 16:9 anyway because of 1, 2, & 3. This was apparently endemic to most if not all of the composite scenes.

Now having said all this, the fact that ALL of the TNG HD restorations will be carefully preserved in their original format, meaning among other things a 4:3 aspect ratio, should not dissuade you in the least from your purchase of the feature cut of Best of Both Worlds or any of the TNG BluRay products. In fact it should enhance your buying decision knowing you are getting the best possible version of the show in this generation of technology, at least where the film scan restoration is concerned.

Possibly the only reason not get this BoBW BRD is if you plan to get both the complete seasons 3 and 4 and cannot see "double dipping" to have it twice (effectively). However if you're not interested in buying the full seasons, but are a fan of this particular episode and really want to own it, then CBS has made it easy for you to save money and buy just this outside the season sets if that makes you all warm and fuzzy. Besides BoBW as a "feature" is arguably "better than" a couple of the TNG theatrical features...but that is a debate for another place and time.
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VINE VOICEon May 1, 2013
I have always loved these two espisodes of STTNG. I will never forget that the second part of the cliff hanger acually had its premiere broadcast on the evening of my wife's and my 3rd wedding anniversary. We were so caught up with it, that we brought dinner in and watched the show as our celebration.

So, many years later, I was excited to hear about the "seamless" version on blu-ray. I received it on the first day it was available to the public and watched it right away with my son. It is great in so many ways; the vibrant color, the enhancements, including the soundtrack just pulls one into the tension filled story. I even found that the story is a stronger one when told as one complete tale (I felt when I first watched it, that the second episode did not live up to the first), but paired together they come off well.

What I did not like was the lack of more "seamlessness." In many ways, I felt like I was watching a theatrical film, but that was conitnually interrupted with the standard tv opening at the beginning and the commercial breaks (where the scene fads to black on dramatic music, only to open again a few seconds later on the same shot). I felt that this would have been a five star review if they had gone a little further in the seamless aspect.

For fans of the show, or new folks becoming interested in it, I do recommend this. I will say that, I have yet to watch the extras on the blu ray but may review those at a later time.
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on April 28, 2013
I was one of the ones at the cinema who saw this on April 25th. It was nice to see the work they had done to clean up the picture...but they did not change the aspect ratio. It was in the original 4X3 aspect ratio you would have seen it in in 1990 on the air. That being said...when you look at the gag reel after seeing the digital magic they did to this will not believe your eyes. No more grainy scenes...the audio was mind-numbing and saw no tearing of the picture like I have seen on other TV shows and movies converted to HD. The digital clean up of this is amazing. Another thing you will be amazed when you watch the bonus features on this is how long ago this was aired and how much older the surviving cast looks. At least with this HD version...we will always be able to see every one of these actors in their prime. makes me feel that much older to know this was shot almost 25 years ago and I remember seeing this in first run in 1990.
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on May 15, 2013
These episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation are two of the best Star Trek episodes of all time, possibly two hours of the best television sci-fi ever. The acting is very good and the plot is extraordinary when compared both to other episodes of the show and to the general quality of other television drama and sci-fi programs at that time. For people who don't want to purchase entire seasons of the show, this is a good option as it provides a very popular story arch with some nice extra features all on one disc.

Running approximately 85 minutes, this is a combination of the Season 3 Finale and the Season 4 Premiere. It dramatically heightens the sense of risk and danger in the show compared to many preceding story arcs. The plot pits the crew of the Enterprise against the Borg, the infamous cybernetic collective, who proceed to attempt the destruction of the Federation by assimilating Captain Picard and using his knowledge of Starfleet tactics and technology against them. The acting is generally better than usual for the show, as the cast seem to really bring to life an Enterprise brought to its knees. Especially impressive is the evolving relationship between First Officer Commander Riker and Borg specialist Lt. Commander Shelby. Not only does this near perfect moment in Star Trek history entertain in a big way, but it also sets up many (then) future ST storylines.

The video on this disc is greatly improved compared to the original broadcast version. Of course, being an early 90s TV show, it is in 1:33:1 but the cleanup job for the Blu-Ray release has it looking exquisitely sharp. The sound is sharp too in its new re-mastered 7.1 stereo surround. The extras are also nice for being a budget release of a TV show. There are a few short features that give extra context to the show and provide interesting facts presented by the cast and production crew. For the low price, this is a great buy for anyone who loves these episodes and who doesn't want to buy two seasons of the show to own them. I give it five stars and would give more if I could.
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VINE VOICEon May 3, 2013
(note - my copy has not yet arrived; I saw a friend's blu-ray.)

We all know the story so I'll cut to the chase:

1. The editing to combine both parts means a loss of "to be continued", a recap, and some music. Much to my surprise, while the editing was very competently done, the big epic "TO BE CONTINUED" was missed...
2. Film restoration quality is top-notch, as is the sound - the editing of both is virtually seamless, and the audio isn't overly loud or underly quiet either
3. Three seconds of a minor reaction shot (in pt 2) had to be upsampled because the original film element was not found (3 seconds lost from this episode combined with 2 seconds from some season 1 story equates to 5 seconds of footage lost -- from an archive containing over 25000 reels of film is quite a ratio of lost:total)
4. The original tv promos are included and are nice to see
5. Loved the blooper real
6. Liked the documentary with the cast. Elizabeth Dennehy's input is great, surprising at times, and - as the 2-part story shows - did an amazing job as Lt Shelby

The blooper reel and special features make this an okay purchase. I think it's been put out just for those of us who do not want to wait until late-July to see part 2 to get to see the whole kit'n'kaboodle now. Which is nice, since:
(a) it's quicker to get this disc than to fetch disc 6 of season 3 followed by disc 1 of season 4
(b) casual fans who don't want to buy every season set can just get this story and watch it whole
(c) it's a very special episode (had to find another reason)

Fans who want every little extra will doubtlessly purchase. More casual fans might want the whole series but not pay for these sorts of double-dips. The extras are good, but they don't hold enough merit to be "must have". Less casual viewers, though, that prefer special stories rather than buying entire seasons might find this set worth buying. If they didn't care for season 3, which would be amazing since most of season 3 holds up amazingly well.

Definitely 4 stars, but not worth more than $14.99 for sure.
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on July 11, 2013
I have been a Star Trek:TNG fan from the beginning. I was in love with Captain Picard-I was 19 at the time. That summer in between seasons was torture! To watch it all the way through in Blu-ray-wow what an experience. The only thing better would be to see it on the big screen. I would like to invest in the Blu-ray seasons, but they're a little too expensive right now. I'll wait to see if they come down in price
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on June 20, 2013
The film on the "full length" is the same as the original TV show with one glaring exception. The cliffhanger at the end of part one is cut out along with some of the music. In my opinion, the cliffhanger and the music leading up to it was really one of the best parts. Cutting it out totally, rather than just treating it like a commercial break was a bad decision on the part of Paramount. I will stay with the regular DVD season and episodes.
I you are a die hard Trekkie, pass on this. Get the season episodes and watch it that way. Much more of a thrill.
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on April 23, 2014
I won't give a detailed review of the content, as many reviewers on and the internet have already done that. What I will say:

- Video was scanned from the original film and digitally cleaned up; this results in the cleanest, brightest and most visually stimulating version of the episodes yet. I own copies of these episodes on DVD; the difference in video quality is night and day.

One note: there are three seconds of lost film footage in 'part 1', but they have simply inserted upconverted standard definition content so that no part of the story would be lost. I did not notice when watching (on a 70 inch HDTV).

- The sound is simply amazing. 7.1 lossless DTS Master Audio, and a 2.0 Stereo soundtrack (with Dolby compression). Subtitles are available, but you will never use them unless you are hard of hearing, deaf, or need to watch at very low volumes.

Dialog is strong and clear, special effects punchy. Scenes with big explosions will ROCK your dwelling given a subwoofer.

- There is a new special feature, 29+ minutes in length that was not included with the ST:TNG Seasons 3 or 4 sets.

While some see this as double-dipping, I prefer to see this as the studio funding something new for the fans. I purchased this disc at $11.99 (, and could not be happier.

For those who don't know, the movie is presented with the original 4:3 aspect ratio - this means that there are black bars to the left and right of the video. I applaud this decision; this show was shot and produced at a time when widescreen TV content just wasn't done. The studio opted to focus on quality of the shots and special effects, and not on cropping video or re-framing just to full the screen.

I strongly recommend this product, even if you already own it in another format.

Get this NOW. You will not regret it.
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on May 2, 2013
This Blu-ray is phenomenal, but it could be just a bit better. CBS opted for forego the original lossless stereo mix with this release (just as they have done with the Season releases). It's forgivable, but only because the 7.1 mix isn't terrible and the DD stereo mix is still better than the original broadcast. The picture quality is very good - obviously the best it's ever looked - but CBS could have used a larger disc to allow for a higher bit rate. If you are going to buy Seasons 3 and 4 anyway, then I can't recommend this unless the bonus content and special case cover are a must-have.

I've heard many people complain about this feature version not having the same dramatic impact as the series cliffhanger... how can anything compare with that? Unless you turn it off and wait 9 months to watch the conclusion, you can't really compare the experience. LOL
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on March 6, 2014
Noted as one of the all-time best cliffhangers in TV history, this blu-ray captures every ounce of drama. Beautifully remastered and presented as intended for viewers, you can't go wrong purchasing this item if you're a TNG fan. This had high hopes on my list and wow--it certainly didn't disappoint! There is only one minor editing issue I sort of have, and it's where they splice the episodes together (end of Part I/start of Part II). It isn't quite the original, although I believe it's a special feature. The CGI effects are out of this world, where no one dared boldly go before. Regardless if you have the whole series or are looking for those standout episodes, this is a must have. Engage!
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