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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Blu Ray Review, December 3, 2012
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This review is from: Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season 2 [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Short review- if you want ST:TNG S2 the best it's ever looked, this is worth the price of admission. There are some uneven visual effects, but overall, the quality is amazing from start to finish.

ST:TNG S2 contains only 22 episodes this time out, which is the full run of the season.

Video:

Amazing. Well, let me say, anything that includes people, looks absolutely fantastic. The level of detail in each shot is breath taking. You can't ask for better from video from the era.

Where it falls down, slightly, is some of the visual effects. I haven't seen the entire series yet (received it today), but even in the first few episodes there are instances of some slightly blurry VFX and some of the planets and so on just look a little off. I can overlook this for the most part, but when comparing the amazing work done on the first season, I had expected a few steps above this from stem to stern.

As it turns out, CBS allowed another company do the restoration work, given how large the task is to recreate all 7 seasons, this time out. Unfortunately they seemed to allow them some liberty and didn't full check all of the work, thus the slight "differences" in interpretations. The work is, by no means, horrible, it just isn't perfect, unlike what I would say the VFX in the first season were.

I dropped one star for the odd effects, though I can look past it to an extent.

Audio:

Again, amazing. The 7.1 channel audio is full and the sound stage is quite well done, just as the first season was. You can hear effects throughout the sound stage and every bit of audio is crisp and clear. You can also listen in stereo, which isn't nearly as clear to my ears, but still the best it's ever sounded.

One question you may have is, does this set have the same audio issues as the first? For those that have the audio issues in the first season, Paramount does have a website where you can request replacement discs, and I recommend you do. As I have not yet viewed the entire series, I can't say definitively that the audio is error free, but from watching a few eps (and all the extras on the discs) on the first disc, then spot checking episodes from the others, it does NOT appear to be an issue.

Extras:

Jam packed? Can I say that? I guess I just did!

The quality of the recreation (well, most of it, dismissing some of the VFX), deserves a level of amazing extras, and this set goes the extra mile.

Reunification - the cast returns 25 years later to talk about the show. If you don't watch any of the other extras, I think this is worth it.
Making it So - two part feature. Includes interviews, both current and historical. Can I say this is also a must see set?
Reading Rainbow - LeVar used to be on Reading Rainbow and they did a behind the scenes look at TNG on the show. The episode is included here.
Gag-Reel - various silliness from the crew during filming. It is fun to watch.
Extended Measure of a Man episode. I have not yet watched this, but early reports are that they added 15 minutes of footage, all recreated from the film elements like everything else in the set, is supposedly well worth watching. Once I get to watching it, I'll update my review.

You also get audio commentaries (haven't listened to them yet) for some episodes and also some deleted scenes that I have not yet viewed all of.

Over all:

A great set and a good follow up to the first season. The first season was marred by some audio issues (that Paramount has corrected). This season is marred by some VFX issues, that I can't imagine will be corrected, given how much more work would be required to do so. Either set, however, is worth watching over again given how amazing they look and sound now.

The next season is back in house with CBS Digital, so the likelihood is that that set will be perfectly perfect. Even if this set and the first aren't perfect, they are the best the show has ever looked and for me, that's a darn good start.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 4, 2012 9:48:29 AM PST
Twiddles42 says:
I bought it for the extras, but I've seen enough screencaps (and have worked in film restoration and processing) to know that the HTV firm could have easily applied better effort. I cannot agree that one "cannot ask for better". You even admit it by saying ("Dismissing some of the VFX").

At least the live action film sequences, save for occasional bouts of excessive grain removal rendering everyone looking like plastic as mannequins, look good. At least from what I've seen so far. The f/x are very variable, where one has every right to criticize. Especially as people involved in the set are on record in interviews saying CBS kept in close with the outside service provider, with such claims people will stop believing the moment they see the episodes for themselves.

And I won't agree that "the set goes the extra mile" (in terms of the restoration effort), but I will agree the set does go to great lengths with some terrific extras. That I can instantly and wholly agree with you on.

It's a passable follow-up, but only for the extras. Video quality, which is probably one of the more important aspects given this is Blu-Ray and not streaming video, is variable - with remastering being outright sloppy at times.

I don't see this set being fixed, either, which is a shame given the attention and care Paramount gave to season 1. Which is unfortunate. CBS dropped the ball, and I will not buy further seasons. We are customers, with hard-earned money, that have fair expectations. We are not here to beg and thank for scraps. It is a two-way street. Anything else is unethical.

With luck, CBS will go back to its original 2015 timeline, do all remaining seasons in-house, and nix what's been outsourced for season 4 so far. It's not worth the risk, because these sets are (understandably) expensive and Blu-Ray has certain expectations.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2012 12:08:39 PM PST
Hello Twiddles42.

First, I would like to point out that nowhere in my review have I stated you "cannot ask for better." I'm not sure where you read that? I have not, for the record, edited my review at all since I posted it yesterday. Anytime I edit reviews, I mark them as such as you can browse through my review history to see.

You will also see that I do not mention that someone can't criticize the visuals, as I myself, as you pointed out, did criticize them. Visually, the set is not without faults. I can, however, look past this given how amazing it looks compared to my old DVD sets. Is there even a comparison there?

They did go the extra mile in terms of restoration IMO. Going back to the original film elements, cleaning those up and then putting every frame back in place is much further than any company I can recall doing for any other TV series. They could have just upscaled and slapped it on BD and some people would have been none the wiser., or even cared and bought anyway. But I didn't say they went the extra mile on restoration in my review proper, though I can see how that could be read into my comment. Sorry for the confusion.

I know Season 3 is being handled by CBS Digital. I believe someone else stated another company, not the company that did S2, is handling Season 4. With luck, CBS has them on a tighter chain than they did this company.

It's obviously your right to do what you want with your money. These sets are NOT cheap. If had paid the MSRP for it, and received the spotty VFX, I'd probably be quite angry as well. I didn't pay MSRP for it and it "almost" met my expectations. Thus the 4 stars. The video is what knocks it from the 5.

Thanks for posting and commenting.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 17, 2012 11:58:53 PM PST
M. Reynolds says:
Stephen, for the record you did state "cannot ask for better"... check your forth line.

"Video:

Amazing. Well, let me say, anything that includes people, looks absolutely fantastic. The level of detail in each shot is breath taking. You can't ask for better from video from the era."

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 18, 2012 3:05:36 AM PST
Right, I did write that, however, not in the context it was originally commented about. My comment was that for the live action pieces, video likely couldn't look much better - it was implied I was stating that the video on the Blu Ray over all could never look better- which is not my comment at all.

Thanks for the input.
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