Star Trek The Next Generation - The Complete Second Season
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22 episodes on 6 discs: The Child, Where Silence Has Lease, Elementary Dear Data, The Outrageous Okona, Loud as a Whisper, The Schizoid Man, Unnatural Selection, A Matter of Honor, The Measure of a Man, The Dauphin, Contagion, The Royale, Time Squared, The Icarus Factor, Pen Pals, Q Who?, Samaritan Snare, Up the Long Ladder, Manhunt, The Emissary, Peak Performance, Shades of Gray.
To the delight of Star Trek fans everywhere, the stellar second season of The Next Generation (1988-89) belonged to Lieutenant Commander Data. As the Enterprise-D's resident android, Data (in the Emmy-worthy hands of Brent Spiner) would gain legal sentience in the season highlight "The Measure of a Man," and his increasingly "human" personality would refine itself in such diverse episodes as "Elementary, Dear Data" (Data as Sherlock Holmes), "The Outrageous Okona" (a misfire, but worthy from the Data perspective), and "Pen Pals." While Gates McFadden (Dr. Crusher) took a sabbatical of then-unknown duration (gracefully replaced by original Trek guest star Diana Muldaur as Dr. Pulaski), the remaining bridge crew would match Data's vitality: Riker grew a handsome beard and proved his command potential; Worf became richly nuanced in "The Icarus Factor," and met his match (and mate) in guest Suzie Plakson's fiercely Klingon sexpot K'Ehleyr; Wesley matured admirably, despite continuing fan disapproval; Betazed culture emerged as Troi locked horns with her eccentric mother, Lwaxana (Majel Barrett, in a recurring role); and La Forge made good on his promotion to chief engineer while Chief O'Brien (Colm Meaney) flawlessly rode on Geordi's coattails.
In a crucial series development, Guinan (special guest Whoopi Goldberg) revealed a connection to Q in her helpful capacity as Ten-Forward's enigmatic host, while Q himself (John DeLancie) precipitated the Enterprise's first, fateful encounter with the Borg (in the suspenseful "Q Who?"). Through it all, Patrick Stewart brilliantly intensified all of Picard's renaissance qualities (especially in the dazzling "Time Squared"), exploring the captain's facets with equal measures of curiosity, fascination, amusement, courage, and philosophical insight. Despite its lame finale with the money-saving clip-show "Shades of Gray," season 2 charted a warp-nine course to the even better season 3. --Jeff ShannonSee all Editorial Reviews
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Yes there is some inconsistent graininess, and yes sometimes it looks like more than just film grain (a few of the scenes remind me of when we used an antenna on our TV and the channel wasn't tuned properly) and yet it's not as bad as some people are making it out to be, in other words, it's not a "deal-breaker"
There's just so much to love about this Season Two Blu-ray release, you can easily get your money's worth with just a small fraction of what it has to offer. For example, the three versions of "Measure of a Man", the regular hi-def version, the extended cut, and the extended hybrid cut. The hybrid cut is very cool because it's kind of like a behind-the-scenes look at the episode - no sound effects (you can hear how the sliding doors actually sound on the set), no music, no chroma key efx in some scene, and no transporter efx in some scenes (they just kind of fade in and out on the transporter pad with no sparkles). Even though some of these scenes are VHS quality, it's a fascinating look at an episode in it's rawest form, before post-production gets a hold of it.
Add to that all the other extras in the set, IMHO, it's worth the price alone. But then you also get the episodes, for the most part, crystal clear. You can read the LCARS display when Data picks out "the comic" and realize the comic's name is Ron D. Moore!
I was always unhappy with the fact that the regular TOS dvd's looked better than TNG dvd's. I always though it was odd that something made in the 60's looked better than something made in the late 80's. But no more, now you can see these episodes "the way they were meant to be seen"
I'm not discounting the complaints other reviewers have made, their complaints have merit....a better job could have been done. But as I said, if you are a Star Trek fan, I can't see any reason why you wouldn't want to get this Blu-Ray set. The overall quality of the video far outweighs the occasional inconsistencies of film grain and other minor errors.
The cast photo is misleading. The character Dr. Beverly Crusher is not in this season of the show, yet for reasons likely contractual at the time, she is credited throughout. This season features the character Dr. Polaski who is fine, but lacks some of the character connections and story that go with Dr. Crusher.
It's the 'cleaned up' version of The Next Generation that enhances (not changes) many of the special effects. The overall print of the video is cleaned up as well to make it look really crisp on an HD television in a digital format. It's like watching the series for the first time. If you haven't watch Trek since the 90's, give it another go. It's still presented in full frame (black bars on the side of the picture) but it looks brand new.
As for the show itself, Season 2 made a lot of progress over season 1. The cast and writers know who they are at this point and were delivering episodes with more confidence. The series doesn't really hit its full stride yet by season 2, but it's definitely on it's way. (Season 3 is when TNG really takes off)
The biggest change for Season 2 is that Riker's beard makes its first appearance!