Back in 1987, I was eighteen and I remember hearing that Gene Roddenberry was going to resurrect Star Trek in a new series. At the time, there was a TV movie based on Bonanza in the works titled, Bonanza: The Next Generation. That Next Generation subtitle was also getting slapped onto Roddenberry’s new Trek series, and based on that alone I felt—no, wait, I knew—this was going to be an utter disaster. It was basically the lamest idea I had ever heard come out of Hollywood. The tide changed when I eventually saw a commercial. I remember thinking, ‘I may have to tape this’ and I have never had any desire to record any live action TV show in my life.
When it debuted that September, I was right there watching, but opted not to tape every episode after the first, thinking: ‘If this turns out to be a hit, I may be recording this show for a long, long time’. I liked what I saw, but not so much that I wanted to build up that kind of collection of VHS tapes. I remember sticking with the show for the first season, and, possibly, the second, but for some reason lost interest and never saw the third, and definitely not the fourth.
I was glad to be introduced to the show when I received a copy of season four to review. The Next Generation and Enterprise are my favorite two Star Trek series, with Voyager coming in at a tight third. I think I like Enterprise a tad more (I find that particular Trek series relaxing) and have been focusing more on reviewing it rather than Next Generation.
Season four of Star Trek: The Next Generation ran from September 1990 to June 1991 and that time period was very memorable in my life. I had just started dating this girl from work and summer ’91 was our first summer together. I remember we had come back from a bike ride one weekend and had flipped the television on and there was The Next Generation. I can’t recall the episode, but the scene was focusing on Geordi La Forge and in that instant I was simply out-of-the-blue interested in the show again.
All 26 episodes are included uncut and as they were aired (The Best of Both Worlds, Part II, Family, Brothers, Suddenly Human, Remember Me, Legacy, Reunion, Future Imperfect, Final Mission, The Loss, Data’s Day, The Wounded, Devil’s Due, Clues, First Contact, Galaxy’s Child, Night Terrors, Identity Crisis, The Nth Degree, Qpid, The Drumhead, Half a Life, The Host, The Mind’s Eye, In Theory, Redemption, Part I)
General specifications are as follows: the aspect ratio is 1.33:1 1080p high definition and the remastering that was done is simply stunning. Audio falls into the English 7.1 DTS-HD category that was eye-opening as well. Other audio configurations are English Stereo Surround, and Mono for German, Spanish, French, Italian and Japanese. Subtitles have been included for English SDH, Danish, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, Dutch, Norwegian, Finnish and Swedish. Just goes to show you Star Trek is universally known.
The main extra in this set is a two-part documentary called, Relativity: The Family Saga Of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The first part, Homecoming (29:04), covers the family element of the series as it pertains to episodes that chronicle the lives of the characters. Most of the main creators and writers are interviewed as well as actors, Michael Dorn, Brent Spiner and Wil Wheaton. Wheaton explains candidly why he asked if he could leave the show. He just wasn’t satisfied with what the writers were doing with his character. The second part, Posterity (27:45), concerns itself with interviews with most of the main cast and their favorite scenes and/or episodes. Continuing on with Wheaton, he explains he was treated poorly by the producers and was very angry when he left.
In Conversation: The Star Trek Art Department (1:07:29): An engrossing hour long discussion with the key players in the Art Department as they talk about how they got into the business, the shows they worked on (Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise) and the props/FX they constructed.
Rounding out the extras on Disc #6 is a Gag Reel (3:34) that features some amusing moments, and Deleted Scenes from eight select episodes including Best Of Both Worlds, Part 2, Family, Brothers, Final Mission, The Wounded, Galaxy’s Child, Qpid and The Host.
Spread out over the remaining five discs are seven Archival Mission Log featurettes. Pretty much all of the interviews are from 2002, 1994 and 1991:
Archival Mission Log: Mission Overview Year Four (16:41): Interviews with cast and crew as they discuss favorite episodes and scenes
Archival Mission Log: Selected Crew Analysis Year Four (17:04): Interviews with select cast members where they talk about their character.
Archival Mission Log: New Life and New Civilizations (13:45): Interviews with the filmmakers on what it took to find locations that looked futuristic, and how they augmented them to look even more so. The FX of Best Of Both Worlds’ 2-parter is examined.
Archival Mission Log: Chronicles from the Final Frontier (18:12): Interviews with some of the writers and their favorite episodes.
Archival Mission Log: Departmental Briefing Year Four: Production (16:46): The ‘Production’ part covers the actors who decided to direct a few episodes and the ‘Makeup’ part covers the various prosthetics created for the show.
Archival Mission Log: Select Historical Data (10:25): Learn about the early CGI used for “Galaxy’s Child,” and the practical model design for a several ships.
Archival Mission Log: Inside the Star Trek Archives (11:14): A quick featurette on some “odds & ends” trivia style revelations.
Last but not least there are audio commentaries for the episodes, Brothers and Reunion.