Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Star Trek TNG: The Next Level Blu-Ray Review

Well, Kevin, Richard, and Kelly and I just got together tonight to watch the new Blu-Ray teaser for TNG. It contains the episodes Encounter At Farpoint, Sins of the Father, and The Inner Light. We got through the first two, and we are quite able to form and communicate some detailed impressions to you. I'll post some pictures taken with a digital camera and a tripod, to at least give you an impression of how good things look here. But it can only be an impression, because as opposed to a direct screengrab, there is an additional layer of processing and potential degradation introduced.  The contrast is a bit blown out compared to a direct screen grab, and the detail is not as impressive as seeing them directly with your eyes. I would say these pics are about 75% as impressive as seeing the real thing. Either way, right-click and open the images in a new tab to zoom in!

So, on to the review...

To boldly explore pores like never before...

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Next Generation, Season 6: Rascals

The Next Generation, Season 6
Airdate: November 2, 1992
132 of 176 produced
132 of 176 aired


While returning from a trip by shuttle, Captain Picard, Ensign Ro, Keiko O'Brien, and Guinan are caught in a strange energy field. The Enterprise manages to beam them off, but the people who materialize in the transporter room are children, young versions of the crew members. Complicating matters, the science station on Ligos VII has sent out a distress signal that must take priority. What happened to the crew? How might it be reversed, and what if it can't?

Congratulations, gentlemen. You just rescued this episode!

Friday, January 27, 2012

More Okuda-related awesomeness

Trekmovie.com has the second part of the interview with the Okudas about their work on the TNG Blurays.


Here's some quotes to love:

TrekMovie: Another thing you did last time was to replace over-used repeated establishing shots with something new, like a new angle. Is that something you will be doing or less of an issue with TNG?
Mike Okuda: If that happens, it will be on a much smaller scale. One thing we are trying to be cognizant of is that people who buy the show, know the show really well. We want them to get the show that they fell in love with and not say "wow, these guys were really clever." We want them to say "the original designers were clever." We want to highlight their work.

He says something similar when asked about making it widescreen, since for a lot of the film, there is stuff not in the cropped final version that could be upgraded and shown, and he gives a perfect response about honoring the work and choices of the original creators. It's soooooo nice to see someone who treats the original creative work as having intrinsic value and not merely a copyright license to exploit.

I'm also more excited about the sampler platter now, as apparently they correct the error in the premiere where the phasers shoot from the Captain's Yacht. According to Okuda, Andy Probert, the designer of the D wasn't happy because it was an obvious error, so the Okudas wanted to "make Andy happy." And us as well, it appears.

The Next Generation, Season 6: True Q

The Next Generation, Season 6
"True Q"
Airdate: October 26, 1992
131 of 176 produced
131 of 176 aired


On a mission to help the inhabitants of an ecologically devastated world, the Enterprise gains a new intern, Amanda Rogers. Strange things begin happening, though, and Rogers begins demonstrating fantastical powers. When Q visit the ship and claims Rogers as one of his own, the crew faces a dilemma - do they allow an otherwise human girl to voluntarily take up with a being they know to be mischievous and maleficent?

The Q can cast shadows in any direction they want!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

There is nothing in this interview that doesn't make my giddy.


The Okudas are probably the two people in all of the franchise who I have never been mad at. Not even once. And that's saying something. I have been outraged at the choices of other techinical and creative and production staff at least on some occasion, but not Mike and Denise Okuda. Even if I didn't think a particular Okudagram was terribly awesome, it was usually because whatever it was depicting was probably kind of boring or ill-defined anyway. So seeing how involved they were makes me deeply happy and feel much better about the overall project.

Ok...ok...the mention of 13 seconds of Sins of the Father that had to be upscaled because the original negatives could not be found does not make me giddy. But I am not one of the fans who is going to torture himself over 13 seconds out of more than 2500. I'll live. I'll dig deep and find the courage to go on. I will.

Also, it's nice to see how seriously Paramount and later CBS treated the series by so scrupulously keeping the original negatives intact, and that everything was done on film in the first place. Matt and my concern about the project from the start was that the best original footage was going to be composited video, not film, and basically turn the project into an over-polished upscaling job.

This interview alone has managed almost entirely to sooth my rage at having to buy the whole series again. It's midnight here, and I need some sleep, so dream not of today, everyone. Dream not of today.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Next Generation, Season 6: Schisms

The Next Generation, Season 6
Airdate: October 19, 1992
130 of 176 produced
130 of 176 aired


Commander Riker is having trouble sleeping. It seems like a simple enough problem, but starts to take a truly unsettling turn. Without even having fallen asleep, a whole night has passed. Other crew members begin to exhibit strange symptoms as well, feeling confined for reasons they can't articulate. Worf nearly panics when the barber brings his scissors close to his face. Even more unsettling, even Data is affected, apparently losing an hour of memory. What is happening to the crew and how can they stop it?

Dammit, when I told my Personal Relaxation Light to "suck me into oblivion," this is not what I meant!

Friday, January 20, 2012


As is my normal morning routine, I was thumbing through my RSS reader this morning over a cup of coffee, and came across this article on TrekMovie.com. In it, Marina Sirtis discussess seeing the TNG Blu-ray sampler and how awesome it is. But the most intersting part of the interview is her discussing the choice of episodes for the sampler.
”I think they made a really nice choice of episodes, though I still can’t watch the pilot because I was really amazed that they let me keep my job after that. I describe my performance in that as ‘ Sophie’s Choice meets Star Trek’. It was just way too emotional. It was awful, and I thought for sure that I was going to be fired. Aside from that, I can watch the other two."
I find it interesting that Sirtis knew how over-the-top she came off. I think the writing or direction may have more to do with it than she may be giving herself credit for. Everyone from Picard on down came off a little shout-y that episode. Still, it's nice to know that even from day one, Sirtis was aware of the problems her character had presented. Looking over our other reviews, whenever we are annoyed with the character or stories around Troi, it's pretty much uniformly the idiocy or laziness in the writing that's the problem. Particularly in her scenes with Riker, she really makes great choices that imbue the character with veracity and depth. It's really a shame they never gave her more to work with until Jellico made her put on pants.

So this post is really a little fan shout out to Marina Sirtis. Don't be too hard on yourself. Whenever they let you do something other than sense deception, I thought you were awesome. :)

The Next Generation, Season 6: Relics

The Next Generation, Season 6
Airdate: October 12, 1992
129 of 176 produced
129 of 176 aired


When the Enterprise intercepts a distress signal from a ship that went missing 75 years ago, they also discover the cause of the distress - the immense gravitational pull of a Dyson Sphere. When they board the derelict vessel, they receive a surprise of a different nature - a man out of time, in the person of Captain Montgomery Scott!
Has James Doohan worked with two bald captains, now? Only Shatner's hairdresser knows for sure.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Next Generation, Season 6: Man of the People

The Next Generation, Season 6
"Man of the People"
Airdate: October 5, 1992
128 of 176 produced
128 of 176 aired

The Enterprise comes to the aid of a negotiator, Alkar, en route to Rekag-Seronia, a world torn apart by civil war. Alkar is traveling with his eldery mother, who dies on the way to the peace conference. After sharing a mourning ritual with Alkar, Counselor Troi begins to exhibit strange physical and personality changes. What is happening to Troi and is Alkar somehow responsible?

Let's get you out of that hot, confining uniform, my hirsute teddy bear...

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Next Generation, Season 6: Realm of Fear

The Next Generation, Season 6
"Realm of Fear"
Airdate: September 28, 1992
127 of 176 produced
127 of 176 aired


When the Enterprise finds the errant science vessel Yosemite trapped in a stellar plasma stream, the crew must devise a means of transporting over to investigate. Lieutenant Barclay is forced to confront his fears of molecular transport - only to have those fears confirmed and amplified by the strange perceptions he experiences while doing so. Has Barclay finally lost it, or is there something to his "hallucinations?"

Lt. Barclay is attacked my a space worm in the Land of Beaming. Wait, whaaa?!?

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Next Generation, Season 6: Time's Arrow, Part 2

The Next Generation, Season 6
"Time's Arrow, Part 2"
Airdate: September 21, 1992
126 of 176 produced
126 of 176 aired


The entire senior crew (sans Worf, but that's fair, he got a lot of scenes in the Redemption two-parter), has followed Data to 19th Century San Francisco to stop the aliens who are harvesting human neural energy, and hopefully to find Data. Data meanwhile continues to work alone toward the same goal. Will they find each other? Will they be able to save the timeline? To save Data? Will Mark Twain be as crotchety this time around? The likely answer to all three is yes.

Counselor Troi reacts dubiously to Twain's suggestion that he show her his "mysterious stranger."

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
Released December 6, 1991


Just like they did following Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Paramount turned again to Nicholas Meyer after the critical and financial failure of Star Trek V. In collaboration with Leonard Nimoy, a post-Cold War plot was hatched in which the Klingon Empire was failing, and required a new world order to take the place of comfortable prejudices and hatreds.

Excuse me, I've got something in my eye...

Monday, January 2, 2012

TNG Season 5 Recap


Seasons 3 and 4 were pretty much awesome, so how does season 5 stack up? There's a definite focus on emotional story lines and development, and the actors and writers are clearly more comfortable in their roles. Does that familiarity give them the room to explore new things, or have things gone stale? Let's find out together.
Ludicrous Speed... GO!!!