Fans of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” have a lot to look forward to as Paramount delves back into its film vaults and upgrades every episode from the show’s seven seasons for release on Blu-ray and high-def cable outlets.
It’s a 25th birthday present to fans that comes later this year. But this week, Paramount released a sneak peek with “Star Trek: The Next Generation — The Next Level,” a Blu-ray containing the original pilot, “Encounter at Farpoint,” and two episodes from later on: “Sins of the Father” and “The Inner Light.”
It’s hard to believe it’s been 25 years since the show debuted. I remember several of us gathering to watch it every week in the dorm room of my next-door neighbor in college. That and “Twin Peaks” were our group’s weekly rituals since Corey had the better TV.
In most cases, Paramount was able to go back to the original film elements and digitally remaster the picture into 1080p high definition with 7.1 sound. An asterisk on the box does say 13 seconds of one episode had to be upconverted from video tape. I think I’ll give them a pass.
I didn’t have time to watch the whole disc, so I decided to go with “The Inner Light,” which would have been one of my choices as a “fan favorite,” too. In it, a mysterious probe transports Picard’s mind into a man on a long-dead planet, where he lives a lifetime before returning to the Enterprise.
It does look fantastic. I don’t have any “TNG” DVDs to compare it to, but it looked great on my HDTV. It’s a little thing, but I was “ooohing” most at the prism effect on the stars while the ship was in warp. The lines were crisp, and the Enterprise looked spiffy.
There is a bit of graininess to the picture, which is common to this sort of remastering. It’s not as bad as what we saw in “The Clash of the Titans.” All in all, it looks great.
Here’s a look at some of the footage from “Encounter at Farpoint”:
Come back Friday for your chance to win a copy of the Blu-ray.