HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 5
HTS Overall Score:90
“Star Trek: The Next Generation” is, in my opinion, one of the most successful iterations of the “Star Trek” universe to date. The original series was cancelled during the 3rd season due to mediocre ratings and it took 29 years later for Gene Roddenberry’s vision to hit the silver screen again. This time it lasted for a whopping 7 years and spawned 3 more sequel series and a set of movies that became a box office goldmine. With the incredible Patrick Stewart to replace William Shatner as the leading man of the show and a much more diverse cast than the original it took off in ways the original show never dreamed of. The alien races were explored with depth, the relationships among the crew became tatamount and the series matured from a roughhewn sci-fi show to a well-polished storytelling machine by the fifth season. This season and season 6 are probably the highlight of the entire series, some fantastic multi episode arcs and a cast that has gotten so comfortable with each other that the chemistry is natural and almost second nature. The only other “Star Trek” show to rival these two seasons for chemistry and storytelling has to be the later seasons of “Deep Space Nine” when the Dominion War takes off in earnest.
This season we complete the issue with Worf (Michael Dorn) having to deal with the Klingon civil war and once more rejoins the crew of the enterprise. From there we have some incredible episodes where we deal with the after effects of that situation as well as some more political maneuvering with the sneaky Romulans. We also have an incredible duo of episodes in “Unification Parts 1 and 2” where Leonard Nimoy returns in his quintessential role as the half human, half Vulcan ambassador Spock. With the addition of Ensign Ro we have a new cast member who adds some sort of friction among the cast that was much needed. She’s never one of those characters that you hate, but her brusqueness and different ways of dealing with situations due to her Bajoran nature create some tense situations between her and Picard when the two disagree on how things should go. This leads up to a stunning turn of events when Ensign Ro must decide which of two loyalties she must subscribe to later on in the season.
There are also several really well done and poignant episodes that focus on humanity’s nature and even one where Picard experiences an entire life span, from beginning to end, with children and all in a matter of minutes in “The Inner Light” (which is probably the most well done episode in the entire series. It’s worth the purchase of the season just for that episode along and really gave Patrick some room to stretch his wings as a character). In “I Borg” we meet a borg who’s been broken off from the collective which starts a chain of events that leads to my favorite 2 part arc of the entire series in the next season. (I honestly think I watched “Descent” part 1 and 2 so many times I wore out the VHS recordings my parents had back then). With the addition of Worf’s son, Alexander, joining the crew we really get to see Michael Dorn start taking more of the front row and we can see just why he’s become such a fan favorite and was popular enough to bring over as a main character in “Deep Space Nine”. I really don’t think I can find a bad episode in the entire season really. Some episodes like “Silicon Avater” aren’t as spectacular or character rich as some of the other episodes but still delivers some excellent sci-fi.
The Episode Rundown is as follows
A Matter of Time
The Masterpiece Society
Cause and Effect
The First Duty
Cost of Living
The Perfect Mate
The Next Phase
The Inner Light
Time's Arrow Part 1
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=13754[/img]Being that "Unification" is just a slice from this season you can be sure that my audio scores are the same for the full season. But I'll reiterate. For any of you who haven’t been keeping up with the previous seasons of the Next Generation are in for a treat. These seasons have absolutely INCREDIBLE transfers. CBS and Paramount went back to the original 35 mm negatives and have done a painstaking job restoring them to the best they can possibly look. Some of the old optical effect shots have been touched up with some CGI and the negatives themselves have been cleaned up to pristine shape. There are no signs of digital manipulation in a negative way to the elements and I can see no signs of haloing, DNR or aliasing in any way shape or form. In all honesty these are almost MORE impressive than the work being done on modern film. The original DVD’s from Paramount have always been very mediocre, to bad and even in the DVD world have just been rather “meh”. Watching them on Blu-ray is a revelation to the eyes, the colors are bright and full of rich life and the detail is PHENOMINAL. I never noticed all of the textures, the seam in the uniforms and even the little makeup gaffs that couldn’t be seen before due to the blurring of the low resolution (Spock’s and Sareck’s Vulcan ears come to mind). Blacks are deep and inky with no signs of any black crush what so ever. These have easily been given as much care, and TLC as the original series did several years ago. Fans and critics alike have to admit that these are some of the best restorations being done on the market today.
Now just for disclosure's sake. a few minutes of the original elements couldn't be restored and is using upscaled footage. The Episode "Power Play" has about 1:45 seconds of upscaled footage and the episode "The First Duty" contains around 30 seconds or so of upscaled footage. As it is, that's only 0.18% of the entire season and being that it's so miniscule I didn't feel that it should pull the score down any.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=13755[/img]As with the video track the audio is basically the same as my unification score. using the same 7.1 DTS-HD MA track, you can expect the same hefty space scenes, the same punch to the phaser blasts and the crystal clear dialogue. When I first heard these remasters I wasn’t sure how well a 7.1 track would really fit since most TV shows are rather front heavy. I was honestly surprised to see just how dynamic and expansive the track actually is. The dialogue is locked straight in the front channels as one would expect, but there is a surprising amount of surround usage in the track. The thrumming of the Enterprises Bridge, the sound of footsteps clacking down the hall and the heavy roar of the Enterprise as it blasts into warp, filling the soundstage with an immersive feel and with some very solid LFE weight behind it. Surprisingly immersive and pleasing in all ways the track is truly gold and deserves all the praise it can get.
• Mission Overview Year Five
• Departmental Briefing Year Five: Production
• Deleted Scenes
• Departmental Briefing Year Five: Visual Effects
• Audio Commentaries
• Memorable Missions
• A Tribute to Gene Roddenberry
• Intergalactic Guest Stars
• Alien Speak
• Gag Reel
• In Conversation: The Music of "Star Trek: The Next Generation"
• Requiem: A Remembrance of "Star Trek: The Next Generation Part One: The Needs of the Many"
• Requiem: A Remembrance of "Star Trek: The Next Generation Part Two: The Needs of the Few"
Season 5 is really where the series peaks, along with Season 6 and this is probably my favorite of the seasons. Paramount has been doing an INCREDIBLE job with these seasons and hope that the same care and effort is done to series such as “Voyager” and “Deep Space Nine” as well. The video and audio are a revelation for all of us who have been “slumming it” with the old 1990’s era DVDs for some many years and with such copious amounts of extras to boot makes this a MUST BUY for any Trekkie. There are VERY few TV series that I'm willing to go out and shell the kind of dinero that Paramount is asking for these sets, but the effort and the results in these seasons are worth every penny and I don't hesitate to say "GO BUY NOW!!!!"
Starring: Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes, Michael Dorn
Created by: Gene Roddenberry
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 7.1, English, German, Spanish, French,Italian,Japanese DD 2.0
Runtime: 1182 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: Nov 19th, 2013
Buy Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 5 Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Buy It
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