This year between Christmas and my birthday, I added all three seasons of Star Trek: The Original Series and all seven seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation to my growing Blu-ray collection. I already had all four seasons of Star Trek Enterprise on Blu-ray, which is my personal favorite. I had purchased these as they were released a few years ago. I’ve always been a big Star Trek fan, especially the films, and was very excited to see the improvements to the picture and audio quality of these new releases.
Now, Enterprise was shot in HD and aired on TV in HD so it looks as good as it ever has, no surprise there. But I never imagined the improvements made to the other two series were even possible. They both look and sound like they were shot yesterday. I never realized how bad they looked when they were originally aired on TV in standard def.
Let’s start with the Original Series. All three series have been completely restored and had all new special effects created for every show with modern CGI. But don’t worry, you have the option on every single episode of watching the new special effects or watching the original effects, so you’re getting everything.
The picture quality is stunning. This was a show shot in the late 60’s so it doesn’t look perfect, but it certainly looks better than it ever has, and as good as it will. All the colors pop right off the screen. The red, blue and gold shirts are more vibrant than you have ever seen them. The blacks are deep and the lights are bright, and every laser blast, phaser strike and whoosh of the Warp drive is as loud and clear as you would hope it to be. I prefer the new special effects which make the whole show seem less dated, but as I mentioned, if you’re a Star Trek naturalist, you can watch them with the old stuff.
All 79 episodes are presented here in their original standard TV aspect ratio of 4:3. There are an incredible amount of special features including many commentary tracks, making of documentaries and 3 different versions of the pilot episode, “The Cage”.
The Next Generation is a marvel to behold. They scanned in every single frame of every single episode of the series and the result is as good as any modern film on Blu-ray. This show truly looked atrocious when it aired on television. Now you can see every single individual window when the Enterprise flies by.
In the first episode of Next Generation, Encounter at Farpoint, a giant jellyfish looking alien comes out of the ground at the end of the episode. When originally aired and on the original DVD, it looked like a giant blurry white thing. Now, you can see every tentacle, every hair on its body and other small details you never even knew were there. It’s truly eye opening and I was glad something that obvious was in the very first episode.
The colors throughout are astounding, skin tones finally look natural and Data actually looks like a different color. In fact, most of the Enterprise looks a little different than you probably remember it now that everything is the right color. Even the bridge is drastically different now that the chairs and controls are actually dark beige and the carpet is a dark, rich maroon. It’s basically like seeing the whole series again for the first time.
All 178 episodes are presented here in their original standard TV aspect ratio of 4:3. There are even more special features on Next Generation than there were on The Original Series. Along with all the content from the original DVD releases are new commentary tracks, documentaries on the restoration process, and several new documentaries on each season. They follow everything from the writing process, to the actors, to the production and special effects.
A truly spectacular series of releases that I highly recommend for any Star Trek fan.