Blu-ray Review: ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation -- The Next Level’

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CHICAGO – I wonder sometimes what the most influential voices in television would think of HD. Would Rod Serling embrace it? Norman Lear? What about Gene Roddenberry, the man who forever changed science fiction when he created “Star Trek”? Personally, I think he’d love the chance to update and enhance his vision as they have been in the Blu-ray versions of “Star Trek: The Original Series” and is about to be for “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” Get a taste of what’s to come with the 3-episode sampler “Star Trek: The Next Generation — The Next Level,” now on Blu-ray. Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

The back of the Blu-ray release refers to “The Next Level” as a “Taste of TNG.” It’s just three episodes, running only 182 minutes (one of the episodes is a two-parter) and comes with no special features. It’s clearly designed for the hardcore fan willing to spend money on three episodes that they’re just going to have to re-buy once all of the seasons have been upgraded JUST so they can see the HD transfers and upgraded special effects. In other words, only Trekkies need apply. And those Trekkies should be very happy. The show looks incredible, as if it could air right now with the exception of a few special effects that couldn’t be fully upgraded to 2012. The video and audio aren’t the only upgrades. The effects have been enhanced as well. Even if this is a an expensive taste ($20 for three episodes with no special features is steep), you will surely want to eat more.

The episodes on “Star Trek: The Next Generation — The Next Level” are “Encounter at Farpoint” (1.1, 9/28/87), “Sins of the Father” (3.17, 3/19/90), and “The Inner Light” (5.25, 6/1/92).

Star Trek: The Next Generation -- The Next Level
Star Trek: The Next Generation — The Next Level
Photo credit: Paramount

Welcome to the next generation of Star Trek: The Next Generation, like you’ve never seen or heard it before! For the first time ever, you can experience some of the show’s most important and beloved episodes in glorious 1080p high definition, with true high definition visual effects and digitally remastered 7.1 sound - or with the original audio. You’ll witness new picture detail and depth you haven’t seen before, and enjoy spectacular visual effects that have been painstakingly re-created from the original film elements … not upconverted from videotape! This “Taste Of TNG” is a glimpse of what the upcoming complete season Blu-ray releases of TNG will be like, and will transport you to the next level.

“Star Trek: The Next Generation” stars Patrick Stewart, Michael Dorn, Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis, Wil Wheaton, Gates McFadden, and LeVar Burton. “The Next Level” was released on January 31, 2012. content director Brian Tallerico

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