Friday, November 30, 2012

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Back for the Season Two BluRay Celebration

I met my friend Joe in the lobby of our local Celebration Cinema with a pair of pre-purchased tickets in hand. We greeted one another and then made our way over to cushy Theater One for show time as I called attention to my Star Trek: The Next Generation communicator badge, which hung from my t-shirt. There we were two Trek fans on their way to bask in the glow of the big screen upon which the beloved science-fiction wonder show of our youth would be projected in marvelously remastered, high definition. It was time to take part in welcoming the release of Star Trek: The Next Generation Season Two to the BluRay format.

After attending Fathom Event's July special for Season One (TNG Season 1 Event Blog) I knew that I would eventually have to make my way back. The chance to sit with fellow Trek fans and watch the care with which CBS Digital and the incredible Michael and Denise Okuda restored and updated our beloved television show could not be ignored. Star Trek, in my opinion, is one of those things in life that deserves one's attention. It's like the friend who's always given you the time of day or supported you during a rough patch. Basically, I owe it to Star Trek to always be a fan because it's meant so much to me for so long and I'm glad to bear that in mind. Also, I go to show my appreciation for all the efforts made to keep The Next Generation alive and well for the future.

There were several fans in attendance, though the event was far from being sold out. As Trek trivia questions boomed on to the screen, backed by the glorious, familiar theme music, I could hear folks all over the room discussing them. It was through and through a Trek event for Trek fans by, from what I could tell from the restoration documentaries and what I've experienced from Michael and Denise Okuda, Trek fans. As I stated in my review of the previous event, it was as good and as close to a micro-Trek Con as I'll ever get where I'm located.

Before the first episode, which was "Q Who?," we were shown restoration comparisons which, I must admit, surprised me. "Q Who?" was introduced by some folks at CBS Digital, Michael and Denise Okuda, and director Rob Bowman (Star Trek, The X-Files, The X-Files: Fight the Future). The first appearance of The Borg was as great to watch as ever. Remastered, it looked crisp, and as with the First Season episodes, the new and enhanced special effects were very much faithful to the originals.

Between the first and second episode we were given a chance to see some hilarious bloopers, mostly those displaying Michael Dorn's inability to keep a straight face during another actor's lines. Following the bloopers we had a long-awaited cast reunion, the reason I was most looking forward to this event. The gang was all there and their discussions, had they not been edited down for the time restraints of the event, could have kept me engaged and entertained for hours.

The final episode of the evening, preceding the Season Three preview which concluded the night, was a showing of an extended cut of the episode "The Measure of a Man," written by television scribe Melinda M. Snodgrass. This version featured thirteen extra minutes, all of them necessary as far as I'm concerned. What was most amazing about this version of the episode, beyond its thoughtful plot and all-important reflection upon the concepts of sentience and identity, was the fact that the additional scenes were retrieved from a VHS of a rough cut of the full episode gifted to Ms. Snodgrass before it aired and yet it still looked amazing in HD. The remastering was so effective that Joe and I were unable to find apparent video quality differences throughout the episode.

So, having now attended two of the Star Trek: The Next Generation BluRay release events I am more than certain that I shall continue this tradition. I look forward to the release of Season Three and hopefully what will be the theatrical showing of a remastered edition of "Best of Both Worlds Part One," a powerful episode for fans of this series. My thanks go again to the amazing restoration staff at CBS Digital. They know their stuff and they have skillfully maintained the heart of my favorite television series whilst beautifying it for modern audio/visual entertainment. I also wish to thank Michael and Denise Okuda who were kind enough to share my blog review of the previous event, and who tirelessly tend to the well being of the Star Trek universe in their way. They are the keepers of the flame and they deserve all the praise they can stand and then some.

Until Season Three, fellow Trek fans!

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