Star Trek: The Next Generation – “The Best of Both Worlds”
Release Date: April 30, 2013
Blu-Ray Disc • 1 Disc
CBS Home Entertainment

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Consistently ranked as one of the best episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, “The Best of Both Worlds” originally aired as two episodes – the cliffhanger to Season Three and the opener to Season Four. This Blu-ray takes both parts and edits them together as a 90-minute feature, sprinkling in a nice selection of exclusive bonus material to sweeten the pot.

“The Best of Both Worlds” was a watershed moment in Star Trek history, offering up the franchise’s first true cliffhanger. Ask any fan who watched the series in first-run, and the chances are they’ll tell you how excruciating the wait for Part 2 was during the summer of 1990. The plot to the episode is legendary, ingrained in the brains of anyone with a passing familiarity with Next Gen – our hero Captain Picard is captured by the Borg and assimilated into their collective. Commander Riker with the help of the ever-eager Lt. Cmdr. Shelby must take command of the Enterprise and think fast as the Borg, led by Picard, prepare for an all-out assault on Earth.

Despite the fact that Part 1 was always designed to be a cliffhanger, the feature-length edit bridges the two parts very effectively and maintains pacing and excitement. After Riker’s famous line, “Mr. Worf, Fire” we cut to the weaponized Enterprise deflector dish firing at the Borg cube. Part 2 then continues with Worf’s “The Borg ship is undamaged.”

This single-disc release provides a wonderful and very affordable introduction to TNG remastered for fans who may not have picked up the season sets yet. I should also mention that the release comes with a special “Ultraviolet” version included, allowing you to stream or download the episode in HD. This isn’t a feature found on the season sets, but is perfect for those of you wanting to watch “The Best of Both Worlds” on your portable devices.

Remastering Quality

To maintain consistency over the two parts, visual effects house CBS Digital were assigned both parts of “The Best of Both Worlds” to remaster. For a far more detailed look at how I rate the remastering of Season Three by CBS Digital, check out my review here.

Color, grain and contrast are nicely balanced between both parts and I would challenge anybody to notice any major differences in picture quality over the break between seasons.

Planet Jouret IV (seen in Part 1) was originally a reuse of the planet model seen in Season Two’s “The Child” (‘aucdet IX). Rather than reuse the same model, CBS Digital’s Max Gabl recreated the planet digitally, incorporating some wonderful topography to represent mountain ranges on the surface. Similarly, Saturn (seen in Part 2) has been recreated faithfully but stays closer to the original 1990 version than recent NASA photography of the actual planet.

Max Gabl’s new render of Jouret IV from “The Best of Both Worlds”

There’s some amazing VFX work going on with the destruction of the Borg Cube at the end of Part 2, as fires stream out of the cube prior to explosion. The debris thrown out in the explosion looks far more realistic here and the slightly dubious “firework-style” remnants shooting out in all directions have been toned down to a more subtle and ultimately more realistic level.

It should be noted that CBS were unable to locate 3-seconds of the original film elements for Part 2 (this is incorrectly labeled as Part 1 on the Blu-ray cover). Unlike the 13-seconds from “Sins of the Father” (now thankfully recovered), these 3 seconds fly by and are hardly noticeable. They take place at 1:00:58 as Riker tells Locutus he needs time to prepare his people for assimilation. It’s unfortunate, and I’m sure CBS Digital’s film hunter Sarah Paul searched tirelessly for it, but it doesn’t detract from the episode too much as it’s so short.

The upscaled section of “The Best of Both Worlds” with an adjacent HD scene for comparison

Bonus Material

The single disc Blu-ray of “The Best of Both Worlds” comes with a nice selection of bonus material presented exclusively for this release. Compiling bonus material for one specific episode of TNG was always going to be a dicey prospect given how 20 years of time tends to dull the memories of those people involved in the show. Surprisingly, Robert Meyer Burnett & Roger Lay, Jr have served up a treat with a wild 30-minute documentary, 90-minute audio commentary and freshly cut gag reel.

“Regeneration: Engaging the Borg” is a terrifically paced behind-the-scenes retrospective of “The Best of Both Worlds”. Clocking in at 30 minutes, I was thrilled to see just how many people are represented in this documentary – we get to hear from the whole principal cast plus the likes of Elizabeth Dennehy, Cliff Bole, David Livingston, Seth MacFarlane, Mark Altman, Gary Hutzel, Greg Jein, Ron Jones and Michael Westmore. The piece is well structured, with Elizabeth Dennehy guiding the viewer through her experiences as a young, untested actress coming on to Star Trek: The Next Generation as an “outsider”. Dennehy is incredibly engaging and holds a unique perspective about working on Next Gen which we haven’t seen before. Jonathan Frakes certainly still has very fond memories of working with her, lamenting the fact that she never came back to reprise the role while at the same time joking “She wanted my job! My chair! My pips!” Couple the smorgasbord of interviews with some stunning shot breakdowns of the starship graveyard and a host of behind-the-scenes drawings and photos and you have a great companion piece to “The Best of Both Worlds” and an excellent incentive to pick up this release in addition to the season sets.

The disc’s Gag Reel comes freshly cut from the show’s original 35mm camera negative and puts together an impressive selection of bloopers and outtakes from both parts of “The Best of Both Worlds”. As anyone who has seen the new TNG Blu-ray gag reels on previous releases will know, Michael Dorn always takes center stage in these compilations. BOBW is no exception as Dorn proceeds to tear up so many scenes that I lost count! Jaw-aching laughter is guaranteed!

There’s also a special 90-minute audio commentary recorded for the episode featuring Mike and Denise Okuda, Elizabeth Dennehy and episode director Cliff Bole.

The Bottom Line? Setting aside the merits of CBS’s decision to issue this release separately to the season sets (complete with exclusive VAM), I would find it hard to make a case for not picking this disc up given the high caliber of the extra content on display. It’s perfect for those fans wanting to dip their toes in the water of high-definition TNG and it’s affordable enough to justify picking up for those fans who are already collecting the season sets. The VAM (as is increasingly true) is what seals the deal. Pick this one up and enjoy 90 minutes of awesome HD Borg action with a great collection of bonus content. Resistance is Futile!

– Written for by Adam Walker, April 24, 2013

Note: Unfortunately this review is being written while I’m in LA and don’t have access to screencapping. I’ve included all the images I took in advance, but apologize that it’s lighter on image content than usual.

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  • Dandru

    ” Clocking in at 30 minutes, I was thrilled ” means you clock in at 30 minutes, not the documentary.

    • CmdrData

      That’s not how I understood it. Read the whole thing in context.

      Great review Adam! I’ve bought Season 3 and was holding off on BOBW until your review – now I ordered this too!!

  • archer9234

    As long as these bonus features STAY exculsive and never are added in any form to the season sets. Or a complete series set. I have no problem buying the bonus release. If they are added at some point. I lost faith in company.

    • hypnotoad72

      Consider it a premium price for early adopters.

      Think of it this way – have you bought ANY DVD or Blu-Ray release on the first day, only to note that a year later it’s gone down a wee bit in price?

      Down the road, I’ve no problem with CBS chucking it in as an extra – especially for later seasons as they are not as popular. I can fathom that happening, and either way it’s not our decision anyway. 🙂

      • archer9234

        What I’m saying is that don’t put the features in the s4 set or a bonus disc in the complete series set (which would make them add more junk that people who bought early can’t get etc.). If they want to bundle the complete series with BOBW BR, I have no problem with that.

  • Really looking forward to the documentary. I don’t see to say anything about the quality of the episode. The Enterprise being forced out of the nebula and Picard being captured when the bridge is invaded is easily one of the most exciting scenes in all of TNG. And “Mr Worf…” still holds up as one of the best TV cliffhangers I’ve ever seen, thanks in no small part to Ron Jones’ terrific score.

    • trekcore

      There are some great insights into Ron Jones’ composing in the doc, including the origin of the famous Borg musical motif!

  • Mike

    So if the conclusion of BOBW was remastered by the same group who remastered Season Three I assume there is a second remaster for the conclusion to go on the Season Four set? I would have rather seen the BOBW feature go on the Season Three or Season Four set as a bonus feature with the extra VAM, rather than putting out a separate disc, but for $15 I won’t complain too much.

    • trekcore

      A second remaster? No. CBS Digital remastered Season 3 but also “The Best of Both Worlds, Part II” which will go on the Season 4 set. This Blu-ray simply edits both remasterings together.

  • Pablo

    TrekCore, will the special features on the BOBW standalone set be included on the TNG S 4 set?

    • trekcore

      That’s right, these features are exclusive to the BOBW standalone release. They definitely won’t be on the S4 set.

  • Can’t wait I see they still cut out that bit between Riker saying fire and then the deflector firing obviously they must have thought it slowed down the pace of the feature

    • hypnotoad72

      I dig that idea; ditto for the idea of having the original bits (pre-edit) as an extra… it’s mostly the melodramatic “to be continued…”, the pre-credits recap for Pt II’s opener, and the original music (the edit for the ‘feature’ release was really well handled, though…)

      • Yes roll on Monday I’m looking forward to both this and the season set coming through my letter box

    • Chris2027

      There is no extra phaser beam…

  • BrianRoskamp

    Target is promoting this release with a special deal: Season 3 is priced @ $59.99 (the next lowest I could find was $69.9) and BOBW is at $14.99 (compared to $16.99) plus when you buy both you get an extra $10 off, so you can get it essentially for only $5 if you take advantage of the offer.

    • hypnotoad72

      THANK YOU MUCH!!!!!!!!!

      I might cancel my preorder and mosey on over to Target and hit that bullseye… 🙂

    • Drunk Garak

      Where do you find Target offering it for $59.99? Their website lists it at $77.99.

    • Mike

      Could you please share details of where you found this offer? Would love to price match to Best Buy, get the same deal there plus the exclusive footage Season 3 is supposed to have there.

    • I checked out the website, but I don’t see it. I’m hoping best buy does this or something similar. Thankfully I have a $10 gift card they gave me for buying Enterprise season 1.

    • BrianRoskamp

      For everyone looking for my source, it’s been posted on a few Bluray forums from a leaked ad for next week, which is why the price isn’t like online yet.

      • Mike

        This is awesome, thanks for sharing. I’ll definitely be taking this ad to Best Buy and price matching so I can get the bonus footage there at the same price 🙂

        • Daniel Pulliam

          It’s my understanding that Best Buy will only match prices on individual items, not combo deals (i.e., they’d honor the $59.99 and $14.99 prices, but not the additional $10 discount for buying both). If that is the case, I’m still buying these at Target. Best Buy does have their upgrade and save promotion running right now, so you can still get $10 off ($5 per DVD turned in per blu-ray), but you’re out the DVD’s, so Target is still the better deal. If Best Buy will honor the entire deal (with the $10 off from Target), someone please verify that. Because in that case, you could get Best Buy to match their deal AND turn in two DVD’s for an ADDITIONAL $10 off ($55 total) AND get the Best Buy VAM as well, which would be amazing.

          • Like I said BB gave me a $10 giftcard just for buying Enterprise Season 1 (and I didn’t know about it till I got to the register). Who knows what they are planning this time.

          • Daniel Pulliam

            $65.43 out the door with a Target card. Be warned, though, they had ONE copy of BOTH titles in stock, and reports are coming in of that being the case at other Targets as well. Hopefully YMMV favorably.

          • Mike

            The amazing deal is my goal. On Sunday I’ll take the Target ad to Best Buy and find out how they’d respond to it. If they match the deal, I’ll definitely get it there, again because of the dang exclusive content that Best Buy has.

          • Daniel Pulliam

            Best Buy has no way of entering in a packaged deal discount like that. So they can’t give the $10 discount at the end of the price match. I just got a Target card, though, which saves you 5% on the sale, so that’s my route. $65 and 1% tax effectively. What a steal! I will dry my eyes about the exclusive content at that price. Too good to pass up.

      • Drunk Garak

        Is there a DVD release of BOBW, in addition to the blu ray? Or is that just a typo?

  • Sypher

    Luckily, from what I can see, the 3 seconds up-res of BoBW is on the battle bridge which mutes the negative effects. Nice. Totally pre-ordered this the minute it came out. Any and all support can only mean good things later.

  • They did a good job on the upscale. Its even better than season 1 or the sampler. Its ironic that HTV didn’t have missing footage, but CBS-D has on each of their releases.

  • Dan

    do we know if the 3 seconds will be found in time for the season 4 boxset?

  • Sky


    • Unfortunately, Paramount Germany doesn’t seem to be releasing the BOBW standalone disc. Your best bet at this point is to import it through

      • Sky

        So that means the fans in Germany can’t watch the episode in German in feature length! Great

        • What? It’s got both a German audio track and a German subtitle track. You’re fine.

    • Hi there, we’re hearing reports of a full German-language BOBW disc being available for sale in some German retailers – namely Edeka, Kaufland, and Real Markt shops. Take a look there if one is near you.

  • MS

    A shame about the up-scaled shot, and there’s something else odd with the remaster of that scene. Skip to 1:01:22 and compare to the original. The music kicks in far too early, and the shot of Riker and the conn officer seems to have been strangely dubbed?

    • Dan

      wow really? this is why they should not do standalone episodes this quick. i’m just sticking with the season sets. hopefully they will take the time to fix all this.

  • So just a point of correction for the review, the back cover doesn’t actually say that the upconverted footage was from Part 1. If you look closely, you’ll see that there is a star next to the episode title, which refers to the larger blurb above that says the episode was one of TV Guide’s 100 Greatest Episodes. The upconversion notice is just sitting below the episode title, but the two are unrelated.

  • So do these two episodes run together now or did they leave in the “To Be Continued…”?

  • Picture quality is excellent. But right at the beginning of part two, there are about 15 seconds missing. Following the recap (right after Riker’s order to fire), there used to be a shot of Locutus, then of Riker, then Geordi reporting that the deflector is powering up, a few reaction shots of Deanna, Wesley, Shelby & Riker (with Worf finally reporting offscreen that the deflector is firing). The feature-length edit cuts from Riker’s command right to the the deflector firing.

  • Stephen Anderson

    Can someone tell me why Seth MacFarlane is in the documentary, why he should be, and if there’s a reason to care? It seems like a lame attempt to get non-Trekkie (or non-Trekker) Family Guy fans to dig the show, were they forced to watch the documentary… Which is what happened to my friend when I took him to the theater showing of BoBW, and we were just confused why it was necessary to hear him say that he wore out his VHS of the episode when we could be having a few more “precious seconds” of Patrick Stewart explaining how he ruined people’s summers. My problem here is obviously not just due to Seth M. but the audacious length of this spoiler-ridden documentary, filled with totally unnecessary details, faces, recollections, etc that should have been aired after the feature or trimmed! Maybe the one-night only version should have been shorter. Anyway sorry for griping but I’m curious if anybody actually cares what that guy has to say in context of Star Trek?

    • MacFarlane is the moderator of the seventy-minute “Inside the Writers Room” roundtable discussion, part of the Season 3 Blu-ray set’s bonus features. He is a well-known, die-hard TNG fan, who does a very impressive job not only keeping the discussion running smoothly, but he also shows off his fairly boundless knowledge of TNG episodes and character details during the presentation.

      To have the documentary air without any details or recollections of the episode – when it is intended to celebrate the details and history of the episode – seems like a counter-intuitive move, and to consider it “spoiler-ridden” is a bit odd, when the show is over twenty years old. It’s possible that CBS didn’t consider that there would be many people at the showings who’d never seen the episode before.

  • mimp

    Does anyone know why there’s such a discrepancy between the season bluray versions of this episode and this standalone episode ? Having ripped the files and looked at some of the properties, when you strip it to just the audio and video there is nearly a 3GB difference between them, with the stand-alone version being smaller. Average bitrate on parts 1 and 2 for the individual episodes are 19.1 and 18.2 Mbps, where the stand alone’s average bitrate is 15.2. It’s not like there wasn’t room on the disc, so I wonder why they went for a quality reduction on this release.