In the latest NCM Fathom and CBS Home Entertainment event, audiences across North America were treated to a special feature-length showing of the Star Trek: The Next Generation’s tour de force episode “The Best of Both Worlds”. TrekCore traveled all the way to the AMC Century City Theater in Los Angeles for a star-studded event bringing together an array of Star Trek faces to celebrate the best of TNG.

Robert Meyer Burnett, Roger Lay Jr, Denise Okuda, Mike Okuda, Ira Steven Behr and LeVar Burton (image from John Champion)

Showing on over 600 screens throughout the United States and Canada, we always knew that demand for “The Best of Both Worlds” at cinemas would be huge, but even the guys at CBS were surprised to see AMC opening up a second screen to accommodate the huge number of people wanting a ticket at our venue. The event turned out to be not just a magnet for fans, but the staff and crew of the show couldn’t keep away either. Fans were delighted for the chance to meet Michael Westmore, Ira Steven Behr, Mike & Denise Okuda, LeVar Burton, Elizabeth Dennehy, Trek VAM Gurus Robert Meyer Burnett and Roger Lay, Jr as well as Sandra Piller, wife of the late Michael Piller.

Denise Okuda, Mike Okuda, Ira Steven Behr, LeVar Burton and Elizabeth Dennehy (image from John Champion)

The presentation kicked off with the arrival of a special one-night-only viewing of “Regeneration: Engaging the Borg”, the 30 minute documentary included on the special single disc release of “The Best of Both Worlds”. The documentary drew widespread appreciation from the audience with some of the comments from Elizabeth Dennehy provoking raucous laughter. I’d already had the pleasure of reviewing the VAM in its original form (check out the review here if you haven’t already), but seeing it up on the big screen and watching with a packed theater made it all the more impactful.

Elizabeth Dennehy with Robert Meyer Burnett and Roger Lay Jr

A number of attendees at previous NCM Fathom TNG events have complained to TrekCore about the poor visual quality of the presentation, so I was somewhat prepared for a drop in quality from the familiar 1080p HD transfer of the Blu-rays. The punch that “The Best of the Both Worlds” delivered on the big screen managed to more than assuage those fears – while not totally HD, the image came with great contrast, saturation and a nice level of detail.

With Robert Meyer Burnett and Elizabeth Dennehy

The feature was truly electrifying on the screen and managed to stir within me the same anticipation and awe that I remember feeling when I saw the episode for the first time back in the nineties. Dramatic moments once again engendered edge-of-the-seat nailbiting tension, even though we all knew how the episode played out. That’s the beauty of seeing these episodes remastered and on the big screen, it gives the fan a whole new viewing experience that they could never hope to experience in the comfort of their own home. This feeling wasn’t even lost on those guys working on the Blu-rays who have been forced to sit through the episodes time after time… Robert Meyer Burnett turned to me on numerous occasions, simply exclaiming “Wow, look how amazing THAT looks!”. The excitement in the theater was palpable, and something I won’t forget in a long time.

Following hot on the heels of the episode’s conclusion, viewers were treated to a cut-down gag reel featuring clips from both the Season Three Blu-ray’s reel and the single disc “The Best of Both Worlds” reel. Torrents of laughter rocked the theater as Michael Dorn managed to destroy take after take with his inability to spit the words out past his fake Klingon teeth.

Sandra Piller with Robert Meyer Burnett and Roger Lay, Jr

Equally well received was the great new trailer for Season Four of Star Trek: The Next Generation on Blu-ray. Taking on a rather unique camp comedic style, Jonathan Angus’ latest trailer production brought about more laughs from the audience as classic clips of Data’s dancing, Worf’s “I am not a merry man” and Lwaxana’s attempt to inadvertently fire torpedoes from “Mr. Woof”‘s console were cleverly intercut to deliver a great ironic comedy flare throughout.

The event wrapped with the obligatory visit to the local bar with diehards Robert Meyer Burnett and Roger Lay, Jr managing to shepherd Elizabeth Dennehy and Sandra Piller along with us all for copious amounts of liquor to finish the evening with a bang. Dennehy continued to charm, managing to endear herself to everyone even more with her incredible modesty about acting out the role of Shelby. Sandra was a sheer delight to talk to and made everyone in attendance feel closer to Michael through her thoughtful, poignant recollections of her husband’s life. We’ll have a nice piece coming soon about Sandra as she spoke exclusively to TrekCore about some exciting projects she’s working on to remember Michael in a very moving way.

With Robert Meyer Burnett and Roger Lay, Jr

Let us know if you attended a “Best of Both Worlds” screening near you! What did you think of TNG’s best episodes on the big screen? And if you haven’t pre-ordered yet, the special Blu-ray release of the feature is available to order from the links below!

Order TNG - "The Best of Both Worlds" Feature Blu-Ray today!

Order Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 3 Blu-Ray today!

  • Xavier

    Take this into account:

    “The Best of Both Worlds” – production cost: 2 – 4 million.
    Time of production: At maximum a few month.
    Result: Timeless classic, that stands the test of time and is considered one of the most important hours in Trek and TV history.
    “Into Darkness” – production cost: 185 million.
    Time of production: 4 years.
    Result: A shame for the franchise.

    • James

      Oh please.

      • Mike

        I Google searched and the Moscow premiere has already occurred.

    • MS

      Jumping the gun a bit aren’t you? The film hasn’t even been released yet.

      • Xavier

        It premiered already here in Moscow 🙂

        • Guest

          Where in Moscow? IMDB lists a May 16th Release date for Into Darkness in Russia.

    • hypnotoad72

      I’m not known as being a fan of the 2009 rehash (Even Trek V did a less painful job of turning beloved characters into camp pastiches of their former selves), but the most recent ‘Into Darkness’ trailer, with the theme of making mistakes and all, managed to win me over (all the previous trailers and teasers offered nothing except big pwetty expwosions…)

      I too am waiting to see, but while little beats TBOBW, I no longer think the 2013 flick will be total rubbish, either… but we’ll know in a few months – when is ‘Darkness’ coming out in the US?

      • Xavier

        Not to worry… just my personal opinion. I hope you enjoy it. I must say that I was very disappointed. In fact now the mediocre first film looks much better. Again just my personal opinion.

      • The earliest US showings are the evening of May 15.

      • 2009 was better than 5. Even being an odd numbered film, I would consider it to be a bad even numbered film (which is good). I felt the same way about Insurrection, but its better than 2009.

    • You know, I think that those of us who haven’t been able to see the film yet would appreciate forming our own opinions when we finally have the ability to see it. Could we please keep the discussion here on the topic at hand, the BOBW screenings?

      • I seriously doubt he’s actually seen it. Hes probably just judging it with 2009 eyes. Admittedly I’ve been having a hard time not doing so myself.

    • Matt_Cardiff_UK

      Seriously? Come on – how can you say this? While I am not a fan of the 2009 remake either – it was better than all 3 Star Wars prequels – put together – twice. We are lucky that in 2013, nearly 50 years since Spock smiled at some flowers in “The Cage”, the movie going public are going in their droves to see one of the biggest, most hotly anticipated movies of the year – and it’s Star Trek. I love being a Trekker right now more than ever.

      EDIT: Oh – and thanks for the report TrekCore.

    • Mark Wood

      For yourself, perhaps. Gut as an original 1966 fan of TOS I thought the 2009 film was better then most of TOS and TNG films, and better then many, many episodes. Did it have big flaws, absolutely. But I am pretty sure I have noticed some huge flaws in Trek from the literally get go and through all variations of it.

    • I don’t like Jar Jar Abrams either, but I’m reserving judgment until I see it. The first one had a decent script with a few problems (script had nothing to do with Jar Jar), but the cinematography of a 4 year old. In spite of looking like it was filmed by a 4 year old it was a decent (but not great) movie.

    • James

      I love the Best of Both Worlds, but was always a bit confused by the title! Shame we never got to see more of Shelby, I thought her character shook things up nicely. So far the early reviews have been positive for Star Trek Into Darkness – but I guess if you didn’t like the style of Star Trek 2009 then you wouldn’t like this one either.

      Trekmovie has a summary of the first reviews (non spoilery):

      Personally, I want Into Darkness to be a good film and make a ton of money so that we get a new TV series.

      Something to bear in mind…

      Star Trek Nemesis – production cost around 93 million including advertising. Worldwide box office take of 66 million.

      Star Trek 2009 – production cost around 150 million (so not much more than Nemesis adjusting for inflation). Worldwide box office take of around 385 million.

      Star Trek Into Darkness currently tracking for 425 million.

      I wonder which one was a ‘result: shame for the franchise’. I am reviewing all the ‘Trek’ movies on my blog in the buildup to Star Trek:Into Darkness, I’ve just finished writing the review for Insurrection:

      • Kyle

        What’s confusing about the title?

        • James

          I just never understood it – who, or what, is the best of both worlds? Is it Picard, as the best of
          the human world, and Locutus, as the best of the Borg world? That
          doesn’t quite make sense to me.

          When I first watched this (1992 in the UK) I was about 10! and it’s still the best episode of modern Trek in my opinion 🙂

          • I think there’s several interpretations. You could say it refers to Picard and his assimilation… you can also make the argument that it refers to Riker who is really the main character of this two parter. At the start of the episode he was facing a choice, leave the Enterprise to become what he always wanted to be, a Captain… or stay and remain a Commander and lose that opportunity, possibly forever. Because of Picard’s abduction by the Borg, Riker got the best of both worlds, he got promoted to Captain and stayed on the Enterprise! Briefly, but still!


          • Guest

            I always saw it as much simpler than that – a description of the Borg philosophy. The organic and the synthetic, combined towards a state of perfection.

          • Kyle

            I always saw it as much simpler than that – it’s a description of the Borg philosophy. The organic and the synthetic, combined towards a state of perfection.

          • James

            I like that!

    • benbess

      Xavier–good comparison! And I pretty much agree with you.

      But I think the original budget for both episodes of The Best of Both Worlds was maybe c. $5 million back in 1990. The “average” episode had a cost of about $1.5-$2 million back then, but special episodes could get a bit more. And so figuring about 2.5m an episode and doubling it would be c. 5m. Adjusted for inflation, that would be about $9 million in today’s dollars. That’s only slightly different from what you said, and your point definitely stands.

      My big problem with the BOBW theatrical is that damn making of they showed at the beginning. Out theater was about 2/3rds full (pretty good!), and maybe a quarter of those people seemed to be first time viewers (kids and girlfriends or boyfriends brought by Trek fans). But that making of pretty much ruined every plot point. You could hear some groans in the theater. Jeeze. Didn’t they think about that? Show something like that after the episode if at all. But I really think that kind of thing, as much as I like it belongs just on the blu-ray set. In the theater I think I’d just like to see a gag reel and then another episode.

  • sypher

    “A number of attendees at previous NCM Fathom TNG events have complained to TrekCore about the poor visual quality of the presentation, so I was somewhat prepared for a drop in quality from the familiar 1080p HD transfer of the Blu-rays. The punch that “The Best of the Both Worlds” delivered on the big screen managed to more than assuage those fears – while not totally HD, the image came with great contrast, saturation and a nice level of detail.”

    This paragraph confused me. Not completely HD? Why was there a drop in quality from the bluray transfers? Could someone explain this to me?

    • The projection system is not a Blu-ray experience, so the visual quality will be less than full HD.

      • Most theaters use 4K (or better) DLP projectors. Why wouldn’t it be at least as good as the blu-ray? Unfortunately I don’t think the 3 events I’ve been to used DLP or 4k. (Not that 4K would help in this case)

        • I can’t speak for other theaters, but at the showings I’ve been to, it’s had terrible contrast. Everything is always so dark and murky.

          • sypher

            Okay. That makes sense. Thank you.

        • Frequent Guest

          IIRC, an interview here on Trekcore said that the original TNG negatives were only scanned at 2K.

        • John

          Actually most theaters still use 2K projection sadly. Only a select few have 4K systems.
          The reason it can sometimes look murky and slightly less than HD is that these presentations can sometimes be beamed via satellite to theaters.

        • NCM Fathom uses the advertising projectors in theaters, not the primary 2K or 4K cinema projectors that films play on. These TNG events are not delivered as digital cinema packages (DCP’s), they are previously recorded satellite broadcasts played off of DVR’s.

  • My biggest complaint (and this was true of seasons 1 & 2 as well) was that something about the presentation caused green dots to appear on darker sections of the screen. I don’t know if its the feed, or the projector, but Its been a problem each and every single event. I don’t think it was as bad this time though. If it helps, it occurred during the comparison images where they showed the before and after restoration images. It was especially bad when they fade from one image to black before showing the next. So far the Blu-ray’s themselves are great. The child was my biggest complaints. There was a lot of white dots on most the bridge scenes. I don’t know if it was HTV’s fault or just bad film decaying over the years. Its not my setup because its exclusive to that episode.

    • archer9234

      It’s signal issue. Probably some stupid hand off error that happens for a split second. My tv does it some times. Child had a lot of dust and scratch marks. That’s what causes that.

  • Anthony Goodwin

    Star Trek 2009 wasn’t my favorite Star Trek experience, but the franchise NEEDS this. It needs to rope in the casuals, and the action fans, and the other sci-fi fans, so that Star Trek can continue to flourish and be a part of the pop culture lexicon. Call me naive, but I think eventually we’re going to get back onto the track of having a weekly show one day, and that weekly show can be more like the Star Trek we all know assuming they hire the right writers and actors.

    • This is my thoughts as well. Star Trek was dieing for a good many years, before ENT finally pulled the plug on the franchise. Although I enjoyed all of Trek upto ENT’s demise, the result was inevitable. Fewer and fewer viewers were tuning in, and there was simply no justification for the higher ups to keep it on the air.

      After the 2009 movie, Trek is popular again. Into Darkness could potentially make Trek even more popular, both with fans and casuals alike. It’s not a hard stretch to imagine Trek back on television set within the same universe (thou i’d recommend a different crew/ship). If they don’t make a new movie by 2016, or put Trek back on television by then, they are seriously losing out.

      • hypnotoad72

        Why would it come back in the established old universe? The 2009 and 2013 flicks are in a new universe and THAT is what fans are flocking to. Any exec will see that and focus on the new franchise as opposed to continuing the old one.

        Sorry, but that’s how it is. It’s in the numbers and if they get more numbers by Kirk badmouthing everyone as opposing to telling long libral diatribes like how he had in the 1960s, that’s what’s going to be made. For the money. Not to appease anyone. Anyone not at the top of the marketing food chain, that is.

        • I believe you misunderstood my comment. What I said was, with Trek being popular again, in the new timeline, it’s not a hard stretch to imagine that it WILL return to television eventually, using the SAME timeline as the one that is currently popular. Thou likely set on a different ship, with a different crew.

    • Mike

      I have always said Trek works best on TV, because it is meant to be intellectual sci-fi. Many of the films are absolutely great, and all of them are good on some levels, but they do not compare to the TV series. Abrams has done a great thing with his 2009 reboot and now Into Darkness, but I can tell by the trailers Into Darkness is much like the ’09 film. It’s a great sci-fi shoot ’em up bang bang film. It’s not necessarily what makes Star Trek great. There is absolutely nothing separating the new Trek films from Star Wars or any other sci-fi franchise. If you take out the Star Trek it could be any other sci-fi without distinction and that is a problem.

      I say put Star Trek back on TV where it belongs.

      • hypnotoad72

        With an established set of characters people loved for years or decades, movies can work. Look at the REAL Kirk movie era (1979-1991) as to why TREK can work in movie format, but without the TV show there would have been no crew to love in the first place.

        TNG had the right actors, and once the right production staff came in, it managed to grow and be its own self.

        What do we have so far for the new world order? Cast lookalikes, copying the style, and forgetting the original substance. But this is about a quick money grab, not setting up a new franchise to appease long-term customers (oops, I mean “existing fans”). Would the 2013 sequel otherwise take over **four** years?

        And, yup, the 2009 and 2013 movies clearly put huge emphasis on the special effects. The 2009 movie was bad enough plot-wise and I am not going to discuss that since enough review sites already tell us that it’s a great generic whiz-bang trip that is otherwise generic, badly written, and incoherent.

    • hypnotoad72

      Some old hack of a writer once had this to say:

      “To thine self be true”.

      Meaning, a franchise has to be true to its roots. TOS, TNG, DS9, and VOY all had moments dealing with the human condition and in a positive light.

      The 2009 flick was just shallow nonsense, cashing in on the names and designs people feel warm and cozy looking at. There was none of what made the 2009 movie fit in with the franchise. The 2013 might rectify this, based on the teaser’s talk of “making mistakes”, but it remains to be seen if it is indeed nothing more than another big f/x romp cashing in on old set pieces and other nostalgiawank. After all, the teaser hypes up friendships and other things, but this is an alternate timeline and characters are different. One movie can NOT create the sense of camaraderie all of the predecessors got, so to rely on that for a flick that people have only 2 hours of experience with is not going to work on its own.

      Trek does best as a TV show, since the human condition is a big subject. The TNG movies all flopped due to lack of direction, the good Kirk movies managed to work – mostly due to a long absence and having the right producers…

      And, lastly, the movie/tv studios dictate what gets made. If they see profit in a tv show, they will do it. They do what makes money – even if it means ditching everything out the window to get people to spend the money. We’re a supply-side economy; the antithesis of what TREK had shown… especially watching a number of TNG season 3 episodes on blu-ray today, there is no way anybody would be putting out on mainstream media anything that put out a positive message that didn’t reek of the purported free market antics that are quietly exploiting the working class… I’m amazed TNG got away with what it did when voodoo economics was just taking off. (Seriously, “voodoo economics” – google it.) But I digress.

  • deepgloat

    I am pea-green with envy. And Elizabeth Dennehy looks fabulous!

  • pittrek

    So Redemption was just officially announced : – GREAT, keep them coming 🙂

  • bbock

    The show looked great. I saw it LA Live. The projection, however left something to be desired. I think it was highly compressed or something. During the VAM there was a lot of dot crawl, which is odd since it was shot in HD video, I’d assume, so there shouldn’t be grain. There was also an upward rolling line in the projection throughout the presentation. I was very disappointed in the quality of the projection. But the content was fantastic.

    • bbock

      I also think CBS is leaving money on the table. Judging from the audience where I was, they could hold these TNG HD viewing events every week with a different episode and people would show up. It’s a different experience seeing it on the big screen with a lot of other people. Little moments like actor reaction shots or certain line readings become quite amusing in a crowd compared to when you watch it alone at home.

  • jerr

    I was surprised how many people where there. I got there 15 minutes ahead of time and it was almost full. People were still coming in 10-15 minutes after it started. I notice that the picture quality was not as good as my system at home and there was some horizontal ghosting on the whole time, but it was fun to see this with a large group of people. The part in the ready room with admiral Hanson talking about Shelby “just and old man’s fantasy” never seemed that creepy before I watched with a room full of people 😉