Six weeks ago CBS released the family-themed trailer to Star Trek: The Next Generation's Fourth Season, coming to Blu-ray at the end of next month. TrekCore was running on limited service at the time so we only had a quick initial look at the trailer. This article dives in a bit deeper and also offers higher quality download options of the trailer for those who want to avoid the compression inherent with YouTube's version.
Responsibility for Season Four's visual effects landed in the hands of post-production house Modern Videofilm while CBS Digital handled the conform. Thanks to a close working relationship between staff from both companies, the finished work appears strongly consistent with the standards displayed in Season Three. You can take a closer look at some of the work that's been done on the latest Season of TNG Remastered with the higher-quality trailer below, with download options available at 1080p, 720p and 480p resolution.
Star Trek: The Next Generation is - by nature - an episodic TV show and for the most part lacks any common theme between one episode and the next. For that reason it could be considered daunting trying to tie together 26 disparate elements in a 2-minute trailer. Nevertheless it's been accomplished with a nice amount of panache here, introducing the sweet "family" element which is so pivotal early on in Season Four. Fans of the amazing "Best of Both Worlds" trailer will be pleased to hear that there's an equally cinematic trailer for the single-disc release of "Redemption" in the pipeline - watch for it surfacing soon!
Moving on to the remastering itself. There has been a lot of discussion and speculation amongst fans on whether Modern Videofilm will match the high quality of CBS Digital's work. Firstly it should be noted that both parts of "The Best of Both Worlds" and "Redemption" were done wholly by CBS Digital to ensure consistency across those two parters. Modern Video took care of the 24 episodes sandwiched in between. From the trailer and the other shots I've seen so far, I will go out on a limb to say that Modern have done a great job with Season Four. The look is far more faithful to that of CBS Digital's than HTV's Season Two remaster. You can take a look for yourself with our special gallery of over 100 stills from the Season Four trailer and in the meantime, here are some of our favorites alongside their SD counterparts for comparison:
|Original SD (DVD)||Remastered HD (Blu-Ray)|
|The seismic transformation in TNG's color brought about by this remastering never ceases to amaze me. Thankfully, CBS has retained colorist Marvin Hildebrandt to do the color correction on Season Four (Marvin also worked on Season Three which met with critical acclaim from fans) The work on display here is simply stunning, flesh tones are realistic and the bold primary colors of the uniforms jump off the screen. (TNG 4x06: "Legacy")|
|The original SD version of Season Four was fraught with color issues. Some episodes had a strange heavy yellow tinge to them ("The Wounded", "Devil's Due") and some were faded beyond belief. This shot of Riker from "Future Imperfect" is a prime example - almost drained of all color in SD and vibrantly colorful in HD. Thankfully there is now far more consistency between the color of episodes not just within a given season, but across the whole show. (TNG 4x08: "Future Imperfect")|
|This particular shot has always looked poor. The Enterprise is totally over-illuminated in the SD version and looks a bit like a toy in front of the cosmic string. The HD remastering improves things slightly, toning down the brightness of both the Enterprise and the cosmic string. The cosmic string itself has been nicely recreated, staying close to the original artistic intent. Admittedly not the best shot from the trailer, but still an improvement on the original. (TNG 4x10: "The Loss")|
|This is a great shot! Modern have done excellent work replicating the rather unique energy beam coming from Guinan's big-ass gun. It's virtually indistinguishable in the standard def, but in HD the energy tendrils "spilling" from the main beam look wonderful! (TNG 4x17: "Night Terrors")|
|As TNG progressed, technically advanced shots like this became more and more frequent. Modern have done a great job of matching the warping effect on the Enterprise's saucer section and the increase in detail on the hull is really quite beautiful to look at. Bravo! (TNG 4x19: "The Nth Degree")|
|This shot really is like a piece of artwork. I've always loved this particular angle of the Enterprise and the newly remastered shot is simply wondrous. Say goodbye to those matte lines clearly visible on the saucer's leading edge in SD and take in the stunning clarity of the model which is nicely composited into the scene. The dreamlike center of the galaxy has been recreated with high accuracy and the original artistic intent is nicely preserved here. (TNG 4x19: "The Nth Degree")|
|Shots like this really benefit from the high definition nature of the 35mm film used when filming the show. There's a nice amount of grain which always pops in dark scenes like this, adding a subtle dimensionality which is totally lost in SD. Details such as the intricate patterning on the iridescent apparatus above Barclay's head lend a nice amount of realism and depth. Phaser beams have been closely matched to replicate the original scene, as have the forcefield ripples. (TNG 4x19: "The Nth Degree")|
|Wow!! "Qpid" is surely one of those shows that benefits the most from an HD remastering. The on-location scenes in "Sherwood Forest" were always very soft and washed out, failing to capture the natural beauty of the filming location. After seeing this shot and others from the episode in HD, I'm lost for words at the giant leap in realism that the HD remaster offers. The forest is lush and green with beautiful natural detail wherever you look. You're really pulled into the story like never before... and those Merry Men costumes? Fantastic! Totally digging the colors on Geordi's court jester outfit! (TNG 4x20: "Qpid")|
|This shot came under some criticism when the trailer initially came out with some fans complaining about the color. The shot in question features the Enterprise bathed in the light of a nearby star and - as you can see from the shots above - was originally colored the same when the episode debuted. The stark illumination brings out all the detail in the four-foot model. It's somewhat toy-like in nature, but that's mostly down to the model itself. (TNG 4x22: "Half a Life")|
|What a difference! This is a very poignant scene at the end of the season finale, and the remastered version now allows us to see the faces of almost every crewmember lining the corridor for Worf. Again, the jump in resolution makes iconic shots like this all the more immersive and realistic. (TNG 4x26: "Redemption")|
|An awesome shot from CBS Digital. Max Gabl's planet Qo'noS is back (having previously appeared in Season 3's "Sins of the Father") and looks great as the backdrop to this dramatic shot. The extra detail on the orbiting Klingon ship is surprising when it's so small on the screen. However the bulk of the kudos has to be given for the awesome work done with the Enterprise here. In the SD shot it's grossly overlit and somewhat toy-like, yet Eric Bruno and his team have managed to skillfully light the ship so it feels fully integrated into the shot with a hint of reflected color from the planet increasing realism ten-fold. This is great work and will make "Redemption" a treat to watch! (TNG 4x26: "Redemption")|
What do you think of the remastering of Season Four from the HD screenshots and trailer? Let us know if you agree with our analysis! A quick caveat - not all shots in the trailer are final and some were inserted before color correction.
Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season Four will be released as a six-disc Blu-ray set at the end of July. As usual, the set will be loaded full of special bonus features including a two-part documentary, a reunion of the TNG Art Department, episode trailers, new audio commentaries and a gag reel.
Fans in the US & Canada can expect a release date of July 30 for this disc. Fans in the UK can get their copy one day early, as Paramount Home Entertainment (UK) have nominated July 29 as their release date. Unfortunately it seems as though Paramount Germany have decided to release the set later to coincide with the release of Star Trek Into Darkness on Blu-ray. Our best guess at the moment is September. If you want it earlier, you'll have to buy from Amazon UK!
Haven't already pre-ordered? Secure your copy today using the links below. Fans wanting the single disc "Redemption" Blu-ray will have to order from Amazon in the US as European distributors have decided not to release it.