Review: Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season 5 Blu-ray

Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 5
Release Date: November 19, 2013
Blu-Ray Disc • 6 Discs
CBS Home Entertainment

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We're boldly going into high-definition yet again with another stellar release of Star Trek: The Next Generation on Blu-ray. I suspect I won't encounter too much opposition in suggesting that Star Trek: The Next Generation's fifth season didn't have quite the same high proportion of heavy-hitting episodes as the previous two years. This isn't to say that there isn't a healthy sprinkling of Star Trek gold throughout Season 5, it just feels as if the average quality is less skewed in the direction of "amazing" and more broadly distributed this time around. There are the five-star unforgettable adventures that fans will turn to over and over again ("I Borg", "Cause and Effect", "The Inner Light", "Power Play"), followed by a collection of "inbetweeners" - those that fall shy of a five-star accolade but don't quite deserve to be lumped in with the poorer outliers ("Silicon Avatar", "Conundrum", "The Game", "Unification"). Jumping to the lower end of the spectrum, we have that collection of mediocre episodes which are still fun to watch once-in-a-while, but fall short compared to the rest of the bunch ("Cost of Living", "Imaginary Friend", "The Masterpiece Society", "New Ground").

Season 5 certainly tried hard, and managed to strike a nice balance between character-driven episodes and adventure-filled exploration. At the same time, the show started to depend more on its own canon, revisiting ideas that had come before (The Borg, Wesley Crusher's character arc, Sela and the ongoing Romulan political situation). Couple the tried-and-tested TNG formula with a number of amazing coups for guest stars (Leonard Nimoy, Ashley Judd, Matt Frewer, Kelsey Grammer) and the show's fifth represents another thought-provoking and action-packed exploration into the unknowns of the 24th Century.


Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra - "Darmok", Season Five

Remastering Quality

It's hard to believe that I'm now discussing the fifth release of this groundbreaking remastering project. As time has progressed, the team at CBS Digital have streamlined their techniques so much that the final results come across as beautifully effortless. It's so easy to lose sight of the fact that this group of people are literally rebuilding a 25-year old TV show frame-by-frame from original camera negatives in a project which was considered impossible just 5 years ago.

After CBS Digital's third season remastering efforts met with critical acclaim from fans worldwide, I'm more than thrilled to say that the fifth season features more of the same high quality work and - in certain areas - even surpasses what we've seen previously.

I. Live Action Footage

In transferring a show like TNG to high definition, the process of searching through hundreds upon hundreds of film reels to identify a specific take which may only last seconds is horrendously complicated. CBS Digital's Sarah Paul works a lot of the time on the edge of her seat - she takes her film-hunting job seriously, so when elements can't be located she doesn't rest until she's exhausted all possibilities. Thankfully - and against all the odds - the first four seasons of the show have been mostly spared (give or take a few seconds) from lost footage which must then be upscaled. Sadly, the fifth season doesn't fare quite so well and a total of 2 minutes and 20 seconds of the original camera negative could not be found. "The First Duty" required 37 seconds to be upscaled (at the start of the episode) while "Power Play" has 1 minute 41 seconds of Ten-Forward scenes ported over from the SD.

Naturally curious, I played back the upscaled sections expecting the worst but was left pleasantly surprised at the extent to which the SD footage had been blended in to match (as close as possible) with the native HD. By paying close attention to matching grain levels and color balance, CBS Digital have made these upscaled sections fit in as well as they possibly could. If anything, the shots in question look as if the camera just pulled a soft focus (TOS female guest star-style) and certainly doesn't jar to an extent where viewing enjoyment is compromised.

While the original SD broadcast version (and DVD) of TNG's fifth season isn't quite as uneven in terms of color timing as the fourth, it is marred with the same muddy appearance which makes you want to start playing with your TV's color balance to set things right. For those of you picking up the new Blu-rays, there's no need. CBS Digital's color timing guru Marvin Hildebrandt has yet again worked his magic and given the newly scanned footage just enough of a boost to make the show pop. This certainly isn't a cut-and-dry job, as Marvin tries to strike a balance between making the show visually appetizing but at the same time not overly saturated. The issue of blacks being slightly overwhelming and crushing out detail is still present, however the issue is so minor that it hardly warrants being mentioned.


Each shot of Star Trek: The Next Generation remastered (both live action and VFX material) is carefully color-corrected by CBS Digital's colorist Marvin Hildebrandt, shown here working on Season 5 (Image: TrekCore Exclusive*)

Those of you who have read my reviews on previous seasons may recall the praise I heap on the remastering quality of episodes which feature outdoor on-location shoots. Season 5 is no different, and I was left amazed while watching the outdoor scenes on El-Adrel IV in "Darmok" and Starfleet Academy in "The First Duty". Green tones were grievously savaged when the show was originally transferred to videotape resulting in a green/yellow mess which - over 25 years - has become the norm. In that sense, watching episodes like this on Blu-ray really is like seeing the show for the first time.


The remastered high definition print of "The First Duty" shows off the beautiful Tillman Water Reclamation Plant location used for Starfleet Academy

Low-lit scenes (normally when our heroes are stuck in caves or some hellish planet) have consistently benefited the most from this remastering project. Following Picard and Data into the underground caverns of Romulus and dimly lit Klingon Bird-of-Prey bridges ("Unification") is now a joy. Hitherto obscured details and shadowing are finally visible and scenes like these are transformed from a muddy mess to delightfully atmospheric moments. I remain a huge advocate of retaining a healthy amount of the original film grain, it adds a dimensionality to the final transfer which makes things seem all the more realistic. Thankfully CBS Digital have a great eye for what constitutes the "right amount" of grain - something I wish Paramount had considered when they issued the original Star Trek Motion Pictures on Blu-ray.

My appreciation for the original costuming and set-dressing is yet again bolstered by seeing the work presented in high definition. These artists had such an eye for detail when the show was originally in production, I can only imagine it was very disheartening for them to see so much of it lost due to the limitations of standard-def. Romulan civilian dress, bizarre holodeck aliens ("Cost of Living"), a rather cool looking time-ship and more of Guinan's hats are just a few of the things that had me freeze-framing to sit back and marvel at the detail.


The interior of Rasmussen's time-ship from "A Matter of Time". The iridescent detailing on the ship's walls really jumps off the screen in HD

II. Visual Effects

Visual effects remain the lion's share of the remastering workload as well as the share that CBS Digital are most paranoid about getting right. Recreating them from scratch for a show as complex as Star Trek: The Next Generation was never going to be a walk in the park. The project has certainly had it's VFX missteps, but thankfully very few can be attributed to CBS Digital who have refined a look for the show which continues to draw huge praise and recognition from fans.

Once again at the helm of shaping those strange new worlds, Max Gabl has given us a whole raft of new planets to gawp at as the Enterprise goes on her merry way. I've been a huge fan of Max's work in the remastering of both TOS and TNG, and continue to be impressed at how varied his style can be. Without a doubt, half of the fun is seeing how far Max can push his work artistically while remaining true to original style and intentions. Season 5 serves up another nice selection of planetary eye-candy, with shout-outs due for Mab-bu VI from "Power Play", Tessen III from "Cost of Living" and the Argolis Cluster's fiery sun in "I Borg". My singular disappointment lays with Devidia II in "Time's Arrow". Originally in SD, Devidia was an obscure, blurry globe yet somehow the HD remaster lacks the Gabl-pizzazz and flair I've come to expect. Still, it's a solitary blip in an otherwise solid line-up of alien worlds.

From the stunningly verdent Penthara IV with a newly regenerated atmosphere in "A Matter of Time" to the rather muted Devidia II which seemed to lack the normal flair of artist Max Gabl in "Time's Arrow"

Eric Bruno and his fellow compositors at CBS Digital have a habit of stretching my ability to come up with new compliments. Their work never ceases to impress me and you'll be pleased to hear that Season 5 continues the trend. Despite so many concerns that the much-lambasted 4-foot Enterprise model would look terrible in high definition, Team Bruno keep making the thing look good! It's never going to take on the sleek beauty of the 6-footer, but it comes promisingly close in this remastering. There's so much to talk about here, so I'm going to limit this part to the most noteworthy shots. The work on display in "A Matter of Time" when the Enterprise initiates a chain reaction in the atmosphere of Penthara IV is simply phenomenal. The complex energy beam emitted by the deflector dish had to be recreated from scratch, yet is virtually identical to the original sequence. Likewise, the compositing of the newly refurbished CG model of the Enterprise we see in "Unification" is breathtaking. When I first saw the shot, I thought I was looking at a physical model. Despite the huge workloads involved in creating new CG sequences, a small part of me hopes that more footage of the ship is lost necessitating the creation of jaw-dropping shots like this!


To re-create the magnificent hull-scraping shot in "Unification", CBS Digital first set to work retooling their CG model of the Enterprise before rendering out the different passes which were then composited in a similar fashion to the technique used with the physical model to produce some of the most realistic CG work I've seen on the project so far (Image: TrekCore Exclusive*)

When it became clear to CBS that the original CG-model of the Enterprise did not have sufficient detail to hold up to hull-scraping shots that had to be recreated in CG for Season 5, Niel Wray and his team decided to go back to the virtual-drawing board. Through an exhaustive process of refitting the CG model of the ship, they finally arrived at a new model which adopts the best features of both the 6-foot and 4-foot physical models. The sleek, beautiful hull lines of the 6-footer grace the surface of the ship, while a subtle relief of hull plating echoing the 4-footer is now visible.

CG challenges didn't end with the ship, as Niel's team was forced to tackle everything from the 3D Ktarian Game ("The Game") to complex graphical simulations ("The First Duty") in Season 5. While these shots may pass by in mere seconds on screen, they literally take the team weeks to lay out and render for the remastered version. It's this impeccable attention to detail that continues to make the TNG Remastered project so unique in the entertainment industry.


The complex Kolvoord Starburst Maneuver simulations shown throughout "The First Duty" had to be completely recreated by CBS Digital using CGI (Image: TrekCore Exclusive*)

A few final brief notes on some frequently asked questions which I often receive:

  • The somewhat-blurred stock shot of the Enterprise approaching the camera which debuted in Season 4 and drew a moderate amount of criticism from fans has been retooled. Realizing they had to replace several similar shots, CBS Digital went back to the drawing board and wheeled out their new CG model to do them justice. The results speak for themselves - gorgeous work!


    The new stock fly-by shot produced by CBS Digital for Season 5

  • The Enterprise explosion in "Cause and Effect" uses the original elements and has not been "souped-up" to the degree that the Borg Cube explosion was in "The Best of Both Worlds". This may perhaps be a disappointment to some, but I'm more than happy with the scene.

  • The contentious misfiring torpedo launcher in "Darmok" has been fixed. The replacement shot was taken from "The Best of Both Worlds" and can be seen in our comparison video here. While the loss of the original shot (featuring an angle of the Enterprise which only ever appeared in this episode) may upset some fans, the replacement shot is now angled correctly and goes by so quickly that it's difficult to be that annoyed!

  • Some minor continuity errors were fixed, including the incorrectly colored Galorndon Core ("Unification") and unexpected reflections of crewmembers in crystals ("Unification"). At the same time, some errors were not fixed, including the Kriosian ship in "The Perfect Mate" where it first appears as the Talarian observation craft (from "Suddenly Human") but then a few seconds later switches to a different type of ship - a Talarian Warship.

  • The credits for "The Inner Light" have been redone to match the color and typeface styling of the rest of the season. The spelling error ("Telelay" instead of "Teleplay") has been fixed.

  • Once again, a large number of LCARS computer display animations used throughout the season had to be replaced. Original elements for most (if not all) of these screens which were inserted in post-production back in the day were lost. The team have done a remarkable job of seamlessly incorporating the recreated animations which will have fans freeze framing to spot in-jokes and trivia for years to come!

So, what's the verdict? CBS Digital have knocked the ball clear out of the park with another stunning collection of remastered episodes. With so much quality oozing from the set, it's little wonder that it effortlessly receives five stars from this review.

Bonus Material

They're back on form, guys! After hitting a bit of a rough-spot with the bonus features on the fourth season set, Robert Meyer Burnett and Roger Lay, Jr. are once again firing on all thrusters with the new content on offer here. There's a wonderful mix of emotional, hard-hitting documentary film-making on display in the new two-part documentary, "Requiem: A Remembrance of Star Trek: The Next Generation". At the same time, fans are treated to a terrific reunion of the main Star Trek composers alongside a delicious spread of audio commentaries, deleted scenes and bloopers. Time to delve in...

“Requiem” combines two thirty-minute documentaries, “The Needs of the Many” and “The Needs of the Few”.

    • “The Needs of the Many” cleverly juxtaposes an archival 1981 Gene Roddenberry interview with fresh commentary from Ronald D. Moore, Brannon Braga, Naren Shankar, René Echevarria and Morgan Gendel. "Gene's Vision" is a term regularly bandied about by people and often turns into a cliché, so it's refreshing to hear the Great Bird of the Galaxy talk about it in his own words. Gene's comments weave a delicate thread throughout the documentary and beautifully tie together the experiences and sentiments of TNG's writing staff. Never one to shy away from being frank, Ron Moore is vocal about his issues with Gene's idealistic vision hindering his ability to tell dramatic stories. The irony of ending this segment with Roddenberry proclaiming "We're so lucky to be alive now" certainly wasn't lost on me, and puts the viewer in a delicate emotional state as the second part prepares to reach the inevitable conclusion.


An archival interview with Gene Roddenberry from 1981

    • “The Needs of the Few”  will certainly challenge your ability to hold back the tears. Kicking off with archival Entertainment Tonight coverage of Gene's death, what follows is a series of raw, emotional interviews with actors from both the Original Series and TNG filmed back in 1991. Jumping back to the present day, fresh interviews with cast and crew including Marina Sirtis, Jonathan Frakes and Rick Berman recall the fateful day when Gene's passing was announced. Marina's words about Gene and Majel are incredibly potent and you'll be left wishing you can jump through the TV screen to give her a hug. The second half of this part hands over to discussing some of Season 5's more memorable episodes, including "Cause and Effect" (watch out for the amazing behind-the-scenes footage of Gary Hutzel's team filming the Enterprise explosion!) and "The Inner Light". It's also nice to see some time given over to Gates McFadden, reflecting on the departure of Wil Wheaton last season. Michelle Forbes and Colm Meaney are both discussed here, but sadly neither actor was able to contribute to the documentary.


Preparing to film the explosion of the U.S.S. Enterprise in "Cause and Effect"

“In Conversation: The Music of Star Trek: The Next Generation”: Star Trek music buff Jeff Bond moderates a reunion of all three major TNG composers - Dennis McCarthy, Ron Jones and Jay Chattaway - which clocks in at just over 70 minutes. Bond certainly knows the material well, and he organizes this conversation-piece with almost military precision. Some fans may balk at this style, but I felt it was a good match. Ron Jones and Dennis McCarthy both have an acerbic wit which left me laughing out loud at some of their stories. Indeed, all three composers don't pull their punches when recalling the trouble they had with certain producers on the show - this piece is destined to have you switching between raucous laughter and disbelief as the trio recount their history scoring for Trek. Fans of the Star Trek soundtracks will be in their element here, as each composer sheds light on their art and inspiration. A great piece, and a big improvement on last season's Art Department Reunion.


The TNG Composers Reunion (Left to Right: Jay Chattaway, Ron Jones, Moderator Jeff Bond and Dennis McCarthy)

Gag Reel: I was thrilled to find that this collection of bloopers and outtakes from the original 35mm camera negative runs twice as long as the rather diminutive installment found on Season 4. Clocking in at 7:30, the gag reel strikes a slightly different tone this season and features more "Day in the Life"-type material which works surprisingly well. You're going to love the way Patrick Stewart handles a disintegrating bridge-set while filming scenes from "Conundrum" not to mention Jonathan Frakes and the gang bursting out into song with their own version of the TNG theme tune in the middle of a take. The combination of material here shows that you don't have to solely rely on the typical gaffs and flubbed lines. Here's hoping a similar mix is used for future gag reels!


Patrick Stewart clowns around with Jonathan Frakes in-between takes from the Season 5 Gag Reel

Audio Commentaries: The set contains four audio commentaries, newly recorded especially for this set.

Deleted Scenes: Yet again, this crop of newly discovered deleted scenes proves to be a highlight of the bonus material on this release. CBS have dug through the archives to unearth a range of deleted scenes from 7 episodes! There is some wonderful material here, so watch out for a future article in which we will review the content in full.

Overall, I was pleased to find that the new VAM on offer this season is closer in quality to the first three sets. From a behind-the-scenes perspective, Gene's death is undoubtedly the unfortunate milestone which marks TNG's fifth season and the two-part documentary manages to be both touching and objective at the same time. There's no sugar-coating Gene's "legacy" here, just raw emotion from the people who were closest to him.

The Bottom Line? The remastering here is as sublime as ever. The remainder of TNG is undoubtedly in safe hands thanks to the team at CBS Digital, and I eagerly await the final two seasons! Classic episodes, stunning remastering, great bonus features - it's not difficult to award this set five stars. A magnificent release - not to be missed!

- Written for TrekCore.com by Adam Walker, November 10, 2013

Order Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 5 Blu-ray today!



Order TNG - "Unification" Feature Blu-Ray today!

* A quick footnote - Images marked with an asterisk are exclusive to TrekCore and do not appear as part of the Blu-ray set. They are included for illustrative purposes only.

Order Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 5 Blu-ray today!



Order TNG - "Unification" Feature Blu-Ray today!

  • Chris915

    Absolutely thrilling!

    • James G.

      Picard reference? :)

      • Chris915

        Not initially, until I thought about it. lol.

  • archer9234

    Another great review. I’m really loving the new photos. I’m surprised they went with the upper saucer for the replacement in Darmok. It sucks that the original model elements for unification where lost. In the documentary, you can see they had the beauty pass. But they probably lost everything else. Also, I personally want to thank the CGI team. Those guys slaved in matching the freaking shadows on the CGI D windows. That’s serious dedication. On a final Nazi nitpick note: They still didn’t fix the nacelle explosion where it’s obviously being blocked by black cloth when it blows on the underside. But it’s way better composited in, compared to the original.

    • Chris915

      Actually, all 3 images used in the Unification collage image are of the CG model…

      • archer9234

        You sure. It has the 4 foot deflector rounded shape. vs the 6 foot wider one on the bottom.

        • trekcore

          Chris is right. The still is CG, and one of almost 30 layers that were used to build this shot. In compiling it, CBS Digital rendered layers to be composited in the same way that the team deal with physical models. The deflector looks a bit different because of the angle that I took the picture from – it’s angled, rather than looking at the monitor directly!

          Also, please note, this is not featured on the documentary, but exclusive to TrekCore from an upcoming series of articles. I used it here because it helps explain the ridiculous amount of work CBS-D had to do for this season!

          • archer9234

            You know it’s perfect when I’m fooled.

          • Chris915

            haha

          • Allen Williams

            wait you take pictures of a monitor rather than screenshots?

          • trekcore

            Final shots are all screenshots. The CG wireframe and layer is a photo of the monitor.

          • Allen Williams

            OHH yeah I did notice the moire effect on the one shot. I wasn’t sure what was going on with that, but I thought it might be the beauty pass of the original shot or something as comparison. I was going to say though if you took pictures of a monitor on the rest, you did well. lol

  • vincanss

    Fantastic, can’t wait to check it out. I’ve had this baby on pre-order for 2 or 3 months. Maybe I’ll re-watch s4 now to get me in the mood. There’s a lot to look forward to there even without the remastering of the episodes.

  • BeatleJWOL

    Looks like Dennis McCarthy’s sitting behind an electronic organ of some kind; does he do any playing in the bonus feature?

    • trekcore

      I don’t want to spoil things, because it’s a wonderful piece, but I will say this – Dennis SINGS! And it’s hilarious!

  • Allen Williams

    I still don’t understand how the original effects team screwed up the phaser out of the torpedo shot in the first place. I’m glad they fixed it even if it meant changing the angle. Good choice as far as I’m concerned.

    • archer9234

      Two theories I could think of. The script said Photon Torpedoes where used. But they shot the lines on the bridge already. So they were forced to do the goof. Or they shot the ship too high or low. And they thought the phaser arc would be out of range/weird. My question is: They could of just did what the team did now. Steal stock shots to fix it.

    • Chris915

      It’s kind of complicated to explain…

    • http://www.scream-movie.net/ Charles Petrosky

      When I heard they were re-doing the shot for Blu-ray I assumed they’d use the ventral phaser array just behind the deflector dish. It’d require a new CGI shot of the Enterprise to be created but would’ve added some visual variety. Oh well.

      • SpaceCadet

        Yeah, even though the original shot was technically botched it was very dramatic and exciting and the fix here is a less interesting stock shot.

  • Allen Williams

    Its too bad Michelle Forbes couldn’t contribute. I like her. I was disappointed that she wasn’t on DS9 when I heard they wanted her for the role.

    • mjdavid

      Agreed. I hope they can get an interview commentary from her on either the Season Six or Season Seven sets (she did do “Rascals” and “Preemptive Strike) as she’s one of the most memorable guest stars. I would imagine Colm Meaney might appear on the Season Six set talking about his transition to DS9 and perhaps reflecting on how his character developed from Seasons One through Season Six’s midpoint.

      • SpaceCadet

        Forbes and Meaney’s participation would be great but I can imagine the blu-ray set producers may just save Meaney for when it comes time to to DS9 because unlike Michael Dorn, he was never a TNG regular.

    • SpaceCadet

      But I think it worked out for the best because we would not have had the 1st officer former Bajoran terrorist Kira Nerys and her character makes more sense as a liaison between Bajor and the Federation. I don’t think we would have gotten the same level of conflict and dramatic stories between Sisko/Federation and Ro as we did with Kira in the picture.

  • Bridger

    I have to say the phaser shot is better, but it is still weird when you take the positions of the ships into account.

  • Kaine Morrison

    What about the missing 4 minutes?
    How is it being handled?
    Is it going to be like a jump-shot or will it be SD footage?

    • Lava_Lander

      The review says upscaled footage. That’s also how the ‘missing’ footage was handled in the other seasons.

      • Kaine Morrison

        Thanks. I just want to have it clarified, because a review on another website said that the footage was missing and it made it seem like they didn’t even put in the SD footage like in the previous Seasons.

        • trekcore

          Oh my, no – definitely not missing. As I’ve written in my review, the film they couldn’t locate has been upscaled from SD. There is a screenshot of some of the upscaled footage above, in the review.

          • Kaine Morrison

            Ok, I’m sorry. I missed it when I originally read it.

    • Sykes

      What is a jump-shot?

      • Chris915

        I think they mean, just skipping what’s not been found on film… say you need shot A, B and C… and you can’t find B, they’d just go A then C…

  • Chris

    Very glad to hear that the fly-by shot has been fixed, as that was something that really bugged me throughout Season 4.

    Watching the Enterprise sailing through the shipyard in “Unification Part 1″ should be worth the price of the Blu-ray set alone. Can’t wait to see it. There’s also some lovely shots of the Enterprise in “Conundrum” which should look great in HD.

    I’m a massive nerd for the television scores, so I’m really looking forward to the music documentary.

  • mjdavid

    Absolutely loved Season Five and I can’t wait for this set. I’m also happy to know that the slight drop in quality VAM experienced on the Season Four set – which I still thoroughly enjoyed – won’t be an ongoing issue. I do have a random question perhaps someone could answer for me. In the opening title sequence for Season Five the main title card has a glowing 3D effect (not sure if 3D is the correct term?) behind it. Does anyone know why this was done for the fifth season? Was it perhaps something they tried that didn’t get a warm reception so they dropped it for the final two seasons?

    • Chris915

      I personally liked it, as to why it was done for this season and then dropped, I don’t know.

      • mjdavid

        I enjoyed it as well. I thought it added something unique. I can’t wait to see it in HD.

        • Chris915

          I don’t know if it changed any since the sampler, but “The Inner Light” as part of the sampler pack…

          http://tng.trekcore.com/hd/albums/5×25/innerlight_hd_031.jpg

          • mjdavid

            I did not see the sampler disc (I did that on purpose), but that looks so much better than the DVD or how it appears on Netflix. Awesome!

          • Chris915

            haha.

            Although, on the sampler the effect was moving the wrong way compared to the original… but it still looks nice.

      • john

        I’m pretty sure it was special for that season only… not dropped. It was the 25th Anniversary of Star Trek that year. Same reason we had the final film Trek VI, the Unification Two Parter and the two hours behind the scenes Star Trek 25th Anniversary special. It was just bringing TNG into the celebrations that year. There were a lot of cool events that year. All the films were brought back to theatres as well. Lots of celebrations. It was cool to like Trek for those few years.

    • archer9234

      Maybe it felt too much like the Superman Title sequence.

      • SpaceCadet

        That’s what it reminded me of too but I always liked it.

    • CantBanThis

      It makes things harder to read and looks cartoony/tacky.

    • Jan

      IIRC it was done because of Paramounts 75th anniversary that year and never intended to be part of the following seasons.
      A pity imho, if it was up to me, they could’ve used that for the entire show! lol

      • john

        I always heard it was for the 25th anniversary of Star Trek. I remember this season clearly when it came out. It was 1991 and was the 25th ann of Trek and at the same time the 5th ann of Next Gen with Trek VI coming out mere months later as the final celebration to fans that year.

        • SpaceCadet

          1991 would be the 4 year anniversary of TNG. It premiered in 1987.

          • john

            Season 5 started in 1991. Pretty much counts as the fifth year of TNG.

  • Chris915

    I noticed, those multi-colored stars are back in some shots…

  • James G.

    Great review! The planet in Time’s Arrow is a standard def blurry globe? What’s the story there?

  • germanlion

    I like the switch from the phaser firing from the torpedo launcher to the saucer phaser bank, it would have been better if they put it at the bottom and not the top. That way you would not have had to change it much. Still awesome though.

    • SpaceCadet

      I don’t think the angle would have been right firing from the bottom phaser strip since the alien ship is shown higher up than the Enterprise so the phaser shot from the top makes more sense.

  • SFSeries&Movies

    Thanks for the review! Looking forward to the fifth season!

  • Josephus

    Great review trek core!! Nice to put a face to Marvin’s name – I read about him in your other articles but he wasn’t in the bonus feature on Season 1. I love his work, he makes the show look so bright and colorful.

  • Impatienttrekkie

    If you’re reading:
    Niel: Very impressed by what I see here. How long did it take to match the flight maneuvers graphics from “First Duty”? That doesn’t seem an easy job.
    Sarah: You found those 13 seconds for “Sins of the Father” so I wonder if you may find the missing stuff here. I hope so, then CBS can reinsert it down the road.
    Max: Big fan of yours Mr Gabl. Love the planets.
    Eric: CBS needs to use you for all the compositing. Your work is so much better than the shit we were given in Season 2. Love it! Can’t wait to see what you do with Deep Space Nine.

    Now, hurry up Amazon and send me my blu rays!!

  • Platitude

    Big fan of season five, might splurge a little and pick this up! Thanks as always to trekCore for the in depth info.

  • James G.
    • James G.

      I guess I should have compared to SD first. That’s the same 4-footer shot, as the removable bottom piece of visible, and with much better lighting. They continue to make the 4-footer look so good.

      • Chris915

        Yup, that be the 4 footer. :)

    • Joshua Michael Irwin

      No, that’s the 4ft model. You can tell by the shape of the deflector dish.

  • James G.

    Wow, what a difference!

    The Inner Light (sampler):
    http://tng.trekcore.com/hd/albums/5×25/innerlight_hd_003.jpg

    Season 5 updated CGI:
    http://tng.trekcore.com/bluray/images-s5review/tngs5-blu-review-flyby.jpg

    I don’t suppose they updated the shot in The Inner Light? I doubt they did though. As the CGI gets better and better, it makes some of the earlier CGI work look really bad by comparison. They’ve got it to the point where it’s photo-real now.

    • Mat Rowe

      I hate that that old cg shot will remain on the earlier sets.

      • James G.

        That old CGI shot is only in The Inner Light. The shot used in season 4 was improved, and the shot for season 5 is even more improved. The old CGI model was used sparingly in season 1, and looks pretty bad.

        • Chris915

          The CG model was originally made to look like the Enterprise from Generations, then it was modified to look like the TNG version… but the lighting is what gave it away…

          The shot in Season 4 wasn’t CG, it was another filming model shot…

          • James G.

            Actually, both were used. Some episodes use the blurry model shot, and others use the CGI model. The Drumhead, for example, uses the CGI model.

          • Chris915

            Ah yea. Haven’t watched much of Season 4 in a while, lol.

          • Mat Rowe

            Yes, the shot in Drumhead is the one I refer to. It was also used in several other eps in that season. I cringed each time they used it. I would have preferred the blurry model shot. At least it looked real. But this new CG shot (from what I can tell from a single still image) is way better.

    • archer9234

      I doubt they bothered. They didn’t fix the side back shot of the D, in EAF. When they originally lost the model footage in Season 1. My favorite part of the new CGI model is the windows. They were such a dead giveaway on the old one. They got the hue shift the model does when the camera passes the ship at 60 degree arcs down so well.

    • Matt_Cardiff_UK

      Nice comparison shots. Thanks for uploading – you pre-empted my question about whether the ‘taster’ Inner Light had been updated since it was released, to match the new CGI stock footage mentioned earlier in this review. Evidently the stepping issue with the stock shot in S4 (one of the very few complaints I had with that season) has been resolved. As CBS-D up their game and tweak, improve and speed up the remastering process, I can imagine that DS9:R will hit the ground running (here’s hoping).

      My interest in TNG HD might be waning slightly, but that doesn’t mean I don’t fully appreciate the effort that has gone in to remastering it. The screen shots look beautiful. I just wanted S4 because that’s ‘my’ season – the Nth Degree was done really well and that is one of the highlights of the remastering for me.

      It’s a real shame the ‘Cause and Effect’ effects weren’t ‘souped up’ because that explosion looked pants the first time – never mind 3rd time round. But the part where the Bozeman hits the nacelle and the Enterprise starts spinning out of control will look amazing.

      Pleased the Darmok shot was replaced….planets look good too. No doubt I’ll get my copy a week early as usual, so will have a proper look soon. I expect Conundrum – another favourite of mind, will look pretty sparky!

      Still pissed about not getting ‘The Trek not Taken’….stupid VAM deals…

      • Chris915

        ‘The Trek not Taken’ is rather interesting, yea, I think they could’ve squeezed that onto Season 3′s final blu-ray disc, I mean, it’s less than 20 minutes long…

        • Matt_Cardiff_UK

          Here’s hoping it pops up on YouTube or as a torrent sometime in the future – I adore visual effect making of documentaries…they kind of ruin the magic of the effects a little, but also serve to make people aware of the amount of work that goes into short but amazing sequences.

          • Chris915

            I agree, I love VAM like that. It kind of, in a way, helps me with my CG stuff…

      • kungfuhobbit

        just saw the bluray’s Cause and Effect explosion – the same awful one. so sad.

        • Matt_Cardiff_UK

          Yep – very sad. One of the few times authenticity should have been thrown out of the window and the effects redone from the ground up on a computer.

  • SpaceCadet

    Great review and gets me even more excited to pick up the set only next week! However, just had to nit-pick that I don’t think getting Ashley Judd as a guest star was an amazing coup since her guest role was literally among her first acting jobs if not her very first. She wouldn’t become a major star until like 6 years later. And I have to disagree with the reviewer that Power Play is a 5-star classic episode. While fun and action-packed, it ultimately wasn’t about anything significant nor advanced the characters any. I much preferred Conundrum which although not perfect, was still fun and had great character moments between the Ro-Riker-Troi love triangle and Worf and Picard jockeying for authority.

  • Allen Williams

    If by some chance they manage to find the missing footage, I wonder if they’ll let us purchase just the discs we need for like $5 and send it to us similarly to how season 1′s bad audio was fixed, just not for free this time since they/we know about it in advance.

  • Allen Williams

    I know talking about season 6 is a little off topic, but I’m wondering if they are going to fix the wrong DS9 sounds effects in “The birthright”. In the turbo lift, the computer acknowledgement sound wasn’t the same sound effect that were used in actual DS9 episodes. Hell even Voyager got it right with the Cardasian missile dreadnaught.

    • mjdavid

      Interesting question … given how meticulous they’re being I imagine someone will catch it.

    • Mickey

      If there ever is a season 6.

      I guess I’m so impatient because I feel like it’s “my” season! :)

  • Platitude

    What is the subtitle/language offerings on this set?

  • flextech

    Outstanding review as usual.

    Thanks for the section on how they’ve done their best to blend in the SD footage with HD (color timing, film grain, etc…)

    It would be interesting to see a comparison between the DVD upsized to 1080p vs the improved SD version on the Bluray.

  • Patio

    anyone else notice the flag in The First Duty is no longer at half-mast?

    • Justin Olson

      Good catch! Looks like the flag is in the right position, CBS-D just forgot to extend the pole higher:

      http://tng.trekcore.com/gallery/albums/s5/5×19/thefirstduty026.jpg

      http://tng.trekcore.com/bluray/images-s5review/tngs5-blu-review-first-duty-academy.jpg

      • Jörg Hillebrand

        Yes, when they re-used the matte painting in “Time’s arrow I”, they simply cut off the top of the flagpole as there was no reason for the flag to be at half-mast in that episode.

        • Justin Olson

          Makes sense. Plus if they had moved the flag up in “Time’s Arrow,” it would’ve gotten lost against the white clouds. They clearly placed it strategically against the open spot in the sky in “The First Duty.” I suppose you could argue they should’ve changed out the clouds, but then again it’s the same foreground plate with the cadets anyway, so why bother?

          Legato was probably like, “Eh, just lop off the pole. I gotta go work on DS9.” :)

      • Chris915

        Somewhat half mast… :3

    • Jörg Hillebrand

      It’s actually a screenshot from “Time’s arrow I”, where the flagpole appears like that, short and all in the SD version of the episode too. In “The first duty” HD, the flag is at half-mast, like in the original episode.

      • BrianRoskamp

        Is that screenshot actually from Time’s Arrow, or did the remastering team use the same shot for both episode, since it’s the same matte painting, just modified for the later episode? The caption clearly implies the screencap is from First Duty.

        • Justin Olson

          It’s from “Time’s Arrow.” All the matte shots are correct in “The First Duty”… to a fault. In the the third appearance of the shot, it is even more apparent in HD that it’s Wesley walking towards Picard, then it cuts to Wesley in his dorm room!

          • BrianRoskamp

            Thanks for the clarification!

          • Patio

            ooops, sorry guys!

  • Wes

    Will there be a trailer for Season Six on Blu ray with the season five set?

    • archer9234

      They said no.

    • trekcore

      It’s not ready yet, I’m afraid. Most likely next year

      • Wes

        That’s too bad, I would have liked to have seen what at least the box set will be like… I can imagine it would be a purple/lavender color… And I’m personally laying bets that the single-disc feature blu-ray would probably be Chain of Command. There will probably be a trailer for Season 4 of TNG, the Unification blu ray, and possibly the Season 3 trailer for ENT.

    • James G.

      Oh well. I’m sure there will be a trailer to season 4, season 5, BOBW, Redemption and Unification before the menu. So many trailers…

      • BrianRoskamp

        On the bright side, it’s typically only the first disc. They could be real jerks and put them on every disc.

        • James G.

          Very true. I really appreciate that. I wish the movies were so kind. I hate having to skip the Star Trek ’09 and TOS trailers every time I want to watch each movie. The DVDs didn’t have that nuisance.

  • Guest

    Anyone have any word on an eventual TNG Blu-Ray box set? I’m sure it’s in the works and will come out after the individual season releases have all been released, but I was wondering if Trekcore or anyone else here had heard anything solid.

    • trekcore

      No plans, and very unlikely until a healthy amount of time after S7.

    • mjdavid

      Releasing it immediately after would really p*ss off a lot of fans who purchased the individual sets, especially if the boxed set came with even more bonus features. Such a move would also alienate people from buying the individual sets, which I’m sure helps pay for future sets and new VAM to be produced. A full series Blu-Ray box set would also like be cost prohibitive for many; DVD boxed sets for full series are still expensive.

      I personally wouldn’t want to see anything about a full-series Blu-Ray box set until they get half way through at least one more of the remaining series.

      • Guest

        I see where you’re coming from, but I’m personally waiting for the box set since they always come out with one eventually, and given that there were apparently deleted scenes found for seasons that were pretty much finished and thus couldn’t be included on the current blu-rays, I figure there will be more of that type of stuff for the box set. They probably won’t release the box set for quite a while as you said, but I have no doubt one is coming. They spent a hell of a lot of time and money restoring this series, you better believe they’re gonna milk for there moneys worth and we’ll be seeing some double dip releases. These studios/networks almost always seem to do that nowadays, which is why I usually hang back to see if they’ll be offering a different version later and then decide which to buy.

        • archer9234

          They wouldn’t add in extensive material. CBS got a massive backlash just from two simple Best Buy bonus features. If they did. I wouldn’t buy DS9 in till a complete series set.

  • Neill Stringer

    Anyone ordering through Amazon.co.uk got their set dispatched yet? Seems a bit later this time. Hope all is ok

    • Mike Jones

      Was hoping to get a dispatch email from them at some point this afternoon so I know it would be here Monday morning, one never arrived.

      • Neill Stringer

        Well I when I ordered the Federation The First 150 years book it was dispatched on Sun and still came on Mon. So I am hoping that be the case here. Damn annoying

    • vincanss

      I ordered from Sainsburys and got a despatch email early on 14th Nov. It would be nice for a delivery today (Saturday)..

    • Nives Sekulic

      I ordered it from zavvi.com and they’ve dispatched it on 15th. I got a pretty good deal – £5 off code which I’ve combined with 5% discount available when opening the account (I cheated a bit – since I already have an account I used boyfriend’s name & address). If someone wants to use the code it’s ZV16127166

  • Alan Prelog

    Just found out one can save $10 with free Walmart or Target giftcard with purchase of ST: TNG season 5 (or any other) on blu-ray at walmart.com or target.com. Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZtx1ADGNd4&feature=youtu.be

    • Ensign Thomas

      This will come handy – after all Santa is coming to town and I hate to waste more $ for my own presents than I have to…

    • dyruss

      tnx man

  • Matthew Klamm

    Am I seeing things?

    I was watching “Unification, Part I” on the blu-ray release tonight and notice the odd bubble-like distortion that appears on the visual effects shot that occurs between 26:49 to 26:58. In the left corner as the junked Klingon ship enters the frame.

    I went back to my Star Trek TNG season 5 DVD set and there was no distortion. It appears CBS Digital messed up in compositing.

  • Riker

    CBS, take everything out of the negatives and do 4k with tng BEFORE the negatives are getting older and the quality becomes bad!!

    • archer9234

      They don’t go bad like that. They’re in salt mines and humidity controlled rooms for that reason.

      • Riker

        Than skip 4K and do 8K, cause 8K is right around the corner too and I think it’s the highest possible resolution for the show!? Our eyes are even not able to see higher res than 8K, it’s almost like reality looking I think.

        • archer9234

          35mm film is equivalent to 4K. 8K is for 65-70mm film. There’s no real benefit at scanning it higher.

          • Riker

            I’ve heard many thinks, so, WHAT really is the highest level, where you really do justice to the film negatives and take EVERYTHING out of it that’s possible? I’ve heard around 6k, is that correct? …And one more thing; can they technically use the new cgi effects for a new highest-possible-resolution-release?

          • archer9234

            4K is the really the max. Even then, TNG’s stock has a bit lower light level than 4K. The amount of light that goes into it determines the digital resolution. The CGI effects could be re-rendered. But the textures would have to be redone. If they weren’t made any higher than 4K. You have to usually double texture res so that you can get close to models. Companies do scan things at higher levels all the time. It’s just a benefit during the restoration point. But visually, doesn’t do anything extra.

          • Riker

            Do you mean only the effect model shots from “Lord of the Rings” or the live action too that’s limited to 2k? … You said the light level on TNG is lower than 4k. So they can’t do a real 4k release after all? And the textures have to be in 8k for a 4k release, did I understand right? So now they did 4k textures for the current 2k releases?

          • archer9234

            Everything. They decided to finalize the film master in 2k only. And not 4k. It made the work load for the films a lot easier. They have to rescan all of the orginal film to put it into 4k.

          • Joshua Michael Irwin

            With all the grain, it’s probably being mastered at it’s optimum resolution.

          • Riker

            1080p is not the highest resolution possible for Tng I learned by now. From all I know now it’s 4k or maybe 6k.

          • Riker

            The grain now looks like in terminator 1 1080p master scan release. In the new 4k remaster from terminator 1 there’s grain too but it looks clearer and better and you see that it’s really the film negative without any “fog” you looking at now. I’m looking forward for tng in the highest possible resolution!!!

          • kadajawi

            Sure they haven’t denoised T1, and fiddled with color corrections to remove the fog? i.e. they couldn’t have done the same thing to the previous remaster, had they put in the effort? 4K should give benefits in terms of resolution, nothing else.
            Anyway, IIRC many movies these days are still done at 2K, even when they are shot at 4K resolution.

          • Chris915

            Well, if I recall correctly, when Tobias first made the model, he used 4K textures… but with CBS-D changing the model to make it fit more into the TNG series look, since Tobias was going after the Generations refurb initially, not sure what texture resolution CBS-D used.

          • archer9234

            It probably be around 4k. Since the camera does get close to the cgi mode in a lot of shots.

    • kadajawi

      I doubt there is actual 4K resolution in the TNG negatives… even at 2K (1080p) it often goes a bit soft…

  • ussgalaxie

    S5 preorder now available in Germany.

  • Joshua Michael Irwin

    @ Trekcore, What is the deal with the blurry stock flyby shot? It doesn’t seem blurry in the SD version. I even went back and looked. What happened there?

    • Matt_Cardiff_UK

      I have just this minutes had the time to finally sit down and skip through some of the episodes in S5 to see how they came out. The first thing I noticed was the blurry, ‘stepping’ flyby shot is used in so many episodes. What is, as Joshua says, the deal with that??

      • archer9234

        I said this in the unification section. My theory: They completed those episodes before the CGI ENT was ready.

        • Matt_Cardiff_UK

          Ahh – okay – I can deal with that. The new CGI Enterprise is beautiful – looking forward to seeing it more.

          • Joshua Michael Irwin

            Let me rephrase my question. The shot doesn’t look blurry in SD, any Idea why it’s so blurry in HD?

          • archer9234

            This was discussed in the S4 article. They lost the original model shot. But used a different shot that was similar. But it was faster or slower. So it was timed stretched. This causes the blur.

          • Chris915

            I say with the amount of blur it has, it was a faster shot that they slowed down.

    • trekcore

      CBS-D didn’t finish their model until mid way through S5. After that point, it becomes too expensive to go back and re-open “locked” episodes to replace shots

  • pittrek

    I have a question. I have just watched “Power Play” 2 times. First time just for the joy of watching TNG in HD, second time I was specifically looking for the upscaled footage. The weird thing is I couldn’t find it!

    Till now, I was able to IMMEDIATELY tell if the footage was upscaled or not, but I can’t really tell what’s a new HD scan and what’s an upscale. That means either something VERY bad has happened to my eyes, or they did REALLY improve the upscaled footage! Can I ask you what exactly has been upscaled?

    • Mat Rowe

      Certain scenes in Ten Forward, somewhere in the middle of the episode. I think the fist shot is Data saying that they ‘have indeed changed course’ or something to that effect.

  • Bryce

    As always, great review. I loved the commentary on First Duty and Cause and Effect. I enjoyed not having the Okuda’s for once, as a change of pace. It brings a different flow to the proceedings.

    What I really want, though, for season 7 is a full blown, multiple commentary track for All Good Things, with the cast and writers, together or separate. Maybe a VAM about how much better they’ve gotten at the CG model and replacing the effects over the course of all seven seasons. A before and after. It doesn’t have to be long, but I think it would be a well worth while inclusion. I always love the technical behind the scenes information.

  • Mat Rowe

    Seems they forgot the fade in at the start of I Borg. The shot and the music just start abruptly.