Star Trek The Next Generation: The Next Level

The video quality of Star Trek The Next Generation has never been very impressive, either during its original broadcast days, in syndicated reruns, or on DVD. High-definition displays only make things worse, but all is not lost. Like the original series, The Next Generation was shot on film, and that means its conversion to high-definition has always been possible as long as the studio was willing to recompose the standard-definition visual effects into HD. Thankfully, Paramount and CBS have decided to move forward on this project to bring Picard and company into the 21st century with outstanding results.

This teaser disc includes three episodes, Encounter at Farpoint, Sins of the Father, and one of my personal favorites, The Inner Light, and the results are magnificent. The multi-colored Star Fleet uniforms leap off the screen, and the detail is out of this world, especially on the exterior shots of the Enterprise. The DTS-HD MA 7.1 audio tracks are an improvement over the original stereo tracks (also included), but they aren't quite as demo-worthy as the video. If you're a fan of the series, this will certainly wet your appetite for the upcoming release of season one sometime later this year.

Encounter at Farpoint

  • Chapter 2, 00:02:20
  • Detail
  • The opening shot of the Enterprise as it travels through space highlights how much work went into the restoration. Check out the various colors on the hull and how legible the NCC 1701-D designation is. When the camera switches to Picard, you'll see the thin veil of grain fully preserved in the 1080p encode.

Sins of the Father

  • Chapter 4, 00:19:55
  • Shadow detail, detail
  • As Worf stands before the high council, check out the detail in his uniform and how distinct and clear the dimly lit background remains.

The Inner Light

  • Chapter 3, 00:13:58
  • Detail, color saturation
  • One downfall of the higher resolution is that the makeup on Data shows a lot of flaws. In this scene, you can see how unnatural it looks, but on the plus side, Riker's red uniform pops off the screen.

Release Date: January 31, 2012
Studio: Paramount/CBS

kelsci's picture

I thought that was the best episode of the series. If I remember correctly, at the end of the series, the five best episodes picked by viewers of the show were shown. THE INNER LIGHT came in as the 5th most popular.

David Vaughn's picture
I haven't watched the show in nearly 18 years, but this is one of the most memorable episodes of the series. I was excited that it was on the teaser disc and can't wait to watch the entire series with my teenage kids. Do you remember the other Top Five episodes or have a link to them?
fcapra1's picture

I can't wait for the rest of the series to be released on blu-ray! I remember recording each episode on tape, without the commercials. They took up a lot of space. When the prices become reasonable, I look forward to adding them to my collection. I also hope this continues with other great series. Here's hoping that Babylon 5, arguably the greatest sci-fi series ever, will get a HD update.

The only thing left to say with these updates is ENGAGE!

Scott Wilkinson's picture
I'm looking forward to seeing all of TNG on Blu-ray. And I totally agree that Babylon 5 is among the greatest sci-fi series of all time!
abentrod's picture

For Me Babylon 5 is the best scf-fi on tv. It would be incredible on blu-ray as it was filmed 16x9 due to the producer/creator J. Michael Straczynski saw that was the future of television, but sadly Warner Bros he said is such a fragmented company that the computer graphics that need to be redone for HD will most certainty never get the financing.

Scott Wilkinson's picture
I, too, doubt that Warner will spend the time and money to redo the computer graphics on B5. So sad...
Josh.O's picture

Well, this just proves that sometimes there are people who will always do the right thing when it comes to giving the people what they want. I can't wait to watch these. They should be really good.

kelsci's picture

Hi David; I tried a search on google to find the top 5 episodes shown of the series after its completion but I had no luck. There is a load of opinions as to what are the top 5 or more episodes by a host of fans. THE INNER LIGHT is rated very highly among those opinions. I do remember that the first two episodes of THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS where Picard is assimilated by the Borg came in as number one and two though IMHO THE INNER LIGHT was better than the Borg episode. Over the years when I watched well anykind of series that occasionally one episode might outshine everything else that was produced in a series. Just for example I watched ST.ELSEWHERE in the 80s. There was an episode where Howie Mandel dies and goes to heaven, hell and purgatory. He meets God in heaven who is in the image of Mandel. Like THE INNER LIGHT that episode in that series shined over all the others.

Tucker1011's picture

This definitely looks very tasty. I'm getting confused by different videos, though - did they maintain a 4:3 cut like in the video you showed, or did they switch to a 16x9 framing?

Outside of that: Firefly got a BD a few years ago, which was very much appreciated (looked and sounded great). The first season of SG:U got it but they boned me on the second season, giving it only a DVD release. TNG on BD is very much appreciated. It's a shame about Babylon, as mentioned above.

Over the pond, it would be nice if an officially released, chronological collection of classic Doctor Who would come out. The bits and pieces collections are irritating.

David Vaughn's picture
The aspect ratio is 4:3 (sadly). I'd heard that they could have made a 16x9 image from the negative, but decided to go with the OAR (like the original series).
fcapra1's picture

Concerning the B5 fx HD conversion, I was under the impression that the show was the first to use CGI, or an early form of it. Would this not make the process easier? Still, I'm sure the cost will be substantial and Warner Brothers will need good financial reasons to shell out for a conversion.

Here is a link to a petition for remastering B5. If enough of us sign it, Warner will know that they will have plenty of people who will pay. Money, the great motivator!


Scott Wilkinson's picture
B5 was among the first TV shows to use CGI...generated on a Commodore Amiga if I remember correctly! I doubt it was high def...;-)
fcapra1's picture

What ever happened to Commodore?

Scott Wilkinson's picture

It went bankrupt in's the Wikipedia entry on Commodore International:

abentrod's picture

I just bought and watched the first TNG blu-ray, the picture was a bit distracting being 4x3 but the picture quality was stunning and I found myself really enjoying the show all over again. The DTS-HD Master Audio was the most impressive. I had no idea just how good the show could sound, the 5.1 mix was very well done. I now look forward to season one box set later in the year.

here is the response of the creator of B5 answering the question on the future of B5 in HD. via twitter

@straczynski, Joe with the release of Star Trek Next Generation in HD can we as fans of B5 hold out any hope of seeing B5 in HD?

@straczynski, Dubious in the extreme.

David Vaughn's picture
I found the audio to be mostly good, but there were a few instances when the dialog sounded strained. For example, in Sins of they Father, when Riker and the Klingon (Worf's brother) are in the turbolift and Riker is giving him advice, the dialog sounded a bit "off" to me. Also, there were a couple of times when Riker and Picard were speaking to each other and the dialog sounded hollow, but other than that, I agree...the overall audio experience is pretty impressive.
Old Ben's picture

David, did you notice the legibility of the graphics and text on the show?

I remember reading comments from the producers of ST:TNG many years ago that most of the signs and computer graphics on the show were nonsense, e.g., a list of some crew member's family, because none of it was legible on standard definition TV. If these formerly illegible graphics are now readable on a HDTV, this could be distracting.

I am wondering if this is something that was noticable as you were watching.

David Vaughn's picture
Ben, I didn't notice anything distracting in this regard, but I'll have to keep an eye on it when Season One hits Blu-ray!