TNG-HD rewatch

Brikar

The Dude
Jan 1, 1970
3,661
3
0
Massachusetts
#1
OK, I know I just watched TNG not too long ago, but with these blurays, I thought it would be nice to go through and comment on the restorations episode by episode.

Disc One
1x01-1x02 "Encounter at Farpoint" - First impressions, obviously, are that this show looks astonishing. On DVD, the episode looks washed out and flat. Here, colors are bold. Detail is striking. Texture on skin and clothing are excellent. The special effects look great. The Enterprise is fantastically detailed; lots of green in there instead of just gray. Q's forcefield seems to glow a bit differently, but it also looks a bit more detailed. The alien creatures at the climax look utterly fantastic. There's so much more detail than we ever saw in standard definition! Also, the planet in this episode is actually a matte painting instead of a CG effect, so it wasn't updated.

1x03 "The Naked Now" - The detail here is pretty incredible, too. For all its ugliness, Wesley's sweater has fantastic texture visible in the restoration. The special effects look great! The roiling sun is a deep orange, and the science vessel has good texture on it. Much improved is the lighting and contrast in space shots - there's an orange glow on the Enterprise as it orbits the sun. The sun's explosion at the end also looks great, there's more debris flying out from it than I had noticed before. And the weird glowy space rock that nearly destroys the Enterprise looks tons better now. All is not rosy; a few shots, mostly in darker scenes, are noticeably ugly with grain. This is to be expected, but it is noticeable. Overall, the grain in the episode gives it a nice film look, but the darker scenes can sometimes get distracting.

1x04 "Code of Honor" - What a terrible episode. However, it looks fantastic. Colors are again bold, though the lighting on the bridge seems brighter and flatter than the previous episodes. The planet has been replaced with a new, high-resolution CG image. It looks slightly cheesy, but it works. The shiny costumes show good detail and strong color, and there's a lot of bold reds and blues on the alien sets that come out extremely well. In the scene where Picard orders Data and Geordi to investigate the alien weapons, there's an odd flickering effect on the left side of the screen over Picard's back.
 
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Brikar

The Dude
Jan 1, 1970
3,661
3
0
Massachusetts
#2
1x05 The Last Outpost - The Ferengi ship and makeup both look great in HD. The compositing of Picard standing in front of the viewscreen is very nice. The new CG planet has great detail; the new planets in general just look great - much better than the mushy, crappy old graphics of old. Phaser and energy blasts look sharp and detailed, as well. The makeup on the 'Portal' character looks like shiny plastic for some reason, and comes across as very, very fake. There's also a shot of Riker standing on a cliff that looks soft; I can only assume that the original elements of this shot were poorly made, since the rest of the episode looks generally fantastic.

1x06 Where No One Has Gone Before - This episode is loaded with gorgeous effects. The crazy alien space vistas look incredible, with deep blacks and bold colors. The details on all the clouds and stellar phenomena are sharp. There are a few brief moments of distracting grain in some darker shots, but otherwise this is a fantastic looking episode.
 

Brikar

The Dude
Jan 1, 1970
3,661
3
0
Massachusetts
#3
1x07 Lonely Among Us - The real draw of this episode for the remaster is the space effects; the alien lifeform/energy cloud looks gorgeous. One of the things I haven't mentioned yet is that the black levels for the space shots is extremely deep. There's such great contrast here, with the deep, dark blacks of space and the ship having shadows and depth and no longer being a gray, washed-out blog... These shots just look plain fantastic.

1x08 Justice - Shut up, Wesley. The half-phased "god station" looks great; it has a sort of aura around the glowing lights that looks very cool. The location photography looks excellent; all those lovely aryan... er, blonde women down on the planet are pretty scrumptious, even if their hair is atrocious. The green grass and plant life are extremely bold, and skin looks warm and detailed. It might be an awful episode, but it looks stunning.

1x09 The Battle - Once again, the Ferengi makeup looks stellar. I was afraid it would look too plastic, and while it doesn't look quite as advanced as it would years later on DS9, it holds up very well. The starship Stargazer looks great, far more detailed than we've ever been able to see it. Even when there's smoke billowing about, the image never degrades; you can see details in the smoke instead of just a gray haze! If I have one complaint, it's that the tractor beam effect looks different, and not as good, as it did in "The Naked Now." I don't know why that happened, but I definitely preferred how it looked in the earlier episode.

1x10 Hide and Q - Unlike the location photography in 'Justice,' the alien world here is obviously a soundstage. As such, the lighting is flatter and the detail isn't really there. There are some shots that look strangely soft, but once again, I can only blame the original photography rather than the restoration. Q's weird costumes show good detail and texture, but there's very little in this episode that is visually stunning.

1x11 Haven - As a bottle episode, there's not much to this episode that pushes the envelope visually. There's some nice costume work, and the Tarellian ship looks nice, but otherwise this episode is just kind of there. However, this episode presents my first major problem: the audio is all kinds of screwed up. The 7.1 DTS HD mix sounds awful. I had to switch to the stereo track in order for the dialog to sound correct. It's been reported that this issue happens on several other episodes across three discs of this set.

1x12 The Big Goodbye - The period sets and costumes look great. Dixon Hill's office has lots of little details on the walls, water stains and grunge that wasn't all that detailed before. Outside on the city streets, you can see great texture on the cars and the rain-slicked pavement. The blood when Picard gets punched looks exceedingly fake.
 
Jun 13, 2006
547
2
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#4
"The Battle" has always been a favorite of mine from S1. Can't wait to see it in hi-def, though I might wait to see if they issue discs with the audio repaired.
 

Brikar

The Dude
Jan 1, 1970
3,661
3
0
Massachusetts
#5
It's definitely one of the gems of season one! I also just encountered audio trouble on "11001101," which is unfortunate. But the spacedock shots are fucking beautiful.
 
Jun 13, 2006
547
2
0
#6
I should rephrase that...it's honestly one of my favorites from the whole series. Top 10, at least. The exchange between Riker and the Ferengi first officer is priceless.

"11001101" may have some flaws, but it's also a favorite of mine. While they were still being all weird and high-concept, trying to recapture the utter insanity of much of TOS, they did manage to produce some gems. Even if there were a couple of real stinkers mixed in, too. "The Naked Now," while a straight-up remake of "The Naked Time" (nicely acknowledged in the episode, I must say), is pretty good; "The Last Outpost" is pretty good; "Where No One Has Gone Before" is just fantastic; "Lonely Among Us" is weird fun; "Datalore" is more weird fun, allowing Spiner to pull the "split personality" trick that Shatner hammed up so well in S1 of TOS; "Too Short a Season" is a nice return to those classic TOS morality plays; "Heart of Glory" and "The Arsenal of Freedom" are both fun romps (bonus points for the interactive sales computer that can't figure out why they'd want to shut down the demonstration); and "Conspiracy" had a great premise that was unfortunately left hanging until the DS9 relaunch novels did something unexpected with it. The good far outweighs the bad, IMHO, but the first two seasons get an unfairly bad rap in my book.

While there are some standouts, S2 has weaker overall stories than S1, I think. However, the crew dynamic with Kate Pulaski around makes up for it.
 
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Jun 13, 2006
547
2
0
#7
I'm going to be skewered for saying this, but looking at the episode lists from seasons 4-7, I'd say the overall quality of 1-3 was higher. The highs were higher in the later seasons, producing some truly classic hours of television, but there is some gawdawful crap in there, too. As bad as "Code of Honor" is, for instance, is it really worse than "Night Terrors," "Power Play," "The Outcast," "Rascals," or "Sub Rosa"?
 

Cymro

Religious Fanatic
Nov 30, 1999
5,028
3
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Shitsville, CF63
#8
I disagree.

There were some really good ideas in season 1, but even the best episodes are riddled with Sardinian maggot cheese (which is far worse than Jellied Eels). Even an episode like "Where No One Has Gone Before", which has so much going for it, just isn't as fun to watch as it should be. It's almost like the writers had great ideas but didn't know where to go with them.

Season 2 I'll give you. It's still let down by some god awful shit like "The Royale", but there's a couple of actual great episodes, and even the not-so-great ones benefit from much improved character interactions and dialogue, which made them more fun to watch.
 
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iamspenagain

Cymro's Bitch
Jan 1, 1970
538
3
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31
The Nast 'Nati, Ohio
#9
I always thought Arsenal of Freedom was a really great story, but that they didn't have the resources to pull it off with any semblance of decency. You can argue that the budget was quite low for that kind of story, and you'd be right, but I'd counterargue that the effects and design departments didn't have the creativity necessary to get around that limitation.

The cast didn't have the acting chops to pull off many of the S1 scripts, either. Sure, the characters hadn't yet established a chemistry with one another, and sure, what Roddenberry gave the writers were basically cardboard cutouts of people, but one of the more fascinating things to watch between S1 and S3 is how the actors actually learned how to act, and not just how their characters were supposed to interact with each other. Interestingly, that includes Patrick Stewart.
 

Cymro

Religious Fanatic
Nov 30, 1999
5,028
3
0
Shitsville, CF63
#10
Stewart was a good actor, but this was unlike anything he'd done before. His background was definitely a huge boost to him, particularly in the way he projects his voice and gives Picard presence, but he had a lot to learn about doing a modern TV drama. I like the way he gradually loosens up as the show progresses, saving the Shakesperian delivery for where it really matters. When Picard goes on a rant, you fucking listen.
 

Brikar

The Dude
Jan 1, 1970
3,661
3
0
Massachusetts
#11
I always thought Arsenal of Freedom was a really great story, but that they didn't have the resources to pull it off with any semblance of decency. You can argue that the budget was quite low for that kind of story, and you'd be right, but I'd counterargue that the effects and design departments didn't have the creativity necessary to get around that limitation.
I don't think it was a budgetary limitation - the series was hugely expensive at the time - but rather just a limitation of technology. The same episode produced today with the level of effects we had on 'Enterprise' would likely be much slicker and well realized.
 

Bean

The Awesome One
Jan 1, 1970
5,243
3
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38
Canada eh!
cheese.com
#12
I think Cymro nailed the one key point to season 1. The cast hadn't yet hit their stride. You can tell that they weren't having fun with it like they did in later seasons. Stewart himself has said he was an arrogant prick in the first season and didn't lighten up until the cast was on the verge of kicking him in the head.

"Where no one has gone before" could be one of my top 5 Trek episodes of all time if not for the lack of chemistry with the cast.

Later seasons had some real shit episodes like mentioned above, but at least when those episodes came around, the cast managed to do the best they could with them.
 
Jun 13, 2006
547
2
0
#13
I certainly won't argue that there were issues with the cast in S1 (part of which probably had something to do with Roddenberry rewriting the first 15 episodes, and his almost Lucas-like descent into self-parody). Some of those episodes, done later, would have been really epic. As it was...I still say the overall quality of the stories was higher then than at pretty much any other point during TNG.

Would Berman have had the balls to do something really out there like "Where No One Has Gone Before" in Season 5? They really only went for one late attempt at the high-concept weirdness, Season 7's "Masks." I know a lot of people hate that episode, but I've always found it to be flawed but enjoyable.
 

Brikar

The Dude
Jan 1, 1970
3,661
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Massachusetts
#14
1x13 Datalore - Lots of great work going on in this episode. The compositing work putting Brent Spiner on screen with himself is perfect. The opening scenes where the Enterprise crew inspects the dead alien planet looks just as sound-stage fake as previous episodes, but all the interior shots in the lab and on the Enterprise look great. The new effects for the crystal creature are fantastic. It looks amazing chasing after the Enterprise, and the still shots of it have awesome detail on both the entity and the Enterprise.

1x14 Angel One - If you've ever wanted to see Jonathan Frakes' chest hair in HD... wish granted.

1x15 11001001 - Despite the audio problems, this episode looks positively stunning. The Bynar makeup looks great, but the real draw for the remastering is the shots of the Enterprise and the starbase, which all look truly amazing. These shots look even better than they do on the bluray for 'Search for Spock.'

1x16 Too Short a Season - Finally, a firefight... oh, no, wait, it's just the Enterprise crew taking cover while they get shot at. Still, it all looks nicely detailed. The underground tunnel set is appropriately grungy and junk-filled. The phaser fire effects look good, a bit less jumbled and cartoony than they did in the past. The old-age makeup looks pretty bad, though; it has good detail but it simply looks shiny and plastic.

1x17 When the Bough Breaks - The new planet, as usual, looks great. The shots of the Enterprise being thrown through space look pretty solid, but I'm not blown away. Also, the shot of the massive alien power core at the end looks soft and muddled, though it has good color. Not a stunner.

1x18 Home Soil - Another good-looking CG planet; one of the things that helps a lot with these shots is that the color of the planet is reflected on the Enterprise - a red planet bathes the ship in a soft red light, and that really helps make it look like the ship is really there instead of just composited on top. This episode is sharp and features a lot of close-ups of the cast that reveal great detail in skin texture and hair.

1x19 Coming of Age - The remaster standout here is a sequence in which a young boy (somehow) manages to steal shuttlecraft. It looked pretty awful in the original, but in the remaster, with all the extra detail and the new planet effects, it actually looks very respectable. The shots are fairly simple, in terms of their construction, and but they're very well done.
 

Brikar

The Dude
Jan 1, 1970
3,661
3
0
Massachusetts
#15
1x20 Heart of Glory - The klingon makeup looks great. A standout sequence is the alien freighter at the opening; the ship itself looks great. The interior, even though it's smothered in smoke and steam, is still sharp and detailed. Characters obscured by the smoke are no longer shapeless color blobs, and even the smoke itself has detail. However, during the klingon breakout, there is a missing special effect - a Starfleet security guard is killed by an invisible phaser blast. It's kind of awkward.

1x21 The Arsenal of Freedom - The alien planet soundstage looks awful, but not because of the restoration; even in SD it looked pretty fake. There is a lot of phaser fire in this episode, and it all looks great. The underground cave set looks much better than the planet's surface, and none of the detail gets lost in the darkness.

1x22 Symbiosis - Nothing much happening in this one, visually. Some nice shots of the ship trying to use its tractor beam, and the effects for the strange energy powers of the aliens looks brighter, sharper and much less muddled. The costumes are... pretty bad.
 
Jun 13, 2006
547
2
0
#16
Prom reported on TrekWeb that CBS will have replacement discs available 8/10.

"Planet Soundstage" does look really bad in "The Arsenal of Freedom"...but it doesn't really detract from what is the best of the "TOS throwback" stories from S1. The fake planet has a very 1960s look, and there's a great story that doesn't club you senseless with the moral. Maybe a minor case of assault and battery.


"Symbiosis" is one of those episodes that gets lumped into the "awful" column by a lot of people. Yes, the "drugs are bad, mmmkay?" moral does club you like a baby seal, but it actually displays a rather impressive degree of subtlety under that moral - the fact that the plague that would have wiped out one of the two planets was real and that the drug really did cure it; and the notion that the economies of the two planets became so wrapped up in the medical trade and their economies became so intertwined that all other concerns and technological developments were ignored were both nice touches. I'll give them a B for effort and a C for execution. At least they tried to do something a bit different.


Interesting note - that's two consecutive episodes with a very basic story of "this planet's economy became so wrapped up in _____ that it completely fucked over everyone."
 
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Bean

The Awesome One
Jan 1, 1970
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Canada eh!
cheese.com
#18
I came into some money today I wasn't expecting... now my problem is whether to go buy the TNG set and risk getting the crap discs, or wait till later and see if there's a way I can identify the original sets vs the corrected ones.
 

Brikar

The Dude
Jan 1, 1970
3,661
3
0
Massachusetts
#19
I came into some money today I wasn't expecting... now my problem is whether to go buy the TNG set and risk getting the crap discs, or wait till later and see if there's a way I can identify the original sets vs the corrected ones.
I really don't think it matters either way. If you buy the set, the replacement discs are free, so it's not that big of a risk. Also, will you be watching the episodes with a surround sound system? The errors are only in the 7.1 DTS tracks, so switching to the stereo track solves the problem.