Ryan Wilson

From the Theater – Star Trek: The Next Generation: A Celebration of Season 2

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A sneak preview of the Blu-ray restoration of Season 2? Make it so!

Season 2 was a tumultuous time for both Star Trek fans and cast alike. The combination of a writer’s strike and the unceremonious firing of Gates McFadden (Beverly Crusher) left the cast and crew uncertain that the show would have much of a future. However, Season 2 also brought us some of the strongest episodes of the entire show (plus Commander Rikers’ beard). I had the chance last Sunday to watch two such episodes, Q Who? and The Measure of a Man, masterfully restored and on the big screen for the first (and only) time.

Trekkies should recognize the canon significance of Q Who? off the bat, as this was our quick introduction of the assimilation-driven Borg, courtesy of the omnipotent Q. The Borg were like no other race the Enterprise had dealt with before, as a little diplomacy or a well placed photon torpedo wouldn’t solve their issues. For the sake of this preview, Q Who? was a visual masterpiece in its restoration, while still sticking to its television roots. Unlike the restoration seen with the original Star Trek series, the switch from old footage to new effects appeared less jarring.

Easily the most impressive restoration efforts were done with the second screened episode, The Measure of a Man. To fit television guidelines for syndication, the original vision of this episode had to be cut of a whopping 13 minutes, which only existed as a VHS rough cut sitting in writer Melinda Snodgrass’ collection. The restoration brought this VHS out of retirement, cleaned up the footage, and added the necessary post production. The biggest compliment I can give to this restoration comes in the form of a confession: I have never seen the original version of this episode. Perhaps one day, I will, but I seriously could not tell what came from a rough cut and what made it to television. It saddens me to think that thirteen minutes of this brilliant sci-fi tribute to the significance of Dred Scott vs. Sandford never made it to air.

Scattered throughout the theater broadcast was a sampling of special features that will appear in the upcoming Blu-ray release, including behind the scenes, a reunion interview, and a must-see blooper reel. The only footage exclusive to the event were brief introductions to the two episodes, which only seemed to repeat information already given to us by the behind the scenes feature.

In the end, I must say that this celebration of Season 2 got me incredibly hyped for Tuesday’s (December 4th) Blu-ray release. If you have a sci-fi fan in your life, Season 2 will make a fantastic present for under the Christmas tribble.

Note: This review was based on a one-day screening to which the reviewer was provided a special event pass

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