When Paramount first began releasing episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series on DVD, it followed the pattern which was begun with the release of episodes on VHS: two episodes per DVD.
It took a while, but Paramount soon found out it had made a mistake not taking advantage of the DVD technology. It has made up for it in the way it is releasing Star Trek: The Next Generation on DVD.
Instead of two episodes per DVD, the entire first season is put on a collection of seven DVDs. While the $88 price tag may seem steep, when you consider that a 26 episode season would translate into 13 DVDs, it is actually a bargain!
Paramount also learned about making use of the new technology. The first time I put one of the DVDs into my player, I thought I’d died and gone to Star Trek Heaven. The menus and introduction of episodes resemble the visual effects that we have seen on the bridge of the Enterprise for all these years. I actually woke my husband up to come see it. Since he is not a Star Trek fan, he did not have the same appreciation for it that I did.
Disc 1 contains the episodes Encounter at Farpoint, The Naked Now, and Code of Honor.
Disc 2 contains the episodes The Last Outpost, Where No One Has Gone Before, Lonely Among Us, and Justice.
Disc 3 contains the episodes The Battle, Hide and Q, Haven, and The Big Goodbye.
Disc 4 contains the episodes Datalore, Angel One, 11001001, and Too Short a Season.
Disc 5 contains the episodes When the Bough Breaks, Home Soil, Coming of Age, and Heart of Glory.
Disc 6 contains the episodes The Arsenal of Freedom, Symbiosis, Skin of Evil, and We’ll Always Have Paris.
Disc 7 contains the episodes Conspiracy, and The Neutral Zone, as well as the Special Features which are known here as Mission Logs: Year One.
These special features are what was missing from the Star Trek: The Original Series DVDs. Three of them deal with the creation and development of Star Trek: The Next Generation as a television series, and the last deals specifically with just the first season.
The Beginning talks about the building of sets, special effects, and other background information on getting the series off the ground. There are interviews with Gene Roddenberry, Robert Justman and the cast. I found it most interesting to learn that one of my favorite characters – Q – was actually an afterthought to the pilot episode Encounter at Farpoint when Paramount wanted it expanded from one hour to two.
Selected Crew Analysis talks about the development of the characters and the development of the relationships between the characters as well as the actors. It was interesting to hear Rick Berman talk about how both the writers and actors are “stumbling around to find themselves” during the first season. I have always thought the first season to be lacking, and this explanation rings only too true.
Making of a Legend talks about how Star Trek: The Next Generation had to be developed differently from Star Trek: The Original Series. There are interviews on how the look of the series and ideas had to be different from the first series. There is a great deal of information about the effects and how they were created. The series began filming in 1987, before computers were used for special effects.
Memorable Missions deals just with the various first season episodes. The actors and crew give anecdotes about the episodes. This part also gives production information and airing dates for the episodes. Denise Crosby’s request to leave her part during this season is also addressed here. There is also a glimpse into the wrap party for the first season.
The original DVD releases were one season every few months, giving people time to digest all that they’d seen and Paramount time to decide whether it was worth it to continue. They did continue with the releases by season, and eventually remastered some for blu-ray release. I still have the original DVDs I bought back in the early 2000’s and use them when I want to binge watch the series. Of course there are issues, especially with the special effects of 30+ years ago, but for the most part they hold up very well.
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