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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

'Star Trek The Next Generation: All Good Things' BD: Qtastic End to Mother of All Trek Spinoffs

Product Details
[Editor's Note: Unreal TV has previously posted a review of  the Blu-ray edition of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" S7. Additionally, a Christmas miracle has occurred in the form of Unreal TV receiving the entire "Enterprise" series and three additional TNG sets on BD. Reviews will be published throughout 2015.]

The "Star Trek: The Next Generation" series finale "All Good Things" has everything that a fan of any show could want in a finale. Further, the CBS Home Entertainment feature-film style Blu-ray release of this historic episode provides it the regard to which it is due.

Other two-part TNG episodes that CBS has released in a feature-film style BD format include the recently reviewed "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" prelude "Chain of Command" and the less recently reviewed classic Borg-themed episode "The Best of Both Worlds."

The following clip, courtesy of CBS and YouTube, of the trailer for the "Things" BD release provides a strong sense of the exceptional quality of the remastering and the story itself.

"Things" is a true gift to trekkers and trekkies everywhere in that it includes most elements over which these fans drool. Only having a serious Borg threat would have made it better.

The fan favorite element of time travel has a particular "Back to the Future" vibe in this one. U.S.S. Enterprise captain Jean-Luc Picard is being tossed about in time back-and-forth between the present from the TNG perspective and periods that are roughly 20 years in the future and seven years in the past when he first takes command of the aforementioned flagship in the starship fleet of the aptly named Starfleet military organization. Further, two quasi-spoilers are the news that that he must get back in time and learns the power of love.

Sending Picard on these quantum leaps provides an awesome look at the lives of every primary character decades after the events of TNG and the bonuses of bringing back an awesome character from TNG S1, returning another departed character, and offering humor regarding how the appearances of characters and other elements of the series change during the seven-year run of the series.

One well-publicized amusing aspect of Picard et al going back to the future is that Lt. Commander William T. (Thomas, not Tiberius) Riker portrayor Jonathan Frakes following the Shatner course of gaining significant weight during the course of the series requires limiting his appearance in the scenes set in the past to a cleverly inserted clip from the pilot.

As Picard and his enterprising crew learn more about the latest weird occurrences in the long series of such events during their careers, other popular "Trek" elements emerge.

The underlying phenomenon around which the efforts of Picard focus in all three time periods is an anomaly that inconveniently is located in the essentially no man's land that is a result of negotiations between the Federation that Starfleet serves and the long-standing Federation enemies the Romulans. The bottom line is that any Starfleet or Romulan ship that enters that area can only do so for an exceptionally compelling reason.

Picard further learns that TNG-introduced foe the omnipotent (and very mischievous) Q is the force that is bouncing him around in time. A long overdue epiphany while watching this BD version of "Things" is that Q is the Endora of TNG.

Both the mystery surrounding the anomaly and the reason for Q becoming involved pay nice homage to the TNG pilot in which the Enterprise crew first encounters Q. This meeting occurs in the context of Q informing our heroes that mankind must stand trial for the harm associated with expanding their presence in the universe beyond the range that Q considers appropriate.

The crew proving in the pilot that they are not quite as stupid or savage as Q believes prevents TNG from merely being a TV Movie of the Week by resulting in Q allowing Starfleet to continue their operations subject to his scrutiny.

The manner in which Picard operates in each time period to which he is commuting has even higher stakes than the challenge that he faces in the pilot. The clever thinking that he devotes to the problem provides a nice twist and sends a positive message regarding the capacity of mankind. The missive is that we mortals may not be as foolish as Q (and Endora) believe us to be.

The plot further allows Picard portrayor Patrick Stewart to awesomely make full use of his classical theatrical training. Although the initial confusion of Picard regarding the time travel is more reminiscent of "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens than the works of William "The Bard" Shakespeare, Shakespearean actor Stewart gets plenty of chance to exercise his acting chops related to both masters.

The special features includes deleted scenes, the promos for both parts of "Things," and what looks to be a spectacular "making of" documentary titled "The Unknown Possibilities of Existence."

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Things" or anything "Trek" is strongly encouraged to email me. You can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.