STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION Season One Blu-ray Hits Stores Late 2012; No New Special Effects Added

     December 12, 2011

While the original Star Trek series has been enjoying a Blu-ray release for awhile now, the second most popular extension of the sci-fi canon, Star Trek: The Next Generation, hasn’t been so lucky. Since the series was originally shot on film and transferred to videotape for editing episodes, crafting HD versions of the entire series is quite an intensive task. However, the series will finally get its due diligence in high definition as all 178 episodes over seven seasons will finally be available on Blu-ray starting with the first season hitting shelves later in 2012. However, fans looking for a taste of Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) will get a but of a teaser on January 31st with CBS releasing Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Next Level, a single Blu-ray disc that will have the feature-length pilot, Encounter at Farpoint, and the “fan favorite” episodes The Inner Light and Sins of the Father. More after the jump.

And since CBS is taking the original uncut film negatives in order to craft this high definition transfer, this also means that series will eventually hit TV and digital platforms in HD as well. As was expected when we first reported on this story back in September, the special effects shot on film will not simply be upconverted, but rather painstakingly recompositioned for the best possible quality. Read the full press release’s the full press release:

LOS ANGELES – The beloved series STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION® will be transferred to high definition for the first time ever and released on Blu-ray™, it was announced today by Ken Ross, Executive Vice President and General Manager of CBS Home Entertainment.

All 178 episodes from seven seasons will be transferred to true high-definition 1080p for release on Blu-ray and eventual runs on television and digital platforms both domestically and internationally.

“Fans have been clamoring for a high-definition release of STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION® for years,” said Ross. “Transferring the series to high-definition presented difficult technical challenges, but our team has come up with a process to create true 1080p HD masters with true HD visual effects. We can’t wait to show fans how pristine the series looks and sounds with our upcoming Blu-ray releases.”

Transferring STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION® to high-definition presented numerous challenges – The series was originally shot on film and then transferred to videotape, which was used to edit episodes together. In order to create true HD masters, CBS is going back to the original uncut film negative – all 25,000 plus film reels of it – and cutting the episodes together exactly the way they originally aired. The visual effects were all shot on film and will be painstakingly recompositioned, not upconverted from videotape. The newly cut film will then be transferred to true high-definition with 7.1 DTS Master Audio. Denise and Mike Okuda are consulting on the project.

While the first full season won’t be available until later in 2012, CBS Home Entertainment is releasing STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION® – THE NEXT LEVEL, a single Blu-ray disc to give fans a taste of the series in HD, on January 31, 2012. The disc will include the feature-length pilot – “Encounter at Farpoint” – as well as two more “fan favorite” episodes, “The Inner Light” (Season 5) and “Sins of the Father” (Season 3). The single disc will be available for a suggested retail price of $21.99.

One of the most popular series in the STAR TREK franchise, STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION® celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2012. It premiered in first-run syndication during the week of September 28, 1987 and ran through 1994.

Set in the 24th century on the Starship Enterprise, about 100 years after the original STAR TREK series took place, the series starred Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Jonathan Frakes as Commander William T. Riker, LeVar Burton as Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge, Marina Sirtis as Counselor Deanna Troi, Brent Spiner as Lt. Commander Data, Michael Dorn as Lieutenant Worf, Gates McFadden as Dr. Beverly Crusher and Wil Wheaton as her son Wesley Crusher.

STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION® won numerous accolades, including 18 Emmy® awards, and was the first – and only – syndicated television show to be nominated for the Emmy® for Outstanding Drama Series for its seventh season. It was also ranked #46 on TV Guide’s 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time list in 2002.