First TNG Season 4 Reviews AppearBy Caillan
August 29, 2002 - 5:07 PM
The DVD box set of Star Trek: The Next Generation's fourth season hits the shelves on September 3, and judging from the advance reviews, it's just as good as Paramount's release of the third season.
- Jeremy Conrad at IGN-DVD praised The Next Generation's fourth season for building on the hard work that made season three such a seminal year. "Season Four is just as good [as season three]. This year the show finally solidified into the TNG we all remember. It's the year where the writers began to focus on the characters more and their relationships with each other. It's also the year when the continuing Worf storyline began, and opened up the Star Trek series to the idea of serial storylines (something that defined the final few seasons of DS9). Where year three defined the look of the show, year four defined the storytelling."
Despite some minor video problems such as compression artifacts, Conrad also rated the box set's technical specifications highly, especially the remixed Dolby Digital soundtrack. "From the Enterprise whooshing past your head in the opening credits, to the low sub rumble of the ships engines in the show, the remix that Paramount did is amazing and is exactly how fans have always wanted to hear this show. Dialog is perfectly clear in the center channel and special effects such as phaser fire and other sounds are placed in the surround channels well." The DVD set was awarded an overall score of 9 out of 10 in the full review.
- The Home Theatre Forum's Ronald Epstein watched three key episodes from the season in order to gauge the quality of the DVD's video and audio transfer. "Picture is clean and blemish free," he said. "What I specifically noticed about the transfer was the lack of video noise that you would expect to show up on such things like the dark panels inside Picard's office. There is absolutely no noise. In 'Reunion,' you notice that the scenes inside the Klingon ship are primarily lit with intense red and blue lighting that don't come across as smeared or oversaturated. Even the deep reds of Worf's quarters come off without a hint of any noise."
The review also looks at each of the featurettes included in the set, including 'Departmental Briefing: Production,' which examines some of the show's directors. "Jonathan Frakes talks about the responsibilities of being a director, most notably being able to prepare for sudden change. There's a wonderfully warm story of how Frakes was able to direct a child actor (who was later recast)." Read the full article here.
- "Given the hit to miss ratio of this season I can't give it anything less than 10," wrote Mark Davis at DVD Times. Davis singled out the episode 'Family,' which dealt with the aftermath of Picard's assimilation, as a particular favourite. "Picard visits his Brother at his family's vineyards in France. Worf on the other hand is visited by his human foster parents whilst Dr. Crusher and Wesley have an encounter with her dead husband, Jack Crusher. The three stories are interwoven for the entire runtime and whilst they may appear slight they are fantastic character pieces. The impact of the Borg experience on Picard is obvious and moving despite being underplayed by Stewart for the most part. This is definitely one of the highlights of Season 4."
The actual presentation of the DVD set also scored highly. "The main problem with my reviews is not how to write so much about TNG (this is a pleasure and relatively simple for me) but how to find new ways of describing the discs themselves," Davis wrote. "This is actually a huge complement to Paramount who have ensured that each set fits in perfectly amongst the others with a similar look and feel throughout." In the complete analysis, the set was rated a "must-buy."
- The meaty production featurettes ranked as one of the set's highlights for TrekWeb's Steve Kruztler. "More impressive is the balanced approach of the five original featurettes that show many behind the scenes faces lacking on the previous season's release." The 'Mission Overview' documentary even includes an appearance by creator Gene Roddenberry at TNG's 100th episode celebrations. "The footage of Roddenberry speaking about the success of TNG and cutting the celebratory cake is the undisputed highlight of this first documentary and a wonderful treat for fans."
Overall, Krutzler hailed year four as "the perfect season," and gave the set a score of four out of five stars in his full review.
While the Region 1 (North American) set won't be released until next week, it can currently be pre-ordered from Amazon.com and Amazon Canada. European fans are able to pre-order the sets from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.de, which will ship the DVDs on October 7 and September 26, respectively.