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Friday, January 22, 2021

Star Trek: The Next Generation — Season Six Blu-ray Review

STTNG-S6-bluray-coverU.S. Release

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The Series



Two decades after Gene Roddenberry’s original 1960s space saga hit the airwaves briefly before going off the air and creating a cult following that would eventually lead to a syndicated empire of re-runs, conventions and motion picture franchises, the series was reborn with Star Trek: The Next Generation. While I can’t claim to be old enough to have grown up with the original Star Trek’s initial run, I was certainly familiar with it from re-runs and did watch it, so I was excited for its return. The Next Generation was indeed Star Trek for my generation; a weekly journey into the 24th century set decades after Captain James Tiberius Kirk and crew boldly went where “no man” had gone before.

A comparison of the new crew of the newly designed Enterprise may be as futile as a showdown with the Borg, but that hasn’t stopped Trekkies from getting into heated debates over the years. While The Next Generation crew are an entity to themselves, there are certainly some similarities in keeping with the Star Trek mythos. Commander William T. Riker (Jonathan Frakes) maintains some of the ladies’ man swagger that belonged to Captain Kirk in the original series. Lt. Commander Data (Brent Spiner) can be seen as the cool, calculating logician who steps into the role of Mr. Spock. It is Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) however, that gives the series its real break from the past, offering up a new take on the Starfleet captain. Rather than a brash, shoot from the hip cowboy like Kirk, Picard is a stern, philosophical renaissance man, equally comfortable sipping a cup of Earl Grey and reading the classics as he is brokering the peace on a strange new world or doling out orders in the heat of battle.

The sixth season, according to the creators and many members of the cast, was one of, if not the best season of the series. After hitting its stride in season five, The Next Generation continued on with this powerful season that had some of the most memorable episodes of the entire series’ run. In the typical Star Trek fashion pioneered by series creator Gene Roddenberry, the seasons addresses larger issues in society through the sci-fi lens. In the episode “The Quality of Life”, for example, Data discovers that mining tools the crew are using may be sentient beings and he fights for their survival, even if it means risking the life of Captain Picard. In “The Chase”, the origins of life are explored, and we also get a glimpse at one of the major characters/species from Deep Space Nine. The episode could be seen as a continuing thread from the previous “Tapestry” in which Picard is killed and awakens in an afterlife where Q (John de Lancie) is the deity by whom he must be judge. It all fits into a broader theme of the meaning of life, or what exactly life is, such as in “The Quality of Life” episode. The season also sees a famous guest star in Mr. Scott (James Doohan) from the episode “Relics”, resurrected from a transporter loop and brought to the 24th century. They’ll always find away, it seems, to bring back the original characters.


  1. Times Arrow, Part II
  2. Realm of Fear
  3. Man of the People
  4. Relics
  5. Schisms
  6. True Q
  7. Rascals
  8. A Fistful of Datas
  9. The Quality of Life
  10. Chain of Command, Part I
  11. Chain of Command, Part II
  12. Ship in a Bottle
  13. Aquiel
  14. Face of the Enemy
  15. Tapestry
  16. Birthright, Part I
  17. Birthright, Part II
  18. Starship Mine
  19. Lessons
  20. The Chase
  21. Frame of Mind
  22. Suspicions
  23. Rightful Heir
  24. Second Chances
  25. Timescape
  26. Descent

Video Quality



CBS Home Entertainment continues its roll-out of Star Trek: The Next Generation on Blu-ray with this fine season six transfer to Blu-ray. The original production was done on 35mm film stock (Eastman 400T 5294, 400T 5295, 500T 5296) with Panavision cameras and comes to Blu-ray with a 1.33:1 aspect ratio. This season’s release doesn’t seem to look as consistently crisp as some of the previous seasons, like season one or season five, for instance. There are some episodes and scenes where the image is soft, a little grainy, and the darker areas a little washed out. The overall quality, however, is still quite good and there are plenty of moments that please the eyes. The colors still pop wonderfully and the visually effects, remastered in high definition from the original film elements, look spectacular.

Audio Quality



I’ve always felt that the DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 (48kHz/24-bit) remixes of STTNG sounds a little too artificially boomy, and this season’s mix is no exception. With that said, we get a basically pumped up home theatre experience here with splendid dynamics and a relatively good balance of sound, pumped up low end notwithstanding. The dialogue is clear, but there are just a few moments where it sounds a little compressed and clips.

Supplemental Materials



Disc 1:

  • Episodic Promos (1.33:1; SD)
  • “Time’s Arrow, Part II” Deleted Scene (1.33:1; 1080p/24; 00:02:37)
  • “Relics” Commentary by Ronald D. Moore and Mike & Denise Okuda
  • “Relics” Deleted Scene (1.33:1; 1080p/24; 00:04:09)
  • Archival Mission Log:
    • Mission Overview Year Six (1.33:1; SD; 00:17:55)

Disc 2:

  • Episodic Promos (1.33:1; SD)
  • “True Q” Deleted Scene (1.33:1; 1080p/24; 00:02:08)
  • Archival Mission Logs:
    • Bold New Directions (1.33:1; SD; 00:17:57)
    • Departmental Briefing Year Six: Production (1.33:1; SD: 00:15:33)
    • Departmental Briefing Year Six: Dan Curry (1.33:1; SD; 00:19:56)

Disc 3:

  • Episodic Promos (1.33:1; SD)
  • “Ship in a Bottle” Deleted Scenes (1.33:1; 1080p/24; 00:02:35)
  • “Face of the Enemy” Deleted Scene (1.33:1; 1080p/24; 00:01:10)
  • Archival Mission Log:
    • Special Crew Profile: Lt. Cmdr. Data (1.33:1; SD; 00:19:00)

Disc 4:

  • Episodic Promos (1.33:1; SD)
  • “Tapestry” commentary by Ronald D. Moore and Mike & Denise Okuda
  • “Tapestry” Deleted Scenes (1.33:1; 1080p/24; 00:06:37)
  • Birthright, Part II Deleted Scenes (1.33:1; 1080p/24; 00:13:41)
  • Archival Mission Log:
    • Select Historical Data (1.33:1; SD; 00:18:14)

Disc 5:

  • Episodic Promos (1.33:1; SD)
  • “The Chase” Deleted Scene (1.33:1; 00:01:46)
  • “Frame of Mind” commentary by James L. Conway and Jonathan West
  • “Rightful Heir” Deleted Scenes (1.33:1; SD; 00:12:11)
  • Archival Mission Log:
    • Inside Starfleet Archives: Sets and Props (1.33:1; SD; 00:13:10)

Disc 6:

  • Episodic Promos (1.33:1; SD)
  • Beyond the Five year Mission – The Evolution of Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • Part One: The Lithosphere (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:24:52)
    • Part Two: The Biosphere (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:29:32)
    • Part Three: The Noosphere (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:29:59)
  • Gag Reel (1.33:1; 1080p/24; 00:05:21)

The Definitive Word




A great season of the best of the Star Trek television reboots, Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season Six continues the strong roll out to Blu-ray of this classic sci-fi series and should please fans.

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