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The Shelf: Whole Lotta Star Trek Going On

Shelf April 30

This week on The Shelf, with the release of Star Trek Into Darkness in theaters a mere few weeks away, Paramount is trying to get everybody even more excited to boldly go where quite a few have actually gone before by releasing a plethora of Star Trek titles to Blu-ray. There are also some other movies coming out that aren’t Star Trek at all.

Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season Three

The first two seasons of TNG have been out for a little while and have proven just how amazing the show can look in 1080p. Now, we get the third season, which is really when it started getting awesome. This set contains all 26 episodes from the 1989-1990 season and features some of the best episodes the series had to offer, including “Deja Q,” “Yesterday’s Enterprise,” “Sins of the Father,” and possibly the best season-ending cliffhanger in science fiction history, “The Best of Both Worlds.” More on that in a moment. The set contains a huge amount of extras including a writing staff reunion moderated by Seth MacFarlane, a doc about making the season as a whole, a tribute to writer Michael Piller, audio commentaries, and more. If you enjoy Star Trek: The Next Generation already, or would like a good jumping-on point, this is a must-buy set.

Star Trek: The Next Generation – “The Best of Both Worlds” Movie Cut

If you just can’t wait for Season 4 to come out to see the resolution to the Season 3 cliffhanger, they’ve done the nice thing and released parts one and two of “The Best of Both Worlds” on Blu-ray in a feature-length version. It features the Federation’s first major confrontation with The Borg and it does not go too well, especially when the Enterprise’s captain gets Locutous-ated. The episodes play surprisingly well as an 85-minute film, even with the massive “dun-dun-DUUUUUN” in the middle, although Crusher’s hair is very clearly different between the two episodes. Maybe she got her hair lightened and lengthened out of nervousness and despair over the loss of Picard. At least Riker’s beard remains at a nominal length. His beard is what my beard strives to be. There are decent extras on this as well, including a commentary, a featurette about the story, a featurette about designing the Borg, a gag reel, episodic TV promos and more. You know you want to buy this; resistance is futile, after all.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Everybody says the odd numbered Star Trek movies are garbage. This might explain why, while II, IV, VI and First Contact have been available in individual Blu-ray editions for a good long time, it’s taken until today for the rest of them to come out. I’m not gonna try to tell you The Search for Spock isn’t slightly flawed, or that The Final Frontier isn’t complete malarkey, but I will fight anyone who says Star Trek: The Motion Picture isn’t amazing. In fact, after Wrath of Khan, it’s my favorite of the Trek films, bar none. It’s got a story very reminiscent of the original series, it’s got fantastic production design and direction by the great Robert Wise, it has the now-iconic score by Jerry Goldsmith, and it’s got visual effects by the likes of Douglas Trumbull and John Dykstra. Oscar-nominated production design, score, and visual effects, I hasten to add. Yes, it’s very slow. Very, very slow. But it still has the wonder and intrigue of good space opera. It’s a movie that makes you think. If you write this movie off based on its pacing, you’re really missing out.

Search for Spock, The Final Frontier, Generations, Insurrection and Nemesis are all out on Blu-ray today as well. I will not be giving an impassioned plea about giving them another chance.

Also Available

Silver Linings Playbook – Oscar nominees galore, including a win for Jennifer Lawrence, in this cute, funny, and touching movie about people and their varying mental illnesses.

Broken City – Cop Mark Wahlberg gets into some deep political and legal waters for helping Mayor Russell Crowe with some dastardly stuff.

The Guilt Trip – Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand travel across the country. Hilarity ensues.

The Vampire Lovers – Late-stage Hammer Horror film in which the lovely Ingrid Pitt plays a lesbian vampire queen and Peter Cushing plays a German trying to kill her. It’s pretty great, you guys.

Friends – The Complete First Season – First time on Blu-ray. So there’s that.

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  1. cdg says:

    Thank God the theatrical cut is the only one available, the Director’s version is just meddled with too much. The blu ray is superb.

  2. Mark says:

    Be careful if you want to pick up Star Trek: The Motion Picture on Blu. It’s the original flawed theatrical version and not the 2001 “Director’s Edition” with corrected (read: finished) effects and improved editing.

    The Director’s Edition was designed for a DVD release, so the effects were, shortsightedly, targeted only for a 480p picture. I’m certain it would not be a big deal to create a 1080p version (certainly the effects were not composed in SD, only finished in SD), but the cost is apparently high enough for Paramount to not bother with it.