So I'm such of two minds with this set. On the one hand, I'm really appreciating the advancement in story telling and characterization over season one. Season two has always held some of my favorite episodes, and the quality and mood are greatly enhanced here.
On the other hand, the FX become a poor distraction raising questions of what might have been. I am thoroughly UNIMPRESSED with the opening shot of The Child. I want to love it. It is 'clearer', it is HD, but it looks worse than the SD composite. Yes, I did throw in the DVD and watch them back to back and I gotta say the magic is gone on the bd. So many lost opportunities, especially with shots CBS HAD ALREADY DONE!
Step one for HTV should have been to screen season one and strive to match it, not only in quality but in tone. This is a series, the Ent is a character and she should be presented consistently. I'm not a raving fan looking to nitpick, but when nearly every FX shot pulls you out of the story (DNR issues included) there is a problem.
To compare: TOS original FX in HD recreated all the beauty and all the faults but left things like contrast alone, so that show is actually watchable in the sense of 'what we've always seen, but cleaner.' Don't get me started on the CGI for that series as most of the ship shots are cheap and forgettable. TNG season 2 not only cleaned up the original compositing, but also reduced contrast, flattened the image and made it a poorer viewing experience than the original IMO. I am actually considering keeping my S2 DVDs just to hold onto a glimpse of that original magic.
Also, the much vaunted matte from Q, Who? has the hugely distracting transparent Worf problem, and the tractor beam pulling out the hull section DOES NOT properly envelop the entire model chunk (both pointed out above)
Haven't seen this mentioned, but in Samaritan Snare, the Angel One matte painting is needlessly altered. What happened to preserving the original look of the show? The additions are clunky and only serve to distract. More effort should have gone into upgrading the planet exteriors (the most successful part of the TOS remastering and very well done in TNG S1) Who decided THIS matte needed to be altered so ham-fistedly?!?
One really nice touch was adding reflections of the energy being from The Child onto windows and such. Small compensation for so many poor choices and outright mistakes.
Moving forward, things I would love to see on future sets:
- Consistent quality Whether CBS Digital is doing the work themselves OR farming it out, it's ultimately their responsibility to insist upon and maintain quality.
- More deleted scenes. I'm usually not one for deleted scenes (especially in movies) but many of the cuts from TNG were for time, and no other reason, so bring 'em on! Too bad the scenes from Up the Long Ladder weren't reproduced in HD (what source were they drawn from? An earlier cut? If a similar situation to the VHS of Measure of a Man, then would have loved to see an integrated cut with seemless branching) While I really do like the fencing and party scenes from MoaM, I feel they would have worked better as isolated cut scenes, as integrating them also involved the whole episode being recut at a padded, slower pace. The poker game in particular suffers in the extended cut IMO.
-Isolated score soundtrack. As brought up in a Trekcore interview, this seems like a relatively easy and fun special feature. Let's do it before the music becomes forgettable.
-Commentary tracks. More writers and directors please! All respect to Dan Curry, going on about the FX just isn't that interesting for this show. The writing's where it's at. I loved Bowman's tales of working with Delancey as well.
-Two parters on the same disc. Many mid season 2 parters ended up split across 2 discs on the DVD sets. With the flexibility offered by increased storage space, PLEASE organize the episodes and special features so that 2 parters can be watched back to back without switching discs. (would including the S3 cliffhanger at the start of S4 be too much to ask? Probably.
-STOP MAKING ME CHOOSE ENGLISH EVERY TIME I LOAD A DISC! As others have mentioned, blu ray players should be able to remember choices made in the past when replaying a disc. Is this how CBS handles every one of their bd releases? It's rather annoying and obnoxious. Sometimes I'll load a disc and walk away (knowing there's so much unskippable fluff at the head of the disc anyway) then I'll return to the room and remember, 'oh, crap, I forgot to choose ENGLISH so now I have more nonsense to wait through.' I understand it's an international product, but there has to be a better way.
-Gag reels. Keep em coming. The actors' joy of working on this show is really brought out at these moments along with the round table discussions... Great to see these people interacting with each other and to see that they really liked what they were doing, even if some of the lines were unsayable at times.
OK, tldr, I know. I love this show, and I really hoped the blu rays would elevate S2 in the same way they did S1. Everyone was so excited and impressed by the overall effect of S1 that those who have long dismissed it really started to relish the richness and newness of what has always been there. Too bad the approach to S2 has undermined so much of that newly rediscovered good will.