Yes you can seemingly break the menus, I've seen something like what you guys describe on all the season sets so far (since the menus are basically the same across all seasons). When you put in a disc and the menus start to load, you get an animation of the Enterprise warping by and then the title floats by on a starfield, then finally you get to the actual menus. You can skip that animation, but I've seen it then hiccup and load blank menus. With no choice but to press stop and play again. I have a Panasonic player as well.
I've also made it totally choke in a similar manner from a PC Blu-ray player software.