By now, we know what to expect from CBS Digital’s epic ongoing restoration of Star Trek: The Next Generation – a high-quality makeover that brings the show back to the future and tacks on a ton of interesting special features. The meticulous work, which has taken every frame of film, every special effects element, and every piece of audio and re-created the post-production process in high-definition is certainly impressive, and Season 4 of Star Trek: TNG continues the trend, doing justice to some of the series’ most important episodes, the departure of a major cast member, and the foundations laid for what would become Deep Space Nine.
The most important thing to talk about is what’s new on the set, and the supplements. Many of the episodes of the fourth season center around family. As the cast’s relationship grew, so did the ties between their characters, which is all explored in the two-part, hour-long Relavitity: The Family Saga of Star Trek. It had been one of Gene Roddenberry’s goals from the get-go for TNG to include gay characters, but the reality of the Reagan-era political climate made sure this was not to be. But the writers found a way around it in “The Host” and subsequent episodes by creating the Trill, a species that exists as symbiotes within a host body that often changes sex from generation to generation, giving them a unique perspective from both sides of the relationship fence. All of these ideas reinforce one of Gene Roddenberry’s core principles of Star Trek: that there’s nothing more important than family, and this documentary captures the themes beautifully. Further supplements include a gag reel, a commentary, and a selection of deleted scenes, most thrilling from the classic cliffhanger “The Best of Both Worlds.”
Containing all of the original DVD supplements, and a healthy package of new material, Star Trek: The Next Generation — Season Four on Blu-ray continues the tradition of excellence, creating a true archival version of the show that will, I totally swear, probably be the last time you ever buy it.