All Good Things Blu-ray Review

The Unknown Possibilities of a Blu-ray Review: Star Trek: The Next Generation - All Good Things

December 5, 2014Ben Mk


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Time and time... and time again

They say all good things must come to an end, which is true in most cases — that is, unless you're the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation. For though their seven-year television journey was ending, their eight-year voyage on the big screen was just beginning. Still, that doesn't preclude the series' final storyline, "All Good Things...", from being the fitting send-off it deserved to be. Twenty years after it originally aired, it still resonates as one of Star Trek's most memorable episodes. And now the bittersweet two-parter has landed on Blu-ray.

   

The Show Past, present and future collide in "All Good Things...", the time-bending conclusion to the seventh and final season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, which sees Starfleet Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) scrambling to solve a mystery that spans three separate timelines, with the very fate of humanity itself hanging in the balance.

Like Captain Jonathan Archer — or, rather, Scott Bakula's character in Quantum Leap — Picard's predicament begins when he finds his consciousness inexplicably transplanted into alternate versions of himself: one seven years in the past and one twenty-five years into the future. With his experiences in each timeline limited to mere fragments, he grapples with piecing together an explanation, the key to which appears to be a spacial anomaly of unknown origins, emanating from the Devron System, near the Neutral Zone.

Of course, being the series finale that it is, it's the duty of "All Good Things..." to provide some sort of closure for fans. And sure enough, the storyline brings the series full circle, with the revelation that the entire scenario is a continuation of the trials Picard and the Enterprise-D crew endured in TNG's pilot episode, "Encounter at Farpoint" — the Continuum's way of determining whether humanity, being the savage child race that it is, is worthy of its place in the universe.

It serves as the perfect reason for screenwriters Ronald D. Moore and Brannon Braga — who were also busy penning the script to Star Trek: Generations at the time — to bring back John de Lancie's Q for one last hurrah. On top of that, they also revisit Tasha Yar (Denise Crosby), as well as tie up a few loose ends having to do with the on-again, off-again love triangle between Lieutenant Worf (Michael Dorn), Counselor Troi (Marina Sirtis) and Commander Riker (Jonathan Frakes), not to mention the unrequited romance between Picard and Dr. Crusher (Gates McFadden).

All in all, it adds up to a fairly satisfying capper to the beloved show, with enough character moments and callbacks to make most Trekkers happy. That being said, "All Good Things" isn't perfect. The plot has a few glaring holes and the thrills don't ramp up till late into the third act. Still, it's light years beyond the finale of Star Trek: Enterprise (which Braga also had a hand in writing), and it most definitely ends the show on a high note.

Audio/Visual Fidelity As with The Next Generation's previous hi-def releases, "All Good Things..." warps onto Blu-ray with a stellar A/V presentation that's guaranteed to satisfy both purists and audio/videophiles alike. Visually, this is undoubtedly the best these episodes have ever looked: From the film grain inherent in the 4:3 image and the increased level of detail visible in faces, costumes and backgrounds to the rich colors and strong contrast, the restoration team at CBS Home Video have done yet another bang-up job at making a two-decade-old show look brand new again. Meanwhile, on the audio side, a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 soundtrack ensures the show's futuristic soundstage — which remains quite docile for the most part, until at least towards the end, when phaser blasts and explosions liven things up — sounds the best it possibly can, with the original Dolby Digital 2.0 (stereo) audio track thrown in for good measure.

Special Features Paramount's Blu-ray release includes 35 minutes of extras, in the form of five Deleted Scenes (totaling 8 minutes), two 30-second standard definition Episodic Promos (one for each half of the two-part storyline) and a 26-minute featurette titled The Unknown Possibilities of Existence: Making "All Good Things...". In this retrospective piece, the cast and crew speak about their experiences working on the episodes, with producers/writers Ronald D. Moore and Brannon Braga recollecting their script-writing process, while the various members of the cast touch on such topics as what being a part of the show has meant to them, as well as the emotional aspects of shooting the final scene. There's also a Commentary by Ronald D. Moore and Brannon Braga, in which Blu-ray special features producer Roger Lay moderates a relaxed discussion with the episodes' writers, with the three more or less waxing nostalgic about the production, providing various tidbits of information about such aspects as the evolution of the script, the special effects and the cinematography along the way.


The Bottom Line Although they certainly had a lot to live up to at the outset, in the end the filmmakers behind Star Trek: The Next Generation no doubt did the legacy of Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek proud, delivering seven years worth of timeless sci-fi television programming. Of course, like any show, it had its ups and downs, but there's no denying that "All Good Things..." consists mostly of the former. For fans who want to relive TNG's swan song, Paramount's Blu-ray release is an excellent way to do so, with top-tier audio and video and a handful of nostalgic special features. Needless to say, if you're not planning on adding the complete seventh season to your Blu-ray collection, then you shouldn't hesitate to beam this release up.  Ben Mk

Disc Breakdown
The Show  —  
Audio/Visual Fidelity  —  
Special Features  —  








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