Release Date(s)June 18 & September 24, 1990 (April 30, 2013)
Studio(s)Paramount Television (CBS)
- Film/Program Grade: A+
- Video Grade: A+
- Audio Grade: A
- Extras Grade: B-
There’s no doubt that The Best of Both Worlds, Parts 1 and 2 rank among the best episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and that the Part 1 cliffhanger remains to this day one of the very best television has ever seen. There’s also no doubt that, as a Trek fan, the chance to see an edited “movie” version of the two episodes combined has a certain curiosity value. I know this because, back when I was in college at the time they originally aired, I made one myself. (Nerd alert!) Never mind that half of the impact of the cliffhanger came from the fact that you had to wait a whole summer to find out what happened next – something that’s naturally diminished by a movie edit. I’m confident most fans won’t mind. Still, is this “movie” experience of Best of Both Worlds worth $24.99? About that I’m not so sure.
The video and audio quality here is excellent, no doubt about it – identical in fact to the rest of the Season Three Blu-ray set. The only exception is that there’s three seconds of footage from Part 2 for which the original film elements still haven’t been located (a shot of Riker and a helmsman on the Battle Bridge that required SD up-conversion). Hopefully, this will be remedied in time for the Season Four release of Part 2.
Still, there’s a certain irritation with the fact that this Blu-ray contains exclusive extras that aren’t in the Season Three set (and presumably won’t be in Season Four either). They include the 29-minute Regeneration: Engaging the Borg featurette, a unique gag reel with material from these episodes and a new audio commentary with director Cliff Bole, Trek vets Mike and Denise Okuda and actress Elizabeth Dennehy (who played Commander Shelby). All of this material is terrific, well worth experiencing, and fans will be glad to have it. It’s just that this disc feels a bit like CBS trying to squeeze a little extra blood from the stone. I’d really rather it all just have been included in the regular season Blu-rays, and I’m guessing most fans will feel the same. (Note that you also get episodic promos for the episodes, which are in the regular season BD sets, and the menus here have a nice touch where they occasionally “fritz out” to reveal Borg infiltration. The set also includes access to an UltraViolet digital version, a first for TV Trek on Blu-ray.)
Thankfully, Amazon currently has this disc available for just $15.99, which is somewhat easier to swallow. And if CBS feels the need to milk a little extra return for their obviously large financial investment in the Next Generation HD remastering effort… well, so be it. Frankly, we’re just damn lucky they’re doing it at all. (Remember, a lot of smart people said it couldn’t be done economically.)
So here we are. If you pass on this disc, you probably won’t miss it. But if you do decide buy it, you’ll at least get something like your money’s worth in exclusive bonus content. Either way, The Next Generation in high-definition is an experience well worth trying… and the more Borg the better.