It was only logical that Paramount should follow-up its brilliant Blu-ray presentation of the Original Series of Star Trek, with an equally lovingly-prepared edition of Next Generation; the question was, when? Through an official announcement over at StarTrek.com, we've been given an answer, as a Blu-ray sampler of three Next Gen episodes will be released on the 31st January 2012.
The sampler release will pave the way for a complete Season One boxset before the end of next year, and it promises to be quite a release. According to StarTrek.com, CBS returned to the original negatives and re-edited them together exactly as they were when they first aired, and then came up with a special process to create true 1080p masters. The visual FX are being recomposited rather than upconverted from videotape, and the sountrack will be remixed into 7.1 DTS Master Audio.
To show how much Paramount and CBS care about this release, they've enlisted the help of Denise and Michael Okuda, both longtime Star Trek contributors and authors of various books inlcuding the Star Trek Encyclopedia, as consultants.
Back to the January release. It will be called Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Next Level and will include three episodes: the Encounter at Farpoint pilot, Sins of the Father and The Inner Light. You can see the artwork above, and a teaser video for the release below. It's out on the 31st January and has been given a retail price of $21.99 in the US.
As for a release date for Season One, Dark Horizons speculates it'll be out in a year's time, on the 28th September, to coincide with the original pilot's airing. It's a good theory, but it may also depend on when the sequel to 2009's Star Trek movie hits the big screen, as that's when next year's Star Trek fever will be at its highest.