Observations in TNG: "The Ensigns of Command"

A joint project with TrekCore, by Jörg Hillebrand and Bernd Schneider

Here are some observations about sets, props and visual effects in TNG: "The Ensigns of Command" without a specific theme, and a comparison of the original TV release (TNG) with the remastered episode (TNG-R).

"The Ensigns of Command" HD Screencaps @ TrekCore

Description TNG Other caps Comparison TNG to TNG-R Description TNG-R
"The Ensigns of Command" begins with a Ten Forward scene. We see somebody enter through both double doors in this scene. Notice how the narrower bottom tips on the deltas face outwards on the port doors (first cap) and inwards on the starboard doors (second cap). No changes
This Vulcan costume was originally created for "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock" where it appears only in the background. Slightly different costumes were later created en masse for "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country".
"Star Trek III"
No changes
The music stands, first seen at the beginning of "The Ensigns of Command", will reappear in Ten Forward in later episodes, like "In Theory". They only feature the purple Federation logos in the season 3 opener, however.
"In Theory"
A close-up of the prop in HD.
The Pair Match game on Crusher and Picard's table can be seen really well in this shot.
Present-Day Devices as Props
A close-up of the game in HD.
For some reason, there are two small rectangular holes in the red carpet close to the aft doors on both sides of the bridge. The holes are gone in the next filmed episode, "Evolution". Maybe it was originally thought the scene in "Evolution" where the nanites flood the bridge with nitrogen oxide could be realized as a practical effect with actual smoke on the bridge being removed through the ventilation grilles? The cut-outs are still present in the HD version. We can see on the second HD cap that there is a ventilation grille in the floor.
Extracts from the Treaty of Armens in English and Sheliak. Three different pages are shown.
The legal blurb is legible in HD. One curiosity in the mention of a "Galaxy-Class Starfleet vessel" in the ancient treaty.

The map of the Tau Cygna system was originally created for season 1. It appeared in "The Battle" (as the Maxia Zeta star system), "Datalore" (an unnamed star system) and "Conspiracy" (as the Mira Antlia star system).

The map of a nebula on the right monitor was originally created for "Lonely Among Us" where it was used as a map of Beta Renner cloud.

"Lonely Among Us"

"The Battle"
We can recognize the graphics better in HD.


In a few early season 3 episodes, Picard and the senior staff of the USS Enterprise-D are seen wearing a third season uniform prototype that features two very visible seams on the front and back. These uniforms were seen around the time "The Enemy" and "The Price" were filmed. After that, all senior crew members wore the standard third season uniforms without the additional seams. No changes
The observation lounge is lit blue in this shot, as now footage was added into the windows via blue screen. The lighting is bluish in HD too. It is not perfectly congruent with the window frames though.
Two shots of planet Tau Cygna V. The planet is a re-use of Klavdia III and Daled IV both featured in "The Dauphin".
Re-Used Planets in TNG
In HD, the planet is not the same as the ones from "The Dauphin" (albeit very similar).
An LCARS display featuring information about the Artemis. The graphic used here strangely mentions the Charybdis from TNG: "The Royale" and may have been created for that episode.
LCARS graphic
We can read the headings in HD: "The Artemis", "Launch Point Mars" and "Destination Septimis (sic!) Minor", but not the mention of the Charybdis.
The matte painting of the surface of Tau Cygna V (and the footage of the human settlers in the center) were later re-used for the surface of the Maquis colony on Volon II in "The Maquis I+II". The planet surface was also seen through an Iconian gateway in "To the Death".
"The Maquis I"
The matte painting was reused without changes and looks great in HD too.
The old-fashioned clipboard/PADD held by the settler on the left was rented from Modern Props. It later appeared in several other Star Trek episodes and was used by Geordi in "Devil's Due", for example.
"Devil's Due"
A close-up of the device in HD.
The clasps on Gosheven's costume are identical to the ones on one of K'Ehleyr's outfits in "The Emissary". 
"The Emissary"
No changes

The blue display at the bottom end of the aqueduct will be off after Data has destroyed the aqueduct.

Interestingly, the display style is the same that was previously seen on the Enterprise-A in "Star Trek V". Another display of this type appeared on the Pakled ship Mondor in "Samaritan Snare".

Later in the episode

"Star Trek V"
A close-up of the scanner in HD.
The scanner used to scan the water in the well in this shot was later used by old Picard on his vineyard in "All Good Things". It is also used by the Trill Guardian Timor to scan the symbionts in the Caves of Mak'ala in the DS9 episode "Equilibrium".
"All Good Things"

The console behind Ard'rian McKenzie previously appeared in several earlier TNG episodes, like "11001001", "Datalore" or "The Schizoid Man". The same console is later seen in McKenzie's house. It was rented from Modern Props.

"The Schizoid Man"
No changes

Only in "The Ensigns of Command", this painting by Rick Sternbach, "Surface of Ganymede", is seen in the observation lounge. In all other season 2-4 episodes, the port side of the lounge features the painting "Serpent's World".
Space Art in Star Trek: The Next Generation

"Loud as a Whisper"
The painting in HD.

Tau Cygna V as seen on the main viewscreen.

The footage of the planet doesn't quite fill the screen, a slanted black border remains on the left.

The composite shot in HD. The black border is not present here.
The robots seen in Ard'rian's house are similar to the robots seen in Ira Graves's house on Gravesworld. The small robotic dog (seen better a little later) appears in both episodes.
"The Schizoid Man"
No changes
The stairway of Ard'rian McKenzie's house will reappear in the Uxbridge house in "The Survivors".
"The Survivors"
No changes
A test cylinder/sample container is seen for the first time on TNG. The prop, however, a sonobuoy container in real life, was previously seen as a felicium container in "Symbiosis" and has appeared in various guises in countless Star Trek episodes over the years.
Re-Uses of Sonobuoy Containers

The prop in HD.
The lamp post behind Gosheven was originally created for "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier". After the first re-use in this episode, the lamps were seen in several later episodes, namely on Rutia IV in "The High Ground", on Moab IV in "The Masterpiece Society", on Romulus in "Unification I+II", on Barkon IV in "Thine Own Self" and on a planet visited by the crew of the USS Voyager in "Time and Again".
Re-Used Props - Furniture

"Star Trek V"
No changes
Another shot of Tau Cygna V. The new planet in HD.
This shot shows in how far the transporter room set was changed between seasons 2 and 3: The door is orange instead of green now. The carpet was changed as well.
"Q Who"

We can make out several more details in HD.
The white cylinder directly in front of the transporter platform and the dark gray box were both seen in sickbay in "Encounter at Farpoint". The box first appeared in "Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan" but also on the bridge of the USS Enterprise-A in "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier". It was regularly seen on Deep Space 9.
"Star Trek II"


"Encounter at Farpoint"

Two small light gray carrying cases are visible on the transporter platform. They are usually found in sickbay, especially in several season 1 episodes, like "Symbiosis", "We'll Always Have Paris" and "The Neutral Zone".

"The Neutral Zone"
The matte painting shows the colony on Tau Cygna V during sunset. The shot, still with the original matte painting, in HD. The hue is more reddish in HD.
Haritath's costume features season 1 admiral's rank insignia.
"Too Short a Season"
A better look at the insignia in HD.
A first look at the Sheliak ship, which is a modification of the Merchantman, seen in "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock". The model previously appeared as an Atlec ship in "The Outrageous Okona". A better look at the ship in HD.
The small PADD Picard uses when quoting from the Treaty of Armens is new. In seasons 1+2, the small PADDs had a smaller screen and more space was used for buttons of various sizes.
"Peak Performance"
A close-up of the PADD in HD.
The robotic dog can be seen well in this shot. It previously appeared on Gravesworld in "The Schizoid Man".
"The Schizoid Man"
No changes
The electronic prop Gosheven uses to incapacitate Data was previously an Antican hunting tool in "Lonely Among Us". On Voyager, it later appeared as a coil spanner in "Meld" and as a hyperspanner in "Living Witness", "Drive" and "Lineage".
"Lonely Among Us"

The effect was reconstructed for TNG-R.

The device Ard'rian McKenzie uses to scan Data was built from a stereo electret microphone. The Bynars in "11001001" used a similarly modified microphone as a circuitry scanner.
No changes
Ard'rian uses an old-fashioned PADD, which previously appeared in sickbay in "Encounter at Farpoint". It is possible the prop was created for the early Star Trek films. A close-up of her PADD in HD.
A better look at the Sheliak ship. The ship in its full glory in HD.
A Sheliak on the dimly lit bridge of his ship. The set is an unusual redress of the movie Enterprise bridge that appears in many roles on TNG, such as the Enterprise-D battle bridge, several guest bridges and other rooms.
"Encounter at Farpoint"
The Sheliak in HD. We can recognize the details of the costume much better.
The Sheliak transporter effect. The effect looks somewhat different in TNG-R, as Picard and Troi fade out without getting blurred.
Data also opens a lid in his arm in "Qpid", "Star Trek Generations" and "Star Trek Nemesis". It looks different each time...

A better look at the circuitry in HD.

An opened type 2 phaser, revealing a 20th century PCB inside. This is the first appearance (in production order) of the more angular new Type-2 phaser, replacing the "dustbuster" of seasons 1 and 2. A better look at the innards of the phaser in HD.
The Sheliak ship is a redress of the Merchantman from "Star Trek III" with several additions, among them two hulls of a German Type VII U-Boot.
Redresses of the Merchantman

We can recognize more details of the ship in HD. Note that we increased gamma in the HD shots, in which the Sheliak ship is rather dim.

In HD, it is even more obvious that the 2-foot Enterprise model is lacking the proper lighting.

As the USS Enterprise-D comes into view, it can be seen that the footage of the model is cut off while the footage of the lighting can be seen.
The Sheliak ship faces the USS Enterprise-D. The unusual appearance of the Enterprise has lead to some speculation that an early CG model of the ship was used in this shot. This is not true, as the 2-foot model was used for the footage.
A nice front view of the Sheliak ship.
The rifles used by the colonists look remarkably like Klingon painstiks (first seen in "The Icarus Factor") with an attached handle.
"The Icarus Factor"

A look at the prop in HD.

Note that this scene is rather dim in TNG-R, compared to the original version.

Data destroys the colony's aqueduct system. The effect was reconstructed for TNG-R.

A few more pages of the Treaty of Armens are seen in this shot. Nothing of it is legible in SD, but there are whole passages of jokes, such as:

"You might think that [this is] clever stuff. Boy you are wrong. That gets double for anyone who had anything to do with the original treaty. Most of those lawyer folks are like in the hospital. Along with executives of the Siruis Cybernetics Corporation. It took what see[m]s like forever. Rick is [?] getting a Kei and Yuri reference into the text, you know, the two cute girls with the big guns. We might [have] Akira, Ranma Nibunnoichi, Urusei Yatsura, Rhea Gall Force, and a few other animated films. The Federation at this point in time seems more tangled up...

...in the text of the treaty, or didn't anyone think about that eventually when the bloody document was first drawn up? Never mind, it's a rhetorical question anyway, but we just thought we'd try to demonstrate our legalistic cleverness. Just one more paragraph until the critical one, where we talk about consultations and that sort of thing. The Sheliacs don't sound like a race selling planets to, if we have to write (much less read) one of these contracts each time, although, that's why we have computers, so we can do search-and-replace."

Transcript, part 1
We can read the complete blurb in HD, including the jokes that were not replaced with something more reasonable.

Transcript, part 2
A good look at the USS Enterprise-D dedication plaque as it looks since the beginning of the series. It will later be replaced by a different one. We can read much of the plaque in HD.

Like between seasons 1 and 2, the seat to the right of Counselor Troi's chair was modified between the second and third season. The same is true for the seat next to Riker's chair.
The Evolution of the Enterprise-D Bridge

We can also see the already mentioned rectangular cut-out in the otherwise red carpet.

"Lonely Among Us"

"Loud as a Whisper"
The ventilation grille in the floor is clearly visible in HD.
The Type-15 shuttlepod appears for the second time after "Time Squared". Nothing was changed about the inside and the outside, but we can see the LCARS controls for the first time.
Variations of the Type-15 Shuttle
The shuttlepod in HD.
The seams on the back of Data's season 3 prototype costume are very noticeable here. No changes
The sofa, which is normally located right in front of the wall, was moved away to allow this shot of the ready room entrance. We can only still see the backrest, which is affixed to the wall.
"The Schizoid Man"
No changes
Livingston's fish tank was changed, inside and out, between season 2 and season 3.
"Peak Performance"
The fish tank in HD.



Thanks to Björnar Eric Sven Dohm for hints about the prototype uniforms, to Zoid for the hint about the U-Boot hulls on the Sheliak ship and to Russell Christiansen for pointing us to the origin of the Sheliak bridge.


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