Welcome To The 24th Century

Holy crap! Holy crap! Did you know about this? I didn't until yesterday! Holy crap!! If I'd known about this earlier, I wouldn't have bought the last dozen or so CDs I did buy (well, not necessarily the last consecutive dozen, but a dozen) and would have saved up for this instead! But I still bought it anyway, 'cause I just gotta have it. Seriously, I honestly don't know how I would be able to go on living without having this in my possession as soon as humanly possible. Want to know what it is? Maybe you'd better sit down, 'cause I myself had a geek-out on a transphasic level when I found out about this.

It's a limited-edition box set of not four, not six ... no, not even eight ... no, keep going ... would you believe a whopping 14 -- yes -- FOURTEEN CDs jam-packed with never-before-released music from dozens of episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation! Devoted solely to the work of Ron Jones, who traded off scoring duties with Dennis McCarthy through the first four seasons of TNG, "Star Trek: The Next Generation -- The Ron Jones Project" includes nearly every note written and recorded for 42 of the series' first 94 episodes (the score for "The Best of Both Worlds" two-parter is already available on the GNP Crescendo label, so just some bonus tracks from it are included here) plus numerous outtakes, as well as a disc devoted to his work for a pair of Trek video games released later.

The panicked evacuation of the Enterprise in "11001001" ... the tearful farewell of Tasha Yar in "Skin of Evil" ... the appearance of the Romulans in "The Neutral Zone" ... Riker's escape from the Mintakans in "Who Watches The Watchers" ... the terrorist attack on the ship in "The High Ground" ... Lal's tragic demise in "The Offspring" ... the perilous journey across the arid wasteland in "Final Mission" ... they're all cues that I've been waiting 20 years to hear unobscured by dialogue and sound effects, and now's my chance! With this doozy of a package being limited to a production run of just 5,000, I couldn't waste any time in seizing the opportunity to add it to my collection, since the price is certain to only start going up on the aftermarket.

Widely regarded as the best composer that Star Trek: The Next Generation ever had, Ron Jones was known for delivering sweeping, attention-grabbing, feature-film-worthy scores for countless episodes. The problem was that TNG's producers didn't want attention-grabbing music; they wanted the episodes' scores to lay quietly in the background. So after almost four full years of flying in the face of the producers' demands, Jones was fired and replaced by Jay Chattaway (quite a dandy composer in his own right, to give credit where it's due). But I always thought the Trek producers were not only making their episodes just a bit less memorable by taming down the music, but they were also forsaking a perfectly good merchandising outlet. Fans have been clamoring for Ron Jones' scores to be commercially available for years, and I have to wonder how many CD sales they missed out on by missing that opportunity and never licensing retail releases until all these years later.

If you can't live without it, like I couldn't, this incomparably amazing Trek-a-thon of music will set you back a healthy $150 (plus shipping), but at 14 CDs that ends up coming out to less than $11 per disc, which is a great price, especially for something that's a limited-edition collectible like this. It's available for purchase now at SAE and at Intrada, and further information is available from the Film Score Monthly website (and thanks to them for the links to the audio clips!). A friend of mine has all but challenged me to bundle it up in giftwrap when it arrives and not open it until Christmas morning ... but that's gonna be a really tough test of my will.

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