STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION
Review by Michael Jacobson
Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Marina
Sirtis, Brett Spiner, Gates McFadden Wil Wheaton
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Stereo
Video: Standard 1.33:1
Features: Four Featurettes
Length: 1181 Minutes
Release Date: July 2, 2002
NOTE: Complete episode listing is available at the end of this review.
Worf, dispatch a subspace message to Admiral Hanson:
HAVE ENGAGED THE BORG.”
year one, Star Trek: The Next Generation introduced us to the new
Enterprise and her crew. In year
two, we followed them through bigger and better adventures.
three was no holds barred and no looking back.
two years of successfully following a legend, The Next Generation became
one. It was Season Three that
guaranteed that the new Star Trek would never be forgotten.
Some say it was the season where the new even surpassed the old.
However you want to place it, it was definitely a year of confidence and
fearlessness on the parts of the producers, directors, writers and actors.
It was a year where the series would boldly go where no television
program had gone before.
was a year where old friends returned, like Gates McFadden as Dr. Beverly
Crusher, and even older friends made appearances, like the wonderful Mark Lenard
as the Vulcan Ambassador Sarek. Even
old enemies made their mark, from the Romulans to the Klingons, to the
Enterprise’s newest nemesis Q (John De Lancie). Tasha Yar (Denise Crosby) made a return appearance.
Dead, you say? Never say die in the world of Star Trek.
was a year of some of the first really important and most popular episodes.
And finally, it was a year that left fans on the edge of their seats for
one of the best television cliffhangers since who shot J.R. Ewing.
was something for everyone in season three, including a wide variety of
showcases for characters we knew well and loved by now, and for the most part,
these episodes were better than ever. “A
Matter of Perspective” had Commander William Riker (Frakes) on trial for his
life after a mission goes horribly wrong…the eventual piecing together of the
puzzle owed something to Rashomon. Frakes
also contributed heavily to the Data (Spiner) oriented story “The
Offspring”, serving as director of this most moving of Trek episodes.
Crusher earned the spotlight in “Transfigurations”, a show that introduced
us to the development of a wondrous new race right before our eyes.
Lt. Geordi La Forge (Burton) saves the day with the help of a holodeck
replica in “Booby Trap”. Klingon Lt. Worf (Dorn) attempts to clear his father’s good
name on pain of death in “Sins of the Father”.
Counselor Deanna Troi (Sirtis) is reunited with her flamboyant mother (Majel
Barrett) again in “Menage a Troi”. Young
Wesley Crusher (Wheaton) earns a promotion to full ensign along the way.
And so on.
with any season, some episodes are better than others, but few seasons of any
series had compiled three episodes as good as ones included here.
The aforementioned Mark Lenard returns in the title role of “Sarek”,
a heartfelt episode that examines the sad effects of old age, even upon a
renowned diplomat and intellect such as Spock’s father.
This episode also boasts one of Patrick Stewart’s finest performances
as Captain Jean-Luc Picard, in a climactic moment you’ll never forget.
Enterprise” was one of the boldest episodes in the young series’ history…a
consistent fan favorite to this day, it was a show where the Enterprise, the
Federation, and the entire course of future history as we know it changed in a
nanosecond. It was an episode that
proclaimed the truth that great sacrifices aren’t always recognized, and that
it’s not the recognition that makes them great. This also was one of the finest moments of the year for the
intriguing Guinan, played by Whoopi Goldberg.
every great moment in season three was merely a stepping stone to “The Best of
Both Worlds”. A year earlier, the
powerful enemy Q made Picard and company aware of an almost unstoppable threat
that was still worlds away: the
Borg. Since that day, the
Enterprise crew knew that one day the Federation would have to engage that
enemy, and on the last episode of the third year, that day came.
Borg were the most formidable foe to come out of Star Trek lore:
a collective intelligence that combined both mechanical and biological
technologies into an army of relentless cybernetic organisms based on
“adapting” every world and civilization into itself.
The Borg continually grew stronger, smarter and more massive in numbers.
When the Enterprise confronts them one to one, she’s seriously
overmatched. The cards are turned
even more when Picard himself becomes assimilated, and Trekkies were left to
hang on Riker’s last words for the entire off season:
each new season, The Next Generation convinced me and my friends more and
more that it was capable of running with the torch lit by the original series
some twenty years earlier. By the
end of the third season, it had surpassed the original in many ways…the
writing was consistently better, the crew was more balanced, more real, and more
confident, and most important of all…the promise of a season four meant that TNG
would officially last longer than the original series.
Three is what you’ve been waiting for, fellow fans. Enjoy.
this season is by far the best offering in this department from Paramount.
From the opening episode “Evolution” with its bright blues and reds
set against the blackness of space, it’s clear what kind of video offering to
expect from year three. Images are sharper and clearer and colors are generally
rendered better overall. One or two
drastically dark sequences here and there show a bit of grain and slightly less
definition, but these are the only real complaints.
Overall, a terrific job.
5.1 audio mixes continue to impress…the Enterprise has never sounded so good
as with a subwoofer at her disposal. Dynamic
range continues to be strong, and slightly more bold uses of the rear stages,
however infrequent, are definitely welcome.
An occasional but distinctive pop every now and again keep this from
highest possible rating, but overall, still an exemplary effort.
good featurettes, each about 15 minutes or so, detail season three with cast and
crew interviews both past and present. The
Mission Overview talks about some of the year’s big changes and moments, while
Selected Crew Analysis gets us close to the characters and their shining
moments. Rounding out are
featurettes on production and Memorable Missions.
COMPLETE SEASON THREE EPISODE LOG:
A Matter of Perspective
|The Ensigns of Command||Yesterday's Enterprise|
|The Survivors||The Offspring|
|Who Watches the Watchers?||Sins of the Father|
|Booby Trap||Captain's Holiday|
|The Enemy||Tin Man|
|The Price||Hollow Pursuits|
|The Vengeance Factor||The Most Toys|
|The Hunted||Menage a Troi|
|The High Ground||Transfiguration|
|Deja Q||The Best of Both Worlds, Part I|