Star Trek: The Next Generation Season Three REVIEW

Star Trek: The Next Generation Season Three Blu-ray review.

“Lower, lower, to the left a bit, YES THERE. God, I love a good scratch.”


Release Date: 29 April 2013
1989-90 | 12 | 1180 minutes | £69.99 (Blu-ray)
Distributor: Paramount Home Entertainment
Creator: Gene Roddenberry
Cast: Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Marina Sirtis

Dr Crusher’s back in Sickbay, the shonky CG solar system has gone from the credits, the new, looser fit Starfleet uniforms leave rather more to the imagination… and they’re not the only reasons this is the year Star Trek: The Next Generation became the classic series you remember.

It’s as if the Enterprise-D’s first two years in service were really just a research mission designed to give the production team the insight they needed to create a slicker, more confident show. Here, TNG starts to vie with Kirk and co for the mantle of Trek’s definitive incarnation. Indeed, in terms of ensemble, no Trek series can match it – it’s in season three that the chemistry really clicked.

This box set boasts some of Trek’s greatest ever episodes: the Tasha Yar-resurrecting alternative timeline of “Yesterday’s Enterprise”; Worf losing his honour in “Sins Of The Father”; and the first half of Next Gen’s greatest ever story, Borg two-parter “The Best Of Both Worlds”. Alas, you’ll have to wait for season four to see the conclusion in HD – unless you buy the standalone movie-edit Blu-ray, also out now.

Extras:

This time the focus is very much on the show’s writers, and it’s refreshing to see the unsung heroes of TV getting some time in the spotlight. The 70-minute “Inside The Writer’s Room” reunites Trek mainstays Ronald D Moore, Brannon Braga, Naren Shankar and René Echevarria for a chat with Family Guy creator (and Trekkie) Seth MacFarlane. It may be low-fi (five guys, a table and a static projector screen), but it’s wonderful to watch as they recall the highs and lows of working on an increasingly groundbreaking show. All credit executive producer Michael Piller – who introduced an innovative open-door policy for script submissions – as the main reason for the show’s sudden leap in quality, and they’re hilariously candid about the frustrations of writing for a future where human conflict (the bread and butter of TV drama) no longer exists.

The somewhat misleadingly titled “Resistance Is Futile” is an excellent three-part Making Of on the season (90 minutes), featuring all the stars. You also get a 14-minute tribute to Piller (who passed away in 2005), new writer commentaries on four episodes (“The Bonding”, “Yesterday’s Enterprise”, “The Offspring” and “Sins Of The Father”), and a gag reel. All the extras from the DVD release are carried over too.

Richard Edwards twitter.com/RichDEdwards

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Read our Star Trek: The Next Generation Season One review.
Read our Star Trek: The Next Generation Season Two review.