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Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 3 Blu-ray Review

Star Trek- The Next Generation Season 3 Blu-ray

“Star Trek: The Next Generation” is at its best in the third season.

The 26 episode season three proves to be action-packed for the crew of the Starship Enterprise. The stories involve: Nanites, a colony needing to evacuate their home, Troi in love, Picard being viewed as a God, Data creating a daughter named Lal, Wesley Crusher saving the day (and becoming an Ensign), Romulans, the strange appearance of Enterprise-C (and Tasha Yar), Q without his powers, Warf on trial, a booby trap, Dr. Crusher being kidnapped by terrorists, Picard resting on Risa, Data being kidnapped, the holodeck, a fake Picard, Ferengi kidnapping Troi, Lwaxana, and Riker, Sarek visiting the Enterprise, and, of course, Picard being kidnapped by the Borg.

While some Trek fans criticize the first 2 seasons (I think undeservedly so at times), it’s largely agreed that the third season is firing on all cylinders (or phasers if you will). This was the season that had it all. A new staff of incredibly talented writers made up of Ronald D. Moore (“Battlestar Galactica” showrunner), Michael Piller, René Echevarria, Ira Steven Behr, and Melinda Snodgrass managed to delve deeper into the Trek universe and, more importantly, the characters. Just about every major character gets a chance to grow in a stand-out episode here. Viewers got to learn more about Worf and the Klingons in “Sins of the Father,” Data grew more complex in “The Offspring,” the Troi/Riker/Lwaxana relationship is further explored in “Ménage à Troi,” Q gets a life lesson in the clever “Deja Q,” the Borg captured the public’s eye in the intense first part of “The Best of Both Worlds,” Sarek shows up in an episode of the same name, the underappreciated Lt. Barclay gets the spotlight in “Hollow Pursuits,” and even the deceased Tasha Yar appears in the alternate timeline centric series classic “Yesterday’s Enterprise.”

Honestly, there isn’t a rotten apple in the bunch here. I’m not exaggerating when I say that this is some of the best sci-fi television that you will ever see here. This is the type of intelligent, original, well thought out, complex, and rich writing that is sorely missing in the sci-fi television landscape today. Simply put, “The Next Generation” was ahead of its time. It was (and still is) groundbreaking science fiction. Yes, it may owe a lot to the original “Star Trek,” but the show truly came into its own with this third season by taking the concept and the universe a step further.

Video/Audio:

It may seem like old hat by now, but the remastered TNG episodes never ceases to amaze. The episodes, which are presented in 4:3 1080p, simply look new and improved thanks to improved FX, crystal clear colors, and an overall ability to notice more details on everything from the make-up to the sets. It truly does feel like you are watching these episodes anew which makes it all the more exciting.

The 7.1 DTS-HD MA audio track may seem like overkill, but these tracks do not go to waste here. From the ship sounds (ala the Ferengi ship in (“Ménage à Troi”) to the classic scores, the series sounds better than it ever has (by a longshot). Note: As with the past releases, there are 12 language options to choose form.

Extras:
* Episodic promos for all 26 episodes from season 3 (with an In Memoriam David Rappaport for the episode “The Most Toys”).
* Another amusing gag reel.
* “The Best of Both Worlds” and “Enterprise” season 2 ads.
* “Mission Overview Year Three”- A featurette about season 3’s best episodes, the creative hardships, characters, Frakes directing an episode, etc.
* Commentary on “The Bonding” by Ronald D. Moore and Mike and Denise Okuda. Moore dominates the discussion here as he talks about his first writing gig. The passionate and intelligent RDM is always worth listening.
* “Selected Crew Analysis Year Three”- Various cast members chat about their characters and their on set experiences.
* “Departmental Briefing Year Three: Production”- A featurette that covers various aspects of production including writing, visual effects, consultants, sound, music, etc.
* An informative commentary on “The Offspring” by Mike and Denise Okuda and René Echevarria.
* Commentary on “Sins of the Father” by Ronald D. Moore, Dan Curry and Mike and Denise Okuda.  Expect lots of f/x and script discussions.
* Cast and crew members talk about writer/producer Michael Piller in a touching tribute piece to the late creative artist.
* “Resistance Is Futile: Assimilating Star Trek: The Next Generation”- A 3 part documentary that covers the new writing staff brought on board for season 3, pivotal episodes, character development, season surprises, creative complications, and much more. Another fantastic series of extras from Robert Meyer Burnett and Roger Lay, Jr.
* “Star Trek: The Next Generation, Inside The Writer’s Room”- Noted Trek fan Seth MacFarlane hosts this laidback discussion with Ronald D. Moore, Brannon Braga, René Echevarria, and Naren Shankar. In my opinion, this is the centerpiece of all of the extras. There is a ton of great chats about how the writers got hired on to Trek, Michael Piller, set stories, the writers comfort zones, Gene Roddenberry, characters, episodes, technobabble, time travel, the series finale, a joke on Brent Spiner, comedic moments, Riker, worst lines and episodes, and much more. A must watch.
* “Departmental Briefings Year Three: Memorable Missions”- A featurette about highlights from some of the season’s best episodes.
* A whopping two commentary tracks for “Yesterday’s Enterprise.” One features Ronald D. Moore, Ira Steven Behr, and Mike and Denise Okuda. The second features director David Carson. The track with RDM is obviously the better of the two.

Summary: If there’s one thing Trek fans should plunk down their gold pressed latinum for, it’s this season 3 set. A must buy.

April 29, 2013 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , , , , , , ,

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