“Star Trek: The Next Generation” Season Three is a fantastic entry into the “Trek” universe with masterful storytelling, excellent character development and solid performances from the main cast… yes, even Wil Wheaton’s Crusher wasn’t as annoying as he had been the season before. The season featured some incredible episodes headlined by ‘Best of Both Worlds Part 1’.
Genre(s): Science Fiction, Adventure, Drama
Paramount | NR – 1181 min. – $129.99 | April 30, 2013
Directed by: Various
Writer(s): Gene Roddenberry (created by)
Cast: Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Marina Sirtis
Features: Episode Commentaries, Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Gag Reel, Episodic Promos
Number of Discs: 6
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 7.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.0), French (Dolby Digital 1.0), German (Dolby Digital 1.0), Castilian (Dolby Digital 1.0), Italian (Dolby Digital 1.0), Japanese (Dolby Digital 1.0)
Video: 1080p/Full Frame 1.33
Subtitles: English SDH, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Castilian, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Swedish
Disc Size: Various
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A, B, C
THE SEASON – 4.75/5
“Star Trek: The Next Generation” was an amazing series that, even with chaotic quality in its episodes through the first two seasons, has stood the test of time but for myself, and as a novice and not a Trekkie, the third season really took science fiction to new levels with incredible storytelling and a cast that continued to further coalesce.
Season three offers some amazing storylines throughout and even what I considered “filler” episodes presented some wonderful internal conflict between the main cast. Some of the highlights of this season were headlined by ‘The Offspring’, one of the more emotional episodes finding Data creating a new, sentient, being that he calls his own and develops her own consciousness. The episode especially showed how good of an actor Brent Spiner was as Data having to play an android with no human emotions and yet get across his “love”, for what it was, for his daughter.
Another standout came out only 4 episodes later with ‘Tin Man’ as the Enterprise and her crew take on a Federation emissary who has incredibly powerful telepathic capabilities to the point he can hear the thoughts of every single member on board. The episode explores the idea of loneliness as this telepath finds a kinship with a nearly extinct species that had been wondering the galaxy, and beyond, for thousands of years attempting to find companionship only to finally wanting to die in front of an unstable star that is set to explode.
Of course, however, the stellar and arguably breakout episode, is the season three finale, ‘The Best of Both Worlds, Part 1” in which the Starship Enterprise go up against The Borg. The cubed-shaped ship has entered into Federation Territory and has an ultimatum for the Enterprise: Picard must go to them or else be destroyed. No negotiating. Captain Picard attempts to fight but ultimately is taken forcing Riker, promoted by the Federation to Captain, to stop the Borg as it pushes its way to Sector 001: Earth. It’s a great start to the two-part episode which concluded in the fourth season premiere.
But on the whole, even the “lesser” episodes, are fantastic filled with great conflict, some wonderful character moments and stories which are at least compelling if not fun (see ‘Hollow Pursuits’). Where the stories might’ve been weak in the first two seasons, this year they were mostly strong and were the beginning of the rise of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” turning it into the cult classic television series it’s known today.
Episode List (favorites with an asterisk):
2. The Ensigns of Command
3. The Survivors
4. Who Watches the Watchers
5. The Bonding*
6. Booby Trap*
7. The Enemy
8. The Price
9. The Vengeance Factor
10. The Defector
11. The Hunted*
12. The High Ground
13. Déjà Q*
14. A Matter of Perspective
15. Yesterday’s Enterprise*
16. The Offspring*
17. Sins of the Father
19. Captain’s Holiday
20. Tin Man*
21. Hollow Pursuits*
22. The Most Toys
24. Menage a Troi
26. The Best of Both Worlds Part 1*
SPECIAL FEATURES – 5.0/5
As with seasons one and two, this release comes with a matted slip cover. The 6-disc set is housed in an HD Keep Case (wider than a standard Blu-ray case).
‘The Bonding’ – Ronald D. Moore (writer/producer) and Mike & Denise Okuda
‘Yesterday’s Enterprise’ – Ronald D. Moore, Ira Steven Behr and Mike & Denise Okuda
‘Yesterday’s Enterprise’ – David Carson (director)
‘The Offspring’ – Rene Echevarria (writer) and Mike & Denis Okuda
‘Sins of the Father’ – Ronald D. Moore, Dan Curry (visual effects supervisor) and Mike & Denise Okuda
Mission Overview: Year Three (17:41; SD) – This featurette takes us on a trip showing some of the highlights of the third season from the perspective of the producers and others.
Selected Crew Analysis: Year Three (13:51; SD) – In another archival featurette, we get more interviews with the cast talking about the characters, stories, etc. and others involved with the series.
Department Briefing Year Three: Memorable Missions (13:25; SD) finds the cast and crew chatting about some of the highlight missions of the third season.
Department Briefing Year Three: Production (20:04; SD) shows the behind-the-scenes aspect of season three with on-set and sit down interviews with members of the crew.
Gag Reel (8:37; SD) – Line flubs and on-set antics adorn this reel.
“Star Trek: The Next Generation”, Inside the Writer’s Room (1:10:52; HD) gives incredible insight into the writing process that took place over the course of the season with a reunion with four of the writers with Seth MacFarlane serving as moderator. It’s an amazing featurette that shows the comradery of the writers as they recall the series and its cultural impact.
Resistance is Futile: Assimilating “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (TRT 1:30:00; HD)
Part One: Biological Distinctiveness (30:02; HD) – This new featurette explores the series and the expansion of the storytelling and character development.
Part Two: Technological Distinctiveness (29:54; HD) continues the exploration of the series with more new interviews with the writers and producers as they look back and talk about some of the internal conflict on and off the set.
Part Three: The Collective (30:04; HD) – The final chapter has the interviewees, including Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Michael Dorn and others in the cast, talking about how the series really came together, especially the third season. It’s really cool to see the new interviews with the cast as they chat about the characters and experiences on the show.
A Tribute to Michael Piller (13:50; HD) – This featurette finds the cast/crew talk about the late Michael Piller who served as one of the major influential writers in the franchise.
VIDEO – 4.5/5
Paramount once again releases “Star Trek: The Next Generation” Season Three on Blu-ray presented in brilliant 1080p high-definition. The restoration work done here is just as amazing as the first two seasons. The picture itself shows no signs of specs or artifacting, the color array is nicely balanced, especially noticeable on the uniforms, and the detail work on the Enterprise exteriors is remarkable. While the first two seasons also looked brilliant, the season three transfer might be slightly ahead. Simply put, restoration work on a series of its age, and issues not foreseeing high-definition, is astounding.
AUDIO – 4.5/5
On a similar front, each episode once again receives a robust 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track which comes through with excellent clarity from one episode to the next. You can clearly hear each beep and boop of the Enterprise computer, the dialogue levels are deep but not overbearing and any time we do get action, it really helps fill out each and every available channel. Again, seeing the limitations, the work done here is amazing.
OVERALL – 4.75/5
Overall, “Star Trek: The Next Generation” Season Three is a fantastic entry into the “Trek” universe with masterful storytelling, excellent character development and solid performances from the main cast… yes, even Wil Wheaton’s Crusher wasn’t as annoying as he had been the season before. The season featured some incredible episodes headlined by ‘Best of Both Worlds Part 1’. The Blu-ray released by Paramount once again has amazing video/audio transfers and features which are more than satisfying for Trekkies and novices alike.