While this season, and the series as a whole, had a few clunkers, the vast majority of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” was a fun ride culminating with a satisfying quasi-series finale (Star Trek: Generations would be released 6 months later) thanks to a stellar cast who had wonderful chemistry with one another.
“Star Trek: The Next Generation”: Season Seven
Genre(s): Science Fiction, Adventure, Drama
Paramount | NR – 1172 min. – $129.99 | December 2, 2014
THE MOVIE – 4.25/5
“Star Trek: The Next Generation” ends its epic run after seven seasons and aside from a few bumps in the road, residing primarily in its first two seasons (although I still immensely enjoyed both), it’s been a great ride featuring compelling storylines, some good character development and solid performances all around.
The seventh season begins with the conclusion of season six’s finale before getting back into gear with mostly stand alone episodes, with some references of course including a new sticky situation involving the ever encroaching Cardassians and potential war with the Federation. As with previous seasons, this year allows the main cast, and in one episode, even background players, to have their own episode for further character development. One of my favorites is ‘Parallels’ where Worf (MICHAEL DORN), coming back from a Klingon tournament, gets caught up in some kind of vortex and begins experiencing different universes, one where he’s the First Officer, married to Counselor Troi (MARINA SIRTIS) and has children with her; it’s a great quasi what-if storyline. Another episode, albeit a B-storyline, finds Troi expanding her Starfleet career and becoming a Commander with the guidance of Commander Riker (JONATHAN FRAKES).
Meanwhile, Captain Picard (PATRICK STEWART), seems to take backseat save for the incredible series finale, ‘All Good Things’, which is easily the highlight of this seventh season. In my favorite, two-part, finale, we get a great mutli-timeline story where Picard experiences past, present and future in matter of minutes. Oh, and our old friend Q (JOHN DE LANCIE), makes a return with yet another test of humanity which squarely rests in Picard’s hands (and mind). It’s a great send-off for a (mostly) well written series and features the return of Lt. Tasha Yar (DENISE CROSBY) and a reminder that it was a shame her character didn’t get more development which was the reason why Crosby left the show.
With the good, there is the bad this year, however. The writing this season wasn’t quite as strong as it was in years 4-6 (or thereabouts); some of the stories were a bit much. One of the worst in the last few years was ‘Journey’s End’ featuring the polarizing Wesley Crusher (WIL WHEATON), who returns while on break from Starfleet Academy and once again is annoying as all hell but going beyond, gets a visit from The Traveler – first introduced in Season 1, Episode 5 – that Wesley is destined for bigger things and features some really laughable scenes further stroking the ego of an already obnoxious character, though I suppose giving Wes that kind of send-off, is quite fitting.
Episodes (asterisk marking favorites):
- Descent: Part 2*
- Gambit: Part 1*
- Gambit: Part 2*
- Dark Page
- Force of Nature
- The Pegasus*
- Sub Rosa
- Lower Decks*
- Thine Own Self*
- Eye of the Beholder
- Journey’s End
- Preemptive Strike*
- All Good Things…*
All in all, hardly the perfect season and a step down from its predecessors in all likelihood due to splitting time between the series and the then upcoming Star Trek: Generations feature film. Whatever the case, despite some clunkers and clunky stories, I still enjoyed the majority of the episodes thanks in large part to the cast and the chemistry they share with one another.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 4.5/5
The six-disc set is contained in an HD Keep Case with a slip cover, matching the other six season sets.
Episode Commentaries are available on ‘Parallels’ with Brannon Braga (2008), ‘Lower Decks’ with Rene Echevarria (episode writer) and Mike & Denise Okuda and ‘Preemptive Strike’ with Echevarria, Naren Shankar (story writer) and Mike & Denise Okuda
Episodic Promos – Each episode comes with the original promo.
Mission Overview: Year Seven (14:47; SD) is a simple behind-the-scenes featurette going through the trials and tribulations of the seventh season especially with the filming of a “Next Generation” feature film and the beginning of “Voyager.”
Deleted Scenes (14:21; HD) – ‘Decent: Part 2,’ ‘Liaisons,’ ‘Gambit: Part 1’ and ‘Gambit: Part 2’
In Conversation: Lensing “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (42:13; HD) looks at the camera work done over the course of the series featuring new interviews with a producer, episode director, director of photographer, and camera operator each of whom had a turn in the director’s chair.
Gag Reel (4:53; HD) – Here we get the usual line flubs and on-set antics.
A Captain’s Tribute (16:31; SD) – Patrick Stewart, combination of on-set back in 1994/95 and in 2001, reflects on his time working on the series and in particular his fellow cast members.
Departmental Briefing: Year Seven: Production (15:46; SD) delves through the challenges of the seventh season with archival interviews with the cast and crew.
Deleted Scenes (3:05; SD) – ‘Dark Page’
Starfleet Moments and Memories (30:02; SD) is an older, but expansive, featurette where cast and crew reflect on their time working on the series set against production photos and BTS footage.
Deleted Scenes (11:27; SD) – ‘Inheritance,’ ‘Parallels’ and ‘Sub Rosa’
Special Profiles (15:18; SD) goes through the guest stars featured in season seven including John de Lancie (Q) amongst others.
Deleted Scenes (5:55; SD) – ‘Thing Own Self,’ ‘Masks’ and ‘Genesis’
Closed Set: A Tour of the Real Enterprise (11:23; SD) is a cool featurette on the set of the “The Next Generation” with a camcorder video shot by Mike Okuda in what was a rare glimpse.
Inside Starfleet Archives: Dressing the Future (10:27; SD) looked at the costume designs.
Deleted Scenes (12:36; SD) – ‘Journey’s End,’ ‘First Born,’ ‘Bloodlines’ and ‘Preemptive Stike’
The Sky’s the Limit: The Eclipse of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (1:28:40; HD) is a three part retrospective covering the legacy of the series and features new cast and crew interviews. As with the previous season sets, this one is absolutely enthralling giving some good background on the series.
Journey’s End: The Saga of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (45:23; SD) is an older, and cheesy, featurette that goes into the history of the series over the course of its seven seasons.
The Making of ‘All Good Things…’ (17:44; SD) is an older featurette on the series finale from the writing, direction and acting.
VIDEO – 4.75/5
“Star Trek: The Next Generation”: Season Seven once again shows the incredible restoration work done. Presented with a 1.33 full frame aspect ratio, the picture has solid detail levels, colors are bright and when compared with any airing on BBC or online, it’s like night and day. The HD transfer done by CBS is outstanding and never looked better especially when you look at the uniforms, LED lights and overall environments. Black levels are also impressive showing a nice starkness and no obvious signs of artifacting or pixilation.
AUDIO – 4.75/5
Each episode is accompanied with a depth-filled 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio track particularly showcasing the show’s soundtrack/score including the iconic theme while dialogue sounds nice and clear and the rear channels get good usage for ambient noises including the humming of the Enterprise’s engines and even the odd audio from otherworldly planets.
OVERALL – 4.5/5
Overall, while this season, and the series as a whole, had a few clunkers, the vast majority of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” was a fun ride culminating with a satisfying quasi-series finale (Star Trek: Generations would be released 6 months later) thanks to a stellar cast who had wonderful chemistry with one another. The Blu-ray released by Paramount once again has incredible video/audio transfers and a plethora of bonus material, though the limited number of commentaries was disappointing.