The original release of Star Trek: The next Generation on DVD took place in 2002. They were released on season at a time and I anxiously awaited their arrival every few months. For some reason, this collection was $5 more expensive. Maybe Paramount actually figured out that this was when the episodes started getting good, so they could charge more. However, it was only 6 DVDs where the other collection was 7.
Did the cram more onto each disk? Did they eliminate the extras that made the first set so good? The answer seems to be that the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation was made up of only 22 episodes while the first season had 25 episodes, including a 2 hour premier.
Whew! A load off my mind. Quality is better than quantity. Even if I did have to pay more for less.
This set contains the same attention to details that Paramount put into the first one. The Introductions to the episodes and menus are all in the form of the control panels we’ve come to know on the Enterprise these many years. Just watching this is exciting, never mind the actual episodes.
Some of the highlights from this season is that we are first introduced to the Borg, the changing of the Enterprise doctor, Whoopi Goldberg joining the cast as the proprietor of the 10-Forward Lounge, and an episode dealing with the current state of the Klingon empire.
Disc 1 contains the episodes The Child, Where Silence Has Lease, Elementary, Dear Data, and The Outrageous Okona.
Disc 2 contains the episodes Loud as a Whisper, The Schizoid Man, Unnatural Selection, and A Matter of Honor.
Disc 3 contains the episodes The Measure of a Man, The Dauphin, Contagion, and The Royale.
Disc 4 contains the episodes Time Squared, The Icarus Factor, Pen Pals, and Q Who?
Disc 5 contains the episodes Samaritan Snare, Up the Long Ladder, Manhunt, and The Emissary.
Disc 6 contains the episodes Peak Performance and Shades of Gray, plus all of the Special Features.
The Special Features are once again a wonderful addition which Paramount has given to Star Trek fans.
In the Mission Overview there are recent interviews with Rick Berman as well as an interview with Gene Roddenberry from September of 1988. It is interesting to see these Star Trek gurus comment on the fact that the characters seem to come into their own more during this season both as a result of the writers and actors becoming more comfortable. The fans weren’t the only ones who noticed. There are interviews with Whoopi Goldberg and Diana Muldaur – the new additions to the cast this year – as well as Marina Sirtis (though I have to say she looks positively awful during this interview).
The Selected Crew Analysis has each actor talking about finding the footing with their respective characters this season, as well as the changes that came about with their characters this season.
One of the most interesting pieces is Starfleet Archives in which Penny Juday talks about her maintenance of the archives at Paramount Studios. What began as a labor of love in her own home turned into a full-time job at the studio. She has a vast collection of blueprints, props, models, from the various shows and movies. It is very interesting to see the different props and learn how they are reused as well as what they are made from.
The Departmental Briefing – Production is an interesting look specifically at this season in regards to how the season was developed. There is talk of how the story arc for the year is hashed out in terms of the development of the different characters. The individual stories are then brought to the table. Costumes and the different “looks” of the various aliens are developed (such as the Borg and the female Klingons). At the end the soundtrack is discussed – which is one of the qualities I have always found to be better in Star Trek than in most television series.
Finally there is the Departmental Briefing – Memorable Missions which was also present on the set from the first season. In this actors and crew reminisce about various parts of various episodes from the second season which made them memorable to them.
All in all, it was an improvement on the first season, but the show wouldn’t really come into its own until the third season with a number of memorable episodes. Still, this season is worth viewing as it has a number of pivotal moments for characters.