The second-to-last season of Star Trek: The Next Generation was what taught me how biased the Emmy Awards were against syndicated science-fiction shows. This season contained some of the best performances by the regular cast during the series; performances that would have garnered award nominations for any other network series. Here there were none.
The one that really stands out to me is Patrick Stewart’s performance as Captain Picard in the episodes Chain of Command Parts I & II. Especially in Part II, Stewart gives a tremendous performance as he undergoes torture at the hands of the Cardassian race.
Cardassians? Did the ears of Trek fans just perk up then? It was during this season of Star Trek: The Next Generation that the series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was launched as well. Colm Meaney as Transporter Chief Miles O’Brien departs the Enterprise for Deep Space Nine during the season. Although Worf goes over to the series later on after the end of The Next Generation, there are actually very few crossovers during the overlapping time. One of the notable ones is Dr. Julian Bashir’s appearance in the episode Birthright Part I.
Whenever I’m asked what my favorite episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation is, I have to think. There are two that are probably tied for that honor; one being Yesterday’s Enterprise in the third season, and the other Relics during the sixth. It is an episode that most fans have a tremendous fondness for as Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott (Scotty) from the original Star Trek series makes an endearing appearance and works alongside the Enterprise‘s current Chief Engineer, Geordi LaForge.
Disc 1 contains the episodes Time’s Arrow Part II, Realm of Fear, Man of the People, and Relics.
Disc 2 contains the episodes Schisms, True-Q, Rascals, and A Fistful of Datas.
Disc 3 contains the episodes The Quality of Life, Chain of Command Parts I & II, and Ship in a Bottle.
Disc 4 contains the episodes Aquiel, Face of the Enemy, Tapestry, and Birthright Part I.
Disc 5 contains the episodes Birthright Part II, Starship Mine, Lessons, and The Chase.
Disc 6 contains the episodes Frame of Mind, Suspicions, Rightful Heir, and Second Chances.
Disc 7 contains the episodes Timescape and Descent Part I and the Bonus Materials.
Paramount must have found itself with extra Bonus Material because there seems to be an abundance of it on this disc. In Mission Overview we get to hear various members of the cast and crew discuss some of the episodes. The sentiment among them seems to be that this season was their finest. LeVar Burton talks about working with James Doohan (Scotty) on Relics. Brent Spiner (Data) and writer Ronald D. Moore talk about the season opener, Time’s Arrow Part II. The start of the series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is also touched on here. Patrick Stewart discusses portraying Captain Picard in the episode I thought he should have won an award for, Chain of Command. The story is also told of how Stephen Hawking came to appear in the episode Descent Part I.
In Bold New Directions, the different actors in the series who were able to direct an episode talk about what that experience was like.
In Departmental Briefing: Production viewers are shown how different things are accomplished, such as the recreation of the Enterprise bridge from the original series for Relics. James Cromwell also makes another appearance in the Star Trek universe in the episode Birthright and talks about the makeup needed for that part. The episode Tapestry is also discussed as it brings some of Picard’s history discussed in the second season full circle.
Next there is Profile: Dan Curry. If you’re thinking that’s an unfamiliar name, you’re probably right. He was the Visual Effects Producer for Star Trek: The Next Generation and has a tremendous collection of paintings, props, etc. at his house. Trek fans will be impressed by this collection and just about anyone will be impressed by his house. I’d like to do an episode of Trading Spaces with him and let him redo my living room.
The last really timeless piece of Bonus Material is Special Crew Profile: Lt. Cmdr. Data. Here we are shown through video clips and commentary how Data has grown and changed throughout the run of the series.
The next two pieces are nice now, but will soon be dated. One is the trailer for the movie Star Trek: Nemesis. After the film is shown in theaters on December 13th, there will really be no use for it. The other is a trailer for the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Collector’s Edition due to be released in a series of seven discs over the course of 2003. I does appear that Paramount is doing even more with these discs than it has done with the Star Trek: The Next Generation series, so they will be very interesting to view.
If you’re going to collect the whole series or even just a few seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation, this season is a must-have.
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