Star Trek: The Next Generation Season Three Blu-ray

Director - Various

Cast - Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes

Country of Origin - USA

Discs - 6

Distributor - CBS Home Video

Reviewer - Scott MacDonald

Date - 6/06/13

The Season (4/5)

     Star Trek: The Next Generation has a reputation for being not only an excellent continuation of the original Star Trek series, but an excellent series in it's own right. This, however, is a reputation it built up slowly through the 7 years it was on the air. Now certainly, many viewers were certainly happy to have Trek back on TV after such a prolonged absence (much as Doctor Who fans felt after Who finally made it back after it's nearly 16 year hiatus).  However, the general consensus about Next Generation is that it took some time to find it's footing.

     The first series of the show felt more like a continuation of what made Star Trek: TOS work so well, and did little to distinguish itself from the original show outside of the improved special FX, and a new cast. This was fine as I was watching it for the first time on last years Blu-ray edition of Season One I had never given any serious attention to The Next Generation, having been mostly a fan of the original series growing up. So when watching it I felt like  very familiar territory. It was during the second series that Next Generation began to find it's proverbial feet, and felt both like a continuation of Star Trek, and it's on beast.

   Now with Star Trek: Season 3, the show has definitely come into it's own.  The scripts are better, and more compelling than in prior seasons balancing greater action, suspense, character development and thematic depth.  The FX shots are being handled much better, and most importantly the cast appears to be working better as a cohesive unit. In prior seasons the cast were excellent in there roles, but now they seem to know each other inside and out, and are able to work off each other like greater ease. 

   I will say that not every episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 3 is a winner, but there are a greater number of good to amazing episodes in this series than in prior seasons. Star Trek until Deep Space Nine was never much for serialized story telling, so pretty much every episode is a self-contained entity, yes some episodes will call back to others, but what you have with the exception of the occasional 2-parter (Best of Both Worlds) is a self-contained sci-fi adventure story.  The highlight episodes of Star Trek: Season 3

The Best of Both Worlds Part 1 (Part 2 can be viewed on a special Blu-ray which edits the two episodes together in a movie version, with exclusive extras).

  • Deja Q
  • The Survivors
  • Sarek
  • Sins of the Father
  • Yesterday's Enterprise
  • A Matter of Perspective
  • The Ensigns of Command

Obviously, in a series of this many episodes there are alot more treasures than trash, and especially in this series there is a lot of greatness to be found.  As I've admitted previously, this is my first straight through journey of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and the show keeps getting better. Bring on Season 4!

 

Audio/Video (4/5)

Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 3 comes to Blu-ray in an absolutely fantastic 1:33:1  MPEG4 AVC encoded transfer.  The transfer much like the ones that came before it looks brilliant. It is certainly a step up from the Season 2 set, and more on par with Season 1 albeit improved from that aas well as the restoration team in charge have gotten better with restoring Trek. The FX shots in this set look absolutely fantastic, color reproduction is bright and fantastic.  The black levels are very solid, flesh tones are accurate.  There is excellent fine detail especially in close-ups.

The audio is presented in a DTS-HD lossless 7.1 track in English with a variety of subtitle options.  The audio much like the video counterpart are excellently restored with dialogue, music, and sound FX coming through loud and clear. Everything is mixed well, with no elements overpowering the others. I did not detect any audio issues such as pops, cracks, or hissing on the track.

Extras (4/5)

As with the prior Blu-ray editions Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 3 on Blu-ray comes with a huge amount of supplements. Each disc has extras pertaining to certain episodes, and the sixth disc contains a bunch of new supplements exclusive to the package. The first disc contains a commentary on the bonding with writer Ronald Moore (Battlestar Galactica).  There is also a 17 minute featurette entitled Mission Overview: Year 3 that details the best episodes of this season. There are also episodic promos for each episode (every disc contains similar promos). The second disc contains a featurette called Selected Crew Analysis Year 3 which details the characters, and their relationships. Disc 3 has a few things on it 2 commentary tracks for the episode Yesterday's Enterprise, also we have another featurtte called Department Briefings Year Three: Memorable Missions. This has the cast and crew discussing certain elements of season 3 episodes. Disc 4 contains commentaries on Sins of the Father and the Offspring and also Departmental Briefings: Production where the crew discuss there involvement in Season 3. Disc 5 includes In Memoriam: David Rappaport an homage to the late actor, and a gag reel.  Disc 6 is where all the new supplements are located, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Inside the Writer's Room is an hour and ten minutes long and is a roundtable discussion with the writers hosted by Family Guy's Seth MacFarlane. Resistance is Futile -- Assimilating Star Trek: The Next Generation is an in-depth 3 part documentary on Next Generation as a whole. We then get a 14 minute tribute to producer and screenwriter Michael Pillar.

Overall

Season 2 is where Star Trek: The Next Generation started to come into it's own.  Season 3 is where it really begins to shine.  This set is loaded with truly fantastic episodes of the series.  The A/V restoration is incredible, and the extras are elaborate, informative, and entertaining. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.