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Star Trek: The Next Generation, Season 3(TV) (1989-1990)
Space... The final frontier... These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Its continuing mission: To explore strange new worlds... To seek out new life and new civilisations... To boldly go where no one has gone before!
For more about Star Trek: The Next Generation, Season 3 and the Star Trek: The Next Generation, Season 3 Blu-ray release, see Star Trek: The Next Generation, Season 3 Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on April 27, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Starring: Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Marina Sirtis
» See full cast & crew
Star Trek: The Next Generation, Season 3 Blu-ray Review
"Trek" has never been better.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, April 27, 2013
Let's make sure history never forgets the name 'Enterprise.'
New uniforms, new writers, the return of an old friend, a guest appearance by another, and some of the finest hours of television ever to air -- under the Star Trek banner or not -- all shape season three of The Next Generation into, arguably, the best of the almost countless hours of Star Trek Voyages through the years, in all its numerous variants and on both the big and, primarily, small screens. Season three sees the maturation of The Next Generation, the absolute fulfillment of its promise that was certainly hinted at -- and usually more -- in seasons one and two but brought to unmistakable completion here. The deep cast chemistry; the total realization of the potential for the dynamic character roster; and the perfect blend of fascinating exploration, intense action, intimate character study, and the many threads that weave together the heart and soul of Science Fiction -- the deeply personal inward look at humanity through the forward-thinking outward prism of a possible future and even through the eyes of alien races -- all give shape to what is arguably the most impressive season Star Trek has ever known across what is now five unique crews and, counting the animated adventures of Kirk and company, twenty-nine years of boldly going through the final frontier on the small screen, now completely remastered and replicated for the high definition era.
Season three overflows with quality episodes, including several classics -- "Yesterday's Enterprise," "The Offspring," and "Best of Both Worlds, Part 1" -- that have largely come to define The Next Generation, reaching down into the series' emotional core, its grand sense of adventure, its slick action, its absorbing plot lines, and the largely faultless character roster and cast. The season is aided a great deal by the departure of the stiff Dr. Polaski and the return of the more fluid and approachable Beverly Crusher, a doctor who may lack the personality of McCoy, the intrigue of Bashir, the novelty and fantastic development of the holographic doctor, and the charm of Phlox but who adds a counter dynamic to Picard and a unique combination of outward gentleness and inward toughness that even Troi cannot bring to the series. Otherwise, the main cast remains the same -- as it will for the duration until the introduction of the quasi-regular Ensign Ro -- though some characters fail to find the exact same level of nuanced development and broader inclusion as main cogs in the majority of the stories, LaForge in particular and even as he settles into his role as ship's engineer. Season three runs with the idea of developing the bridge crew into something of a family unit while at the same time fulfilling the greater promise of the broader Trek universe that's more thoroughly explored in the season and the series. By the end of season three, the Next Generation crew breaks free from the shadow of the original series and charts its own path due largely to that unique Roddenberry ability to put together a character roster that's diverse yet capable of coming together in a future where such closeness is expected but also in a present time that offers hope for a better tomorrow. None of the subsequent three series found quite the same level of dynamic cast togetherness as The Next Generation -- Deep Space Nine came close, and that's with two TNG regulars in leading roles -- and it's that very real sense of family that makes The Next Generation the pinnacle of Star Trek.
Season three works through classic Science Fiction and Star Trek themes with a balance, flair, ingenuity, and purpose quite unlike any other show and precious few seasons. It's more than just action, instead sharing largely thoughtful tales that explore humanity, inhumanity, and everything in between in episodes like "The Ensigns of Command," "The Offspring," "Hollow Pursuits," "Sarek," and "The Best of Both Worlds." These, and other, episodes work through moral dilemmas and personal crises, yielding deep and absorbing emotional content that explores not only life in the future but life in the here-and-now through the prism of future events, interactions, and technologies. Even the most action-oriented episodes, like "Yesterday's Enterprise" that feel wonderfully cinematic and bigger than the medium, explore the role of faith and gut feelings not as separate entities but rather elements that can work in tandem for the purpose of noble pursuits, taking a chance through sacrifice of people and, really, an entire knowledge of life for the mere possibility of the greater good. The season explores human interaction, understanding, friendship, purpose, and the place of fantasy and escapism both in and from the real world in the wonderful "Hollow Pursuits." It examines death and how different people, cultures, even species deal with it in "The Bonding." It explores humanity through the absence thereof in the emotionally powerful "The Offspring." It delves deeply into loss, doubt, fear, purpose, and principle in "The Best of Both Worlds, Part 1." Season three is a true powerhouse of television, a season that reaches further than most any other in terms of bringing so many qualities into the fold. It develops its characters, expands its universe, and captures the attention, imagination, and allegiance of its audience like few shows -- let alone individual seasons -- before or after it. This is perfect television, and even with a few less-than-stellar episodes included, it's the pinnacle of Star Trek and episodic entertainment.
Season three highlight episodes include:
Star Trek: The Next Generation, Season 3 Blu-ray, Video Quality
Clearly, there hasn't been much difference between the previous Next Generation releases in terms of picture quality -- the results have been uniformly outstanding -- but Star Trek: The Next Generation, Season 3 might show an ever-so-slight edge ahead of seasons one and two. This one looks positively splendid. There's nary a speckle to be seen, hardly a shot that isn't Star Trek picture-perfect. To be sure, there are a handful of softer shots throughout the course of the season -- a few shots of Doctor Crusher sandwiched around sharper footage at the beginning of "The Ensigns of Command," for example -- but the overwhelming majority of the season makes for an absolutely remarkable viewing experience that's sure to dazzle even the most demanding viewer and transfix longtime Star Trek fans who will feel like they're watching these episodes all over again for the very first time. Details are amazing, to put it simply. Of course, all of the usual elements stand out -- lines in uniforms, creases in the bridge's leather seats, the wood trim wrapping around tactical, the sharpness of the LCARS displays, Data's and Worf's makeup -- but what really looks fantastic this season is the attention to detail seen on Enterprise beauty shots as she orbits planets or appears otherwise stationary or slow-moving from space. The model reveals with impeccable clarity words and windows on the hull to gorgeous film-like effect. It's amazing just how awesome such shots look, a real testament both to the revamped visuals and the power of the film-quality, largely flawless transfer on display. Colors are wonderful, too; there's a startling balance across the three primary shades of Starfleet uniforms, not to mention the pleasing lighter hues seen throughout the ship, from beige accents to light purple carpeting. The green surface down on Delta-Rana as seen in the episode "The Survivors" offers a striking display of natural beauty that couldn't be more picture-perfect. Skin textures are amazing, whether light colors, darker tones, or makeup-influenced hues from a number of alien races. Black levels, too, are perfectly deep and pure. It never gets old, re-watching these episodes on Blu-ray, and there's hardly ever a shot that's anything less than a fan's wildest dream come true.
Star Trek: The Next Generation, Season 3 Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Star Trek: The Next Generation, Season 3 features the series-standard DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 lossless soundtrack, and like the rest, it's spectacular. A perusal of the previous Next Generation release reviews -- either of the full seasons or one or both of the smaller single-disc offerings -- would offer basically the same insight as this review, and that consistency is a wonderful thing. The top end of music can come across as a little sharp and harsh, particularly over the opening titles that play at a rather high, aggressive volume at reference levels. However, the swooping Enterprise is a thing to behold as it rushes from one speaker to the next in several unique directions as the blue titles appear on the screen. General music throughout the episodes plays with precision spacing and an obvious, but not overpowering, surround sound element. Listeners will enjoy the near-constant humming of the engines on board the ship; the effect is so natural it blends right into the background, faultlessly enveloping the listener whether moderately on the bridge, lightly in Ten-Forward, or more heavily in engineering. Various episode-specfic sound effects are nicely implemented throughout the season. There are some big, heavy electrical sound elements to begin "The Enemy" and Romulan vessel phaser fire in "The Defector," both of which work the stage with a natural flair. Dialogue is fantastic, whether delivered through the quiet backdrop of Picard's ready room, a bit more loudly in Engineering, through the din of Ten-Forward, or in the heat of battle in "Yesterday's Enterprise." This is a great track, very well balanced but at the same time highly aggressive and clear. Fans know what to expect, and newcomers are in for a real treat.
Star Trek: The Next Generation, Season 3 Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Star Trek: The Next Generation, Season 3 contains a treasure trove of fantastic supplements, both new and old. Discs one through five, primarily, handle the vintage material, presented in standard definition, while disc six offers nearly three hours of new HD supplements. The primary theme revolves around the writers, with a dedicated roundtable supplement as well as additional insights into the writers and the writing process' evolution in season three. Additionally, various audio commentaries are included with the season's best episodes. Note that extras for "The Best of Both Worlds, Part One" are only included on the standalone double-episoide release, while "Sins of the Father" earns supplements not found on the previously released sampler disc.
Star Trek: The Next Generation, Season 3 Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Simply put, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Season 3 represents the very best of Star Trek. It doesn't contain all the best episodes, but what's here are amongst the very finest the series and the entire Trek universe has ever seen. It all comes together -- cast, characters, stories, plot arcs, emotions, -- opening an entire galaxy's worth of content with a broad range of actions and feelings that blend together like only Star Trek can deliver. Season three's Blu-ray technical presentations are largely above reproach, and the wonderful supplemental content -- spread across all six discs -- is almost alone worth the price of assimilation. This is one of the finest releases of 2012 and earns my highest recommendation.
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Other Seasons
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Star Trek: The Next Generation, Season 3 Blu-ray, News and Updates
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