1988/1989's Emmy nominated Series 2 of Star Trek: The Next Generation contains 22 episodes. Each is around 42 minutes long. In general, they consolidate on the introductory series. To be honest, there's variable quality here in the storylines and much of it is standard fare from the scriptwriters. However, if you're a fan, then you'll still enjoy many hours of viewing from this box set of 6 DVDs (998 minutes to be precise) and there are some classic episodes including the first skirmish with the Borg and appearances by Klingons, Romulans, Ferengi and several new civilisations.
Other points to note are the introduction of the homely bar lounge area on the Enterprise (Ten-Forward), appearances by Hollywood star Whoopi Goldberg (who had been inspired by Lieutenant Uhura in the original series while growing up) and the reintroduction of Diana Muldaur (who featured twice in the original series and now plays the role of Dr. Katherine Pulaski).
There are 5 extras on the 6th DVD ('Mission Overview', 'Selected Crew Analysis', 'Production', 'Memorable Missions' and 'Starfleet Archives'). Each extra feature is around 15 minutes in length.
The series starts slowly and the first 4 episodes take place entirely on the Enterprise.
Here's my personal take on the individual episodes (from best to worst), although all make for good viewing:
*Episode 16: "Q Who?" (the Enterprise is boarded by the mischievous, flippant but deadly and powerful Q entity who transports them 7,000 light years in order that they can more than meet their match when they encounter the Borg for the very first time. 18 crew members are killed during the Federation's first ever Borg attack and the Enterprise's doom can only be averted by Picard acknowledging their limitations and thus allowing Q to make his point)
*Episode 8: "A Matter of Honour" (a traditional type of Star Trek episode involving Starfleet and the Klingons. Here, Commander Riker transfers to a Klingon vessel, Pagh, for a secondment - resulting in a Crimson Tide type stand-off situation due to a misunderstanding)
*Episode 11: "Contagion" (the Enterprise is in the neutral zone and encounters Romulans and a deadly computer virus that destroyed the Starfleet ship Yamato. Significant for Picard leading the away team to the planet Iconia and even finding himself on a Romulan battlecruiser at one point)
*Episode 6: "The Schizoid Man" (a scientific genius transports his mind into Data just before his death and in doing so raises intriguing moral issues about the relationship between men and machines. This episode provides us with some classic Data moments, where he behaves very obnoxiously and even knocks out Picard)
*Episode 20: "The Emissary" (the Enterprise picks up a half human-half Klingon emissary who was Worf's former lover from 6 years previous. Their mission is to intercept a Klingon warship whose crew has been cryogenically asleep for 75 years. When they wake up they assume they're still at war with the Federation. An intriguing plot which would have stood up on its own with the need for the love interest)
*Episode 3: "Elementary Dear Data" (the holodeck is used as a clever literary device here when Moriarty from the Sherlock Holmes books is generated on the fog-wrapped streets of 19th century London. Moral questions are then raised about just how intelligent and independently conscious computers can perhaps become)
*Episode 9: "The Measure of a Man" (another episode exploring the morality of Data's rights and his level of consciousness. On a Starfleet Starbase, Commander Bruce Maddox requests permission to disassemble Data in order to study him more closely in the hope of creating a new race of Data type androids. Picard objects and a legal battle resumes. This philosophical episode raises questions similar to the `Las Casas versus Sepulveda' court case in Spain in 1550 (do slaves have human rights?) Patrick Stewart also ably demonstrates his Shakespearian acting qualities during the highly-charged courtroom debate)
*Episode 2: "Where Silence Has Lease" (the Enterprise encounters a previously unknown and unusual space phenomena that turns out to be as malevolent as it is inquisitive)
*Episode 21: "Peak Performance" (40 Enterprise crew members are temporarily transported to an 80 year old battlecruiser in order to compete against the mothership in a war games simulation overseen by a renowned Federation strategist. The Ferengi interrupt proceedings (their one and only appearance in series 2) and Picard and Riker are forced to collaborate rather than pit their wits against each other)
*Episode 10: "The Dauphin" (the Enterprise is tasked with transporting a young woman who was born to lead a distant planet. It is her time to return home and bring the rival factions together. All is well until Ensign Wesley Crusher falls in love with her - unaware that she, and her governess, are in fact powerful shape shifters)
*Episode 12: "The Royale" (Warf, Riker and Data beam down to an unexplored planet covered in ammonia storm clouds but, on passing through a revolving door, find themselves in a busy 20th century Las Vegas casino - which they can't get out of. The whole experience has been created by an alien life form and is based on a novel found on board a 21st century earth spaceship which was lost. One of the more strange episodes about unusual space phenomenon, but surprisingly it makes for useful viewing)
*Episode 13: "Time Squared" (the Enterprise encounters a strange occurrence when a 2nd Jean-Luc Picard is found floating out in space on a shuttlecraft. A story based around the age old space-time continuum discussion and that one leads to the original Picard trying to avoid a repeat of the future)
*Episode 22: "Shades of Gray" (Riker is infected by an unknown microbe while exploring a new planet. It spreads throughout his body and Doctor Pulaski works out that the growth rate is connected to Riker's memories - good memories increase the rate of growth while negative memories reduce its impact. An unusual episode but it works. Half the episode is a nostalgic look back at Riker's previous experiences in the earlier episodes from series 1 and 2)
*Episode 14: "The Icarus Factor" (this episode takes place on board the Enterprise as they dock at Starbase Montgomery for a systems check. There's no tension or high octane drama, instead it seems to be about feelings - Riker is offered a command on another (less glamorous) starship and his father is also beamed aboard (raising old antagonisms). Worf is also irritable due to his need to indulge in Klingon rituals as it's the 10th anniversary of his Age of Ascension - ultimately these are realised using the holodeck. Watchable stuff, but more of a filler episode)
*Epsode 19: "Manhunt" (an on board episode involving Troi's mother and a few aliens who are being transported to a conference on the planet Pacifica. Lxwana Troi is in heat and has set her mind on Captain Picard. As the feeling isn't mutual, he seeks respite in the holodeck as Private Investigator Dixon Hill on earth in 1941. The extras on the 6th DVD point out that Fleetwood Mac drummer, Mick Fleetwood, is actually in costume as one of the Antedeans)
*Episode 17: "Samaritan Snare" (Picard checks into a starbase for a heart transplant and in his absence the Enterprise is duped into beaming Chief Engineer, La Forge, onto a stricken alien spacecraft to provide assistance. The Pakled crew turn out to be malevolent and only interested in leeching technology from wherever they can source it. La Forge is held hostage and Riker, in command and exposed for naivety, has to resolve the stand-off situation)
*Episode 18: "Up The Long Ladder" (occasionally Star Trek throws up a daft, unusual episode and this is one of them. The Enterprise comes to the aid of two distant planets with diverse human settlers - one is a primitive society (complete with Irish accents and livestock) and the other is advanced but is made up of clones with genetic deficiencies. Picard has to work out how to please both and set them up for the future)
*Episode 7: "Unnatural Selection" (Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Pulaski, makes an error of judgment near a quarantined scientific base that is attempting to evolve a superhuman race and consequently suffers from rapid accelerating aging)
*Episode 4: "The Outrageous Okona" (a dashing, independent, spacefarer is helped out - only to bring the Enterprise into disrepute with two local planets)
*Episode 15: "Pen Pals" (a slow burn episode about the Enterprise carrying out geological surveys in a remote sector of the galaxy and Data befriending a young girl by her transmissions. The core storyline is about the Prime Directive - which Picard decides to violate in order to save a planet from natural destruction. Alien abduction is also at work here - with the Enterprise being the culprits)
*Episode 5: "Loud as a Whisper" (the Enterprise picks up a peace negotiator called Riva who uses a `chorus' to communicate for him. His attempts to bring peace to a distant planet result in death and a need for Data to learn sign language. Not a classic episode)
*Episode 1: "The Child" (a very slow start; a rather unusual episode and a bit sinister to an extent. Counsellor Troi falls pregnant to an alien being who invades her bed while she's asleep. I think this storyline was used in the first episode in order to bring the new Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Pulaski, to the fore. Whoopi Goldberg also makes her first appearance in the homely bar, Ten-Forward)
Overall, this series builds on the first season. A must for fans and keenly priced.