Star Trek: The Next Generation's
third year was an important development in syndicated television. After two shaky years, Paramount nonetheless decided the franchise still had plenty to do. Their confidence was bolstered by two significant factors. First, cast uncertainties were finally settled: Gates McFadden (Dr. Crusher) was back for good; Denise Crosby (Tasha Yar) regretted her first-year departure, and so contrived a return in the Emmy Award-winning "Yesterday's Enterprise"; and Whoopi Goldberg happily continued her actor's-scale contributions.
Second, after the show had survived the previous year's writers' strike, new writing blood revitalised both characters and ideas: Data experienced fatherhood ("The Offspring"), Worf's Klingon heritage kick-started a huge story arc ("Sins of the Father"), and Picard got a saucy vacation ("Captain's Holiday"). There were memorable star cameos: John de Lancie played more mischief alongside Corbin Bernsen ("Déjà Q"); Dwight Schultz played truant in a gentle warning about addiction ("Hollow Pursuits"); and pleasing fans even more was Mark Lenard as Spock's dad ("Sarek"). The strongest evidence that TNG would continue for some time was the trend-setting cliffhanger finale. Fans and critics still agree that "The Best of Both Worlds" (properly introducing the Borg) was one of the greatest tricks ever pulled on TV to make audiences come back for more. --Paul Tonks
The entire third season of the 'Star Trek' spin-off series. In 'Evolution' Wes Crusher's experiments result in the Enterprise's computer systems being overrun by intelligent micro-organisms. 'The Ensigns of Command' sees Data's ability to cope with stress put to the test when, on his first command mission, he has to deal with an alien race who demand the withdraw of human colonists from their planet. 'The Survivors' has the crew encounter an elderly couple who claim to be the only survivors of the 11,000-strong Earth colony recently attacked by aliens. 'Who Watches the Watchers' finds Counsellor Troi seized by the Mintakans, a primitive off-shoot of the Vulcan race, who wish to sacrifice her to their 'god' Picard. 'The Bonding' sees Worf playing surrogate father to the 12-year-old son of an archaeologist who was killed on a recent mission. In 'Booby Trap' Geordi is forced to revive a hologram of 'Enterprise' creator Leah Brahms when the ship becomes trapped in a lethal energy minefield. 'The Enemy' has the Enterprise rescue a suspected Romulan spy, while Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton) is stranded on a planet with a poisonous atmosphere. 'The Price' finds the Enterprise playing host to the many races who are all bidding for ownership of a stable wormhole, but the situation quickly threatens to turn dangerous. In 'The Vengeance Factor' Picard (Patrick Stewart) is forced to mediate between the warring clans of a distant planet, a task made more difficult after a clandestine murder. 'The Defector' sees Picard risk sparking off a war between the Federation and the Romulans when one of their enemies apparently defects with some secret battle plans. 'The Hunted' has the escape of a prisoner jeopardise the planet Angosia's efforts to be accepted into the Federation. 'The High Ground' finds Dr Crusher kidnapped by terrorists from the planet Rutia, who are attempting to overthrow what they claim is a corrupt government. In 'Deja Q' Q turns to Picard and the Enterprise for sanctuary when he is stripped of his powers. 'A Matter of Perspective' sees Riker suspected of murdering a scientist who accused the Starfleet officer of seducing his wife. 'Yesterday's Enterprise' has Picard experience an alternative reality in which Tasha Yar is still alive. 'The Offspring' finds android officer Data trying to protect his new, self-built robot daughter from those who want to take her away for research purposes. 'Sins of the Father' sees Worf forced to travel to his Klingon homeworld to defend his late father against charges of treason, only to discover his brother, Commander Kurn, unexpectedly alive and well. In 'Allegiance' Riker is abducted by aliens and replaced on the Enterprise by a carousing lookalike who attempts to seduce Dr Crusher. 'Captain's Holiday' has Picard become involved in a treasure hunt with the beautiful but scheming Vash and her Ferengi companion. 'Tin Man' finds the Enterprise crew ordered to accompany telepathically-sensitive Betazoid Tam Elbrun when he goes to meet a new, alien life form. In 'Hollow Pursuits' Reg Barclay, a painfully shy engineer, places the entire crew in jeopardy when one of his holodeck fantasies gets out of control. 'The Most Toys' sees Data kidnapped by fanatical collector Fajo, only to malfunction and place his captor's life in danger. 'Sarek' has the ailing Ambassador Sarek - father of original Enterprise crew member Spock - arrive to carry out his last mission. 'Menage a Troi' finds Troi and her mother Lwaxana (who is still infatuated with the captain of the Enterprise) kidnapped by Ferengi Damon Tog, forcing a reluctant Picard to sweep to the rescue. 'Transfigurations' sees Doctor Crusher save the life of a crashed, amnesiac alien by linking him to Geordi's nervous system. Finally, in 'The Best of Both Worlds, Part 1', the Borg return with a renewed determination to assimilate Picard and use him as their spokesman on Earth.