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5.0 out of 5 stars More galactic adventures, 10 Mar 2010
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This review is from: Star Trek The Next Generation - Season 3 (Slimline Edition) [DVD] (DVD)
1989/1990's double Emmy award winning 3rd series of Star Trek: The Next Generation contains 26 episodes, each of approximately 42/43 minutes in length. In terms of casting, the familiar faces are all here - with the notable change that Dr. Crusher returned to replace Dr. Pulaski. Other, more subtle, changes appear to include darker (more serious) lighting and slight uniform changes (to the crew's collars).

With 1129 minutes of run time, this pack of 7 DVDs is now very keenly priced.

Extras on disk 7 are "Mission Overview" (17 mins), "Selected Crew Analysis" (13 mins), "Production" (20 mins) and "Memorable Missions" (13 mins).

Here's my personal take on the individual episodes (from best to worse):

*Episode 26: The Best of Both Worlds Part 1 (The Borg infiltrate federation space for the first time by destroying a remote colony on Jouret IV and the Enterprise is sent to investigate. In a game of cat and mouse, it is clear that Borg technology is far ahead and that `resistance is futile'. Members of the Borg cube abduct Captain Picard from the bridge and assimilate him as `Locutus of Borg'. They then set course for an attack on sector 001 i.e. Planet Earth)

*Episode 10: The Defector (After a chase across the neutral zone, a high-ranking Romulan officer defects and brings news of a military build up and covert plan for war between the Romulan Empire and the Federation. The Enterprise crew remain unconvinced and think he could be a spy. The results of a sensory probe suggest some foul play may be at work. In order to fully establish the facts they finally enter the neutral zone and come head-to-head with two uncloaked Romulan warbirds)

*Episode 7: The Enemy (A vintage Federation - versus - Romulan cold war tale of high brinkmanship, subterfuge and unlikely cooperation. An away team responds to a distress signal from a barren Federation planet half a light year inside their own territory - however, bizarrely, they encounter Romulans there on a covert mission. Up on the Enterprise, one wounded Romulan captive requires Klingon genetic material to survive, while the other remains stranded on the storm-ravaged planet with Geordi La Forge. The high stakes incident forces both empires to the brink of renewed hostilities)

*Episode 17: Sins of the Father (A Klingon commander beams aboard the Enterprise to replace Riker as Number One as part of an exchange. This alone would make a good plot, however it emerges that he is actually Worf's unknown younger brother. He informs Worf that their father has been denounced as a traitor to the Klingon Empire as he allegedly passed on security details to the Romulans - resulting in the infamous attack at the Khitomer Outpost, which lead to 4,000 Klingon deaths. Worf decides to risk his life by raising a case against this in the Klingon capital city, Qo'noS. Picard beams down with him and acts as his defence. The episode provides a first ever look at the Klingon planet and its architecture and weather. At one point, Picard goes dangerously undercover through the old town of the main city. This episode won an Emmy award for best art direction)

*Episode 15: Yesterday's Enterprise (The Enterprise encounters an unusual space/time phenomenon and a `what if?' scenario plays out - the Federation is still engaged in a ferocious war with the Klingons as the predecessor Enterprise ship arrives 22 years in the future. Only Guinan seems to be aware that everyone is living in a warped timeline. An interesting episode, not only for its plot, but also for a glimpse into how things could have been. Tasha Yar makes a return here and personifies the distorted reality in which everyone is living)

*Episode 13: Déjà Q (While attempting to correct the dangerously unstable orbit of a moon around a populated planet, the super-entity, Q, suddenly appears on the deck of the Enterprise. Stripped of his powers by his own continuum, Q tries to get used to being human and attempts to assimilate with the crew. As well as his uncouth manners and natural belligerence, a life form called the Calamarians attack the Enterprise to get even with the newly enfeebled being. An entertaining episode with a few comedic moments near the end)

*Episode 23: Sarek (The 202 year old Federation Ambassador, Sarek, from Vulcan is beamed aboard the Enterprise in order to travel to important treaty negotiations with the Legarans (whom we never actually see). Acts of violence break out among the crew, including a full scale barroom brawl in Ten Forward, and these are linked to Sarek's arrival and his unsettled mind. It is deduced that the ambassador has a Vulcan old age ailment called Bendii syndrome, and only a Vulcan mind-meld with Picard may save the day and allow the treaty negotiations to take place)

*Episode 21: Hollow Pursuits (A human interest story that works well. Lieutenant Barclay from Engineering has social interaction problems and prefers to spend as much time as possible in the fantasy world of the holodeck. Indeed even the word `holodiction' is mentioned. I think this would be a real life problem if such a device existed, so this episode has a ring of credibility to it. As well as dealing with Barclay's incompetence and erratic behaviour, a series of engineering malfunctions are added to the plot mix - leading to a dangerously accelerating warp speed that can't be resolved)

*Episode 8: The Price (The Enterprise plays host to bidding talks for the rights to control a wormhole that connects to the Gamma quadrant of the galaxy. There's skulduggery from the Ferengi delegation and a part empathic negotiator who also gets involved with fellow empathy, Troi. Meanwhile, during the talks, Data and La Forge journey through the wormhole in a shuttle pod and establish that all is not quite what it seems)

*Episode 25: Transfigurations (While charting a star system, the Enterprise locates a crashed pod on a rocky planet. One seriously injured survivor is beamed aboard and appears to have miraculous powers of recovery. The amnesiac sickbay visitor, nicknamed, John Doe, turns out to be much more than he appears. Even Geordi La Forge has a huge zip in confidence just by being momentarily connected to him. However, a powerful species called the Zalkonians come after him and claim that he is, in fact, their escaped prisoner)

*Episode 18: Allegiance (Picard falls victim to alien abduction and finds himself in a holding cell with 3 diverse aliens. Meanwhile, a doppelganger takes his place on the Enterprise and his unusual behaviour first of all raises eyebrows, then eventually drives the crew to breaking point. This is actually a rather funny episode in places)

*Episode 11: The Hunted (While on a visit to Angosia to assess their Federation membership application, an exceptionally resourceful prisoner escapes from a high security penal colony. The Enterprise helps to recapture him, only to lose him again while attempting to transport him back. His back story is a dark tale of being forcibly programmed as a killing machine and then being unable to reassimiliate back into mainstream Angosian society when their Tarsian Wars ended. This episode features a great cat-and-mouse chase sequence through the Enterprise)

*Episode 3: The Survivors (A distant Federation planet has been destroyed by an unknown species. Inexplicably, 2 elderly humans and their house survive. More strange events unfold as Troi is haunted by constant music in her head and the Enterprise is chased out of orbit by a powerful alien warship. Eventually, Picard demonstrates his uniquely deductive mind and is in a league of his own as he connects and unravels the events)

*Episode 22: The Most Toys (An obnoxious and egotistical collector of rare items in the galaxy captures Data by means of a deceptive ruse involving a shuttlecraft explosion. The rogue plans to keep Data as a display item and to show him off to other traders.)

*Episode 20: Tin Man (The Enterprise is instructed to make contact with a vessel which is actually a life form (and ironically resembles a croissant). A starfleet betazoid expert in first contact, Tam Elbrun, is beamed aboard to facilitate this. The problem is, though, that Elbrun has developed an affinity with the new life form and has a different agenda. All this is set against the backdrop of a star on the point of going supernova and two hostile Romulan warbirds who are intent on reaching the vessel first)

*Episode 6: Booby Trap (The Enterprise becomes snared in an asteroid belt that is emitting radiation. This episode belongs to La Forge and follows his attempts to break them free with the help of a long-dead Federation engineering expert, Leah Brahms, who is regenerated by the holodeck. Picard also displays his masterful mind here and at one point even pilots the vessel)

*Episode 24: Ménage à Troi (Troi's mother Lwaxana is subject to the amorous attentions of the unscrupulous Ferengi commander, DaiMon Tog, during trade negotiations. His feelings are unrequited, so he kidnaps her along with Troi and Riker who are on shore leave on Betazed. All 3 are held captive aboard a Ferengi vessel. Wesley Crusher once again saves the day and is rewarded for doing so)

*Episode 12: The High Ground (While delivering medical supplies to a non-aligned planet, Dr. Crusher is kidnapped by a band of rebels fighting a bitter civil war. The rebels then use their advanced technology to mount a daring raid on the Enterprise and almost succeed in blowing apart the warp chamber. Picard is also kidnapped and, with the help of Wesley Crusher's tracking skills, Riker and Worf seek to liberate their colleagues on the planet below)

*Episode 14: A Matter of Perspective (Riker is accused of murdering an eminent scientist on a space station and Picard is under pressure to extradite his Number One into custody on the local planet. Instead of doing so, he orders a full scale reproduction of events on the holodeck. Several versions are recreated in order to get to the bottom of what actually happened. A courtroom type of episode and one in which Riker's womanising habits are brought to the fore)

*Episode 4: Who Watches the Watchers? (A slow burn episode with thought-provoking philosophical undertones. An Enterprise away team are sent to rescue a few observation scientists on a planet also populated by a primitive Vulcan-like civilisation. They inadvertently reveal their presence, making the locals deduce that Picard is an all-powerful god. This episode raises issues about the thin line between what is magic, science or irrational religious beliefs)

*Episode 5: The Bonding (The Enterprise's archaeologist is killed by an explosion during an away team mission, leaving her 12 year old son orphaned. As the crew try to console him, his `mother' reappears in alien form and tries to prise him down to the planet. A sinister episode that almost has a horror film or supernatural thriller feel to it at times)

*Episode 19: Captain's Holiday (An exhausted Picard is finally convinced by the crew to take a week's shore leave on the paradise planet of Risa. Trouble is never far away, though, and the captain soon becomes embroiled in the hunt for a small sought after device with magical properties. A love struck ferengi in a loud shirt, two time-travelling aliens from the 27th century and a beautiful archaeologist make up the character mix in this tepid tale of deceit)

*Episode 2: The Ensigns of Command (The belligerent Sheliak Corporate wish to evict a colony of humans from a distant planet under the terms of a century old treaty with the Federation. Due to the planet's high radiation levels, Data is despatched to negotiate with the colonists but meets great resistance to the idea of abandoning their home. Meanwhile, in space, Picard is forced to analyse the fine detail of the treaty in order to find a way to stop the imminent obliteration)

*Episode 16: The Offspring (Data creates a `daughter' with powers more developed than his own in some areas. Unfortunately, as he begins to bond with the new android life form, a Starfleet admiral has other ideas and wishes to take her away to a starbase for analysis and development. A slow burn episode. Directed by Jonathan Frakes [Riker] and written by an unknown (then) amateur writer who submitted a draft of the script on spec)

*Episode 1: Evolution (While the Enterprise is observing a neutron star, Ensign Wesley Crusher is the inadvertent villain as his personal experiments in nanotechnology go awry and some nanites break free, multiply and evolve into a new life form - in doing so they run riot throughout the Enterprise's main computer system and bring them close to disaster)

*Episode 9: The Vengeance Factor (Following a series of raids by a wayward band of spacefarers, the Enterprise becomes embroiled in trying to negotiate a peace settlement between the belligerents and the sovereign of their home planet. Someone, though, has murder in mind due to a century long vendetta between the parties and Dr. Crusher turns detective following a mysterious cardiac arrest. A notable episode for Riker killing someone and a demonstration of the destructive power of a phaser at full setting)
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