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Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 5 [DVD] 
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ST NEXT GEN SEASON 5 (PART 1)-
After the confidence of the previous two years, the fifth season of Star Trek: The Next Generation too often disappointed by not seeing a good idea through to the end. Denise Crosby was swept back under the carpet in the Klingon soap opener ("Redemption Part II"). No one could make the prospect of Deep Space 9 attractive enough to Michelle Forbes, so her fantastic performance as "Ensign Ro" seems wasted in retrospect. And no one could re-schedule for Robin Williams to guest star, so we had Matt Frewer instead ("A Matter of Time"). Of all stories to use Leonard Nimoy in, "Unification" wallowed in Romulan politics instead of anything emotionally engaging. Gene Roddenberry wanted to introduce a gay character, but mere months after his death all we got was the trite "The Outcast".
This was inarguably where the rot set in, without The Great Bird overseeing what was going on. Worst of all, his hard-as-nails bad guys The Borg were given a touchy-feely side ("I, Borg"). But scattered in-between were some of the very best of all 178 shows. "Darmok" had the feel of a Classic Trek episode, dealing with language as metaphor. "The First Duty" challenged Wesley Crusher's loyalties. Best of all was the painfully melancholy "The Inner Light", in which Picard experiences an alternate lifetime. There were great guest stars: Paul Winfield, Ashley Judd, Kelsey Grammar, Famke Janssen, and Jerry Hardin. As always there were contributions from Q, Lwaxana and Barclay too. Fans and critics now appreciate that behind-the-scenes focus had shifted from The Next Generation to the next spin-off, and it would never fully return. --Paul Tonks
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Season Five also sees the return of Spock, now Vulcan Ambassador, trying to reunify the Romulans and the Vulcans. This two-part episode, 'Unification' marks the death of Spock's father, Sarek; and was made to commemorate the death of Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek.
Watch out for many dark episodes in Season Five: Power Play, Cause And Effect, Conundrum, Silicon Avatar, The First Duty; all full of death and destruction.
The penultimate episode 'The Inner Light' should have won an Emmy aswell, for it's portrayal of an entire civilisation destroyed by their star going nova. Picard learns all about these people by living a whole lifetime amoung them. Actor Patrick Stewart had a make-up call of 1am to turn him into an old grandfather for this episode. The earliest make-up call for any production in Hollywood, ever!
Finally in 'Time's Arrow', it's not everyday that you find Data's head a mile underneath San Francisco, aged 500 years. But where do the crew go when they disappear through the alien's porthole at the end of the episode? Back to 19th century San Francisco? You'll have to buy Season Six to find out!
When Yar was killed off, the show was left without a tough female character, so this season brings on the excellent Michelle Forbes as Ensign Ro Laren, a Bajoran officer with a troubled past and whose own personal history helps lay the foundations for the next saga, Deep Space Nine.
Ro's arrival comes in aptly titled "Ensign Ro", which remains one of the best episodes of the season. Other highlights include "Cause And Effect" in which the Enterprise becomes caught in a timeloop, destined to be destroyed over and over again, "The Inner Light", "The Game", "The Next Phase", "Disaster", "Darmok" and a guest appearance from Famke Jansenn (in what must be one of her earliest roles) in "The Perfect Mate".
However, the best episode(s) is the two part "Unification" in which Trek veteran Leonard Nimoy reprises his role as Spock from the original show. Suspecting that Spock has defected to the Romulans, Picard (Patrick Stewart) and Data (Brent Spiner) are sent undercover to unearth the truth, and results in one of the show's most classic of episodes.
All in all, season five is defiantly a season worth owning.
Seven discs. In four plastic boxes. Inside one larger cardboard one. Containing all twenty six forty two [approx.] minute long episodes of the fifth season of Star Trek: the Next Generation.
The language and subtitle options are as follows:
Languages: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish.
Subtitles: English, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish.
After two great seasons, could the show manage more of the same?
Episodes are as follows:
Redemption part two: a conclusion to the Klingon/Romulan started at the end of the previous season. And a satisfyingly epic one it is.
Darmok: Picard is stranded on a hostile planet, and has to work with an alien whose language is very odd indeed. A truly great episode about communication and one that really knows what the show should be about.
Ensign Ro: New semi regular character Ro Laren, a rather angry Bajoran lady, debuts. And makes a great impression.
Silicon avatar: a return for the crystalline entity, last seen in season one's 'Datalore'. With a lady who is obsessed with dealing with the being. Not a popular episode but it's a very good look at obsession, and has a powerful ending.
Disaster: the show does disaster movie as things go wrong leaving people stuck in situations akin to certain disaster movies. Great entertainment.
The game: Wesley's back to visit. Just as an insidious plot to take over the ship gains ground. A polished production, but a bit predictable. Notable for an appearance from a young Ashley Judd.
Unification part one: start of a two parter involving the return of Mister Spock. It's a good opener.
Unification part two: lots of Mister Spock in a decent conclusion to the story. With one of the greatest bloopers ever. Look at the silver pyramid....
A matter of time; a charismatic time traveller takes an interest in the Enterprise. Originally written for Robin Williams, Matt Frewer takes the part. And makes it quite entertaining.
New Ground: Worf takes custody of his son. The rest of the crew do science stuff. Another polished production but the second plot doesn't amount to much.
Hero worship: a child who is the only survivor of a disaster idolises Data. A capable Brent Spiner vehicle but not the best of those script wise.
Violations: Telepathic crimes in a Troi story. An episode that succeeds at doing what it sets out to.
The masterpiece society: Good intentions cause problems for a genetically engineered society. In a thought provoking drama.
Conundrum: the crew lose their memories. So don't notice something odd. An entertaining mystery episode.
Power Play: Crewmembers possessed by power seeking aliens in an exciting action drama.
Ethics: Worf is badly hurt. He wants to die. He could be saved. But is the method of his salvation right? A good moral drama.
The outcast: An alien falls for Riker. Their species is rather unique. A look at gender and orientation but as with other romance ones the episodic nature of the show means it can't follow things through as it perhaps should.
Cause and effect: The enterprise does groundhog day. And does it really well.
The first duty: Wesley's in trouble at the academy. In a very good drama about doing the right thing.
Cost of living: Troi's mother is back. The ship has science problems. Not as annoying as earlier episodes featuring her but a bit forgettable anyhow.
The perfect mate: A lady who cane become what any man wants meets Picard. Played by a young Famke Janssen, it's a good drama although the story may not appeal to some.
Imaginary friend. A young girl's imaginary friend might be something more. A capable production of a fairly average script.
I, Borg. The Borg are back. But this one is getting more human. A good way to do something different with the Borg.
The next phase. Ro and Geordi can't be seen or heard. What has happened to them? An excellent bit of science fiction with great character moments and exciting scenes.
The Inner light: Picard finds himself in a universe where is a man on a not very advanced world. A stunning drama with great acting from Patrick Stewart and an amazingly powerful ending.
Time's arrow part one: Buried for a long time on Earth. Data's head. The crew go time travelling to find out why. A really good time travel story but not the strongest way to end a season.
The extras on disc seven are the usual featurettes, running from twelve to thirty minutes.
Mission overview year five: Various anecdotes on the season.
Memorable missions; More anecdotes [with a title sequence that might give epileptics a problem].
Production. Stories of production design and things being put together.
Visual effects. Stories of how various things were done.
Intergalactic guest stars. A look at some of those. Although it doesn't interview any of the famous ones.
Alien speak. An interesting look at how the alien languages of the show came to be.
A tribute to Gene Roddenberry. A nice tribute to the Star Trek creator.
This season does have a small handful of average episodes, but those are watchable. And more than made up for by the great ones. So it's another dvd box set that belongs in your collection.
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