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Star Trek The Next Generation - Season 4 (Slimline Edition) [DVD]
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All 26 episodes from the fourth season of the first 'Star Trek' spin-off. In 'The Best of Both Worlds 2' Picard has been assimilated by the seemingly unstoppable Borg, and Riker risks destroying his friend and captain when he launches an attack on the enemy cube. 'Family' sees Picard recuperating from his ordeal back on Earth with his resentful older brother, while Worf receives a visit from his adoptive human parents and Wesley views a message from his late father. In 'Brothers' Data takes control of the Enterprise when he is summoned by his 'father', Dr Noonian Soong, in order to be fitted with an emotion chip. 'Suddenly Human' finds Picard attempting to decide what to do with a teenage human boy who has been raised by a group of Talarians. 'Remember Me' sees Beverly convinced that people are going missing from the Enterprise as a result of her son Wesley's warp field experiments. 'Legacy' finds the crew embroiled in civil war when they visit the home world of Ishara, the sister of their deceased colleague Tasha Yar. In 'Reunion' Worf is reunited with his former mate, K'Ehleyr, and son Alexander when Picard is asked to intercede in the Klingon accession. 'Future Imperfect' sees Riker recovering consciousness after succumbing to a strange gas, only to discover that he is apparently fifteen years into the future and now an admiral, about to arrive on a Romulan warbird. In 'Final Mission' Wes Crusher is accepted to Starfleet Academy and takes Picard on one last away mission. 'The Loss' has ship's counsellor Deanna Troy lose her empathetic powers just as the Enterprise approaches a race of two-dimensional lifeforms. 'Data's Day' sees the android first officer recounting his typical day, describing his attempts to understand a variety of human emotions as he helps Chief Miles O'Brien prepare for his impending wedding. 'The Wounded' finds Picard forced to intervene when a renegade captain launches an attack on the Federation's former enemies, the Cardassians. In 'Devil's Due' the population of Ventax II turn to Picard for help when the 'god' Arda arrives to enslave them - according to the terms of a contract they made with him for one thousand years of peace. 'Clues' sees the entire Enterprise crew (except Data) lose one whole day of memory after passing through a wormhole. In 'First Contact' Riker is stranded on a planet whose inhabitants are fearful of and even hostile towards alien life forms. 'Galaxy's Child' has Geordi disappointed when his alterations to the Enterprise do not meet with ship designer Leah Brahms' approval. 'Night Terrors' sees the crew plagued by hallucinations when they become trapped in a space rift. 'Identity Crisis' finds Geordi compelled to return to a planet he once visited as part of a survey team when all the other members of the team vanish. In 'The Nth Degree' Barclay's intelligence is rapidly enhanced, and it continues to grow by the minute, causing him to try and bring the Enterprise to the centre of the galaxy. 'Q-Pid' has both Q and Vash return, this time in a recreation of the Robin Hood legend, where Picard is Robin, Vash is Marion, Q is the Sheriff, and Worf, despite his protestations, is one of the merry men. In 'The Drumhead' a Klingon working on board the Enterprise is found to be in league with the Romulans; this leads the respected-but-bigoted Admiral Satie to start a witch-hunt for other conspirators. 'Half A Life' sees the Enterprise crew encounter a race who decree that ritual suicide should be undertaken by all those reaching the age of 60. 'The Host' finds Dr. Crusher falling under the spell of a Federation ambassador, but when he is injured and needs her medical attention, she makes a discovery which causes her feelings to change pretty quickly. 'The Mind's Eye' has Geordie kidnapped by the Romulans and brainwashed into the assassination of a Klingon governor. 'In Theory' sees Data encounter more illogical human emotions when an Enterprise cadet falls in love with him. Finally, in 'Redemption', the Klingon Empire is teetering on the brink of civil war and the Romulans are taking more than a passing interest in the power struggle.
Season 4 of Star Trek: The Next Generation seemed like the year of family. After quickly resolving the breathtaking cliffhanger of "The Best of Both Worlds," the show took pains to show some of what the Federation was fighting for. We meet Picard's brother, Data's father, Tasha's sister, and Worf's adoptive human parents, plus an old flame with a surprise son in tow. The Klingon heritage subplot that begins here and builds to the cliffhanger finale ("Redemption") would continue to the show's end and through into Worf's reappearance in Deep Space Nine.
The year also explored the implications of Data, Lwaxana Troi, Geordi, and Dr. Crusher being in love, while Miles O'Brien (given a first name at last) married Keiko. There were old friends revisited: the ubiquitous Q in a hilarious Robin Hood romp ("Qpid"), perennial screwup Reg Barclay ("Nth Degree"), and even the mysterious Traveler from season 1's "Where No One Has Gone Before" (played by Eric Menyuk, who was nearly cast as Data). There were new races introduced who would have an important bearing on Trek's destiny: the Cardassians and the Trill. Most of all, though, there were the one-off stories that impressed: "Clues," with its memory-loss mystery; "Night Terrors," with some genuine frights; and "Identity Crisis," with possibly the only time Trek technology really helped Geordi solve a puzzle. Then right at the end, reinforcing the year's familial theme, Denise Crosby returned as her own half-Romulan daughter! --Paul TonksSee all Product description
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Episodes in season four include the use of the saucer section; Brent Spiner playing Data, Lore AND Dr Soong; the introduction of Tasha Yar’s sister; we meet Data’s cat; we learn Chief O’Brien’s first name; the return of the socially-challenged Lieutenant Barclay; and apparently the only episode that did not feature the bridge of the ‘Enterprise’ (‘Family’). Wesley Crusher left the series almost half-way through, ostensibly to attend Starfleet Academy – we are told in episode nine that he has been studying the effects of outpost judiciary decisions on federation law. (Yeah, right.) But in the extras he explains he left to pursue his career in film and on the stage.
My favourite is probably the fifth, where Eric Menyuk reprises his role as ‘the traveller’. An equally good episode is the eight in which Riker’s memory is infected by the Romulans. Both stories are based on firm ideas but which are ruined (as usual) at the end by cop outs that rely on some ‘deus ex machina’. Another good case is ‘Night Terrors’, where we have an intriguing opening of inexplicable tiredness and irritability among the crew that is ultimately explained by a plot that is both too fanciful and riddled with holes.
But certainly season four has some of the best writers and story editors so far. Some good ideas are aired, such as Troi losing temporarily her empathetic abilities (in ‘The Loss’) or meeting what seems to be a female version of Q (Ardra in ‘Devil’s Due’). It’s always refreshing to see Q himself appear, of course, and here he causes his usual chaos by placing the crew in Sherwood Forest. I also liked ‘The Host’, which queries the nature of love at quite a profound level, although the cynic in me sees Riker’s so-called sacrifice rather as his chance to add Dr Crusher to the notches on his bedpost! It’s not all good news on the storyline front, however. Some episodes continue to appal, such as ‘Galaxy’s Child’ (where the ‘Enterprise’ performs a caesarean section on an alien species),
Some of the major guest stars in season four include Jeremy Kemp (as Picard’s brother), Nick Tate (of ‘Space 1999’ fame), Bebe Neuwirth (as a sexually curious alien), Jean Simmons playing a McCarthy-era figure in a courtroom drama, and David Ogden Stiers in an episode that addresses the issue of euthanasia. Jonathan Frakes obtains more directs two episodes whilst Patrick Stewart directs his first.
The set has ninety-eight minutes of extras. These follow by-and-large the format of the box sets of previous seasons, but with a heavier emphasis on the all-important scripts and their writers and editors. Elsewhere, we see Gene Roddenberry celebrating the hundredth episode and learn that Gates McFadden was pregnant for much of the season.
Well, I've nothing "better" to do than give star ratings out of 5 for the episodes so far- to be completed at the end of the season.
Best Of Both Worlds part II *****
Suddenly Human **
Remember Me ****
Future Imperfect ***
Final Mission ***
The Loss **
Data's Day *****
The Wounded ****
Devil's Due ***
First Contact ***
The Nth Degree ****
Half A Life****
The Host ***
The Mind's Eye****
Redemption part I ****
By this stage, the writers were beginning to feel very confident in what they were doing, and started to produce some excellent material that gave the actors a chance to really shine; the ghosts of The Original Series had been laid to rest, and Next Generation was now a high quality programme in its own right. The direction and production of episodes also started to take on a slicker feel and this shows up in the quality of the individual episodes.
The box set also has a number of extra items that I enjoyed a great deal; it's really good to see some of the background stuff that goes into the production behind the programmes; how the themes behind the story develop and get turned into the show.
This is a great addition to any collection, and complements the other sets really nicely.
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