Season Five kicks off with more of Klingons fighting each other, which makes for a rousing start in 'Redemption' part 2. Second episode 'Darmock' was already up for an Emmy, which it won, for tackling barriers in communication. Picard struggles to talk to the Tamarian captain, played by Paul Winfield of Star Trek 2 fame, in a recreation of historical events from the Tamarian past. It's the aliens who are intelligent, really, in thinking that this will bridge communications with the Federation, and they were right. 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!
The fifth season of The Next Generation remains one of my personal favourite, and it all kicks off with "Redemption, Part II" in which the crew race to stop the cunning Romulans from orchestrating a civil war within the Klingon Empire. While it lacks the pace and tension of previous two-parter "The Best Of Both Worlds", it's certainly entertaining and introduces the evil Romulan Commander Sela (played by Denise Crosby, who must obviously have regretted her decision to leave the show as Lt Tasha Yar) 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.
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.
This is yet another quality season from the TNG crew. The episodes look fabulous in HD, making the experience even more memorable - like watching the show all over again for the first time. It brings life into this imaginative and intelligent series, the clever stories are given more reality than ever before.
This season includes a fantastic season opener, "Redemption, Part 2." Another favorite of mine is "The Game", a highly underrated episode about the crew being controlled by an addictive and dangerous game, reminded me of a brilliant TOS "possessed" episode. I have always loved "Conundrum" too, as it was the first TNG episode I had ever watched when I was a young boy with my Grandad, who introduced me to this timeless show. "Darmok" and "The Inner Light" are fan favorites. There not my absolute classics, but I still like them. "Cause and Effect" is intriguing, written by fantastic TNG writer Brannon Braga, even though it does get annoying after a while (watch the episode and see what I mean.) "The First Duty" is perhaps my favorite of the season though, a really good episode about morals and doing the right thing, love it.
Season 5 is another top-notch delivery from the Enterprise: picture, packaging of the box and story power is all there - bring on season 6!
The fifth season was again, a smash hit, there are memerable episodes such as the season opener Redemption, part 2 and Darmok, where captain picard is stranded on a planet with an alien who he can not understand, then there is 2-part episode Unification where spock and Sela return, there are also episodes like Disaster and The Inner Light, again, a great season, which every fan should be proud of, the dvd features for this season are also of a high standered.
I suppose season five (1991-92) is best known for the return of Leonard Nimoy in the two-parter ‘Unification’ (both parts one and two appear in this set). Denise Crosby appears in the second part. But, as is often the case with the two-parters, the story’s build up is met by a disappointing denouement.
Season five actually opens with the second part of ‘Redemption’, which again witnesses the re-appearance of Denise Crosby – and, incidentally, sees Data get his first independent command (in another episode – ‘Disaster’ – Lieutenant Commander Troi is in charge, whilst in ‘Conundrum’ Worf is in charge and giving order to Picard.),
As well as the return of Nimoy and Crosby, another returnee to the series in this season is Will Wheaton in ‘The Game’ and ‘The First Duty’. Lwaxana Troi (Majel Barratt) makes another unforgettable appearance. Meanwhile, a new member of the crew who appears in a large number of episodes is Ensign Ro (Michelle Forbes), and Brian Bonsall plays Worf’s son in more than one episode. One ‘man’ who is notable by his absence in season five is, alas, Q.
Other points in this season worthy of remark is to see Picard wearing in more than one episode a blue sweater and red bomber jacket; one episode (‘Hero Worship’) is directed by Patrick Stewart; Patrick’s son Daniel appears in ‘The Inner Light’; Kelsey Grammer makes a fleeting appearance (‘Cause & Effect’); and we meet ‘Hugh’ of the Borg. The season ends with another two-parter that introduces Mark Twain (‘Time’s Arrow’).
Alongside the usual sci-fi storylines, three cheers are due to the series also bravely attempting to comment on contemporaneous social issues. Interesting and contentious subjects covered in this season include addiction to computer games (in ‘The Game’); the attempted rape of Troi (‘Violations’); voluntary euthanasia (in Ethics’); and androgyny as a metaphor for homosexuality – the US TV public would only go so far! – in ‘The Outcast’.
Indeed, this season is notable for some fine writing. Even ‘Imaginary Friend’, which on the face of things presents an awful scenario (a kid with an imaginary friend), is well-written and performed. ‘Inner Light’ is another favourite of mine, where Picard lives a lifetime on another planet in the matter of minutes on the Enterprise. But for me, the best episode (and arguably the best of all TNG seasons) is ‘Darmok’, a clever instalment that sees Picard embark on a virtually one-to-one relationship with an alien, with whom he can communicate only in metaphor. (Michael Piller also singled this episode out for praise.)
The extras in this box set follow the same pattern as before. These largely comprise a series of twenty-minute ‘Mission Overviews’ recorded in 2002, featuring comments by a wide range of participators: actors, writers, producers, technical crew, etc. Memorable missions are revisited. But in addition season six witnessed the death of Gene Roddenberry, and the extras include a thirty-minute tribute.