Top positive review
"The Show Started to Click"
on 8 January 2013
This is a review of the original-edition slimline set of season two, a season where Geordi becomes Chief Engineer; Diana Muldaur as Dr Pulaski is a refreshing change from Dr Crusher; Whoopi Goldberg makes her first appearances as Guinan (as does 10-Forward as her `bar'); Riker has a beard that suits him well; Worf now wears yellow; Colm Meaney has a regular role as Transporter Chief; and Data demonstrates his interest in Sherlock Holmes.
The crew are now settling down into their roles and appear more comfortable as a result. Stories are better too. As Rick Berman says in the accompanying extra, `Mission Overview', "the show started to click". Unfortunately there was a writers' strike in Hollywood during this second season, and I understand this is why there are only twenty-two episodes. Indeed, the last episode is more or less a rifling-through of Riker's memories from previous episodes.
The best thing about TNG, for me, is Q. And here he returns to introduce the crew for the first time to their future adversary, the Borg. However, I had to wince when at the height of his first battle with the Borg, Picard decides to ... have a conference. What a difference from Kirk! Episode twelve for me replicates the final circumstances of Bowman towards the end of the film `2001: A Space Odyssey', caught in an alien power's concept of `Casino Royale'.
A wide variety of contemporary matters are addressed, from issues relating to abortion and an immaculate conception in episode one through to a definition of what constitutes life in episode three and the perils of genetic engineering in episode seven. But present-day scientific knowledge has already made the world of genetics depicted in episode eighteen obsolete. In episode six, strangely the mind of a great scientist is sacrificed for the life of Data, an easily-replicable android! In episode nine, consideration is given to whether Data is the property of Starfleet.
Episodes also juxtapose regular members of the team with strange surroundings. Thus we see Riker as second-in-command of a Klingon vessel (episode eight) - we even have Wesley in love (episode ten). Also, we meet Riker's father, Troi's mother, and Worf's old flame.
Extras comprise five short documentaries, all dating from 2002 - 1. a fifteen-minute `Mission Overview', with comments from the likes of Rick Berman, Gene Roddenberry, Maurice Hurley, and the stars; 2. a thirteen-minute `Selected Crew Analysis', in which the stars comment on their characters' development; 3. a seventeen-minute look at production issues (writing, costumes, propos, music); 4. a sixteen-minute look at `Memorable Missions'; and 5. Penny Juday showing us the Star Trek archives held in stores at or near the studios. (I believe most if not all of the items have since gone for auction in New York.)