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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > TV > Adventure > Space Opera > Action > Star Trek – The Next Generation: Season 3 + Star Trek – The Best of Both Worlds (Paramount Blu-ray Sets)

Star Trek – The Next Generation:  Season 3 + Star Trek – The Best of Both Worlds (Paramount Blu-ray Sets)


Picture: B+     Sound: B+     Extras: B+/B     Episodes: B+/A-



As may have been previously mentioned, I am uncertain as to whether Paramount upgraded/restored all of the Next Generation episodes at once or is slowly chipping away at the long running series; either way the series looks wonderful here on Blu-ray.  What in previous years (on VHS and DVD) took years to distribute, we now seem to be getting a steady stream of Star Trek releases at a good clip.  This could be due to the popularity of the JJ Abram films, or just that it was time; again, in no way complaining.


Star Trek – The Next Generation: Season 3 follows suit with the two previous seasons released.  Technical issues that plagued the DVDs have mostly been remedied here on Blu-ray, a host of extras exist, and the complete content of the series is here unedited, unsullied.


In previous reviews I expressed my love for this series, but also alluded that it had some troubles in the beginning; trying to winner over original series fans and concurrently making a name for itself.  Season 3 is where Next Generation hits its stride; finally whittling it down to essential cast and giving audiences that strong connection with the crew.  Along with the audience getting a familiarity with the crew of the Enterprise, we also started to get better scripts and immense and immersing story arches; story arches that would span seasons.


The level of detail that comes out of Season 3’s episodes is captivating as the introductions and formalities are out of the way paving the way for philosophical insight and futuristic wonderment.  The writers also manage to slickly make a variety of episodes charactercentric; expressing that crew members thoughts and emotions on situations without slapping you in the face or making it a ‘lesson of the week.’ 


We get to go with the crew as they experience life, death, evolution, innovation, love, and so much more.  All of this exemplifies that the series is about to take off in all kinds of directions and that the Star Trek universe is much bigger than was captured in seasons one and two.  New alien races are abound this season (some friendly, others hostile), which is incredibly cool and would be added to the Star Trek canon/mythos for series to come, but it is the interactions between races (often hitting close to home) that really takes the series to the next level.


Star Trek TNG – Season 3 is amazingly well done, setting the stage for the coming seasons.  I wait in anticipation for each coming season here from Paramount Blu-ray.


Then we have Star Trek – The Best of Both Worlds, a release for extreme fans of the series, being composed of the Season 3 Finale (cliff hanger) and the Season 4 Premiere.  Considered two of the best episodes (totaling nearly 2 hours) fans often times refer to them as cinematic as the script, acting, and visuals are among the best the series would ever demonstrate.


I fully agree with those fans, though I find this Blu-ray release somewhat absurd.  I suppose it is meant for extreme Star Trek collectors/enthusiast, those who can’t wait for Season 4 to arrive to experience the resolution, or those casual fans who (oddly) only like those 2 episodes.  I find the third speculation to be the least likely.


From my point of view just wait for Season 4 to arrive and continue buying up entire seasons.


The two episodes here chronicle the capturing of Captain Picard by the part organic, mostly machine race known as the Borg.  The Borg assimilates Picard into their race and uses his knowledge of Starfleet in an attempt to bring it to its knees.  The story is action packed, fast paced, well written, well acted, and overall a solid episode that finally brings home the point that the universe is a dangerous place.


The technical features for these two episodes are the same as Season Three (as they restored concurrently) and will be reviewed with Season Three below.


Note that extras for Star Trek: The Next Generation – Best of Both Worlds includes the following:

-          TV promos

-          Audio Commentary

-          Gag Reel

-          Regeneration: Engaging the Borg Featurette

o        Great Featurette that is full of depth and insight into these landmark episodes

-          Ultra Violet Copy included


The technical features here on this Blu-ray set are well done and do not hit any of the snags that plagued the first/second seasons.  The first two seasons were not done by CBS themselves and it showed; here in the third season I can honestly say that this is the best TNG has ever looked on home video.  No longer does the picture have moments of appearing like a bad VHS tape and the remastered 1080p image is stunningly well done.  The level of detail is astonishing and elements that were never able to be displayed on TV are available here; as well as CBS going back and touching up (digitally) some of the special effects and planetary visuals (clouds, water, etc).  Every time TNG was on television I always found it fuzzy, outdated, and unappealing now that we have HD; well here fans finally get the HD treatment.  Colors are vibrant, blacks are dark and framing, and the overall presentation is more than enjoyable.  The sound remains a DTS 7.1 HD Master Audio that again uses the whole soundscape and even better than in the previous two releases.  Dialogue is clean and clear, ambient noises fill the speakers, and the series dramatic musical scores project with ease.


Standard Definition Extras for Season 3 include:

·         Promos

·         Archival Mission Log: Mission overview Year 3

·         Archival Mission Log: Selected Crew

·         Archival Mission Log: Departmental Meeting Year 3; Memorable Missions

·         Archival Mission Log: Departmental Meeting Year 3; Production

High Def –

·         Audio Commentaries (5 in total)

·         Gag Reel

·         Resistance is Futile: Assimilating the Next Generation (great featurette split into 3 parts)

o        Biological Distinctiveness

o        Technological Distinctiveness

o        The Collective

·         Inside the Writers’ Room

·         Tribute to Michael Piller


Great series and great Blu-rays!



-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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