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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Action > Drama > Politics > Prejudice > Outer Space > Book > Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 5 (1991-1992 CBS/Paramount Blu-ray) + Star Trek Federation - The First 150 Years (David A. Goodman; Published by Titan Books)

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 5 (1991-1992 CBS/Paramount Blu-ray) + Star Trek Federation - The First 150 Years (David A. Goodman; Published by Titan Books)

Picture: B+ Sound: B+ Extras: B+ Episodes: B+ Book: B

By the time Season 5 hit the airwaves, Star Trek: The Next Generation had a firm grip on what it wanted to be. From Seasons 3-7 we are delivered some of the most detailed and engaging Star Trek adventures to date. Whereas Seasons 3 & 4 saw drastic changes in tone for the series, Season 5 (smartly) maintains the status quo with many self contained episodes, with the occasional overarching storyline or cross over.

As previously mentioned Season 5 emphasized stand alone episodes such as The Game and Conundrum, but never sacrificed storyline for cheap thrills associated with the deep space backdrop. That is to say (as Gene Roddenberry established) storyline, good acting, and the Star Trek vision as a whole took prescience over shock and awe. Whereas there may not have been many multi-part episodes this season, continuity and referencing of former episodes took center stage. Political strife, emotional exploration, and past missions come up time and time again throughout the series with Season 5 being no different; often harkening back to previously discussed/acted upon topics.

A two part episode (that is NOT a cliffhanger) does occur this season in the form of Unification; guest starring Leonard Nimoy. The highly political driven episode has Picard and crew searching for a missing Ambassador Spock; who is believed to have gone missing during diplomatic talks between the Romulans and Vulcans. Though a fan favorite due to being one of the only and last appearances of Spock on the small screen (outside of the Original Series) the episode overall feels uneven; having a direct mission for the likes of Picard and Spock, but the rest of the crew bumbles around to fill time and space. In the end, Unification is certainly not a bad episode, but not the best this season. Other fan favorite moments involve the return of The Borg, as well as references to the (often referenced) First Contact plot device.

Episodes this season include:

  1. Redemption: part II

  2. Darmok

  3. Ensign Ro

  4. Silicon Avatar

  5. Disaster

  6. The Game

  7. Unification: part I

  8. Unification: part II

  9. A Matter of Time

  10. New Ground

  11. Hero Worship

  12. Violations

  13. Master Piece Society

  14. Conundrum

  15. Power Play

  16. Ethics

  17. The Outcast

  18. Cause and Effect

  19. The First Duty

  20. Cost of Living

  21. The Perfect Mate

  22. Imaginary Friend

  23. I, Borg

  24. The Next Phase

  25. The Inner Light

  26. Time's Arrow: Part I (Season 5 Finale/cliffhanger)

With Season 5 we are again treated to same beautiful restoration that the previous 4 seasons received from CBS/Paramount. Granted they are not perfect, but continue to make the futuristic series look better than ever before. The picture again is a stunning 1080p 1.33 X 1 image restored in-house leading to beautifully brilliant colors, solid contrast, inky black levels, and amped up visual effects. Somewhat like George Lucas before them, restoration experts made the conscious decision this season to install a CG created ship in certain shots that were deteriorated or poorly filmed from the start. Whereas noticeable, it is not a bad thing and the series continues to look great. The sound is equally impressive in its 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio that surrounds the viewer with full immersive sound. Being heavily dialogue driven the sound comes much of the time from the front, but as the crew moves about the ship of action sequences occur the surrounds kick in with booming base and solid panning effects.

Extras are detailed and plentiful, giving fans plenty to look into ranging from retrospectives to what the series means to fans today. The extras include the following:

  • Episodic Promos

  • Archival mission Log: Mission Overview Year 5

  • Archival Mission Log: Departmental Briefing Year 5 - Production

  • Deleted Scenes

  • Archival Mission Log: Departmental Briefing Year 5 - Visual Effects

  • Archival Mission Log: Memorable Missions

  • Audio Commentary on Cause and Effect

  • Audio Commentary on I, Borg

  • Audio Commentary on The First Duty

  • Archival Mission Log: A Tribute to Gene Roddenberry

  • Archival Mission Log: Intergalactic Guest Stars

  • Archival Mission Log: Alien Speak

  • Audio Commentary on Inner Light

  • Gag Reel

  • In Conversation: The Music of Star Trek - The Next Generation

  • Requiem: A Remembrance of Star Trek - The Next Generation

    • Part 1: The Needs of Many

    • Part 2: The Needs of Few

Star Trek Federation - The First 150 Years (David A. Goodman; Published by Titan Books)

An excellent addition to any Star Trek fans collection; concurrently acting as a great reference piece as well as beautiful collectable.

Star Trek Federation: The First 150 Years probably isn't for your casual viewer/fan, but instead is a compendium of information for the Star Trek universe catering to the biggest fans. What may seem tedious to the casual fan, will have hardcore Trekkies jumping for joy as David A. Goodman's book chronicles the Star Trek Federation; using excerpts from Starfleet records and intergalactic intelligence to paint a picture of what Starfleet was and has evolved into.

The highly detailed Hardcover book discusses a variety of topics ranging from First Contact to intergalactic war and battles. Also readers are treated to an intensely researched and finely detailed account of Alien races, art, field sketches and much more.

Never for a moment dull, Star Trek Federation: The First 150 Years allows fans to explore a nicely chronicled series of events as Starfleet evolved from first contact through the next 15 years with plenty of peripheral information to flesh out the universe as a whole.

A truly wonderful addition to any collection that can be used in conjunction with newly released Blu-ray TV series and films.

- Michael P. Dougherty II


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