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Star Trek - The Next Generation, Episode 21: The Arsenal Of Freedom [VHS] (1987)

LeVar Burton , Gates McFadden , LeVar Burton , Gates McFadden  |  NR |  VHS Tape
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: LeVar Burton, Gates McFadden
  • Directors: LeVar Burton, Gates McFadden, Gabrielle Beaumont, Robert Becker, Cliff Bole
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, HiFi Sound, NTSC
  • Language: English, French
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Paramount
  • VHS Release Date: May 31, 1995
  • Run Time: 46 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6302610745
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #732,129 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Investigating the disappearance of the USS Drake, the Enterprise receives a message from a seemingly uninhabited world. It turns out to be nothing more than an ancient, prerecorded sales pitch (delivered with sleepy enthusiasm by long-faced character actor Vincent Schiavelli) welcoming visitors to Minos, the arms market of the universe. Beaming down to the planet, Riker, Tasha, and Data wander about a lush forest before encountering a series of flying sentinels (vaguely resembling outboard motors minus their propellers), the first easily destroyed by phaser fire, but subsequent incarnations adapting themselves to the crewmembers' attacks. Meanwhile, Picard and Dr. Crusher also go exploring, finding themselves trapped in an underground cave where the captain must tend to the doctor's broken leg. With both Picard and Riker on the planet, La Forge finds himself in command for the first time; he's not the only one questioning whether he's ready for the job. Though the situation is old hat and unfolds with a certain tattered predictability, this is one of the better outings of The Next Generation's first season. The characters are fleshed out without resorting to too much overdrawn dialogue (even the usually aggravating almost-romance between Picard and Crusher is subtly drawn); in particular it's Geordi's day to shine, and LeVar Burton brings a nice self-confidence to the heretofore submissive engineer. Overlooking the studio-bound landscapes typical of early Star Trek, the episode also features some impressive effects in the brief scenes of the Enterprise's saucer separation, a clever device that fortunately was never overused on the show. Nothing groundbreaking, though no major missteps either. --Bruce Reid

From the Back Cover

After the disappearance of the U.S.S. Drake, an away team beams down to the planet Minos to search for survivors. While exploring the planet, the team is assailed by an energy sphere that traps Riker (Jonathan Frakes) in an impenetrable, transparent cube.

Meanwhile, the Enterprise has fallen under the attack of an invisible enemy that thwarts all attempts to rescue the crew members on Minos. LaForge (LeVar Burton) traces the attacks to a computer-generated weaponry system that went out of control and destroyed the civilization that created it. Can the starship crew deactivate the pernicious computer in time to save the planet... and themselves?

Costarring Vincent Schiavelli (Ghost).

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun Episode! First Season Highlight! June 29, 2000
The first sesaon of Star Trek: The Next Generation was hard to watch at times. TNG had yet to "find" itself and the writing was...uneven, at best. But toward the end of the first season, the writers and producers finally gave TNG life with such excellent episodes as "Coming of Age", "Heart of Glory" and "The Arsenal of Freedom".
"The Arsenal of Freedom" tells the story of a super-weapon that takes on a life of it's own. The Enterprise encounters this device on a planet that is one giant weapons factory. But something went terribly wrong. These weaponeers created a weapon so smart that it became something more powerful and dangerous than what they intended: It wiped out every intelligent life-form on the entire planet. And when Picard and crew investigate, this weapon attempts to wipe out the Enterprise as well. What sets this episode apart is that we get to see Lt. Geordi La Forge shine as commander of the Enterprise. Picard and most of his command staff are stranded on the planet and La Forge has to not only rescue them from one of the super-weapons but he has to protect the Enterprise from one of these weapons as well. It's fun to see La Forge, a junior lieutenant, face all the problems of command. He contends with threats inside and outside the ship as a ranking officer tries to take over the ship and La Forge stands he ground saying only Captain Picard or First Officer Riker can relieve him of duty. La Forge, along with Worf (acting as both first officer and tactical officer) and two young ensigns save the entire senior staff and the Enterprise from destruction.
Solid episode and one of a very few TNG stories that spotlights La Forge. This is THE La Forge episode to own. And one of only a few first season highlights.
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Plot: The Enterprise is on a mission to find the USS Drake, which has been missing. Riker, Yar, and Data all beam down to the planet Minos (where they tracked the Drake to have been last) and find it to be a jungle with absolutely no inhabitants. Suddenly Riker sees the commander of the USS Drake, Captain Rice. But things aren't what they appear to be (like as if this is supposed to be anything new). Riker gets suspicious and pretends that the Enterprise is the "Lollipop" in order to see if Rice is really Rice or something undesireable. Rice suddenly turns into a golden robot (and therefore, undesireable) and encases Riker in an energy field...fortunately Yar shoots it before something else happens. Picard and Dr. Crusher head down to the planet (leaving Geordi in command), where another robot attacks them and everyone scatters (except Data, who is trying to free Riker from the encasing field). Picard and Crusher fall down a pit, injuring the doctor severly. Meanwhile, the Enterprise falls under attack from another robot...

Alot of action involved with this episode, although you have to admit that there are some real absurd points to the episode including: Picard heading down to a situation that is very likely to be dangerous and Chief Eng. Logan (who would make one wish to transfer is he became a captain) trying to boss Geordi around (before HE became Chief Engineer) during the middle of a crisis instead of shutting up and doing his job. However, I think that it's rather interesting on how they beat the salespitch guy in the end (buy the product so it will shut down and not "demonstrate" anymore).

Overall, a pretty good episode, especially seeing Geordi in command and with the saucer seperation (and all the phaser fire, of course).
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3.0 out of 5 stars Points of absurdity make the episode weak October 11, 2004
This is another one of the "technology gone wild" episodes of Star Trek. It is no better than the others are, as there are several points of absurdity. The Enterprise is sent to investigate the disappearance of the USS Drake and finds the planet Minos inexplicably devoid of intelligent life. The inhabitants of Minos are well known as arms merchants, willing to sell anything to anybody possessing the means of payment. When the Enterprise arrives, they receive an automated message extolling the virtues of the weapons for sale.

Riker, Data and Yar beam down and find weapons everywhere covered with vegetation. Suddenly. Riker appears to encounter the captain of the Drake, who is an old classmate. What he sees is nothing but a projection, sent to seek information about the military capabilities of the Enterprise. The segment after Riker realizes this is the highest point of the episode. Riker then says that his ship is the Lollipop and "it is a good ship." Suddenly, an automated weapon that encases Riker in an energy field attacks the away team. The field is designed to hold the prisoner until they can be further interrogated.

The weapon is easily destroyed and Data attempts to free Riker from the field. This leads to the first point of absurdity, when Captain Picard beams down to the surface, accompanied by Dr. Crusher. Counselor Troi takes extreme exception to his beaming down, but no one else raises an objection. Before leaving, Picard places Geordi in command. Shortly after Picard and Crusher arrive, a new and more efficient weapon arrives and it is not so easily destroyed, although Tasha and Data manage to do so. However, in fleeing the weapon, Picard and Crusher fall into a pit, where Crusher suffers some broken bones.
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