26 episodes on 7 discs: Descent Part II, Liaisons, Interface, Gambit Part I, Gambit Part II, Phantasms, Dark Page, Attached, Force of Nature, Inheritance, Parallels, The Pegasus, Homeward, Sub Rosa, Lower Decks, Thine Own Self, Masks, Eye of the Beholder, Genesis, Journey's End, Firstborn, Bloodlines, Emergence, Preemptive Strike, All Good Things... Part I, All Good Things... Part II.
The seventh and final season of Star Trek: The Next Generation
will always remain a curiosity in TV sci-fi history. Despite the end being definite, despite Deep Space Nine
taking over, despite knowing there'd be a movie six months after the series' end, and despite Babylon 5
starting that year with its predetermined story arc, there is nothing here to suggest things were coming to a close. Wesley finally gets dispatched ("Journey's End"), but everyone was waiting for that anyway. Some continuity was attempted: there's a sequel to season 1's "The Battle" ("Bloodlines"), Alexander follows the Klingon soap saga through ("Firstborn"), the Maquis and the Cardassians are mentioned several times, and there are final installments for Lwaxana Troi, Barclay, Lore, Guinan, and Ro Laren. None of this brings any form of resolution, however.
The one-off story lines seem to throw out ideas that beg for development. "Force of Nature" suggests frequent high-warp travel is damaging the very fabric of space/time. "Parallels" has Worf experiencing multiple realities, including one in which the Borg won at Wolf 359. "Lower Decks" finally introduces some secondary crew from the more than a thousand supposedly supporting Picard and company. There are even hints at some romance at long last between Dr. Crusher and Picard as well as Worf and Troi. In the long run, even after terrific guest spots from Trek alumni Armin Shimerman and Robin Curtis, and from Paul Sorvino and Kirsten Dunst, there's one thing for which the final year is remembered: "All Good Things..." is a near-perfect denouement for the show. With terrific production values and FX, not to mention standout performances from all concerned, it was an amazing surprise to have Q suggest there'd been a story arc right from the get-go. If only this final script had been fully conceived earlier on, The Next Generation might not have been overshadowed by the glut of TV sci-fi that followed in its wake. --Paul Tonks