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Star Trek The Next Generation - The Complete Third Season
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26 episodes on 7 discs: Evolution, The Ensigns of Command, The Survivors, Who Watches the Watchers, The Bonding, Booby Trap, The Enemy, The Price, The Vengeance Factor, The Defector, The Hunted, The High Ground, Deja Q, A Matter of Perspective, Yesterday's Enterprise, The Offspring, Sins of the Father, Allegiance, Captain's Holiday, Tin Man, Hollow Pursuits, The Most Toys, Sarek, Menage a Troi, Transfigurations, The Best of Both Worlds Part 1.
Star Trek: The Next Generation's third year was an important development in syndicated television. After two shaky years, Paramount nonetheless decided the franchise still had plenty to do. Their confidence was bolstered by two significant factors. First, cast uncertainties were finally settled: Gates McFadden (Dr. Crusher) was back for good; Denise Crosby (Tasha Yar) regretted her first-year departure, and so contrived a return in the Emmy Award-winning "Yesterday's Enterprise"; and Whoopi Goldberg happily continued her actor's-scale contributions.
Second, after the show had survived the previous year's writers' strike, new writing blood revitalized both characters and ideas: Data experienced fatherhood ("The Offspring"), Worf's Klingon heritage kick-started a huge story arc ("Sins of the Father"), and Picard got a saucy vacation ("Captain's Holiday"). There were memorable star cameos: John de Lancie played more mischief alongside Corbin Bernsen ("Déjà Q"); Dwight Schultz played truant in a gentle warning about addiction ("Hollow Pursuits"); and pleasing fans even more was Mark Lenard as Spock's dad ("Sarek"). The strongest evidence that TNG would continue for some time was the trend-setting cliffhanger finale. Fans and critics still agree that "The Best of Both Worlds" (properly introducing the Borg) was one of the greatest tricks ever pulled on TV to make audiences come back for more. --Paul Tonks
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First off one of the most anticipated features for me was the inclusion of the footage featuring little person David Rappaport in the episode "The Most Toys". The actor tried to commit suicide while filming the episode and was replaced by Saul Rubineck. I was always curious about how the episode would have been, but frankly (with all respect for the dead) Saul's performance is simply better than Rappaport's, and it is very apparent in hindsight that David is having personal issues as his performance isn't at the top of his game. Still it's great that is was included and is very interesting to see.
This season set was pushed as "the writer's set" with most of the new extras dealing with the show's incredible writing staff. We get an hour long round table discussion with the writing staff hosted by Family Guy's Seth McFarlane. I hope we see more of these s this was truly enjoyable. It's a very informal talk about the season and it's just a treat filled with great trivia (they almost killed Will Riker off?!?!?!). The other extras also go in depth into the season with the actors, with plenty of trivia, anecdotes and discussion. A long gag reel is included again, and while I LOVE the fact that each season is getting a season specific gag reel this one is fairly light on the laughs and is not one of the better ones. But just the fact that it's included is awesome.
Ok, so why only 4 stars out of 5, you ask? Very simple. On the same day this set was released there was also another Next Generation release. The Season 3 cliffhanger finale and it's Season 4 conclusion were released as a re-edited "movie" on a separate blu ray, "Star Trek: The Next Generation; The Best of Both Worlds". This release has it's own set of extras, a gag reel from that episode, etc. These extras go into detail on what is arguably one of the most well known episodes/cliffhangers EVER, and NONE of these features are included in the Season 3 blu-ray set, so if you want them you have to buy a totally separate blu-ray of an episode YOU NOW ALREADY HAVE to get the extra features. This comes off as a pathetic cash-grab and I strongly hope that CBS rectifies this by including these features on the Season 4 set. It may seem like not that big of a deal, but when I purchase the pricey box set of a season I already owned on DVD and it's not 'complete' I find that very irritating. Oh well.
That major issue aside, this is a great set overall, just remember that it is NOT complete. ;-)
Maybe because the images are clearer than ever, not only do I see the two vertical seams on the front of the Star Fleet uniform and Wesley Crusher's pimples (which I never knew were there before), but I can also see more nuances in the actors' expressions.
In Sarek, the scene where Picard confronted Sarek alone, the latter was so angry and shaken, it really touched me in a deep level. Credit to Mark Lenard's heartbreaking performance, but I never felt this way before watching this episode on TV or DVD.
Definitely worth the upgrade.