Star Trek: The Next Generation-Season 3 (1990)

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Released 4-Sep-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Star Trek Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Featurette-Mission Overview
Featurette-Selected Crew Analysis
Featurette-Production
Featurette-Memorable Missions
Rating ?
Year Of Production 1990
Running Time 1133:53
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (7)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By None Given
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Patrick Stewart
Jonathan Frakes
Brent Spiner
Michael Dorn
Marina Sirtis
Levar Burton
Gates McFadden
Wil Wheaton
Whoopi Goldberg
Case Gatefold
RPI $234.95 Music Dennis McCarthy
Ron Jones


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Danish
German
English
Spanish
French
Italian
Dutch
Norwegian
Swedish
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes, rare
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Now we get to Season Three of Star Trek: the Next Generation. I've already reviewed Season One and Season Two.

    The third season is regarded by many Trekkers as the season when this new show really hit its stride. I don't quite agree, because I enjoyed quite a few episodes of the first two seasons, and there are a couple of less exciting episodes in this season, but I must admit that the production qualities improved noticeably at the start of this season.

    Not a lot of changes of staff this time - Dr Crusher returns (did she get thrown out of her cushy job at StarFleet Medical? Nah, apparently some fans campaigned for her return...), but that's about it - even some of the guest stars are familiar (Denise Crosby, Majel Barrett, and John de Lancie...). There were more changes to the production staff, with almost a complete replacement of the script-writing crew (this is covered in one of the extras).

    When I reviewed the first season I was surprised how many of the episodes I considered "memorable". The same with the second season. This time I wasn't surprised (yeah, right!). One of my all-time favourite episodes, Yesterday's Enterprise, is part of this season - it seems stand-alone, but there's a ramification in a later season. Interestingly, that episode is followed by strong episodes all the way to the end of the season. Although I think Jonathan Frakes clearly demonstrates his inexperience in directing Offspring, the script is hard to damage. Sins of the Father - absolutely classic stuff, and important for seasons to come. Captain's Holiday - the first sign we get of Picard getting interested in archaeology (is this the only time we see Vash?). Tin Man - good strong Star Trek fare. Sarek - proves Patrick Stewart is a real actor. And the cliff-hanger final episode? What a cruel way to leave Trekkers at the end of a season!

    I like Booby Trap, too, where we get to meet the gorgeous and brilliant Leah Brahms. Oh, and Geordi's sometime love-interest Christi Henshaw (who gets more time in Transfigurations).

    The episodes are, once again, almost in numerical order (for some reason they seem compelled to put the occasional episode out of order), and that numerical order matches the stardates. The numbering picks up where the previous season left off.

#

Title

Stardate

Director

Music

Time

 

150

Evolution

43125.8

Winrich Kolbe Ron Jones

43:38

A former wunderkind is concerned about laying an Egg. Wesley has made a bad mistake...

149

Ensigns of Command

43133.3

Cliff Bole Dennis McCarthy

43:35

Data discovers that excessive honesty can be detrimental. Picard becomes an expert in contractual loopholes

151

The Survivors

43152.4

Les Landau Dennis McCarthy

43:35

Troi is attacked by a music box while the away team is investigating the unexplained survival of one couple after an attack

152

Who Watches the Watchers

43173.5

Robert Wiemer Ron Jones

43:36

The ethics of interference - Heisenberg's Principle and practical anthropology

153

The Bonding

43198.7

Winrich Kolbe Dennis McCarthy

43:38

Worf is not the only person feeling guilty when a young boy is orphaned by a death on an away mission

154

Booby Trap

43205.6

Gabrielle Beaumont Ron Jones

43:37

The Enterprise becomes trapped in a deadly snare left over from a war many years before

155

The Enemy

43349.2

David Carson Dennis McCarthy

43:35

Worf must choose whether to help a Romulan, even though Romulans slaughtered his parents

156

The Price

43385.6

Robert Scheerer Ron Jones

43:37

Negotiations taking place on the Enterprise for exploitation rights to a stable wormhole

157

The Vengeance Factor

43421.9

Timothy Bond Dennis McCarthy

43:37

How long can someone hold a grudge? If you are Acamarian, clearly a long, long time...

158

The Defector

43462.5

Robert Scheerer Ron Jones

43:37

Is this Romulan defector real? Can they trust him? Can they afford not to trust him?

159

The Hunted

43489.2

Cliff Bole Dennis McCarthy

43:35

The people of Angosia III would like to forget their war, and the soldiers who fought it

160

The High Ground

43510.7

Gabrielle Beaumont Ron Jones

43:38

What's the morality of terrorism? Who has the moral high ground?

161

Deja Q

43539.1

Les Landau Dennis McCarthy

43:37

Q appears on the bridge, stripped (in more sense than one)

162

A Matter of Perspective

43610.4

Cliff Bole Ron Jones

43:36

Riker accused of murder on a planet where the defendant is considered guilty until proven innocent

163

Yesterday's Enterprise

43625.2

David Carson Dennis McCarthy

43:38

Meet the Enterprise NCC-1701C - 22 years ahead of its time

164

The Offspring

43657.0

Jonathan Frakes Ron Jones

43:38

Data builds himself a child, but StarFleet Research want to take her away from him

165

Sins of the Father

43685.2

Les Landau Dennis McCarthy

43:36

Worf challenging the claim that his father was a traitor to the Klingon Empire in front of the Klingon High Council

166

Allegiance

43714.1

Winrich Kolbe Ron Jones

43:37

While Picard is trying to escape after being kidnapped, the crew on the Enterprise are dealing with a fake captain

167

Captain's Holiday

43745.2

Chip Chalmers Dennis McCarthy

43:38

Picard's forced vacation gets rather more interesting than the doctor prescribed

168

Tin Man

43779.3

Robert Scheerer Jay Chattaway

43:37

Tam Elbrun (telepathic first-contact specialist) making contact with someone/something on a mysterious object orbiting a collapsing star

169

Hollow Pursuits

43807.4

Cliff Bole Dennis McCarthy

43:38

Lt Reg Barclay takes an unusual path to solving his problems with shyness and confrontation

170

The Most Toys

43872.2

Timothy Bond Dennis McCarthy

43:35

A fanatical collector adds Data to his collection of rare and unique objects

171

Sarek

43917.4

Les Landau Dennis McCarthy

43:35

Bendii syndrome, and its effects on Vulcans over 200 years old

172

Menage A Troi

43930.7

Robert Legato Ron Jones

43:35

An obsessed Ferengi kidnaps Lwaxana Troi, and takes Riker and Deanna for good measure

173

Transfigurations

43957.2

Tom Benko Dennis McCarthy

43:39

An amnesiac patient demonstrates a remarkable recovery

174

Best of Both Worlds Part I

43989.1

Cliff Bole Ron Jones

43:36

A real cliff-hanger ending to the season - where the heck is the next season already?

    They have yet another kind of uniform this season - the band at the bottom of the "sweatshirt" is rather obvious, being a different texture from the rest and it shows up darker. Deanna gets a wider variety of outfits this season, including her light blue dress (as always, her outfits have rather a low neckline, unlike all other Star Trek female attire); we also get to see her in a strange little outfit in Menage a Troi, a toga-like number in Hollow Pursuits, and exercise gear (exercising with Dr Crusher in The Price).

    Q (John de Lancie) only appears once this season (fortunately), and I rather liked the episode, because he'd been stripped of his powers, and so was not behaving as a deux ex machina. Rather fun to see another Q (Corbin Bernson, best known as Arnie Becker in LA Law) in this episode, too.

    There are other recognisable faces among the guest stars (OK, maybe voices...) - Ethan Phillips (Neelix in Star Trek: Voyager) plays a Ferengi, and Mark Lenard reprises his role as Sarek (Spock's father). I was very happy to see Denise Crosby return as Tasha Yar (albeit for a single episode). I find Lwaxana Troi (Majel Barrett) a bit grating, but she's still rather fun.

    For some reason I find the Wesley Crusher character less annoying this season - I can't say why. Still, there are even some episodes in which he does not appear (maybe that's it...).

    Interesting to note that two of these episodes (Booby Trap and Hollow Pursuits) point up unusual uses of the holodeck. The latter episode is the first to mention holodiction - I think that would be a real problem when such a technology becomes established.

    As I mentioned earlier, some Trekkers consider this the start of the best of the series - more than one has told me that they intend to start collecting with this series. You might want to hurry to get your copy before they do...

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The DVD is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and therefore is not 16x9 enhanced. No surprises there.

    The picture is much better than the first two seasons. There are still moments that are out of focus (41:48 of The Hunted, for example), but these are rather fewer than before. Generally the picture is sharper and clearer. Close-ups were reasonably sharp in Season Two, now mid-range shots are just as sharp. Good shadow detail. No low-level noise. This picture is easier on the eyes and more attractive to look at.

    Colour is rather good. Variation between episodes is dramatically reduced, too. The striation on the maroon of the command uniforms is rare now (as opposed to common in the first two seasons). There is a form of colour bleed around 11:35 of Best of Both Worlds, where a bright light behind Riker's head bleeds blue into his hair, but that's really the only significant artefact of this kind.

    There are film artefacts, but they are rather fewer in number, and smaller, than in the first two seasons. I could list them, but that could get tedious. Suffice it to say that although the film wasn't clean, the artefacts are barely noticeable.

    Aliasing effects, are reduced, particularly on the starship exterior shots, which were rather poor in the first two seasons. Now they are significantly improved, with many close-up shots showing little or no aliasing. We still get aliasing on longer shots, but that can be blamed on the narrow edges of the Enterprise combined with the limited resolution of television. It is far less irritating this season. There are a couple of moments of moiré, and a touch of shimmer, but nothing at all serious.

    The only edge enhancement I noted was at 6:40 in Transfigurations.

    If you were dissatisfied with the video quality from the first two seasons, take heart - the video quality is very noticeably improved.

    There are ten subtitle tracks, including both English and English for the Hearing Impaired. I watched a lot of the English subtitles, and they are very good - well-timed, accurate, and very easy to read. There are errors, of which the most notable is a subtitle including "columnate" rather than "collimate" - clearly we need geeks transcribing the techno-babble (or should that be techno-babel?).

    The seven discs are single-sided, dual layer. There are no layer changes in episodes, because there are four episodes per disc (except the final one), with two episodes on each layer.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The soundtrack is presented in five languages - I only listened to the English. It is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1, but it makes little use of the 5.1 capabilities.

    The dialogue is clear and comprehensible (except for the Klingon). I saw no flaws in audio sync, but Q's trumpet playing is horribly fake in Deja Q...

    The score, once again, is mostly the work of two composers, Dennis McCarthy and Ron Jones, taking alternate episodes. Jay Chattaway took the episode Tin Man, because his whale song music fitted the intentions of the episode.

    The surrounds are not heavily used, although they get some ambience and the occasional whoosh. The sub goes in and out - mostly out - and it is only used to a very limited extent. Even so, this sound is much better than we got broadcast.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    Another opening transition (similar to Season One, but a little different). The opening menu for each disc has the episodes arranged in a square. Unlike Buffy, where the episodes went down (top left, bottom left, top right, bottom right), these ones go across (top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right), but it is made easier because the next episode is highlighted when you finish watching the previous one. I think this is easier. Once you get to the menu for an episode things are simpler - just one column of options. Beware - the final episode's menu is a bit of a surprise!

Featurette - Mission Overview - Year Three (17:23)

    Another discussion of the changes between seasons, constructed from interviews from a variety of eras, including at the time (1989/1990), later (1994), and recently (2001/2002). They make a bit of a fuss about Jonathan Frakes being the first cast member to direct an episode. They are rather proud of some of the VIP visitors they got on set, including Stephen Hawking (I'm looking forward to his appearance in a later season), Colin Powell, and the Dalai Lama (apparently Tibetan monks rather like Star Trek).

    I liked the scriptwriter's admission that he was unsure about signing on for the next season because he hadn't figured out how to resolve the cliff-hanger he constructed for the end of this season!

Featurette - Selected Crew Analysis (13:32

    Some interesting analysis of several of the characters, including Picard, the Crushers, Riker and Deanna, Lwaxana, Worf, and Geordi. Levar Burton spends some time complaining that Geordi doesn't get a girl (what about Christi?).

Featurette - Departmental Briefing - Production (19:48)

    More insight into the behind-the-scenes work, including some of the artistic design and visual effects (models of starships!). There's a lengthy discussion from Michael Piller about the new scriptwriting staff, and the policy of accepting open submissions of scripts. Interesting stuff.

Featurette - Memorable Missions (13:36)

    Interviews with cast members about favourite episodes. Amusing to see Ethan Phillips interviewed in his Neelix makeup (probably deliberate, to make the point).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This box-set is already released in Region 1 with the same features. Theirs is in a cardboard box (I like our plastic packaging more), and is in NTSC. Unlike the first two seasons, where NTSC might have reduced some of the artefacting on special effects, I doubt there's any reason to favour the NTSC transfer now.

Summary

    An excellent selection of episodes, including some real classics, on seven good quality DVDs.

    The video quality is significantly improved, and is uniformly rather good.

    The audio quality is good.

    The extras are worthwhile.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Thursday, September 05, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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