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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Star Trek: The Next Generation (Season 3)
Star Trek: The Next Generation (Season 3)
Paramount // Unrated // July 2, 2002
List Price: $139.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted July 9, 2002 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

Paramount's DVD releases of the original "Star Trek" series offered remixed audio and pleasantly clean picture quality, but were only released two shows at a time. With the studio's releases of "Star Trek: The Next Generation", the studio has not only offered full-season sets at a suprisingly rapid rate, but also has included supplements and the kind of audio (remixed in 5.1) and picture quality (very nice full-frame editions) that one would expect from the studio.

The "Next Generation" releases have arrived at season three, and I continue to wish that I would have started watching these shows when they were actually on television. I still don't consider myself much of a Science Fiction fan, but the "Next Generation" series, aside from a few episodes that are less enjoyable than the others, often offers compelling stories and a cast of great actors. Patrick Stewart continued to be a commanding presence as Captain Picard and, quite honestly, the more down-to-earth and less campy "Next Generation" often proves more entertaining to me than the original series ever was.

Season 3 continues along the same lines as the prior two seasons while also expanding the storylines and providing a stronger overall appearance. While the audience and the press were somewhat unsure of a new "Trek" during the first couple of seasons, the cast and filmmakers did not seem so - the cast obviously came together quickly and work together even better in Season 3. Whoopi Goldberg, a "Trek" fan, returns again in the third season in a bit part and villians Q and the Borg also appear to challenge the crew of the Enterprise.

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.


The DVD

VIDEO: "Star Trek: The Next Generation" is presented in full-frame (the original aspect ratio of the show) once again on this third season. Also, as with the second season versus the first, the image quality continues to improve from season-to-season. There's not a major difference in the appearance of the shows, but both the lesser age and the budget increases of the third season over the first two add up to picture quality that is more pleasing in a few ways. The picture appears more consistently sharp and well-defined, with only a few brief exceptions.

Still, a few minor concerns arise: a couple of brief, tiny print flaws here, a very minimal hint of pixelation there. Little or no edge enhancement was spotted. Overall, while a little fault or two was spotted, their appearances were brief and not distracting. The episodes color palette's, whether vivid or subdued, looked well-rendered, with no smearing or other faults. Hopefully, future seasons will continue to look even better, but Season 3 still looks very good.

SOUND: "Star Trek: The Next Generation"'s 3rd season is once again presented in remixed Dolby Digital 5.1 by Paramount. Again, the results, while not up to the kind of enveloping nature that the 5.1 presentations of the theatrical "Trek" features provide, are still impressive, especially considering these are 5.1 remixes of a TV show that's now around ten years of age. Surrounds are nicely engaged for the music and occasional sound effects, such as when the ship flys over or during some of the more intense action sequences. The audio quality also seems a bit more full and dynamic this time around. Dialogue, music and sound effects remain crisp and clear throughout.

MENUS: Paramount continues to put together wonderful animated menus for the "Next Generation" season box sets, looking like Enterprise computers. The packaging, a fold-out case within a larger box, continues to be the same.

EXTRAS: Paramount continues to offer similar supplements for this new "Next Generation" box set. Although these well-produced documentaries are highly enjoyable, I hope that future sets will include other, newly produced supplements, such as cast/crew commentaries and other extras. At the very least, it would be nice if at least the last season's box set was a nice, Special Edition send-off, with more additional features. Four documentaries are again available here; "Mission Overview", where the creators and actors discuss what's new in Season 3; "Selected Crew Analysis", where the cast chats about their thoughts on the season; "Production", which looks at the effects and the writing process, and "Memorable Missions", where the cast and crew talk about their favorite episodes. All four featurettes add up to a little over an hour of material.

Final Thoughts: The third season of "The Next Generation" continues to boldly go forth into new adventures, offering continued excellence from both cast and crew. Paramount's new DVD set for this season offers similar supplements, but continued excellence with regards to both audio/video. Especially recommended for fans, but casual fans should take a look, too.
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