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Star Trek: The Next Generation Season Six Blu-Ray Review

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#1 of 10 ONLINE   Neil Middlemiss

Neil Middlemiss

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Posted June 27 2014 - 07:44 PM

Star Trek: The Next Generation Season Six Blu-Ray Review

Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Sixth Season saw the return of James Doohan’s Scotty, a return of The Borg, Riker going insane, Picard falling in love, Troi falling under an unpleasant spell, Worf have a High Noon moment, and Data lose his head (literally and figuratively). It is another strong season that comes to us in splendid high definition courtesy the passion and investment of CBS. With just the seventh season left to be released in HD, Trek fans (Trekkers or Trekkies, take your pick) will be eager to see companion shows make their debut once the extensive conversion work can be given the green light by CBS. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager may not have enjoyed the heights of The Next Generation, they are no less deserving of the love shown the most popular of the Trek series. For now, however, fans can rejoice in the glorious arrival of Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Complete Sixth Season.


Cover Art


Studio: Paramount

Distributed By: CBS

Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Audio: English 2.0 DD, English 7.1 DTS-HDMA, French 2.0 DD, Other

Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Other

Rating: Not Rated

Run Time: 19 Hr. 35 Min.

Package Includes: Blu-ray

Multi-case in slipcase

Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)

Region: A

Release Date: 06/24/2014

MSRP: $129.99




The Production Rating: 4/5

“There are many parts of my youth that I'm not proud of. There were... loose threads - untidy parts of me that I would like to remove. But when I... pulled on one of those threads - it unraveled the tapestry of my life.”

About the Show

Star Trek: The Next Generation is the most successful of the now five Star Trek series, and for good reason. It was serious minded, exciting, and bolstered by wonderful visual effects for a Television show (thanks to ILM’s terrific stock effects and other talented folk) and an earnest dedication to the evolved sensibilities of our possible future created by Star Trek creator, Gene Roddenberry. The cast ranged from superb actors to moderately skilled, but each added a flavor and distinctness that are every bit an integral element in the fabric of the show. Patrick Stewart stars as the English accented, French born Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Jonathan Frakes as the handsome first officer, William T Riker, Brent Spiner as a unique and beloved android Commander Data, LeVar Burton, with his special visor as a mechanically gifted Chief Engineer Geordi La Forge, Marina Sirtis as a half-betazoid, half human ship counselor Deanna Troi, Michael Dorn as the interesting and impressive Chief of Security Worf (the lone Klingon aboard), Beverly Crusher portrayed by Gates McFadden, and missing in action for the sixth season (save a scene in the tag for the episode “Rascals” is Michelle Forbes as Ensign Ro Laren.

The crew, captained by Jean-Luc Picard, explores space in the Enterprise D, a Galaxy Class starship, housing over 1000 crew and their families. They encounter evolved beings, mysterious anomalies, aggressive and amenable species and other assorted magnificent wonders out in the great unknown. The stories from the seven seasons for which this show ran feature impressive, intelligent and exciting tales that deliver allegorical thought-provokers and good old fashion science fiction fun. It is a show that has grown and prospered from the success of what the original series (in syndication and in feature films) provided. The Next Generation was different from the days of Kirk, Spock and McCoy in tone, technology and tenor – but fundamentally born of the same spirit of exploration, tolerance, social stories and intellect.




Season Six

4/5

Star Trek: The Next Generation remained enormously popular entering into its sixth season. So popular, audiences couldn’t get enough of the 23rd Century on the small screen. Work had been diligently underway to craft a second series that would run concurrently with the adventures of Picard and crew. The new series set in the Rodenberry-imagined future would be different enough to stand apart from the explorations of the U.S.S Enterprise and a little darker. The new series was Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and its very existence would have a noticeable effect on The Next Generation, beyond a few minor crossover touches to help launch (and then help support) the series.

The churn of producing a costly and creatively intense television series is considerable. But launching and running a second series at the same time places inordinate time, cost and creative pressures that inevitably would manifest in a drop in quality. Season Six of The Next Generation would feel the tumult and pinch of a shifting staff behind the scenes, as some crew moved to the new series while others would pull double duty and work on both (and then some of those who stayed on TNG would find themselves elevated in position to fill vacancies left by those undertaking the launch of Deep Space Nine.) The high quality of The Next Generation series had always been a glorious combination of skill, talent and creative command both onscreen, behind the camera, and throughout the production staff. The shifting of the crew between shows and the diverted attention from the flagship series to the exciting (but enormously taxing proposition of the new series) could not help but be felt.

The drop in consistency from the previous seasons (notably seasons three and four), isn’t enough to dampen the ultimate strength of the show as the season delivers many more hits than misses, though the stumbling out of the gate with the underwhelming “Man of the People”, the unfulfilled promise of “Schisms”, and the listless “True Q,” may give fans pause to wonder. Among the first batch of episodes though, you’ll find charming outings such as James Doohan’s return in “Relics,” and the western themed “Fistful of Datas,” but near the mid-point of the season, with the dramatically rich “Chain of Command” two-part event, the season finds its footing and what flourishes beyond, with only a few missteps, is a mature, rounded season that runs lighter on ‘treknobabble’ and welcomingly strong on episodes with well-staged storytelling and patiently dramatic expeditions prominently featuring Patrick Stewart’s Captain Picard, and Brent Spiner’s Commander Data. As with most seasons, each cast member is given at least a couple of episodes that center on their characters, but this year finds surprisingly strong turns by Stewart and Spiner, stronger than their typical fine work, that drives, on balance, a deeply satisfying season.

Though the misses are outnumbered by the hits, what generally is missing from the sixth season is the creative and exciting peak that marked the best of the show’s seasons. The third season saw memorable episodes such as “Yesterday’s Enterprise” and “The Best of Both World’s part I”, season four delivered “The Best of Both Worlds Part II,” and “The Drumhead,” and season five delivered the newsworthy return of Spock in “Unification I and II”, and the magnificent “Cause and Effect.” Telling for season six, and more so in the final season, is the fewer occasions where the show produced something that would become part of the Trek conversation for years after (“Chain of Command I and II” being perhaps the most notable, certainly the finest of this season). What this really means is that The Next Generation was still producing high-quality television, even if it felt a little like auto-pilot from time to time, but it had now past over that glorious creative and quality peak.

The highlights of season six are:

Realm of Fear

Lt. Reginald Barclay’s fear of the transporter device rears its head when he is tasked to join an away mission searching a damaged and apparently abandoned Federation science vessel. Eventually overcoming his fears, he witnesses something strange in the transporter beam, but dismisses it as potentially symptoms of his fear. However, it may not be delusion or paranoia after all.

While inclusion of this episode may raise some eyebrows, let me go to bat of this enjoyable study of fear and affirmation. Dwight Schultz returns as the nervous Reginald Barclay, an unlikely Starfleet officer who is shy and awkward but surprisingly clever and immutably likeable. The study of Barclay’s irrational (but quite frankly, rational) fear of the transporter technology – the disassembly of the human body into its molecules, transported some distance, and reassembled, is effectively established. Wrapped in a mystery involving a damaged and deserted science vessel, “Realm of Fear” posits the great what if. What if the fears that Barclay has of transporting aren’t merely his paranoid imagination, and what if no-one believed him when he raised his concerns.

The success of this episode is firmly in Schultz’s portrayal. His quirks and humorous expressions balance well with the breakdown of his mental faculties as he wrestles his paranoia – his cry wolf initial fear with his increasing certainty that what he saw and experience wasn’t a figment of his frightened imagination. By all accounts this is a bottle show – a contained episode light on location, set, and visual effects costs (though there is a little of each of those to be found), and that often gives rise to more thoughtful, or at least more dialogue rich, episodes. And that’s what “Realm of Fear” is, a study of Schultz’ Barclay with a dash of mystery and a sprinkle of smiles.

Relics

The Enterprise discovers an enormous Dyson sphere, a once theoretical structure built around a star to harness as its near-inexhaustible power. They also discover a crashed Federation ship on the surface of the structure and upon investigation, find the legendary Scotty, Chief Engineer of the Constitution Class USS Enterprise under Captain Kirk, surviving in the transporter device ingeniously set on repeating diagnostic mode so as not to lose signal integrity. The revived Scotty finds himself outside of his time and unsure how a relic of the Federations past will fit in to the more technologically advanced world into which he has awoken.

A curious notion with the transporter was engineered to allow James Doohan to appear as a guest star in The Next Generation so many years after The Original Series crew’s time, but setting aside that plot convenience, the event gives rise to a wonderfully light and likeable episode featuring Doohan’s unendingly likeable Scotty. Though this episode is more a sentimental favorite than a genuine highlight of quality in the season, seeing Doohan so comfortably pop-up in the 24th century as the blue collar Chief Engineer possessing a marvel of technical prowess and ‘get it done any kind of way’ magic, is quite the delight. That Doohan had personally not spoken kindly of The Next Generation when it first appeared (until he was reportedly told to sit down by his family and actually watch the show,) matters little here as it is clear that he and the cast of the progeny are having fun.

“Relics” also boasts a terrific score by Jay Chattaway, one that stands out among music that all too often is designed to lack character (though there are notable exceptions,) and contains number of visual effects shots of the Dyson Sphere that linger and seem to marvel at the science concept under consideration in the story. The Dyson Sphere is poorly mined as a plot concept, relegated to a backdrop of Scotty’s feeling out of place. Still, the chance to see the bridge of the Constitution class make an appearance (through the loan of a fan-build portion of the set, some tight camera angles, and a relatively unconvincing backdrop visual effect taken from a Doohan-less episode of The Original Series), seems to make up for it.

A Fistful of Datas

At the request of his son, Alexander, Worf takes part in a Holodeck program set in the old American West, with Worf playing the role of the town sheriff. Counselor Troi tags along as a fan of the genre. Meanwhile, Lt. Commander La Forge and Data run tests to evaluate Data’s ability to act as a backup in the event of a failure of the ship’s computer. When something goes wrong in their testing, the Holodeck program is unexpectedly affected, rendering the safety protocols useless and the likeness and abilities of Data taking over a number of the less-wholesome characters running in the program.

“A Fistful of Datas” is a light-hearted ode to the Western Genre (and Rio Bravo in particular.) Patrick Stewart takes the directorial helm and, despite being British and not-well versed in the genre (prior to taking on the duties behind the camera for this episode,) he equips himself beautifully with the tenets of the Western look and feel.

Brent Spiner had been given more interesting ‘things’ to do in this season, opportunities to display his talents beyond the typical frame of his android character, and we are the beneficiaries. Here, with humor abundant, Spiner turns in several performances as his likeness permeates the old west of Alexander’s Holodeck program. “A Fistful of Datas” has clearly been crafted to have some fun with the series (similar to the recreation of Robin Hood and his mostly merry men in Season Four’s “QPid”) and that’s exactly what we get.

Chain of Command Parts I and II

Captain Picard, Lt. Worf and Dr. Crusher are selected for clandestine mission into Cardassian territory to determine if the reports of the Cardassian’s development of a deadly metagenic weapon, and a potential invasion of Federation space, are true. While absent of command, Picard is replaced by Captain Jellico, a man with a very different command approach to Picard, and with a great deal of history and experience dealing with the Cardassians as a chief negotiator for their withdrawal from Bajoran space. When Picard’s mission fails, he is captured and is subjected to unacceptable treatment in the hands of a malicious captor.

“Chain of Command” is superb dramatic television. The startling command shakeup as Captain Jellico assumes captaincy of the Enterprise when Picard is chosen to lead a daring mission into a secret Cardassian installation (with Lt. Worf and Dr. Crusher as his team), is potently played out. Superbly paced in the opening episode – with energy and speed – it is given space to breathe and allow the powerful performance by Patrick Stewart, captured by the Cardassians, to play out unfettered during Part II.

Dramatically speaking, a sharp-shift in command has been explored before when Commander Shelby (Elizabeth Dennehy) joined the Enterprise during “The Best of Both World’s” two-part episode. But here the shift ripples through the entire senior staff, each suffering the seismic shift in expectations and directives from an uncompromising Captain Jellico (Ronny Cox.) Ronny Cox, undoubtedly hired to role based on his callous, evil corporate leader appearances in Robocop and Total Recall, is well-written for and provides a strong performance. Fortunately, Cox’s character is afforded a little more nuance here than the straight bad-guy roles he excelled at under director Paul Verhoven’s science fiction films. Though he serves as the spoil, Cox delivered enough equivocations in his “my way or the highway’ veneer that his feather-ruffling function in the story earns genuine sympathy.

“Chain of Command” goes to great lengths to set a tone for the Cardassians in preparation for their expanded role (and antagonistic presence) on the, at the time, soon to be launched Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. And it does so well. With David Warner given a further opportunity in the Star Trek universe as Gul Madred (beyond his wasted turn in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier as St. John Talbot, and his far better turn in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country as Chancellor Gorkon), menace and cunning are woven into this species character.

The A and B stories are equally engaging, with the turmoil aboard the enterprise playing only slightly second to the journey and battle of wills engaged by Picard and Gul Madred. There is a genuine darkness running through Picard’s capture and torture. In terms of all that had come before and all that came after in The Next Generation, “Chain of Command” is unusually dark at times – and that harshness is deeply satisfying, dramatically. The standoff, as Gul Madred tortures Picard to force his submission, to say that there are five lights when in fact there are only four shining hard upon him, is a memorable element in the episode and in the series.

The sets, the lighting, the writing, the performances and the direction are all top-tier television and set “Chain of Command” among the finest episodes of The Next Generation produced over the seven-year run.

Ship in a bottle

Lt. Barclay (Dwight Schultz) inadvertently actives Professor Moriarty’s program while looking into anomalous quirks of a Sherlock Holmes program Data and La Forge were running. Barclay, unaware of the encounter the crew had with is self-aware fictional character, is surprised when Moriarty asks to speak with Captain Picard to discover why the Captain had not kept his word of finding a way for Moriarty to leave the Holodeck. But Moriarty, aware of his time while not running as a program, deceives the Captain as he looks to force the Enterprise crew’s hand to finding a way to grant his freedom from the confines of his Holodeck ‘prison.’

The welcome return of Professor Moriarty, arch-nemesis of Sherlock Holmes, portrayed by Daniel Davis in his final appearance in the series, is a wonderully conceived and executed story. Davis’s performance is standout, as it was in his earlier appearance, and remains one of the finest British accents this fan has seen offered by an American (Davis is a native of Arkansas.) A promised return to author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s fictional creation was almost never to be. The Next Generation producers had understood the Doyle estate to be unsatisfied with their prior use of the character (Season Two’s “Elementary, Dead Data”), but the Doyle estate was displeased with Paramount’s treatment of the property in the film Young Sherlock Holmes, and after a reasonable licensing fee was agreed upon, The Next Generation was quickly on its way back to the Holmes world and the delightfully calculating genius of Moriarty.

The delicious twists and turns innate in the plot are fun to watch and the rather clever solution to the predicament Picard and others find themselves in is worthy of a smile come the close of the episode. Performances are solid from all the players, including Stephanie Beacham as the love interest to Moriarty, Countess Barthalomew.

Tapestry

Injured on an away mission, Captain Picard dies in sickbay and awakens in a white room where the irascible Q offers him the chance to change a moment in his life that would help him avoid his death – due in part from the artificial heart he was given following a fight with a group of Nausicaans. Picard cautiously accepts the opportunity with the promise that his actions, his different actions, would not negatively affect anyone else, and thus he is placed back to just days before the critical Nausicaan encounter.

This modest take on Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is a skilfully crafted examination of regret and opportunity. Patrick Stewart once again delivers a subtle performance, tugged by the chance to right some wrongs of his youth after he is apparently killed on mission. The wonder of “Tapestry” lies in the patient telling of its story. Rather than through energy and dramatic twists, this mature and focused episode confidently unfolds a unique moment of Picard’s past that defined his life far more significantly than he realized with generous pace. Revisiting his life as a young ensign, swift with the ladies, ready and willing to throw down at a moment’s notice, and entirely more cavalier than the astute, measured Captain we have seen him to be, Picard brings to bear the accumulated years of wisdom upon his young life, and isn’t prepared for the consequences.

Delightfully leaving the nature of Picard’s experience ambiguous (was it really Q?), supported by the title not featuring Q (as with “True Q”, “Q Who”, etc.), the episode closes with a softly rendered and poised character moment between Picard and his First Officer, affirming this episodes place as a memorable chapter in TNG history.


Frame of Mind
Participating in one of Dr. Crusher’s plays, Commander Riker, playing a patient at an institution for the insane, begins to lose his grip on reality as the barriers between the character he portrays and the life he leads outside of the play begin to blur. Unsure of whom he really is – First Officer aboard a starship or patient at an institution – Riker begins to unravel.

Though the underlying causal plot isn’t necessarily strong, Jonathan Frakes’ performance is perhaps his finest of the entire seven-year run of the show. This mind-twister follows Riker as he falls into a cycle of paranoia when the facets of the play he is preparing to perform on the Enterprise bleed over into his real life. Frakes genuinely forges emotional roots into the unsettled Riker for the episode. Believably disheveled and unsure of what is real and what is unreal, Frakes allows his typically square-jawed character to unravel with surprising energy as he shares a remarkably good display of vulnerability.

The facility where Riker is held is replete with large, taunting orderlies and fellow patients in true dazes of delusion and catatonia, and the deep grey of the setting offers a suitably uncomfortable feel for the institution. The companion cast drops deep into minor supporting roles as the episode shines its sole spotlight on Frakes, and with his unique and deft performance, that is most welcome.

Timescapes

Returning from a rather dull symposium, Captain Picard, Counselor Troi, Lt. Commander La Forge and Commander Data begin to experience freezes of time in pockets aboard their runabout. Expediting their schedule to meet the Enterprise at a rendezvous point they discover the ship frozen in time, apparently in the midst of a battle with a Romulan Warbird. Developing shielding against the bizarre pockets of time, Picard and crew board the Enterprise in an attempt to discover what caused the time anomalies, why the ship was locked in battle with the Romulans, and how they can reverse the effects.

An episode with great science-fiction complexity and solid visual effects work, “Timescapes” may cover some familiar ground for the series (bizarre effects of time – see “Time Squared,” “Cause and Effect,”) but this episode stands firmly on a clever conceit and does so with a healthy helping of wonderful character moments. Writer (and producer) Brannon Braga clearly had fun wrapping a number of humorous touches into the episode concerned with pockets of time freezing and speeding up, and though the science fiction underpinning of what was happening is less clever than the overall concept, the episode succeeds.

And a wonderfully enclosed, disembodied sense of atmosphere is accomplished by second-time Trek director, Adam Nimoy, son of Leonard Nimoy (His first being “Rascals” earlier in the season). Nimoy’s direction is smart, keeping the camera moving – floating – to both aid that sense of atmosphere and to help mask the actors’ minor movements (slight sways) as they act frozen in the time pocket. The episode also takes welcome advantage of a runabout, a large shuttle developed for use on the companion Star Trek: Deep Space Nine series, to give the episode a slightly larger scope.



Special mention should also be made of “Starship Mine”, The Next Generation’s fun take on Die Hard, which finds Picard trapped alone on the Enterprise during a routine Barium sweep with a small band of thieves. The episode is tightly executed and good deal of fun, borrowing a number of elements from the inspiring Bruce Willis film source. Letting Patrick Stewart loose on an unusual action-oriented turn, then balancing that action with the drama of a corresponding hostage story and a funny comedic flourish for Data (exercising a ‘small-talk’ subroutine,) was a breath of fresh air. The episode is very strong, very nearly a highlight of season that was also expertly lit and photographed

And I’ll mention Birthright Part I if for no other reason than seeing Deep Space Nine in glorious high definition. This glimpse of the companion series at the time only serves to stoke the desire to see that superb Star Trek series given the high definition rebirth that The Next Generation has so successfully enjoyed.


The Episodes

Disc One:
Time's Arrow: Part 2
Realm of Fear
Man of the People
Relics
Schisms

Disc Two:
True Q.
Rascals
A Fistful of Datas
The Quality of Life
Disc Three:
Chain of Command: Part 1
Chain of Command: Part 2
Ship in a Bottle
Aquiel
Face of the Enemy

Disc Four:
Tapestry
Birthright: Part 1
Birthright: Part 2
Starship Mine
Lessons

Disc Five:
The Chase
Frame of Mind
Suspicions
Rightful Heir
Second Chances

Disc Six:
Timescape
Descent: Part 1



Video Rating: 5/5  3D Rating: NA

As a reminder, transferring this series to high-definition is a mammoth undertaking. The show’s visual effects were shot on film requiring every visual effects element to be re-compositioned (rather than suffer an upconversion from videotape). This requires re-cutting over 25,000 film reels, meticulously rebuilding the episodes and preserving the original episodes in lush detail transferred to high-definition detail.

CBS-Digital again handles the conversion efforts and the results are the best this show has looked – ever.

Details throughout the season are exceptional. The quality of the work delivered by the Make-Up Department (under the supervision of Michael Westmore) shines on a number of occasions, particularly a well-hidden James Cromwell (Star Trek: First Contact) as a sly Eurydian in exceptionally effective and detailed make-up. Patrick Stewarts stressed and drained appearance in “Chain of Command” is subtly effective, and the harsh lighting revealing of great detail. Close-ups of objects, notably a tricorder in “Timescapes”, demonstrate just how detailed the prop work had been on the show. Make-up on the actors faces can be a little uneven from time to time, again, seen here as a factor of higher resolution than the series expected to be seen by the public, but nothing distracting.

After reviewing six seasons of The Next Generation, not an episode goes by where the superb work by CBS (and others) is not a gift for the eyes and ears. Once again the visual effects work is subtly recreated, planet surfaces are rendered with greater detail and nuance than ever before, and the work to ready the series for high definition renders the show almost timeless. A wonderful accomplishment.



Audio Rating: 4.5/5

Season six again continues the trend of excellent audio with a strong 7.1 DTS-HD track available for each episode.

I’ve shared this in my reviews for previous seasons, but again I continue to be impressed with the audio quality with these sets as the hum of the bridge, engineering, and other locations on the Enterprise fill the low end of the audio spectrum. There is strength and clarity in the audio and though the separation of audio in the surrounds and across the front channels is not wildly dynamic, it is well-balanced, and delivers in all the ways one expects, and hopes, for this show.

Also included is a DTS-HD 2.0 track that more closely resembles the stereo presentation of its original airing.



Special Features Rating: 4/5

Although the special features offered on this Sixth Season set are not as comprehensive or alluring as those offered on previous seasons, what is contained – partnered with the full set of special features available on the former DVD release – still has enough to be enjoyed be casual and ardent fans alike.

A good deal of time is taken up in the newly created three part documentary Beyond the Five Year Mission – The Evolution of Star Trek: The Next Generation on the development of Deep Space Nine. Longtime fans of the show will likely be familiar with some of the information offered, especially those who read the excellent The Making of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine by Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens, but being covered here is still welcome. The three part special feature largely runs the gamut of topics, with some trivial and some intriguing. What is lacking is the serious or once-in-a-lifetime gathering of participants to dissect and celebrate this season (or the show). Perhaps as the Blu-ray release wraps up with the final year we will see another welcome retrospective.

What has been created new is interesting and the Gag reels are always entertaining. Those of us who watched many of these gag reel moments in poor quality on YouTube can delight in the HD presentation of them now.

Disc One:
  • Archival Mission Log: Mission Overview Year Six (SD)
  • Audio Commentary with Ronald D. Moore and Mike & Denise Okuda on "Relics"– NEW!
  • Deleted Scenes (HD): Time’s Arrow, Part II and Relics
  • Episodic Promo #1 (SD)
  • Episodic Promo #2 (SD)
  • Episodic Promo #3 (SD)
  • Episodic Promo #4 (SD)
  • Episodic Promo #5 (SD)
Disc Two:
  • Archival Mission Log: Bold New Directions (SD)
  • Archival Mission Log: Departmental Briefing Year Six: Production (SD)
  • Archival Mission Log: Departmental Briefing Profile: Dan Curry (SD)
  • Deleted Scene (HD) – NEW!: True Q
  • Episodic Promo #1 (SD)
  • Episodic Promo #2 (SD)
  • Episodic Promo #3 (SD)
  • Episodic Promo #4 (SD)
Disc Three:
  • Archival Mission Log: Special Crew Profile: Lt. Cmdr. Data (SD)
  • Deleted Scenes (HD) – NEW!: "Ship in a Bottle", "Face of the Enemy"
  • Episodic Promo #1 (SD)
  • Episodic Promo #2 (SD)
  • Episodic Promo #3 (SD)
  • Episodic Promo #4 (SD)
  • Episodic Promo #5 (SD)
Disc Four:
  • Archival Mission Log: Select Historical Data (SD)
  • Audio Commentary with Ronald D. Moore and Mike & Denise Okuda on "Tapestry" – NEW!
  • Episodic Promo #1 (SD)
  • Episodic Promo #2 (SD)
  • Episodic Promo #3 (SD)
  • Episodic Promo #4 (SD)
  • Episodic Promo #5 (SD)
Disc Five:
  • Archival Mission Log: Inside Starfleet Archives: Sets and Props (SD)
  • Audio Commentary with James L. Conway and Jonathan West on "Frame of Mind" – NEW!
  • Deleted Scenes (HD) – NEW!: "The Chase", "Rightful Heir"
  • Episodic Promo #1 (SD)
  • Episodic Promo #2 (SD)
  • Episodic Promo #3 (SD)
  • Episodic Promo #4 (SD)
  • Episodic Promo #5 (SD)
Disc Six:
  • Beyond the Five Year Mission – The Evolution of Star Trek: The Next Generation (HD) – NEW! – Part 1: The Lithosphere
  • Beyond the Five Year Mission – The Evolution of Star Trek: The Next Generation (HD) – NEW! – Part 2: The Biosphere
  • Beyond the Five Year Mission – The Evolution of Star Trek: The Next Generation (HD) – NEW! – Part 3: The Noosphere
  • Gag Reel (HD) – NEW!
  • Episodic Promo #1 (SD)
  • Episodic Promo #2 (SD)



Overall Rating: 4.5/5

Though Brent Spiner’s Data is given a number of opportunities to surprise and delight in the sixth year, it is Patrick Stewart who steals the season. In addition to his phenomenal performance in “Chain of Command” – a two-part episode that roots the talented English thespian firmly in his stage roots – Stewart persists in adding gravitas consistently throughout his. Consider his performance in “Man of the People”, a relatively dull episode, during a scene where he discusses the moral implications of the “many” outweighing the needs of one (to paraphrase), he anchors that moment remarkably. Though Marina Sirtis delivers a fine performance in the episode as an emotionally unstable, affected soul, somehow it is Stewart who, with great subtlety, adds a weight and seriousness to his few scenes far better than the episode deserved. And in the modest (and underrated) episode “Lessons,” Stewart produces another strong performance as a lonely, fallible captain struck by a forthright and musically gifted new officer under his command. He is given a fine actor to perform with in Wendy Hughes as Commander Neila Daren, and he is able to add even more dimension and detail to an already adored character.

Season Six saw a slip in quality and effectiveness early in the 26 episode collection, but the net result of the year is far stronger than expected revisiting them after so many years. Though the soaring highs of the third and fourth season aren’t touched here, what we do have is a consistent and confidently produced series that had been affected by the work to launch a companion Star Trek series. The deeper effects of that division of attention by show runners would be most harshly felt in season seven as it became coupled with a dearth of creative sparks (they were running out of ideas), but this sixth year remains very good, and with the quality of the episodes and the stunning presentation, this set comes highly recommended.


Reviewed By: Neil Middlemiss


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#2 of 10 OFFLINE   Wayne_j

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Posted June 27 2014 - 09:20 PM

There is also an audio commentary on Disc 1 for Relics with Ronald D. Moore and Mike and Denise Okuda.



#3 of 10 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted June 27 2014 - 11:18 PM

Neil,

 

I always use your Star Trek: TNG reviews as an introduction to a series

that I am about to watch.

 

This time I was able to get a head start, and am about halfway through.

 

Thoroughly enjoying this season -- even some episodes that you and other

members cite as being clunkers.

 

This is the best the series has ever looked -- much better detailed transfer

than previous seasons and the 7.1 is more distinguishable than it ever has been.

 

Thank you for taking the time to do such a thorough review.  I always look 

forward to reading your thoughts on each season.  


  • Neil Middlemiss likes this

Ronald J Epstein
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#4 of 10 OFFLINE   Ted Van Duyn

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Posted June 28 2014 - 03:39 AM

"find the legendary Scotty, Chief Engineer of the Constellation Class USS Enterprise under Captain Kirk"

 

CONSTITUTION CLASS!

 

...Sorry. The Constellation class was the Stargazer. 



#5 of 10 ONLINE   Neil Middlemiss

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Posted June 28 2014 - 04:04 AM

"find the legendary Scotty, Chief Engineer of the Constellation Class USS Enterprise under Captain Kirk"

CONSTITUTION CLASS!

...Sorry. The Constellation class was the Stargazer.


But of course it is. The perils of reading about Picard's early days while writing this review. I'll update!
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#6 of 10 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted July 22 2014 - 11:36 AM

Just finished watching two very good episodes:

Suspicions and and Rightful Heir.  The latter was the best of the two, particularly

for its theme and Worf's performance.

 

This season really has some gems in it.

 

Noticed Miles O'Brien isn't in many of these episodes.  He kind of comes and

goes and it has me wondering if he still has appearances left in this season or next.


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#7 of 10 OFFLINE   Wayne_j

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Posted July 22 2014 - 11:43 AM

O'Brien became a main cast member of Deep Space Nine.



#8 of 10 OFFLINE   Jason_V

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Posted July 22 2014 - 12:05 PM

What Wayne said, Ron. DS9 premiered right between "Chain of Command II" and "Ship in a Bottle" airing. O'Brien (and Keiko's) last TNG appearance would be "Rascals."



#9 of 10 OFFLINE   Wayne_j

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Posted July 22 2014 - 12:07 PM

Although O'Brien does appear in the series finale "All Good Things".



#10 of 10 OFFLINE   Jason_V

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Posted July 22 2014 - 12:18 PM

Although O'Brien does appear in the series finale "All Good Things".

 

 

Spoiler? :D  I don't know if it still qualifies after all these years, tho.

 

But again...100% right.







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