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Star Trek: The Next Generation (S2)
DVD disk
10.08.2004 By: The Shootin Surgeon
Star Trek: The Next Generation (S2) order

Patrick Stewart
Jonathan Frakes
Brent Spiner


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The second season of the TV Series Star Trek: The Next Generation is another fantasy ride along with the still new crew of the Starship Enterprise. Following the introductory necessities of SEASON 1, this set delves deeper into the characters and development of the crew. I hope I don't have to tell you that it's about a bunch of people exploring space in a cool ship.
The second season of the show brought many changes. Some were good, some were bad. Chief among them was a small upheaval in the cast. Gone for good was the sexy Lt. Tasha Yar and the classy Dr. Beverley Crusher. As a new chief medical officer, we had a successful new entry in Diana Muldaur's Dr. Pulaski, whose no-nonsense style was a nice contrast to the more compassionate Crusher. A veteran of a few guest appearances in the original series, Muldaur blended instantly into the cast and assured a smooth transition for fans. A more disturbing change though was the addition of the always annoying Whoopi Goldberg as Guinan, barmaid in the Enterprise's new bar/lounge, the "10-Forward". Even by my own admission though, Goldberg refrained from being her usual wrecking ball self and was unable to shatter the enjoyment of watching the episodes. It should be said though, that she added nothing to the experience either.

Aside from casting changes, the second season also brought on some changes that would resonate throughout the entire span of the series. The main pivotal point was the introduction of a villain that would transcend evil and torment this crew not only during the rest of the series, but during a feature film as well. The Borg ("Resistance is futile"), an organic/mechanic entity composed of thousands of humanoid-like creatures became an indestructible staple of the show. To this day, remnants of the Borg appear on other spin-offs (mainly the smoking hot Jeri Ryan from Voyager, who was part Borg, part human, all hottie). Another refreshing change was the visible refinement in visual effects and sets. This was obviously not a low budget show but the constraints of orchestrating such a complex shoot in under a week obviously took its toll in the first season but by now, the crew seemed well versed in what they had to do and although lacking the CGI stuff we have today, they always did manage to pull it off in quite a believable fashion.

Overall, the season was a fantastic success and cemented the show in a solid reputation that would help carry it through the remainder of its lifespan. The returning cast members were able to indulge a bit more into their characters and the show had that "groove" that many unfortunately often miss, in which everything seemed to fall into place at the same time. Incidentally, Captain Picard (Stewart) continued to prove wrong those (of which I was one) who claimed the swashbuckling Kirk had been replaced by an egghead prior to the show's debut. As proven many times in this second season, the dude is definitely no egghead and if he was one, he'd be the kind of egghead you don't want to mess around with!

Disc 1: The Child, Where Silence Has Lease, Elementary, Dear Data, The Outrageous Okona

Disc 2: Loud as a Whisper, The Schizoid Man, Unnatural Selection, A Matter of Honor

Disc 3: The Measure of a Man, The Dauphin, Contagion, The Royale

Disc 4: Time Squared, The Icarus Factor, Pen Pals, Q Who?

Disc 5: Samaritan Snare, Up The Long Ladder, Manhunt, The Emissary

Disc 6: Peak Performance, Shades Of Gray, Bonus Material
Fortunately, this package was a bit more stashed than Season 1. All the features, by the way, appear on Disc #6 and the first one is "Mission Overview: Year Two", which focuses mainly on explaining the different aspects between the first and second seasons. From the casting changes I mentioned above to new sets and new plotlines, this 20-minute featurette is pretty complete and figures to get even fuller once they release the remaining seasons. You'll see interviews with the new cast members, with various crew members and with Gene Roddenberry himself, the man behind the Star Trek legend.

The second feature to visit is the "Selected Crew Analysis: Year Two" (15 mins), in which the main players come out and discuss their characters. Having had a full year to digest and to evolve these characters, it's pretty interesting to see what they think of them. An emphasis is also placed on what will be different in this season, what will affect them, how they'll interact with new characters and new situations. Definitely a serious watch for the obsessive Trekkies! Among the cast members interviewed are Patrick Stewart, Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi) and Jonathan Frakes (Will Riker). Insight is also given by writers and other crew members.

Next up are two "Departmental Briefings". The focus of the first one is Production and basically this is a 15-minute discussion of the visual effects, costumes, props and other production goods for some specific episodes. It's some way cool stuff for fans and you can only imagine that a series like this requires tons and tons of these items. Unlike the original series in which we all saw a few zippers on alien costumes, those used in this series are pretty evolved, even though you can do a lot of it in your basement with the right amount of imagination and creativity. Interesting stuff!

The second briefing is about Memorable Missions. This other 15-minute sequence details some experiences lived by the crew while filming some episodes. Goofs and other trivia tidbits and the like are what you'll mainly see, but if you stick around...you'll get a special treat: You'll get to see John Tesh getting done up as a Klingon for a guest appearance, as well as Mick Fleetwood wearing a giant Fish-Head. Only in Star Trek...

Last but definitely not least is a 15-minute spot entitled "Inside Starfleet Archives". You'll be guided by Penny Juday, Star Trek Coordinator as she walks you through Paramount Pictures' Star Trek warehouse. There, you'll see more props, sets and other cool stuff than you can imagine and most of the things are very neat. Phasers, landscapes, entire ship models and much, much more. The lady's low-key, dead-pan personality is also pretty cool, she just seems to really enjoy what she's doing and that always makes for some good hosting.
As for the first season, it's hard to recommend purchasing this to people simply because of the expense involved. At around $100.00, this isn't being given away but for the true fans, you'll have to decide whether it's worth it. I can only vouch for the content, which is very good and for the attractive presentation. If you're a sucker for a good looking box set, then get ready to be reeled in like a salmon. Once again, a success for the Star Trek Franchise!
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