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Captain Picard (Stewart) continued to prove wrong those (of which I was one) who claimed the swashbuckling Kirk had been replaced by an egghead prior to the show's debut.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
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.