Proof of that can be found in some great episodes such as “Who Watches the Watchers”, in which the crew of the Enterprise unwillingly violated the sacred Prime Directive and contaminated a less advanced culture by getting caught observing them on their planet. To the unevolved inhabitants of this new world, Picard becomes “The Picard”, a figure they see as a God. Interesting dilemmas ensue as the by-the-book Captain struggles between his responsibility to the Federation’s rules and his own sense of respect towards the poor people whose lives they’ve turned upside down. “Yesterday’s Enterprise” was another fabulous episode in which a quirk of nature allows an older version of the Enterprise to enter the same time as the current, altering the past and plunging the Enterprise in the middle of a winner-take-all war against their old enemies the Klingons. This episode also saw the return, as a guest start of Denise Crosby in the role of Tasha Yar. As if it wasn’t enough, the season ended on one of the all-time kick-ass cliffhangers in “The Best of Both Worlds, Part 1” when Picard was kidnapped and assimilated by the terrifying Borg. To be continued? My sorry ass sure can’t wait!!
All in all, this was a damn exciting season to watch and it was nice to stop the intros and see all the actors really hit the groove of their characters. As I mentioned above, Gates McFadden’s Dr. Crusher was back and some more screen tie was given to the great character of Will Riker, played admirably by Jonathan Frakes. Eunuch LeVar Burton also came into his own as the chief engineer Geordi LaForge.
Without a doubt though, one of the worthiest developments was the renewed vigor of the visual effects, giving the show some added credibility and completely detaching it from its predecessors. The ship had never looked better and some of the blue screen techniques were refined and just plain looked more real. Kudos have to go out to the people who took care of these, especially when you consider that they were shooting episodes about 10 days apart. They did for a TV show what many can’t to for a feature film. Nice.
Disc 1: Evolution, The Ensigns of Command, The Survivors, Who Watches the Watchers?
Disc 2: The Bonding, Booby Trap, The Enemy, The Price
Disc 3: The Vengeance Factor, The Defector, The Hunted, The High Ground
Disc 4: Déjà Q, A Matter of Perspective, Yesterday’s Enterprise, The Offspring
Disc 5: Sins of the Father, Allegiance, Captain’s Holiday, Tin Man
Disc 6: Hollow Pursuits, The Most Toys, Sarek, Ménage à Troi
Disc 7: Transfigurations, The Best of Both Worlds Part 1, Special Features
“Mission Overview: Year Three” is a 15-minute featurette in which cast and crew interviews are used to discuss the changes occurring between seasons two and three. The highlight for me was watching class act Patrick Stewart hang around in a T-shirt and using the word “frisson”. If one person can name me someone who would have been better suited for the role of Picard, I will mail you a dollar. That was followed up by “Selected Crew Analysis: Year Three”, another 15-minute long collection of cast and Crew interviews and footage during which the evolution of the characters themselves is discussed. The focus is obviously Dr. Crusher, whose one-year absence was felt especially hard by Captain Picard. (In fact, her return caused the “frisson” mentioned above.
Next up were the two Departmental Briefings, one of them pertaining to production and the other to memorable missions. The production briefing focuses mostly on visual effects, new models and music while the other talks about some specific episodes and shares some anecdotes from the shooting. Lasting about 20-minutes each, they are actually pretty interesting to watch as they give some cool insights on a day on the set.