Blu-ray Review: Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season Three

Star Trek TNG s3 Blu ray coverGenre: Sci-Fi | Action | Drama

Creators: Gene Roddenberry

Writers: Ronald D. Moore, Michael Piller, Brannon Braga, Rene Echevarria

Cast:  Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Gates McFadden, Wil Wheaton, Marina Sirtis, Levar Burton, Michael Dorn, Jonathan Frakes,Denise Crosby


Boasting an unprecedented reunion of Next Generation writers moderated by comedian and Star Trek® fan Seth MacFarlane, this third season collection features an all-new featurette entitled “Inside The Writer’s Room.” Including fascinating discussion on the creation of the show’s acclaimed third season by some of today’s most visionary science fiction television writers, MacFarlane leads a panel that includes Ronald Moore, Brannon Braga, Naren Shankar and Rene Echevarria. Plus, the collection is highlighted by an entirely new multi-part documentary entitled “Resistance is Futile – Assimilating Star Trek: The Next Generation,” which reveals behind-the-scenes insight on the making of Season Three. Also, the set features a special tribute to Michael Piller, including never-before-seen interviews with cast, crew, family members and industry colleagues who all discuss his lasting influence not only on the series, but also on the Star Trek franchise as a whole. Rounding out the exclusive bonus material includes a new gag reel and newly produced commentary on select episodes.

The STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION – THE THIRD SEASON Blu-ray is a 6-disc collection featuring all 26 episodes of the third season. Continuing to follow the remarkable voyages of the Starship Enterprise, the third season includes some of the most celebrated episodes in Star Trek canon.

Trailer: Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season Three on Blu-ray

There are a few different aspects of this set to address. First, the restoration. It is jaw dropping. Eye popping. Pick a physical reaction. If you are a fan of this series, you owe it to yourself to get this set for the restoration alone. I’m not the first person to say this, but I’ll join in saying that it is nearly like watching an entirely new series. Perhaps it’s closer to right to say that it’s like watching a sequel to every episode you’ve ever seen. It is absolutely, stunningly beautiful. How often have you had TNG on your TV set and not really watched it because you’ve seen it so many times before? You’ll watch it now. Everything nearly jumps off the screen. Likewise the sound is astounding, even on my just-what’s-on-the-TV sound system, it is as sharp as a knife.

There are commentaries from 2008 as well as new commentaries, and as with most commentaries, they are full of interesting factoids. Some of those factoids are repeated in the stories told by the writers in the bonus featurettes, but that’s okay, we learn through repetition.

Clip: Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season 3- Yesterday’s Enterprise

If you have any trouble recollecting what the unrestored series looks like, you’ll see that in the bonus features that come on five of the six discs. The come from the original, unrestored DVD set, and are interviews of the cast, writers and producers of the show, given in 1994 and 2001, and are interspliced with unrestored clips from the show. Inexplicably, it is shown in a stretched screen format, unlike the actual restored episodes which are shown in letterbox. Other than the aethetic aspects of those bonus features, these “Mission Logs” interviews are an absolute delight, and if you don’t own the series in the unrestored format you’ve probably never seen them, and if you’re a fan, you should.

The new bonus features are primarily on Disc 6: “Inside the Writer’s Room”, the new Seth MacFarlane interview of four of the TNG writers, “Resistance is Futile: Assimilating Star Trek: The Next Generation”, a three-part series of interview featurettes about the series before and during Season 3, and “A Tribute to Michael Piller”, a featurette about the late Season 3 showrunner. “The Writer’s Room” comes first, but I recommend you watch it last. The “Resistance is Futile” series and the tribute to Piller both give a lot of background information that really helps inform that Writer’s Room interview.

In the first two of the three parts of “Resistance is Futile”, we learn about the contentiousness and stress that went on in the writing of Season 3, and it is fascinating. As they talk about it, the memories clearly still have an effect on the writers, for better or worse. For some odd reason, twice we’re shown little bits of the restoration process of special effects. There is absolutely no relation between the audio and those clips. Interesting, but weird.

The third part features interviews with the actors Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Gates McFadden, Wil Wheaton, Marina Sirtis, Levar Burton, Michael Dorn, Jonathan Frakes, and Denise Crosby, talking about their work and the work of the writers and others in production. The clips included are restored versions, including the bloopers, and it’s almost entirely positive and wonderful.

The tribute to Michael Piller is illuminating. A gifted writer and a powerful showrunner, he is credited with making Star Trek: The Next Generation the very excellent show most of us know it to be. He was only 57 when he passed, but left some giant shoes to fill in the sci-fi entertainment world, as is explained in the interviews with TNG cast and production.

Clip: Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season 3 Bonus: Inside The Writer’s Room

The “Inside the Writer’s Room” interview is excellent. These four writers (Ronald MooreBrannon BragaNaren Shankar and Rene Echevarria) are current powerhouses in the television industry, and they all got their start on Star Trek: The Next Generation. For that reason alone it is exceptionally interesting, but for the TNG fans it’s an especial treat. One warning, though: have your favorite source for episode descriptions by title for Seasons 3 through 7 handy, because episodes names fly with rarely an explanation of their content, only a discussion of their merits.


Format: Blu-ray, Box set, Dubbed, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
Language: English
Subtitles: Danish, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish
Dubbed: English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish
Region: Region A/1
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Number of discs: 6
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Paramount
DVD Release Date: April 30, 2013
Run Time: 1181 minutes

Disc Breakdown:

Disc One


  • Evolution
  • The Ensigns of Command
  • The Survivors
  • Who Watches the Watchers”
  • The Bonding

Special Features:

  • Archival Mission Log: Mision Overview Year Three (SD)
  • Audio Commentary with Ron Moore on “The Bonding” (new)
  • Episodic Promos (SD)

Disc Two


  • Booby Trap
  • The Enemy
  • The Price
  • The Vengeance Factor
  • The Defector

Special Features:

  • Archival Mission Log: Selected Crew Analysis Year Three (SD)
  • Episodic Promos (SD)

Disc Three


  • The Hunted
  • The High Ground
  • Deja Q
  • A Matter of Perspective
  • Yesterday’s Enterprise

Special Features:

  • Archival Mission: Departmental Briefing Year Three: Memorable Missions (SD)
  • Audio commentary with Ron Moore and Ira Steven Behr on “Yesterday’s Enterprise” (new)
  • Audio commentary with David Carson on “Yesterday’s Enterprise”
  • Episodic Promos (SD)

Disc Four


  • The Offspring
  • Sins of the Father
  • Allegiance
  • Captain’s Holiday

Special Features:

  • Archival Mission Log: Departmental Briefing Year Three: Production (SD)
  • Audio Commentary with Rene Echevarria and Mike & Denise Okuda on “The Offspring” (new)
  • Audio Commentary with Ron Moore on “Sins of the Father” (new)
  • Episodic Promos (SD)

Disc Five


  • Tin Man
  • Hollow Pursuits
  • The Most Toys
  • Sarek
  • Menage a Troi

Special Features:

  • Gag Reel (HD) (new)
  • Episodic Promos (SD)

Disc Six


  • Transfigurations
  • The Best of Both Worlds, Part 1

Special Features:

  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Inside the Writer’s Room (HD) (new)
  • Resistance is Futile – Assimilating Star Trek: The Next Generation – Part One: Biological Distinctiveness; Part Two: Technological Distinctiveness; Part Three: The Collective
  • A Tribute to Michael Piller (HD) (new)
  • Episodic Promos (SD)

The packaging is standard keepcase with sleeve, with two center swing trays, so each of the discs has a home; none of that awkward two-discs-on-one-hub packaging here. As is becoming more and more common there is no booklet, and the index – which does include episode titles, yay – is printed on the inside cover. Unfortunately that means you have to take out Disc 1 to read the index, and there’s a hub right over part of it. Keep working on this design, my friends, you’re not quite there yet. Of course, that’s only a minor irritant, nothing to bring down the rating on this must-own series.

[The Shakedown] Season 3 of Star Trek: The Next Generation is arguably the start of when the series really hit its stride. Since it contains both “Yesterday’s Enterprise” and “The Best of Both Worlds Part 1” plus the inartfully-named “The Booby Trap” I’d say I must agree, though I sentimentally love all the seasons. By the way, CBS Home Entertainment has released “The Best of Both Worlds Parts 1 and 2” as a separate Blu-ray set, and that is being reviewed separately here on

I don’t own the first two seasons of the restored Star Trek: The Next Generation on Blu-ray, but I’m considering it now, even after hearing all the minor razzing of the first two seasons by the Season 3 writers in the bonus features. The restoration is just breathtakingly beautiful. If you are in any way a fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation, or of the best of sci-fi TV in the 1980s-90s, this set belongs on your shelf. Forget the commercial TV holiday marathons and have your own, much-more-worthy-of-your-time-and-eyeballs marathon with this gorgeous set.

I give Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season Three [Blu-ray] Five Out of Five Stars.



Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season Three [Blu-ray] is available from Amazon now; here’s the link:


Erin Willard
Written by Erin Willard

Erin is the Editor In Chief and West Coast Correspondent for