|Firmly into the Final Frontier. The cast of STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION. Images: PARAMOUNT.|
Those technology acquiring terrors, The Borg, make their stunning HD TV debut on the UK's SYFY Channel soon, as the exclusive first run transmissions of the painstakingly remastered STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION boldly go into their second exciting season from tonight at 7pm. As well as the Borg, there were many other firsts this year, namely the introduction of several new characters to the U.S.S. Enterprise under the stern command of Jean-Luc Picard: playing Doctor Beverly Crusher the previous season, actress Gates McFadden sadly departed the show after behind the scenes tussles with then stubborn Co-Executive Producer Maurice Hurley, who replaced her with Diana Muldaur, another talented actress who already had links with the original CLASSIC TREK series (with two episodic appearances), as the newly arrived Doctor Kate Pulaski: a dedicated and passionate physician just like Crusher but whose crusty personality and way of dealing with patients is very familiar to fans who loved DeForest Kelly's wonderful and iconic performance as Leonard McCoy, sparring with Data (Brent Spiner), whom she is at first wary of, in a way not unlike "that old country Doctor" did with his highly intelligent and honest Vulcan antagonist, Spock. Celebrated film actress Whoopi Goldberg, at the peak of her career, also joins TNG for welcome special appearances from Season Two onwards, playing the ships other counsellor in many ways, as barkeep of the new Ten Forward bar/recreation area of the Enterprise, where the crew can get to unwind and the writers can develop our heroes off-duty personalities a bit better-a clever idea added to the show by Roddenberry, who still had a firm producer-ship hand on his baby at that point in time, of which the revolving door of incoming and outgoing writers still gained momentum, though Maurice Hurley remained the creators most successful storytelling ally. A lifelong fan and admirer of the original landmark TREK, Goldberg subtly shines as Guinan, becoming an essential part of the new shows continuing success, of which her scenes with Patrick Stewart as Picard shine brightly, especially in this first batch. Further adding to the show, series regulars Michael Dorn and LeVar Burton get new and improved job positions (Lt. Worf now security officer, and Geordi La Forge in charge of Engineering-finally a trusted pair of hands with the ships dilithium crystals!) and costume changes. Plus some mild and deserved set re-designs here and there, too. Even a new shuttlecraft!
Star Trek: The Next Generation on Blu-Ray - Season 2 Trailer #01 - YouTube
|Picard (Patrick Stewart) defends Data (Brent Spiner) as a sentient being in The Measure of a Man.|
|Klingon couple: Worf (Michael Dorn) and K'Ehleyr (Suzie Plakson) are reunited in The Emissary.|
|Data and Geordi (LeVar Burton) are the new Holmes and Watson in Elementary, Dear Data.|
Creative and character improvements are noticed quickly, but opening episodes do start off a little shaky, due to a crippling writers strikes in 1988, which forces the production team to adapt unused scripts from the aborted seventies TREK series: PHASE II. But things pick up near the mid-point, as the season finally launches into its delayed creative stride. Old villains the Romulans, re-introduced at the end of Year One, continue to make a mark, as do the Klingons, building on a fine return as a now bearded Riker (Jonathan Frakes) becomes one of their officers in A Matter of Honour. Data (and his real-life alter-ego, Brent Spiner, having a good run of stories to play with this time) is put on trial by Star Fleet for reasons of ownership in the award-winning and intelligent The Measure of a Man, Picard meets his future self in the chilling Time Squared, and looks into the death of an old friend, and the discovery of a long lost time travelling civilisation, in Contagion, whilst Worf (Michael Dorn) meets his old flame, the striking K'Ehleyr (memorably played by Suzie Plakson) in near season ender The Emissary. Oh, and then there's that aforementioned Borg episode, the stunning Q Who? , originally planned as the Season Two premiere but delayed due to the strike, as the insidious and craftily omnipotent alien Q (the always wicked John de Lancie) sends the Enterprise light years across the galaxy to their first unsettling encounter with the assimilating foes, and paving the way for an epic Season Three adventure that will send the series into the stratosphere of critical acclaim and viewing figures.
Season Two of STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION was justifiably starting to prove itself as its own unique series, and was now, most definitely, here to stay...
Season Three of THE NEXT GENERATION in HD arrives on the UK SY FY CHANNEL sometime next year.
The first two seasons of STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION are also available on Blu-ray. Get them here:
Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 1 Blu-ray Region Free: Amazon.co.uk: Film & TV
Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 2 Blu-ray 1988 Region Free: Amazon.co.uk: Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, Michael Dorn, LeVar Burton, Marina Sirtis, Diana Muldaur, Wil Wheaton: Film & TV