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Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season Seven

review by Zach B.

 

 

 

Running Time: 1177 Minutes

Starring: Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Marina Sirtis, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton

 

 

Studio: Paramount

Retail Price: $139.95

Features: Mission Overview: Year Seven, A Captain's Tribute, Departmental Briefing: Year Seven - Production, Starfleet Moments And Memories, The Making Of "All Good Things...", Star Trek: Deep Space Nine DVD Preview, Collectible Booklet

Specs: 1.33:1 Full Frame, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Surround, English Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Episode Selections, Chapter Index (8 Chapters per episode, 12 for "All Good Things..."), 7-Disc Set

Released: December 31st, 2002

 

 

It's only been fifteen years since "Star Trek: The Next Generation" debuted in syndication and after airing for seven seasons, it still carries a loyal fanbase. But let's be honest here, "Star Trek" will always forever be part of popular culture and every different series that bears the "Star Trek" name will always have a loyal fanbase. "Star Trek" is just something that many people recognize (and is stereotyped with science fiction lovers and nerds) and just really enjoy. Even if you're not a fan, surely you've heard of the captains, the technology and other more "mainstream" things the franchise brings (Phasers, Klingons, etc.)

Too bad for me is that I've never been a giant "Star Trek" fan. I've never really gotten into this moneymaking franchise that has spawned theatrical films and different series. I've seen parts of episodes here and there, but that's about it. However, with the release of this first season, it was my chance to get into it. While "Star Trek" is still not my thing, after viewing some episodes I have to say I'm more of a fan that I originally was.

"Star Trek: The Next Generation" is arguably the most successful and most popular series from "Star Trek." Yes, it has the feature films (the latest, "Star Trek: Nemesis" just bombed majorly in theaters as I write this), the merchandising and everything else with it. But perhaps why this series is the most popular with fans is that the late creator of "Star Trek," Gene Roddenberry, did help greatly to create this show. "The Next Generation" branches off into new areas of the "Star Trek" universe with new technology and characters, but keeps the spirit of the original show. Perhaps that's why it works.

So as I sit here and write this to talk about the show's seventh and final season, I really don't know what to say. After watching episodes through each and every season, I must say that I'm still not a giant fan of the show or anything, but I'm certianly more accessible to it, more familiar with the "Trek" universe and certainly have more respect for it. I did enjoy getting into the show and was glad to see what it offered, and I certainly understand why so many people enjoy it and still do.

Thankfully, the show did have a good run and didn't overstay it's welcome. And just as you'd expect in the final season, the show pulls out some pretty big stops to help commemorate it and wrap up all the characters, the plots and set some groundwork for the future of the "Trek" franchise and what have you. The seventh season is definitely a fan's dream, and why not? They're the ones who made "Star Trek" such a giant success in the first place and helped make the first spin-off series such a tremendous success.

After going through all the seasons and whatnot, I think I just might like the seventh season the best. Since this was the show's swan song, I especially enjoyed all the serious moments and how everything came together. No one got lazy here or anything, the show was still strong and it was good that it went before it jumped the shark. I definitely dug episodes like "Inheritance," "Parallels," "Homeward," "Journey's End" and "Bloodlines," but my favorite in this season is the big finale, "All Good Things..." Forget the symbolic title, this episode is pretty rivetting and has a nice focus on Captain Picard as he more or less delivers what the whole damn series (and franchise) was about. No, it's not perfect but it still is very enjoyable and you do get the sense that everything's rather complete in the world of "The Next Generation."

So here we go, the last time I'll be doing this, all seventh season episodes: "Descent Part II," "Liaisons," "Interface," "Gambit Part I," "Gambit Part II," "Phantasms," "Dark Page," "Attached," "Force of Nature," "Inheritance," "Parallels," "The Pegasus," "Homeward," "Sub Rosa," "Lower Decks," "Thine Own Self," "Masks," "Eye of the Beholder," "Genesis," "Journey's End," "Firstborn," "Bloodlines," "Emergence," "Preemptive Strike," and that wonder of wonders finale, "All Good Things..."

 

Just as I expected, the seventh season of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" is the best looking one out of them all. Incredibly crisp and rather sharp, all the episodes are in 1.33:1 full screen. Color saturation looks very nice and is dead-on, detail is excellent as always, the fleshtones are pretty much perfect while the black levels and show detail look quite good. Thankfully, there's even less noise and edge halos than all the past seasons (this is a major plus) and everything looks so damn smooth too. These also have the most depth to the image out of all the seasons, so fans, you'll be incredibly pleased here. Pretty close to perfection, if you ask me.

 

Yep, the last batch of episodes get the full English 5.1 Dolby Digital remix treatment and they're as good as you'd hope for. Dynamic range is strong, fidelity is pretty high and there are some nice subwoofer moments in this season. Surround effects are also quite good and plentiful, be it the music, the action, the atmosphere of the enterprise or some nifty events in "All Good Things," there's not much to be disappointed with. The mixes do help you get into the show and whole experience even more, just like every other season. Dialogue is clean and easy to hear, and all the sound portions are balanced through each and every episode. No major surprises here, but it's good to rely on such strong familiarity. Also included are English Dolby Surround tracks, English subtitles and English closed captions. Let's hope the "Deep Space Nine" mixes are just as nice.

 

Despite this being the last season, there's not too much more than usual but I think this final season has the strongest and best supplements out of all the other seasons. Mission Overview: Year Seven is certainly very interesting to watch. Besides all the usual clips and stills from the episodes, executive producer and Rick Berman talks about how chaotic things were (I'm surprised he didn't go insane) in how "Deep Space Nine" was underway with its second season, "Voyager" was heavy in development and "Star Trek: Generations" was going to being principal photography just one week after the completion of shooting "All Good Things." Writer Brannon Braga, Will Wheaton, writer Ronald D. Moore, Gates McFadden, executive producer Jeri Taylor, LeVar Burton, Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis discuss the ties to the other "Trek" series, certain episodes and the end of the series. Good stuff. It lasts fourteen minutes.

A Captain's Tribute is very well done, sixteen-and-a-half minute piece focusing on Patrick Stewart, reflecting on the show itself as well as his character. Like usual, he comes across quite distinguished and offers much praise for his cast and crew. Believe it or not, the focus isn't on as much as Stewart as you think, and that's probably why this is so good. He offers much articulation, poise and a sense of decency. He comes across as a very nice guy, and you can definitely tell he enjoyed making the show and spending time with those around him. He offers great stories and memories. This might be my favorite featurette out of ALL the boxed sets, so don't miss this. Like you'd expect, stills and show clips help enhance this.

Departmental Briefing: Year Seven - Production also has clips from the show and a slew of interviews focusing on the final season's production. Gates McFadden talks about her experience directing the episode "Genesis," Brannon Braga talks about certain episodes while JonJon Frakes, Jeri Ryan, Maria Sirtis, scenic artist supervisor Mike Okuda and a few others talk about their favorite moments and things that occured come the final season. This lasts nearly sixteen minutes.

The biggest featurette here (and rightfully so) is Starfleet Moments And Memories. Lasting a half-hour, all of the cast and crew look back on making the show as a whole. Nearly everyone here contributes a lot of insights as they talk about how meaningful the show was in what they did, the storytelling and so many other things. Despite some cheesy background piano music at times, it is very nice to hear reflections with such meaning and kindness. You can really tell everyone on the show got along great and they seemed like one big family. This is definitely worth watching, and ranks up there with this season's "A Captain's Tribute" as one of the best featurettes offered for the show. It's amazing how much you can get out of a single half-hour, and I wonder if there was even more to add to this. Topped with some fun behind-the-scenes footage and stills, everyone here just delivers praise, good times and heart. Do check it out!

The Making Of "All Good Things..." gives you nearly eighteen minutes that focus on the creation of the final episode. Filled with clips from the episode and interviews with Jeri Ryan, Brannon Braga, Michael Piller, Rick Berman and writer Ronald D. Moore talk about their ideas and creating the final episode, in hopes to wrap the series up and please many. From a writer's perspective, this is quite interesting and like I said, I really enjoyed the last episode as it is pretty fitting. Clips from other season episodes are included here for reference points, as well as behind-the-scenes footage from "All Good Things..." Make-up artist Michael Westmore, Colm Meaney, Maria Sirtis, Denise Crosby, Gates McFadden, Mike Okuda, visual effects supervisor Dan Curry and LeVar Burton talk about their contributions to the episode. There's some cool stuff with the make-up and special effects, so if you liked the episode, watch this.

Wrapping it all up is a five minute Star Trek: Deep Space Nine DVD Preview that is in full frame and lasts five minutes. There are some clips from episodes and interviews with the cast and crew, so it looks like come 2003, that series will feature a similar structure to "The Next Generation" boxes. There's also a lame Collectible Booklet with a short message from Rick Berman, a cast pic and episode listings. All the featurettes are in full frame and have English subtitles.

 

I personally think the seventh season just might be the best for "Star Trek: The Next Generation," and this one is certainly packed with some very memorable and poigant episodes. If you have all the other six, can you really say no to the seventh? With good transfers, 5.1 remixes and fine extras, this boxed set certainly lives up to all the others.