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Saturday, May 23, 2015

'Star Trek: The Next Generation' S5 BD: Spock, Klingons, and Mark Twain Oh My

Product Details
This review of the CBS Home Entertainment Blu-ray (BD) release of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" S5 wraps the formal element of the intended "Year of Trek" on Unreal TV that in reality is more "Federation Winter." A wrap-up post later this year will discuss lesser-known elements regarding what makes the "Trek" universe so special.

It is also worth noting once again that the nature of TNG and the tremendous enhancements in the BD set makes owning that series in that format worthwhile even if you have the DVD sets. Your reviewer has put his money where his mouth is regarding this.

This 1991-92 season is notable for being the final voyage of "Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry, who passed away in October 1991.

Related nice timing regarding this review is that this season including the two-part episode "Unification," which features "Trek" god Leonard Nimoy as Spock Prime. Once again seeing that actor in that role that seems written for him is a nice reminder of the awesomeness of Nimoy within weeks of his passing away. (of course, the relative interval between that death and this post is much shorter in Vulcan years compared to human years.)

A third  aspect of the season creates an imperfect trifecta regarding the involvement of deceased show business luminaries with TNG. The unavailability of Robin Williams to play the role of a quirky human who claims to be a time traveler from 200 years in the future in the episode titled "A Matter of Time" resulted in casting an able Matt Frewer, best known as "Max Headroom," in the role.

Following the "Year of Trek" tradition, the trailer for the S5 BD set is the selected YouTube clip for this review. This one has more humor than promos for other seasons and also includes great looks at the cast interviews in the extras.

The S5 season premiere is the second half of the cliffhanger "Redemption" in the Unreal TV reviewed TNG S4. This story focuses on a power struggle for control of the Klingon Empire that prompts Enterprise Klingon officer Worf to trade in that job (and his Starfleet uniform) for a post on a Klingon ship (and the corresponding garb).

This episode further brings back an S1 cast member in a new role that closely relates to both the former character of that individual and a classic S3 episode.

"Silicon Avatar" brings back another S1 character in having the Enterprise re-encounter the destructive crystalline entity from the "Datalore" episode.

S5 further introduces combative Bajoran Starfleet officer Ro Laren into the "Trek" universe in the aptly titled "Ensign Ro" episode. This one has her called onto the Enterprise to serve as a Starfleet representative to her people.

Conspicuous absences from S5 are a lack of an episode involving the impish Q and a Borg episode in which that fan favorite threatens the Enterprise and the entire Federation to which it belongs. "I, Borg" has our heroes first rescue and subsequently rehabilitate and actually befriend an injured Borg in a relatively benign manner. However, Trekkers and Trekkies alike know that this is not the end of the story.

The entertaining series finale "Time's Arrow" has the discovery of the head of android Enterprise officer Data at a site on earth that dates back 500 years leading to an adventure that involves time-traveling aliens, Mark Twain, another notable literary figure of that era, and the past of Enterprise bartender/"listener" Guinan.

The remaining episodes involve the standard "Trek" style scifi mysteries, seemingly friendly guests with malicious intent, and a handful of ill-fated romances.

The always spectacular special features in these sets this time around includes "A Remembrance of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and a tribute to Roddenberry.

Anyone with any "Trek" related questions or comments is encouraged to either email me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy,