The fantastic adventures of the starship Enterprise-D continue with the arrival of Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season Three on Blu-Ray.
If you're at all aware of the previous two seasons on Blu (read my reviews of season one and season two), then you know what you're getting with this release. In the new format, TNG looks like a whole new show and sounds fantastic. Details are at times stupefying in how sharp they are, and all those sci-fi special effects come through loud and clear. This is probably the strongest argument for releasing TV on Blu-Ray that has ever existed. Even if you have the DVD's, if you are any sort of a Next Generation fan and can afford to spend the money, you should take a long, hard look at buying the Blu-Rays.
Season three is a particularly strong cycle for TNG, for a number of reasons. First and foremost, Gates McFadden rejoins the cast as Dr. Beverly Crusher after being temporarily replaced in season two - her absence was definitely felt and with her back, the show seems like it's complete again. There are also a few key points in the show's history that happen in this season. The introduction of the Borg is here, and they remain one of the biggest villains in the history of the entire Trek franchise. Then there's "Yesterday's Enterprise," which features the return of original cast member Denise Crosby as Lt. Tasha Yar, and is one of the show's standout episodes. That's before we get into that infamous finale...
What about the bonuses, you ask? You'll get all of the extras that were included on the original DVD release (sadly still in standard definition, though), as well as some new high-def additions. Those include commentary tracks with major figures like Ron Moore - who, if you don't know, went on to co-develop another fantastic sci-fi series, the updated Battlestar Galactica - and Jonathan Frakes. These are commentaries for people who love commentaries; they're actually worth the time it takes to watch the episode over again. The other big draw is the "Inside the Writer's Room" extra, which is moderated by Family Guy's Seth MacFarlane. Whether or not you care for MacFarlane might temper your enjoyment of this one slightly, but regardless, what's obvious is that he loves Star Trek and knows what he's talking about.
For fans who aren't ready to invest the purchase price for the complete season ($55.99 as of this writing), CBS is also offering a separate Blu-Ray for the season three cliffhanger (and one of the best TNG episodes ever), "The Best of Both Worlds." That individual Blu-Ray combines both parts of the arc into one feature-length presentation and also includes extras that aren't on the Season Three set, most notably a nearly 30-minute featurette in which cast and crew talk about the infamous Borg. This means true Trekkies will be forced to double-dip if you want all the bonuses. It's currently $14.99.
The Enterprise-D still has a few more missions left in her, and fans won't have to wait long to see them. CBS Home Entertainment has already announced Season Four for Blu-Ray release later this year, as well as another separate release for "Redemption."
Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season Three is now available on Blu-Ray. You can also view CBS Home Entertainment's trailer for the release below.