Star Trek: The Next Generation
's third year was an important development in syndicated television. After two shaky years, Paramount nonetheless decided the franchise still had plenty to do. Their confidence was bolstered by two significant factors. First, cast uncertainties were finally settled: Gates McFadden (Dr. Crusher) was back for good; Denise Crosby (Tasha Yar) regretted her first-year departure, and so contrived a return in the Emmy Award-winning "Yesterday's Enterprise"; and Whoopi Goldberg happily continued her actor's-scale contributions.
Second, after the show had survived the previous year's writers' strike, new writing blood revitalized both characters and ideas: Data experienced fatherhood ("The Offspring"), Worf's Klingon heritage kick-started a huge story arc ("Sins of the Father"), and Picard got a saucy vacation ("Captain's Holiday"). There were memorable star cameos: John de Lancie played more mischief alongside Corbin Bernsen ("Déjà Q"); Dwight Schultz played truant in a gentle warning about addiction ("Hollow Pursuits"); and pleasing fans even more was Mark Lenard as Spock's dad ("Sarek"). The strongest evidence that TNG would continue for some time was the trend-setting cliffhanger finale. Fans and critics still agree that "The Best of Both Worlds" (properly introducing the Borg) was one of the greatest tricks ever pulled on TV to make audiences come back for more. --Paul Tonks
26 episodes on 7 discs: Evolution, The Ensigns of Command, The Survivors, Who Watches the Watchers, The Bonding, Booby Trap, The Enemy, The Price, The Vengeance Factor, The Defector, The Hunted, The High Ground, Deja Q, A Matter of Perspective, Yesterday's Enterprise, The Offspring, Sins of the Father, Allegiance, Captain's Holiday, Tin Man, Hollow Pursuits, The Most Toys, Sarek, Menage a Troi, Transfigurations, The Best of Both Worlds Part 1.