Star Trek: TNG: Season 6
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Star Trek: TNG: Season 6

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Seriously doubt that anyone would contest the comment that Gene Roddenberry’s ‘Star Trek’ is one of the most influential pieces of entertainment in recent times. Fans delve into the slightest details of the mythology deciding what is Canon and what lies outside the sanction parameters. At conventions all over the world, fans will endlessly debate whether the Original Series or the Next Generation is the better representation of Mr. Roddenberry’s view of mankind’s future. While to some it may seem as inconsequential as written you prefer original expropriate the chicken to millions of diehard fans, this ranks as a crucial, divisive issue. Over the last few years, Paramount Studios has been remastering the seven seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation, for release in high definition. So far, the results have been spectacular, with the 35mm film used for the live-action sequences, providing ample audio and video information to transform into a Blu-ray disc. The same was not true, however, for the many special-effects sequences. They were rendered in video in order to expedite the production and stay on the budget. This technique will work on television in the late 80s and early 90s. It does not suffice for the current standard of 1080p resolution. For fans, this was a mixed blessing. Some purist will set that what we remembered. While initially watching the series would have to be changed. Others were gladdened, understanding that these special-effects would have to be re-created in order to fit seamlessly into the Blu-ray format. The result was each of the hundred and 178 episodes stand toe to toe most modern films and television shows as follows quality is concerned. Out of what has to be seen is set for the loyal fans, Paramount has been releasing each of the seven seasons on a reasonably rapid schedule. The first season was released in May 2012; the last set for December 2014.

The sixth season under consideration here represented a major turning point that only for the show itself, but for the higher expanded universe of the franchise. With the Klingons nominally at peace with the Federation in an uneasy truce with the Romulans achieved, thanks in large part to the efforts of Ambassador Spock (Leonard Nimoy), a the Federation flagship, The Enterprise-D had little time to rest before in new deadly enemy would arise, the Cardassians. Introduce a little while back is very aggressive humanoid race ruled by our culture conquest and enslavement. This conflict would grow in scope, eventually encompassing the spinoff series; ‘Deep Space Nine’ and ‘Voyager’. The Cardassians heavily defended upon subterfuge and espionage to forward their agenda. The only way for the Federation and their allies to counter these tactics was to embrace them themselves. The Romulans were very much like the ancient Romans in a social political makeup. They had a Senate strict hierarchy within the military. They routinely employed spies that only to gather intelligence on external enemies before that numerous internal power struggles. The Cardassians operated along similar lines for more brutality. As the Federation is inexorably pulled increasingly deeper into such clandestine and morally ambiguous operations, the series began to move away from the futuristic utopia originally envisioned by Gene Roddenberry. The wars that the established to guide the context of episodes always included the trustworthiness and benign motivations of Starfleet as this bastion of what is good in humanity was forced to revert to some of the darker aspects that have driven our species in the past. This deviation from the original vision by the creator of the franchise is still hotly debated among fans. While some see it as a necessary evil in order to maintain a growing dramatic tension, others are disheartened by the corruption of the Federation as they sink to the in morality of their enemies.

Star Trek in all its incarnations has always been character driven. The conflict created by the situations often served as a crucible to test various characters and provided impetus for what was frequently drastic change. This began several seasons back when Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), was captured and assimilated by the ultimate cybernetic enemy, the Borg. The effects of that experience persisted not only for the rest of the series was extended into the movies as well. In this season, not only does the captain Undergo extensive physical and psychological adversity, but most of the major characters have their own trials and tribulations to contend with. Picard would come close to death when his artificial heart is damaged beyond repair. He is ultimately saved by the intervention of the almost omnipotent ‘Q’ (John de Lancie), with almost sadistic glee subjects the Captain to a futuristic version of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’. This quintessential Starfleet officer finds himself faced with a very human command dilemma. After developing romantic feelings for a member of the crew, stellar cartography, Nella Daren (Wendy Hughes, he is faced with having to center on an exceptionally dangerous away mission.

Using a storytelling motif that became standard over the last few seasons, this season opens up with the conclusion of a two-part story. Commander Data (Brent Spiner) discovers his head in an archaeological dig, which led him to San Francisco in the 1890s. As it turns out the bartender of 10 forward, Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg) was visiting earth at that time. Her race, the El-Aurians are extremely long-lived, so centuries are just a sliver of their lifespans. Over the course of several episodes we find out that the relationship with the Captain is, as she put it, "beyond friendship" and "beyond family". This is already suspected by many fans, since it would not be commonplace for the ships bartender to enjoy unprecedented access to the Captain. Both Picard and counselor Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis), all assigned dangerous undercover missions to gather intelligence on the Cardassians, which leads to Troi being temporarily altered to look like a Cardassian and Picard being tortured. While interspecies alterations have been around since the original series. The use of torture has never been so integral to the episodes story.

Commander Riker (Jonathan Frakes) is spotlighted in several episodes. In one defines that a transporter malfunction has left a younger version of him stranded on a desolate planet for over a decade. Riker has to literally face his past and consider how life might have been for him. The transporter incident was also responsible for the return of one of the main characters from the original series, Montgomery Scott (James Doohan). As a desperate measure he utilized the transporter’s buffer to keep him in a fellow crewmember alive after a disaster. While his friend died due to a power outage. The scenes between Scotty and the current Chief Engineer, Lt Cmdr. Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton), are not only humorous but exceptionally poignant in an intensely human level. Scotty becomes pivotal in the exploration of a Dyson sphere; an artificial construct that surrounds an entire star. ‘Q’ makes another appearance when he discovers that a young crewmember, Amanda Rogers (Olivia d'Abo), exhibits the limitless powers of his species. There is also a comical episode when several members of the crew are turned into children to the consternation of the adults on board. The ever present commitment to exploring social issue is expertly met when Starfleet want to take Data in order to disassemble him. Riker finds himself forced to represent Starfleet’s position while Picard has to defend Data’s very right to be recognized as a sentient being that must be afforded all the privileges and protections that designation entails.

Between the political intrigue, romance and intensely life-changing situations, this season is darker than most. The rationale for this is that it has to set up all-out war in the quadrant enemies so powerful that the Federation, Romulans and Klingons would have to unite just for a chance to survive. As the penultimate season, it not only carries on the commitment to quality as demonstrated by incredible writing, taut direction and exemplary acting, but it sets the stage for the upcoming final act.

Beyond the Five Year Mission - The Evolution of Star Trek: The Next Generation (HD)
Audio commentaries on "Relics," Tapestry" and "Frame of Mind"
Deleted Scenes on select episodes (HD)
"Archival Mission Logs"
Gag Reel (HD)

Posted 11/14/2014

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