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Season 4 of Star Trek: The Next Generation seemed like the year of family. After quickly resolving the breathtaking cliffhanger of "The Best of Both Worlds," the show took pains to show some of what the Federation was fighting for. We meet Picard's brother, Data's father, Tasha's sister, and Worf's adoptive human parents, plus an old flame with a surprise son in tow. The Klingon heritage subplot that begins here and builds to the cliffhanger finale ("Redemption") would continue to the show's end and through into Worf's reappearance in Deep Space Nine. The year also explored the implications of Data, Lwaxana Troi, Geordi, and Dr. Crusher being in love, while Miles O'Brien (given a first name at last) married Keiko. There were old friends revisited: the ubiquitous Q in a hilarious Robin Hood romp ("Qpid"), perennial screwup Reg Barclay ("Nth Degree"), and even the mysterious Traveler from season 1's "Where No One Has Gone Before" (played by Eric Menyuk, who was nearly cast as Data). There were new races introduced who would have an important bearing on Trek's destiny: the Cardassians and the Trill. Most of all, though, there were the one-off stories that impressed: "Clues," with its memory-loss mystery; "Night Terrors," with some genuine frights; and "Identity Crisis," with possibly the only time Trek technology really helped Geordi solve a puzzle. Then right at the end, reinforcing the year's familial theme, Denise Crosby returned as her own half-Romulan daughter!

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Special Features Broadcast episodes of the entire fourth season (1990-91) 26 episodes on 7 discs Featurettes: Mission Overview: Year Four (reveals the challenges in resolving the cliffhanger episode "The Best of Both Worlds"; provides a whimsical look at the Robin Hood-themed "Q-Pid"; and celebrates the historic 100th episode with Gene Roddenberry); Selected Crew Analysis: Year Four (an in-depth look at the departure of Wesley Crusher; cast members discuss their experiences performing stunts; and a profile of Jennifer Hetrick as "Vash"); Departmental Briefing, Year Four: Production (a behind-the-scenes look at directors Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, and David Livingston; includes a special makeup section featuring Brent Spiner); New Life and New Civilizations (an inside look at creating alien landscapes and shooting on location; also explains the challenges of shooting the effects-packed episode "The Best of Both Worlds"); Chronicles from the Final Frontier (a discussion of Season Four's most extraordinary episodes and characters with preeminent writers Ronald D. Moore, Brannon Braga, and Jeri Taylor)

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PA081334 Star Trek Next Generation Fourth Season DVD (1990) $69.99 $59.99