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As the sixth season of Star Trek: The Next Generation went into production, everyone knew that attentions would soon be permanently divided by the debut of Deep Space Nine. Sure enough, that meant crossovers ("Birthright"), guest stars, and references back and forth. The sense of baton-passing drew the TNG family closer, however. Directorial debuts begun in season 5 allowed for repeat group-huddle ownership of several shows. Jonathan Frakes bettered "The Quality of Life" by "The Chase," which finally offered an explanation why most races in the Trek universe are humanoid with knobbly foreheads. Patrick Stewart crowbarred a Western into the franchise in "A Fistful of Datas." LeVar Burton introduced the far more exciting Riker clone Thomas in "Second Chances." But here we still find an inability to follow through a good idea, since it was intended for the clone Tom to replace the real Will. Barclay outstayed his welcome with a lackluster "Ship in a Bottle" (despite a hammy cameo from Stephanie Beacham) after he'd injected creepiness into "Realm of Fear." The same happened with Q and the painfully weak "True Q" contrasted by the philosophically challenging "Tapestry," in which Picard faced the decisions of his youth. Yet ultimately the year provided more memorable moments than either year 5 did or year 7 would. There was the fun of a pint-sized Starfleet in "Rascals," the shocking comment on political torture in "Chain of Command," the endless Matrix-like guessing game of reality in "Frame of Mind," and even a jokey genre nod often called "Die Hard Picard" instead of its official title, "Starship Mine." The two biggest attention-drawing moments came via stellar cameos. There was the bittersweet sight of James Doohan revisiting the original Enterprise bridge on "Relics," then a quick contribution by Stephen Hawking in the cliffhanger "Descent." Both were attempts at keeping TNG the connoisseur's Trek incarnation of choice.

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Special Features Broadcast episodes of the entire sixth season (1992-93) 26 episodes on 7 discs Featurettes: Mission Overview: Year Six (cast and crew comment on Patrick Stewart's acclaimed performance in "Chain of Command" plus highlights James Doohan's appearance in "Relics," the cliffhanger episode "Time's Arrow," the appearance of Stephen Hawking in "Descent, Part 1," and the launch of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine; Special Crew Profile of Lt. Commander Data (an exclusive profile of Brent Spiner and his android character, including rare footage of his recording Old Yellow Eyes Is Back); Bold New Directions (explores Patrick Stewart's experience directing the episode "A Fistful of Datas" and LeVar Burton comments on his directorial debut of the episode "Second Chances"; Departmental Briefing, Year Six: Production (Ron Moore discusses writing episodes for the sixth season, visual effects producer Dan Curry remembers the challenges of re-creating the Original Series Enterprise bridge for "Relics," and Michael Westmore and James Cromwell discuss makeup design); Departmental Briefing, Year Six: Dan Curry Profile (visual effects producer provides a fascinating tour of his home containing unique props and weaponry that inspired many of the artistic designs for the series; also features a demonstration of the Klingon bat'leth and Tai Chi moves he choreographed for the crew) Bonus trailers for Star Trek: Nemesis and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine on DVD

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PA081354 Star Trek Next Generation Sixth Season DVD (1992) $69.99 $59.99