Star Trek: The Best of Both Worlds review (Blu-ray)

The third season of Star Trek: The Next Generation saw the show really hit its stride, and it ended the season with quite a bang, too. The Best of Both Worlds was a cliffhanger that bridged seasons 3 and 4, and saw the crew of the Enterprise have to deal with losing their captain while facing up to the biggest threat yet: the Borg.

The Enterprise responds to a distress call from a Federation colony, only to find a massive crater where the colony should be. The Federaton believes the attack to be the work of the Borg (spoiler: IT IS!) and so Admiral Hanson assigns Lt Comander Shelby (Dennehy, daughter of Brian), Starfleet's resident Borg expert, to the Enterprise to help track down the Borg (spoiler: THEY DO!).

Shelby sure knows lots about the Borg, but she's also ambitious and has her eye on Riker's (Frakes) job as the First Officer of the Enterprise (spoiler: SHE DOESN'T GET IT!). The Enterprise attacks the Borg ship. The Borg are pretty much unharmed, and to retaliate, they kidnap Captain Picard (Stewart) and ... assimilate him. (For the unitiated, that means they turn him into one of them.) "I am Locutus of Borg ... resistance is futile."

The Best of Both Worlds is a firm fan favourite. It's the first season-linking cliffhanger the Next Generation tried, and it was a huge hit both critically and with viewers. The first part left a big question open: would Picard return for Season 4? (Spoiler: HE DID!) The second part is as well-paced and gripping as the first, and the tactics used to defeat the Borg and get Picard back are pretty clever. Frakes puts in a particularly good performance, taking command of the Enterprise and butting heads with interloper Shelby, but all of the cast are on top form here. They're helped by a simply smashing script by Piller.

This special Blu-ray release sees the two episodes neatly stitched together as a feature-length adventure, one that could proudly stand alongside almost all of Trek's big-screen outings.

EXTRAS ★★★½ A new audio commentary with technical consultants Mike and Denise Okuda, actor Elizabeth Dennehy and director Cliff Bole; the new featurette Regeneration: Engaging the Borg (29:40), which includes new interviews with the show’s production staff, visual effects artists, writers, and cast ... plus Seth MacFarlane; a Best of Both World gag reel (5:28); episodic promos.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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