By Marc Bernardin
Updated July 12, 2002 at 04:00 AM EDT

STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION — SEASON 3 (1989-90, Paramount, 1,181 mins., unrated, $100) Just as there’s a giddy kick to looking back on a TV series’ beginning, it’s a thrilling endeavor to see it hit its stride, and the third season is when The Next Generation did just that, with episodes like ”The Best of Both Worlds, Part I” — the grandest of The Next Generation’s year-ending cliff-hangers, this one found Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) kidnapped by the Borg — and ”Yesterday’s Enterprise,” the Star Trek universe’s smartest time-travel experiment (and a longtime fan favorite). This collection is of a piece with the last two boxed sets — a handful of retrospective featurettes are the only supplements, and they’re not bad if you’re a newcomer to Next Generation lore but kind of stale if you’re a hardcore geek (and it takes one to know one). Still, these 22 installments represent a high-water mark for episodic Star Trek, and, as such, for TV science fiction as a whole.

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