The Best of Both Worlds (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
|"The Best of Both Worlds"|
|Star Trek: The Next Generation episode|
Blu-ray release cover
|Episode no.||Season 3 episode 26, Season 4 episode 1|
|Directed by||Cliff Bole|
|Written by||Michael Piller|
|Featured music||Ron Jones|
|Cinematography by||Marvin Rush|
|Production code||174 & 175|
|Original air date|
"The Best of Both Worlds" is the 26th episode of the third season and the first episode of the fourth season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation. It comprises the 74th and 75th episodes of the series overall. The first part was originally aired on June 18, 1990, and the second on September 24, 1990 in broadcast syndication. The story occurs across stardates 43989.1 – 44002.3 (December 2366/January 2367 by the Okuda timeline).
Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures of the crew of the Federation starship Enterprise. In this episode, the Enterprise must battle the Borg who are intent on conquering Earth, with a captured and assimilated Captain Picard as their emissary. Part 1 was the finale to season three, while Part 2 was the premiere of season four. It is considered one of the most popular TNG episodes.
In April 2013, The Best of Both Worlds was re-released as a single feature in 1080p (1.33:1 ratio), edited together as a single film on Blu-ray disc. In this version, the short summary of Part I at the start of Part II is removed and there is no second opening credits montage. The 90-minute single also has some special features and audio commentary available for the episode. One reviewer said it was better than some of the Star Trek theatrical films.
The Starship Enterprise responds to a distress call from a Federation colony and arrives to discover the colony gone. The Federation suspect the Borg—cybernetic humanoids that assimilate individuals into their hive mind.
Starfleet Admiral Hanson arrives on Enterprise with Lt. Commander Shelby, an expert on the Borg, who assists the crew in determining the cause of the colony's disappearance. Hanson informs Captain Picard that Commander Riker has been offered the command of a starship and suggests that Riker take the position, having turned it down twice previously. Although there is tension between Riker and Shelby—who wants to take over his position of first officer—they confirm that the colony was assimilated by the Borg. Hanson advises Picard that another Federation vessel encountered a strange "cube-like" vessel before sending a distress call that ended abruptly. Enterprise moves to intercept and confronts a Borg cube.
The Borg demand that Picard surrender himself, which he refuses. Although initially deterred by Enterprise's shield modulation, the Borg lock the vessel in a tractor beam and begin cutting open the hull. Shelby suggests randomly changing the frequency of the ship's phasers to prevent the Borg from adapting to the attack, which frees the vessel. The Enterprise escapes to a nebula, where Chief Engineer Geordi La Forge and Ensign Wesley Crusher adapt a technique suggested by Shelby to modify the deflector dish to fire a massive energy discharge capable of destroying the Borg cube. The Borg flush Enterprise from the nebula, board the ship, and abduct Picard. The Borg Cube moves at high warp speed towards Earth, with Enterprise in pursuit.
Riker, now in command of the ship, prepares to join an away team to transport to the cube to rescue Picard, but Counselor Troi reminds him his place is now on the bridge. Shelby leads the away team onto the Borg cube, where they are ignored by the Borg drones. The team locate Picard's uniform and communicator and then destroy power nodes inside the cube, forcing it out of warp. As the team prepares to transport to Enterprise, they see an assimilated Picard. The Borg contact Enterprise, with Picard stating that he is "Locutus of Borg" and to prepare for assimilation. Riker orders Worf to fire the deflector dish.
The deflector dish discharge has no effect on the Borg cube; Locutus reveals that the Borg had prepared for the attack using Picard's knowledge. The Borg cube continues at warp speed towards Earth, with the crippled Enterprise unable to follow. Upon reporting their failure to Hanson, Riker is promoted to Captain and learns that a fleet of starships is massing at Wolf 359 to stop the Borg. Enterprise arrives at Wolf 359 to find that the fleet has been destroyed.
The Enterprise follows the cube's warp trail and offers to negotiate with Locutus. The request is denied, but the communication reveals Locutus' location within the cube. The Enterprise locates the Borg cube, and separates into saucer and stardrive sections. Although Shelby suggested attacking with the stardrive section, Riker does the reverse and orders the saucer section to fire an antimatter spread near the cube, disrupting its sensors and allowing a shuttlecraft piloted by Lieutenant Commander Data and Lt. Worf to pass the Borg shields and beam aboard the Borg cube. They kidnap Locutus, although the Borg ignore this and continue to Earth.
Data and Dr. Crusher create a neural link with Locutus to gain access to the Borg's collective consciousness. Data attempts to use the link to disable the Borg's weapons and defensive systems, but cannot, as they are protected by security protocols. Picard breaks free from Borg control and mutters, "sleep". Dr. Crusher comments that Picard must be exhausted from this ordeal, but Data realizes that Picard is suggesting accessing the Borg regeneration subroutines, which are less protected than key systems like weapons or power. Data issues a command to the Borg to enter sleep mode, causing their weapons and shields to deactivate. A feedback loop builds in the Borg cube, which destroys the vessel. Dr. Crusher and Data remove the Borg implants and augmentations from Picard.
The Enterprise is repaired in an orbital shipyard, and Riker, although offered command of his own ship, insists on remaining as first officer. Shelby is reassigned to a task force dedicated to rebuilding the fleet. Picard recovers, but is still disturbed by his ordeal.
The writer of both episodes, Michael Piller, considers it to be a Riker-centric episode as he related the character's quandary over whether or not to leave the Enterprise to his own experiences as an executive producer on Star Trek. This was because Piller felt ready to move onto other things, but he was convinced to stay by Gene Roddenberry and Rick Berman. During the writing process on the episodes, he worked with Ronald D. Moore, who wrote the following episode "Family" and the pair consider this episode to round out "The Best of Both Worlds" as a trilogy. Initially it wasn't intended to have an episode reflecting on the ongoing effects on Picard, but after Piller raised the issue with Roddenberry and Berman, it was agreed to be added as long as it included a science fiction story. Instead, Moore and Piller agreed to have three family stories contained in the episode which would resonate off each other.
The storyline appeared in TV Guide's "100 Most Memorable Moments in TV History" (July 1, 1996), ranked number 50. The episode was also ranked #70 on the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time. Part I was ranked No. 8 on the Top 10 Star Trek Episodes for the magazine's celebration of the franchise's 30th anniversary.
In 2008, Empire magazine rated Star Trek: The Next Generation 37th on their list of "The 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time" and cited "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II" as the show's best episode. The episode was ranked #36 on TV Guide's list of "TV's Top 100 Episodes of All Time". The two-episode arc ranked second in Entertainment Weekly's list of top 10 Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes. Starlog magazine listed the two part episodes as number three and four on their 25 top episodes of The Next Generation.
These two episodes, prepped for Blu-ray release and to promote the release of the Season 3 on Blu-ray, were combined with interviews and outtakes and shown as a one-night only event in movie theaters across USA and Canada on the night of April 25, 2013.
The musical score was composed and conducted by Ron Jones and eventually released as an album in 1991. Jones composed similar cliffhanger music for the 100th episode of Family Guy, "Stewie Kills Lois" as Seth MacFarlane and David A. Goodman had wanted to use the actual music, but couldn't get the rights from Paramount.
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- "The 100 Greatest TV episodes of all time". October 28, 2007. Archived from the original on October 28, 2007.
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- "The 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time". Empire. Retrieved 2008-03-29.
- "TV's Top 100 Episodes of All Time" TV Guide; June 15, 2009; Pages 34-49
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- "Best of the Generation". Starlog (195): 44–49. October 1993.
- "Fathom Events". Fathom Events.
- "RECAP: The Best Of Both Worlds On The Big Screen".
- "The Best of Both Worlds In-Theater Event -- A Fan Perspective".
- Star Trek TNG Best of Both Worlds Fathom Events Experience Archived October 4, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
- "STTNG Vol. 2: The Best Of Both Worlds by Ron Jones".
- Seth MacFarlane (October 21, 2008). Family Guy Volume 6 DVD commentary for the episode "Stewie Kills Lois" (DVD)
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- Ron Jones (1991). "Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Best of Both Worlds - Volume Two - Expanded Edition" GNP Crescendo Records. Retrieved 2013-08-21
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- "The Best of Both Worlds, Part I" at TV.com
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- "The Best of Both Worlds, Part I" at Memory Alpha (a Star Trek wiki)
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- "The Best of Both Worlds, Part I" at StarTrek.com
- "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II" at StarTrek.com
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