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Season Three:
-150: "Evolution"
-152: "Who Watches the Watchers?"
-157: "The Vengeance Factor"
-159: "The Hunted"
-160: "The High Ground"
-163: "Yesterday's Enterprise"
-167: "Captain's Holiday"
-174-175: "The Best of Both Worlds"

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(1st story in Star Trek TNG's 3rd season, production code 150)
  • story by Michael Piller and Michael Wagner
  • teleplay by Michael Piller
  • directed by Winrich Kolbe
  • music by Ron Jones
  • 45 minutes


Most fans of The Next Generation will agree that its third season marks the point when the show really came together as a vehicle for high quality optimistic futuristic stories, and became the phenomenon that elevated the Star Trek franchise to new heights. All true; however, that shift really was a gradual one. Indeed, many late season two stories give an accurate preview of that shift, while some of the early season three stories remain a bit slow off the mark.

Here in "Evolution", the Next Generation's third season opens with a quieter, nicely written story about the pressures and struggles of early overachievers. Though this centers most obviously on Wesley Crusher and the main guest star Dr. Stubbs played by Ken Jenkins, many of the other characters are roped in to the examination of the issue in fairly organic fashion.

Dr. Beverly Crusher is back after her absence from season two, and the housekeeping that deals with her return is fused fairly seamlessly into the narrative. As she works to try to reconnect with her son Wesley, she more keenly notices the stresses he is under, and she comes with additional reason to question his behaviour. Nicely, we get a bit more background about both Picard and Beverly as they contrast their younger years with Wesley's current life.

There is enough character exploration in this story to give both Guinan and Troi plenty to do. Guinan does her usual quiet thing in a few places, while Whoopi Goldberg makes it look effortless. But it is perhaps Troi who has the best scene - against Dr. Stubbs in his quarters, as she makes a poignant observation about the tension that fills the room. Perhaps we all know people like Stubbs who, under great pressure, create a similar atmosphere, even though their intentions are good.

Where the story deviates from this theme of pressured over-achievers, it typically embraces other major threads of the franchise. The concept of putting violence aside in order to talk one's way to peaceful solutions is also showcased here, as it was way back in the first Trek pilot "The Cage", while the need overcome the violent instinct is a staple Trek theme which featured heavily in "Encounter at Farpoint", and as a key point in "Gambit".

The Borg continue to be foreshadowed in this one, partly from one of the computer glitches early on, and also from the general behaviour of the Nannites and where that seems headed. It would be another eight years or so, though, before the two ideas actually meshed officially.

Perhaps subtlest of all, because no one truly speaks directly of it, one can feel the concept of a meritocracy driving the behaviour of many of the characters here. It's in the background, a need for every person to better themselves and offer their best to society. It keeps everyone's interactions up to a standard that makes good clean television viewing. It's easy to see how all these things helped Piller's script get fast-tracked into production.

And of course, Stubbs' love of baseball is a foreshadowing of Benjamin Sisko's similar feelings on the subject, which reigned during his long streak on Deep Space Nine.

Appropriately, there are some gorgeously grand visuals in the piece, firstly with an all-new spacey opening section for the title sequence that will continue until TNG's last episode, but also with the liberal use of some impressive vistas of a bluish white dwarf star pulling dusty gaseous material off of its red giant companion star. Nicely, the story's bookending scenes that revel in this spectacle are graced by one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever composed for the series: Ron Jones' wonderful "Double Star" theme.

While "Evolution" isn't quite the exciting action adventure you might expect as a season opener, it is quite a polished piece with depth of character and suitably interesting ideas and drama - a healthy sign of more good things to come....

This Next Generation Season Three story is available on DVD and Blu-ray:

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season Three (1989-1990):

Captain Jean-Luc Picard and crew hit their stride in this third season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and truly began to shine as only they could. Watch all 26 ground-breaking episodes, culminating in the season cliffhanger that many regard as the first half of the best Next Generation story of all time.

Includes 26 episodes @ 45 minutes each.
Click on the Amazon symbol for the desired disc format and location nearest you for more information:


DVD Canada

7-disc DVD set

DVD Canada


DVD Extras include 4 featurettes:

  • Season 3 "Mission Overview" (17 min.)
  • Crew Changes (14 min.)
  • Dept. Briefings: Production (20 min.)
  • Dept. Briefings: Memorable Missions (13 min.)
These extras feature interviews by cast and crew discussing favourite memories, cast input and response to character development, and new writer Michael Piller's insights into episodes' story mechanics.
Blu-ray U.S.

NEW for
April 30, 2013.
Blu-ray Canada

NEW for
April 30, 2013.
Blu-ray U.K.

NEW for
April 29, 2013.

6-disc Blu-ray box set

Additional Blu-ray Bonus Features include:

  • 5 Audio commentaries including:
    • "The Bonding" with writer Ronald D. Moore and scenic/graphic artists Mike and Denise Okuda.
    • "Yesterday's Enterprise" with Moore, the Okudas, and co-writer Ira Steven Behr.
    • "Yesterday's Enterprise" with director David Carson.
    • "The Offspring" with writer René Echevarria and the Okudas.
    • "Sins of the Father" with Moore, the Okudas, and visual effects technician Dan Curry.
  • "Assimilating the Next Gen." (HD) 3-part season three making-of documentary (90 min. total), with Moore, Behr, Echevarria, Patrick Stewart (Captain Picard), Jonathan Frakes (Riker), Brent Spiner (Data), Gates McFadden (Dr. Crusher), Michael Dorn (Worf).
  • "Inside the Writers' Room" (HD) roundtable interview (71 min.) with Moore, Echevarria, Brannon Braga, and Naren Shankar.
  • A Tribute to head writer Michael Piller (HD, 14 min.)
  • Gag Reel (HD, 9 min.)
  • In Memoriam: David Rappaport (5 min.)
  • Promos for each individual episode
  • plus, all featurettes from the DVD version.

Article & reviews written by Martin Izsak. Comments are welcome. You may contact the author from this page:

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Read our next Star Trek review article: "Who Watches the Watchers?"

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