19 Things We Learned from the ‘Best of Both Worlds’ Commentary


9. During the production, a studio executive who was unfamiliar with Star Trek reminded the cast and crew to “use blanks” when firing the phasers.

10. This was the first time Star Trek did a cliffhanger for a season finale.

11. Near the end of the second episode, Dennehy has a line that says, “Jupiter Outpost 92 reported visual contact.” In order to prevent scripts from being leaked, each person’s script had a different number for the Jupiter Outpost, which could be traced back to them.

12. As an experiment, Bole and Rick Stembach wrote a fake scene for the season four premiere which starts with Picard in the shower surprised when Q (John de Lancie) appears. They “accidentally” left the scene lying around the art department for a few days. Relatively quickly, the scene was leaked on sci-fi online bulletin boards and CompuServe (which was the equivalent of sites like this back in 1990).

13. The hand-held scanner the Borg use on Picard (Patrick Stewart) before he receives his Borg implants is a recreation of the oscillation overthruster prop from The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the 8th Dimension. It appears in various places throughout the Star Trek series and films.


14. Wolf 359, where the Federation armada is decimated by the Borg, is an actual star that is relatively close to Earth.

15. One of the ships destroyed at Wolf 359 was to be named the Chekov, but the name was changed to the Tolstoy at the last minute to not seem so self-referential.

16. Several set pieces in the lab where Data (Brent Spiner) interfaces with Locutus came from the failed series Star Trek: Phase Two, which was meant to chronicle Captain Kirk’s second five-year mission.

17. The model of the planet Mars used in this episode was originally made for the PBS series Cosmos.

18. The alien race known as the Bolians was named after director Cliff Bole.

19. The episode that immediately follows “The Best of Both Worlds” was “Family,” which dealt with the emotional and psychological repercussions on Picard after his experience with the Borg. Writer and producer Michael Piller wanted more time to work on this script, so several episodes were filmed before “Family” in order to put a finalized script into production.

Best in Commentary

  • Mike Okuda: “This was the moment when Star Trek: The Next Generation stepped out of the shadow of Star Trek the original series and just became its own entity.”
  • Dennehy: “What do they call that elevator?” Denise Okuda: “Turbo lift.” Mike Okuda: “Elevator’s fine.”
  • Dennehy: “What do you call those zapper things?” Mike Okuda: “Phasers?”

Final Thoughts

“The Best of Both Worlds” (the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, not the Hannah Montana concert film) is widely considered to be one of the best episodes of television history. Even today, it holds up, and it will always hold a special place in the heart of any Star Trek fan.

The commentary, while entertaining and informative at times, would have be helped along with some bigger, more recognizable names in it. The Okudas are knowledgeable enough, though Bole is a bit dull in his delivery. Dennehy is not afraid to speak up, almost to a fault. Early on, she takes control of the commentary and drives discussion. This works at times, but considering that her character  Lt. Commander Shelby was a dayplayer for this two-part episode, in essence making her a supporting character, it draws the focus off the bigger elements of the show.

Still, this is worth a listen to for a fan of The Next Generation. The casual viewer won’t get much out of it, though.

Check out more commentary commentary in the Commentary Commentary archives

Kevin Carr crawled from the primordial ooze in the early 1970s. He grew up watching movies to the point of irritation for his friends and was a font of useless movie knowledge until he decided to put that knowledge to good use. Now, Kevin is a nationally syndicated critic, heard on dozens of radio stations around the country, and his reviews appear in a variety of online outlets. Kevin is also a proud member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA).

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