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Star Trek is a phenomenally successful franchise: from the original sixties Kirk series, to the subsequent movies, then the Picard-driven Next Generation, then Deep Space Nine and Voyager, with yet more movies and Enterprise to round things off. Now that things have ground to a halt, fans and newcomers have been given the opportunity to re-discover the best of the classic episodes with Fan Collectives. The Q edition is the latest in this series.

Star Trek Fan Collective: Q

Series


The Q collection starts off with the very first episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, entitled ‘Encounter at Farpoint’. A two-parter, it also marks the crew’s first encounter with the strange being known as Q. A member of the mysterious Q Continuum, Q is seemingly omnipotent—capable of transporting his victims through time and space to play mind games with them, and then return them to where they were before. His games are not, however, illusions—the consequences are very much real, with people hurt or even killed and the ship often severely damaged. In this first episode we see Q accuse humanity of acts of barbarism and place the crew of the recently built USS Enterprise D, commanded by newly-appointed Captain Jean Luc Picard, on trial for these crimes, the penalty being death to the entire human race.

Across the subsequent Next Generation episodes we see how both the character of Q has evolved, and the crew of the Enterprise has developed in the passing time. Q returns to try and convince Picard’s first in command, Riker, to join him, using a weird Napoleonic setting to confuse and disorientate the Enterprise’s senior crew members. Then we get the big one, the introduction of the Borg, possibly the best adversary any Star Trek crew has encountered. Q hurls the Enterprise into a head-on battle with the Borg vessel, where they soon realise that they are way out of their league and destined to be obliterated (or ‘assimilated’) if they don’t come up with a game-plan. When Q next returns, he is seeking sanctuary on the Enterprise after having lost his powers. Obviously his mere presence puts the ship and its crew in danger, as always.

Star Trek Fan Collective: Q
In the same year as Kevin Costner’s Prince of Thieves brings Robin Hood back into the limelight, we get a Robin Hood episode, ‘Qpid’, with Q as the villain trying to cause trouble for Picard’s Robin Hood and his Maid Marion, Vash, one of Picard’s old flames. One of the last Next Generation appearances of Q, ‘True-Q’, sees the quirky trouble-maker intrigued by a young intern who is visiting the Enterprise and who displays Q-like powers.

Deep Space Nine only heralded one appearance by Q in its entire run, with him and his fellow explorer Vash introducing themselves to the new crew and complicating things for them as they desperately struggle to save the space station from imminent destruction. Returning to The Next Generation we get ‘Tapestry’, a strange Q episode, where Picard dies and is given the opportunity to revisit and change his previous decisions, with a view to avoiding his eventual death. Considering Q was on board when it all began, it is quite fitting that he re-appear for the final two-parter Next Generation story, ‘All Good Things’.

Fans of Star Trek are unlikely to have missed this cross-time-period finale, where Picard faces his past—the start of The Next Generation at Farpoint, his present and twenty-five years into his future, where he appears to be a babbling, dying madman. Alongside the introduction of the Borg, this has to be one of the highlights of this collection.

Star Trek Fan Collective: Q
Jumping to Star Trek: Voyager, we see Q hassling his new prey in three episodes: ‘Deathwish’, where Q appears to be suicidal, ‘The Q and the Grey’, where the Q Continuum—in a US Civil War setting—cause trouble for the Voyager crew and the final appearance of Q, ‘Q2’, where he introduces his son and puts him in the care of Voyager’s Captain Janeway. Again, this (by now expectedly) causes no end of trouble aboard the ship.

Although annoying to the point of wanting to strangle him with your bare hands, Q is quite an important character across the Star Trek franchise. He could have so easily been used as a gimmick, to liven up bad ratings, but instead they chose to use him for key stories across the seasons, making his irritating presence a sign that something important was going to happen, something with significant repercussions. His fame is almost entirely associated with The Next Generation, where he was onboard at the start and the end and for the introduction of the Borg and the death of Picard, all of which were amongst the best episodes of the entire show.

Here we have a collection of every single episode starring this character, twelve in total, and whilst I would not normally advocate such collections (those who like a TV show should really invest in complete seasons), I can see here how the Q Collective actually contains possibly the most important episodes of The Next Generation. As such, for those who don’t want to splash out on seven expensive full seasons, it seems like a viable purchase. Unfortunately, at the same time, if it does tickle your fancy, you are likely to want more and collections like this just won’t satisfy your appetite.

Star Trek Fan Collective: Q
Episode List:

Disc One:

Encounter at Farpoint (Star Trek: The Next Generation Pilot Episodes)
Hide and Q (TNG Season 1 Episode 10)
Q Who? (TNG Season 2 Episode 16)

Disc Two:

Deja Q (TNG Season 3 Episode 13)
Qpid (TNG Season 4 Episode 20 Robin Hood)
True-Q (TNG Season 6 Episode 6)
Q-Less (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Season 1 Episode 7)

Disc Three:

Tapestry (TNG Season 6 Episode 15)
All Good Things (TNG Season 7 Final Episodes)
Death Wish (Star Trek: Voyager Season 2 Episode 18)

Disc Four:

The Q and the Grey (Voyager Season 3 Episode 11)
Q2 (Voyager Season 7 Episode 19)

Star Trek Fan Collective: Q

Video


The episodes in this collection are quite variable in quality. All of them are presented in 1.33:1 aspect ratio non-anamorphically enhanced fullscreen transfers, as per their original TV format, but you can really see a difference in standard across the years. The early Next Generation episodes are obviously the most shoddy, with terrible detail, omnipresent softness and some cringe-worthy haloing. You could easily compare some of the shots to VHS standard and the increase in quality is distinctly noticeable as we progress onto the much more acceptable latter seasons and spin-off shows. Fans are not likely to complain too much.

Audio


To accompany the episodes, we get Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks that offer up decent dialogue, but little else. The various Star Trek theme tracks are still resoundingly patriotic (to the point of irritation) but the score is presented quite well. Effects are commonplace, but seldom get full range from this particular audio presentation. Still, it is a decent enough presentation considering the material and you cannot really expect much more from these episodes.

Extras


All we get in this collection are text commentaries by the crew for 'Deja-Q', 'Q-Less' and 'Death Wish'. These offer up some interesting trivia but nothing substantial, particularly given the significance of some of the other episodes—like ‘All Good Things’—where a track would have been brilliant.

Star Trek Fan Collective: Q

Overall


Star Trek Fan Collective: Q is an interesting collection of key episodes across three of the Star Trek shows. For newcomers, it offers a chance to get a taste of the best of the various seasons, but will never fully satisfy those who want to see more (for example, the seeing the introduction of the Borg makes you want to see the later episodes involving them). The video and audio presentations vary, from the barely watchable to the acceptable and the extras are minimal. For those who don’t want to splash out on entire seasons, it is a nice appetiser and worth considering as an introduction to a great franchise.


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