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Paramount Home Video presents
Star Trek Fan Collective: Time Travel (1966)

"That is the exploration that awaits you, not mapping stars or studying nebulae, but charting the unknown possibilties of existence."
- Q (John de Lancie)

Review By: Dan Heaton   
Published: June 22, 2006

Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Avery Brooks, Kate Mulgrew
Other Stars: DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, Walter Koeing, LeVar Burton, Denise Crosby, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Martina Siris, Brent Spiner, Rene Auberjonois, Terry Farrell, Colm Meaney, Armin Shimerman, Alexander Siddig, Robert Beltran, Roxann Dawson, Tim Russ, Ethan Phillips, Robert Picardo, Joan Collins, Christopher McDonald, Kelsey Grammar, John de Lancie
Director: Varies

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (suitable for television audiences)
Release Date: April 04, 2006
UPC: 097360375244
Genre: television


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A- A-B+B+ C+

DVD Review

Having released all five complete Star Trek series on DVD, Paramount inaugurated a brand new avenue to generate additional revenue from the shows. Each Fan Collective set tackles a particular theme and offers 12 episodes from any series to which it applies. The first release focused on the Borg and received solid reviews, and the second installment covers Time Travel. The included episodes were voted on by the fans, so this set represents the picks of devotees. Unfortunately, there is a downside to this democratic approach. Since the fans’ votes determine the included episodes, “double-dipping” occurs when the same episode is chosen across several sets. For example, the Voyager finale Endgame appeared in the first set because the Borg play a key role, and it also show up in this set. It seems that the DVD producers could make an easy fix and disallow episodes repeating, but that outcome seems doubtful.

The Star Trek Fan Collective: Time Travel begins with two classic episodes of The Original Series (TOS) that showcase the significant differences between this show and all future incarnations. The gem here is The City on the Edge of Forever, which remains one of the best episodes ever. A large portion of the entries come from The Next Generation, which offers several excellent time-travel stories. The highlights are the ingenious Cause and Effect, which places our heroes into a time loop, and the series finale All Good Things…. Patrick Stewart is especially strong in all these stories, especially the concluding tale, which allows him to play himself as both a younger and older man.

I’m not overly familiar with the newer Star Trek series, and this collection provided me with an enjoyable introduction to the shows. The Deep Space Nine (DS9) episodes include one mediocre entry and the remarkable Trials and Tribble-lations, which utilizes seamless computer effects to place the crew into a 1967 episode with Kirk and the gang. Finally, we receive two extended Voyager stories that offer improved effects, but mixed results. I’m certain that watching more of this series would improve my outlook on the characters. It is difficult to jump into a later season and understand the interactions between each person. Several actors (particularly Robert Picardo’s Doctor) immediately light up the screen, but others like Jeri Ryan’s Seven of Nine might require more time to heighten my interest.

This impressive collection is designed for sci-fi fans like me who enjoy the shows but would not call ourselves a Trekkie. Every episode was brand new to me, which will probably not be the case for most viewers. Here come the episode descriptions!

Tomorrow is Yesterday
Our collection begins with this solid tale that accidentally sends the original crew back in time to the 1960s. After being spotted by Air Force pilot Captain John Christopher (Roger Perry), they’re forced to beam him aboard the ship. This action results in a nasty time paradox that involves weighing possible future contributions versus alterations to the timeline. The ultimate solution is a bit unconvincing, but Kirk and Sulu’s difficulties on Earth do make for some enjoyable viewing. This episode does offer some interesting connections with the events of the feature film Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

The City on the Edge of Forever
Generally regarded by fans as one of the original series’ best episodes, this gripping entry brings our heroes into contact with a mysterious time portal. Accidentally injected with a strong drug, McCoy leaps into the void and changes history. To fix this disaster, Kirk and Spock must take a dangerous journey to the time of the Great Depression. Offering both humor and moments of surprising poignancy, this episode reveals how good Star Trek can be. Joan Collins guest stars as Edith Keeler, a social worker who charms Kirk, but she may be involved in the time changes. Shatner has rarely been better, and Kelley has great fun playing the deranged McCoy. This episode is must-see viewing for science-fiction fans.

Yesterday’s Enterprise
This intriguing TNG episode tackles an array of problems generated when a rift disrupts the timeline. The stunning appearance of the Enterprise C—believed lost 22 years earlier—disrupts the past and transforms the Enterprise D into a warship. Another surprise is Tasha Yar’s (Denise Crosby) return from the dead to helm the ship once again. Picard and his crew have no idea that anything is wrong, but Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg) recognizes that problems may exist with their situation. Goldberg receives a larger role in this mind-bending episode, and some extremely difficult choices raise the emotional stakes to a higher level. Crosby’s relationship with guest star Christopher McDonald is a bit slight, but her final moments are surprisingly effective.

Cause and Effect
This fifth-season episode of TNG shows the gang stuck in a time loop where the ship is continually destroyed. During each segment, Dr. Crusher, LaForge, and the others begin to get the feeling that events are repeating themselves. But their brains generally forget everything once the loop resets, and there appears to be no escape. This ingenious dilemma leads to a compelling episode that never misses a beat. Frasier’s Kelsey Grammar guest stars in this enjoyable tale that ranks among my favorites in the set.

Time’s Arrow (Parts 1 and 2)
Originally airing as the fifth-season cliffhanger and sixth-season premiere, this two-part episode sends Data back to San Francisco in the late 19th century, where he appears destined to die. The crew discovers this possibility when they recover his head during an architectural find from that time period. Picard and the gang follow Data back into the past and attempt to thwart a powerful group of aliens while saving their friend. This episode drags a bit for such an ambitious story, and it also includes a bad caricature of Mark Twain. It does include some enjoyable moments, some silly outfits, and an interesting time-travel narrative, which make the episode a worthwhile inclusion.

All Good Things…
This double-length series finale of TNG has Picard traveling to the past and present and attempting to prevent mankind’s destruction. Is the captain going crazy? Are these time jumps actually happening? And what’s with that crazy anomaly in the Devron system? These questions and more are answered in this excellent send-off for the seven-year series. John de Lancie returns as Q, Denise Crosby is back as Tasha Yar, and an array of cast members receive some odd makeup jobs. The techno babble is at an all-time high with this episode, but the overall human message resounds strongly during the entire story. Patrick Stewart has rarely been better, and he carries this episode to a satisfying conclusion.

Little Green Men
This light-hearted story is probably the least-necessary entry within the entire collection. With only two DS9 episodes included, the silly tale of the Ferengi visiting Roswell in 1947 includes lots of jokes, but feels a bit slight. The plot centers on Nog traveling to Earth to attend the Federation Academy, which gives Quark the change to smuggle some goods. An accident shoots them back 400 years into the past to encounter some bewildered military officials. Most of the cast appear for only a few moments early in this fourth-season episode, which focuses on the Ferengi’s strange interactions with the humans. It also offers an explanation for the strange events in Roswell, New Mexico.

Trials and Tribble-lations
Celebrating the 30th anniversary of Star Trek, this remarkable entry sends the DS9 cast into an actual episode of the original series. Combining new material with scenes from 1967’s The Trouble with Tribbles, Sisco and his crew attempt to save Captain Kirk from a vengeful Klingon. They also must deal with the furry, quickly reproducing Tribbles, who are nearly impossible to stop once they’ve gained a foothold. This story is filled with great moments from nearly every cast member, and the mixing of footage does not feel like a stunt. The episode is unique and one of the best entries within this solid collection.

Year of Hell (Parts 1 and 2)
Let the confusion begin! The Voyager episodes begin with this dark, action-packed two-parter that brings Captain Janaway and the crew to the brink of destruction. Thanks to new technology, our stranded heroes will be able to shave five years off their return trip. However, this path brings them into conflict with the Krenim, who are using temporal weapons to restore their empire. The ship faces some serious damage and appears to have little time left, but there’s always a chance in the Star Trek universe. Can Janaway and her crew restore the timeline? The prospects look grim. Frequent action-movie villain and That ‘70s Show dad Kurtwood Smith guest stars in this memorable episode.

Endgame
The collection concludes with the Voyager finale, which also appeared on the Borg Fan Collective. After viewing the uneven Year of Hell, I was surprised at the effectiveness of this gripping finale. It begins in the future with the crew celebrating the 10-year anniversary of their return to Earth. Several members are not alive, and no clear explanation is given for this fact. Twenty-six years have passed since the previous episode, and everyone has grown older and pursued different lives. But Janaway will not accept tragic past events, and she plans a dangerous journey that could change things for the better, but also might destroy everything. Alice Krige reprises her memorable role from Star Trek: First Contact as the Borg Queen in this enjoyable series finale.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: This collection's image transfers vary considerably by series and even by the individual episodes within each show. The picture for TOS entries is obviously a bit rougher, but it remains clear enough to warrant a recommendation. The best transfers appear during the later series, especially Voyager, but all deliver a solid, bright picture. Each transfer utilizes the original 1.33:1 full-frame format and is limited by its television origin.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: In similar fashion to the image transfers, the audio does improve considerably as the episodes get newer. A 5.1-channel Dolby Digital transfer is offered with every entry, and the sound effects do spring nicely from the entire sound field. The primary difference with the later series is the multitude of effects and the overall complexity of the audio. This collection also offers 2.0-channel Dolby Surround tracks that deliver a solid listening experience.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
3 Feature/Episode commentaries by Michael and Denise Okuda (text commentary) on Tomorrow is Yesterday, Yesterday's Enterprise, and Little Green Men
Picture Disc
4 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: The only extra features on this disc are text commentaries from Michael and Denise Okuda, common figures on the Star Trek DVD releases. I'm a big fan of these informational tracks, which allow you to still watch the show but learn all types of fun facts. The downside is that they only appear for three episodes, and the entries aren't even the best choices. Tomorrow is Yesterday, Yesterday's Enterprise, and Little Green Men are all solid episodes, but they lack the interest of the premier episodes like The City on the Edge of Forever or Cause and Effect. The text commentaries are enjoyable, but they are not enough to warrant a purchase from devoted fans that already own the individual seasons.

Extras Grade: C+

 

Final Comments

The Star Trek Fan Collective: Time Travel offers an impressive collection of episodes that should please even the more casual fan. Reviewing this type of release is tricky, however, as it seems designed to generate even more profits than the high-priced season sets. Focusing solely on the material, this grouping of episodes deserves a solid recommendation.

 


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