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Paramount Home Video presents
Star Trek Fan Collective: Q (1987-2001)

Vash: And they weren't exactly thrilled to see you on Brax either. What did they call you, "the god of lies"?
Q: They meant it affectionately.

- Jennifer Hetrick, John de Lancie

Review By: Dan Heaton   
Published: June 07, 2006

Stars: John de Lancie, Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Martina Sirtis, Avery Brooks, Rene Auberjonois, Colm Meaney, Armin Shimmerman, Alexander Siddig, Terry Farrell, Kate Mulgrew, Robert Beltran, Roxann Dawson, Tim Russ, Ethan Phillips, Robert Picardo, Robert Duncan McNeill, Garrett Wang
Other Stars: DeForest Kelley, Jennifer Hetrick, Corbin Bernsen, Keegan de Lancie, Gerrit Graham
Director: Various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (suitable for television audiences)
Run Time: 10h:36m:00s
Release Date: June 06, 2006
UPC: 097360709841
Genre: television


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

DVD Review

Character actor John de Lancie has played memorable individuals on numerous television series during his lengthy career, including Colonel Simmons on Stargate SG-1 and regular Eugene Bradford on Days of Our Lives. To Star Trek fans, however, he is known by a single letter: Q. This omnipotent, sly foil for Picard, Sisco, and Janeway appeared on 12 episodes of three series and made an unforgettable impression. His humorous take on life and schemes to outwit the captains, mostly Picard, helped to create a special place for Q in Gene Rodenberry's universe. This popularity has caused Paramount to choose him as the subject for the third release in its Star Trek Fan Collective series. Including all of John de Lancie's appearances as Q, this collection tells the complete story of this highly entertaining character.

The majority of the episodes included within this collection come from Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) , where Q plays a more prominent role in both the premiere and final entries. John de Lancie and Patrick Stewart's verbal battles are always entertaining and represent some classic series moments. The set begins with Encounter at Farpoint—the two-part story that started it all and introduced Q. The character's immense popularity lead him to return for six regular episodes, and they all appear within this release. They are Hide and Q, Q Who?, Deja Q, True Q, QPid, and Tapestry. The only double-dipping occurs with the inclusion of the finale All Good Things…, which also appeared on the Time Travel fan collective. There are no clunkers in this group of episodes, with the two lengthier episodes, plus Deja Q and Tapestry, standing out as the best tales.

The remaining episodes include one Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (DS9) story and three Star Trek: Voyager entries. These stories are generally sillier, but they include enough notable moments to warrant a viewing. The menacing side of Q from Encounter at Farpoint and Q Who? is generally missing from the later episodes, but they still provide solid entertainment. John de Lancie's energetic presence helps to keep Q from ever becoming a tired character, which is no small feat over such an extended string of appearances. The individual episodes have been described in the upcoming sections:

Encounter at Farpoint
This collection begins with the impressive double-length premiere of TNG that introduced Picard, Riker, Data, and most of the pivotal cast members from the classic series. The Enterprise-D must travel to the Farpoint station to explore the strange occurrences there, but first must deal with the appearance of the mysterious Q. He has arrived to place humanity on trial for being a savage race. The crew must convince him otherwise or risk the destruction of all humanity. This ambitious opener faces the difficult task of beginning the series while telling a complex story. It succeeds almost completely, though the actors are still getting a grasp of their characters. Marina Sirtis' Troi doesn't really work here and risks becoming a caricature with her over-the-top statements. Luckily, her character's skills become more subtle in future episodes.

Hide and Q
Beginning a series of episodes that include "Q" in the title, this worthy entry gives Riker the difficult quandary of choosing between omnipotence and everyday human life. After receiving a challenge from Picard, Q sends Riker, Worf, Wesley, and others into a game against strange, nasty enemies. Jonathan Frakes takes center stage here and interacts well with John de Lancie, who does an excellent job wreaking havoc among the crew. The final sequence aboard the bridge is a bit hokey, but the dilemma presented is highly effective. Appearing during the middle of the first season, this episode is not one of the set's strongest, but it gives us some memorable character moments.

Q Who?
Resistance is futile! Airing in the middle of the second season, this pivotal episode introduces one of the most popular enemies in Star Trek history—the Borg. In hopes of knocking Picard and the crew out of their complacency, Q transports them across the galaxy to the Delta Quadrant to face this apparently unstoppable enemy. The Borg appear on board to analyze the ship's computers and seem unconcerned with the humans. Following a nasty battle, Data takes a team onto the Borg Cube to discover more details about this mysterious enemy. This episode includes some stunning visual effects, especially in shots from inside the cube. It also provides a severe level of menace that is missing from many of the Q episodes.

Deja Q (includes text commentary)
Following countless years of mischief, Q's powers have been stripped by the Continuum. Arriving on the Enterprise, he immediately draws suspicions from Picard, but the claims appear to be true. Realizing that Q is mortal, an alien being called the Calamarain attacks him and places everyone on the ship in danger. John de Lancie has a lot of fun with his character's new predicament, which leads to one of the set's most entertaining episodes. Corbin Bernsen guest stars as Q2 and has a great deal of fun with de Lancie. Q is becoming more likable with each entry, and this episode contains some of his finest moments.

QPid
While preparing his speech for an important conference, Picard reacquaints with Vash (Jennifer Hetrick), a smooth-talking archeologist who cares more about profits than study. Following a romantic night that causes some awkwardness with Dr. Crusher, events become even more complicated when Q arrives. Believing that Picard is weakened by his feelings, Q sends the crew to Sherwood Forest and places everyone in the roles of the Robin Hood story. The writers have a lot of fun with this setting, making Data look like Friar Tuck and placing Worf in a silly outfit as Will Scarlett. However, Hetrick's lack of any charisma as Vash makes this fourth-season outing less exciting. It's still a highly entertaining tale, but it falls short of being a classic largely due to her mediocre performance.

True Q
An attractive, bright new student named Amanda Rogers (Olivia D'abo) has joined the Enterprise, and she appears destined for an impressive career. However, she has powers much greater than anyone realizes, and tries to hide them from the crew. That becomes impossible with the arrival of Q, who realizes she may be worthy of joining the Continuum. He continues to tempt her to use her powers for all types of uses, including trying to woo Riker. This is an odd episode, with interesting dilemmas mixed with hokey demonstrations of Q powers. Olivia D'abo performs effectively, but this sixth-season story is not one of the set's stronger entries.

Q-Less (includes text commentary)
The lone appearance of Q on DS9 is an engaging, silly episode from the show's first season that showcases the effective cast coming into its own. When the crew discovers Vash in this remote area, it is likely that Q is not far behind. The wily peddler makes a deal with Quark (Armin Shimerman) to sell her goods for a hefty profit. However, she may have brought an item on board that could lead to everyone's destruction. Q immediately draws the ire of Sisco, who battles him in a goofy boxing match that leads to a wonderful line from John de Lancie. Although it suffers slightly from the presence of the stiff Jennifer Hetrick, this fun episode makes me wish that Q had played a larger role in this series.

Tapestry
In one of this collection's best episodes, Picard is gravely injured and appears to have died. On the edge of death, he receives a visit from Q, who gives him a chance to save himself by changing his fate as a young man. As a risk-taking 21-year-old, Picard was stabbed through the heart during a fight with some nasty aliens, which gave him an artificial heart. He tries to alter this event, but it may have drastic consequences on his future. Since Picard's mature attitude differs considerably from his younger state, he also baffles his friends Corey and Marty with these personality changes. Instead of choosing a young actor to play Picard, the writers actually chose to have Patrick Stewart play himself as a younger guy, which is a clever device. This emotional tale from the sixth season of TNG includes one of the actor's finest performances as Picard, and the moving story leads to a must-see episode.

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 plays a key role 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.

Death Wish (includes text commentary)
In this second-season episode of Voyager, Janeway and the crew discover a member of the Q Continuum named Quinn who wants to die. The problem is that his death could wreak disaster and cause irreparable changes to the Continuum. Q returns as their representative and tries to ensure that Quinn will not be allowed to carry out this task. The early moments of this episode involve some tedious hide and seek between the Q guys, but then the story takes an interesting turn and delves into the subject of euthanasia. Janeway must serve as the primary judge and deal with some odd witnesses (including Sir Isaac Newton and a TNG character). They also make a visit inside the Continuum that offers an intriguing perspective about the Q's situation.

The Q and the Grey
These last two episodes begin to stray onto the tedious side, though John de Lancie provides some excellent moments. The events of Death Wish began a series of events that lead to a civil war within the Q Continuum. Facing the possible destruction of the entire universe, Q develops a strange plan to mate with Janeway. Pulling her into a Civil War atmosphere to represent the Continuum, they face possible execution from the enemies. This peculiar episode includes some original ideas and fun scenes, but it feels a little too familiar and drags during the early moments.

Q2
Occurring during the second half of the series' final season, this episode returns Q to the Star Trek universe for one last time. He arrives on Voyager with his son, who has grown to become a young man after only four years. Bored and indestructible, the kid uses his Q powers to wreak havoc all across the universe. After being stripped of his powers by the Continuum, he must learn to act as a human to and realize the effects of his meddling on the universe. Janeway must take care of the difficult boy, and she grows frustrated with his stubborn ways. This episode utilizes an interesting premise, but it again reveals the tired nature of the Q storyline. The writers are still trying to come up with new ideas, but they fail to match up to the early TNG episodes. One interesting note is that Q's son is played by John de Lancie's real-life son Keegan, which explains the solid chemistry between the duo.

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

 

Image Transfer

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


Image Transfer Review: Each episode is presented with its original full-frame transfer, and all of them offer solid quality. The clearest picture occurs during the Voyager episodes, which are newer and benefit from techonological advances. All the transfers improve on the television version and contain only a minimal amount of grain. They are limited a bit by the original print, but the images remain sharp and entertaining throughout each story.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: This release includes a 5.1-channel Dolby Digital transfer that effectively conveys the feeling of being out in space with the Star Trek crews. The rear speakers receive decent use, though the overall sound isn't as deep as a top-notch film transfer. The music and effects spring well from all the speakers and deliver a solid listening experience. This disc also contains a 2.0-channel Dolby Surround track, which generates a less complex but acceptable presentation.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Subtitles/Captions in English
3 Feature/Episode commentaries by Text Commentaries with Michael and Denise Okuda on Deja Q, Q-Less, and Death Wish
Packaging: Box Set
Picture Disc
4 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: This collection includes the standard three text commentaries from Michael and Denise Okuda on Deja Q, Q-Less, and Death Wish. They cover one episode from each series and provide information on a wide array of topics. The material includes the sets, actors, overall storyline, and science presented in each story. I'm a firm believer in this type of extra because it allows the viewer to enjoy the episode while learning some interesting background. However, I would like to see more than three tracks offered with these DVD sets. The episodes chosen aren't always the best entries, and it would not appear to be too difficult to cover every story.

Extras Grade: C+

 

Final Comments

The Star Trek Fan Collective: Q represents another impressive entry in the "greatest hits" sets from all the Star Trek series. In similar fashion to the first two releases, this four-disc collection is not worth the money for fans who already own the individual season sets. However, it does serve a purpose for casual fans like me who have only viewed a small number of episodes in the past and want to catch up with each series' best moments.

 


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