Star Trek
Q Fan Collective

Starring: William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, Avery Brooks and Kate Mulgrew
Paramount Home Entertainment
RRP: 34.99
Certificate: 12
Available 04 September 2006

Space, the final franchise, these are the voyages which are destined to be repackaged and sold repeatedly. The studios forty year mission to explore strange new ways of selling the same property, to seek out new sources of revenue, and to avoid boldly going onto any new expensive series...

Not content to package up the poor old Borg and a bunch of time travel stories, this month sees the release of the Q Fan Collective box set. It's a little redundant to say who the main character in this set is or to go into great detail about each of the shows; rather we'll have a look at what you're getting for your hard earned dosh. All the audio tracks have been remixed into 5.1 with varying results and thankfully all the episodes look like they have been sourced from some decent prints.

The first DVD starts with the two-parter, Encounter at Farpoint, from The Next Generation and we have the introduction of Q, although to be honest in re-watching the episode Q is missing a lot of the mischievousness which made him such an asset in later shows.

Next up we have Hide and Q, wherein Q offers Riker the chance to have the power of the Q. It's all very manly stuff with Riker spending way too much time with his legs planted as far apart as he can get them to accentuate his testosterone poisoning. At this stage Q is still more bully than omnipotent sprite.

The last episode on disc one is Q Who. While Q is starting to become the character we all came to love, the episode is more notable for the introduction of the Borg, when Q throws the Enterprise across the galaxy in response to Picard's hubris.

On to the second disc and we're still in the land of The Next Generation with Deja Q, which comes with the usual insightful and interesting text commentary by Michael and Denise Okuda. At this point the show has become more assured, with the actors feeling more comfortable with their characters. This is also the episode where Q finally kicks in as the cosmic child, so we have Q's quips at Worf's expense and the great one liners and word jokes which made the character such a delight to watch. Thrown out of the Continuum, for various transgressions, Q must adapt to life as a human.

Next up is one of my personal favourites, Qpid, if only to hear Worf's exclamation that he is not a merry man. Q, having recovered his powers, feels indebted to Picard and in order to repay his debt transfers the crew to medieval Nottingham where Picard, in the guise of Robin Hood, can rescue Maid Marion. Overall a very funny story and the one in which the writers finally got what Q was all about.

True Q is an all together darker story. When the Q discovers that one of the Enterprises crew is actually the child of another pair of Q's they give her a stark choice, either join the crew or be terminated.

With such a well loved character, it was only a matter of time before Q started cropping up on other Trek shows causing his usual level of mayhem. So the last story on disc two is Q-Less from Deep Space Nine. To ease his transition to DS9 from TNG the story also includes Vash who was last seen gallivanting around the cosmos with Q. Following their arrival at DS9, the station starts to suffer strange power fluctuation and all eyes turn to Q for the source of the problem. This episode also comes with a text commentary.

DVD three and we're back in TNG with Tapestry, a thoughtful story which shows Q softer side and his growing admiration and fondness for the human race. He offers Picard a gift, the chance to go back and change anything in his past which he regretted. This being Q you don't actually get to say no. For once instead of trying to preach to Q, the story actually teaches Picard that the man he has become is a combination of all his past experiences and that to change a single instance may just unravel his whole life.

For the Last of TNG stories we have the show's finale, All Good Things, a mind bending time twister which depicts the shows beginnings, its present and a possible future, as Q tries to make Picard think outside the box to save the universe and to remind him that the trial which began at Farpoint never really stopped.

Last up and we're now into Voyager, with Death Wish, the last series that Q would appear in. This show comes with a text commentary and poses the question can omnipotence ever become so dull that death would be preferable.

Last DVD in the set and I'm starting to overdose on Q regardless of how great John De Lance is in the role, and lets face it he generally gave scene stealing performances. The last disc is a bit short on stories containing only the two.

The Q and the Grey finds Janeway caught up in a civil war in the Q Continuum, which started as a consequence of the events in Death Wish. Janeway's rather odd solution to this conundrum is for the Q to start having babies; well I suppose it will give them something else to occupy their time. Not a bad story but by now you get the feeling that the writers are starting to run out of ideas for the character.

Last, but not least, is Q2 and yes you've guessed it Q has had a baby and wants Janeway to act as nanny.

The box sets are a great way of getting a taster of the various series, but surely they must be running out of people to sell the shows too. Still if you're a fan of Q then you're going to be in pig heaven, though it's a shame there was no input from Q himself, a commentary would have made the package that little more special.

Charles Packer

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