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“Strength is irrelevant. Resistance is futile.”
To hear the review
To hear the review
The best-of DVDs of Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: The Next Generation come out May 12th from Paramount Home Entertainment. I will let the Trekkie universe debate whether the four episodes selected for each disc really constitute the Greatest Hits of the respective series. But as I said about the Original Series best-of, these discs are clearly not created for Trekkies. Rather, they are constructed as an introduction to each series for those who have become newly-minted Trekkies after being charmed by the Star Trek movie that hit theatres this weekend. And I expect there will be a few of those.
The four episodes in the Orignal Series best-of introduced the Romulans for the first time, and then featured three of the quirky fun episodes where the Tribbles show up, Spock fights Kirk, and Shatner falls in love with Joan Collins in 1930s America. The four episodes on The Next Generation best-of are a little more serious. (Although, I think technically, there are only three episodes, since the first one is a two-parter.) And frankly, although I am no Trekkie, I always believed that the Naked Now episode was the most talked-about episode from the Next Generation canon. But it is not included here. Instead, these four episodes are:
The Best Of Both Worlds (Parts I and II). Obviously an episode that was intended to bridge two seasons, Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) becomes assimilated by the Borg. With all of Picard’s knowledge now being used by the Borg and their collective consciousness, the Enterprise is in real danger of being destroyed. It’s up to (now acting) Captain Riker to find away around the defenses of the Borg, rescue Picard, and destroy the Borg ship before they take over the universe. This is one of those episodes that I, a non-Trekkie, have heard about, and as such it must be a big one. It has been chosen as one of the 100 greatest TV episodes, ever, by TV Guide. The first part was the final episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation season three, and the second part was the first episode of season four.
The second (or, third) episode is called Yesterday’s Enterprise, and the DVD case says it’s notable for being one of ONLY TWO episodes to feature two different versions of the Starship Enterprise. There is some kind of inexplicable…thing…that happens…in space…I think…that creates a situation where the Enterprise C-22 meets the Enterprise D 22 years in the future. Or the past. Depending on whose perspective you take. It’s a pretty weak episode, frankly, and seems to exist only to bring Denise Crosby (who plays Tasha Yar) back for one episode. Must’ve been one episode shy on her contract.
WHY this one is included in the Best Of, I have no idea. Maybe the Trekkies really care about the Only Two Episodes that feature two different versions of the Enterprise. But the rest of us, I think, could care less. And, as I have stated several times before, these Best Of DVDs clearly can’t be made for Trekkies. They’re made for the rest of us. And for me, or for the Rest Of Us, the episodes with two versions of the Starship Enterprise are meaningless. That’s like saying it’s one of Only Four Episodes where Picard uses a blue toothbrush, or the Only Episode where Data uses the word “solipsism”. In short, it is utterly meaningless in this context.
The Measure Of A Man. OK, this one I get. Data’s emotions were a large part of Star Trek: Generations (the best part, I would say – otherwise, that movie was dreadful). And Data (a robot…basically…) is the central character in this episode when a scientist wants to disassemble him to understand his makeup better. Basically, this means “killing” him, and a battle over “human rights”, or “robot rights” ensues. Data does not want to be disassambled, but he is considered to be the “property” of Starfleet. A court battle ensues with Picard facing off against Riker. It’s remarkably (for Star Trek) powerful and resonant. Oh, and for the nerds – wikipedia says that this is the first appearance of the “rare ‘Interim Admiral’s Uniform’ seen only in Season Two of the Next Generation series”. So…there you go.
Three of the four (or, two of the three) episodes on this disc make sense to me. But as I would say about the Original Series best-of DVD that comes out today as well, you’re better off getting the full seasons of Star Trek than a Greatest Hits DVD. But as an introductory course to Star Trek: The Next Generation, you could certainly do worse than this collection, out May 12th from Paramount Home Entertainment.