Of all the beingsomnipotent and otherwiseto magically appear on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise, none have made as much of an impact as Q, a powerful and mysterious being from the equally enigmatic Q continuum. To label Q as a villain would be missing the point. Always played with impeccable wit by the great John de Lancie, Q is a trickster, a tormenter, with a real interest in human beings. Now, Paramount releases the Stark Trek Fan Collective-Q DVD, documenting all of the best episodes featuring this meddlesome recurring character. Predictably, this volume primarily features episodes from The Next Generation. Here is a breakdown of the set's highlights:
TNG- "Encounter at Farpoint"
A Q Collective couldn't start anywhere else. Q forces the new Enterprise crew to stand trial for the crimes of the savage human race. Even back in the days of Tasha Yar, a clean-shaven Riker, and Deanna's mini skirt and go-go boots, the strong characters and personalities hold up.
Stripped of his powers and banned from the continuum, Q attempts to help the Enterprise crew save a planet from a renegade moon. Classic Q antics abound, as he asks Worf, "Eat any good books lately?" and materializes with a Mariachi band on the bridge after gaining back his powers.
Picard reunites with his feisty old flame Vash. When the two argue, Q intervenes, creating a Robin Hood scenario so that Picard can show his true feelings by rescuing his Maid Marianne. An excellent example of Q's roundabout way of "helping" Picard, this episode also contains Worf's famous argument, "Captain, I protest. I am not a Merry Man!"
Star Trek meets It's A Wonderful Life, as Q appears to Picard on the verge of death and permits the Captain to change his past. As a young, headstrong ensign, Picard finds that parts of his reckless youth were worth living after all. A poignant and moving portrait of how we are shaped by our past regrets, this is TNG at its best. For those interested in continuing the adventures of the wishy-washy astrophysics officer, Lt. Picard, the set includes a coupon for a free ($5.95 for S&H) action figure.
STV- Death Wish
The Voyager crew meets a Q with suicidal tendencies. When de Lancie's Q arrives to retrieve his peer, a tribunal is held. A standout episode for its glimpse into the politics of the mysterious collective, as well as for a cameo by Commander Riker, who is all too happy to meet Voyager's female captain.
STV- Q and the Grey
Voyager is drawn into a civil war in the collective, which appears to the crew as America's Civil War. Q gives the typically intense Voyager crew a nice shot in the arm, as he attempts to mate with sultry "Kathy" Janeway.
The set also includes:
TNG- "Hide and Q"
TNG- "Q Who"
TNG- "True Q"
TNG- "All Good Things"
Final Verdict (Which takes less than seven years to decide)
While the theme of the set automatically excludes original series and Enterprise episodes, this selection of classic Q episodes is a must-have, not only for de Lancie's layered performances, but also for what the character represents. It is fitting that Q played the protagonist in "Encounter at Farpoint," because he helped emphasize the wonderful balance of seriousness and whimsy that made TNG such a remarkable series. Overall, nothing is left out, and each episode builds upon the next. For instance, in "True Q," Q investigates a suspected half-human, half-Q with orders to execute her. Much later, in "The Q and the Grey," Q schemes to mate with Captain Janeway to usher a new era of individualism into the collective. On the down side, the TNG finale "All Good Things" appears on this set, as well as the Time Travel Collective. For collectors like myself, who have opted to purchase these sets instead of the season box sets, this repetition cuts down on variety. However, in the end, this set is so good, I will break the promise I made to myself to not use any cute "Q" adjectives and say that it is quintessential!
The Star Trek Fan Collective Q is available from Amazon.com
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