'Time Travel' Set Sends Fans Back to the ClassicsBy Michelle
April 8, 2006 - 4:34 PM
If, like me, you couldn't afford the 28 season sets of Star Trek, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise, the Star Trek Fan Collective sets are a real blessing. The four-disc sets, boxed in a slimline package that takes up no more space on a shelf than an ordinary hard-case DVD, span all five Star Trek series, though each set does not represent every series: the Borg collection understandably did not include any original series episodes, and the new Time Travel set does not include Enterprise, though that series did explore time travel in the long Suliban arc.
The episodes included in the Time Travel set were selected in an Internet poll, which results in the unfortunate duplication from the Borg set of Voyager finale "Endgame." It's frustrating that Paramount did not substitute another pair of episodes, because I'm betting that most fans who own the complete season sets aren't bothering with these theme packages, whereas the fans who are snapping these up are likely to buy more than one set.
However, that's really my only complaint with the collection, which includes the undisputed original series classics "Tomorrow is Yesterday" and "The City on the Edge of Forever" - each of which finds Captain Kirk on Earth during the 20th century, trying not to allow history to be changed despite his personal attachment to individuals from that century. There are also several superb Next Generation episodes, including that series' finale, "All Good Things."
I'm partial to "Yesterday's Enterprise", which brought back Tasha Yar and depicted an alternate timeline, a Federation at war, but the set also has "Cause and Effect", in which the Enterprise crew finds that it has been reliving the same catastrophe for 17 days. The two-parter "Time's Arrow" features Mark Twain as a guest character and involves the crew trying to figure out how Data's head came to be found among a collection of historical artifacts in San Francisco, and "All Good Things" spans the entire history of Earth from the beginnings of life on the planet to its possible destruction.
The pair of Deep Space Nine episodes included, "Little Green Men" and "Trials and Tribble-ations", are both comic masterpieces - the former explaining that the Ferengi were the aliens who crashed at Roswell, the latter crossing the DS9 command crew with the original Enterprise officers as they attempt to stop the murder of Kirk on Space Station K-7 during the negotiations for Sherman's Planet and subsequent complications with Klingons, bar fights and Tribbles. These are superb episodes, but it's a shame that Deep Space Nine's "The Visitor" is not included. It's possibly the most moving time travel episode Star Trek ever attempted, in which Jake Sisko tries to keep his father from dying in the past.
Nor do we get "Past Tense", in which Sisko took over the role of an activist who changed the course of Earth history. Still, the Voyager offerings are rather more serious, with "The Year of Hell" showing the crew trapped by a race that keeps altering the timeline to try to achieve victory in a long war, and "Endgame" showing Janeway attempting to alter what she believes is a wrongful timeline in her long conflict with the Borg.
Several other publications have reviewed Star Trek Fan Collective: Time Travel, most highly complimentary of the episodes chosen for selection but somewhat frustrated at the lack of extras and the differential in visual quality between older and newer series:
- UGO.com gave the set an A- for content but only a B overall, wondering why "Endgame" was given a disc all to itself when more material could have been included or the disc could have been left out and the purchase price lowered. "Naturally, the more recent adventures look a little better than the old ones. Still, they all look good, with very little video problems, even on the original series," noted reviewer Brian Tallerico.
- At IGN, Peter Schorn gave the set a 7/10 overall, finding some of the selections subpar. "The duplication of 'Endgame' from the Borg set and the lackluster 'Time's Arrow' and 'Tomorrow Is Yesterday' make this a less-than-outstanding set," he wrote. "It would have been better to dump 'Time's Arrow' for 'Tapestry,' the episode where Picard is killed and given a chance to play It's a Wonderful Life by Q."
- Hercules of Ain't It Cool News was happy to see a theme set that included the original series, since by definition Kirk and crew could not be included on the Borg or Q sets. "Conspicuous by its omission is material from 'Enterprise,' presumably because the four seasons of the Archer-T'Pol series had so many time-travel installments it probably would have doubled or tripled the set’s episode count," he said.
- At the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Eric E. Harrison also wonders why no Enterprise episodes were included but praises the original series episode choices in particular. "Bonus material consists of text-only commentary by Michael and Denise Okuda, members of the production crew for the four latter series, on three episodes."
- The Man Room rated the set a 7.5/10 overall, with an 8.9 for content brought down by a 2.5 for extras and only a 5.0 for video. "Watching Kirk and the rest of his crew fail to amalgamate into San Francisco’s modern day culture in 'Star Trek IV: The Final Frontier' single-handedly pulled me into the franchise where I discovered time travel wasn’t relegated only to the films," wrote Dan Bradley. "Where else can you grab some of the most creative Trek episodes featuring Janeway, Kirk, Picard and Sisko for $30 or less?"