Star Trek: Klingon Fan Collective

Star Trek: Klingon Fan Collective (1967-2001)
Paramount Home Video
Cast: William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, Michael Dorn, Avery Brooks, KAte Mulgrew, Scott Bakula, Jolene Blalock
Extras: Audio Commentary, Text Commentary

Culled from the five different "Star Trek" shows ("The Original Series, " "The Next Generation, " "Deep Space Nine," "Voyager" and "Enterprise"), "Star Trek Fan Collective: Klingon" contains fan-selected episodes (via the "Star Trek" website) relating to the honorable race of warrior-based aliens, the Klingons. Providing a respectable overview of the Klingon mythology (as in "Barge of the Dead," which deals with the Klingon Hell, Gre'thor), this selection of eleven episodes highlights their political mechanizations (represented in "Redemption, Parts 1 and II") and their social and cultural background (covered in "Sins of the Father" and "A Matter of Honor"). Surely, there will be certain "Star Trek" aficionados who will have qualms with some of the included and excluded episodes, but it's hard to find fault with a collection that reflects the majority vote.

While a couple of the shows differ thematically (especially the "Enterprise" episode "Broken Bow," where the Klingon storyline all but disappears) and tonally (the classic "Original Series" episode "The Trouble with Tribbles," and the equally humorous re-visiting of the cute fur balls in "Deep Space Nine's" "Trials and Tribble-ations"), this set offers up enough involving tales to cover all tastes. With that said, a few of the selections are a tad more questionable than others. For example, the Klingons are given little to do in "Broken Bow," where a majority of the episode is devoted to introducing the countless characters and establishing the new Suliban villains, a race of shape-shifting chameleons. Likewise, the Klingons take a back seat to the furry, copulating Tribbles in "The Trouble with Tribbles," with the Klingons more or less appearing only to start a bar fight with Scotty and Chekov (rule #1, never put down the Enterprise with Scotty around, especially when he's been sucking down glass after glass of Scotch). Then we have the inclusion of the double-dipped "Trials and Tribble-ations" episode (which also appears on the "Star Trek Fan Collective: Time Travel" set), wherein the Klingons are relegated to background props while the clever, witty and humorous writing and seamless blend of CGI is prominently featured. The only significant part relating to Klingon lore emerges when Worf tosses off a non-explanation as to why Klingons looked different in the past (it would have made more sense to include the two episodes from "Enterprise" that detailed their change of appearance, in the episodes "Affliction "and "Divergence"). Even though these selections don't make much sense in the realm of Klingon mythology, they are nonetheless extremely entertaining.

With eleven episodes spread over four discs, Disc one contains: "Broken Bow" (from "Enterprise"), "Errand of Mercy" and The Trouble with Tribbles" (from the "Original Series"). Disc two features: "A Matter of Honor," "Sins of the Father," "Redemption, Part 1" and "Redemption, Part II" (from "The Next Generation"). Disc three includes: "The Way of the Warrior" and "The Sword of Kahless" (from "Deep Space Nine"). Disc four concludes with: "Trials and Tribble-ations" (from "Deep Space Nine") and "Barge of the Dead" (from "Voyager").

Paramount Home Video presents "Star Trek Fan Collective: Klingon" in its original 1.33:1 Full Frame aspect ratio. For the "Star Trek: Enterprise" episode, "Broken Bow," we get an anamorphic widescreen presentation in its original 1.78:1 aspect ratio. For the most part, the transfers are impeccable, with a great deal of clarity and cleanliness. Minimal edge enhancement is evident. The only problems occur with "The Original Series" episodes "Errand of Mercy" and "The Trouble with Tribbles." As expected, these two older shows exhibit numerous specks, scratches and grain in the image. However, colors are reproduced with great gusto, proving to be sharp and detailed (although skin tones every now and again tend to be overly pink). Regardless, these quibbles are minor in the grand scheme of things.

Sound wise, we have a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix and a Dolby Digital 2.0 track. I was hoping for a more aggressive mix, but unfortunately, the sound provided was fairly lackluster. Even during intense battle scenes, the score and diegetic sounds seemed muted (with some instances of hiss apparent, especially in "The Original Series" episodes). Dialogue is center-channel heavy and directional effects are sorely underutilized. Overall, I was disappointed by the strictly mediocre use of the channels. Only English subtitles are included.

In terms of Special Features, we have and Audio Commentary by Show Creators Brannon Braga and Rick Berman for the "Star Trek: Enterprise" pilot episode, "Broken Bow" (which originally appeared on the first season set of the series). While not very exciting, the dry commentary does provide a couple of interesting tidbits. The two shed some light on the origin behind setting "Enterprise" one hundred years before "The Original Series" and the controversy surrounding the opening credits. Also, "Enterprise" was concerned with being more character-based than plot-based, which was a different way of tackling a "Star Trek" production. As such, characters were made more accessible and "down-to-earth." It's also interesting to hear the two talk about their take on the Vulcan's and how they wanted to re-interpret the race for this series, which resulted in some ire in fan circles. For casual "Star Trek" viewers, this commentary might be too uneventful, but diehards might dig Berman and Braga's insights.

Next we have a handful of Text Commentaries by Michael and Denise Okuda. These appear on the episodes "Broken Bow," "The Trouble with Tribbles," "Sins of the Father," "The Sword of Kahless" and "Trials and Tribble-ations." Reminiscent of VH-1's "Pop-Up Video" show, these commentaries rely on pointing out various in-jokes, random trivia and behind-the-scenes info through text that pops-up during each episode. Filled with facts that run the gamut from interesting to mundane to the comical, I got a big kick out of these. Without a doubt, the Okuda's certainly exhibit an exhaustive and thorough knowledge of the "Star Trek" universe.

Yes, the good folks at Paramount have once again raided their vaults and sprung another double-dipped collection of "Star Trek" episodes on the public. Even though the "Star Trek Fan Collective: Klingon" set contains a few questionable selections, there are enough quality episodes available to provide a fairly thorough depiction of the "foul smelling barbarians" and their interesting history. All aspects of their mythology is touched upon, from the political to the cultural. For budget-minded enthusiasts and casual "Star Trek" viewers, this compilation of fan-picked episodes from all the "Star Trek" franchises should provide many with an affordable overview of the proud warriors from the planet Q'onoS.