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Case Number 09897

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Star Trek Fan Collective: Klingon

Paramount // 2001 // 686 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Gutierrez (Retired) // August 23rd, 2006

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All Rise...

Judge David M. Gutierrez is in a wa'Dich kind of mood.

The Charge

Everything you wanted to know about being a Klingon but were afraid to ask.

Opening Statement

Star Trek, in all its incarnations, has created a vast mythology rivaled by few other entertainment franchises. The Federation, a mostly benevolent inter-species organization devoted to the peaceful exploration of planets, met one of its most notorious and fascinating races—the Klingons—early on. Depicted as warlike, angry, and volatile, the Klingons appear to be nothing more than a race of alien Genghis Khans. Yet it's possible that they're so much more.

Facts of the Case

After putting out every version of the films and television shows born from the Star Trek universe, Paramount decided to put together themed sets chosen by the fans and for the fans. In doing so, they've given the world Star Trek Fan Collective—Klingon. Composed of 11 Klingon-heavy episodes from Star Trek, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, and Star Trek: Enterprise, this package, like most "greatest hits" collections, has its share of good, bad, and mediocre. Luckily for us, there's plenty of good to be had here.

The Evidence

Star Trek Fan Collective—Klingon can be broken up into three categories: 1) the Klingon culture, 2) Klingon politics, and 3) Why is this here? Most of the episodes fall into the first two categories.

1) Klingon culture
Both contributions from the original Star Trek series make it into cultural category. "Errand of Mercy" and "The Trouble with Tribbles" allow the viewer a glimpse into what it means to be a Klingon. Here we are introduced to their trigger-happy bravado and militaristic nature. It doesn't hurt that these episodes are well written. "Errand of Mercy" introduces the Federation/Klingon cold war, while "The Trouble with Tribbles" is a more comedic take on Star Trek. The Klingons are never fleshed out in the original series, but they do make a good foil for the goody-goody Federation. "Matter of Honor," a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, presents the Klingon notions of honor and valor through its flagship Klingon, Worf (Michael Dorn, CHiPs). His story carries on through many of the episodes in this set, but "Matter of Honor" lays the groundwork for his character's arc. Honor makes its presence felt again in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode, "The Sword of Kahless," when Worf goes on a quest for a mythical sword. If you're curious about what the Klingon Empire is like in times of war, watch "The Way of the Warrior." Easily one of the best episodes in the set, this has everything one can hope for in a show, showcasing political intrigue, explosions, and drama as it introduced Worf to the DS9 cast. Finally, "Barge of the Dead" from Star Trek: Voyager depicts the Klingon version of Hell. Interesting to watch, but not all that engaging, this episode was one of the weaker inclusions.

2) Klingon politics
ST: TNG took the political ball and ran with it for Worf's story. "Sins of the Father" and "Redemption Parts 1 and 2" follow through with Worf's family and its standing in the Klingon political world. To challenge authority on the Klingon world is a guaranteed fight to the death. Watch for Robert O'Reilly's extra zealous performance as Gowron, Chancellor of the Klingon Empire. It's manic, bordering on over-the-top, and never dull.

3) Why is this here?
First up is the pilot from Star Trek: Enterprise. "Broken Bow" opens with a Klingon in a cornfield. The crew is supposed to get him back to his home planet. Unfortunately, the episode derails in its quest to introduce a different alien race, making the Klingon storyline an afterthought. I'm sure there are other episodes of this series that are more appropriate for the set. Also confusing to me is the inclusion of DS9's "Trials and Tribble-ations." As much as I loved this episode, it really doesn't fit. I get that it's a riff off the aforementioned "The Trouble with Tribbles," but this show's more about homage and celebration of a franchise than Klingons. Still, it's much better than "Broken Bow."

In viewing Star Trek Fan Collective—Klingon, I was pleasantly surprised. I'm not all that familiar with the later versions of the series. Truth be told, Star Trek: The Next Generation bored me to tears during its original run, I thought Star Trek: Voyager never went anywhere, and always felt Star Trek: Enterprise was a series of wasted possibilities. The original Star Trek and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine were the only shows to take a great premise and do something fantastic with it. For a viewer like me, Star Trek Fan Collective—Klingon is a great way to familiarize myself with all five shows without having to spend years watching countless hours of every minute of Star Trek produced.

In addition to some standout episodes, this set includes text commentaries on six episodes and audio commentary on "Broken Bow" by Brannon Braga and Rick Berman. The commentary tracks are fantastic. I wish they were mandatory.

Both the picture and audio are strong. The older episodes are not as crisp looking as the more recent ones, but it's never distracting or a hindrance.

The Rebuttal Witnesses

What never made sense to me was the oversimplification of points of view in Star Trek. Everything with the Klingons is too black and white. Worf is depicted as the race traitor for having a dissenting voice and deemed "dishonorable" because of it. I never understood how an entire race of beings can all be warriors. Perhaps this is why I find the Klingon love of opera such a rich juxtaposition.

Why is "Broken Bow" here? Its Klingon storyline is the McGuffin for the show, not its thrust. How about that two-part episode that answers why early Klingons had ridgeless heads?

Closing Statement

Star Trek Fan Collective—Klingon makes a good addition to the collection. I think the fans may be on to something if this is the best of the best.

The Verdict

Star Trek Fan Collective—Klingon is free to go. Millions of Star Trek fans can't be muj.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 90
Audio: 90
Extras: 75
Acting: 85
Story: 90
Judgment: 90

Perp Profile

Studio: Paramount
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic ("Broken Bow" only)
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• English
Running Time: 686 Minutes
Release Year: 2001
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Science Fiction
• Star Trek
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• Audio and text commentary on "Broken Bow"
• Text commentary on select episodes

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