My Promise as a Writer

I promise to entertain you to the best my twisted little mind can manage. I will take you from the light, and into darkness. I might even let you see the sunrise at the end of the journey, but that I can't promise. My stories will sweep the hair from you brow, leave your stomach in knots, and suck the air from your lungs. But no matter how far we descend, I will offer you a fragment of hope to cling to. I will treat you to dark fantasy, science fiction, horror, and anything that falls into the strange and disturbing. Will we re-emerge into the light? Well, that is the point of taking the journey. I hope you will join me on these adventures.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

11 REASONS WHY I HATE STAR TREK: VOYAGER #9

9. The DVDs were formated by computer science flunkies.


Admittedly, the box sets of Voyager have nothing to do with the story construction of the series, but I feel compelled to include this product fiasco in the list since the inattention to quality follows Janeway and crew to home video.

I began my first all inclusive Star Trek marathon after Star Trek: Nemesis was released on DVD. I knew I'd eventually come to the end of Deep Space 9, and be forced to watch Voyager if this was to be a true marathon. I immediately hopped online in search of the cheapest box set of all seven seasons. I settled upon the Japanese version for a Chinese-American audience I know, bizarre, but it does exist. I once held it in my hands. (The collection is no longer in my hands. I can find nothing online that suggests what I referred to is indeed the Japanese version for a Chinese-American audience. What I did find is the collection is labeled as the Chinese region free box set. For some reason the box, when it was in my possession gave me a different impression, so that is the one I chose to run with.) I soon regretted the decision when learning some episodes froze anywhere between one to forty minutes into the show. Some episodes were completely unwatchable. In fact, entire discs refused to load. Unfortunately, I did not learn this until well after the option to return the box set to the retailer had expired. I was stuck with a seven season box set in which four episodes in season one refused to play, and anywhere from eight to ten episodes were unwatchable in the following seasons. That comes to roughly fifty-two to sixty-four episodes lost out of 172. That is no small number! Foolishly, I blamed this on an old DVD player. The issue remained when I was forced to replace the player after it crapped out. At that point, I blamed the version I had purchased, only to learned better a few years later.

In 2008, the announcement so many of us had been waiting for finally came. A new Star Trek movie was in the works to be released in 2009. That was when I decided it was time to replace my Voyager DVDs with the standard rainbow box sets. I sent the Japanese version for a Chinese-American audience to my brother with a warning of what to expect. This year, 2012, I finally got around to taking the cellophane off of the box sets as I forced myself to include Voyager in the latest marathon. I quickly realized the newer purchase was plagued with the same problem as the first box set. I initially suspected different episodes were formated wrong, causing me to regret sending the first attempt to own Voyager to my brother. If only I had kept the Japanese/Chinese-American version I could have mixed and matched with the purpose of creating my own glitch free collection. I was in error there as well. The affected episodes remain the same. There are simply fifty-two to sixty-four episodes I will never see, and I am mostly fine with that knowledge. Voyager was a terrible show, so missing out on nearly a third or more of the episodes simply speeds up the viewing. Though annoyed I did not get all of what I paid for (twice), this is truly a gift from Paramount. I definitely will not be buying Voyager on Blu-ray when Jayneway and crew make that transformation.

The packaging of the box sets is horrendous as well. The Japanese version for a Chinese-American audience crammed all seven seasons into one giant rectangle, and the discs were housed in plastic sleeves. You know, the type of sleeves that scratch the hell out of your DVDs and CDs. (You: Stream it! Your music and movies/television show, just STREAM IT! Me: Stop screaming! I'll get to that point soon.) So I wasted a pile of money on buying CD cases. I even went so far as to color co-ordinate the cases with the traditional Voyager box sets. My homemade box set was an eyesore in the Star Trek collection, but more important than aesthetics was being in possession of a complete Trek library after years of searching and finding amazing deals on new and used DVDs. Contentment was achieved until learning not all the episodes loaded. (I like the caption at the bottom of the set: The Complete All Season On DVD.)

Years later, when I replaced the original Voyager purchase, I was dismayed at the crappy plastic sleeves holding each box set together. Pull the DVDs out too hard, and you risk ripping the plastic. The cases are no better in that they are made of brittle plastic, open faced, and held together by Scotch tape. Unlike all the other box sets from TOS to DS9 and skipping over to Enterprise, you cannot flip the leaves of the set to a fully open position. The tape won't take the strain, and then you are standing in the living room with a mess of open faced cases lying around your feet. With luck, none of the DVDs popped free, rolled in the direction of something sharp (or a hungry dog) and gathered a scratch or two. So you stuff the now loose leafs back into the cheap plastic sleeve only to find Voyager now rests upside down on your shelves to keep the DVDs from falling out the next time they are dusted off for a trip to the DVD player. Even some of the labels on the sleeve were applied upside down. So much for quality control.

I suspect streaming through Netflix will nullify this argument, but I will never know through firsthand experience. I was among those who jumped ship when Netflix made the entertainment blunder of the century. I also refuse to pay for streaming a show currently collecting dust on my shelves. I would find it endlessly amusing if the same improperly formated episodes fail to stream. Yet, I'm interested to learn if Netflix fixed what Paramount home video flubbed twice. (Vaguely related question: Has Netflix resolved the bandwidth and buffering issues, or is that still an on going problem? Can't say I miss spending three hours to watch a ninety minute movie.)

I've freely admitted throughout this series on the points where I lacked information that may or may not have been explained in Voyager. This ninth reason serves to explain the source of these gaps in my knowledge.

Reason 1
Reason 2 (Part 1)
Reason 2 (Part 2)
Reason 3
Reason 4 (Part 1)
Reason 4 (Part 2)
Reason 5
Reason 6
Reason 7
Reason 8
Reason 10
Reason 11

Author Links:
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Shadows Beyond the Flames for the Nook
J. M. Tresaugue Books
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