Sunday, February 5, 2012

Less Publicity Shots Makes "The Legends Of Dr. Beverly Crusher" A Better (Though Not Perfect)Set!

The Good: Some decent images, Limited quality, Cardstock
The Bad: Use of even two publicity shots, Cost/Value, Lack of image diversity, Order
The Basics: With nine cards, the "Legends Of Dr. Crusher" is bound to satisfy fans of Gates McFadden and Dr. Crusher if only for the fact that it doesn't rely on many publicity shots!

I figured I would finish off the Star Trek: The Next Generation crew before moving back to the other Star Trek Legends Of Star Trek sets I might have missed reviewing. Thus, we pick up with the "Legends of Dr. Beverly Crusher," one of the most neglected characters in the franchise who was ably played by actress Gates McFadden.

Basics/Set Composition

The Legends Of Star Trek set is a series of cards produced by Rittenhouse Archives and released on average twice a year over the last five years. The "Legends Of Dr. Crusher" set is the tenth in the ever-expanding series that is released in nine card, limited edition increments. There are no bonus cards in this set, they come as complete sets of nine cards sealed in a cellophane package. There are three things that make these sets truly special: cardstock, an individual limited edition number, and the images on the cards. The cardstock is a 20pt. (thicker than usual) cardstock with the standard UV resistant coating that all quality trading cards come with these days. To illustrate the truly limited nature of the Legends Of Star Trek cards, every set is strictly limited to 1701 sets and the L9 card (visible at the back of the cellophane pack) is foil stamped with an individual number for the specific "Legends Of" set. So, for example, my personal set is number 0440/1701! This is where it helps to have a dealer that you are loyal to; dealers were able to order all of the same limited edition collector's numbers each time, so every time I get an order in, they are the same limited edition numbers and I - and my customers - are assembling sets with matching numbers, which will presumably hold the value of the overall series better in the long run.

Finally, the Legends Of Star Trek series is characterized by wonderful, uncommon images that are (usually) not the typical shots that have been on 8x10s, t-shirts and collector's plates before. Instead, these cards capitalize on big rare images, vivid color contrast and cards that are uncluttered by pesky text! These cards are for the fans who know the accomplishments of their heroes! No need to write about them, the images speak for themselves!

Common Cards

The "Legends Of Dr. Crusher" set is a nine-card Legends Of Star Trek set that features eighteen images of Doctor Beverly Crusher from her first season shot from the holodeck episode "The Big Goodbye" to her publicity shots from Star Trek: Nemesis. It's a lot of red hair and blue uniform . . .

. . . and that's the problem with this particular set.

Unlike many of the prior releases of Legends Of Star Trek the "Legends Of Dr. Crusher" set is unimaginative in a way that utilizes very few publicity shots to be dull. Only one of the images on the fronts of the cards are clearly recognizable to fans of the series as being simple publicity shots and the back to one card (L9) is clearly a publicity shot. Most fans will not recognize the Beverly Crusher from the Peabody-Award winning episode "The Big Goodbye" as a publicity shot (though it is). And while the backs have a similar mix of Dr. Crusher in uniform and out of uniform, the selection is from a very limited time period in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

As a result, there are no shots of Dr. Crusher from the first season in her uniform or from the third season when she returned to the show! The three images that have her in her lab coat are all on the backs of the cards and one wonders why her dress uniform (which she wore quite infrequently in the show) was prioritized with the front of the first card while the lab coat shots all made only the backs.

The concept of the Legends Of Star Trek series was to present a visual history of an individual character and with Dr. Crusher's early appearances being neglected for more shots from very late in the series (seven of the images are easily recognizable as being from the seventh season) undermines the concept. But the truth is, Dr. Crusher was largely neglected in the series, so there is not a lot that could have been added. Sure, it would have been decent to have a shot of Dr. Crusher and Wesley together or Dr. Crusher in her aerobics outfit from "The Price" or her Tai Chi outfit but given her lack of exposure or disguises on the series, perhaps it's understandable that Rittenhouse used so many shots of her in her uniform and graces the fronts with images from "The Big Goodbye," "Time's Arrow, Part II" (wherein she is in her mid-1800s disguise) and "All Good Things . . ." while loading up the backs of the cards with more common (conceptually) shots of Dr. Crusher.

Strangely, the cards follow no logical order as the first season shot is card L4, well after shots clearly from seasons five and above. In short, there is a somewhat haphazard quality to the assembly of this Legends Of Star Trek set. At least there weren't too many publicity shots!


There's just enough to satisfy fans of Gates McFadden in her recognizable role of Dr. Beverly Crusher. Fans of the series will appreciate that and given the rarity of these cards, any collectors that give up on the Legends Of Star Trek set with the "Legends Of Dr. Crusher" release will likely find that there were Gates McFadden fans ready to snatch up the remaining sets.

The nine-card sets tend to sell for $17 - $20 but the cardstock quality - which truly is a professional grade - and the limited edition nature of the set makes it worth it. One suspects in the future, the Legends Of Star Trek sets will be sold in the secondary market almost exclusively as entire series collections, so fans who simply have a favorite character will want to snatch up the releases when they first come out, even if the set is uncharacteristically composed of publicity stills!

For fans of Gates McFadden, this is the "Legends" set for you!

The recommendation of this set is ultimately to fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation and those who love Gates McFadden and Dr. Beverly Crusher. Casual card collectors (i.e. those not assembling a master series of Legends Of Star Trek cards) can safely avoid this set.

This set culls images from:
Star Trek: The Next Generation,
most recognizably "Sub Rosa"
"The Big Goodbye"
"All Good Things"
and Star Trek: Nemesis

For other Legends Of Star Trek cards from Star Trek: The Next Generation, please be sure to read my reviews of:
Legends Of Captain Jean-Luc Picard
Legends Of Data
Legends Of Riker
Legends Of Counselor Deanna Troi
Legends Of Lieutenant Worf


For other card reviews, please be sure to visit my index page on the subject by clicking here!

© 2012, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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