Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Worst Star TrekTrading Card Series Yet? Probably: "The Making Of Star Trek: The Next Generation" Set!

The Good: Good writing, Interesting concept
The Bad: VERY low collectibility, Terrible bonus item (a pin?!), Overproduced for the market, Dull
The Basics: One of three terribly overproduced boxed sets of cards focusing on the behind the scenes creation of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Gold Edition comes with a bonus pin! Blah!

SkyBox, the once and nevermore producer of Star Trek trading cards illustrated a remarkable inability to learn from its mistakes. Shortly after it produced its wonderful Star Trek: The Next Generation Inaugural Edition set, it produced a "limited edition" boxed set of Behind-The-Scenes cards featuring the producers and personnel responsible for making the show. Originally sold at $25.00 for the sealed set of approximately fifty cards, now cases of twenty sets can be found for $10.00! The set bombed. So, as Star Trek: The Next Generation wound down, naturally SkyBox chose to capitalize on its end with another product that bypassed the dealers and the packs and sold directly to the consumers. This time it was a 100 card set called the "Making Of Star Trek: The Next Generation" and to compound their ridiculousness, SkyBox released it in three forms: Collector's Edition, Gold Edition and Platinum Edition. This review is for the Gold Edition.

"The Making Of Star Trek: The Next Generation" is a remarkably simple concept for a trading card release and one may only imagine that it was not released in packs because no one would get excited about having to track down the card for the Key Grip. Instead, each box of cards comes with the 100 card set preassembled and ready to be put in binders.

The set of cards for "The Making Of Star Trek: The Next Generation" is generally good. The front of each card contains a behind-the scenes image taken on the set of the series and the back describes exactly what the front is. The set of 100 cards is broken down with 15 cards detailing Pre-Production, 18 cards exploring set and prop construction, 12 cards detailing costume and make-up, 36 cards exploring the production of the episodes, 7 dealing with special effects, 10 cards detailing the post-production efforts and two checklist cards.

The card quality is quite good, even if the subject is rather dull. This would have made for a fine magazine article or book, but as far as a trading card series goes, it is an underwhelming use of the medium. The fronts have images of props or behind-the-scenes personnel which must have been wonderful for the people involved, but especially as it replicates a lot of the information from the prior limited edition release, the whole set seems somewhat pointless.

So, for example, card number 15 has a picture of a press kit! Another card has a photograph of a budget sheet for an episode and perhaps the highlight of the series is card 80, which shows two workers sitting on the floor sorting fan mail! This set is just ridiculous with some of the images and there are very few which focus on the people who make the magic in such a way that the card is compelling and interesting. Far more often, the images are group shots that show people in the middle of actually producing the show, showing off props to one another or hunching over tables working. Again, they are interesting for a single look, but as far as making a permanent collectible out of them, this seems a strange waste of the medium.

The backs of the cards are informative and straightforward in the way a magazine article would be and the entire set chronicles the process of making an episode from the first idea to the final product with a lot of tangent information in between in order to flesh out the whole 100 card set.

There are no bonus cards in this series. Instead, this boxed set, "limited" to 50,000 units comes with a bonus pin. The gold (it's not real gold, just gold colored) pin advertises Star Trek: The Next Generation with a big logo and most card collectors will not much care about it (we're card collectors, not jewelry collectors!). This adds some insult to injury, at least it did at the time, as the original retail price of the Gold set was $49.95. Now, in the secondary market, the Gold Edition can be found much less expensive, but it's hard for collectors to muster up the enthusiasm for it.

Between the mediocre subject (it's interesting enough in an academic, if not collectible way), the generally poor execution of the subject with photos of some of the more banal aspects of the series, the lack of collectibility (150,000 of the "Making Of Star Trek: The Next Generation" sets were made over the 3 "Edition" releases), and the obvious attempt to gouge the customer base thrice for the same product (the Collector's, Gold and Platinum Editions ALL include the EXACT same 100 card set! It is ONLY the premium in the box, in this case the brass pin, that changes!) make this a set both card collectors and fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation can live without.

If SkyBox were still holding the Star Trek license, I'd say "that'll teach them!" Fortunately, the cards have gone to a better manufacturer!

This set includes behind-the-scenes images culled from the following Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes:
"Thine Own Self"
"Journey's End"

or other Star Trek The Next Generation trading cards, please be sure to visit my reviews of:
Star Trek 25th Anniversary Series 1
Star Trek 25th Anniversary Series 2
Star Trek The Next Generation Inaugural Edition
Season 1
Season 2
Season 3
Season 4
Season 5
Season 6
Season 7
The “Quotable” Star Trek: The Next Generation
Legends Of Geordi, Yar and Wesley Crusher


For other card reviews, please be sure to visit my Card Review Index Page for a complete listing of all the card reviews I have written!

© 2012, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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  1. As a person working in film, I found these cards quite intriguing. That doesn't speak for the rest of the Star Trek demographic though.

  2. Interesting perspective. Thanks for sharing!