Tuesday, March 19, 2013

All Of The T'Pol One Could Ever Want: "The Legends Of Star Trek: T'Pol" Delivers.

The Good: Limited quality, Cardstock, Image diversity, Some decent images.
The Bad: Cost/Value, Use of publicity shots.
The Basics: A surprisingly decent set, "The Legends Of T'Pol" gives about all one could want of the first officer from Enterprise.

I have often said that Star Trek: Enterprise might have been a fine show, if not for the dialogue. It is an easy enough show to watch, if one has the volume off and the images just kind of flow by. There is almost always movement and special effects and it works without the problematic stories or the way it guts the history of the Star Trek franchise. Indeed, if one watches the series as something of a silent movie, the series finale can even be considered a Patrick Duffy Shower Moment and the entire series can be written off as a holodeck adventure that Commander William Riker plays out.

That said, because it is such a visual show without redemption for anything truly substantive, it lends itself well to a trading card series. All one has to do with a trading card is look at it and Enterprise works that way. It works well enough for the trading card release "The Legends Of Star Trek: T'Pol."

Perhaps one of the most interesting concepts - and most problematic releases - in the Star Trek trading card line would have to be Rittenhouse Archives' Legends Of Star Trek trading card set. When it was originally pitched to dealers and fans, it was going to be a continuing collection of limited edition nine-card sets that focused on the characters that were truly legendary in the Star Trek universe. It looked like it would be a collection that would assemble a super crew of StarFleet characters. Sadly, it has become a collection that highlights every principle character to appear on Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation. As the Legends Of Star Trek trading card set lists forward, Rittenhouse Archives tries to reinvigorate interest in it by releasing the "Legends Of T'Pol" along with other popular Star Trek women, Jadzia Dax (reviewed here!) and Seven Of Nine (reviewed here!).

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 T'Pol" set is the fifteenth 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 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

Generally, the "Legends Of T'Pol" set satisfies the original concept by including very few publicity shots of T'Pol. In this nine-card Legends Of Star Trek set that features eighteen images each of T'Pol from throughout the four seasons of Star Trek: Enterprise, there are only four obvious publicity shots. Rittenhouse Archives appears to have put a decent amount of thought and care into the "Legend Of T'Pol" set. With eighteen images, three fronts and one back are obvious publicity shots. Generally these are all right and not just because T'Pol is a busty woman in a catsuit. Indeed, Rittenhouse Archives seems to be determined not to exploit her chest as much as virtually every other card distributor or marketer, as most of the images are cropped above the bustline. Rittenhouse wisely makes the set substantial and imaginative.

Outside the obvious publicity shots, there is a decent mix of images of T'Pol that are posed and in action. There are four shots of her from the popular "In A Mirror, Darkly" episode that featured the Mirror universe. With these, combined with the standard images, there is a decent mix of T'Pol with longer hair, in her environmental suit and even the close approximation of the original Star Trek uniform! All that is missing is the midriff-revealing Alternate Universe outfit that was very popular with the fans!

Rittenhouse Archives does its best to be substantive, though and as a result, there is a good variety - mostly from the fourth season because that was when T'Pol was allowed to shine and have more outfits and styles. She also appears as her anscestor from the episode "Carbon Creek," which helps improve the image diversity, even if it is not (technically) T'Pol. There is even the surgically altered T'Pol from when she went undercover. Also featured is her wedding garb, making this a very complete set.

Perhaps what makes "The Legends Of T'Pol" such an overall decent set is as I sit here contemplating it, I cannot imagine - outside the one Mirror Universe outfit - what other images they might have included. All of the essential outfits are here! This truly is the definitive set for fans of T'Pol!


Despite my general distaste at the direction Star Trek: Enterprise, I have to admit that Rittenhouse Archives made a surprisingly substantive set focusing on T'Pol for the Legends Of Star Trek release. The shots are tasteful - anyone who likes pouty lips will have a lot to appreciate in this set - and everything necessary is captured here. It is worth tracking down for any fan of Star Trek: Enterprise, T'Pol, or actress Jolene Blalock.

One suspects in the future, the Legends Of Star Trek sets will be sold in the secondary market almost exclusively as entire series collections, but fans who love T'Pol will likely be unable to find this set in the future, as they are already being gobbled up!

This set culls images from all four seasons of Star Trek: Enterprise, reviewed here!

For other Enterprise cards, please visit my reviews of:
Enterprise 9-card Preview Set
Enterprise Season 1 Promo P1 card
Enterprise Season 1 Set


For other trading card reviews, please visit my Trading Card Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2013, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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