In terms of tele-visual baddies Star treks Borg are very nearly up their with The Daleks And The Cybermen and are, in many ways superior. They have a definable story arc and their collective mission of cultural assimilation resonates down throughout human history -indeed it holds true in contemporary terms looking at American Imperialism, or if you put the boot on the other foot, the way Muslim fanatics wish us all to live under Shariah law. Socio -political views aside the Borg are special because like the Daleks they are believably terrifying and have a memorable catch phrase. Resistance is indeed futile if like me you are a fan of the pasty faced walking power tools- this box set is a must.
The set comprises fourteen episodes on four discs including some double headers and two two hour "Voyager" episodes , Chronology wise, this may , seem at first out of sync, with an "Enterprise" episode "Regeneration" first. This is as a result of the Star Trek "First Contact" movie which had pieces of Borg technology falling to Earth which is why the Enterprise crew were able access it even though it is many years before actual first contact with the Borg via the "Next Generation" crew. Some Trekies got in a right tizzy about this episode but I, not being that anal, feel it sits in well with the shows continuum though I concede its unlikely pre TNG federation personnel could defeat The Borg. .
TNG crew first encounter The Borg in "Q Who?" When John De Lancies superbly irritating Q in his third attempt to put humanity in its place spins The Enterprise 7000 light years into deep space to meet the hive minded assimilators of other cultures. The Borg do not fully resonate in this episode, they are proto-formed -just pale clumsy automatons with minor attachments and lacking their signature phrases but the brilliance of their Cube shaped vessel is first seen here. Still the Enterprise escapes by the skin of its teeth and avoids them until the superb double header which ended season four and kicks off season five. "The Best Of Both Worlds" has stoical "Jean Luc Picard"(Patrick Stewart who portrays Jean Luc as mechanical at the best of times) kidnapped by The Borg in order to conquer Earth. He is transformed into a Borg "Locutus" and again the crew are stretched to the limit in order to prevail. The episode "I Borg" though beautifully done is a mistake I feel. A Borg, who the crew nickname Hugh (Jonathon Del Arco), is separated from the hive mind and attains a level of individuality. To endow The Borg with humanity is to weaken them and render them less terrifying, never a good idea with your shows finest villain. Still in another double header "The Descent" "Data's" evil twin "Lore" ( Brent Spiner excellent as usual) commands a ramped up version of The Borg who have individual personalities in order to help him achieve his nefarious aims.
The Borg returned in "Voyager" as that ship attempted to navigate Borg controlled space. In yet another double "Scorpion" that ended season three and ushered in four Captain Janeway( Kate Mulgrew) whose voice alone should scare off the Borg , seeks an alliance with them in order to counteract the menace of The inter-dimensional -"species 8472 "as The Borg have classified them- who have been kicking Borg ass. This introduced us to "Seven Of Nine" (Jeri Ryan) a Borg who becomes a member of "Voyagers" crew and who looks tremendous in her cling film tight costume and is thus worth having on board for that reason alone. She provides much of the Borg related drama to come and thanks to Ryan, who proves a fine actress, imbues the character with an internal dichotomy that convinces. In "Drone" a rather lame episode that old staple a transporter malfunction mixes up her and the ships holographic Doctors bit's and pieces of technology to create a Super Borg. "Dark Frontier" tell us some of her back story and those pesky Borg try to re-assimilate her into the hive. Finally another double header "Unimatrix Zero" a tale of a virtual Eden leads to the shows thrilling finale "Endgame" in which a" Janeway" form the future guides the one in the present to utilise Borg technology in order to precipitate their journey home. This features a guest appearance from Alice Krige as The Borg Queen from "First Contact".
There are some flimsy extras though the commentaries on "Regeneration", "The Best Of Both Worlds" and "Unimatrix Zero Pt 2" are worth hearing. Some fans will no doubt view this DVD as a rip off, but as a means of speed accessing some of the franchises finest episodes it's hard to beat. Much as I love the show I don't have time money, or indeed the will, to plough through entire seasons of the shows various guises in order to access my favourite Borg episodes so for me this is a great idea. A minor quibble can be made about the transfer to DVD, some of the TNG episodes have poor colour definition and the sound is flimsy. Even the later episodes aren't top quality but the drama and performances more than compensate. The Borg is one of sci-fi, s great villains, implacable, emotionless, and almost unstoppable...rather like the Swedish tennis player whose name they filched.