It's a tad ironic that Star Trek: The Next Generation
introduced the best baddies in TV sci-fi since the Daleks, as the show originally championed the optimistic hope that civilisations of the future could always work things out by talking through their problems. Thankfully, the Borg are different: "You can't outrun them, you can't destroy them. They are relentless," says the mischievous Q to Captain Picard shortly after introducing the Enterprise's crew to its new nemesis. No opportunity here for Counselor Troi to try the touchy-feely approach.
The Borg are a semi-humanoid race of cyborgs who live in an ant colony-like collective dedicated to "assimilating" all new species in order to acquire their skills and unique attributes. They first appear in the episode "Q-who?": in a fit of pique brought on by boredom, Q (the estimable John deLancie) drags the Enterprise 7,000 light years from known space to demonstrate to Picard that the gung-ho Captain really has no idea what is actually "out there". Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg) knows all too much about the Borg already, and warns Picard prophetically that they will be back. Things really hot up in the two-parter "The Best of Both Worlds"--one of Star Trek's all-time best stories--in which the Borg mount a devastating full-scale assault on the Federation and shockingly assimilate Picard, transforming him into their mouthpiece (in a nice classical touch he's now called Locutus). Only some nifty counter-intuitive manoeuvring by Riker saves the day.
Then in "I, Borg" the sentimentality that plagued NextGen from time to time threatens to undermine the Borg as the ultimate implacable villains: a young Borg is captured by the Enterprise and taught to become an individual, against Picard's initial hostile instincts. This has repercussions in another two-parter, "Descent", in which we see the Borg split into two factions: it transpires that Data's renegade twin brother android Lore is manipulating them. All these episodes are collected in an impressive-looking Borg cube package, although one has to exercise great care in removing the tapes from the packaging without damaging it. If all this still isn't enough, everyone's favourite evil cyborgs returned as dastardly as ever in the movie First Contact. --Mark Walker
A box set of six episodes from the award winning sci-fi series. The episodes are: 'Q-Who', where Q first introduces Picard and the crew to the destructive Borg; 'The Best of Both Worlds Parts 1 and 2', where the Borg make an incursion into Federation space and Picard is kidnapped and assimilated; 'I, Borg', where the Enterprise find an abandoned Borg youth who begins to show signs of a personality; 'Descent Parts 1 and 2', where Data discovers his heart of darkness when Lore leads a new, deadlier Borg in a campaign of terror with his brother at his side.