Disclaimer: The author once had to be talked out of buying a collectible Kenny Rogers plate at a flea market.
I know, I know, making fun of collectible plates is reaching for low hanging fruit. Well I’m going for it, and it certainly won’t be the last time.
I’ve seen ads for this crap my entire geek life, usually in magazines like Starlog (all of which is available online now, by the way). I just don’t get the appeal, if you want a depiction of your favorite genre character for your home there are better ways to go. A framed poster is classy and barely occupies any 3-dimensional space!
These plates are a weird mishmash of trashy home decor and fandom exploitation. They are mass-produced “heirlooms” that are always advertised as “limited runs” and come with “letters of authenticity.” Presented in the magazine ads as “investments,” they are now completely worthless…actually they were always worthless because I’m pretty sure eating food off of them would poison you.
Today’s questionable collectible(s) are some bizarrely specific plates featuring the Vidiians, an obscure footnote in the Star Trek mythos. First encountered in the early seasons of Star Trek: Voyager, the entire species suffered from a horrific flesh-eating disease. They survived by harvesting organs from the still living bodies of any aliens (and humans!) they came across, resulting in a disgusting, patchwork appearance. Below are examples of a healthy Vidiian, and one suffering from the effects of the plague:
They never really made their mark on the Trek universe like the Klingons or Borg, but it’s a cool (scientifically implausible) idea. Are they worth depicting on a ceramic plate on your wall, up there with Jesus or your Thomas Kinkade paintings? You tell me. You tell me.
First up is this objet d’fart, depicting the events of the first episode the Vidiians appeared in. I think. I don’t know the name of the episode, and you don’t care. Also, I just realized this is probably the most anyone has written about these aliens since…at least since the Memory Alpha page was written.
Woof, that’s awful. The ghoulish gentleman at the right will frighten your Grandma when she comes over to visit you in your weird house at Thanksgiving, and at the bottom another corpse-man is laserstabbing the shit out of Kate Mulgrew like this is Orange is the New Black. The painted Vidiians look a lot more horrible than the TV ones, that’s for sure. Also of note; awkwardly placed Tom Paris firing his phaser, the uninteresting Vidiian starship at the top, and the unappealing puke green background. This is the kind of thing you hang on your wall when you love Star Trek and hate yourself for loving Star Trek, or you just hate the people you live with.
The next plate commemorates an episode where Voyager meets a Vidiian scientist attempting to cure the plague. The holographic Doctor creates a hologram body to transfer her consciousness into, and the two begin a holo-romance.
Where to begin with this one…the gross shinyness of the characters in the central image? The body with no skin? Or the insanity of owning a plate depicting an entirely forgettable episode of Star Trek: Voyager? This episode is no “City on the Edge of Forever” or “Devil in the Dark,” that’s for sure.
I’ll end this edition of Questionable Collectibles with a classier alternative: Captain Sulu’s set of USS Excelsior china from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. There’s a set on Ebay right now!
Cheers, and remember that this is all in good fun! Don’t let anyone tell you how to let your geek flag fly! Own all the commemorative plates you want…just please don’t eat from them because you’ll be poisoned.