Pride and Prejudice vs. Star Trek Original Cast Movies: Epic Six-Part VHS Battle!

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that space is the final frontier.” – Captain Elizabeth Bennett, U.S.S. Longbourn

Rummaging through my basement and garage recently, I uncovered two relics of the 1990s. One predicts the 23rd century while the other documents the turn of the 18th and 19th.

Pride and Prejudice vs. Star Trek

Illustration by the 20th century.

Both of these formidable entertainment juggernauts feature six VHS tapes, numbered with elegant Roman numerals. Both also star remarkably curly-haired men with lavishly pointed sideburns: pre-famous Colin Firth and between-acts William Shatner. Both Star Trek: The Movie Collection and A&E’s Pride and Prejudice make compelling cases for being the one item you bring to a desert island that is miraculously equipped with a VCR, television, and electricity.

But which video release is truly superior? Only an off-the-cuff, ludicrously uninformed listicle of specious comparisons framed as a pugilistic competition could possibly decide.

Round I: Mildew Resistance

Neither collection has survived two decades unscathed. With time and moisture come spreading fungus, and cardboard is particularly susceptible. While Pride and Prejudice showed less prevalent infestation than Star Trek, it had also been stored in a less humid area. Therefore, it is difficult to make a fair comparison.



Winner: Draw

Round II: Packaging Art

On one hand, we have the bedroom eyes of Jennifer Ehle and the aforementioned Colin Firth. On the other, we have a starship bursting out of a supernova or something. If that were the whole story, Star Trek would win easily.

But it goes even further than that. Flip each tape around and the image they form is all planetty and moony and stuff:

planetty and moony

If that is a supernova, those planets probably shouldn’t make any long-term commitments.

Not only that, the supernova burst wraps around each individual tape sleeve. It’s shifted on each sleeve so that everything still lines up. Bravo, illustrator. Bravo.

Winner: Star Trek

Round III: Packaging Shape

In a sane world, this wouldn’t even be a category. But someone had to go and be creative.


Not smushed.

Yeah. Videocassettes are rectangular, so Pride and Prejudice takes the sensible option of putting them in a box that’s, you know, rectangular. Star Trek goes all parallelogram because THE FUTURE or something and screw your media shelf. No.

Winner: Pride and Prejudice

Round IV: Playing Time

Sorry, but yes, length matters. Each Pride and Prejudice tape is a mere 50 minutes long, for a grand total of 300 minutes or 5 hours of playing time. That barely gets you between coconut salad lunch and mashed coconut dinner on your desert island.

On the other hand, just watching Star Trek: The Motion Picture and falling asleep during the eighteenth shot of Kirk and Spock marveling at V’Ger’s glorious expanse can take up a whole day. All told, the six movies are 11 hours and 20 minutes long, not counting the time in between films shouting “KHAAAAN!” and “nuclear wessels”.

Winner: Star Trek

Round V: Promotional Bravado

Star Trek: The Movie Collection wastes little effort on pretending it is anything more than, well, a collection of Star Trek movies. Whatevs, Trekkies’ll buy it. But Pride and Prejudice is bold.

200th Anniversary Edition

Genuine four-color reproduced wax seal.

Now, it’s 2014, and Pride and Prejudice was published in 1813, but this is not last year’s Blu-ray. This is the VHS release from 1996. According to Wikipedia, Jane Austen wrote the original version of the novel “between October 1796 and August 1797”. The 200th anniversary of when you started a rough draft is totally a thing, which means folks will be celebrating my one-page nonsense stories smashed out on a surplus typewriter in a mere 170 years.

Winner: Pride and Prejudice

Round VI: Trademark Assertiveness

Nothing affirms artistic achievement like the awarding of a registered trademark. Say something pithy, creative, and unique? Lock that phrasing down!


Or, uh, pretty much anything. Like a fictional ship that was named after a real-life ship, right down to initials that make no sense in their fictional context. Sure.

Winner: Star Trek

Overall Winner: Star Trek

It’s a close score, but Star Trek: The Movie Collection ekes out a 3-2 victory over A&E’s Pride and Prejudice. With good graphic design, copious content, and rigorous intellectual property protection, anything is possible. Take note, Hollywood.

3 Responses to Pride and Prejudice vs. Star Trek Original Cast Movies: Epic Six-Part VHS Battle!

  1. Pingback: denisedaniel

Leave a Reply