Toy Tribute: Beverly Crusher


Dr. Crusher seemed like one of the most underutilized characters in the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation. That's not really the case, though: her function as Chief Medical Officer meant that she was often involved in the plot in one way or another, and she was featured prominently in plenty of great episodes, like Cause and Effect. I guess the real problem is that I would have liked to see more of a romantic connection between Beverly and Picard, such as the one that was exposed and summarily obliterated in the Season 7 episode, Attached. Let's see how Playmates handled the character in 4.5" plastic form (in order of appearance on the show, of course).


Dr. Beverly Crusher

Series: 2
Episodes: Encounter at Farpoint (Season 1), Seasons 4+ (Galaxy's Child and after)
Year Stamped: 1993


This figure looks great at first glance, but in reality it's a nightmare of minuscule inconsistencies. Four attributes cause my consternation: 1) hair length (her hair styles frequently changed, but what is important here is the length), 2) the uniform's collar, 3) the combadge being on the outside of the lab coat, and 4) the length of the lab coat. The combination of those four attributes on this figure is not entirely accurate to any on-screen incarnation, so let's step through the episodes and see how the figure matches up:
  • Encounter at Farpoint: The hair length, combadge, and lab coat length work well for this episode (although I haven't seen a good shot of the lab coat, I'm assuming it's the same length as it is in Naked Now). But the collar doesn't since the figure sports the uniform shown in later seasons.
  • Naked Now through rest of Season 1: Now, the lengths of the hair and lab coat on-screen match the figure, but the collar still doesn't and the combadge of the show's costume has moved under lab coat.
  • Season 3: Things have switched up a bit: the collar and lab coat length match the figure (at least until Who Watches the Watchers), but on the show, Beverly now has shorter hair and wears her combadge under her lab coat.
  • Season 4 (before Galaxy’s Child): We're getting closer... her hair and collar match, but a longer lab coat was introduced this season with the combadge under the coat.
  • Season 4 (Galaxy’s Child and after, as well as Generations): This might be the closest the figure gets to the on-screen character. The hair, collar, and combadge all match, but the figure's lab coat is too short.

Conclusion: This figure best represents Dr. Crusher shown in either Encounter at Farpoint or the post-Galaxy’s Child episodes. You might wonder why it's included in the archive since it's not 100% accurate, but remember that a figure needs to be reasonably accurate. Since Beverly is only missing one of the attributes in question whether you choose to have the figure represent Encounter at Farpoint or post-Galaxy's Child, I think she meets the reasonably accurate criteria. By the way, thanks to my friend Jason for helping me work all this crap out!


Beverly Crusher (1940's Attire)

Series: 5
Episode: The Big Goodbye (Season 1)
Year Stamped: 1995


I love period-specific Trek figures and this is another cool one. The mini-skirt restricts leg movement, so don't expect any dynamic action stances. Beverly's hair in this episode is curlier than normal so it's curious that Playmates didn't change up the hair sculpt. It's like they used the same old head sculpt and plopped a hat on it. But this is a pretty good figure regardless, and it looks great displayed next to Picard as Dixon Hill.


Starfleet Uniform

Series: 4
Episodes: Seasons 3-7, Generations
Year Stamped: 1994


Beverly in her Starfleet duty uniform sans lab coat was rarely seen in the early seasons but she became less dependent on the coat in later seasons. The color of the uniform for this figure is kind of weird. In the show, her uniform seemed bluer than the greenish hue of either this or the Series 2 Dr. Crusher figure. Nailing down the exact color of the science uniform from TNG is problematic, though. How the uniform appeared on screen depended a lot on the cinematography and lighting of the scene, not to mention the color configuration on your TV. Also, different science uniforms in the same scene can have different hues, such as the scene in Remember Me (Season 4) in which Crusher walks down a corridor with Dr. Quaice. Although you can't determine the precise color of the uniform, the figure's coloration looks a little too green anyway.


Captain Beverly Picard

Series: Warp Factor Series 2
Episode: All Good Things (Season 7)
Year Stamped: 1997


Here we see Beverly from a "possible future timeline" in which she becomes the captain of the USS Pasteur (she had married and divorced Jean Luc Picard some years previously, hence her last name). The figure looks great and I really dig that uniform (although I'd probably add a collar to make it look more formal). It might have been cool to use it as a base for the uniforms of the Next Gen movies.


Dr. Beverly Crusher (First Contact Uniform)

Series: Starfleet Command Edition (International Exclusive)
Movies: First Contact, Insurrection, Nemesis
Year Stamped: 1999


This figure was such a pain to find. It's not only part of the last wave of Playmates TNG figures, which was produced in limited quantity, but it was also an international exclusive, making it even more limited. I've heard that there were only 4000 of these figures made, so finding one can be a real challenge.

Like other figures of the Starfleet Command Edition wave, this Beverly is an amalgamation of the Series 2 Next Gen head and a slightly modified Voyager body (specifically, the Janeway/Torres body). Since it uses an older head, the hair length is a bit off for First Contact (in which her hair was relatively short), but it works better for Insurrection and Nemesis. Like Beverly's hair color from the movies, the figure's hair is more on the blonde side.

I'm not sure why, but this figure's neck is really truncated. Also, the paint apps are horrible, giving Beverly a look that reminds me of the "That's crazy, right?" girl from the Virgin Mobile commercial.


If there's nothing wrong with me, maybe there's something wrong with the universe!

I love the over-the-top egotism of that quote from Season 4's Remember Me. Contrary to Bev's statement above, there certainly were Dr. Crusher figures with which there was "something wrong", wrong enough to make them too inaccurate to be included in this archive:
  • Beverly Crusher, Doctor (DS9 Uniform, Series 5): Since the Next Gen crew wore Deep Space 9 uniforms in the movie Generations, this figure was supposed to represent a movie version of Dr. Crusher. But not everybody switched to the DS9 uniform in the movie, and Beverly simply did not.
  • Beverly Crusher, Doctor (Generations): Trek producers developed new Starfleet uniforms for Generations, even going so far as to make the costumes, but at the last minute they opted for the DS9 uniforms. Since the design for this figure was based on those concept uniforms, it doesn't meet the "must be seen on screen" criteria.
  • Beverly Howard, Cadet (Starfleet Academy): This Starfleet Cadet line was more of a Expanded Universe line than anything else, and since Beverly never appeared in any official Trek production in her cadet uniform, Cadet Beverly doesn't get included here.


There is an inevitable conclusion to this pattern. And if I can't find a way to stop it... we will all go insane!

Dr. Crusher might have had some of the most melodramatic quotes in all of Star Trek, so we'll close this Beverly Crusher tribute with one of the best above. I'm pretty satisfied with her action figure treatment. Beverly didn’t get much variety in terms of costumes in TNG, and as such, there aren’t many figures that would have been cool to have other than the ones we got. I would have loved to see more period-specific costumes like 19th Century Beverly from Time’s Arrow Part II (Season 6) and Merry Man Beverly from QPid (Season 4). But other than those two, no other cool Beverlies come to mind.


Resources

Memory-Alpha: http://memory-alpha.org/wiki/Playmates
StarTrekToys: http://startrektoys.com/
Figure Realm: http://figurerealm.com
TrekCore: http://trekcore.com/
IMDB.com: http://www.imdb.com/
Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Continuing Mission (Pocket Books, 1998)

10 comments:

  1. I always thought Gates Mcfadden was a gorgeous woman. And I have to say I really like the series 2 Crusher figure. I'm not a big complainer when it comes to minor details. As long as the likeness is mostly spot on, and the uniform isn't noticeably out of shape at a typical glance. The face is a very spot on characterization.

    Also loving the Captain B. Picard as well. Just shows you the playmate team had to be STNG fans. Any chance of getting a profile of the figures? or does the hair get in the way?

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  2. Another great Trek review!

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  3. Are there 2 types of First Contact toys? That Crusher above looks like the regular Playmates size, is there a Picard in Movie Enterprise E uniform in the regular playmates size? I only have a super size one, fun read as always

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  4. Mini-skirts didn't exist in the 1940's. That's just a skirt skirt.

    They never made season 1 Beverly with her natural hair color...or natural hair, actually (I understand she wore wigs after her return to the series.) Or the commando uniform from "Chain of Command" part 1. Or her gothic romance look from the classic "Sub Rosa" episode. (Voted one of the worst episodes ever)

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  5. @URS I've been limiting the pictures to front, back, and close-up shots in these tributes because I didn't want the number of pictures to get out of hand. More than 3 pics for each figure can result in a crapload of pictures, especially in cases like Picard, who has 12 figures dedicated to him.

    @Kevin Yup, there are 2 different versions of the main crew in the First Contact uniform. The first was available in the First Contact wave in 1996. The figures are slightly over-sized at around 5 or 6 inches. The other version is the Starfleet Command wave from 1999 and they're in scale with the rest of the line (4.5 inches). That wave (which did include a Picard) was exclusive to Target, which makes it kind of difficult to find these days.

    @Bravo Yeah, I thought about whether or not it would be cool to get a figure representing her appearance in Sub Rosa, but I'd prefer to not have something that would remind me of that abomination of an episode. ;)

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  6. Is the Generations Crusher the only Generations toy with arm articulation? ta

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  7. I don't think so... I think Generations Crusher had the same arm articulation as the other figures from that line. If you're referring to Crusher in DS9 uniform, then yes, that figure does have arm articulation. But since Crusher didn't appear in Generations in that uniform, I don't think you can call it a true "Generations Crusher".

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  8. I just found the Enterprise E Crusher for $30 along with Riker, had to tell someone on Earth :D Her neck is so short,a pity these figures are so hard to find.

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  9. @Kevin: That's a great deal! Crusher is a pain in the butt to find, and sellers often post minimum bids that are more than the figure is worth. I agree that the neck is way too short, but this Beverly is a requirement for a complete TNG collection, so it's great that you managed to score one!

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  10. Just noticed one of the International Exclusive Crushers on Ebay, but you hardly ever find those. Talk about a needle in a haystack

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