While pursuing a renegade Maquis vessel, the Federation
starship Voyager is flung into the far-distant Delta
Quadrant. The Starfleet and Maquis crews are forced to work
together to find a way home. Unless they can discover a wormhole
or some similar shortcut, the journey could take them over
70 years to complete...
me make one thing clear right away: though I am a huge fan
of the Star Trek franchise in general, I don't consider
Voyager to be one of its better incarnations. I would
rank it under Deep Space Nine, The Next Generation
and the original series.
Whereas Deep Space Nine boasted excellent characters
such as Odo, Quark, Chief O'Brien, Dr Bashir and Major Kira,
Voyager gives us the underused Chakotay (Robert Beltran);
the underwritten Tom Paris (Robert Duncan McNeill), Harry
Kim (Garrett Wang) and Kes (Jennifer Lien); and the irritating
Neelix (Ethan Phillips)... though he is good when he plays
a more serious role, as in the post-holocaust episode Jetrel.
Tim Russ is OK as the Vulcan Tuvok, though he continually
walks in the shadow of Leonard Nimoy's Spock. Kate Mulgrew
as Captain Janeway is alternately aggressive and caring, assertive
and indecisive, with an annoying "do as I say, not as I do"
attitude, whereby she forbids others from violating Starfleet's
precious Prime Directive (in episodes such as Caretaker
and Prime Factors), but flouts it herself in later
seasons. The volatile half-Klingon B'Elanna Torres (Roxann
Dawson) is good, but do we really need another part-human
part-alien after Spock, Troi and Alexander?
The best character by far is the sardonic Emergency Medical
Hologram, beautifully portrayed by Robert Picardo.
disappointing aspect of this show is the way in which it sets
up ideas but then largely fails to follow them through. By
throwing Starfleet and Maquis crewmembers together, there
was a marvellous opportunity to inject some vital character
conflict, something in which The Next Generation was
sadly lacking, but which Deep Space Nine successfully
pulled off with its combination of Starfleet and non-Starfleet
personnel. However, character clashes in the first season
of Voyager are few and far between, only really becoming
an issue in the excellent State of Flux.
we are rarely given any indication that this crew is roughing
it out in the Delta Quadrant. We hear them paying lip service
to their short supplies and the quality of Neelix's cooking,
but the ship usually looks totally spic and span, and the
crew well fed and well turned out. Say what you like about
Lost in Space, but at least that show gave us a real
sense that the Robinson family faced the threat of starvation.
Furthermore, given that the ship is stranded in a distant
and hitherto unexplored region of space, you might expect
the aliens they encounter to be a little more, well, alien.
However, for the most part we get the usual brand of lumpy-headed
species, such as the Kazon (in Caretaker and State
of Flux), the Baneans (in Ex Post Facto) and the
Haakonians (in Jetrel). Even worse, the aliens in Time
and Again and Prime Factors look completely human.
On the plus side, the episodes Phage and Faces
give us those wonderfully gruesome organ hunters, the Vidiians.
episodes are basic twists on old ideas from as long ago as
the original Star Trek. Phage does Spock's
Brain with Neelix's lungs, while Faces splits Torres
into aggressive and passive halves, a la The Enemy Within.
The Cloud is a rehash of TNG's Galaxy's Child,
while Cathexis owes far too much to Lonely Among
Us. Caretaker is the fourth Trek pilot in
a row to feature a powerful alien species that tricks the
captain with an illusory projection of his or her home planet.
highlights of this season are the aforementioned Vidiian episodes,
Phage and Faces; the poignant Eye Of The
Needle, in which the crew is tantalised by a possible
route home; State of Flux, which boasts a stunning
twist; and Jetrel, which is a rare beast indeed - a
good Neelix episode.
and Demons, despite featuring yet another Holodeck malfunction,
is well worth watching for the simple reason that it showcases
the wonderfully deadpan Doctor. Caretaker is a decent
pilot, but no great shakes. It starts well, but struggles
to maintain its plot for the full 90 minutes. I actually fell
asleep the first time I watched it! Parallax is OK,
but we would soon tire of such "spatial anomaly of the week"
The real damp squibs of the season are the sentimental Cloud,
Prime Factors, and the pathetic and predictable Learning
Curve. Not a good episode to end the season with.
right - the season ends, as far as this box set is concerned,
with Learning Curve, as opposed to the far superior
The '37s which, like Projections, Elogium
and Twisted, was originally planned and produced as
part of Season 1, but held over for broadcast in Season 2.
I had rather hoped that these four episodes would have been
treated as part of Season 1, as they were during CIC's original
VHS releases, but sadly this was not to be. As a result, this
collection contains only 14 regular instalments, plus the
compensate for the lack of episodes, discs 5 and 6 are turned
over entirely to extra features, the highlight of which is
surely The First Captain, which reveals rare footage
of Genevieve Bujold as Captain Janeway, recorded before the
actress decided that weekly television wasn't for her.
features include Braving the Unknown, in which Executive
Producers Rick Berman, Michael Piller and Jeri Taylor discuss
how they created the series. In On Location with the Kazon,
Supervising Producer David Livingston takes us on a guided
tour of the desert locale used for the Kazon village in the
pilot. Dan Curry and his effects crew discuss their work in
Red Alert: Visual Effects. In Real Science with
Andre Bormanis, the Science Consultant explains how the
writers strived to incorporate real scientific theories. There
are also copious amounts of interview material with the cast,
as well as a behind-the-scenes look at the Star Trek: The
Experience attraction in Las Vegas.
couple of inclusions that I am extremely dubious about are
two episodes from the original series, Arena and City
on the Edge of Forever. These are classic episodes to
be sure, but why include them here, especially when the Region
2 release of the entire series is imminent? Personally, I
think it would have been preferable to ditch disc 6 altogether
and sell the box set for a few quid less. As it is, Star
Trek season boxes remain some of the most expensive on
the market, compared to bargains such as Roswell.
you are undecided about whether to collect Voyager
on DVD, it is worth bearing in mind that the series improves
enormously with each progressive season until it reaches its
high-water mark at Season 4, after the which the standard
for Season 1, this product can be neatly summed up as: nice
package, shame about many of the episodes.
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