In 1976, Paramount tried to launch a fourth television network, the Paramount Television Service (“The New Network”) with a new Star Trek series, serving as its flagship series. The plans fell through, and the scrapped Star Trek series, Phase II was reworked into Star Trek The Motion Picture. 17 years later, Paramount succeeded in creating a new television network, the United Paramount Network (or UPN for short), and a new Star Trek show served as its Flagship series, Star Trek Voyager. Taking place during the TNG era, Kathryn Janeway is the commanding officer of the eponymous Federation Starship, moments into their maiden voyage, they’re plunged into the uncharted Delta Quadrant, together with a rag tag group of Maquis crewmen, a annoying alien his girlfriend who would be replaced by a cyborg woman, and a holographic doctor that pretty much stole the show. This is my top 10 favorite episodes of Voyager.
10. Learning Curve (Season 1) – While Voyager’s mixed Starfleet/Maquis crew seem to be working out, a few rogue Maquis are fighting the integration. Chakotay selects the most resistant of the group and Tuvok decides to put the rebels through boot-camp. Meanwhile, Voyager’s bio-neural circuitry is afflicted by a viral infection stemming from Neelix’s cooking. While the episode felt like a rehash of the TNG episode Lower Decks, and wasn’t a good way to end the first season. The episode was nice to watch, as we get to see the Maquis crew attempt to get along with each other, and pretty much choosing not to do so, While not the most exciting way to end the first season it provided some nice development for Tuvok and shows that the crew still isn’t fully integrated but is getting there.
9. Message In A Bottle (Season 4) – Using an ancient alien relay network, the ship’s The Doctor (whom we’ll call “Doc” herein) is transmitted to a Federation starship the Alpha Quadrant in hopes to make contact with Starfleet Command. This was great because now the crew was getting one step closer to getting back home, the Prometheus was an amazing spaceship, there were some great action scenes, and possibly the best thing about this episode: Andy Dick was actually funny, he and Robert Picardo had a great rapport with one another.
8. Author, Author (Season 7) – During their now regular communications with Earth and Starfleet, Doc sends to Earth a holo-novel based too closely on his adventures on Voyager causing hurt feelings among his crew and dissension among the holographic beings on Earth. There were alot of hilarious moments here, mostly from Doc’s (and later Tom’s revision) holo-novel, and a pretty good moment for Seven, but just like Learning Curve, it felt a little like a rehash of TNG, specifically, Measure of a Man, where Data’s rights as a sentient being is called to question.
7. Endgame (Season 7) – Ten years after Voyager’s return from a 23 year journey across the galaxy, Janeway (now an Admiral) breaks all the temporal rules and journeys back in time to change a decision she made that prolonged their journey by 16 years. Bringing technology that will help fight the Borg, the Admiral wants her younger self to fight the Borg and use their transwarp hub to go home. This felt like a good way to end the series, and it was, but it had a few problems, like if Future Janeway had the means to get the crew back to the Alpha Quadrant, why didn’t she just go back to the day they left DS9, and warned them, or even Starfleet Command, there were way to many plot threads to follow or even care about, and probably, the one thing that bothered me about the episode, they essentially killed the Borg. While the problems were minute, it was still very enjoyable, and a good way to end the series.
6. Living Witness (Season 4) – Events from Voyager’s past are viewed through the eyes of history as museum spectators observe recreations of the past, nearly 700 years after the initial events. Doc’s program is found and reactivated, allowing him to set the record straight. The device used to tell the tale is clever and atypical. The story makes some very good choices, the first being that we never actually see the “real” Voyager crew in the course of the episode. It was basically the closest thing to a Mirror Universe episode Voyager had and it was awesome.
5. Latent Image (Season 5) – Doc uncovers evidence his memory was erased 18 months ago. Nearly all traces of a crewman and a fateful away mission have been deleted by Janeway. Confronted by Doc’s need for answers and Seven’s perspective on the rights of a hologram, Janeway restores the fatal truth about Ensign Ahni Jetal, Doc’s choice that led to her death, and his resulting breakdown. This was very well written, with a powerful episode with an outstanding performance by Robert Picardo, who gives one of his best performances on the show.
4. Equinox (Seasons 5 and 6) – Voyager finds another Federation starship, the USS Equinox, stranded in the Delta Quadrant. But they also find that the Equinox crew is harboring a dark secret. It was interesting seeing another crew in the same situation as Voyager, and the Equinox crew feels like a very tight-knit group and pretty much gives the Voyager crew a glimpse of what could happen to them if they don’t get back home. The first part starts off slow, but the second part gets much better, and a great way to both end the fifth season, and start the sixth season.
3. Flashback (Season 3) – Janeway must help Tuvok by delving into his past serving under Captain Sulu on the Exelsior to understand a memory triggered by the sight of a spatial phenomenon. Just like Trials and Tribble-ations, this was made to commemorate Star Trek’s 30th anniversary, and once again we have another tie-in to Star Trek VI. It was good to see George Takei and Grace Lee Whitney making guest appearances as Sulu and Rand, and we get backstory for Dimitri Valtane (a scharacter who only had one scene in the movie). When we learn the cause of Tuvok’s memory it was a little disappointing and seemed as if it was just a device to allow the more interesting story from Tuvok’s past to feature, another weakness was the image of the falling girl which looked obviously fake. Despite these flaws it was still an entertaining.
2. Pathfinder (Season 6) – When the Enterprise-E returns from its equivalent to “The Final Frontier”, Reg Barclay seeks Troi’s help when he worries that he has become obsessed with the crew of Voyager. This is one of the few episodes where I remember the commercials for the episode, in this case, the radio advert, where the announcer talks about it as an epic crossover event, complete with both the Voyager and Motion Picture/Next Generation theme playing in the background. Of course it wasn’t what I was expecting, Picard and Riker didn’t show up, but it did have a good story for Reg, and gives us a great, emotional payoff for the crew.
1. Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy (Season 6) – Doc’s experiment with daydreaming gets out of control when his program is compromised by an alien race. The aliens bully passing ships for supplies, but, before doing so, they first consult their command; The Hierarchy. One of the aliens mistakes the daydreams for reality, and gets permission to attack. Upon realizing his mistake, he offers to help Voyager, but only if they act out one of Doc’s fantasies where he is in command of Voyager. If Latent Image was Doc’s finest moment, this was by far his funniest moment, with him imagining himself as the Emergency Command Hologram, it was funny seeing the ladies of the ship fighting over him, and has one of the funniest scenes involving the ship’s computer, there were a few moments in the series where they try to make the computer funny, this was the one time it actually worked.
Bride of Chaotica! (Season 5)
Scorpion (Seasons 3 and 4)
Timeless (Season 5)
Caretaker (Season 1)
Collective (Season 6)
Q2 (Season 7)
Next time, we’ll see if we can get caught up with Girl Meets World before the new season starts.