As I’ve already mentioned, I’ve just finished watching all seven seasons of Star Trek: Voyager. Honestly, I had been putting off watching the series because I didn’t think I’d like it. (I went through the same thing with Enterprise and ended up loving it.) But while I’ve been waiting for the return of Picard, I thought I’d give it a try.
The first season dragged a little for me, but that didn’t surprise me as The Next Generation didn’t capture me in its first season and neither did Deep Space Nine. So I kept watching, and by the middle of the second season, I was hooked. No, this wasn’t the Enterprise, and Captain Janeway certainly wasn’t Kirk or Picard. But she brought a breath of fresh air to a commanding officer. Both authoritative and caring, Janeway took her crew under her wing, proving every episode that she cared about them, about their lives. She interacted with them, celebrated with them, and grieved with them. And she made some of the toughest decisions any Starfleet captain had to make.
Then there was the crew with a brash young playboy, a half-Klingon chief engineer who had difficulty with her temper, a stoic Vulcan, a newly-minted ensign, a first officer who was the leader of the Maquis resistance, and a holographic doctor. Then there was a Talaxian who was a little too cheerful for everyone’s tastes and his girlfriend, a quiet telepathic Ocampan, until season four. Then she was replaced by a Borg drone who’d been liberated from the collective. Put together, all of these people made up for an unusual and varied crew. The casting for these roles was spot-on. I couldn’t imagine anyone else playing these characters.
Having Voyager become trapped in the Delta Quadrant instead of sending it on missions like the Enterprise was a clever twist. With 70,000 light years between them and home, they didn’t have a choice but to get used to one another. And with no contact with Starfleet, the ship was truly on its own which made for some of the best adventures with new aliens that had never been encountered before. (The Vidiians, Species 8472, and the Hirogen, to name a few.) Honestly, these aliens were some of the creepiest in Star Trek.
Of course there were episodes that missed the mark for me (Fury, Favorite Son, Sacred Ground, and Elogium come to mind), but there were far more that made me keep watching. (Blink of an Eye, Mortal Coil, Lineage, and Resolutions are some of my favorites.)
There isn’t much I would have changed about the series other than scrub a few episodes, make some adjustments to the finale, promoted Harry Kim, and maybe, possibly, have allowed Janeway and Chakotay to step across that line even if only once. That would have added some friction between them, especially once they both realized they couldn’t have a relationship. That kind of tension always ups the drama.
Now, my list of favorite Star Trek shows have changed, and Star Trek: Voyager is in the top three, and I’m already thinking about a rewatch.