Did Star Trek: Voyager really have the best pilot?

Star Trek: Voyager was great but was its pilot really the best in franchise history?
11th Annual Official Star Trek Convention
11th Annual Official Star Trek Convention / Albert L. Ortega/GettyImages

Star Trek: Voyager is a great show, spoiler alert on that one. We've given plenty of love to Voyager over the years and for a lot of reasons. Kathryne Janeway is one of the best-written captains, the scenario that Voyager is in highlights the strengths of the crew and the depth of their humanity. The entire ship is just beautiful from top to bottom and they even found a way to move off of the instant gratification of food replicators.

So much of what the show did was brilliant, but if I'm being honest, I always felt the pilot was less great than it could've been. There were certainly moments in it that added to it, for sure. Like docking at Deep Space Nine and watching Quark of all people make Harry Kim sweat before being saved by Tom Paris. It was awesome.

Yet, the time they spent on the Caretaker's Array I felt was long, and at times boring. I never really thought about Voyager's pilot being good or bad, not until Giant Freaking Robot bestowed the moniker of "best pilot" on it while proclaiming that Deep Space Nine was the worst pilot in franchise history.

I didn't see any of that coming, so consider me "shooked". Their arguments as to why one is perceived as bad and one is seen as good are in dispute, Deep Space Nine's pilot is very "slow". It focuses more on the emotional toll that Benjamin Sisko has had to deal with for the last few years, and his hatred for Jean-Luc Picard. It's a powerful episode, but not "fun".

Voyager's is very "fun". From the reveal that one of the Maquis was actually a member of Janeway's crew, to the introduction of Neelix and the whole issue they had with the Kazon. It was a lot of fun for the most part, but I still wouldn't say it was the "best".

For me specifically, though, I wouldn't say Star Trek pilots should be seen as "good" or "bad' as they're all important but are also all looking for their legs. They're not great. You don't want to start any person's fandom off by showing them the pilot. You show them "In the Pale Moonlight" or "Scorpion" first, then you go back.

Though, for my money, I would say of the golden era of Trek, Enterprise's pilot was my favorite, and of the Nu Trek era, I would say Strange New Worlds is the best. In fact, I would argue that Strange New Worlds is arguably the best pilot in the franchise's history; if I believed in that sort of thing.