Like I stated in my season one DS9 blog, I was in the mood for Star Trek: DS9, but last few months I was also considering a rewatch of Star Trek: Voyager. Although, I no longer have the DVD sets so I was pondering whether to buy them again or watch it via Netflix. When I saw the price of the complete series, €49,95, I decided to purchase it again! In my “unboxing” blog, you can read my thoughts on that set. It was about six or seven years since my last rewatch and that was with my previous faulty set where I could not finish 3 out of the 4 episodes on a disc, so it was a frustrating rewatch.
Both Voyager & DS9, both 90’s shows, were created in a time where the world seemed different, I grew up with these shows, and these shows give me comfort, especially in this day and age, with what is happening all over the world. That’s why I also yearn to rewatch shows like “The Pretender”, “Highlander” and the various “Stargate” shows, which give me somewhat the same feelings. Babylon 5 does the same for me, but I finished my rewatch last year.
If you follow this website a bit, you probably know, Voyager is not my favorite Star Trek show. Still, I owned all the VHS tapes at one time and I purchased the DVD sets 3 times now, so I cannot deny that Voyager also brings some good feelings too. Sure, it has some very mediocre episodes, a bit too many if you ask me, but it also has some great stories, and I really want to check those stories out again! My favorite seasons are without a doubt the 4th and the 5th seasons, will take me awhile to get there but it nice to look forward to.
I am not going to introduce the main cast because I am sure that the people who do read this are already familiar with Star Trek and with Voyager. It was the 4th Star Trek (live action) incarnation, and it started during Star Trek: DS9’s 3rd season. Star Trek: TNG was finished, Deep Space Nine was set on a station, so it was kind of logical that the studio, at the time, wanted another series set on a starship. Till this day I find it a pity that Star Trek: Deep Space Nine never got the chance to flourish on its own.
Overall, the first season rarely becomes fantastic, it mostly is a bit bland, however it has some highlights none the less. The 90 minutes long pilot episode, “The Caretaker” is one of the best or perhaps the best episode of the first season. After a welcome visit to Deep Space Nine, the Voyager crew, as well as the Maquis crew, whom Janeway is trying to find, are transported to the Delta Quadrant, 70.000 lightyears away from home. The being that brought them there has not the ability to send them back to the Alpha Quadrant and even if there was a chance the crew themselves could do it, with the technology on the array, Janeway feels responsible for the Occampa, a species that was under the caretaker’s care and without him, and with the array intact, they would be vulnerable. So Janeway destroys the array, making new enemies. The 2nd episode “Parallax” is an okay episode where B’Elanna Torres is being considered the new chief of engineer. At first Janeway thinks this isn’t the best idea since she did not even finish the Starfleet academy but Chakotay and B’Elanna herself are able to convince the captain!
“Time and Again”, also an okay episode, a devastating explosion on a planet close to where the Voyager ship is, when they investigate, Janeway and Paris fall through a subspace fracture, whereby a temporal flux sends them back one day before the explosion. It was actually the rescue attempt that annihilated the planet, when Janeway makes sure this doesn’t happen by closing the rift, this didn’t happen at all. “Phage” is also one of the better episodes of the 1st season: Neelix is in trouble when he runs into a Vidiian who steals his lungs from him. The doctor finds a temporary solution, but it would mean Neelix would never be able to move again. So, the crew is set to find this Vidiian who millennia ago were struck by an aggressive virus called Phage, which continuously attacks their organs. When they finally caught up with him, the Vidiian says he no longer can put his lungs back because they are already been implanted in another Vidiian.
I think episode “The Cloud” is perhaps the weakest of the season, boring actually, where Voyager becomes trapped in a strange nebula when the crew searches for a new power source for the ship. Still, some nice/fun character moments between Neelix & Janeway, the Doctor & B’Lanna. Doctor being set on mute while he is talking to the backside of Janeway and others. You see he is not amused! “The Eye of the Needle” is my favorite episode of the season where Voyager encounters a small wormhole, too small to travel through but it could be used to send a message through. On the other side of the wormhole a Romulan vessel is reluctantly helping but then another problem arises, the wormhole goes back in time, some 20 years! To make matters worse, the captain will die 4 years before Voyager is transported to the Delta Quadrant. Note - The B-story is also interesting where Kes is annoyed that the doctor is used as nothing more than a doorstep. She has to convince Janeway that the doctor also deserves some respect.
“Ex Posto Facto” is a just above mediocre episode where Tom Paris is suspected of murder on some planet. Basically, a detective story where Mr. Tuvok is Columbo. This kind of story has been done on many sci-fi shows. A better episode is “Emanations”, an ensign Kim episode where the crew finds something what seems like a burial ground within an asteroid. Suddenly Kim is transported to another planet where an alien race believes he is a being from the afterlife. I thought “Prime Factors” was also an interesting episode. The crew is invited by a species known for their hospitality. When Kim finds out that they have the technology to send the Voyager crew up to 40.000 lightyears closer to home, they are less accommodating. You can compare it with Starfleet’s prime directive. Their leader wants to keep the Voyager crew as long as possible as their guests, he has no intention of helping whatsoever.
“State of Flux” is one of the better episodes of the season, it shows some story-arc developing. Voyager answers a distress call from a Kazon-Nistrim ship, finding all but one of the crew dead in an explosion. Investigation reveals that the Kazon were experimenting with Federation technology acquired from a traitor on Voyager. Subsequently, the Doctor proves Ensign Seska is not really a Bajoran but a Cardassian, but is she the traitor? We also learn that Seska and Chakotay were in a relationship at one time. “Heroes and Demons”, is for me, a weaker episode. First mission for the doctor and a first kiss. “Cathexis” is actually a better episode than I remembered! When I think of that episode, I always think of the sort of “roadmap” for Chakatay’s mind, in sickbay. I always think the episode is playing in his mind for most of the time but that isn’t the case. It is actually an entertaining episode. An energy being is roaming the ship from host to host, having hostile intentions. Chakotay, also roaming the ship, tries to sabotage the alien.
In “Faces”, a Vidiian doctor has split-up B’Elanna’s DNA, which means that there now are a Klingon and a Human version of her, and they have to work together to defeat this doctor! Okay episode. “Jetrel” is one of the best episodes this season: Neelix is diagnosed with a fatal illness by a Haakonian named Jetrel. The same man who'd developed a doomsday weapon which destroyed a Talaxian moon and killed Neelix's family. Neelix has moral issues with letting this Jetrel help him, he was responsible for creating this doomsday weapon. What is bothering Neelix even more is how he himself acted during the war, he did things which he feels makes him a coward. Jetrel finally states his real reason for coming because Neelix isn’t sick. He thinks he can save all those souls which have been killed by that weapon! (Jetrel is Odo’s “dad”, James Sloyan)
Season one was a short season, episode 16, “Learning Curve” was the season finale, unfortunately nothing really special: Tuvok forces some of the Maquis crew into a Starfleet training program and systems malfunction throughout the ship as the bio-neural gel packs begin to fail. Although it is the season one finale, there were 4 more episodes produced for season one, but these were held back for season two. “The 37’s” was intended to be the season finale, with the possibility for it to become a two-parter, obviously we now know this did not happen.
It was sure difficult to find a character which I could call my favorite…well perhaps that is not entirely true, the Doctor was the one and only who wins this price! But for me, no other character in this first season really stood out. I thought they all still were kind of bland. I know this will change in the coming seasons; I know who will become my favorites in the upcoming seasons but not at this time. In the later seasons my respect for Janeway only grows, she is a damned good and capable captain. Also, Tom Paris is a character which is evolving mostly in comparison to the other characters. And also, Seven of Nine, she is the reason I think, why Voyager gained strength again. And seriously, the stories vastly improved, Jeri Ryan was a beautiful Borg but besides that, she is a very capable actress.
This is it, the 1st season is done, it really is not a fantastic season, but same can be said for TNG’s and DS9’s first seasons, there are a few highlights within these 16 episodes but that is not more than 4 or 5 episodes. I think I would rate the first season as 6 / 10, with the notion it will become better, for me the highpoints are seasons 4 & 5 and the first 10 episodes of season 6, with one exception of course: “Fairhaven”! Now onto season two, which definitely is stronger than the 1st season.