LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS Star Trek: Voyager - A journey beyond
By James Whittington, Friday 30th August 2019
Created by Rick Berman, Michael Piller, and Jeri Taylor, Star Trek: Voyager introduced the world to the fourth Star Trek crew whose venture into space was a twist on what had gone before. Here the jeopardy was ramped up as Captain Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) and her team become stranded far from home. This led to plenty of conflict between them all but also built relationships that wouldn't have normally occurred.
Voyager had more of a classic Star Trek feel and retained a classic Star Trek trope, that of having an array of characters who reflected a wide diversity of races and cultures. This led to plenty of clashes between the members as they strive to return home.
Production got off to a shaky start when Canadian actress Genevieve Bujold who was originally contracted to play the lead character of Captain Nicole Janeway left after only a few days into production and was replaced with Mulgrew hence the Christian name change. Janeway was not the first female captain to be seen in a Star Trek series but she was the first to lead a series.
With a feeling more akin to Star Trek: The Next Generation, Voyager took the franchise back into the unknown universe where the discovery of new civilisations would keep the series feeling new without relying on species from the past.
Over seven seasons, 172 episodes and running for a time alongside Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Voyager gave us a fresh way of experiencing the franchise without resorting to "stunt casting" and worn-out recurring characters though "Q" the extra dimensional being who appeared in Star Trek: The Next Generation and once on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine did pop up to say hello.
Stories were intense, used the potential of CGI (though models were still the choice for vehicles for the first few seasons) and focused on the relationships between the core members of the crew. As we have come to expect from Star Trek, the crew was a celebration of all races and genders.
Robert Beltran played the role of First Officer Chakotay, someone who had left Starfleet to join the Maquis organization and became a loyal supporter of Janeway. Tuvok, played by Tim Russ was the Second officer, security officer, and tactical officer who was a Vulcan that had a secret to keep. Robert Duncan McNeill played Medic Tom Paris, a man who had previously been disreputably discharged from Starfleet. Star Trek needs Klingons like Doctor Who needs Daleks and Chief Engineer B'Elanna Torres (Roxann Dawson) is the half human, half Klingon who struggled with which of her traits should rule her decisions. Chief medical officer is simply known as The Doctor (Robert Picardo) as he is a holographic program whose features were based on his creator, Lewis Zimmerman. Garrett Wang was cast to play one of the youngest members of the crew, Harry Kim who had only recently left the Academy. Before things get too serious let me introduce Neelix (Ethan Phillips) an alien who did more jobs onboard of Voyager than most of the crew and then there's Neelix's partner Kes (Jennifer Lien) who possess psionic powers!
This core crew team barely changed for the first three season but when season four came along so did Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix 01 or just Seven to you and I. Jeri Ryan brought a sense of sadness to liberated Borg drone and added a new dynamic.
25 years on, Voyager remains an incredibly strong series with a very strong lead, Kate Mulgrew thrives as Janeway, a person who was born to lead one of the most diverse crews Starfleet had seen and go down in Star Trek history as one of the finest incarnations of the Star Trek franchise.
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