Beyond the Final Frontier...
In the mid-1970s, Paramount Pictures planned to launch a new network using a new series named Star Trek II as corner stone. Neither the show nor the network ever became a reality.
Over thirty years later, after the success of the second Trek spin-off Deep Space Nine, the creative team of Rick Berman, Micheal Pillar and Jeri Taylor decided that a new show was a possibility, which could be used to finally kick-off the new network UPN. However what they had in mind was something totally different, unlike any previous Trek series in many ways, yet totally familiar in others.
Warning: This article does contain information about episodes which could potentially spoil your viewing experience. If you don't like to know what happens, you probably shouldn't read the 'highlight' sections.
Between, Star Trek, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and seven existing films, the genre had covered a lot of ground. We knew hundreds of different types of aliens, planets, allies, enemies. So the problem was: How could they create something familiar to fans that they hadn't seen before?
The answer was obvious. If the inhabitants of the Alpha Quadrant - the area of space where the other three shows were set - are getting in the way, you need to put the new show where they won't bump into them.
Hence, in the pilot episode 'Caretaker', the USS Voyager was transported to the other side of the Galaxy - the Delta Quadrant - while chasing Marqui rebels.
During the course of this episode, the crew of Voyager is stranded 70,000 light-years from home when the being that brought them there is killed. Also stranded is the Marqui starship they were pursuing. Both crews have taken heavy casualties and the crews find they have no choice but to work together in to get home. The only problem is: Marqui hate Starfleet and Starfleet don't trust Marqui. Will the terrors of the Delta Quadrant kill them, or will they kill each other first? This introduces the kind of relationships seen on Deep Space Nine where - unlike The Next Generation - not everyone gets along perfectly all the time.
The ship itself is much smaller than Captain Picard's Enterprise, although still larger than Kirk's. The idea was to give it a more sleek appearance, a combat ship as opposed to a scientific and diplomatic one.
Captain Kathryn Janeway - She is the captain of USS Voyager. It's her first command post and it's not going well - half her crew dead, trapped 70 years away from Earth1, with terrorists on her bridge. She was originally to be played by Genevieve Bujold, but the actress wasn't prepared to commit herself to a series. The part was taken by Kate Mulgrew, who gave the character a sense of command and authority.
Commander Chakotay - This former Starfleet officer was the captain of the Marqui vessel. When Janeway's first officer is killed, Chakotay agrees to take his place. He's cool and confident, often taking a different perspective to the captain, he helps to keep her right in a difficult environment. Chakotay also keeps the Marqui officers in control before the settle down. The actor behind Chakotay is Robert Beltran.
Lieutenant Tuvok - Tim Russ auditioned for the part of Geordi LaForge in The Next Generation, but didn't get the part. He was the only member of the cast who was a Star Trek fan before being cast. His character is the first black Vulcan and he plays the part well. Before taking the role, he studied the performance of Leonard Nemoy as Spock. Tuvok was a Starfleet spy on the Marqui ship, and was to become Voyager's tactical officer when the mission was complete. He, like all Vulcans, is calm, logical and often unsociable, but also a competent tactical officer and close friend of Janeway.
Lieutenant Tom Paris - A former Starfleet officer and son of a famous Admiral, Robert Duncan McNeill plays Voyager's helmsman. Paris was imprisoned after he was court-marshalled and joined the Marqui. When Captain Janeway was looking for a helmsman, she had him temporarily released from the penal colony in New Zealand and given a chance to prove himself. As fate would have it, he never had to go back. Stranded in the Delta Quadrant, he had no choice but to follow orders and try to get back home. He is fun-loving and adventurous and enjoys flying small craft or racing old motor vehicles in the HoloDeck.
Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres - Roxanne Dawson became the second actor to wear prosthetic head-ridges on a weekly basis, by becoming a half-Klingon, half-Human Marqui. She's ill-tempered, impatient, and hostile - but makes a brilliant Chief Engineer when Voyager's is killed. With time, she grows more friendly towards her new crewmates, and meshes to become a vital part of the crew.
Ensign Harry Kim - Fresh out of Starfleet Academy, Harry's first day on the job doesn't go well at all. Garrett Wang is the hard-working, honest, clarinet playing Operations Officer. He's good friends with Paris has the utmost respect for his Captain.
The Doctor - One of the worst losses to Voyager was the death of the entire medical crew, and with dozens of wounded needing treatment, the crew were forced to activate the prototype Emergency Medical Hologram (EMH). Robert Picardo of The Wonder Years fame is the anxious physician. In many ways, he is superior to a normal doctor because he can't forget anything in his encyclodpeadic holo-matrix, never shakes during an operation and never gets ill himself2...although many complain his bedside manner is lousy. The Doctor must strive to become an accepted member of the crew, and to gain the resepct any crew member deserves.
Neelix - Ethan Phillips dons heavy make-up to become one of the first beings encountered in the Delta Quadrant. Neelix is a Talaxian Trader who comes aboard Voyager with his rescued Ocampa mate, Kes. He's jovial, quick-witted and always full of helpful advice. He is Voyager's guide, chef, morale officer and diplomatic officer, but also an interesting counterpart for Tuvok. The duo's conflicting personalities often lead to interesting arguemants.
Kes - This Ocampan is only three years old when she joins Voyager, yet for the short-lived, fast-aging Ocampans, this is adulthood. Jennifer Lien is the pixieish girl that becomes The Doctor's nurse.
Seven of Nine - It is generally believed that was written into the show to boost ratings at the start of Season Four. By this time, Voyager was getting old and less exciting. Ratings picked up again after Jeri Ryan put on a cat-suit and became the Borg engineer and scientist that was severed from the collective trying to capture Voyager. Janeway is her mentor as she tries to 'adapt' to life as an individual.
Kazon - The first enemies met in the Delta Quadrant. While the Kazon do have Warp-Capable spacecraft, they are otherwise primitive abd hostile, and try to steal Voyager's advanced technology regularly. This area of the Delta Quadrant is the Galactic equivilant of a Third World Country, and replicator technology to produce food, water and weapons from nothing would make them the ultimate power in the area.
Vidiians - A once peaceful race of artists and scientists, the Vidiians were driven to violence by a terrible virus called the Phage, which decays your organs and perminantly disfigures you. They hunt down other species and harvest their organs so that they can survive themselves.
Borg - An old friend from The Next Generation, the Borg are a race of cyborg drones which strive for perfection by assimilating all ofther species into their 'collective' - their hive mind. They file away all useful information from their victims and disregard irellevant material such as emotions.
Species 8472 - An advanced life-form from outside their dimention discovered Species 8472 - only known by their Borg designation - have a dense genetic structure and powerful immune system that destroys anything entering their bodies - including Borg assimilation technology.
Hirogen - A race of hunters, they are technologically advanced, yet choose to live a primitive, nomadic lifestyle, roaming the Delta Squadron chasing prey.
Icheb - An adolecsant drone found onboard an abandoned Borg Cube, he was taken in by Seven of Nine, who educates him in astrophysics and engineering as well as helping him adapt to life as in individual.
Naomi Wildman - The first child to be born on Voyager, she is a smart girl who befriends Neelix, Seven and Icheb. She has high ambitions and wishes to be the Captain's Assistant.
Ensign Samantha Wildman - A Xenobiologist and mother of Naomi Wildman, the character appears frequently in the series.
Lieutenant Joseph Carey - Intended to be the Chief Enginner after the original was killed, the post was instead taken by Torres and Carey had to serve under her. He was killed in a hostage situation during the final season.
In the Alpha Quadrant
Lieutenant Reginald Barclay - The meek engineer and fan-favourite from The Next Generation makes a come back in Voyager. He features in an early holodeck episode and later concentrates his efforts on communicating with and trying to bring home Voyager. Many of his efforts pay off, despite sceptisim from friends.
Commander Peter Harkins - The superior officer and friend of Barclay, he is often sceptic of his plans, but still trusts the other engineer.
Deanna Troi - The Next Generation councillor makes her come-back in Voyager as the friend of Barclay, when he becomes obsessed with helping the lost ship.
Admiral Owen Paris - He takes command of the mission to find Voyager, he is also the father of Tom Paris.
Doctor Lewis Zimmerman - The creator of the Emergency Medical Hologram. A holoprogram of him helps to save the doctor's program, while later in the series, the doctor is transmitted to the Alpha Quadrant to save the life of his creator.
- Caretaker, Part I
- Caretaker, Part II
- Time and Again
- The Cloud
- Eye of the Needle
- Ex Post Facto
- Prime Factors
- State of Flux
- Heroes and Demons
- Learning Curve
The opening Season sees Voyager stranded in the Delta Quadrant, with a seventy year journey at maximum warp. Moralle is low and tensions high.
They encounter their first enemy, the Kazon, whom they will encounter many times before the first two seasons are out. Soon afterwards, they encounter the Vidiians, another recurring foe.
Another recurring theme in this season is space anomalies of various forms. During their first encounter they try to rescue the crew of another ship - which turns out to be some form of time-refelection of their own ship. The following episode, the crew discover a ruined civilisation and are then transported back in time, where they find that they are responsible for the deaths. The third anomally encountered is a wormhole back to the Alpha Quadrant, but only large enough to send a message through. They make contact with a Romulan ship which promises to help them. The crew is disapointed to find that the wormhole connects to a point not in the present, but in the past. The Romulan commander they befriend existed some fifty years before they left home.
Another chance to get home is found several episodes later, with a race of aliens who have the technology to transport them most of the way home. However, when they refuse to share this technology, Tuvok takes it upon himself to steal it. The attempt fails, leaving Janeway utterly betrayed.
Seska, a Marqui onboard, is revelaed to be a traitor and a Cardassian in disguise, who is helping the Kazon steal technology. She escapes with the Kazon.
Torres and Paris are abducted by the Vidiian. The aliens split Torres into two individuals, one fully human and one fully Klingon, to try and find the source of the Klingon immunity to the Phage Virus. The Klingon half is killed, however the human half reverts to her original hybrid form when her DNA reemerges.
The season is somewhat shorter than a usual Trek season, perhaps owing to bad audience response, lack of budget, or producers being unwilling to produce more episodes on such a new show.
- The 37's
- Non Sequitur
- Persistance of Vision
- Cold Fire
- Death Wish
- The Thaw
- Basics, Part I
The seconds season begins with a very difficult decision for the crew. They discover a human colony on an alien world, founded by people abducted from Earth in the 20th Century. Among these is pioneer Amelia Earhart. Janeway gives the crew the option to stay here with other humans, rather than face the 70 year trek home. To her suprise none choose to stay, prefering to follow her to Earth.
This season still sees the Kazon as Voyager's primary foe, with several episodes featuring them. Chakotay crash-lands on a planet with a Kazon boy who seems supiciously like Nog from Deep Space Nine. Voyager discovers that Seska is working with the Kazon, Janeway tries to negotiate peace with them and ultimately fails and the spy onboard is identified. In the season's last episode Voyager is captured by the Kazon and the crew transported down to a planet below. This is where the season ends - leaving the viewers with a fustrating few months to wait for the second part.
Many familliar faces are introduced, maybe to try and warm fans of the other three Star Trek shows up to Voyager. First is Barclay, who appears to the Doctor, claiming that the holographic medic is actually the only real crew member. It turns out to be a dream, of sorts. Q - the omnipitant trickster and fan favourite - pays a visit to Voyager when another Q3 looking for a way to die. Not good to have a death-wish when you're immortal, it seems. In a later episode, Kim wakes up to find himself back on Earth, in an alternate reality where he was never onboard Voyager. With the help of Paris, he eventually gets back.
Also, a swarm of aliens try to mate with the ship, the crew are paralysed when an alien race uses there desires against them, Chakotay discovers the origins of his Native American tribe lay in the Delta Quadrant, the crew discover the mate of the Caretaker - only to discover she is unwilling to help them get home. Paris breaks the transwarp barrier, which has the unwanted side-effect of turning him into a lizard. Tuvok is driven over the edge by a mind-meld with a phychopathic crew member named Suder.
The character of Torres is developed as two episodes based around her have her kidnapped by a race of robots in 'Prototype' and the only member of the crew capable of deactivating a Cardassian bomb in 'Dreadnought'.
Season Two also houses Voyager's transporter accident episode4 when Tuvok and Neelix - almost total opposites - are merged into one being, who takes on a life of his own.
- Basics, Part II
- The Chute
- The Swarm
- False Profits
- Sacred God
- Future's End, Part I
- Future's End, Part II
- The Q and the Grey
- Fair Trade
- Alter Ego
- Blood Fever
- Favourite Son
- Before and After
- Real Life
- Distant Origin
- Worst Case Scenario
- Scorpion, Part I
The cliff-hanger from last season is concluded as Paris, having espaced in a shuttle, gets help from Neelix's race, the Talaxians. Meanwhile, the Doctor must save the ship, with help from phychopath Suter, who was left in the brig from an earlier episode. The Doctor is deactivated and Suter saves the crew alone, although it costs him his life.
Once again, the season is full of familiar faces. A pair of Ferengi that were lost in the Delta Quadrant through a wormhole in an episode of The Next Generation show up, posing as Gods on a distant planet. The duo ruin Voyager's attemps to get home through the wormhole as they espace through and destablise it. Even more familiar is Sulu, from the original series of Star Trek. It turns out that Tuvok was once a member of his crew onboard the USS Excelsior. He starts having flashbacks to his time onboard, which take place during Star Trek VI: The Final Frontier. The ship and crew are recreated brilliantly, including many of the original actors who played the bridge crew in the film. A real treat for fans, who have always loved Mr Sulu.
Paris and Kim are trapped in an alien prison, a swarm of hostile ships attacks Voyager, the crew find themselves in 20th Century Los Angeles, dealing with 29th Century technology. This leads to the Doctor finding a mobile holographic emitter which lets him go anywhere he wants - the final step to becoming a real crew member.
Kes' body is taken over by a cruel alien warlord. Q returns, asking for help in a civil war across the Q Continuum which was caused by the death of Q2. Voyager is infected with a deadly macrovirus, Neelix finds himself in a spot of bother and Janeway is trapped in a time loop, based around her own death.
A major develpoment is the discovery that Voyager is getting closer to Borg space. This is something fans knew must be coming eventually, as the Delta Quadrant is the home of the deadly cyborgs.
Kes finds herself jumping backwards through time. She starts off old, with no memories and then jumps back through time, gaining memories along the way. She also sees Voyager's near-future, in which many of the crew are killed in what is known as 'The Year of Hell'. This is a warning of a major storyline from the next season.
The crew encounter a species which seems to have evolved from dinosaurs on Earth. Apparently, some dinosaurs were capable of space-flight and left Earth before they became extinct, leaving no trace of their civilisation.
In the final episode, Voyager encounters a fierce alien race which is driving the Borg back. Can they stand any chance against this new species? Another agonising wait for the next season...
- Scorpion, Part II
- The Gift
- Day of Honor
- The Raven
- Scientific Method
- Year of Hell, Part I
- Year of Hell, Part II
- Random Thoughts
- Concerning Flight
- Mortal Coil
- Waking Moments
- Message in a Bottle
- The Killing Game, Part I
- The Killing Game, Part II
- Vis a Vis
- The Omega Directive
- Living Witness
- Hope and Fear
The season kicks off with the stunning conclusion to the 'Scorpion' cliff-hanger. The unholy alliance with the Borg proves successful as they develop a weapon which can destroy Species 8472, only to be betrayed when Seven of Nine, the Borg's liason on Voyager tries to take over the ship. An electric shock from a control panel knocks her out and severs her link with the Borg Collective. She now faces life as an individual and chooses to remain onboard. Meanwhile Kes begins to loose control of her telekenetic powers and leaves the crew for good.
Torres and Paris discover their feelings for each other when they face death in the vacuum of space. They later land themselves in a bit of bother when they are found expressing these feeling when they're supposed to be on duty!
The Doctor faces off against a murderous hologram on an alien vessel while Harry falls for Seven of Nine, but finds that her matter-of-fact approach to everything is a little difficult to handle.
Seven later attemps to rejoin the Collective when she experiences a series of nightmares. However when she tries to find them she simply comes across the ship she and her parents were assimilated in - a reminder of her humanity.
The Doctor and Seven discover aliens secretly performing medical experiments on the crew.
Then comes the 'Year of Hell' - a two part episode which sees members of the crew killed, blinded or kidnapped. Much of Voyager is destroyed and it seems unlikely that they will ever get home - if they even survive with their lives. The episode features heavily on time manipulation, which makes it very hard to follow at times. The two episodes a spread over the course of a year and, at the end, the entire year is erased and the damage undone.
A telepathic race arrests Torres for her violent thoughts, leading Tuvok to prove to them that their race isn't as squeaky-clean as they think it is.
While hunting for equipment stolen from the ship, Janeway is aided by her holographic mentor Leonardo DiVinci (John Rhys-Davies), who is a recurring character in this season. Not suprisingly he is amazed and intregued by their technology.
Neelix is killed and resurrected, which leaves him doubting his spiritual beliefs. The crew is attacked by a mysterious alien in their dreams and the Doctor is transfered to the Alpha Quadrant, where he meets up with the hilarious EMH Mark II (Andy Dick) and saves the prototype starship Promethius. He tells Starfleet about Voyager, which has official been declared lost. For the first time, they are not alone.
Voyager manages to communicate with Starfleet using an alien satelite network - which is unfortunately owned by a race of hunters called Hirogen. This is the start of a nasty conflict between the two.
- Extreme Risk
- In the Flesh
- Once Upon a Time
- Infinite Regress
- Nothing Human
- Thirty Days
- Latent Image
- Bride of Chaotica!
- Dark Frontier, Part I
- Dark Frontier, Part II
- The Disease
- Course: Oblivion
- The Flight
- Think Tank
- Someone to Watch Over Me
- Equinox, Part I
- Equinox, Part II
- Survival Instinct
- Barge of the Dead
- Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy
- Dragon's Teeth
- One Small Step
- The Voyager Conspiracy
- Fair Heaven
- Blink of an Eye
- Spirit Folk
- Ashes to Ashes
- Child's Play
- Good Shepherd
- Live Fast and Prosper
- Life Line
- The Haunting of Deck Twelve
- Unimatrix Zero, Part I
- Unimatrix Zero, Part II
- Critical Care
- Inside Man
- Body and Soul
- Flesh and Blood, Part I
- Flesh and Blood, Part II
- The Void
- Workforce, Part I
- Workforce, Part II
- Human Error
- Author, Author
- Friendship One
- Natural Law
- Renaissance Man
- Endgame, Part I
- Endgame, Part II
The Grand Finalle
In the final, feature length episode of Voyager - 'Endgame' - the question of the crew's fate is finally answered.
In the end, Voyager...well, you should see it for yourself. No point in spoiling it.