After I watched the first season of Star Trek: Discovery (on DVD), I decided to kill the time before the release of season two by watching the other Star Trek spin-offs, starting with Enterprise (season four only). After that I moved on to The Next Generation and following that, Deep Space Nine. (It took me seven months to watch seven seasons of TNG, but an entire year to finish DS9.) Up now: Star Trek: Voyager. It took DS9 a while to grow on me (and, until this past year, I had seen the episodes only once each), but I thought Voyager picked up the baton from TNG and ran with it.

I watched all of seasons 1-4, and I was also a member of the Columbia House Voyager VHS club. (I never did cancel my membership; the tapes just stopped coming. It was a huge rip-off, anyway, in comparison to the DVD sets; my VHS tapes are now worthless (in terms of resale value). Unlike DS9 (of which I have only the initial episode for $4.95), I watched the Voyager ones, and am familiar with many of the episodes simply by the title. 

I stopped watching after season four because UPN got squirrelly about how they distributed the show. TNG and DS9 were first-run syndication, but Voyager launched what was intended to be a new network, the United Paramount Network. By the fifth season, though, a station couldn't buy just that show; they had to buy the entire slate of UPN programming. I lived in St. Louis at the time, and had access to six or seven channels: the three networks (ABC, CBS, NBC), the local PBS channel, two local stations, plus a local religious network. None of them wanted the whole package. St. Louis was the 45th largest television market in the country at that time, and we couldn't get Star Trek!

A letter-writing campaign was directed at Larry Rice, the owner of the evangelical station I mentioned earlier. Star Trek is not exactly the kind of programming his station carried, and I'm sure the desperate fans wouldn't have deigned to watch his channel under any other circumstances. A word here about Larry Rice: technically he was a "televangelist," I suppose, but he wasn't one of those millionaires in white suits and wearing gold rings. The office where I used to work in downtown St. Louis was right across the street from his facility, and when supply trucks came in, he was right there in his shirtsleeves helping to unload. Every Thanksgiving, the line was around the block to feed the homeless. But I digress.

I remember some of the local coverage when Voyager debuted. Tuvok was described as the first African-American Vulcan. "African?" "American?" "Vulcan?" Well, he was one of the three. Tim Russ may have been the first African American to play a Vulcan, but that's different. I also recall some controversy surrounding the casting of Robert Beltran as Chakotay. IIRC, Beltran is an Indian, but not of the same tribe as Chakotay. the woman originally cast as Captain quit early on, too. 

Because I have never seen seasons five through seven, I am really looking forward to this series. I have a friend who used to work on a newspaper, and he snagged a VHS of the final episode from the review table for me to watch. I did watch it, but I didn't allow myself to retain any of the the details, in anticipation of the day I would be able to watch the entire series. I don't know how much detail I will go into here, but I don't anticipate taking as long to get through this as I did DS9.

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While our internet has been down, we have watched...

SURVIVAL INSTINCT

BARGE OF THE DEAD

TINKER, TAILOR, DOCTOR, SPY

ALICE

RIDDLES

DRAGON'S TEETH

I must say, even prior to watching seasons 5-7 I thought my favorite Star Trek spin-off was Voyager; now, midway through season six for the first time, I am certain of it.

On "TrekCulture.com", they listed STAR TREK'S 10 Most Hated Characters. Surprisingly Wesley Crusher wasn't on the list but Neelix, Kes and Naomi Wildman, which seems pretty harsh.

"Surprisingly Wesley Crusher wasn't on the list..."

That is surprising. I'm not surprised to see Neelix on the list, but I like Kes. I understand Naomi Wildman; like Captain Picard, many childless adults (myself included) are uncomfortable around children, even fictional ones. 

ONE SMALL STEP:  In the year 2032, some sort of spacial anomaly consumes a manned spacecraft on its way to Mars. In the 24th century in the Delta Quadrant, Voyager encounters the same anomaly. In command of the delta flyer, Chakotay becomes obsessed with retrieving the spacecraft, putting the lives of Paris and Seven (as well as his own) in danger. 

THE VOYAGER CONSPIRACY: Seven of Nine modifies her alcove to provide increased input while she regenerates. She soon uncovers compelling evidence that Captain Janeway stranded Voyager in the Delta quadrant on purpose. She presents her evidence to Chakotay, but the very next day she presents the same evidence, interpreted a different way, to Janeway indicating Chakotay is behind a Maquis plot. the evidence is so compelling that, for a time, it pits Janeway and Chakotay against one another. It turns out that the modifications Seven made to her alcove are providing her with more information than the has the ability to process. The episode is really tense. Seven ends up stealing the Delta Flyer, and the way Janeway talks her down in the highlight of the episode. 

I just watched this episode. I couldn't help but think of Rudy Giuliani.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

THE VOYAGER CONSPIRACY: Seven of Nine modifies her alcove to provide increased input while she regenerates. She soon uncovers compelling evidence that Captain Janeway stranded Voyager in the Delta quadrant on purpose. She presents her evidence to Chakotay, but the very next day she presents the same evidence, interpreted a different way, to Janeway indicating Chakotay is behind a Maquis plot. the evidence is so compelling that, for a time, it pits Janeway and Chakotay against one another. It turns out that the modifications Seven made to her alcove are providing her with more information than the has the ability to process. The episode is really tense. Seven ends up stealing the Delta Flyer, and the way Janeway talks her down in the highlight of the episode. 

Ha!

[Ew. I just pictured him wearing Seven's catsuit.]

PATHFINDER: This was an unexpected episode. It takes place almost entirely in the Alpha Quadrant (until the very end) and focuses on Lt. Barclay, formerly of the U.S.S. Enterprise, now stationed at Starfleet Headquarters. The episode also features Deanna Troy, just about to ship out with the Enterprise again. According to my calculations (based solely airdate/release date), this episode takes place after the movie Insurrection, but it could also be just before. 

Barclay is in the process of developing a method to communicate with Voyager by means of a "micro-wormhole." In order to help him test his theories, he has written a holodeck program of Voyager's crew, which he interacts with 30-40 hours each week; he even sleeps in it sometimes. It's interesting to note the differences in his simulation in comparison to what we know of the actual Voyager and her crew. But is he in danger of falling into his old holodeck fantasies? A refreshing change-of-pace episode. 

FAIR HAVEN: One of those unfortunate episodes which doesn't have a plot (not one I'm the least bit interested in, anyway). Tom Paris has created a holodeck program based in old Ireland which has become popular with the crew. Janeway "falls in love" with a hologram. 

BLINK OF AN EYE: Voyager becomes trapped in the orbit of a planet on which time passes differently than the rest of the universe; each second which passes on the ship represents days on the planet. Voyager arrives during the planet's pre-history and, although it is trapped only for a matter of hours, centuries pass on the planet, creating an interesting conundrum for the Prime Directive, as well as from the standpoint of relative physics. 

PAIR WITH: "Wink of an Eye" (with bits of "Tomorrow is Yesterday" thrown in for good measure).

At one point, the crew sends the doctor to find out anything Voyager can use to break orbit. They only intend to send him for three of their seconds. Instead, Janeway and Torres have trouble retrieving him so he spends three years on the planet. Ensign Kim finds his signal at an opera house, after the Captain suggests looking for him in the arts districts. 

When an astronaut from the planet makes his way to Voyager, the doctor mentions that he had a son. 

The astronaut returns to the planet and helps develop the technology that frees Voyager from the orbit. 

Brilliant episode! 

Now I have to watch "Pathfinder" and "Blink of an Eye."

You've mentioned following up on some of these episodes from time to time after we've posted. We have purposefully left many details blank so I hope there'll still be some surprises for you (or anyone else) who hasn't seen them before (or seen them in a while). Do let us know what you think.

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