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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HOMESTEAD: Voyager finds a group of Tellaxian refugees, far from home, being oppressed by another race. Voyager helps them and Neelix decides to stay with them as Starfleet's liaison with the Delta Quadrant. Neelix is finally off the show with only two episodes to go (the very definition of ambivalence). 

RENAISSANCE MAN: The Captain and the Doctor are kidnapped by two unscrupulous aliens and the Doctor is sent back to Voyager, disguised as Janeway, with instructions to deliver the warp core or they will kill the Captain.

One to go!

ENDGAME: I finally finished watching all of Star Trek: Voyager (only 20 years behind schedule)! The episode begins 26 years into an alternate future on the tenth anniversary of Voyager's return to the Alpha Quadrant (which means it took them 23 years to get home). Tom & B'Elanna's daughter is an ensign in Starfleet now, the EMH Doctor has a human wife, and Naomi Wildman has a daughter of her own. But Chakotay and Seven-of-Nine are dead, and Tuvok is suffering from a degenerative mental disease. 

Just about the time I think the entire episode is going to be set in the era, the POV shifts back as both stories move closer together. In the "present," Captain Janeway leads the ship into a nebula which ends up being a Borg stronghols and barely manages to escape; in the "future," Admiral Janeway regrets the actions she took (or failed to take) which, she feels, led to the deaths of Chakotay, Sevem (and some 20 others) as well as Tuvok's condition, which could have been treated in the Alpha Quadrant before it got too bad. Although she did manage to get the ship and crew home safely, she sees it as a personal failure that it took 23 years.

But she has a plan. Admiral Janeway plans to take Borg-deafeting technology back in time and give it to herself in the past, allowing Captain Janeway to utilize the Borg's transwarp technology to get the crew back immediately. When Captain Janeway learns, however, the the technology would allow them either to get home immediately or to destroy the Borg transwarp hub (they cannot do both), she opts to destroy the hub. (Tuvok even quotes Spock's "The needs of the many" line.) I'm not going to spoil it, but with two Janeways working together on a way to get Voyager home and collapse the Borg hub, I wouldn't bet against them. 

I initially started this "Star Trek spin-off re-watch project" after watching season one of Star Trek: Discovery as a way to kill time until season two was available on DVD. Now more than enough time has passed, I have both seasons one and two on DVD and am anticipating the release of season three. Would anyone be interested in a comprehensive Star Trek: Discovery discussion? 

I had started to watch selected episodes of Voyager and have now decided to watch all of seasons 6 and 7.

Regarding Discovery, I have so far watched season 1 and half of season 2. I then need to watch Picard season 1 before I watch Discovery season 3 (and season 4 is looming). If Picard is also on DVD now you may want to add it to your watch list. I understand that Picard season 1 is referenced heavily in Discovery season 3.

We watched Picard when it first aired and do plan to buy it when it becomes available on DVD. I am particularly interested in seeing again the evolution of Seven-of-Nine now that i have seen all of Voyager at last. 

Based on what I have seen so far of discovery (all of season one), the only way I can enjoy it is to think of it as an alternate reality. The differences between Discovery and the original Star Trek are too great for me to reconcile. I know it is supposed to take in the same reality, but who do they think they're fooling? Unless there is some revelation I have yet to see that reconciles the differences, a strong tie-in with Picard would represent a cognitive disconnect to me... unless Picard takes place in an alternate universe as well. It was so different (and, in many ways, a betrayal) of Gene Roddenberry's very concept of Star Trek, I would almost prefer that interpretation. 

I have seen nary Discovery nor Picard, and what I have heard of them. while they sound nice enough, does not fill me with an overwhelming urge to seek them out. I've no doubt that thirty years ago, I would have been all over them, but I've reached an age where I find myself less and less willing to take on new TV shows.  (I never really got into the Doctor Who spin-offs, either, for example.)

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