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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REPENTANCE: An episode about capital punishment. 

PROPHECY: Voyager encounters a Klingon ship which departed the Alpha quadrant 100 years earlier, before the Kittomer Accords. The Klingons are religious pilgrims who, after seeing the pregnant B'Elanna, become convinced she is carrying their messiah. They then blow up their own ship and transport aboard Voyager, 200 of them, to become the unborn child's disciples. Half the Klingon crew does not accept the Klingon captain's interpretation of the prophecy, so he and B'Elanna conspire to make the events of her life more closely resemble the prophecy. (The cynic in me realizes this is exactly how religion works on Earth.) With the "prophecy" fulfilled, Voyager leads them to their "promised land" and dumps them on a planet in the Delta Quadrant. 


That sounds like the kind of thing that they would've caught flak for once they got back to the Alpha Quadrant.


Jeff of Earth-J said:

PROPHECY: Voyager encounters a Klingon ship which departed the Alpha quadrant 100 years earlier, before the Kittomer Accords. The Klingons are religious pilgrims who, after seeing the pregnant B'Elanna, become convinced she is carrying their messiah. They then blow up their own ship and transport aboard Voyager, 200 of them, to become the unborn child's disciples. Half the Klingon crew does not accept the Klingon captain's interpretation of the prophecy, so he and B'Elanna conspire to make the events of her life more closely resemble the prophecy. (The cynic in me realizes this is exactly how religion works on Earth.) With the "prophecy" fulfilled, Voyager leads them to their "promised land" and dumps them on a planet in the Delta Quadrant. 

"That sounds like the kind of thing that they would've caught flak for once they got back to the Alpha Quadrant."

Not only for what I described, but there's something else I didn't mention. The entire Klingon crew is infected with a highly contagious disease which, when triggered, causes premature death. B'Elanna is infected and so is her unborn daughter. But, after a few days, the Doctor discovers something in the child's genetic make-up that counteracts the disease and he is able to create a cure for the entire from a stem cell sample. So, in effect, the child did "save the Klingon race." Presumably, when they do get back to the Alpha Quadrant and this story gets out, some Klingons may choose to accept the child as their messiah. At the end of the episode, Tom and B'Elanna are even considering giving the child the messiah's name. 

THE VOID

Voyager is drawn into a starless space anomaly. Many ships are trapped inside (some have been there for years), but it has so far proven impossible to escape. When Voyager first arrives, it's a free-for-all, every ship for itself. Captain Janeway proposes and works toward establishing an Alliance, sometimes to the detriment of her own crew. Eventually, five other ships (plus a race native to the Void) join, but two of them prove to be traitorous. They are expelled from the Alliance, but soon form an Alliance of their own, against Voyager. Working together, Voyager and its three allies escape, the other two ships are left behind. This is a really good episode about sticking to one's principles. 

They could have just named it “Jesús” .

Jeff of Earth-J said:

. At the end of the episode, Tom and B'Elanna are even considering giving the child the messiah's name. 

WORKFORCE, Pts. 1 & 2: The Voyager crew (except for Chakotay, Neelix, Harry Kim and the EMH, because reasons) are captured and brainwashed into become willing and happy mid-level factory workers. It's a slow build as viewers slowly piece together what, exactly, is going on. At first, it seems they might be "undercover" but, as they encounter one another, it's clear that they don't know each other. they have been selectively mindwiped in that they know their own names and that they are from Earth, but not that they served aboard a starship or are on their way back home. 

It's  pretty good episode, but the scheme seems to have been orchestrated by an unscrupulous doctor working in conjunction with an unscrupulous supervisor. The Voyager is given the runaround by the local politician who clearly seems to be involved as well, but at the end of the episode, he helps bring the other two to justice. (Personally, I think he flipped on them.) 

HUMAN ERROR: Seven's holodeck program to explore her humanity is interfering with her duties aboard ship. 

Q2: Q shows up with his son, Q, and turns him over to Capt. Janeway to discipline. "Q2" is played by John DeLancie's son and bears a strong resemblance to his father, but oddly, he also looks a bit like Ken Osmond at that age. 

Not a bad episode. Q was not as obnoxious as he usually is. His son was a punk. 

AUTHOR, AUTHOR: A mostly comic episode of the Doctor's holo-novel about the rights of holographic beings, with characters obviously based on members of Voyager's crew. The crew objects to what will undoubtedly be perceived as a roman a clef novel, and the Doctor instructs his publisher to wait for a revision before publishing. A turn comes about 10 minutes from the end when the opportunistic publisher goes ahead with it on the basis of their contract being void because the EMH, as a hologram, has no rights under law. A court case doesn't find him "human," but does find him to be a "artist" under law. Then in the last five minutes, Seven connects with an aunt on earth.

PAIR WITH: "The Measure of a Man"

FRIENDSHIP ONE: Earth sent a probe into space three years after "First Contact" with the Vulcans (2067 on our calendar). It eventually made it's way to the Delta Quadrant where it was found by an alien race. Starfleet has calculated where the probe must have ended up by this point, and send Voyager to retrieve it for historical purposes. As far as we know, The only thing the probe, Friendship One, was shown to contain was a generic message of peace and a piece by Vivaldi. It was sent before Starfleet existed, before the Prime directive, and somehow this probe caused nuclear destruction on a planetary scale. Voyager then sets about setting things right for a planet whose populace doesn't trust them. 

NATURAL LAW: Chakotay and Seven take a shuttle to a planet to attend a conference, but on the way discover that an entire continent is covered by an impenetrable force filed. They fly too close and the shuttle is disabled, but Seven uses a Borg trick to breach the field so they are not killed. Unfortunately, the shuttle is destroyed in the process but Chakotay and Seven beam safely to the ground. Now they are stuck, with no way out, and neither communications nor sensors nor phasers can penetrate the field.

Meanwhile, Paris has performed some unspecified illegal maneuver while in orbit with the delta flyer and is sentenced to take what amounts to remedial piloting lessons. Because they are bound to follow local laws, Janeway orders Tom to attend the classes. 

After contact with the shuttle was lost, Janeway learns that the barrier was erected long ago by an alien race to protect the indigenous race within from the dominant species on the planet, who know of no way to breach the field, either. Inside, Chakotay and Seven have made friends with the indigenous race and have cobbled enough shuttle parts for Seven to take down the barrier temporarily. The alien race who erected the shield must have pegged the dominant race pretty well because, as soon as the shield is down, they move a survey team in to exploit the resources as the expense of the indigenous race.

When Janeway informs the leader of the dominant species that they cannot leave their technology behind and the shield must be restored, they dominant species attacks Voyager. Tom, who is still taking his piloting lessons, is able to remove Chakotay, Seven and the entire survey team as well. Voyager goes on its way, with the knowledge that the dominant race probed Seven's device and may well be able to replicate it. 

Three episodes left!

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