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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COLD FIRE: Voyager comes across an array similar to  that of the Caretaker, which brought them to the Delta quadrant 10 months ago. Hoping it will send them home, they do eventually encounter the Caretaker's mate, who is hostile to them. Nearby is a settlement of Ocampa (Kes's people) who were split from the homeworld some 300 years ago. Tanis, the head Ocampa, instructs Kes in the use of telekinetic powers she didn't know she had. He is 14 years old, and his father lived to be 20, whereas Kes expects to live to be 9. 

MANEUVERS: A direct sequel to season one's "State of flux" in which Seska returns (with her Cardassian features restored). the big reveal at the end is that, during this episode, she extracted Chakotay's genetic material and has impregnated herself with his offspring. 

RESISTANCE: An away mission goes wrong. Neelix gets away, but Tuvok and B'Elanna are captured by the fascist Mokra, while the wounded Janeway is cared for by an old eccentric who thinks she is his daughter. A poignant ending.

PROTOTYPE: Torres reactivates a damaged robot found floating in space and finds herself taken prisoner by it. I thought The Orville's "Isaac" was based on ST:TNG's "Data," but I now see more similarities with "Unit 3947." Also, this episode's artificial life form bears a striking resemblance to Doctor Who's "Kamelion."

ALLIANCES: Janeway considers an alliance with the Kazon. 

Shows like Discovery and Picard are all right, but they have drifted so far away from the franchise's original premise as to be be virtually unrecognizable. they are entertaining, but not thought-provoking. It is individual episodes like this one, in which Janeway considers (however briefly) bending Starfleet's principles, that are Star Trek

Jim Kirk bent the Star Fleet rules almost every week.

Kirk often played fast and loose with the Prime Directive, but there was always a reason and he was always justified, and ultimately vindicated. The new shows, Picard in particular, have drifted so far from Gene Roddenberry's original vision as to to be virtually unrecognizable as "Star Trek."

THRESHOLD: Lt. Paris breaks the warp barrier and becomes the first person to make a transwarp flight. But soon after he returns he begins undergoing a startling metamorphosis, first to a "Time Lord" (with two hearts), ultimately to an amphibian-like creature. Because reasons, Janeway transformed, too, and the two of them produced three offspring together while in their amphibian forms, a development which drew quite some criticism in fan circles at the time. the offspring were left behind, in a move that drew no criticism at all that I am aware of.

That was kind of a weird episode.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

Kirk often played fast and loose with the Prime Directive, but there was always a reason and he was always justified, and ultimately vindicated. The new shows, Picard in particular, have drifted so far from Gene Roddenberry's original vision as to to be virtually unrecognizable as "Star Trek."

THRESHOLD: Lt. Paris breaks the warp barrier and becomes the first person to make a transwarp flight. But soon after he returns he begins undergoing a startling metamorphosis, first to a "Time Lord" (with two hearts), ultimately to an amphibian-like creature. Because reasons, Janeway transformed, too, and the two of them produced three offspring together while in their amphibian forms, a development which drew quite some criticism in fan circles at the time. the offspring were left behind, in a move that drew no criticism at all that I am aware of.

MELD: Tuvok mind-melds with Ensign Suder, a psychotic member of the Maquis who has murdered another crewman. After the meld, each begins to exhibit aspects of the other's personality. A taut psychological thriller emphasizing Tim Russ's acting abilities. 

DEATH WISH: Voyager's first "Q" episode. I remember it, but it came as something of a surprise because it doesn't have "Q" in the title. Another Q (Q2) is on the run from the Continuum because of its desire to commit suicide. the original Q (i.e., John de Lancie) intervenes, and Q2 asks asylum aboard Voyager. Janeway agrees to hols a hearing. This is a serious episode about suicide, more meaty than some of the Q stories from ST:TNG.

I thought it was interesting to see that Q worked well with Picard and Janeway, but didn't seem to catch on with Sisko.

Except when Sisko punched him in the face!

"Picard never did that!"

"I'm not Picard."

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