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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 Watched almost all of the VOYAGER story and yet I can't pick out a single episode as "indelible". With the original series, more than a few.

  Same with Enterprise.

VIRTUOSO: A seriocomic episode in which Voyager encounters a highly intelligent race race, yet one which has no knowledge of music whatsoever. They become fascinated by the Doctor's singing, and he gets a swelled head to the point of resigning from the crew. 

MEMORIAL: Chakotay, Paris, Kim and Neelix return from a two week away mission and soon begin experiencing vivid hallucinations of taking part in a massacre of innocent refugees during a wartime skirmish. Eventually these hallucinations begin to affect the entire crew. The title of this episode pretty much gives away the "twist" upfront. On on of the planets there is a obelisk (visually quite similar to the one in "The Paradise Syndrome") which serves as a "memorial" to the the slaughtered innocents. It sends out mental impressions of the battle to any ships which might pass within range. It's similar to "Inner  Light" but these memories are permanent. The battle was 300 years ago and there is no sign of the planet's former inhabitants. The obelisk has been in operation all that time, but now its batteries are starting to run down. Chakotay is in favor of leaving the obelisk (which contains a written record of the attack) but shutting down the device which forces the unwanted memories. Everyone who expresses an opinion agrees with him, except Janeway (who has by now herself experienced the memories) and Neelix, who want to repair the Obelisk so that it lasts for another 300 years. After a very brief debate, that's what she orders to be done. (They do place a warning buoy outside the range of the obelisk to warns other ships what they are in for.) I understand that "those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it," but I am clearly on Chakotay's side on this one. Janeway is essentially in favor of inflicting PTSD on potentially thousands of innocent travelers over the course of centuries all in the name of a "memorial" to a dead race. Seems unnecessarily barbaric to me. And what the natural resources that planet could offer to a colony? 

I understand that "those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it,"

“History Doesn't Repeat Itself, but It Often Rhymes” – Mark Twain.

TSUNKATSE: The crew spend shore leave on a planet whose primary form of entertainment is a violent martial art called tsunkatse. Tuvok and Seven decide to spend their shore leave studying a stellar anomaly but their shuttle is attacked, and they are kidnapped and forced to participate in the games. Jerrfry Combs adds yet another alien species to his long list, and the episode also guest stars "The Rock" (Dwayne Johnson) as one of Seven's opponents. 

PAIR WITH: "Shore Leave" "Gamesters of Triskelion"

COLLECTIVE: Voyager encounters a borg cube manned only by five adolescent and pre-adolescent drones (some sort of nano-something-or-other has wiped out all the adult drones), and the five left behave much like one would expect of children and teenagers anywhere. Seven of Nine learns that the Collective has cut them loose, but they don't know that. Janeway wants to rehabilitate them, but Seven is against it. Janeway prevails and four of the five are "assimilated" into the crew. An interesting take on the Borg. It will be interest to see how this situation develops.

SPIRIT FOLK: An other holodeck story set in "Fair Haven." (The holograms begin to become self-aware.)

ASHES TO ASHES: An alien contacts Voyager claiming to be a crewman who dies on an away mission three years ago. Her body was found and resurrected by an alien race who changed her DNA to match theirs. (That's the way they reproduce.) The process usually wipes the memories of the deceased, but she retained most of hers. She went to Starfleet Academy with Harry and he was sweet on her. The Doctor was able to restore her human looks, but there wasn't enough of her original human DNA left to salvage. She doesn't really fir in anymore, ans the situation is exacerbated when her alien "father" comes to claim her.

The B-plot involves Seven's efforts to educate the former Borg children in the ways of humanity,

At that point in time, both Star Trek: Voyager and WWE Smackdown were on UPN. This was before the Rock portrayed the Scorpion King in The Mummy II.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

TSUNKATSE: The crew spend shore leave on a planet whose primary form of entertainment is a violent martial art called tsunkatse. Tuvok and Seven decide to spend their shore leave studying a stellar anomaly but their shuttle is attacked, and they are kidnapped and forced to participate in the games. Jerrfry Combs adds yet another alien species to his long list, and the episode also guest stars "The Rock" (Dwayne Johnson) as one of Seven's opponents. 

PAIR WITH: "Shore Leave" "Gamesters of Triskelion"

CHILD'S PLAY: Voyager makes contact with one of the Borg children's parents. He is a prodigy and is flourishing aboard Voyager, but his planet has been devastated by the Borg. At first it seems returning him to his parents would not be in the child's own best interest, but as he spends more time with them, he himself decides he wants to stay. After Voyager has left him behind, Seven discovers a discrepancy in the story the boy's parents told them. Checking up on it, they discover that the boy had been infected with a pathogen designed to wipe out the Borg from within once he was assimilated. It was, in fact, this pathogen which wiped out the Borg cube on which the children were first found. Voyager returns to the planet only to discover the boy's parents have already sent him in a ship as a sacrifice to wipe out the Borg again. 

This latest episode was better than I expected. I thought it would be an adolescent struggling to come to terms with returning to his less advanced planet. It had a thoroughly interesting twist that kept my attention. 

I just reread IDW's Star Trek Voyager: Mirrors & Smoke (2019) that took place in the Mirror Universe. Worth it to see Evil Smuggler Neelix and his muscle, Evil Kes!

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