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.
DRIVE: While traveling through a regaion of space once ravaged by war, Voyager enters the Delta Flyer in a race as a gesture of goodwill. Tom breaks an important anniversary with Torres in order to co-pilot the Flyer with Harry Kim. Harry falls for one of the other pilots. When that pilot's co-pilot is injured, some changes are made. B'Elanna becomes Paris' co-pilot on the Flyer, and Harry teams up with the alien pilot on hers. [SPOILER] It turns out that the other pilot rigged the Delta Flyer to explode when it crossed the finish line, but Tom and B'Elanna stopped to hash out their relationship. At the end of the episode, the two are married.
Neelix did a great job of sportscasting the race. Even Tuvok gets caught up in the excitement.
REPRESSION: Voyager crewmen, all former Maquis, are being found unconscious all over the ship. Evidence suggests they have been assaulted by an unknown assailant. Tuvok launches an investigation, which goes nowhere. The victims remain in a coma for a day or so, then revive with no memory of being attacked and apparently no ill effects. About halfway through the episode it becomes clear that Tuvok himself is committing these assaults. In the most recent transmission from Starfleet, Tuvok received a personal letter which was secretly embedded with a subliminal command. Even though the Maquis rebellion ended three years ago in the Alpha Quadrant, Tuvok's instructions had him use mind melds to create "sleeper agents" of the former Maquis crew. At a pre-arranged time, Tuvok triggered the melds and Janeway had to deal with a mutiny.
CRITICAL CARE: A perfect metaphor for health care in the United States.
INSIDE MAN: Another episode featuring Barclay and Troy in the Alpha Quadrant. Starfleet's last regular monthly transmission was not received, so anticipation is high for this one. Instead of the usual news and letters, this contains a hologram a Barclay himself. Because the hologram requires so much data, that's why the previous transmission failed. this Barclay, BTW, has been programmed to be much more self-assured and confident than the real Barclay. The hologram becomes the "life of the party," but reveals a darker side to the EMH, whose mobile emitter he has been allowed to use. He has proposed a way for Voyager to return home almost immediately, one already considered and dismissed by Voyager as being too dangerous.
Back in the Alpha Quadrant, however, Starfleet believe that both of their last transmissions have failed. What really happened was that the Ferengi intercepted the first one, spent a month modifying to their own needs, then substituted theirs for the real one a month later. The Ferengis' plan is to acquire Seven's nanoprobes and sell them at a huge profit. The Voyager's crew, however, tricked into the dangerous method of crossing, would perish.
BODY AND SOUL: Circumstances dictate that the Doctor's progam be downloaded into Seven's Borg implants because reasons. The Doctor's personality is in control of Seven's Body, and Jeri Ryan probably got a kick out of playing almost the entire episode the way Robert Picardo would. Romantic hijinks ensue when the Captain of an alien vessel gets the hots for the Doctor (in Seven's body), and the Doctor (in Seven's body) gets the hots for a female member of the alien ship (who wants to set "Seven" up with her brother). Back on Voyager, Tuvok is going through pon farr and has to "relive himself" (so to speak) on the holodeck. This would be a good time to not that Vulcans have sex more often than once every seven years. Like hhumans, they can have sex whenever they want to, it's just that during pon farr they have to. An amusing episode.
NIGHTINGALE: While Voyager sets down on a planet for routine maintenance, Harry Kim (with Seven of Nine and Neelix) takes the Delta Flyer in search of dilithium. He encounters a cloaked medical ship on a mercy mission being pursued by alien fighters. Starfleet's policy is not to become embroiled in local conflicts, but he forms an alliance with the underdog seeing it as a mercy mission. Meanwhile, Voyager has established friendly contact with the other race. Harry lobbies for command of a mission to take the cloaked medical ship to its home planet and Janeway agrees. On the way, though, he discovers that its not the vaccines and medicines that are the primary mission of his temporary command, but the cloaking technology itself.
FLESH & BLOOD, Pts. 1 & 2: The last we saw of the Hirogen (the "Hunters") they had been given holo-technology to home their skills. By this time, a Hirogen engineer has altered their programming to allow them to become self aware, like the Voyager EMH, in an efforet to make them more dangerous prey. The holograms represent many Alpha quadrant races, but all working together against the Hirogen. By the time we first encounter them in part one, they have already commandeered a ship. The Doctor not only takes their side, but also betrays Voyager in order to aid them. At the very least, I would have thought Janeway would have confiscated his holo-emitter but, whereas that option was discussed, she pretty much lets him off scot free on the basis of his becoming "more human." Meh.
The doctor was mislead on the leader's underlying personality and their mission. The hologram leader takes full advantage of any situation, including abducting Torres. Janeway is working with the Hirogen, feeling guilty that technology she gave them has backfired and killed several of their hunters.
Last episode, Harry Kim was mislead and Janeway did not punish him for breaking the Prime Directive. I did not think the doctor deserved punishment either.
The difference, as I see it, is that Harry Kim made a mistake; the EMH Doctor made a choice.
One thing Tracy and I do agree on, however, is the next little exchange. (I'm paraphrasing here, but it happens more often than you might think.)
ENSIGN KIM: The aliens are taking control of the ship's systems!
CAPTAIN JAEWAY: Lock them out!
ENSIGN KIM: Too late!
Well, dumb-ass, if you'd've just locked them out in the first place rather than taking the time to tell her about it first, maybe you could've locked them out. I mean, is there ever a time when when it would be acceptable for an enemy combatant to take control of the ship? If I were Janeway, I would issue a general command (with Harry Kim in mind) that, in similar situations, lock the enemies out of Voyager's sytems first, then tell her about it after. No wonder he's still an ensign. What a maroon. And this is the character the producers chose not to get rid of over Kes.
SHATTERED: A space anomaly splits Voyager into several distinct time zones, ranging from the first episode (prior to getting stuck in the Delta Quadrant) to 17 years in the future (but otherwise all during the corse of the series so far). Chakotay is the only person who can move between and among them, until he makes it so that Janeway can, too. It's an interesting premise provided one doesn't think about it too hard.
LINEAGE: B'Elanna becomes pregnant and immediately begins a campaign to genetically expunge all Klingon DNA from the fetus.