Star Trek Voyager

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Star Trek: Voyager is a science fiction television series set in the Star Trek universe. It was produced for seven seasons from 1995 to 2001, and is the only Star Trek series to have a female captain as a lead character. The show was a spinoff of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and was created by Rick Berman, Michael Piller, and Jeri Taylor. The show was based on Star Trek, created by Gene Roddenberry. It is sometimes shortened to ST:VOY or VOY.

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The series follows the adventures of the USS Voyager and her crew who have become stranded in the Delta Quadrant, seventy thousand light-years from Earth. Unless they can find some kind of shortcut, it will take them seventy-five years to return to the space of the United Federation of Planets.

Plots

In the pilot episode, "Caretaker", Voyager is sent on a mission to locate a ship piloted by a cell of the Maquis, a terrorist organization created in protest of a treaty between the Federation and Cardassians. Tom Paris (a former member of the Maquis) is brought out of prison to help find the ship. During a chase through the dangerous Badlands, both ships are transported to the other side of the galaxy by an ancient alien known as the Caretaker. While being pulled across the galaxy, several members of Voyager's crew are killed, including the ship's first officer and doctor.

Both ships are attacked by Kazon raiders intent on capturing the Caretaker's Array. Rather than using the Caretaker's Array to return home, Captain Janeway decides to destroy it to prevent it from being misused.

The raiders destroy the Maquis ship, but not before its crew are able to safely transport to Voyager. The Starfleet and Maquis crews are forced to integrate and work together as they begin the long journey home. Chakotay, the leader of the Maquis group, becomes first officer. B'Elanna Torres, a half-human, half-Klingon female, becomes chief engineer, beating out Lieutenant Carey, a Starfleet crewman who would have been promoted to the position. And the Emergency Medical Hologram (EMH Mark I), designed for short term use only, becomes ship's doctor after the death of the entire medical staff. Along the way home, the crew must contend with organ-snatching Vidiians, the determined Borg, and the extra-dimensional Species 8472.

The conflict between the fiercely independent Maquis revolutionaries and the by-the-book Starfleet crew is a central theme of the first season, but by the second season, it is largely forgotten and there is scarcely any conflict among the crew. Only Janeway remains anguished for the entire run of the series over the consequences of her decision to destroy their way home..

Themes

Voyager continues the themes presented in the original Star Trek series and Star Trek: The Next Generation, such as explorations of space and of the human condition. It also demonstrates democratic principles (peace, openness, freedom, cooperation, and sharing) and philosophical issues such as the sense of self and what it means to be human. In the Star Trek series, the examination of humanity is typically explored by contrasting non-human characters with human ones (for instance, the Earth-born Kirk and McCoy against the Vulcan Spock). On Voyager, these explicit aliens are the Emergency Medical Hologram (or simply The Doctor) and the former Borg drone Seven of Nine. It should be noted that Seven is a bona-fide Homo sapiens; but having been a Borg drone for most of her life, she has not developed normal human behavior patterns when she first becomes part of Voyager's crew.

Another common plot theme is the implications of being stranded far from home. Voyager has only limited resources and no easy way to replenish them; its crew is cut off from the normal chain of command and institutions of its society. Their situation frequently faces them with difficult choices of necessity versus idealism. Unlike the other Star Trek series, the crew of the Voyager cannot just stop at a starbase to resupply themselves. They often have to make trades with alien cultures.

Star Trek: Voyager possesses humor in higher quantity than any of its sibling series. The sarcasm of Robert Picardo's Emergency Medical Hologram is reprised in Star Trek: First Contact. Voyager is likely also the only of the series where you may hear an irritated half-Klingon (Chief Engineer B'Elanna Torres) crack to a de-assimilated Borg (Seven of Nine): "The Borg wouldn't know fun if they assimilated an amusement park."

Reactions

The reception from fans has been mixed. Some feel Voyager was overall a good show, while others feel that it was the weakest of all Trek spin-offs. Like Deep Space Nine before it, Voyager did not attract the same ratings as Star Trek: The Next Generation. There were concerns from the beginning that Voyager and Deep Space Nine would compete for ratings within the Trek fandom. Prior to the fourth season there were rumors that UPN was considering canceling the series, and although criticized by some, the addition of the eye-catching Seven of Nine is credited with giving the ratings for the series enough of a boost to keep it on the air.

Voyager was the first Trek series to air on network television since the original series. This factor stripped Voyager's writers and producers of a certain amount of creative control. UPN wanted the show to move away from its more "Sci-fi" background to more of an action show, this was very clear during the latter half of Voyager as stories focused more on "the alien of the week" rather than strong character stories.

Of particular ire to many critics was the show's factual inconsistencies. In the series' second episode, one character declares that the ship has a non-replaceable supply of 38 photon torpedoes, but by the end of the show, a minimum of 93 have been fired (fans have counted). The where, how and why of these extra torpedoes are never explained. Others have pointed out the impossibilities of the number of shuttlecraft lost by the crew (15, on a ship that, according to the show's 'bible', carries only two), and questioned how the hot-rod Delta Flyer manages to even land inside the ship. Still others have criticized the show for continually basing episodes around the improbable discovery of traces of Earth and the Alpha Quadrant in the Delta Quadrant, including Chakotay's ancestor race, Seven Of Nine's parents' ship, lost Ferengi, another stranded Starfleet ship, a rogue Cardassian missile previously modified by B'Elanna Torres, and even a cryogenically frozen Amelia Earhart.

Others have criticized the show for having weak plots, numerous continuity errors, lack of character growth, and repetitive storylines. There were complaints that the show was trying to mold itself too closely on Star Trek: The Next Generation instead of trying to find its own path. Some of the show's writers, particularly short term writer Ronald D. Moore, complained about lack of character background for the show's secondary characters, and the inconsistent style of Captain Janeway. Moore even complained that several of Voyager's long-time writers ignored pre-established character facts and continuity if it better served a story.

Despite these and other criticisms, this Trek, like all others has a die-hard fan base, and a few fans may even consider Voyager to be "the best Trek ever."

Cast

Main characters

Recurring characters

One-time, cameos or infrequent spots

Alien races

See also List of Star Trek races

Race Episodes of appearances
Borg

"Blood Fever", "Unity", "Scorpion, Part 1 & 2", "The Gift", "The Raven", "The Omega Directive", "The Living Witness", "One", "Hope and Fear", "Drone", "Infinite Regress", "Dark Frontier", "Survival Instinct", "Collective", "Child's Play", "Unimatrix Zero", "Imperfection", "Shattered", "Q2", "Endgame"

Ferengi "False Profits", "Inside Man"
Hirogen "Message in a Bottle", "Hunters", "Prey", "The Killing Game, Part 1 & 2", "Flesh and Blood, Part 1 & 2"
Kazon "Caretaker", "Maneuvers", "Alliances", "Investigations", "Basics, part 1 & 2", "Initiations"
Klingon "Day of Honor", "Barge of the Dead", "Prophecy"
Krenim "Before and After", "Year of Hell, Part 1 & 2"
Ocampa "Caretaker", "Cold Fire"
Q "Death Wish", "The Q and the Grey", "Q2"
Species 8472 "Scorpion" (Parts 1 & 2), "Prey", "In the Flesh"
Talaxian "Homestead", "The Swarm"
Vidiian "Phage", "Deadlock", "Lifesigns"

Relaunch

In the wake of a successful series of original novels collectively known as the Deep Space Nine relaunch, featuring stories placed after the end of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, a similar relaunch was planned with regards to Voyager, with novels based upon events occurring following the end of the series. In the relaunch, several characters are reassigned to other posts, some new characters are introduced (such as Kaz, the new Trill ship's doctor), Kathryn Janeway is promoted to Admiral, and Chakotay is promoted to Captain of Voyager. Most of the other characters are promoted two steps in rank (for example, Ensign Harry Kim is promoted directly to full lieutenant, and Tom Paris is promoted from Lieutenant junior grade to Lieutenant Commander) to make up for time spent in the Delta Quadrant where they could not normally receive promotions.

So far, only a few Voyager Relaunch novels have been published, beginning with Homecoming and The Farther Shore in 2003. More novels are planned, both in the Relaunch and also other novels set during the original 7-season run of the show.

Relaunch continues with: Spirit Walk #1: Old Wounds (Mass-Market Paperback / November, 2004) Spirit Walk #2: Enemy of My Enemy (Mass-Market Paperback / December, 2004)

Trivia

  • Robert Duncan McNeill played Starfleet cadet Nick Locarno in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The First Duty," in which Locarno got into trouble for violating orders. Locarno was originally planned to return as part of the Voyager cast, but McNeill was not available, so a new character was created, Tom Paris, who had also got into trouble for violating orders. However, McNeill became available after all, and was cast as Tom Paris. It's been theorized by fans that Tom Paris and Nick Locarno are indeed the same person, with Nick Locarno being Paris' alias or nickname while at the Academy.
  • King Abdullah II of Jordan, a well-known Star Trek fan, appeared as an extra in the episode "Investigations". Abdullah's role was not given any speaking lines because he is not a member of the Screen Actors' Guild.
  • The Doctor utters several lines that recall Doctor McCoy's famous "I'm a Doctor, not a ..." quips. In "Phage", he says, "I'm a doctor, not a decorator." In "Gravity", he says, "I'm a doctor, not a battery," and in "Bliss", he says, "I'm a doctor, not a dragon slayer". Perhaps most famously, in Star Trek: First Contact, when asked to halt the approach of the Borg in sickbay, he says, "I'm a doctor, not a doorstop". This would possibly emanate from the Doctor's programming, which, as the doctor mentions several times, includes procedures and personality from Dr. Leonard McCoy, among others. (By the same token, Tom Paris also follows this pattern with the line, "I'm a pilot, not a doctor.")
  • This was the first program ever to air on the UPN network.

See also

External links

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