Star Trek: Voyager
It took me six and a half months to finish Star Trek: Voyager. This is the third Star Trek series that I have finished. The first being Enterprise and the second being The Original Series – I am all caught up on Star Trek: Discovery also. I had a rough time getting into this show when it started, but this is how it is with Star Trek series. Like the three other series that I have watched, Star Trek shows tend to have a rough first (and maybe second) season, but as the writers, cast and crew find their footing, the series inevitably get better.
I found it difficult to get started watching the two-episode series finale (Endgame) because I did not want the show to end.
Here are my thoughts about the show.
TLDR: I enjoyed the show.
Anything after this is going to contain SPOILERS.
When I started watching Voyager, I was a bit biased because it seemed that lots of Star Trek fans dislike this series. And while the first two seasons of the show were a bit rough, the writers and showrunners eventually found their footing and the show became quite entertaining – though there are lots of rough patches throughout the rest of the seasons.
I really liked that the crew grew to be a family. This is something that I have not seen in any of the series that I have seen to date, it was a refreshing thing to see onscreen.
My ratings of the seasons as I finished them (out of 10):
- Season One: 6
- Season Two: 6
- Season Three: 7
- Season Four: 7
- Season Five: 7
- Season Six: 7
- Season Seven: 8
Going by the rating system on Trakt: 6 is “fair”, 7 is “good”, 8 is “great”.
The Good Stuff
Seven of Nine
Voyager got remarkably better when Seven of Nine arrived. Yes, her character may have been brought in for eye-candy purposes, but Jeri Ryan really made the character Seven much more than that. I am glad the writers also took the character and expanded it. Most every episode that is focused on Seven is a memorable one.
I really liked that Seven was a strong counterpart to Janeway and was not afraid to call bullshit on Janeway’s bad decisions. Seven was a markedly different crew person than the Yes-Men (more on that later) who agreed with Janeway all the time out of blind loyalty.
Seven’s growth throughout the series (from the end of Season Three onto the end of the series) was an awesome journey.
The Doctor, he’s awesome. The sometimes curmudgeonly, often times grouchy, ever so egotistical and always funny holographic doctor-without-a-name who had an infinite growth mindset. Much like Seven, any episode that featured The Doctor was a memorable one. I am glad that the writers gave The Doctor more stories in seasons four to the end of the series. He really is a very fun character to watch and Robert Picardo is perfect in the role.
The Doctor is great and ranks right up there with all the doctors that I have seen in the Star Trek universe: Phlox (Enterprise), McCoy (The Original Series) and Culber (Discovery). I actually think he and Phlox are two of the best docs in Star Trek (from the series that I have seen so far).
Neelix was a character that I despised for the first half of the show. But, somewhere in the middle of the series, something changed with the character. I think it may have been because Kes and him split up. Or maybe it is because he started to take on more duties. I think it really was because the writers stopped using him as the jester on the show and started giving him better stories. Ethan Phillips is a good actor and with the writers giving him room to stretch his acting chops, that made the Neelix character so much better. Neelix-focused episodes changed from “sigh” to “that was a great episode”. I grew to really like Neelix and in his final full episode where he chooses to stay with a group of Talaxians, I was affected by him leaving the crew.
Voyager is my favorite ship of all the featured ships in the Star Trek universe – beating out any of the Enterprises. This Intrepid class ship is sleek and beautiful. I love the variable geometry pylons on the Voyager, it gave the ship character. And the first time that I saw Voyager land on a planet, my mind was blown. My only disappointment is that they designed an aero-shuttle (aka the captain’s yacht), which can be clearly seen on the underside of Voyager’s “saucer” and never used it.
The Original Series did not have a proper ending because it was not a serialized show. Discovery hasn’t finished yet, so I can’t speak to its ending. The only series finale that I have seen is that of Enterprise and that finale… sucked. I wrote about it here.
I did not know what to expect of the ending of Voyager. But, after watching Endgame, I was very, very happy with how the show wrapped up. Yes, Janeway was being Janeway and doing her own thing all the way until the end. But, as a finale it was satisfying and gave real closure to the series. In a way, the Voyager series was really more about the destination than the journey.
The Mediocre Stuff
Janeway is not my favorite Captain so far. At times, I really disliked her style of management and leadership. But, I can cut her some slack because the older Janeway from Endgame shows that she does have the ability to grow and lose her sometimes dangerous idealistic ways and adapt a more pragmatic approach to life and leadership.
One of my main issues with Janeway is that she surrounds herself with senior leadship, yet she easily dismisses their input when she feels that they don’t agree with her decisions. Again and again her stubborness gets the crew into difficult situations when it could have been avoided had she listened to the advice from her senior staff – including the original decision to destroy the Caretaker’s station, which left the Voyager stranded in the Delta Quandrant. Her stubborness lasted even until the end of the series when she couldn’t even listen to her olderself.
Is she a bad captain? No, I do like that she stuck up for her crew. And while she was stubborn, she (for the most part) held up the philosophy of The Federation – though there were times where she tossed those out the window and did her own thing (including in Endgame when she blatantly violates the Temporal Prime Directive). And while I complain about her being stubborn, it is that strength and will power that makes her a force to be reckoned with if you attack her ship or her crew – and that is admirable.
The writers never developed this character, I think the writers had no idea what to do with the Kes character. She kind of hung out around the ship with not much to do. Her romance with Neelix never felt right and when that ended, things got better for Neelix. She was never given decent storylines and her character remained woofully underdeveloped until they decided to write her off the show. And even when the writers brought her back for one last episode late in the series, they made her an enemy which wasn’t that great of a storyline.
I haven’t seen Star Trek: The Next Generation yet, so I have no context to Barclay. But, I didn’t quite understand why there were so many episodes featuring him in the later seasons of the show. As a semi-recurring character, he was not as strong as say Daniels in Enterprise.
Ah, the Yes-Men of Voyager. In the first three seasons of Voyager, they obviously were trying to form the “Star Trek Trinity” of characters. The trinity breaks down to something like id, ego and superego.
- id: Meeting Basic Needs
- ego: Reality
- superego: Adds Morals
In Enterprise, it was Archer (id), Trip (ego) and T’Pol (superego). In Discovery, it has changed between seasons, but in season two it was Pike (id), Burnham (ego) and Saru (superego). In The Original Series it was (obviously) Kirk (id), McCoy (ego) and Spock (superego).
Voyager tried to setup a trinity when the series started. It was Janeway (id), Chakotay (ego?) and Tuvok (superego?). The problem I had with Chakotay and Tuvok were that they were Yes-Men. Janeway was clearly id because she was leading the crew back home. But, there was no one that dealt with reality – it was supposed to be Chakotay who was either overridden by Janeway or he just agreed with Janeway without thought. And there was no superego that would add morality to reality. Tuvok, being Vulcan looked like he would be that character (just like T’Pol and Spock). But, he often acquiesced to Janeway just like Chakotay.
Voyager never really formed the trinity through its whole run. Eventually when Seven of Nine arrives, that character fills in for ego and superego at the same time. Seven was able to add both reality and morality to Janeway’s decisions.
Shuttlecraft and Delta Flyer
The seemingly endless supply of shuttle craft was an issue with the show. In the first few seasons, the crew was rationing replicated food. Yet, it seemed like they were losing shuttle craft every other mission – then gaining new ones. By this count they lost 17 shuttle craft onscreen and heavily damaged eight.
The Delta Flyer was a really cool craft. It was an idea of Tom Paris and the eventual shuttle was designed by B’Elanna, Tom, Tuvok, Harry and Seven.
The Bad Stuff
These were low-rent Klingon knock-offs. As villains, they were yawn. I was happy after Voyager finally moved away from them when season two concluded.
The Vidiians and phage were interesting, but somehow they kind of get lost and forgotten.
I get that being lost across the galaxy is going to be mentally taxing. And being stuck on a ship for long periods of time can be tough. But, it seemed that the crew spent a lot of time in the Holodeck. Not only that, they seem to be in the Holodeck at odd moments too – sometimes while there is a battle going on in real life. Not to mention the Holodeck was the premise of two of the worst episodes of Voyager: Fair Haven (S06E11) and Spirit Folk (S06E17). It almost seemed like the writers used the Holodeck to create filler episodes to pad out some of the seasons.
I disliked Seska the character. Yes, the character was a villain, but there was just something about the character that irked me when she was onscreen. Her character arc was meh, though it could have been much better.
I get that she was eye-candy. But really? High heels? Cat suit?
Seven and Chakotay and Harry and Love
When Seven and Chakotay started their relationship near the end of the series, I raised my eyebrows. That didn’t seem natural or right. It should have been Harry. That poor Ensign Harry had only heartbreak with his love life throughout the journey back to Earth – the worst being him falling in love with a holodeck character.
Episodes that Stood Out
Here are some episodes that I found particularly good. I rate episodes as I watch them on Trakt so that I can come back later to see what I liked and what I didn’t. There were a fair share of episodes I rated 6 and 7, plus quite a few that I rated as low as 1 and 2. But, there’s quite a few (to my surprise) that I really liked. I can tell that a lot of the highly rated episodes are after Seven joined the show and also after The Doctor was given more focus.
Episodes Rated 8
- S01E07 - Eye of the Needle
- S01E16 - Learning Curve
- S02E13 - Prototype
- S03E23 - Distant Origin
- S03E25 - Worst Case Scenario
- S03E26 - Scorpion (1)
- S04E01 - Scorpion (2)
- S04E14 - Mortal Coil
- S04E15 - Hunters
- S05E06 - Timeless
- S05E10 - Counterpoint
- S05E15 - Dark Frontier (1)
- S05E16 - Dark Frontier (2)
- S05E22 - Someone to Watch Over Me
- S05E24 - Relativity
- S06E10 - Pathfinder
- S06E12 - Blink of an Eye
- S06E13 - Virtuoso
- S06E19 - Child’s Play
- S06E20 - Good Shepherd
- S06E21 - Live Fast and Prosper
- S06E24 - Life Line
- S07E11 - Shattered
- S07E12 - Lineage
- S07E15 - The Void
- S07E19 - Q2
- S07E24 - Renaissance Man
- S07E25 - Endgame (1)
Episodes Rated 9
- S02E03 - Projections
- S04E14 - Message in a Bottle
- S05E07 - Infinite Regress
- S07E23 - Homestead
Episodes Rated 10
- S05E02 - Drone
- S07E02 - Imperfection
- S07E26 - Endgame (2)
Going by the rating system on Trakt: 8 is “great”, 9 is “superb” and 10 is “totally ninja!”.