Sep 16, 2010

[TV] Star Trek Voyager: Season 2

Star Trek Voyager: Season 2In the continuing Star Trek education of my partner (yes, this is an actual goal), I had settled on Voyager as my path of least resistance to get into Trek. While not necessarily the best Star Trek series, I always feel it had a nice way of covering all the basics of the Star Trek universe while still introducing its unique spin to things.

The only challenge to using Voyager as an entry point into the series is the fact that the first three seasons (more or less) weren't necessarily the strongest of them all, ultimately depending on who you ask. I'm a stickler for starting at the very beginning in order to get the full experience, and that comes with both the good and the bad.

Thankfully (1) my partner loves me and (2) he's a decent enough sport to endure the seemingly endless Voyager marathon I've been subjecting him to. But every rough patch still has its diamonds in the rough and that kind of thinking definitely applies to this season.

Star Trek Voyager: Season 2 was an interesting mix of the good and the bad in terms of the show. This was still in the period when they were stressing the whole "alone against the Delta Quadrant" angle to things, although how consistently this was portrayed remained a tad off.

The USS VoyagerImage via WikipediaThe season certainly had its share of great episode concepts for sure. For example, I certainly liked "Projections", which had the Doctor uncertain if he was really a hologram or a real person in a simulation of Voyager. Then there was "Dreadnought", which I kind of enjoyed because of the novelty of a brilliant AI program running a doomsday weapon - plus it was smarter than B'Elanna. "Deadlock" was another brilliant concept with Voyager being duplicated and Janeway needing to deal with herself.

There were some that I'm on the fence about that had good ideas at the core but execution was a tad off. I actually liked "The Thaw" with the whole personification of Fear concept, although the styling of the episode felt a lot like a TOS episode. "Death Wish" was another good idea and a blatant excuse to bring the Q back into the story. However it felt odd overall and their initial representation of the Q Continuum was a bit underwhelming. "Non Sequitur" was another potentially good idea but I don't think little Harry Kim was fully ready for the spotlight. Plus the show favors him way too much anyway.

But this season also brought us really odd episodes as personified by the likes of "Threhold" and even "Tuvix". Sorry, I really didn't like Tuvix. Plus episodes like "Tattoo" and "Resolutions" really reinforced my personal dislike for episodes that focused a lot on Chakotay.

As is the way of Voyager seasons, they tried to give a clear enemy of sorts in terms of this part of their journey home. For our central villain they gave us the species-shifting Seska and her cadre of Kazon-Nistrim, which always felt to me like nothing more than the writers' attempt to revive the Kazon-Ogla featured in the first season. But seriously, if you've seen one Kazon, you've seen them all. And they REALLY need to wash their hair or something.

Award for most character development definitely goes to the Doctor. While he ended the season still without a name, he did gain a heck of a lot more personality plus a love interest in the classic episode, "Lifesigns".

Best Guest Star for me goes to Brad Dourif as Lon Suder as the disturbing sociopathic Betazoid. Yes, his performance in this season definitely gave the Betazoids meaning and respect in their portrayal in trek after years of Troi in TNG.
While most advise to skip this season entirely to save yourself the trouble, I still feel it had some great moments worth exploring. Just try to ignore the whole Kazon recurring plot line and you just might be able to enjoy the rest of it.

Star Trek Voyager: Season 2 is a decent addition to the Voyager timeline although in many ways it's just a stepping stone to better things. It gets 3 1930's humans locked in stasis out of a possible 5.

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