Nov 18, 2010

[TV] Star Trek Voyager: Season 4

Star Trek Voyager: Season 4In any long-running show, there always seems to be that season that makes or breaks the show. When a show gets past the first few seasons, the pressure mounts to come up with more and more dramatically challenging plot twists. Sometimes the gamble works. Other times it fails miserably, and hence we live with the term "jumped the shark" in terms of TV shows that went too far in this regard.

A lot of the Star Trek shows have all had their moments like this. Thus depending on your level of dedication to the franchise, there are varying recommendations in terms of when it's "safest" to start watching a particular Star Trek series. For example, you should only watch the first two seasons of the original series. Or perhaps skip the first season of The Next Generation. The time frames differ from case to case and really depending on the personal opinions of persons involved.

Many feel that for Voyager, you should either start at this season or end with it. The nuances are many and why one or the other can be determined to good or bad ultimately hinges on one thing - your opinion of Seven of Nine.

Star Trek Voyager: Season 4 marks the first full season of the Borg character of Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) as part of the Voyager crew.

One (Star Trek: Voyager)Image via WikipediaThings certainly started with a bang with the season opener, part two of The Scorpion, where Voyager and its crew are in an uneasy alliance with the Borg to get past Species 8472. This eventually gets resolved in its own particular way and Seven of Nine gets retained as part of the crew, despite her protests against this action. She maintains some of her Borg implants in order to survive but eventually becomes mostly human again.

The season also marked the exit of Kes (Jennifer Lien) from the show. She gets a very weird hokey supernatural mental abilities episode and then gives the ship the give of a significant number of light years stripped away from their journey. Still, no love lost there in terms of her leaving the show, at least in my opinion.
This season did have a number of high points that really showcased significant versatility on the part of the writers. First there was the Year of Hell, which was an epic two-part episode that was a heck of a lot darker than most episodes we had seen. Message In A Bottle was another campy episode which prominently featured the Doctor (Robert Picardo) as he interacted with another EMH of a highly advanced Federation starship under the control of the Romulans.

I also liked The Killing Game, which was another two-part series. As much as I'm sure we all found the Hirogen as a campier version of the ever popular Predators, this was a very interesting episode that presented the extremes of holotechnology and pretty much everyone's acting abilities. And another major favorite of mine was One, which had Seven of Nine trying to navigate the ship while all of her companions were in stasis. Naturally this presents a highly unusual situation for one such as her, given she is used to being in constant contact with a large number of people being Borg. Thus it was quite the psychological drama as well and definitely well-written.

I have to admit, I'm a major Seven of Nine fan and as much as a lot of people felt she was just another plot gimmick added to the show, I still felt she was a heck of a lot better than the likes of Kes. Sure, the whole "I shall use my Borg knowledge" trick gets old pretty fast, but it doesn't mean the stories aren't interesting or worth experiencing.

Star Trek Voyager: Season 4 does mark a new point in the show and one that many choose to explore in one way or another. It gets 4 Hirogen Predator-style cliches out of a possible 5.

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