Aug 25, 2011

[TV] Star Trek Voyager: Season 6

Star Trek Voyager: Season 6It's a little hard to explain my love for Star Trek: Voyager at times, since admittedly the show had a lot of detractors during its original seven-season run. Maybe it's as simple as a lot of Trek fans not being ready for a show with a female captain in the spotlight or whatever other reasons fans come up with to reject any new incarnation of a beloved franchise. It's just how fandoms work at times.

If anything, one of the main drivers of my continued appreciation for Voyager was its general sense of continuity. When you set up a show about an interstellar crew trying to find their way home, you know that it can only end in one way - getting home. Thus over the course of the show's run, the driving force behind a lot of its storytelling was how the crew would eventually get home. I don't think it was even a question in the minds of fans whether or not they'd be able to achieve this - having them die away from their loved ones on the other side of the galaxy just wouldn't fit with what we understand to be the Roddenberry vision of the Star Trek universe.

It's hard to describe what the general theme for this season might have been despite our having watched it only recently. I guess it draws from the fact that the show did feel a little less than cohesive compared to prior years. Was it because the writers were already writing towards the end of the series as a whole? Was there a conscious effort to minimize excessive plot complications to get the crew home? It's anyone's guess at this point, I suppose. But it's still worth watching, to be sure.

Star Trek: Voyager is a science fiction drama series created by Rick Berman, Michael Piller and Jeri Taylor. The show as a whole ran from 1995-2001 and it aired on UPN at the time of its initial release.

We last left Voyager crippled at the hands of Captain Ransom (John Savage) and the USS Equinox. Nucleogenic lifeforms were mistakenly attacking Voyager out of anger for what had been done to them by the Equinox crew. Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) had unwittingly become a hostage aboard the Equinox while the Doctor (Robert Picardo) had been turned into a twisted torturer after his ethical subroutines had been disabled.

The fact that there was a whole season to follow this one, we all knew they'd survive even this challenge. But still, it was nice to see how Captain Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) took Ransom's actions to heart and managed to execute her own counter strategy based on their understanding of Ransom himself.

The Voyager Conspiracy (Star Trek: Voyager)Image via WikipediaBeyond this, the season had a number of high points that I certainly enjoyed as both a Star Trek and a Voyager fan. The episode Tinker, Tennor, Doctor, Spy was a humorous yet entertaining look at the Doctor again trying to expand his hologram in rather creative ways. Seven of Nine nearly goes off the deep end as she attempts to unravel a conspiracy that she believes to have found at work among the crew in The Voyager Conspiracy. And of course there was the weird flight of fancy that was Muse, which had B'Elanna Torres (Roxann Dawson) inadvertently playing the role of a deity of inspiration on a less technologically developed planet.

In terms of the heavy hitters for the season, I suppose I'd have to select stories like that of Blink of an Eye, which had Voyager trapped in orbit around a planet that existed in a space-time differential. To have an entire civilization advance through the ages in just a matter of hours certainly made for a nicely complex piece of storytelling. I also liked what concept behind Dragon's Teeth, despite the somewhat hackneyed usage of an old myth of sorts. Still, it presented a very interesting challenge for the crew, that continued to play ethical games even on the other side of the galaxy.

This season's holographic escape was the creation of the town of Fair Haven. Now why they decided having an Irish town would help the show was a little beyond me. While I have enjoyed some of the past running holodeck adventure concepts in past seasons such as Captain Proton, this one was just too weird and unnecessary for me. Maybe this would explain why we didn't see too much of it by the end of the season - I doubted many others wants to see Janeway flirting with a hologram to keep herself busy.

I suppose one could argue that it was clear they wanted to lay the groundwork for getting voyager home. This season brought into consideration the Pathfinder project back in the Alpha Quadrant. While at times it may have just seemed to be a blatant excuse to bring another TNG cast member, in this case Dwight Shultz as Reginald Barclay, but the efforts of the team did help the crew really feel the prospects of getting home that much more real.

And the big season finale? Yeah, it still worked for me. Weird concept, but still a great story. And again, it proved essential to the future of the show in terms of its inevitable end.

This sixth season of Star Trek: Voyager was a great one storywise, but a little here and there in terms of focus. In hindsight, I suspect the writers felt this was one of their last chances to get some new story ideas out there before the show shuttered, hence the many creative approaches taken in terms of trying to tell more stories in the time left to them. I still gets a respectable 3.5 ways the Borg children became more interesting members of the cast out of a possible 5.

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  1. I am at-present netflixing the entire series. Oddly, in spite of watching it when it ran in the late nineties and early 2000s, I feel like I'm watching it all for the first time. Like a lot of Star Trek franchises, there's a strong relevance in spite of when this show was made, and a timelessness to it. It's an *excellent* series, and it makes me long for more Star Trek franchise shows (except no more in the style of 'Enterprise' because it really sucked). But halfway through the series, I am already depressed that it's going to end. There is a shocking lack of this kind of excellent writing and imagination on television these days. ST: Voyager is thoughtful, intelligent and a wonderful series. I want more!!!!

  2. I totally know the feeling! Of all the Treks, I feel this one had the most emotional impact of all of them. And getting to the end of the run had me feeling a little weepy as well.