Sep 1, 2011

[TV] Star Trek Voyager: Season 7

Star Trek Voyager: Season 7Well, this review marks the last of my Voyager reviews. After seven full seasons with a total of 172 episodes, the show finally came to an end in 2001. It was a pretty good run by Star Trek standards and it's still better than what the succeeding series, this being Enterprise, managed to accomplish. Despite all the criticism, you have to admit that it takes a lot of effort to get to the end of seven years for a science fiction TV series on US network television.

Reviewing the final season for any show inevitably becomes a review of the entire series, thus it's not often I get to publish something like this. On the one hand I want to make sure that I fairly represent this individual season and what it accomplished. On the other hand, one can't deny the fact that the final season's functional purpose and sort of goal even is the effective end of the overall narrative that began with the show's pilot.

In the case of Voyager, it had always been pretty clear what the show's narrative goal was. They were stranded in the Delta Quadrant and they had to get back home. We all knew it was going to happen - ending the show with them still stranded just wouldn't have made for an effective ending. So it was really a question of how and when they'd finally get home. Would it take the full 70 years projected at the start of the show? Will only a skeleton crew make it back to Earth?

And for the most part, they did manage to answer those questions, at the very least.

For the formal recap, Star Trek: Voyager is a science fiction TV series created by Rick Berman, Michael Piller and Jeri Taylor. This is the fourth live-action incarnation of the Star Trek franchise (see what I did just there?) and at the time was UPN's second-longest running TV series.

The last season ended with the weird cliffhanger that was Unimatrix Zero, the story about this frequency that certain Borg could operate on as an alternate reality where they still have their individuality despite their Borg nature. Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) had previously been part of Unimatrix Zero before she had been freed from the Collective and thus she ended up trying to help save them from the Borg Queen's purge with the help of the Voyager crew.

I suppose having this storyline at the forefront of the whole Voyager series clean-up made sense. A lot of this season seemed to focus on her and a last-ditch attempt to flesh out her character. After nearly dying in the episode Imperfection, we have her trying to expand her social knowledge in Human Error in a manner that apparently was meant to foreshadow a plot point in the series finale. I don't know where to go with the odd merging of The Doctor (Robert Picardo) and Seven in Body and Soul, which felt a bit too much like Tuvix.

The Doctor also got a lot of screen time from his weird hospital drama that was Critical Care to the two-part Hologram drama that was Flesh and Blood. And don't get me started on that annoying little ditty that was Author, Author, although I did somewhat enjoy the alternative hairstyles for the crew.

If the season should have a special achievement, it should be for creating a Chakotay (Robert Beltran) episode that I actually liked. This of course was the rather complex and somewhat fan-service oriented episode Shattered. The premise of a time-fractured Voyager was interesting enough, but the fun of having them deal with different versions of the crew from the previous seasons was pretty fun.

But as for the series finale Endgame, what did I think? Well, it probably wasn't the absolutely best ending possible, but I'd like to think it was a good episode. It had touches of time travel, which had always been rather prevalent in this particular Trek series. It also had the Borg Queen (Alice Krige) and the Borg, which was probably one of the reasons the writers sent Voyager to the Delta Quadrant in the first place. And it ultimately brought the ship home, although how they managed this I'll leave it to you to find out when you watch the episodes.

The final conflict was fitting enough. It had to boil down to Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) and her reasoning out between moral dilemmas and that sort of thing. We had seen this over and over again throughout the show and it was nice to really drive this point home here. After all, she managed to keep her crew within the boundaries of Federation guidelines and principles despite being so far from home. And she did manage to bring them home generally in one piece to boot.

Star Trek: Voyager will always have a special place in my heart. It had a great set of characters played by some pretty skilled actors. It had some rather compelling stories and admittedly some really cheesy ones too. But then it wouldn't be a Star Trek series if we didn't have all of those diverse elements put together, right? In terms of its purpose of ending the series, I'd give this seventh season a respectable 4 revived character themes brought to the surface in this final season out of a possible 5.

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