Since I don’t have cable, and our TV antenna doesn’t pick up but one TV channel, me and my hubby watch only what is available freely on Hulu or on our instant streaming subscription of Netflix. Lucky for us both keep up relatively entertained. However, we are always looking for a go to show, something quick and fun to watch for an hour or less. On Netflix, this means some old TV shows, one of which we recently completed, Star Trek: Voyager.
When the series was on the air, I had seen a few episodes and was familiar with some of the more popular characters such as the hologram Doctor and the once Borg, Seven of Nine. Though I never really seem to know when the show aired or what channel it was on, just would find it by happenstance. My husband tried to get into the series but was also busy with other things at the time and had lost interest. Since we really hadn’t seen much of the series we decided to watch it in its entirety.
The series debuted during the last leg of the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine series and was the first to feature a female captain, Katherine Janeway, played by Kate Mulgrew. The plot surrounded a battle between the Federation and the Maquis rebels who are defending their land, which now belongs to the Cardassians, thanks to a peace treaty with them and the Federation. During this so-called battle, a Maquis ship and the Federation ship Voyager is teleported to the delta quadrant, hundred of light years away from the Alpha Quadrant (where Earth resides), by a being known only as the “Caretaker”. Despite their differences, the two groups decided to work together to make the journey back to the Alpha quadrant.
Since many of the Maquis rebels were, in fact, previous Starfleet officers, Janeway gives them back their ranks as they work together on Voyager to get home in one piece. The series progresses with the crew meeting new species visiting new planets, and documenting new phenomenon as they journey back home which is estimated to take 75 years. Janeway vows however that her crew will make it back to Earth, and that’s where it all goes down hill.
Janeway has got to be my least favorite Star Trek captain. She is self-righteous, arrogant and kind of butch. She never seems to get off her high horse to become friends with the crew, although there are episodes where they claim their all friends, yet there is something cold about her. Also, most of her decisions tend to add more time to their journey home, than less. She often opts to go explore a new planet or phenomenon than taking a straight route home, arguing that the side track will improve the ships moral, of course, this is only a plot device for some conflict the crew must overcome.
There is one episode that really bothered me, which is where Voyager comes along another lost Federation ship in the Delta quadrant, who like themselves were transported there by the “Caretaker”. In order to get back to the alpha quadrant this smaller, and the less equipped ship has taken up some questionable tactics, which include eliminating a whole species to use as fuel for their ship. When Janeway learns of this she confronts their captain about how this course of action is against the Prime Directive, and how against all obstacles they have been faced with Voyager has never gone against the Prime Directive. Wait, what?
The entire series is just riddled with episodes where Janeway has made questionable decisions. Many of which go against the Prime Directive, like interfering with other species joining forces with the Borg, getting into certain situations where it is obvious that many of the crew will not survive. In fact Seven of Nine, played by Jeri Ryan, a human turned Borg, who the captain disconnected from the link, points out in one episode that although Janeway encourages her to practice her individuality it is only praised when she agrees with the captain’s decisions and frowned upon when she does not.
There are also other episodes where both her second officer, Commander Chakotay played by Robert Beltran and security officer Tuvok, played by Tim Russ disagree with the Captain and fear for the safety of the crew, they always follow orders like a good officer. The rest of the crew not so much, Lieutenant Tom Paris (Robert Duncan McNeill), Chief Engineer B’Elanna Torres (Roxann Dawson) and the doctor (Robert Picardo) have directly gone against the captain’s wishes, but usually only for self-serving purposes.
Although actress Kate Mulgrew can be a good actress, Janeway’s character is just annoying to me, while you wish that Commander Chakotay would start a mutiny and take over. His character is much more of a people person, and he seems to be more down to earth, of course, he was a Maquis rebel. The rest of the crew other than Tuvok, seem to be newbies to it all, or just not care or self-absorbed like Lieutenant Paris. One actor who does shine in this series is the holographic doctor played by Robert Picardo. Although the doctor lacks on bedside manner, his character is humorous and well portrayed. The only complaint I have about the Doctor is that though his personality was always vain, and I’m great then you attitude, he was there to serve the crew which made him a well-liked and humorous character, near the end of the series, he was all about hologram rights, and in some case put the entire crew at risk to prove a point.
I could go on, but I think I rest my case, that although revolutionary in being the first Star Trek to have a female captain, they made her very unlikeable. Despite all that it’s still not bad as far as Star Treks go, and still better that Star Trek Enterprise with Scott Bakula.