Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Inexplicable TV Review – Star Trek: Voyager S1

A+ 1990s hair for Janeway.
Warning: Spoilers follow for the first season of Star Trek: Voyager. Also, Steve is still making his way through the show, so he’d appreciate it if you kept spoilers to a minimum. He’s only through about half of season two!

Some random thoughts and musings as I make my way through Voyager…

- It has a really unique feel and concept as compared to the Star Trek shows I’m really familiar with, normally The Next Generation and The Original Series movies. Quick primer: The Voyager gets flung into the Delta Quadrant by an alien, and it’ll take about 80 years (at the onset) in order for them to get home. For the most part, this played straight, as they only make minor speed improvements in the first dozen episodes or so. (From poking around subjects on the awesome Star Trek Wiki Memory Alpha, I’ve learned they do make some bigger “jumps” here and there, and obviously the Borg show up at some point.)

- Because the ship and crew are in the middle of nowhere and stranded from Starfleet, this creates an interesting dynamic. They have to integrate a crew that was initially rebelling from Starfleet, and resource management is always improvement, as compared to the plush ship environment of TNG. The ship is seemingly in a constant state of disrepair, in a realistic way, as opposed to one that always functions as Plot Device.

- Kate Mulgrew is solid as Captain Kathryn Janeway, although she’s clearly channeling Patrick Stewart quite a bit. She is Capital-A ACTING in most episodes.

- Of the supporting cast, chief engineer B’Elanna Torres, the reformed helmsman Tom Paris and Vulcan second officer Tuvok are the most intriguing. Lt. Commander Chakotay, a.k.a. Mystic Shaman Man, is less compelling. (He almost literally has a spirit journey in one episode.) Kes, the nurse in training, is usually OK, but she has the annoying background of having made-up mental abilities and only being two years old. And, there are two standouts, for good and bad reasons:

- The holographic doctor, played by Robert Picardo, is awesome. He’s a spiritual successor to Data from TNG, and presents the same sort of ethical and intellectual issues. He comes with a bit more attitude and snark though.

- On the bad side of the ledge, Neelix serves as the show’s comic relief. He’s a Talaxian and mostly just serves as the Butt Monkey, and jealous boyfriend / husband / something weird of Kes.

At current pace, I’m finishing about a season every two to three weeks. I will keep everyone posted on my progress through this 21-year-old television show.

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