We know you have your choice in Star Treks...
Star Trek: Voyager is a very easy show to overlook, sandwiched as it is between the moody and artsy misfit Deep Space Nine and the problem-child Enterprise. It seems like it doesn't get the attention of its siblings, and certainly not the near-mythic praise heaped upon TOS and The Next Generation.
There's fair criticism to be made of Voyager. It doesn't have all the memorable characters or the legendary episodes. In some ways, Voyager was a retreat from DS9's lengthy storytelling to something a bit simpler and episodic. It also retreated from the bigger fictional universe, isolating the ship and crew 75 years from the action in Alpha quadrant.
While all Star Trek series struggle to figure themselves out (the first seasons of TNG and DS9 are unwatchable), Voyager never settled into a groove. It was constantly reinventing itself. Key concepts from early on, like the tension between a Maquis and Starfleet crew are quickly abandoned. Some characters stagnate and never seem to grow, others flourish; some are sidelined and some don't appear until more than halfway through the show's run.
Voyager also doesn't have a “vibe,” like the other shows. TOS is an unpretentious swashbuckling adventure. TNG is full of noble pursuits, and has a real grandiosity to it. DS9 is darker, and more daring narratively. Even Enterprise (which we do not discuss in this house), simply by being such a blacksheep is easily described. Voyager is a bit more stayed and steady. It has lower highs and higher lows than the other shows, which is as much a success as it is a failing.
Stargazer and I didn't start out as Voyager evangelists. I watched the show during its original run, and in hindsight I probably enjoyed it more than I could admit at the time, but it left a bad taste in my mouth. I would never have sought it out if I hadn't come home to find her watching it one evening. She'd never seen it, or any Star Trek series, but within two years we'd worked our way through all the movies and nearly all of the TV shows. We loved it all, but Voyager remained very much remained our show.
2020 is the 25th anniversary of Star Trek: Voyager, although you wouldn't know it. The buzz right now is about the (excellent) Star Trek: Picard, and it's hard not to feel like Voyager is once again being ignored. And that's too bad. Especially since Jeri Ryan is set to reprise the role of Seven of Nine, a stand-out star of the series.
So, we propose a solution: writing a comprehensive guide to the entire series. We'll assemble a complete list of the episodes you can skip and which you must see. We'll help you through the best (and the worst) of Voyager, and go in-depth on the stuff that makes us really love this crew. Join us as we re-voyage Voyager and give this very worthy show its due.
“Set a course for home.”