Star Trek: Voyager is a science fiction television series set in the Star Trek universe. It was produced for seven seasons from 1995 to 2001, and is the only Star Trek series to have a female captain, Kathryn Janeway, as a lead character. more...
The show was a spinoff of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and was created by Rick Berman, Michael Piller, and Jeri Taylor. The show was based on Star Trek, created by Gene Roddenberry. It is sometimes shortened to ST:VOY or VOY.
The series follows the adventures of the USS Voyager and her crew who have become stranded in the Delta Quadrant, seventy thousand light-years from Earth. Unless they can find some kind of shortcut, it will take them seventy-five years to return to the space of the United Federation of Planets.
In the pilot episode, "Caretaker", Voyager is sent on a mission to locate a ship piloted by a cell of the Maquis, a terrorist organization created in protest of a treaty between the Federation and Cardassians. Tom Paris (a former member of the Maquis) is brought out of prison to help find the ship. During a chase through the dangerous Badlands, both ships are transported to the other side of the galaxy by an ancient alien known as the Caretaker. While being pulled across the galaxy, several members of Voyager's crew are killed, including the ship's first officer and doctor.
Both ships are attacked by Kazon raiders intent on capturing the Caretaker's Array. Rather than using the Caretaker's Array to return home, Captain Janeway decides to destroy it to prevent it from being misused.
The raiders destroy the Maquis ship, but not before its crew are able to safely transport to Voyager. The Starfleet and Maquis crews are forced to integrate and work together as they begin the long journey home. Chakotay, the leader of the Maquis group, becomes first officer. B'Elanna Torres, a half-human, half-Klingon female, becomes chief engineer, beating out Lieutenant Carey, a Starfleet crewman who would have been promoted to the position. And the Emergency Medical Hologram (EMH Mark I), designed for short term use only, becomes ship's doctor after the death of the entire medical staff. Along the way home, the crew must contend with organ-snatching Vidiians, the relentless Borg, and the extra-dimensional Species 8472.
The conflict between the fiercely independent Maquis revolutionaries and the by-the-book Starfleet crew is a central theme of the first season, but by the second season, it is largely forgotten and there is scarcely any conflict among the crew. Only Janeway remains anguished for the entire run of the series over the consequences of her decision to destroy their way home.
Voyager continues the themes presented in the original Star Trek series and Star Trek: The Next Generation, such as explorations of space and of the human condition. It also demonstrates democratic principles (peace, openness, freedom, cooperation, and sharing) and philosophical issues such as the sense of self and what it means to be human. In the Star Trek series, the examination of humanity is typically explored by contrasting non-human characters with human ones (for instance, the Earth-born Kirk and McCoy against the Vulcan Spock). On Voyager, these aliens include Emergency Medical Hologram (or simply The Doctor), Vulcan security officer Tuvok, Talaxian Neelix and the former Borg drone Seven of Nine. It should be noted that Seven is a bona-fide Homo sapiens; but having been a Borg drone for most of her life, she has not developed normal human behavior patterns when she first becomes part of Voyager's crew.
Another common plot theme is the implications of being stranded far from home. Voyager has only limited resources and no easy way to replenish them; its crew is cut off from the normal chain of command and institutions of its society. Janeway often expresses that though they are cut off from Starfleet, it is still their duty to live by Starfleet values and regulations. Their situation frequently faces them with difficult choices of necessity versus idealism. Unlike the other Star Trek series, the crew of the Voyager cannot just stop at a starbase to resupply themselves. They often have to make trades with alien cultures.
The reception from Star Trek fans has been mixed. Like Deep Space Nine before it, Voyager did not attract the same ratings as Star Trek: The Next Generation. There were concerns from the beginning that Voyager and Deep Space Nine would compete for ratings within the Trek fandom.
One obstacle that the show faced was that Voyager was the first Trek series to air on network television since the original series. This factor stripped Voyager's writers and producers of a certain amount of creative control. UPN wanted the show to move away from its more "sci-fi" background to more of an action show.
The central character of Captain Kathryn Janeway has brought praise and criticism. Having a female Captain was a first for Trek, and many women who watched the show claim Captain Janeway as a role model. While her acting on the show was often praised as being superb, some (including short term writer Ronald D. Moore) criticized the inconsistent command style of Captain Janeway.
Voyager is often praised for its humor, and for delivering it in higher quantity than any of its sibling series. The contrast between Neelix and Vulcan security officer Tuvok is often played to, as is the contrast between hot-headed Chief Engineer (B'Elanna Torres) and calm and cool assimilated Borg (Seven of Nine): "The Borg wouldn't know fun if they assimilated an amusement park."
General criticism of the show includes lack of character growth and repetitive storylines — especially past season four. There were complaints that the show was trying to mold itself too closely on Star Trek: The Next Generation instead of trying to find its own path. Many fans complained about the show's secondary characters not getting enough background information, or enough air time as the show progressed.
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