Pick of the Week – March 16-22, 2015

After our Leonard Nimoy-themed detour last week, we are back to our run through the various Star Trek series.  This week’s pick comes from Star Trek: Voyager, which premiered as a part of the launch of the United Paramount Network (UPN) in January 1995. 

In Voyager, the title ship is thrown across the galaxy, 70,000 light years away from Earth, and the ship’s crew, made up of both Starfleet Officers and members of a group called the Maquis, must work together to make the long trip home.  In the interest of full disclosure, settling on a pick for this week was difficult for me and not because there are so many fantastic episodes to choose from, as was the case for the previous Star Trek series I’ve discussed.  Voyager, while not terrible, never really grabbed me the way prior series had. 

I felt that Kate Mulgrew, who played the ship’s commanding officer, Captain Kathryn Janeway, was a good actress saddled with an inconsistently-written character.  I’m not certain if the writers were concerned about making the franchise’s first female series lead (Not the first female captain.  We see a female captain in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, which was released in 1986.) come across as too feminine.  The bun hairstyle Janeway had in the early part of the series’ run screams “I am tough and no nonsense!”

That said, Voyager did have several enjoyable episodes, most of which centered around the ship’s holographic doctor played by Robert Picardo.  Unfortunately, most of these (and especially my favorite, “Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy”) are not the best introduction to the series and its characters.

Many “Best of…” lists for Voyager include Season 2’s “Deadlock,” in which the ship is duplicated by a freak anomaly and the resulting two crews must work together to prevent the destruction of both ships.  Okay, fine.  Sure.  You could watch that one, but I don’t remember it fondly.

Instead, my Pick of the Week for Star Trek: Voyager is “Blink of an Eye” from Season 6.  Yes, that’s fairly late in the show’s run, but this episode, in which the USS Voyager becomes trapped above a planet on which time moves much faster than for the Voyager crew, has an interesting science fiction concept and gives a good sense of the characters.  Granted, the episode doesn’t really involve the series’ overall storyline of the ship trying to get home, but it’s an entertaining hour that costars Daniel Dae Kim, who is well known to fans of the television series Angel and LOST. 

-     Alan Decker

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