Good Trekking with Star Trek Voyager
Star Trek Voyager is by far the superior series in the Star Trek franchise although it is rarely praised as such. The series is absolutely faithful to the premise of Star Trek, which is a trek through the stars. As the Voyager crew journeys home, it explores new worlds and encounters the races of the Delta Quadrant. Star Trek Deep Space Nine defied this important principle by being set on a space station. This setting created a static environment for stories instead of the necessary dynamic environment for stories present in all other Star Trek series.
Another important element of all Star Trek series is the characters, and here Voyager excelled as well. Starting with Captain Janeway, she is the best captain since Kirk. Yes, Jean Luc Picard is adeptly played by Patrick Stewart, but the character is somewhat stodgy and wrapped up in protocol. He is not a great risk taker like Janeway or Kirk. Picard has many qualities but he is not as exciting. Picard would have never taken the extreme gamble of forcing an alliance with the Borg to battle Species 8572 like Janeway did. You have to love her for that. Chakotay thought she was going to get them all assimilated, and he was right that the Borg would not honor their agreement, but Janeway was able to get her chips cashed in before the bullet left the chamber. Now that’s a captain.
Voyager is a perfect marriage of the Star Trekking and adventure done so wonderfully in The Original Series and the deeper development of characters and relationships among the crewmembers that started in The Next Generation.
Despite the stereotypical Trekkie being considered male, Voyager emphasized female characters in prominent roles more than the other series. Female Star Trek fans are in abundance as well, and Voyager was a wonderful treat for lady Trekkies. Star Trek Voyager is very much the women’s Star Trek, but it is an excellent series all around offering great male characters as well. Chakotay and Tom Paris are strong and enjoyable. Chakotay often keeps Captain Janeway in line and makes her analyze her strategic gambling. Or, he simply stops her from going too far as in the episodes when Voyager encounters another lost Federation vessel and Janeway is about to let a captive die during interrogation. Chakotay took charge on that one and shut Janeway down before her rage consumed her.
Tom Paris offers a character who is good in a fight but also creative and lots of fun. His old-timey switches and dials on the Delta Flyer are worth a grin every time he flips one. And I really like how he becomes a holo-novelist at the end. Overall his character development has great appeal as he transforms from a jaded criminal to a valuable crewmember without losing his rebelliousness.
Voyager was a wonderful series that improved on all the elements that have made Star Trek an enduring franchise. It is only a shame that the crew reached Earth at the end because having the Voyager series step up to making feature length films, as The Next Generation did, would have been awesome.