||STAR TREK: VOYAGER
"60,000 light years seems a little closer today..."
172 episodes of 60 minute duration. Paramount 1995 - 2001.
The Fourth television incarnation of the legendary Star Trek franchise, 'Star Trek: Voyager' more than ably took up Gene Roddenberry's original and uniquely successful vision of humanity's future into the dawning of the new millennium.
By opting to exile Voyager and her crew from the comfortingly familiar environs of the Alpha Quadrant and place the ship in the unknown and dangerous vastness of the unexplored Delta Quadrant some 70,000 light years from home, series creators Rick Berman, Michael Piller and Jeri Taylor successfully restored the original 'To Boldly Go' element to the expanded Trek universe in a way unseen since the original series itself. With it's mixture of Federation Personnel and Maquis freedom fighters the task of Voyager was to return home whilst truly boldly going where no man has gone before; in the process discovering new worlds and new civilisations, whilst remaining true to the Federations 'Prime Directive' in non-involvement in the evolution of the races it encountered.
In keeping with established Trek philosophy however, Voyager was as much an examination of the human condition and the emotional interaction of its cast of core characters, as it was a standard science-fiction action/adventure series. With the respected and accomplished Kate Mulgrew as the driven, caffeine-addicted Captain Kathryn Janeway, the series is given a strong central core which bears striking similarities to many of the qualities exhibited by that other, most legendary of past Starfleet captain's, James T. Kirk.
Original series memories are also deliberately called to mind by the close personal trust and bond of friendship between Janeway and her Vulcan security officer, Tuvok, while the most overt hark-back to bygone era's comes in the character of Robert Piccardo's wonderfully realised, drolly sarcastic, Emergency Medical Holographic Program known simply as 'The Doctor'. With the later addition of favourite Next Generation baddies The Borg, and gifted and strikingly wonderful Jeri Ryan's arrival as the former Borg drone (Seven of Nine) slowly rediscovering her humanity, the series continued to evolve and refine its trademark style of the examination of both the well drawn and fully rounded central characters and the ramifications of their continuing involuntary exile.
In keeping with the now established Star Trek production philosophy, Executive Producer Rick Berman and his team ensured a sense of genuine closure to Voyager's seven year quest for a return to the Alpha Quadrant, by having Janeway succeed in guiding her ship and crew back to Earth in the series' exciting and well written feature length final episode.
With it now confirmed that the newly promoted Admiral Janeway is to feature in what's believed to be the final motion picture appearance of the Next Generation cast, the possibility that the motion picture torch will be passed on to the Voyager crew to take the franchise's big screen legacy into the early decades of the new millennium -remains a tantalising prospect.
Although sharply dividing fans and critics during it's seven year run, 'Star Trek: Voyager' nevertheless proved itself to be an expertly produced U.S. televisual fantasy - and indeed, Star Trek itself - at its finest.
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