Star Trek: Voyager/At a Glance
Place in the Franchise
Voyager was the fourth live-action series in the Star Trek franchise; following, "Star Trek" (The Original Series), "Star Trek: The Next Generation", and "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine". It was followed by the prequel series titled simply "Enterprise" While Voyager was regarded as the fourth "live-action" show produced, it becomes the fifth when the animated series "Star Trek: The Animated Series" is taken into account. To this day, fans debate as to whether or not the animated series (TAS) should be considered cannon. Many of the actors from the original series did provide the voice work for the show, but it was far from being considered a top-notch production. In many respects Voyager returned to the original premise of a space ship exploring the stars. Its predecessor, "Deep Space Nine" (often noted as DS9 or DS-9) was primarily focused on a stationary space station which didn't "go anywhere". DS9 also started using long story arcs similar to soap operas. Voyager returned to single episode, self-contained stories, with only a few 2-part, or cliff-hanger shows between seasons.
Voyager was also the first Star Trek show of the franchise to feature a woman as the captain and lead character.
The stories revolved around the Voyager ship and its crew, which were a combination of both Voyager, and a renegade crew from a Marquis' ship that the Federation was perusing. The pilot episode showed the Marquis' ship, commanded by Chakotay, being persued by Voyager into a dangerous area of space. Within the first half hour of the premiere, both ships are hurled 75,000 light-years away from their homes, to an area in the Delta Quadrant. The cause of this was found to be an alien known as "The Caretaker", but as they arrive in the Delta Quadrant, the Caretaker is dying, the Marquis' ship is destroyed, and an aggressive species known as the Kazon are attempting to grab the advanced technology of the Caretaker for themselves. Voyager and the crew of the Marquis' ship are forced to work together to survive, and ultimately destroy the technology that could have sent them home. Rather than allow the "Caretaker's Array" to fall into the despotic hands of the Kazon, Janeway gives the order to destroy the array, and Voyager is now trapped 75,000 light years, and a life time of travel away from their homes and families.
Many of the early seasons shows revolved around the 2 crews learning to work together, and featured the feelings of distrust, dislike, and suspicion of individual crew members. As the seasons progressed, that story line became less and less relevant. The first 3 seasons included a few episodes which allowed the crew and ship to make 'jumps' that got them closer to home. At the end of season 3, they approached "Borg space", and the dreaded enemy previously seen in "The Next Generation" (often seen as ST:TNG, or simply TNG) became a reoccurring nemesis. Season 4 saw the departure of series regular Jennifer Lien, who played Kes, and the arrival of tall blond-haired, blue-eyed former beauty queen Jeri Ryan. Ryan would remain with the series for the remainder of its seven year run. Ryan played the role of a disconnected Borg drone, struggling to regain her humanity.
While some viewers have speculated that the departure of Lien after 3 seasons, and the addition of Ryan to the show, was due to a drop in the ratings it has also been stated that Lien had an allergic condition to the prosthetic makeup she was required to wear. Support for this also comes from the fact that by season three, she sported a longer hair style to cover the alien ears of the Ocompian character of Kes. Regardless of the reasons, Jeri Ryan was an instant hit with the young male demographic viewers. While Lien is a beautiful woman, and very competent actress, the role of Seven of Nine, was indeed a shot in the arm for the Voyager franchise. Dressed in skin-tight catsuits, high-heels, and sporting an ample bust line, Ryan became an overnight success. Several shows showcased Ryan; her singing ability in "Someone to Watch over Me", and the two-part show "The Killing Game" provided her quality screen time. Her ability to "act" was probably one of the most overlooked aspects however - in episodes like "Infinite Regress" and "?" she turned in outstanding performances as multiple characters such as, a Ferengie trader, a scared little girl, a voracious Klingon, and even an impersonation of the EMH Doctor.
Voyager was also the first of the franchises to go to a totally CGI venue. This happened during season 3.