Star Trek Voyager: The Complete First Season DVD cover art

Film:
DVD:

Written by: Rick Berman, Michael Piller, and Jeri Taylor, based on Gene Roddenberry’s universe
Starring: Kate Mulgrew, Robert Beltran, Roxann Biggs-Dawson, Jennifer Lien, Robert Duncam McNeill, Ethan Phillips, Robert Picardo, Garrett Wang, and Tim Russ.

Features:

  • All fifteen original first season episodes
  • Eight behind the scenes featurettes: “Braving the Unknown: Season One,” “Voyager Time Capsule: Kathryn Janeway,” “The First Captain: Bujold,” “Cast Reflections: Season One,” “Red Alert: Visual Effects – Season One,” “Real Science with Andre Bormanis,” “Launching Voyager on the Web,” and “On Location with the Kazons”
  • Photo Gallery

Released by: Paramount
Region: 1
Rating: NR, suitable for audiences 12+
Anamorphic: N/A; appears in original 1.33:1 TV aspect

My Advice: Not worth the hefty price tag for what is, essentially, half a season of material.


The year 1995 was a banner year for the Star Trek franchise. Generations was a box office hit, riding a crest of popular demand following the close of the Next Generation show. Deep Space Nine was improving steadily and into its third season. And UPN was preparing to launch as a new network, with the shiny new Star Trek Voyager as its flagship. By all accounts, everything Star Trek was golden, and things were only getting better. Alas, to see such promise so ineptly handled. What started as a neat concept soon collapsed under poor writing, lack of direction, and an ensemble cast that wasn’t fit to carry Picard’s jockstrap, much less sit in the big chair.

The premise of the series is dirt-simple: dying superpowerful space being hurls Federation ship into the depths of space along with a quasi-hostile alien group. Two sides must work together to return to familiar space, despite the fact that they are 70,000 light years from the Alpha Quadrant. Hilarity ensues, right? Wrong. Despite a few bright spots, this Trek franchise took all that was irritating about the previous shows, added a dash of what made Lost In Space irritating, and ended up with one of the worst Trek offerings to date.

I applaud the decision to try a female captain for this series. It was an excellent idea. Unfortunately, the writers created in Janeway a character so fundamentally unlikeable, I kept waiting to see when her underlings got sick of her whip-cracking and tossed her out the nearest airlock. Vacillating between “shrill harpy” and “overprotective mother,” the character of Janeway is the sort of woman that gave Roger Waters stuff to write songs about.

Had the surrounding characters been able to fill the gap, then there might have been an interesting possibility of a Federation crew that unites and comes together largely due to their shared irritation/disrespect for their commanding officer. Unfortunately, this was not what the creators envisioned. Not that it would have mattered much, as the remainder of the cast don’t really ever seem comfortable in their roles. Of all the shows, the acting on Voyager is weakest, but the scripts are so uneven it’s hard to know whether to fault casting or writing for the lackluster performances.

The DVD set is what we’ve come to expect from Paramount’s Trek offerings. There are more than half a dozen features, totaling nearly an hour and a half of bonus material. Not quite so heavily loaded as some of the Next Generation sets were, but still significantly better than most sci-fi material released to DVD. The packaging, while pretty enough, is a departure from the lovely and functional DS9 design back into the realms of the unwieldy. On the plus side, the shows are also remastered in Dolby 5.1, which is a nice touch for those with the equipment to appreciate it properly.

The biggest issue with the set, however, is the price tag. The first season contains a mere fifteen episodes, compared to the twenty-six of a standard full-season show. Despite this, the set costs every penny as much as any of the full seasons so far offered for any Trek show. I must confess amazement that Paramount had the cajones to offer half as much content for the same price, and even more amazement that people out there will actually pay it.

If you’re a huge fan of the show, a) you’ll want to pick this up, and 2) seek professional help. Otherwise, I can’t see much to recommend this set, particularly given the content vs. price point gap.

Click here to buy it from Amazon.