Why Star Trek: Voyager's fourth season is the best

Feature Juliette Harrisson 10 May 2013 - 07:00

In the second of a series, Juliette argues why Star Trek: Voyager's fourth season is the best of the lot...

This feature contains spoilers.

Poor Star Trek: Voyager spent many years as the under-appreciated black sheep of the Star Trek family (until Enterprise came along, at least). This was at least partly because, following its excellent pilot, it got off to a rather slow start. Season one has its high points (Eye of the Needle, Faces) but also some memorably bad lows (Learning Curve’s "Get the cheese to sickbay!" for one) while season two is, to put it bluntly, bad. Although it contains the occasional impressively thought-provoking hour (Meld, Death Wish, Tuvix, The Thaw) the season was far too concerned with its interminable Seska/Kazon plot, and it also has the honour of having produced Threshold, the only episode to give Spock’s Brain a run for its money in the competition for Worst Episode of Star Trek Ever Made, so bad it was later ret-conned out of Voyager’s canon. 

But this is not the whole story. In season three, Voyager found its feet and seasons three, four and five are all excellent examples of classic Star Trek. Yes, story arcs tend to take a backseat to more stand-alone storytelling for the most part, and the show tends to press the re-set button at the end of every episode, but as season two had proven, complex, plot-driven story arcs were not really Voyager’s forte (though it was a bit better at long-term character development through smaller arcs). The rest of the show focuses mainly on the crew jumping around from one Planet of Hats to another, because that is what Star Trek is at its heart, and seasons three-seven of Voyager do their job with enthusiasm and a sense of fun sometimes missing from more po-faced iterations of the franchise. 

Season three was the season that found the right tone and finally dropped sub-standard Klingon substitutes the Kazon for more stand-alone stories and, eventually, a much better recurring bad guy, the Borg. Following their introduction toward the end of season three, the show became somewhat obsessed with the Borg; season five is the last season in which these formerly terrifying bad guys really make an impact. Season six floundered a little and included two episodes which, as far as we’re concerned, are actually much worse than Threshold (which has a certain cheesy, so-bad-it’s-funny awfulness to it); Fair Haven and Spirit Folk are painful to watch. Season seven became a tad self-congratulatory and introduced some controversial developments in the personal relationships amongst the crew, but brought the ship home with its dignity mostly intact.

Seasons three to five, however, are solid seasons of television. Season three has some fairly low points (The Swarm, Coda, Favourite Son) but two-parter Future’s End showed that Voyager could deliver entertaining fluff when the occasion called for it, while Unity introduced the threat of the Borg, which came to fruition in the brilliant season finale, Scorpion Part 1. Season five included the magnificent one hundredth episode Timeless (easily Harry Kim’s finest hour) and made a conscious effort to delve deeper into the psyches of the crew and how damaged they are in episodes like Night, Extreme Risk and Latent Image, but it also took the time to let it all go and just have fun in classic comedy hour Bride of Chaotica! 

Voyager’s best season by far, however, was season four. This was the season that wrote out Kes (a perfectly nice character, but one for whom the showrunners had run out of ideas) and replaced her with provocatively-dressed ex-Borg Seven of Nine. If Seven of Nine were just Jeri Ryan in a catsuit and no substance, the character would not have worked. But Seven was so much more than that – she had a genuinely compelling character arc, slowly re-discovering her humanity, and her combination of the best aspects of Vulcans and Data made her a great source of humour (as well as a useful plot device at times). Ryan’s performance is note-perfect and manages to make the character likeable even at her frostiest. Just don’t ask yourself why she has apparently no desire to wear clothes. 

Seven of Nine is not the only jewel in season four’s crown though. Tom Paris and B’Elanna Torres’ romance finally got going and softened both characters, while Tuvok, Star Trek’s best full-blooded Vulcan but eternally under-used, bounced off Seven of Nine surprisingly well. The crew’s Favourite Holodeck Programme Of The Season became Leonardo da Vinci’s workshop – not as much fun as season five’s Chaotica programme, but far more sophisticated than season three’s eternal luau or the first two seasons’ unremarkable French bar. And, having been shunted ten years closer to home by Kes in the season’s second episode, halfway through season four the crew are finally able to make contact with Earth for the first time in four years, offering an emotional and touching set of episodes, as well as high comedy when the Doctor is faced with his own replacement. 

Some of season four’s highlights include: 

The Gift


Scorpion Part 2 introduces Seven of Nine; The Gift balances her gradual acceptance of her new life with Kes’ bittersweet departure. 

Scientific Method

Janeway’s occasional utter recklessness actually becomes part of the plot. 

Year of Hell Parts 1&2

This two-parter represents two of finest hours Voyager produced. Yes, it ends with the reset button, but that’s because this is a story about wiping things from existence and that’s the natural ending to these stories (see also Red Dwarf’s The Inquisitor). But picking up from the set up in season three’s Before and After, Year of Hell gives us the entire crew being put under as much pressure as they can take, the ship falling apart, Chakotay insisting that a single life is significant, Janeway hugging Tuvok (and Tuvok hugging her back) and Janeway’s glorious suicide-run to put everything back to normal. ‘Time’s up!’ 

Waking Moments


That rare thing, a Good Chakotay Episode, in which the crew are attacked in their dreams, allowing the story to open with a naked Vulcan gag. Daft, perhaps, but so much fun. 

Message in a Bottle

This might be a perfect Voyager episode – rooted deeply in the series’ unique basis, utterly hilarious (there are countless classic one-liners here) but ultimately genuinely touching, as the Doctor succeeds in making contact with Starfleet and ‘sixty thousand light years… seems a little closer today.’ 

The Killing Game Parts 1&2 

Does this two-parter, in which Voyager is taken over by enemy forces for the second or third time, entirely make sense? Not really. Does it matter? Not at all, not when we have Janeway being even more Katherine Hepburn-like than usual, Chakotay and Paris in World War Two fatigues and the Doctor heading off to fight Klingons with a wry, ‘Tally-ho!’ Loads of fun. 

Living Witness


Although Year of Hell has the bombast and the drama, for those of us of a history-geek persuasion, Living Witness might just be the best of all Voyager’s 172 episodes. Offering a fresh take on the ‘evil version of the crew’ cliché (beautifully directed by Tim Russ, with subtle touches in the way the crew move around the set adding to the black shirts and exaggerated features of the ‘evil’ crew), this episode is a meditation on the nature and meaning of history. We can never know for sure how accurately we have understood the past, but this episode explores how we might try to understand it and how that understanding relates to the problems and concerns of the present without offering easy answers. It’s also very funny, and features a bittersweet emotional ending that easily competes with The Gift or Message in a Bottle, as the back-up Doctor sets off for an Earth his crew reached centuries earlier because he has ‘a longing for home.’

Season four of Voyager had its weak points, like any other season – Mortal Coil and Retrospect spring to mind. It also favoured Seven of Nine and her relationship with the captain to the detriment of just about everyone else, leaving the viewer desperate never again to see another scene of Janeway telling Seven what it is to be human. But overall, this season combined the strongest background story arcs (Seven of Nine rediscovering her humanity alongside Voyager making much bigger steps towards getting home than they’d ever made before) with the strongest set of individual episodes in Voyager’s run, culminating in a finale so sure of the story it needed to tell, it isn’t even a cliffhanger. Marvellous stuff.

Juliette is a part-time lecturer and full-time Trekkie. Her thoughts on what the Greeks and Romans have done for us can be found here.

Read Why Buffy's second season is the best, here.

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It's a very strong season indeed! I would say that I could make an equally strong argument for series 5 however - but series 4 was the one that took me from being mildly diverted by the show to being a fan (much as with DS9).

Wasn't Season 4 also when they picked up Babylon 5s effects crew due to Bab 5 going inhouse with fx ?

You could argue that all three "next generation" of Trek took off after season 3. It was "Best of Both Worlds" that book-ended seasons 3-4 of Next Gen that really showed us what the new Trek could be.

My favorite episode of "Voyager" was "Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy", in which the Doctor programs himself to enjoy daydreams. Unfortunately, a group of space pirates tap into doctor to use him as an unwitting spy, and plan a military operation based on his daydreams. Brilliant.

I never got as far as season 4. I hated season 1 and gave up early in season 2. I realise that I should know better, given that both TNG and Deep Space Nine, which I like, were also pretty bad for their first couple of seasons, but unlike those other two spin-offs, there was nothing about Voyager that hooked me in the slightest.

The cast were, almost without exception, wooden, irritating and smug, the stories got more ridiculous each week and, when I have dipped into later seasons briefly, I've been dismayed by the continual willingness to disregard lore or even common sense, doing whatever it takes to crow-bar in a character from previous Star Trek incarnations to lend some credence to this lacklustre debacle.

I believe that the ship gets home at the end. The fact that I couldn't care less says it all.

Never had a problem with Voyager. It just got better as it went along. And the show actually had a really good finale. That's quite rare for any show.

This was just an awful, awful show. They would have one or two good episodes in a season, followed by recycled ideas from other shows (including earlier Trek). Total waste of time. I hated the "baby talk" jokes from Neelix and the Doctor that were just patronizing. It also never consistantly embraced its premise of having to make tough decisions while separated from supply chain and command structure. Somehow every week the ship was status quo -- squeaky clean, morale was fine, and they could take time to investigate whatever they wanted. If memory serves, Ron Moore checked out early because of creative conflicts over this. Feel how you want about his turn on BSG, it was a better execution of these ideas.

Best and Voyager. Two words that should not go together.

the only character that had any growth on that show was the Doctor. Everyone else and every plot (other than the onces revolving around that AI) were crap.

If you read the article carefully it explains that both seasons 1 & 2 are not good and in fact a tough watch. They are useful however in the development of characters. Starting in season 3 you see a huge change and the series reaches the potential it never came close to in seasons 1 & 2. Like the writer stated Seasons 4 and 5 are amazing and it should be also stated that season 6 and 7 are a great watch as well. Overall the series is very undervalued as if you are able to get through the first 2 seasons and move through the final 5 seasons to it's fantastic ending you will appreciate Voyager as one of the best series in the Star Trek franchise.

I suggest you start at season 3 on netflix and go through it when you have time. You might be surprised at how much the show changes starting at season 3.

Um, no. It had the ship encased in batmobile armor. That is a horror that is just inexcusable.

LOL!, I was thinking much the same, which dog turd is best to step in? :-)

TNG had good episodes even in the first couple of seasons and crucially the characters were interesting and well acted unlike Voyager, the idea that any crew member could last 7 months let alone 7 years without throttling the captain who was just the most condescending annoying a**hole is ludicrous

Voyager is terrible, one of the most pathetic telly shows ever!!!

All of the trek series have a turning point at which they get good - TNG's was when GR died. DS9 was when Sisko shaved his head.Voyager's was when Kes turned into a moonbeam, or summit. Not sure if I can pinpoint Enterprise's, but it was around S2ish

Man, sorry, I disagree. I love Voyager so much. Love TNG as well, but Voyager is still my favorite :)

DS9? DS9? You're telling me you think DS9 is a better show? yikes. Voyager is a million times better.

It was when T'Pol quit the Vulcan High Command and became more of a Starfleet officer than Vulcan advisor. Although I do wish she had gone all the way and joined Starfleet, if only because she looked better in the uniform in the "what if" episodes later on when she did (the one where Archer goes all Memento and the Dark Mirror episodes - but then she looked way hot in DM with the long hair... but I digress)

Yeah, well, so's your face!

A good drinking game for Voyager (once she arrives on the show) is to take a drink every time Seven refers to herself and the current situation in terms of the Borg, as in "As a Borg I assimilated innocent people, how is what you are doing any better?". Caution, acohol poisoning may result.

You said it, and if you use the word "telly" you automatically suck and have no room to judge.

Voyager's problem is that it was a great premise completely wasted. We would have a maquis starfleet crew in conflict. Forgotten by episode two. The whole reset button thing was ridiculous, rendering the whole stranded thousands of light years from home premise pointless. We have only 30 photon torpedoes, and have fired them all. Its OK, Janeway had another 100 stashed behind her sofa. How many bloody shuttle craft did Chakotay crash?

For a crew desperate to get home they went absolutely nowhere for the first couple of seasons. How big is Kazon space exactly? Sub-par klingon ripoffs, how very inspired. In desperation they brought in seven of nine, to show her humanity developing. The skin tight suit and high heels were just neccessary for the character. It became the seven of nine show.

The doctor was a brilliant character, the others had no character development what so ever. DS9 is infinitely superior, though still flawed. Battlestar Galactica showed what Voyager should have been like.

While DS:9 is my favorite, Voyager is a very close second. It floundered in the early years because it didnt follow the Star Trek format, ( not that it didnt try ) but I loved watching it try to find its own place.

With the introduction of Seven of Nine however, it fell right into the same format as every other Star Trek, the preachy "this is what it means to be human to the outsider" format. ( Spock, Data, Odo, Seven of Nine, T'Pol ) It became familiar to the audience and thus more accepted but it also lacked the originality it tried to attain, but never quite reached, early on. Had it given us more episodes dealing with the issues brought up in "Learning Curve", it might have actually been able to avoid following the old format

Yes, DS9 was better.

It developed its over arcing story line far more deeply and gave us actual Star trek "war". We got glimpses into other Alpha and Delta quadrant civilizations and even a large dose of religious fervor.

Voyager was good, but because of the underlying premise ( they were headed in a single direction towards home ), any foe they met was never going to be a long term and classic foe.

I disagree. Seven of nine, Tom Paris, Nelix, Kes, Belana...all had character growth throughout the shows run.

I concede. You could be right. I admit I couldn't get past season 2 of DS9 (so bad and boring) so I have no idea wtf you're talking about :)

Voyager is my favorite. There was steady character development until season six or seven when certain characters the writers clearly did not favor suddenly lost all of it. Still over all I quite enjoyed the show. The one character that I found the most annoying and unnecessary was Nelix. They should have rid of him instead of Kes.

Maybe you ought to go back and watch the whole show then, I did last year without having ever properly seen it and I have to say it truly is the best Trek show.

Yeah, the first two seasons are a bit iffy, but that's really because the 'monster-of-the-week' format just doesn't suit the show. So it does get a bit tedious, but once it gets into it's third season it becomes far more interesting, relying more on a serial format with multiple story and character arcs going on at once. But Seasons 4-7 are where the show really shines, so I would certainly advise you watch it.

Don't skip Seasons 1 and 2 though just to get to the good stuff, because those seasons help set up what comes later on and if you rewatch them then you'll notice there are some truly great episodes there, such as Duet.

Although I'm no Voyager hater, in comparison to DS9 it is a very flawed and wasted show. The concept of being trapped light-years away from home is a great one, but IMO it ends up being a show almost entirely of fillers, whereas DS9 fulfills its concept beautifully, and that's why it's now my favourite Trek show.

Voyager was the worst trek by a country mile. Ds9 is the best. You don't know what you're talking about. One Garak is more interesting than the whole cast of voyager and that's before we get to other great characters like Quark, Dukat, and my all time biggest trek crush Jadzia Dax.

Describing season four as Voyager's best season is faint praise considering how atrocious the majority of episodes of this show were. This show was as fundamentally flawed as JW's Dollhouse. Yes, Voyager had some excellent episodes, but not enough. The hit-rate was approximately 1 in 10 and some of those misses were so bad that they make the theme music from Enterprise sound like less of a travesty. I could write a thesis on why Voyager failed (with a whole chapter dedicated to Neelix - ST's Jar Jar Binks) but the ultimate blame must land on the shoulders of it's producers, in particular Michael Piller.
Piller was directly responsible for the character of Kes. An individual from an alien species with a very short lifespan that could only reproduce once and would only ever produce a single offspring. The species was 50:50 male:female. That means that every generation the species would half in population size. That is unforgivable for a sci-fi show. Cheap FX and cheesy plots are tolerable but crass stupidity? Never. It taints everything.
And as for the debate of which was better; Voyager or DS:9? In the 30th anniversary episodes the crew of DS:9 got their Back to the Future II geek on and fought tribbles with Kirk and Spock. The crew of Voyager flashed back in time to be on Captain Sulu's ship. Yeah, Rand&Sulu vs. Kirk&Spock - that's where this argument is at.

Because it was so based in truth up until that point!

I don't agree, necessarily, but I gave you a vote up because there aren't many that have this opinion.

Now I'm giving you a vote down. Go back and watch DS9. All the way through. I thought it sucked the big one until I started putting the effort in. By season four I was hooked. It's a great show.

Some of that stuff was too much and too heavy, when really Star Trek at it's heart was about exploring and finding new worlds (hell it's in the bloody intro to the original series), and Voyager really stuck to that all the way through. It's a great show. I think both shows are as good as each other in entirely different ways.

I think I stopped watching after season 1 and occasionally watched an episode of season 4. I always preferred Deep Space Nine to Voyager, because DSN story arcs felt more compelling.

If you think Voyager was a better show than Deep Space Nine, you simply haven't watched the full run of both shows. Yes its possible to find individual shows of Voyager that are better than individual shows of DS9, but the series as a whole? Its like comparing Dan Brown to Shakespeare. Seriously, watch the whole run of both shows. Voyager is mostly terrible.

I liked Voyager for the first couple seasons, but right about the time Kes left, I really started to lose interest in the show and instead of watching them when they aired, I DVR'd them and watched them when I had time(alot of time I would have marathon viewings of 3-4 eps at a time on a Saturday/Sunday).

To me the show started going downhill when they quit dealing with the "main issues" that would come up with being stranded, things like energy reserves(remember there were several eps in the first season when they talked about how they would have to change course which would further deplete energy reserves to find more reserves), or how after every episode which they took a beating, the next episode the ship was in perfect condition again and nothing was destroyed.

I do agree, season 4 is probably the best season of the entire series run, but from that point on, the show was all downhill and the way they absolutely destroyed the Borg towards the end of the series(and including the idiotic series finale) ruined the show to me. They could have done so much with that show, but instead, they never even attempted to live up to the potential the show had, its almost like Berman and Braga simply gave up after hitting back to back homeruns with TNG and DS9.

Love it or hate it, Voyager and all of star trek is a old friend in a world that is lacking in space exploration sci-fi at the moment (It's getting better though). Season four is defiantly packed with some of my favourite episodes "year of hell, message in a bottle". I enjoyed this article thank you, think I'm gonna have to whip out my season four box set ;)

@DVM When DS9 came out I was young and it was a hard watch, but now I'm grown up I find it very enjoyable, and it defo has the best long running plot "The Sisko" If you go back to any of star trek, DS9 wouldn't be a bad place to start :)

Voyager is my favourite of all Star Trek for the reason of having the strongest and best female characters, ones you can actually identify with. most of the main charachers actually: Ct Janeway, B'Elanna, Seven of Nine. it showed role models for us, that women can be more than empaths, doctors or communication officers. we can be captains, chief engineers, we can do science, we can be socially dysfunctional superbeings just as much as men.

I slogged through Voyager as a Star Trek completist. Just went back to look at a few eps in the run-up to the movie. Some are dreadful, others are pretty good. Looks like a few more here to check out.

The post-Original Treks were all fairly lame their first two seasons. Though none more so than TNG.

DS9 is better in its first two seasons, but actually gets quite good in Season 3.

Hear, hear!

>One Garak is more interesting than the whole cast of voyager and

Steady character development on Voyager? It was the most inconsistent Trek by far and one of the most inconsistent series I've ever watched. I like Voyager, don't get me wrong, but characters act differently from episode to episode. The only consistent character on the show was The Doctor because the writers had no idea how to service character arcs or continuity.

If I could offer anyone advice about DS9, it would be to watch from the season two finale onwards. Most of the episodes before that are dull with a couple of exceptions.

I wish all the borg episodes from Voyager were released - some goodies, like the season 5 finale that had an enemy try to trick Janeway...

But even Voyager's 7th season, the Borg were watered down so badly...

But, yeah, 7-o-9 did improve the show and because the "rediscovering humanity" character arc fits very much into what TREK is about - the human condition.

Seasons 1-3 did nothing for me, even if they finally had something approaching a decent Engineering room set again...

DS9 is vastly superior to Voyager. Voyager basically had one good character in the doctor. DS9 had loads and DS9's characters actually developed and changed. Bashir went from a very naive annoying character in the first seasons, to a much more developed and mature character later. Dukat wasn't your typical villian, sometimes an ally, sometimes a foe. Quark was the only ferengi in the history of trek that you didn't want to stuff into the nearest airlock.

It was still flawed, it could never go as dark as BSG, and it had too many filler episodes where the main plot was forgotten, but it was doing story and character arcs long before the they became the in thing with tv shows.

The Original's turning point came when NBC shot down Roddenberry's pilot, forcing the recast of the captain and the commissioning of the new pilot, Sam Peeples's Where No Man Has Gone Before.

The new pilot rocked, and they were off and running.

Voyager, Season 4: now with fewer giant salamanders.

Scientific method was amazing possibly one of my favorite trek episodes out of any of the series. It had almost an eerie twilight zone like feel to.

DS9 and ST Voyager had similar syndromes in that the first 1-3 seasons were tough to sit through. I believe DS9 was almost cancelled before season 4? But seriously give Voyager season 4 a shot. I found the episodes almost more addictive than the best that Next Generation and DS9 had to offer.

If I had to pick between DS9 and Voyager, damn touch choice
I would pick The next generation

Though TOS and TNG were hardly to be commended in their depiction of women, Kira from DS9 was a better written, and stronger female character than anyone on Voyager. Torres, Janeway, and Seven were ostensibly 'stronger' women than, say Troi, but they weren't ESPECIALLY well-written, or compelling. Except Seven occasionally.

After 3 series of TOS, 7 movies, and 178 episodes of TNG, don't you think it's a good thing to shake the formula up a bit? Voyager had the chance to offer something new to the table in its premise, but never really lived up to it. DS9 however, more than surpassed expectations. It is the peak of all Trek as far as I'm concerned.

Absolutely agree. The show got pretty good around season 3 and season 4-6 really knocked it out of the park. Seven of Nine became the most interesting character (next to The Doctor) for a while. It's just highly unfortunate that she's only remembered by some for her skin-tight body suits because she really was a great character.

No, Voyager was plagued by "Particle of the Week" and later on "Seven, save us with your miracle Borg powers!" plots that could get quite bizarre and absurd. But the batmobile armor was just the last (and worst) straw, especially seeing how it completed the pussification of the Borg that Voyager had been doing it's entire run.

Now now, Voyager wasn't THAT bad. Thats what Enterprise is for. It sucked, it sucked some more, it really sucked, then when they finally decided to make it interesting it was too late and it was cancelled.

Except that they didn't know how to actually write for many of them. Janeway was especially bad, her entire personality flipped back and forth depending on the writer so much you practically got whiplash. Some of her coffee fiend moments would have been enough to get her courtmarshaled anywhere else (like dragging one of her crewmembers to their death kicking and screaming for their lives the entire way, aka Tuvix).

Can't it just be a matter of taste, each Star Trek series is different enough to attract different sections of viewers. Voyager is what got me into Star Trek and is by far my favourite. I find DS9 incredibly boring and have never been able to get through an episode but I know a lot of people love it so it's just different strokes.

I love Voyager because we are given some really strong female characters. In regards to the Maquis and why they intergrated so quickly, I always just thought that the senior Maquis officers- Chakotay and Belanna would have set an example to the rest. The reasons for people joining the Maquis wouldn't exist in the Delta quadrant so the divisions would melt away to be replaced by the urge to get home.

I also think that Voyager was the most accessible and commercial series of Star Trek and this is another reason why some fans didn't take to it.

I'll agree.

"Hope and Fear" is a great season ender to a great season.

I still think "Timeless" is one of the best-ever entries into the TREK canon, but as a whole, season four is very formidable.

I love how people bash Voyager saying how it redid plots (I'm guilty of that too.) TOS redid plots. So did TNG (three or four occasions regurgitated "The Measure of a Man" and by the time "The Offspring" was made it was already a worn out trope... yes, I know "The Offspring" was the first repetition of the "Measure" meme...)

DS9 blatantly reused plots (I'd rather rewatch "Threshold" than DS9's horrid remake of TNG's "Disaster" called "Starship Down"...)

TOS did the evil computer gig almost every episode. Controlled people in every episode. A superior, incorporeal being that took human form was another overused
trope... Kirk frenched in every episode, often to show what love or freedom was all about (so why isn't he gay, then?).

So how I can blame VOY for re-use when it's not the only one is unfair.

VOY's finale works more on a character level - but as a plot it's trying to outdo TNG's finale and is only half-successful.

And, yes, the Maquis were too easily assimilated into Federation rules and regulations. :(

Chakotay, Paris, and Torres did deserve better and more often. Great group of actors...

Actually, all of them are solid as actors. The characters, being in a 24th century sci-fi show that stipulates humans are evolved, are stuck. Only in gems like "Timeless", "Living Witness", et al, do we see how these actors are exceptional at what they do. VOY needed more of that.

Garrett Wang should have won an award for "Timeless" - especially as the writers dared to make good guys into imperfect, tragic figures that become traitors! He makes Harry Kim into a more rounded character, with his passions, his angst, self-pity, and when he emotes "YES!!!" at the end - who could NOT weep??

Seven of Nine was the perfect addition to the show and Jeri Ryan's acting ability is what ensures the character is not an empty T/A attempt. Her chats with Janeway about the human condition are first rate.

And VOY feels closest to TOS in spirit, while bringing something new to the table. Real innovation.

By the mid-1990s, Berman and Co were stretched with DS9 and the (dismal) TNG flicks. It's easy to see why DS9 and VOY flopped at times. The creators were spread too thin.

"Pathfinder" may have been a ratings ploy that devolves Barclay, but it didn't stop me from liking it - and what's to say he couldn't regress or relapse? What irked me was that shlock of a superior officer that wouldn't be bothered to look at some facts. That's not the sign of a good leader, so who can blame Barclay for carrying his heartfelt passion through? TNG created him, but VOY gives him depth that nobody thought possible, because Barclay had the most depth of any TNG character (save for Data or Worf)...

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