Top 10 Star Trek: Voyager episodes

Top 10 Juliette Harrisson 3 Oct 2012 - 08:16

Juliette whittles down Star Trek: Voyager's 172 episodes to the top 10. Find out if your favourites made the cut below...

This feature contains spoilers.

A lot of people had a lot of problems with Star Trek Voyager, and perhaps in some cases, they had a point. But Voyager could be great as well as terrible, engaging as well as frustrating, and it did everything with a sense of humour and a determination not to take itself too seriously. In Captain Janeway, for all her inability to make up her mind how she felt about the Prime Suggestion, we had the most adventurous captain since Kirk, a captain who goes on away missions and takes sometimes extraordinary risks to achieve her goals. She was surrounded by an interesting and highly likeable ensemble (Neelix notwithstanding) including Star Trek’s best full-blooded Vulcan and the second most popular Doctor-without-a-name in science fiction. Also, Jeri Ryan in a catsuit. And so we take a moment to set aside whatever niggles and frustrations viewers had with Voyager and celebrate some of the things it did really well. 

10. Lineage (Season Seven) 

B’Elanna Torres is pregnant, and the Doctor performs a minor procedure to genetically alter her unborn daughter to correct a spinal problem. But this gives Torres an idea, and she becomes determined to erase all the Klingon DNA from the foetus and make her completely human, so that the child won’t experience the bullying that she herself did. With a solid science fiction basis in the apparently simple genetic procedure that can both correct serious medical problems and make more cosmetic changes, this episode is a nice exploration of both the ethical dilemma involved and Torres’ personal history and emotional problems. It’s perhaps a shame that the solution boils down to curing her fear of being abandoned by her husband, but still, this is a nice little character study.

Best bit: Most of this episode is firmly Torres’ story, but it takes two to make a baby, and Paris asking Tuvok for advice about fatherhood is both awkward and endearing.

Quotable: "It could be a parasite" (Icheb, on the life-form he’s detected inside Torres) 

9. Latent Image (Season Five) 

The Doctor discovers that some time previously, his program had broken down because when presented with two patients with an equal chance of survival but only enough time to save one, he chose his friend (Harry Kim). This episode combines a dilemma that could affect any doctor (and could easily cause a breakdown in a human being) with one of the Doctor’s occasional battles for his rights as an artificial life-form (without Seven around to make her feel guilty, Janeway had simply erased the Doctor’s memories, clearly a violation of his personhood) and even a little bit of exploration of a well-known Star Trek phenomenon into the bargain (the Doctor deliberately saved the regular cast member, not the expendable ensign). Plus, it’s an episode about the Doctor, which is always a good thing.

Best bit: The Doctor and Seven are shocked to discover that the unknown enemy tampering with the Doctor’s program is Captain Janeway.

Quotable: "In that book, which is my memory, on the first page of the chapter that is the day when I first met you, appear the words 'Here begins a new life.'" (The Doctor, reading from La Vita Nuova)

8. The Thaw (Season Three) 

 This extremely creepy episode is almost uncomfortable to watch, but it’s a nice bit of science fiction. A group of aliens have hooked themselves up to a virtual reality machine to escape a natural disaster, and they are supposed to be enjoying an idyllic world created from their thoughts and feelings. However, their worries have manifested themselves in a clown that is the embodiment of Fear, who is now holding them hostage in an attempt to continue his own existence. Pre-dating The Matrix, this is an intriguing exploration of virtual reality, something of a serious counterpoint to Red Dwarf’s Better Than Life.

Best bit: The crew realise just how serious the situation is as the first expendable alien dies.

Quotable: "You know as well as I do that fear only exists for one purpose – to be conquered" (Janeway) 

7. Caretaker (Season One) 

Voyager’s pilot episode is probably the best Star Trek pilot. It has its flaws, the corny all-American farm illusion produced by the titular Caretaker and the poor-man’s-Klingon Kazon warriors among them. But it shows its ambition in the Star Wars-emulating opening sequence and introduces a colourful cast of characters; plus, for anyone lucky enough to actually see it before any of the rest of the show, there’s some genuine uncertainty concerning who’s going to live or die. Voyager’s promising set-up gets back to the heart of Star Trek – exploring unknown and unpredictable parts of space and exotic planets full of bumpy-headed aliens. A lively and engaging start to the show.

Best bit: Janeway vows to get her crew back to the Alpha Quadrant, no matter how long it takes.

Quotable: "Mr Paris, set a course – for home" (Janeway) 

6. Counterpoint (Season Five) 

Voyager is helping a group of telepaths, along with their own Vulcan crewmembers, to escape a group of telepath-hating Space Nazis. When their handsome Captain defects to Voyager, he and Janeway bond over a love of Earth’s classical music, but underneath it they’re engaged in a battle of wits that only one can win. Kate Mulgrew’s favourite episode is a great outing for Captain Janeway, exploring both her personal life (Kashyk is by far her most interesting love interest outside of Chakotay) and showing just why she’s the Captain. Her heart may be breaking, but innocent telepaths are safe from Space Nazis while she’s around.

Best bit: Janeway wins a bittersweet victory.

Quotable: "For what it’s worth, you made a tempting offer" (Kashyk to Janeway)

5. Bride of Chaotica! (Season Five) 

Voyager becomes trapped in spatial distortions and a group of photonic life-forms mistake Tom Paris’ holodeck homage to 1950s B-movies for reality. Since the aliens refuse to believe that anyone other than the Doctor is real and their weapons are disabling the ship, Captain Janeway is forced to join Paris as a character from the holodeck program and defeat the evil Chaotica or they’ll be stuck forever. You have to ignore the accidental massacre of thousands of the photonic aliens by Chaotica and just go along for the ride in this hilarious homage to cheesy science fiction. No one can defeat the powerful pheromones of Arachnia, Queen of the Spider People!

Best bit: Satan’s Robot is screaming about "Invaders from the fifth dimension!" and Paris whacks him in an attempt to shut him up. The robot mutters sulkily "Invaders!"

Quotable: "Remember – you’re the Queen!" (Paris to Janeway)

4. Message in a Bottle (Season Four) 

Voyager hijacks an alien relay station to send a message to the Alpha Quadrant in the form of the Doctor. Unfortunately, he materialises on a brand-new ship that has itself been hi-jacked by Romulans, and he has to team up with a Mark II EMH, defeat the Romulans and make contact with Starfleet before Voyager is driven away from the relay station. The Doctor and Andy Dick’s Mark II’s attempt to interact are hilarious bouts of petty one-up-man-ship and the Romulans present a credible but still defeatable threat and a welcome return to one of Star Trek’s most familiar bad guys. Best of all, it all culminates in Voyager making contact with Starfleet for the first time in four years.

Best bit: The new, fancy ship has conveniently easy-to-use automatic attack patterns. Having managed to activate one, the computer asks the holograms to specify their target, and both exclaim ‘Romulans!’

Quotable: "Stop breathing down my neck!" (Doctor to Mark II)

"My breathing is merely a simulation" (Mark II to Doctor)

"So is my neck, stop it anyway!" (Doctor to Mark II) 

"Sixty thousand light years... seems a little closer today" (Janeway) 

3. Timeless (Season Five) 

An older and greyer Harry Kim and Chakotay (and Chakotay’s random girlfriend) travel to the site where Voyager crash-landed fifteen years before, killing everyone on board. They wander through the bodies of their friends, looting Seven of Nine’s corpse for Borg technology and reactivating the Doctor, all in an attempt to set right what once went wrong and prevent Voyager from a fatal attempt to get home faster. Voyager’s 100th episode is easily Harry Kim’s best and Wang’s bitter, emotionally scarred performance holds together an hour which also features some lovely imagery (champagne flowing among smiling but doomed crewmembers) and excellent special effects work on the dramatic crash. The reset button at the climax feels thoroughly earned, and there’s even a cameo from director LeVar Burton.

Best bit: Geordi LaForge’s cameo, in which he wishes our boys luck even as he tries to kill them, is rather good. But the top moment is probably the light relief that is Seven getting drunk.

Quotable: "Are you with me?" (Janeway to Chakotay)

"Always" (Chakotay to Janeway)

"You owe me one" (Harry Kim, to his younger self)

2. Living Witness (Season Four) 

The Doctor is activated in a museum seven hundred years in the future, where Voyager is remembered as a ship of brutal ne’er do-wells who interfered in the planet’s affairs, murdered a prominent political figure, committed genocide and then went on their merry way. The Doctor must set the record straight or be executed, but the truth of what really happened on Voyager is liable to spark race riots on the still-divided planet. This episode delves into what we think we know about the past and how it shapes who we are, while at the same time providing a fantastic spin on the evil counterpart theme. There’s no mirror universe here, just a twisted version of our heroes full of fantastic details like black undershirts and Tuvok having slightly bigger ears. It’s all topped off with an incredibly poignant finale, in which it is revealed that the back-up Doctor (who can only just have been created, since only a few episodes previously his program was impossible to back up) set off for Earth centuries after Voyager, knowing all his friends were dead, but longing for home.

Best bit: Everything set on Evil Voyager is a joy.

Quotable: "These aren’t the people I knew. No one behaved like this – well, aside from Mr Paris" (Doctor). 

"Somewhere, halfway across the galaxy I hope, Captain Janeway is spinning in her grave" (Doctor). 

1. Year of Hell, Parts 1 and 2 (Season Four) 

The amusingly-named Annorax is erasing ships, species and planets from history with a weapon which accidentally caused the death of his wife, trying to push the timeline back into a version in which she survives. Voyager, however, thanks to some fancy shields, is immune to the weapon’s timey-wimey effect – but not to the aggressive Krenim’s other, more traditional, blow-holes-in-your-ship type weapons. And so for twelve long months, they have even less power than usual (even the holodecks are out), hardly any food and apparently no jumpers or jackets, as Janeway is forced to run around in a dirty vest for the entire year. All the non-regular-cast crew abandon ship and Chakotay and Paris are kidnapped, which really starts to drive Janeway over the edge, forcing her to make a fully justified and logical use of the reset button – she rams Voyager into the time ship, killing all of them and destroying the weapon, so none of it ever happened.

Best bit: Right before her suicidal gamble, Janeway says goodbye to a blinded Tuvok. She hugs him... and he hugs her back.

Quotable: "Time’s up!" (Janeway, ramming the time ship). 

Bubbling under: Waking Moments, Death Wish, Before and After, Scorpion, The Chute, Gravity, Infinite Regress, The Gift, Body and Soul, The Killing Game 

And the worst: Yes, we all know, Threshold (the one where Paris and Janeway turn into lizards, have lizard babies, and then abandon them). Poor Voyager, no one can ever talk about its successes without adding ‘but then there was Threshold. On the other hand, at least Threshold is (unintentionally) funny, unlike the interminable Kazon-based episodes in season 2.

Disqus - noscript

Year of Hell should have been the entirity of Season Seven. The series should have ended with a "we either make it home or we die" arc. The series finale for DS9 was superb because it had that sort of time invested in it.

My favourite Star Trek Voyager episodes were the two parter where they went back in time to the 1990s.( at that time the present day). It featured Ed Begley Jr as a carricature of Bill Gates, out to exploit future technology for personal gain, and a young and unusually clean mouthed Sarah Silverman.

Missing a few - but I am happy that they listed Timeless so high up. That is easily one of the best Star Trek episodes ever...of any series.

IMO, missing some real gems here - like some of the TV movies (e.g. Basics, Future's End, Scorpion, The Killing Game). Also, Distant Origin has amazing ideas, and really shouldn't be omitted from a list like this. But to each their own :)

What was the point of Harry Kim? he was Voyager's operations officer. You sound like a racist that only wants white and black people on the telly.

The worst episodes IMO are the two Irish episodes. Patently unfunny and painful to watch, also extremely offensive. How on earth they were made is beyond me.

Yes of course, because expressing criticism about a dull character is wrong if that character just happens to be Asian. Me so sollee.

not a bad list, but for me its missing 'Course: Oblivion' from season 5. Incredibly touching episode

Some good choices, but some bad choices for top 10 too. Bride of Chaotica and Lineage are ok episodes, but definitely not top 10. I'd include Macrocosm as a personal favourite of mine and "Blink of an Eye" in their place. Also I found the final episode "Endgame" to be a very good finale, the best in Star Trek TV and would include that above "Caretaker".

Wait, you actually found one good ep of this series? I'm shocked!

I wasn't a huge fan of Voyager but there were some good episodes here and there and this is a good list. Timeless is actually one of my favorite overall Star Trek episodes, not just Voyager. I love that moment between Chakotay and Geordi where they wish each other luck and then commence fighting.

One thing that I really loved about Voyager was that many members of the crew outsiders whereas the other Star Trek series had only one outsider such as Data, Spock and Odo. Voyager could count on Tom Paris, The Doctor, Seven of Nine, B'Elanna Torres and Tuvok were all in there own way an outsider. On a good day, Voyager was at its best when we got to see these flawed crew members find a way to work together.

shouldn't the title of this be "the 10 least worst voyager episodes"?

so, you didn't think to mention any of the episodes where the ICONIC 7of9 was the main lead..or the Borg??

Having watched 'Trek since it first aired in the UK with the original Kirk & Spock series in 1969, I have to state that I think Voyager was the very best of all of them, despite a few rough edges now and then. I did not like Kes, I thought she was a waste of space, but replacing her with Seven of Nine was a stroke of genius for which I for one will be eternally thankful. However, my favourite character was the Emergency Medical Hologram, and I loved it when he made a guest appearance on Pickard's Enterprise in "First Contact". In the cinema, the whole audience suddenly erupted when the Doctor offered the invading Borg drones some cream to help their implants. I would like to see a completely new series starring the brilliant Robert Picardo as the EMH Doctor in his own various adventures.

Good point. I tend to forget they exist (I'm half Irish so I'm totally with you on how offensive they are!). I'd take Threshold over those two any day.

Future's End, Scorpion and the Killing Game are all in 'bubbling under', but there was only room for 10 on the list. I'm not so keen on Distant Origin, which I find rather dull, but I know it's a popular one.

That was 'Future's End' - it made the top 20, but not quite the top 10!

Excellent choices Juliette! That damn clown episode always gave me the creeps! In fact I think I tend to avoid it whenever I rewatch the series!
Any episode delving further into B'Elanna or the Doctor were always favourites of mine. :)
One of my favourites you left out is the Dinosaur episode (can't remember the name), loved the parallels with people nowadays who can't seem to accept the fact of evolution! But maybe it's the biologist in me... for some reason lots of people didn't like that one! :s
And yeah, Year of Hell deserved to be a whole season!

During a Star Trek forum Q & A session at Comic Con '96, I berated Brannon Braga so thoroughly regarding the Threshold/salamander mess that he apologized for the episode in a room full of Star Trek fans and promised that Star Trek: First Contact would make up for it.

The year of hell, which is the show they should have made. Limited resources, no power for fun in the holodeck, or replicated food. Hostile aliens surrounding them and a starfleet marqui crew in conflict. You could imagine a storyline were Janeway wants exploit weaker aliens because of her guilt over stranding the crew, and Chakotay stays true to Federation values because of how his ancestors were treated.

Instead we got the ship blown up, and magically fixed every week. An endless supply of shuttle craft and torpedos. Absolutely no character development, except the doctor and Seven, unless it was an alternative timeline episode with a reset button. Voyager was an oppotunity wasted.

The Thaw is in no way in the top 10 same with counterpoint and
Message in a bottle is just a maybe what about the episode The 38s that should
be in there in the top 10 somewhere and I am sure I could find a lest 2 that
would feel in nicely.Here are 2 Tuvix and warlord were 2 very strong episodes and yet
they are not there either I do agree with most this list could be improved on.

I just read were some one
asked about Scorpion there’s another one that was a strong episode sorry I
should have read the discussions first.

my fav was 604 and 612
i love all the startrek ;)

Hi Paul and hello Den of Geek - exactly the episodes I would have picked to be honest. The writer is obviously a passionate Voyager fan and a general sci-fi geek at that, although I think you've understated exactly how frightening 'The Thaw' is:

Clown: "I'm afraid!"
Janeway [in a menacing whisper] "I know..."

You missed my personal favorite ... "Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy." Come on, the Doctor sang funny opera.

Quite possibly the best bit of internet comeback I've ever read. Genuinely crying with laughter.

Good list.

“Latent Image” (Good ep.); “The Thaw” (Hated it when it first ran; grew to admire it); “Counterpoint” (A chess game, rolled into a relationship, inside a persecution story. Great ep.); “Bride of Chaotica!” (Just plain fun & some great acting from KM); “Message in a Bottle” (Great performance from RP and a welcome return of the Alpha Quadrant); “Timeless” (moving ep.); “Living Witness” (I always wished “Voyager” had an AU ep. This was close); “Year of Hell, Parts 1 and 2” (Starfleet ship, Janeway losing it, good plot).

Just FYI, The Thaw is season 2 not 3.

I always thought Voyager was a wasted opportunity. The setup could have lead to some really interesting plots & character development, but instead we got Next Generation light. Year of Hell was brilliant, but it highlighted what they could have done if they were a little bit braver. I also liked the one where they found another Starfleet ship who had been stuck in the delta quadrant for ages & they'd went a bit wrong.

That's 'Distant Origin', a lot of people like it. I find it deathly dull! But then, I'm just not that interested in the whole evolution argument anyway (I'm a Christian and the daughter of a geologist and I happily accept that evolution is a very convincing theory and is probably how we came to be, and the whole 7 days thing is a metaphor. I fail to see why some people make such a big deal of it! I'm also British, where the National Curriculum makes the education bit kind of a non-issue).

Aw, thanks! :) I do love Voyager (and sci-fi in general)

My favourite Star Trek series of them all. Think I've seen it 3 times now and have been considering a 4th run.Favourite episodes consist of the Borg eps, The Killing Game 2 parter and other Hirogen eps. Didn't mind the 2 parter with the Equinox too (another Star Fleet vessel stuck in the Delta Quad.) Others from season 2 were the episodes with Lon Suder played by a brilliant Brad Dourif. Ends up sacrificing himself to save Voyager. An underrated character who should of had more screen time.

My favourite has got to be "In the Flesh" in which Species 8472 don human skin and replicate Starfleet Command.

One of the very best Voyager episodes is the one in which Reginald Barclay risks his sanity and his Starfleet career in a supposedly crazy and futile attempt to contact Voyager, which everyone else on earth assumes is lost. This was simply a great episode in many ways, about loyalty and risk, about believing in yourself, and just a generally great comedy and character-study rolled into one.

No because Voyager was amazing.. end of
(i don't actually know why i deigned to give this comment a response)

Voyager was amazing in general. However, i agree there were some episodes that weren't that good but you nailed the top ten practically perfect. I would probably add some others in, but then again i would never have been able to get a top ten.
The Thaw was scary but it was unique and i liked the way Janeway defeated fear in the end (i'm 15 and not good at overcoming my fear so need to learn a lot from Janeway)
I would add in 'Endgame' though, i know quite a lot of people don't like this episode, but i don't know why and to be honest i think it was one of the best finales ever, with most of the plots having closure- would like to have seen more of the Voyager crew post arriving home in the actual timeline, but we can't have everything we want.
Like many others though i think 'Year of Hell' should definitely have been a series in its self- but i accept that wouldn't have been easy for the writers or the views and there would have had to have been a lot of repetition and cliffhangers (but who doesn't like cliffhangers?)

The Thaw is season 2

'Equinox' parts 1 and 2.

Threshold is one of my favorites :p

Actually, The Thaw might be the best one of them all.

Living Witness, by far my favourite. I love the doctor.

Wow "Drone" was my favorite

voyager a success?
it had about 10 or 20 good episodes
the rest was barely watchable.
the characters were mostly the most bland cardboard cut outs
even by the seventh year
with very little good interplay between the cast.

all the promised tension of the marquis and the limited resources turned out to be rubbish and forgotten about in two or three episodes
(basically everything ron d moore said in his interview about voyager)
it did more to kill the franchise
and bring about the awful JJ films than anything else

Chill out, Mrs. Braga. You're son took it better than you did.

Insulting me by gender-bending? You'd think someone with a rainbow flag in their avatar would know better. Wow.

I was man enough to confront Braga face to face about his crap episode. I was neither shrill nor nasal. He got my name and saw my rainbow flag. But getting an anonymous insult from some clown whose poor impulse control urged him to comment on a year old comment is meaningless, ludicrous, and pathetic. Thanks for showing me that there's more toxic waste up in Canada besides the sludge they want to pump to us through the Keystone XL pipeline.

Blah blah blah. I don't hear the words of bigots. You should be ashamed.

You should be committed.

I don't get all the hate for Voyager, I love it. Love them all, in fact.

You forget Worf, Barclay, Kira, Quark, Rom, Q and the list goes on??

Sponsored Links