|STAR TREK: VOYAGER
LaserDisc - Japanese Release
CIC Video continued the release formula started with The Next Generation and issued episodes of Voyager
in ½ season box sets - containing either six or seven discs per box. The packaging style remained consistent
throughout, a deluxe slip case with each disc in a custom printed sleeve. For this series, they did make an artwork
change and each disc artwork is completely unique to the two episodes issued on that particular disc, with a common
template on the back cover. Prices for each set were consistent with those from previous sets, between ¥38,000
and ¥60,000 per set. Paramount would take over for CIC at the termination of the CIC Video licensing agreement.
Due to the screwy production schedule between Voyager's first two years, the episode grouping is somewhat
confused for this set. Paramount produced a total of twenty episodes for the first season of Voyager and
only twenty-two for its second season. However, the last four episodes did not air during Season One, instead
UPN lead off Season Two with the final four episodes from Season One.
The LaserDisc releases of Voyager also fell victim to the decline of LaserDisc. While clearly popular,
based on how quickly the sets sold out, Paramount and Pioneer stopped production of Voyager sets
in July 2001. In that time however, Paramount was able to issue a full five seasons (ten box sets) of the
series, up through episode 120 "Equinox".
Each episode is complete and unedited in this series, offering Bilingual languages - English Stereo on the Digital
Audio tracks and dubbed Japanese Stereo on the Analog tracks. The episodes are also Closed Captioned and offer
LaserDisc-Graphics encoding. There are no trailers or any other bonus features included on any discs.
In February 2004, Paramount began issuing Voyager on DVD. As was done with The Next Generation
and Deep Space Nine, each season is released in a box set, with 7 DVDs in each box. (Season 1 has only 5 DVDs.)
The episodes are digitally remastered and include a new 5.1 channel audio soundtrack. There are supplemental features
included on the last disc in each set, including documentaries and interviews. Paramount continued in the "broadcast order" for episode grouping.
The issue with episode groupings between seasons one and two is different than was done on LaserDisc in Japan.
The Season One box set will include only 16 episodes, leaving the remaining 4 in Season 2 as was the broadcast
sequence in the United States.
These same box set collections are being released in other markets as well, including Region 2 Europe (PAL)
Region 2 Japan (NTSC). Packaging is relatively the same for these import sets, with some minor variations.
For an audience pining for Star Trek: The Next Generation and its weekly adventures in uncharted space,
which wasn't always integral to the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine theme, Star Trek: Voyager was a
welcome return to the unknown reaches of the galaxy. Star Trek's fourth venture into the final frontier
made it out of spacedock intact and on time - despite an abrupt eleventh-hour departure of actor Geneviéve
Bujold. Her exit threatened to delay the January 1995 debut and prompted the last-minute casting of Kate Mulgrew
as Star Trek's first female lead in a series (Capt. Kathryn Janeway). Despite the stress of her late
addition to the cast in the pivotal lead role, Mulgrew quickly and deftly settled into the captain's chair seemingly
made for her. Indeed, the entire cast seemed to fit their characters perfectly, gelling faster than any Star
Trek ensemble since the classic series. And while the show would make the most of the state-of-the-art
USS Voyager, its premise would owe more to its roots: Stranded in the Delta Quadrant, with no choice but
to seek out new worlds and new civilizations, Star Trek: Voyager would be off to one of the best first
seasons since the original series.
As had been done with Deep Space Nine, Paramount offered Voyager as mid-season startup, producing
twenty episodes for the first season. Paramount and UPN opted to air only the first sixteen episodes, ending the
season with "Learning Curve". The balance of Season One episodes was to begin Season Two.
USS Voyager would rarely enjoy peace with the Kazons, who continued their relentless quest to
commandeer the ship for its technological secrets, testing the strength of Voyager's shields and the
mettle of its crew as Star Trek: Voyager glided into its second season. The Vidiians, too, would attempt
to clap the crew in a dark medical grip for the purposes of organ harvest, while some of Voyager's
greatest dangers would erupt from within its own crew. Kes's burgeoning telekinetic ability would on one
occasion escalate out of control (similar to the dark influence of Gary Mitchell when he acquired telekinetic
power in the classic Star Trek episode "Where No Man Has Gone Before") and Tuvok would become a raging
Vulcan - and a threat to the crew - through a dangerous mind-meld. Yet, despite all the space battles and inner
strife, there would grow bonds of trust and friendship. Emotional ties would spring forth, strong and enduring,
between Voyager's captain and crew.
The previous two Star Trek series each had shortened first or second seasons. The Next Generation
had a shortened second season due to a writers strike, prompting the production of only twenty-two episodes that
year. Deep Space Nine produced twenty episodes is first year and a full slate thereafter. Voyager
produced only twenty-two episodes for Season Two, but filled out with the held-over four episodes from Season One.
The result was fewer episodes produced over the full run of the series than any previous Star Trek offering
since The Original Series. This also prompted the much discussed issues with Captain Janeway's hair style,
which changed from season to season, seeming to change back and fourth through the first six episodes of the second year.
Captain Janeway and crew dispatched the Kazons in the season opener, forcing this once worthy adversary into the
annals of villains gone by. The focus of Star Trek: Voyager shifted away from armed conflicts with the
inhabitants of the Delta Quadrant to stories of a more character driven nature. Time Travel popped up a number
of times ("Futures End Part I & II", "Flashback", "Before and After") as did character altering issues for our
holographic Doctor ("Futures End Part I & II", "The Darkling", "Real Life", "The Swarm"). We also witnessed the
first encounter with the Borg ("Blood Fever", "Unity", "Scorpion") in this region of space, but on an entirely
new level - one of co-existence. Personal character development was also seriously enhanced for all our major
characters including Kes, Paris, Torres and Janeway. Actors turned Directors continued as four episodes were
directed by members of the cast (2 by Robert Duncan McNeill) and Anson Williams ("Potsy" from Happy Days)
is added to the distinguished list of Voyager directors.
The fourth season of Voyager promised to be the most ambitious yet. Captain Janeway is faced with the
unthinkable situation of joining an alliance with the Borg in order to escape destruction by Species 8472. And
throughout the first few episodes of the season, the crew is struggling to recover Voyager from
modifications added by
the Borg alliance. Joining the crew is the Borg representative from this alliance, Seven of Nine (Jeri
Ryan) who becomes severed from the collective. Kes (Jennifer Lein) has departed Voyager and begun life
on a new plane of existence, and as a parting gift, transports Voyager 10,000 light years closer to home.
Contact with the Alpha Quadrant has finally been made, but only for a brief period. Seven of Nine discovers
a communications array which has allowed the Doctor (Robert Picardo) to be transported temporarily to another
Starfleet vessel. This contact has provided great hope to the crew as they receive messages from home.
Character development continues as we find Torres (Roxanne Dawson) and Paris (Robert Duncan McNeill) exploring
their personal relationship which began in the third season. The real life pregnancy of Ms. Dawson is not
integrated into the storyline for Voyager and creative photography is effective in hiding the condition.
It does play a role in one episode mid-season ("The Killing Game") in which the crew are forced to relive World
War II on the holodeck under the control of a new race called the Hirogen. Much of the first half of the season
is focused on our new Borg crew member and her struggle to accept the re-emergence of her human side, brought on
by the removal from the Collective. Captain Janeway assumes the task of mentor for Seven, helping her to meld
successfully with the crew. The relationship between Janeway and Chakotay (Robert Beltran) remains stagnant on
a personal level while they continue to clash on a professional level.
Actors turned Directors continues as we see Tim Russ (Tuvok) direct as well as Deep Space Nine's Andrew
J. Robinson (Garak). LeVar Burton (Geordi LaForge from ST: TNG) directed a single episode for
Voyager and two for DS9. Anson Williams continues to stretch his Star Trek muscles with
two Voyager episodes this season, and one from DS9. Departing the show at the end of the season
is Jeri Taylor who is co-creator of the series and this year served as co-executive producer.
As Voyager settled into "cruise" mode for its fifth year in the Delta Quadrant, focus for the series
pushed on bringing our lost souls home a bit more quickly. There were early rumors that this might indeed be
Voyager's final year on the air and Earth would be obtained. Matters were not helped by rumors that Kate
Mulgrew wanted out of the show. Of course, both rumors died as most rumors do and life on Voyager continued.
In addition to the renewed drive to return our crew home, our characters received some significant growth. Torres
(Roxanne Dawson) and Paris (Robert Duncan McNeill) continue their relationship. Harry Kim (Garrett Wang)
grows up fast as he defies his Captain for the love of an alien. Paris is stripped of rank and busted to Ensign
for willful insubordination. The Doctor (Robert Picardo) suffers somewhat of an identity crisis and - in a rather
odd way - fathers a 29th-century Borg with Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan). Katherine
Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) buried herself in guilt over her decision to destroy the Caretaker array four years
earlier rather than use it to return home.
We meet a new alien species this year, which is no big event in Star Trek lore, except the Malon dump toxic waste
products all over a vast area of the quadrant. Encounters with them are numerous this year and prompt the
development of a new type of shuttle - the Delta Flyer.
It seems no season of Star Trek would be complete without delving into the paradox of time travel. This
season would be no exception as we become re-acquainted with the 29th-century
Captain Braxton, first seen in Future's End from the 3rd season - and this
time played by Bruce McGill. Another paradox occurs early in the year for the series 100th episode,
where Chakotay (Robert Beltran) and Kim, the only survivors from Voyager's crash on an icy planet, attempt
to fiddle with the time line to prevent the disaster. Also ever present are the diversions provided by the Holodeck.
This year, nearly everyone gets drawn into the adventures of "Captain Proton".
The season drew to a close with the discovery of another Starfleet vessel in the Delta Quadrant. The USS
Equinox had also been brought to this side of the galaxy by the Caretaker, but it's journey back to the Alpha
Quadrant has been much less positive.
Behind the scenes, for the first time in much of Star Trek's run, there is a sudden drop in the number of actors
getting behind the camera. LeVar Burton (Geordi LaForge from ST: TNG) directed a single outing in Voyager,
the much celebrated 100th, and a single episode for DS9. Robert Duncan
McNeill (Paris) directed a single episode and Anson Williams continues to with his Star Trek duties helming
one Voyager and one DS9 episode.
For the crew of the USS Voyager, the beginning of their sixth year in the Delta Quadrant picked up right
where the fifth year left off. The cliffhanger in May 1999 left us all wondering if Kate Mulgrew would make good on
the rumor that she would depart Star Trek and have the crew return to Earth without her. She did return
for season six and continued her quest to get the crew home. This also marks the first year that Voyager
must carry the Star Trek torch alone, with Deep Space Nine ending its run at the end of the 1998-1999
The troubles at UPN did nothing to ease concerns that Voyager might end up being the shortest run Star
Trek series since the demise of The Original Series in 1969. (Actually, the shortest series was
The Animated Series which ran from 1973-1974 at a whopping 22 episodes.) With the purchase of CBS by Viacom,
their partial ownership of UPN raised speculation that the fledgling network would be gobbled up, and Voyager
would go along with it. The fine folks at the FCC ruled however that since UPN is not a "full-fledged" network
(UPN produces only 2 hours of primetime programming 5 nights a week), the FCC regulations barring one company from
operating two or more networks did not apply.
Much of the sixth season dealt with personal development of several of the crew. Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan)
continued her growth and the ongoing quest to recover her lost humanity. We are witness to her complete mental
breakdown as she overloads during the regeneration process. We also find out more of her past with the Borg
including assignments within her original Unimatrix and a new interaction with rescued Borg children. The Doctor
(Robert Picardo) has now grown way beyond the sum of his programming. He has now made his second trip to the
Alpha Quadrant, captains Voyager, vaulted to "rock star" status with his singing ability and serves as
Pastor to the folk of "Fair Haven".
Tom Paris (Robert Duncan McNeill) struggles with several issues this year, but manages to keep out of too much
trouble - enough so that he is restored to Lieutenant as the season ends. The relationship with Torres (Roxanne
Dawson) continues, but really doesn't go anywhere this season.
Keeping in line with a promise made to Starfleet last season, Janeway managed to avoid any time travel issues
this season, well almost. The return of Kes (Jennifer Lein) to Voyager was unsettling as we bounced back
and forth over a 5 year time span. The years since her departure at the beginning of Season four have not been
kind to Kes as she makes her way back to the Ocampan Homeworld.
Contact with Starfleet Command became more 'regular' this season. Lt. Barclay (Dwight Schultz), now assigned
to a research station, enlists the help of Diana Troi (Marina Sirtis) to convince Starfleet that he has found a
way to contact Voyager. Marina Sirtis is now the third cast member from The Next Generation
to make an appearance on Star Trek: Voyager. His research has proved beneficial and contact between
Voyager and Starfleet, while not as easy as opening a channel in subspace, is at least possible on a
limited basis. This of course opens the door for an even speedier return home to the Alpha Quadrant.
As the season drew to a close, the Borg return. Seven convinces Janeway they must help the members of Unimatrix
Zero that are being threatened the Borg Queen. Janeway agrees and with the destruction of The Delta Flyer,
Torres, Tuvok (Tim Russ) and Janeway are captured and assimilated.
Behind the scenes a new actor-turned-director cuts their teeth on an episode of Star Trek. Roxanne Dawson
(Torres) turns in a single episode as does Robert Picardo (The Doctor). LeVar Burton (Geordi LaForge from ST:
TNG) directed a single outing this year as well.
By the time the season began, we were all too aware that the crew of USS Voyager would not boldly go where
no Star Trek series has gone before - to an eighth season. Paramount and UPN announced that the seventh
season of Voyager would indeed be the last. This brought about a real push to tie up dangling storylines
and determine if our long lost ship and crew would finally return home. Voyager would continue to carry the
"Star Trek" banner alone again this season as word spread about a new series - but one that wouldn't be ready until
the Fall of 2001.
The season began with the resolution of cliffhanger involving Unimatrix Zero, dealing a severe blow to the Borg
collective. Much of the seventh season dealt with personal development of several of the crew. Seven of
Nine (Jeri Ryan) continued her growth, experiencing her deep emotional responses after Unimatrix Zero and the
Borg children, and a growing romantic interest in a fellow shipmate. The Doctor (Robert Picardo) continues to
exceed his bounds, winning rights as an author, joining a holographic revolt against Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) and
the Hirogen and suffering the defeat of losing the romantic affection from Seven of Nine to another. Harry Kim
(Garret Wang) has grown restless as an Ensign - a rank he has held for seven years now and flexes his command
muscles on a number of occasions. Tom Paris (Robert Duncan McNeill) and B'Elanna Torres (Roxanne Dawson) marry
and are expecting a child.
We see the return of Q (John deLancie) for his final outing in the series and the havoc that is his son - Q.
Reg Barclay returns in one episode, plus the final episode. It would seem no season would be complete without
some type of temporal storyline, and this year was no exception - but this time, the ship was fractured into 30
different temporal zones. We also run into the Klingon's who appear to have been wandering around in the Delta
Quadrant for several generations.
Contact with Starfleet Command and the alpha quadrant has become more 'regular' this season. Calls to family and
friends have become almost commonplace. Voyager was even sent off on a mission for Starfleet in search of
long lost probe. As the season draws to a close, Neelix (Ethan Phillips) decides to leave Voyager
when they encounter a colony of Talaxians.
As the season and series drew to a close, the Borg return. Alice Krige reprises her roll from Star Trek: First
Contact as the Borg Queen and tries to keep Voyager from discovering a transwarp hub. Janeway from 30
years in the future appears through a time rift (she simply can't stop violating the temporal prime directive) and
convinces Janeway from the present to use technology from the future to fight the Borg.
For our actor/director duties this year, we get a single episode each from Roxanne Dawson (Torres) and Robert Duncan
McNeill (Tom Paris) while LeVar Burton (Geordi LaForge from ST: TNG) directs three outings this season.