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Star Trek: Voyager, on UPN
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Caution: spoilers.

Before Enterprise, this was my least favorite Trek series. But I still liked it a lot more than most Star Trek fans seemed to. I'd say most fans thought it sucked in a great many ways. But I was able to overlook its faults, for the most part. Anyway, the writing wasn't always great, but I don't think it's a problem if you simply don't take the show too seriously. It was just fun, that's all. Y'know, fun? The main reason for watching fictional TV shows? And still, the stories could actually be pretty good at times. I suppose I should also mention that I liked the opening theme music, even if it was a bit too similar to that of DS9. Still, by this point I kind of expected all Trek series would have some great orchestral theme music like this, which of course led to a certain degree of disappointment when "Enterprise" used a more contemporary sort of ballad or whatever, instead of orchestral music....

Okay, anyway... in 2371, the Federation starship Voyager was out looking for some Maquis, a group first introduced in The Next Generation. The Maquis were originally Federation citizens on colonies that fell inside Cardassian space when the borders were redrawn in 2370. Some of them refused to leave their homes, and instead formed a resistance (some say terrorist) group to fight the Cardassians who tried, quite legitimately, to take over the colonies. Eventually other people would join the Maquis, including Bajorans and Federation citizens who sympathized with the group. The Maquis were outlaws with both the Cardassians and the Federation as their enemies.

Anyway, Voyager was off hunting for one Maquis ship in the Badlands when suddenly some wave pulled Voyager and the Maquis ship into the Delta Quadrant. I won't get into why this happened, I'll just say that the Maquis ship was soon destroyed and its crew had to join the crew of Voyager, and they all had to head back toward the Federation in the Alpha Quadrant, which should have taken like 70 years or so, but they occasionally found shortcuts to reduce the duration of the trip. Meanwhile they got some exploring done and had plenty of adventures and stuff. There were social issues and such, as with any Trek series. The biggest one seems to be about the rights of sentient holograms aka "photonics" like the Doctor (Robert Picardo), as well as various alien holograms. Um, also there was frequent interaction with the Borg. This series did the most exploration of the Borg of any Trek series so far, even had an ex-Borg on the crew for several seasons. And of course we met plenty of new alien races and so forth...

The main characters included Captain Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew); Commander Chakotay (Robert Beltran), who had been the captain of the Maquis ship; Tuvok (Tim Russ), the Vulcan chief of security, who had infiltrated Chakotay's resistance cell prior to the series; B'Elanna Torres (Roxann Dawson), the half Klingon/half human chief engineer, who had been with the Maquis; Tom Paris (Robert Duncan McNeill), the pilot, who had been recruited for the mission from prison, having spent some time in the Maquis (and who reminded me in some ways of my fanfic character Jax DeSabel); the Doctor, who had no name, because he was really just an EMH (emergency medical hologram), though because his program was now active so much of the time, he developed a personality, interests, and friendships; Harry Kim (Garrett Wang), the eager young ensign fresh out of the Academy, who became Tom's best friend; and Neelix (Ethan Phillips), a Talaxian trader who got the Voyager crew to rescue his girlfriend Kes (Jennifer Lien), an Ocampa, from aliens called Kazons, who would become recurring villains for some time. Neelix would become Voyager's cook and morale officer, and eventually an ambassador. Most fans seemed to find him annoying, and in some ways I suppose I can see that, but I actually liked him. I guess Kes eventually broke up with him, though they remained close friends. The Ocampa only live 7 years, and she was about 1 when the series started, but at one point the crew met a group of Ocampans who lived longer, and developed their psychokinetic powers, and she later went to join them.

This was shortly after the former Borg designated Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan), Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix 001 (her given name being Annika Hansen) joined the crew. Her addition to the cast seemed to many fans, initially, to be mostly about sexing up the show, which is something true Trek fans- myself included- are rather against. But the character did provide for some interesting plot developments. Ultimately, she turned out to be a rather complex and interesting character, an interesting study of a human trying to regain her humanity after spending most of her life, since she was a young child, as a Borg- practically the only life she now remembers, thus making human interaction most uncomfortable for her.

And speaking of Borg, we also saw the Borg Queen from time to time. And Q (John de Lancie), as well as a few other members of the Q continuum, including Q's girlfriend (Suzie Plakson) and their son, and Quinn, a suicidal Q. And Seska, a Cardassian spy who had been altered to appear Bajoran and infiltrate the Maquis; she later worked with the Kazon. There was a crewmember named Samantha Wildman, whose daughter, the half human/half Ktarian Naomi Wildman (Scarlett Pomers), was born on Voyager, in the Delta Quadrant. When she got older, she befriended Neelix. At one point Voyager rescued four immature Borg drones, Icheb, Mezoti, and twins Rebi and Azan, who spent some time on the ship. No doubt I'm forgetting any number of important recurring characters, but that should do for now.

And I'm sure I'm forgetting plenty of things I should say about the nature of the show. But if you want a major spoiler, I will tell you that in the end, Voyager got back to the Federation, after just 7 years. Yay!

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