The problem is that we’re comparing apples to apples here. I’m comparing all of the sixth seasons of TNG, DS9, and Voyager to each other. While Season 6 of DS9 was airing, Voyager was on Season 4. The fourth season of Star Trek: Voyager was unequivocally better than the sixth season of DS9. And, since these were the only two Trek series on at the time, Voyager would have taken the gold medal for the only time since I began this Boldly Going project.
But, the sad fact is that I’m comparing all of the Next-Gen Era Trek series at similar places in their series life cycles. And, once again, this series comes in last place. I’m giving the season 3 out of 5 stars, the same as DS9‘s Season 6, so it looks like a tie on paper. However, Episode 6.17 “Spirit Folk” scored a weak 2.5, and the overall score averaged lower than that of DS9. That’s last place. Or, extending the Olympics metaphor, TNG takes the gold, DS9 the silver, and Voyager wins the bronze. With no other contenders at the moment, that’s still a respectable place on the podium. Someone had to be last.
And, consistently, that has been Voyager, even when Enterprise was on.
I like Star Trek: Voyager, too. Just in case you think I’m hating on it here. I’m not. I like this show quite a bit. I just don’t think it’s the best of the bunch, or second-best, or . . . okay, I’ll stop here before it looks like I’m bashing the series again.
I will add this, though. Captain Kathryn Janeway is not my least-favorite Star Trek captain. So, that’s something. Not something I’m going to discuss here, but it will be fuel for a future discussion. You betcha.
We are here to talk about this exceedingly mediocre season of the series, however. The highs and the lows of it.
In spite of its last place finish for the season, Voyager had only one episode that scored less than 3-stars, as I mentioned before. This was Episode 6.17 “Spirit Folk” which was, essentially, a holodeck malfunction episode, which are never my favorite episodes. This was the second VOY episode featuring the holodeck Irish village Fair Haven. The first Fair Haven episode was just okay. This one was not.
The overarching story of Star Trek: Voyager is supposed to be about Captain Janeway and her crew trying to find a way home. That’s mostly missing in this season. Most of the episodes this season are throwaways, and could have been broadcast in any season.
There are a couple of exceptions, as always. In Episode 6.10 “Pathfinder,” Reginald Barclay, who is obsessed with Voyager and her plight, manages to find a way to establish communication with the USS Voyager. In Episode 6.24, “Life Line,” this is revisited when the Doctor is able to travel to the Alpha Quadrant to help save his creator, Dr. Lewis Zimmerman. These are both better-than-average episodes.
There are a number of other better-than-average episodes, but they’re all episodic in nature and are, unfortunately, quite forgettable. Numerous alien species are introduced, none of which made a real impression on me.
Something that did make an impression on me was the appearance of Borg children in Episode 6.16 “Collective.” You know how I feel about children in general in Trek series. Magnify that dislike by a factor of ten, and you’ll understand how I felt about this development for the series. Great, Naomi now has Borg friends.
One bright spot in the season is the finale episode, Episode 6.26 “Unimatrix Zero,” which reintroduces the Borg Queen, who is excellent, and ends with Janeway, Tuvok and Torres being assimilated. This was exciting stuff.
I can’t pretend that Voyager is my favorite Trek series, because it’s not. But, I find the characters familiar and mostly likeable at this point, even if they dared to bring Kes back for a single episode. The Doctor, Seven of Nine, and Captain Janeway are still my favorite characters (and they seem to be the writers’ favorites as well), followed closely by Tuvok and B’Ellana Torres. It’s apparent to me now that Chakotay, Tom Paris, and Harry Kim will never be used to their fullest potential in this series, and that Neelix is mostly just annoying.
Our lost Starfleet crew doesn’t seem to be that much closer to home at the end of this season, so I’m not sure what the final season will bring. I find myself looking forward to finishing it.
Side note: Back in April, my calculations predicted finishing this Boldly Going project by June 22, 2019. As of today, my estimate is March 9, 2019. So, we’ve picked up nearly four months since then. The end is in sight.