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HTF REVIEW: Star Trek Voyager: The Complete Sixth Season

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#1 of 9 OFFLINE   Scott Kimball

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Posted December 01 2004 - 04:39 AM

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Star Trek Voyager: The Complete Sixth Season





Studio: Paramount

Year: 1999 - 2000

Rated: NR

Length: 18 Hours, 53 Minutes

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles: English

Closed Captioned

Special Features: 5 Featurettes, Photo Gallery, "Lost Transmission" (easter eggs)

Expected Street Price: $100 USD
Release Date: December 7, 2004





Star Trek Voyager: The Complete Sixth Season is a mixed bag for the series, in terms of the quality of the episodes themselves. There are a few excellent episodes, and more than a handful of episodes that don’t warrant viewing a second time.

Among the best of the episodes of season six:

Equinox, Part II
This is the resolution to the season five cliffhanger, in which Voyager meets up with another Federation vessel, lost in the Delta Quadrant. The Equinox crew have harvested energy from an alien race in order to speed their journey home. The harvesting, though, kills the aliens. When Janeway finds out, she attempts to put a stop to it. When we left Voyager in season five, the aliens had turned on Voyager, and Captain Ransom and the crew of the Equinox had stolen shields and provisions from Voyager and made their escape. Equinox is one of the best two-parters of the series, and the resolution in season six doesn’t disappoint.

Dragon’s Teeth
In this episode, the Voyager crew unwittingly awakens a slumbering race with a dark secret, an act that may have dire consequences for the Delta Quadrant. Immediately, Voyager is thrust into a dangerous war, where they have become the enemies of all sides.

Other excellent episodes include: One Small Step, Blink of an Eye, and Ashes to Ashes.

We can’t have the good without the bad, I suppose... and the bad is represented by: Barge of the Dead, Alice, The Voyager Conspiracy, Fair Haven, Virtuoso, Tsunkatse, Spirit Folk, and Muse. The producers, writers and stars of Voyager all seem to like holodeck episodes. The fans, however, tune in to see a space opera... not nineteenth century Irish characters in a holodeck, as in Fair Haven and Spirit Folk. This is a frequent and major disconnect between the makers of the modern Trek series and the fans.

The rest of the season is rounded out with okay episodes that offer up threads that run through the season, such as an interesting thread in which Voyager is able to make semi-regular contact with the Alpha Quadrant - and a less interesting thread where Voyager rescues immature Borg drones. While the latter thread starts off promisingly, it gets tiring before long. The Borg children seem to make the transition from drone to individual much too quickly, and the characters become nothing more than fodder for more Seven of Nine based stories.

Overall, about half of the episodes offer up interesting and enjoyable stories for the Voyager fan.

The Transfers
Those familiar with the series on DVD will know exactly what to expect with this set, as the A/V quality is the same as previous seasons.

The picture (1.33:1 AR) is sharp and detailed, for the most part, with an occasionally soft scene here and there. There is no evidence of sharpening artifacts like ringing, jaggies or moire. Contrast is good and there is good shadow detail. Colors are accurate and stable, with good saturation.

Occasional mild banding can be seen, and a rare instance of drifting pixels can be seen. These problems are very infrequent and mild.

Overall, the video transfer is very well done.

The audio, too, is essentially the same as previous Voyager releases. The 5.1 mix is good, but non-agressive. Music sounds wonderful and full across the front soundstage, with some ambient effects.

Dialog is consistent, clean and clear and is pinned front and center. Some sound effects pan across the front soundstage. Rear effects are present to a lesser degree, presenting a pleasing atmospheric effect.

Low Frequency Effects are adequate, but they won’t shake the room.

Special Features

Featurettes

Braving the Unknown: Season Six (16:57)

Rick Berman and David Livingston talk about working with John Savage on Equinox.

Pathfinder is discussed by Rick Berman. Knowing that the series would end after the seventh season, the producers wanted to begin moving toward getting Voyager home. Berman and Brannon Braga talk about the Barclay character, and how he was glad to get the character back for the episode. A 2001 interview with Marina Sirtis is included, where she discusses her role on a couple of episodes in season six.

Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) discusses his role in Tsunkatse. Dan Curry talks about the skill of Jeri Ryan’s stunt double.

Roxann Dawson talks about Barge of the Dead in a period interview on the set, as well as in a recent interview. Kate Mulgrew comments on the episode as well, in a period interview.

This featurette is pretty standard fare, much the same as the Braving the Unknown featurettes from previous seasons.

One Small Step: A Mars Encounter (9:23)
Science consultant Andre Bormanis discusses the “Mars” episode of Voyager, and the efforts to make our near future interesting. This featurette also features Robert Picardo, who is on the advisory board of The Planetary Society, a science education organization. Included is footage from the Marsapalooza event, sponsored by The Planetary Society.

This featurette is of some interest, for the information about The Planetary Society.

Voyager Time Capsule: Chakotay (12:06)
Similar to the Time Capsules on previous seasons, this featurette focuses on Chakotay, and Robert Beltran. Included are recent comments from Roxann Dawson, Ethan Phillips, Kate Mulgrew, Tim Russ, and period interviews with Robert Beltran. In a 1994 interview, Beltran gives a fair amount if insight into his character, and how he relates to him. There are no recent comments from Robert Beltran in the piece.

Red Alert: amazing Visual Effects (17:18)
Dan Curry, Visual Effects Producer, and Ronald B. Moore, Visual Effects Supervisor, (and others) talk about the visual effects challenges in the fifth and sixth seasons of Voyager. Included in the discussion are scenes from Barge of the Dead, Fury, Timeless, Dark Frontier, One Small Step, Blink of an Eye, Night, and Life Line. While there are definitely some interesting morsels on visual effects here, I would rather have seen a more in-depth featurette on two or three episodes. With the eight episodes included, the processes are glossed over too much to get any real feel for the work that went into the effects.

Guest Star Profile: Vaughn Armstrong (10:11)
Armstrong talks about the 11 characters he has played in all of the Star Trek Universe (save for the original series). Interestingly, he sings a song about his characters...

Armstrong has played Humans, Klingons, Cardassians, Vidiians, Borg, Romulans... and probably more. He talks about undergoing three hours of makeup for thirty minutes of shooting scenes as a Vidiian - getting the scenes in one take, and then undergoing the process of makeup removal.

Armstrong gives a truly interesting and animated interview.

Photo Gallery

Lost Transmissions

01: David Livingston talks about Spirit Folk
02: Kate Mulgrew talks about Fair Haven
03: Jeffrey Combs talks about Tsunkatse
04: Tim Russ talks about Unimatrix Zero, and makeup
05: LeVar Burton talks about directing (TNG, DS9, Voyager and Enterprise)

Oddly, the most interesting special feature in the set is the Guest Star Profile. One genuinely interesting featurette makes for a disappointing collection of features, overall.

Final Thoughts
Season six is where Voyager begins to lose its steam, relying too often on the Borg crutch. While the Borg began as one of the best villain races in the Star Trek franchise, they became impotent over the run of Voyager. Too many holodeck stories also conspire to dilute the season.

While the set offers up good A/V quality, with only about a dozen good episodes and ho-hum special features, this season is a tough sell at its current street price.

#2 of 9 OFFLINE   Jason Seaver

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Posted December 01 2004 - 04:53 AM

I probably shouldn't, but it's banging on the inside of my head wanting out:
Quote:
Season six is where Voyager begins to lose its steam
Voyager had steam?
Jay's Movie Blog - A movie-viewing diary.
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#3 of 9 OFFLINE   Scott Kimball

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Posted December 01 2004 - 06:06 AM

Quote:
Voyager had steam?


Posted Image

Well... you know... of the steam it had...

I'd rather watch Voyager than much of what passes for scifi on TV these days.

-Scott

#4 of 9 OFFLINE   Elinor

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Posted December 01 2004 - 06:15 AM

Next to the original series (ST), I liked Voyager the best. Probably the only other box set of any tv show I would buy (all 7 seasons).

#5 of 9 OFFLINE   Jason Seaver

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Posted December 01 2004 - 06:36 AM

Quote:
I'd rather watch Voyager than much of what passes for scifi on TV these days.
Which is what? It'd kind of shocking, compared to just how much there was five-ten years ago, but as of now, there's the Stargates, Enterprise, and Smallville, with Galactica and The 4400 forthcoming. Considering that Alias and Lost are probably more concerned as passing for not-sci-fi, it's not a very large or particularly distinguished field... and the argument for Voyager over any of them still sputters when you get past "production values".
Jay's Movie Blog - A movie-viewing diary.
Transplanted Life: Sci-fi soap opera about a man placed in a new body, updated two or three times a week.
Trading Post Inn - Another gender-bending soap, with different collaborators writing different points of view.

"What? Since when was this an energy...

#6 of 9 OFFLINE   Scott Kimball

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Posted December 01 2004 - 06:46 AM

I was thinking things like: Andromeda, Dark Angel, Relic Hunter, Mutant X, The Lost World, Earth: Final Conflict... most of which I watched once or twice and they were so bad I couldn't bear to watch them again (though I did take somewhat of a liking to Dark Angel (S1)). I don't even know if all of these are on DVD... my point is there's so much drek for "scifi" on TV that most people can't even recall what's out there. This is all stuff that's either a Voyager contemporary show, or currently on the air.

Voyager, at least, had solid production values, decent acting, a familiar and "comfortable" universe for Trekkies...

In the World of Trek, I rank Voyager next from the bottom (above Enterprise)... but ahead of all that I named above.

#7 of 9 OFFLINE   Greg_S_H

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Posted December 01 2004 - 09:05 AM

It's been a while since I've seen season 6, but I just checked out episode summaries at epguides.com, and I don't see one truly good episode in the bunch. I guess Pathfinder was alright. Tsunkatse is pretty terrible, though, as I recall.

#8 of 9 OFFLINE   Scott Kimball

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Posted December 01 2004 - 09:20 AM

One thing I neglected to mention...

The menu design features Species 8472. Odd, since they don't play a role in the season...

-Scott

#9 of 9 OFFLINE   Jonny_L

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Posted December 03 2004 - 11:14 AM

These sets are all pretty good. I wish they would have gotten more hardcore with the extras though, to justify the price. They should really be no more then $50. Wink wink, nudge nudge paramount.

Multiple commentaries, deleted scenes and bloopers would have been there too.

Quote:
In the World of Trek, I rank Voyager next from the bottom (above Enterprise)... but ahead of all that I named above.


Oh and I agree with you completely. Posted Image
Jonathan
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