Star Trek: Voyager - Season 2 Studio: Paramount Year: 1995-96 Rated: NR Length: 19 hours, 43 minutes Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Surround English Subtitles, English Closed Captioned Special Features: 8 featurettes, text commentary, etc No S.R.P. Expected retail price: $100 USD Release Date: May 18, 2004 Season two of Star Trek: Voyager delivers more hit-or-miss episodes - but this time around we have a full season to choose from. 26 episodes are contained in this second season, as compared with season one’s meager 15. The season opener is The 37’s, which, though it is essentially a re-hash of a season one episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Neutral Zone, is an enjoyable story. Though this frequent recycling of stories is tiresome, The 37’s does offer up some interesting moments and a good performance from guest star Sharon Lawrence (as Ameila Earhart). This episode also features a text commentary - more on that later. My biggest problem with season two is that I really didn’t like the Seska storyline - and this thread plays out over several episodes this season. Notable episodes from this season are: The 37’s, Projections, Prototype, Meld, Dreadnought, Lifesigns and Deadlock. In The 37’s, the Voyager crew stumble across some earth people from the past, stored in crygoneic stasis on a mysterious planet. One of these people is none other than Amelia Earhart. Projections finds the doctor confused about his very state of being - is he human or hologram? This is a rare Brannon Braga penned episode that I actually enjoyed. This episode guest stars Dwight Shultz as Reginald Barclay. In Prototype, Voyager discovers an advanced humanoid robot. When repaired and activated, it of course becomes a serious threat to the ship. It’s a fun episode, though not very original. Meld introduces a sociopathic crewmember, and shows us attempts made to treat him through a Vulcan mind meld - resulting in serious side effects for Tuvok. Dreadnought finds the Voyager crew trying to stop an automated, runaway weapon of immense power - which threatens an entire planet. Lifesigns finds the doctor treating a Vidiian who is suffering from the Phage - with decidedly unorthodox treatment. This episode also finds the doctor exploring romance for the first time. Deadlock, written by Brannon Braga, is an interesting episode. I accepted it right up til the end. I won’t give it away, other than to say the Braga has ended episodes like this before. If only he found a different way to end it... Of course, season two is also home to one of the worst episodes of Voyager, the abysmal Threshold. Having received this set only five days before street, I wasn’t able to watch all the episodes - my general recollections of favorites and... not-so-favorites... are from memory (and referencing online episode guides to assist in recalling plots. I did screen The 37’s, Projections, Lifesigns, Meld and Deadlock. The Look This season two set looks as good as season one. The picture has decent detail and sharpness, with no distracting edge enhancement. The image is bright, with excellent contrast and strong black levels. Shadow detail is very good, as is the color saturation. Compression artifacts are not an issue, as with TNG and DS9 sets on DVD. The quality of the full-screen video is the best thing this set has going for it. The Sound The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is not very aggressive. The quality is essentially identical to season one. The front soundstage is well utilized for Jerry Goldsmith’s soaring theme... this is one of the few series where I watch the opening theme song time and time again. Dialog is pinned front and center, with good directional effects and surround effects when called for. Low frequency effects won’t shake the room, but that isn’t surprising for TV shows - especially shows that were recorded nearly ten years ago. There is nothing to complain about, here - and viewers of previous Trek on DVD know exactly what to expect. Special Features Text Trivia Track on The 37’s This is apparently not written by Michael Okuda - and it lacks his level of detail. Still, it has a few interesting points, here and there. Unfortunately, the size and style of this text track is extremely intrusive, using an opaque box with text inside, sometimes covering up about one quarter of the screen - occasionally even covering actor’s faces. Semitransparent text boxes, or plain subtitle text would have been preferred. Braving the Unknown: Season Two (16:30) Interviews with Rick Berman, Michael Piller and Jeri Taylor, interspersed with stills and clips from the series. The producers talk about the benefit of having a season under their belt, and being able to expand on the backstory and develop characters more than in a premiere season. Topics also include the effort to keep stories fresh, and the creation of memorable alien species. Voyager Time Capsule: Tuvok (13:57) Tim Russ talks about his experience on Voyager. He talks about landing the role and how it came about, and how he approached the role. Clips from several episodes throughout the series, as well as from Generations, are shown. Russ also talks about his work since Voyager went off the air. Saboteur Extraordinaire: Seska (6:42) Martha Hackett discusses her role as Seska, as well as her recurring role as a Romulan on DS9. A Day in the Life of Ethan Phillips (7:03) With the most elaborate makeup, Phillips is the first actor on the set in the morning and the last one to leave at the end of the day. This is his story... Red Alert: Visual Effects Season Two (12:51) Dan Curry discusses the visual effects, with demonstrations of composites of specific scenes. Real Science with Andre Bormanis (11:26) The science consultant talks about the science in Voyager’s science fiction. Photo Gallery Borg Invasion 4D (:57) Hidden Files 01: Kate Mulgrew talks about working with Sharon Lawrence on The 37’s 02: Mulgrew talks about playing against herself in Deadlock 03: Robert Picardo talks about The Doctor’s first romance 04: Music Video: Kushangaza (Tim Russ) Final Thoughts There are some good episodes here in season two... the question for most people is: is the number of good episodes worth the $100 price tag? Once you’ve answered that question for yourselves, you can feel secure in the knowledge that the audio / video quality is the best yet in Trek season sets.