Star Trek Voyager - A Thread for Fans

Nelson Au

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Those Creation Convention videos that are up on youtube are great to see. If one could not be at the Las Vegas convention, It’s a great way to see the guests.
 
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Kevin Hewell

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"Year of Hell" was great. I think they should have built the entire series around that. Like "Battlestar Galactica".

Berman was trying to make another TNG type show and it just didn't work.









B
 

Adam Lenhardt

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Tonight I watched:
  • "The Omega Directive": This episode bookended "Prey" in terms of the conflict between Janeway and Seven of Nine. In that episode, Seven of Nine was insubordinate. In this episode, she obeys orders even though she disagrees with them strongly. The first third of the episode was interesting: After the ship's sensors detected the omega particle and triggered the Omega Directive, Janeway played things very close to the vest. The contrast really highlighted how transparent and collaborative her leadership style usually is. There was also a neat little moment near the end where Seven of Nine's choice to obey orders is karmically rewarded by getting to briefly glimpse a stabilized omega particle, a quasi-religious experience for her that furthers her journey toward being human and away from the uniformity of the Borg.

  • "Living Witness": This was a very intellectually satisfying episode, interrogating the art of storytelling itself, and exploring the subjective nature of historical accounts. The Kyrian recreation of events in the cold open, with Voyager portrayed as a warship and Captain Janeway portrayed as a genocidal mass murderer, was highly entertaining. The structure of the episode, with a retelling of historical events inside a later retelling of historical events, was unconventional but really effective. It's an episode where none of a regular characters actually appear, just reactions of most of them and a backup copy of one of them. The episode is staged in such a way that it takes place centuries after the rest of the series but contains no hints about Voyager's fate, or whether it made it home. It's as much a mystery to the people who have pieced together what happened as it is to the audience. The episode also had emotional resonance: I found it moving that Quarren the Kyrian historian would steadfastly pursue the truth even though it undermined his beliefs and cast his people in a negative life. And I found the quest by the backup copy of the Doctor to find out the truth about Voyager to be bittersweet: a wonderful tribute to his connection with his shipmates, but also sad since all of them will have been dead for centuries.

  • "One": This was the kind of episode I would have liked to see more of. It's a man-versus-environment story, with Voyager having to cross an inhospitable expanse of space. But it's also a man-versus-self story, with Seven of Nine having to face weeks of isolation. There is a reason that solitary confinement is considered by many countries to be inhumane torture; for Seven of Nine, who has spent the vast majority of her life as part of a vast collective, those mental stresses would be even greater. All of the obstacles in this episode felt grounded; given that the organic lifeforms were susceptible to damage from the radiation, it makes sense that Voyager's organic components would also be susceptible to damage from the radiation. Seven of Nine's mechanical components being affected makes less sense, but it's a way for the show to provide a technobabble underpinning to the psychological stresses she is enduring from the isolation. By the end of the episode, you really feel the passage of time and cost incurred for this particular stretch of Voyager's journey home. Stories like this one help differentiate Voyager from TOS and TNG, where they were explorers with the luxury of avoiding unpleasant or undesirable stretches of space.

  • "Hope and Fear": This was a strong finale. Ray Wise is great in just about everything he appears in, and the extensive prosthetics for the alien species he was portraying helped sidestep the typecasting issue we'd discussed recently with Kurtwood Smith. There is significant progress made on a couple fronts: The encrypted Starfleet transmission is finally decrypted providing Voyager with a great deal of information from home. And Voyager acquires Species 116's slipstream technology, providing a short-term skip ahead on their journey home with the potential for additional faster travel in the future if they can solve the incompatibilities between Voyager's structural design and the technology. As far as the episodic plot goes, it's a pretty standard-issue revenge story. It didn't entirely land with me, because Species 8742 would have ultimately wiped out all life in the Delta Quadrant, if not the entire galaxy. If Voyager hadn't allied itself with the Borg to force Species 8742 to retreat, it would have been a temporary stay of execution only for Species 116.

  • "Night": This was another good man-versus-environment story, with the problem being not the presence of something but rather the absence of everything. I don't know that I entirely buy Janeway hiding herself away and driving herself crazy with self-recrimination. It didn't seem in keeping with her character up until this point. But her relative absence makes for a good Chakotay episode, since he has to step up to fill the void left by her absence. I like that the show's getting more aggressive about the passage of time, both between episodes and over the course of episodes. "One" took place over a month, and this episode jumps ahead a couple of months. The episodic plot sets up a similar dilemma to the one posed in the pilot, but this time they are able to find a solution that doesn't require Voyager to self-sacrifice. And the moment when the first stars come into visual range at the end of the episode is an impactful one. And Tom Paris's Buck Rogers meets Flash Gordon holodeck simulation, with himself cast as the hero, is pretty fun.
 

bmasters9

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It's the dreaded "type casting" where an actor, in many people's minds, becomes the role and can't escape.
Kind of like William Shatner, where despite everything else he did (the title character of T.J. Hooker, Denny Crane from Boston Legal, etc.), everyone still knows him as Capt. James T. Kirk from O-R NBC 60s Star Trek (and the animated series, and movies thereto)?
 

Adam Lenhardt

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Today I watched:
  1. "Extreme Risk": I liked the idea behind this episode, with B'Elanna Torres depressed from the massacre of her fellow Maquis and unable to process her feelings in a healthy way. But it either needed to air closer to "Hunters", when she learned the news, or the show needed to do a better job of building her disengagement into her characterization in the intervening episodes. As it is, the episode tells us that her issues have been going on for months, but we've seen nothing to indicate that her issues have been going on for months until this episode, which takes them from 0 to 60. In overall story of the show, this episode is important because it introduces the Delta Flyer, giving the show a much cooler shuttlecraft to use for the remainder of its run.

  2. "In the Flesh": In Voyager's two previous encounters with Species 8472, the events were seen through the perspective of another, more hostile species: First the Borg, and later the Hirogen. This time, not only is there not another species serving as an intermediary, but Species 8472 has adopted a form ideally suited to direct negotiations with non-telepathic species. The episode plays fair with its construct; there are inconsistencies in the presentation of Starfleet Headquarters right from the beginning. For one thing, the uniforms are all the Voyager-style uniforms, despite "Message in a Bottle" confirming that Starfleet proper had already switched to the First Contact-style uniforms. For another, there are alien species in Starfleet uniforms that are not actually members of the Federation, like the Ferengi. The most enjoyable part of the episode for me was Ray Walston's performance, at first channeling his performance as the actual Boothby from that TNG episode (which conicidentally featured Robert Duncan McNeill as a cadet) and then later playing very different notes as the leader of the Species 8472 infiltration force training on the facility. He has to go toe to toe with Janeway on equal footing, and by the end of the episode the audience respects him just as it respects Janeway. Both peoples come away with new scientific and technological knowledge, and war is potentially averted between Species 8472 and the Federation. Given how fraught Voyager's relations have been with so many of of the Delta Quadrant species, it was nice to see an interaction with a species that is about as different from humans as any yet encountered that nevertheless lives up to Federation ideals.

  3. "Timeless": I don't generally love time travel episodes, and I don't generally love episodes that open in the future at a climactic moment and then jump back in the past to tell the events leading up to that point. This episode proved to be an exception on both counts. The version of Voyager from the original timeline, trapped in ice on the Class L planet just outside the Alpha Quadrant, was very eerie and atmospheric. There are some beats, like the dissection of Seven of Nine's skull to access the needed Borg component, that are darker than this show usually attempts. The conflict driving the episode was another very solid man-versus-self story: Harry Kim has spent fifteen years trying to correct his mistake. Chakotay has returned to his rebel roots, but in the process has found a well-matched partner who reciprocates his feelings in a way that Janeway cannot. Kim's journey in this episode is accepting that there is not a perfect solution to the problem; he is only successful at averting disaster when he lowers his ambitions, safely winding down the slipstream rather than stabilizing it. The glimpse of 2390 is interesting; the Starfleet comm badges are the same as the ones from the anti-time 2395 in "All Good Things..." but the uniforms are the First Contact-style uniforms. As the show's 100th episode, it is both bigger in scope than most episodes and more important to the ongoing story of Voyager's return home. LeVar Burton both directs the episode and cameos briefly as Geordi La Forge, depicted as the captain of the USS Challenger, a Galaxy-class starship like the Enterprise-D, in 2390. Given that the timeline changes multiple times on "Voyager" and the other Star Trek shows subsequent to this, those scenes can't be taken as canon. But it is interesting as one possible future for one of Star Trek's most beloved characters. I appreciated that while the slipstream technology was ultimately not ready for prime time and had to be disassembled, the attempt -- and future Kim's adjustments -- still shaved ten years off of Voyager's journey. Each time they manage to achieve one of these leaps forward, it makes the remaining journey seem more doable, makes it seem more likely that most of these people will make it back to Earth within their lifetimes.

  4. "Infinite Regress": This episode is basically an acting showcase for Jeri Ryan, allowing her to rotate through multiple characters, sometimes in rapid succession. The contrast was especially great because Seven of Nine is normally so flat and reserved, and many of the other personalities preserved in her cortical implant were the opposite of those qualities. Everything related to the Borg vinculum felt like impenetrable technobabble to me; it was clear that they had to shut it down to save Seven of Nine, and that it was adapting to prevent them from shutting it down, but all of the specifics felt like nonsense to me. I did appreciate the inciting incident: That Species 6339 had been near exterminated after the Borg had assimilated them by the billions, and the virus that took out the Borg cube was the survivors' last and most desperate attempt to strike back and get revenge. In other news: I remembered Naomi Wildman aging very rapidly; while she is aging more rapidly than a human child would, she's aging more gradually than I remembered. She is about three years old in this episode, and the equivalent of probably an eight- or nine-year-old human. Star Trek doesn't have a great track record with child actors, but Scarlett Pomers -- the latest actress to play Naomi Wildman -- is one of the better ones. She can carry her half of scenes, without the adult actors needing to do all of the heavy lifting.
Kind of like William Shatner, where despite everything else he did (the title character of T.J. Hooker, Denny Crane from Boston Legal, etc.), everyone still knows him as Capt. James T. Kirk from O-R NBC 60s Star Trek (and the animated series, and movies thereto)?
The thing about William Shatner is that his own persona is so larger than life that it almost eclipses even James T. Kirk. I enjoy Shatner, but you never ever forget you're watching Shatner. A character actor who disappears into his roles, he is not.
 
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The Obsolete Man

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My synopsis of the episode Night: Captain Janeway deals with a grumpy garbage man while suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Anyway, I do not like modern serialization. I hate that Picard was one story chopped up into 10 parts and stuffed with filler to make it more than the 90 minute 2 parter it should've been. That rant leads me to this... I do like 1960s Marvel Comic book serialization. You have the main done in one or two story with a few subplots boiling on the backburner until they explode and become the main story. Extreme Risk is the kind of episode whose story should've boiled on the backburner for a while, then exploded, then we had some fallout for a while after.


Honestly, same goes for Mortal Coil. We should've taken more than 20 minutes to get Neelix ready to kill himself, and more than 10 minutes after that for everything to be fine. Same also goes for the upcoming (for Adam) episode "Latent Image".

And that's my biggest disappointment with Voyager... the reset button. It's like what Kevin mentioned up above with Year of Hell. There needed to be repercussions and fallout, not just "episode's over, back to normal!"
 

Jason_V

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And that's my biggest disappointment with Voyager... the reset button. It's like what Kevin mentioned up above with Year of Hell. There needed to be repercussions and fallout, not just "episode's over, back to normal!"
That's always been the biggest problem with Voyager, at least for me. Big, life changing problems pop up at the beginning of the episode and are resolved in the next 46 minutes. That's simply not how life works...things like B'Elanna's depression fester over time and you see little things here and there which build to a conclusion. Voyager largely doesn't do that when it is the perfect ST show to actually do it by it's very nature.

There are no long term consequences for the ship. If they're beaten up one week by the Kazon or Borg or 8472, they go right back to ship shape and shiny the next week. It was always maddening for me. Battlestar Galactica, for all it's faults, handled the idea of scarce resources and long gestating plot lines a lot better. I know TPTB didn't want Voyager to turn into DS9 and were snake bit by the traitor arc in Season 2 (which I liked, honestly), but this show was DESIGNED to be serialized...they just never really figured that out.

Imagine a handful of episodes which showed Janeway's increasing self-isolation which culminated in "Night." Her return to the bridge would have been more triumphant and resonant. As it is, we know there's five minutes left in the episode and Voyager will always go back to the status quo. I will enjoy the show for what it is...but I'll also always think about the "what could have been."
 

Francois Caron

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My synopsis of the episode Night: Captain Janeway deals with a grumpy garbage man while suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Best synopsis of a ST:V episode yet! :lol:

I liked The Omega Directive purely because of the idea that a single molecule can have so much energy and so easily blow itself up in your face for the briefest of time you still have a face.

And I agree with The Obsolete Man's reset button issue. ST:V used it so excessively, it quickly became a cheap cop-out just to get an extra episode in the can. I would have preferred if it were limited only to the Year Of Hell two parter episode which was very good.
 

Adam Lenhardt

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Tonight I watched:
  • "Thirty Days": This was far from a flawless episode, but there was a lot I liked. It was a good "check-in" episode to see where Tom Paris is on his redemption arc, and had quite a bit to say about both Paris's principles and his feelings toward his father. It had a pretty kinky scene in the holodeck early on where it's heavily implied that Harry Kim enjoys being the submissive in BDSM sexual roleplaying. The location itself was unique, an ocean floating in space without a planet.The core conflict of the water dissipating, and the political and economic forces that would oppose the necessary solution all felt blah. But Paris's demotion and incarceration had some kick to them, and I appreciated that Tom Paris was still an ensign at the center of the episode.
 

Adam Lenhardt

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Tonight I watched:
  • "Counterpoint": This was one of those episodes where the writer's hand is felt a little bit too strongly; things happen because the writer needs them to happen, not because they're what the characters would do. After several episodes where Janeway has left innocent people to die in order to preserve Voyager's neutrality, here she has taken on refugees that put the rest of the ship at risk. It's a noble choice, but not one I necessarily buy from her under these circumstances. This is the first time where we see Janeway take a romantic interest in someone, but the episode doesn't earn it. The Devore inspector starts the episode as a pompous ass, and ends the episode as a pompous ass. He's a good opponent for Janeway, because they're playing a similar game, but I don't know that I necessarily bought into the heat that was supposed to be between them.

  • "Latent Image": On the other hand, I liked this episode a lot. The Doctor's been going on a similar journey to the one experienced by Data on TNG, but The Doctor wasn't nearly as sophisticated to start with, and he didn't have the captain in corner from the beginning the way Data did. In this episode, Janeway compares him to the replicator, just another of the ship's appliances, and he certainly started out that way. But more or less by accident, and haphazardly, he has far exceeded his original mandate. I really liked that Seven of Nine, being a cyborg, was the one who could put herself in the Doctor's shoes, and I l really liked that Janeway heard Seven of Nine's advocacy on the Doctor's behalf, grappled with it, and ultimately came to a different conclusion. At the beginning of the episode, she saw the Doctor as a sophisticated appliance. By the end of the episode, she saw the Doctor as a being, with all of the rights and responsibilities that entails. And that means letting the Doctor work through this scenario that the original EMH programming didn't prepare him for on his own. By the end of the episode, he hasn't fully resolved his guilt, but he's found a way to live with it and become functional again. I loved the ambiguity of that final scene, and that the Doctor came out the other side of his moral quandary changed, even if those changes are under the surface.
 

Nelson Au

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Adam, I’m fully invested now with my TNG re-viewing, so I stopped watching Voyager, but I’m enjoying your reviews and impressions of these episodes. I don’t remember all the episodes you’ve seen, so I’m trying not to spoil it, even though I’d seen them several times already!

I do remember CounterPoint. I agree it’s an unusual one. It is a game Janeway is playing with the Devore inspector and he’s playing it too and that made it interesting. I think they did like each other. I recently either saw or read Mulgrew talk about that episode as it was right up her alley and she savored the acting challenge of it. But I agree with you, it’s an oddball one when Voyager is helping those refugees.
 

Osato

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I’m watching ds9 season 5. Just watched trials and tribbulations

it was......fun
 

Adam Lenhardt

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Tonight I watched:
  • "Bride of Chaotica!": This was a pretty frivolous episode, but the writers and actors were clearly having a good time making it, and that energy carries through. The episode never takes itself too seriously, and there's some meta commentary on episodic television that's slipped in, too. The idea of photonic lifeforms, on a similar exploratory mission to Voyager's, whose only common reference point with biological life was the holodeck, was an intriguing way to set the farce in motion. And the actor who played the lead photonic alien looked quite a bit like Michael Rennie in The Day the Earth Stood Still, perhaps another tip of the hat to period science fiction.

  • "Bliss": This show loves its bait and switch episodes where Voyager seems poised to make it back to the Alpha Quadrant, only for Lucy to pull the football away at the last moment. But unlike most of the episodes that fall into this category, the audience is clued in very early on that this opportunity to get home should not be trusted. And the wish fulfillment manifestations provided insight into many of our characters' desires. Likewise, the fact that Seven of Nine and Naomi Wildman were impervious to the wish fulfillment spoke to the fact that neither of them had an emotional investment in Earth. Speaking of Naomi Wildman: I continue to be impressed how the show has used her. The "Voyager" writers clearly learned from TNG's mistakes with Wesley Crusher. Naomi is a very smart little girl, possibly a biproduct of her hybrid physiology's accelerated development, but she's still a kid. She doesn't swoop in and save the day. Instead, she's a sounding board for the adult characters, a different perspective that allows them to see whatever they're grappling with in a different light. I also liked that the threat in this episode wasn't a conventional one; instead of another humanoid species with slightly different hair, ears, or facial features, this is an alien that is truly alien. It's the kind of threat that a TOS episode would have been centered around. And the Ahab-esque character who'd been trying to get revenge against the creature for decades was a lot of fun.

  • "Dark Frontier" (two-parter): Strangely, unlike the other two-parters, this is edited together on Netflix as an uninterrupted 90-minute episode. I didn't love it. My problems with it were both fundamental and specific. On a really basic level, the writing didn't work for me. The first hour, in particular, is full of one-liners that would have felt more at home on "C.S.I." or "Law & Order" than on "Voyager". Cliff Bole's direction is full of showy shots that draw attention to themselves and pulled me out of the story. Taken as a whole, the two episodes felt like a sweeps event that really wanted you to know that it was a sweeps event. Of all the Borg stories "Voyager" has done to date, this one most directly parallels First Contact, and it suffers from the comparison despite sharing in a writer in Brannon Braga. It was frustrating from a continuity standpoint, too. Perhaps most egregiously, portraying Seven of Nine's parents as anthropologists studying the Borg for years. It retroactively undermines "Q Who", which derives its power from being the shocking and premature first contact between the Federation and the Borg. It's also strange that the Borg Queen is portrayed as a unitary figure. Given that the one in First Contact was killed, the only plausible explanation is that Borg Queens are like army generals: they organize and lead, but there are quite a few of them. On the positive side, I always enjoy Susanna Thompson and the idea that the Borg allowed Seven of Nine to be captured and Voyager to un-assimilate her as an extended experiment and intelligence gathering operation was an interesting one. The idea of a heist to steal a transwarp coil was exciting, albeit implausibly reckless. I appreciated that the ordeal the characters went through in this story wasn't in vain, as the stolen transwarp coil shaved another 15 years off their journey home.
 
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Walter Kittel

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I haven't watched ST: Voyager since watching some of the original broadcasts and maybe a few repeats years later (in syndication?) Anyway, seeing this thread reminded me that the series was available on Amazon Prime so I dipped my toes in the pool and watch the premiere episode "Caretaker". Despite some clunkiness in the dialog this was conceptually a pretty strong premiere episode. I enjoyed the setup and the introduction of the crew. Robert Picardo reminded me of why he was probably my favorite cast member with his dry delivery. I was somewhat surprised that I remembered virtually all of the crew members. The ones that I didn't recall did not make it out of the 2 hour premiere. :(

I have always been of the opinion that one needs to put ones self in the mindset of when a program was created to be able to get optimum enjoyment out of an older program; and that will definitely be the case with an SF series that dates back 25 years. I know that some Star Trek series relied upon models and that Babylon 5 was the first series to extensively use CGI for its space sequences. Voyager clearly relies upon some CGI sequences ( most notably in the title sequence with the ice rings ). It will be interesting to see how the FX holds up as I (maybe) continue to view the series. I believe Voyager eventually went 100% CGI for its exterior sequences.

I have plenty to watch so I am not sure about watching a 25 year old series that I moderately enjoyed, but maybe I'll stick with it. As I said "Caretaker' had a decent SF premise of humans interacting with alien technology that was in decline. I was tired when I watched the episode but it seemed like the episode kind of glossed over the infection that was affecting Torres and Kim. (They were displaying lesions on the skin while in the care of the Ocampans; and then they escaped and were cured?) Maybe they'll pick that up on the next episode.

- Walter.
 

Osato

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I haven't watched ST: Voyager since watching some of the original broadcasts and maybe a few repeats years later (in syndication?) Anyway, seeing this thread reminded me that the series was available on Amazon Prime so I dipped my toes in the pool and watch the premiere episode "Caretaker". Despite some clunkiness in the dialog this was conceptually a pretty strong premiere episode. I enjoyed the setup and the introduction of the crew. Robert Picardo reminded me of why he was probably my favorite cast member with his dry delivery. I was somewhat surprised that I remembered virtually all of the crew members. The ones that I didn't recall did not make it out of the 2 hour premiere. :(

I have always been of the opinion that one needs to put ones self in the mindset of when a program was created to be able to get optimum enjoyment out of an older program; and that will definitely be the case with an SF series that dates back 25 years. I know that some Star Trek series relied upon models and that Babylon 5 was the first series to extensively use CGI for its space sequences. Voyager clearly relies upon some CGI sequences ( most notably in the title sequence with the ice rings ). It will be interesting to see how the FX holds up as I (maybe) continue to view the series. I believe Voyager eventually went 100% CGI for its exterior sequences.

I have plenty to watch so I am not sure about watching a 25 year old series that I moderately enjoyed, but maybe I'll stick with it. As I said "Caretaker' had a decent SF premise of humans interacting with alien technology that was in decline. I was tired when I watched the episode but it seemed like the episode kind of glossed over the infection that was affecting Torres and Kim. (They were displaying lesions on the skin while in the care of the Ocampans; and then they escaped and were cured?) Maybe they'll pick that up on the next episode.

- Walter.
move watched the series twice and I really enjoy it.
The second time through was watching it with my wife. She liked it too.
We are working on deep space nine now.
 

BobO'Link

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I have always been of the opinion that one needs to put ones self in the mindset of when a program was created to be able to get optimum enjoyment out of an older program...
Movies too. I do that all the time.

Many people don't get this and apply "modern" sensibilities, prejudices, and overly "PC" attitudes to older material. That's often the case when someone calls an older TV show or movie "cheesy," complains about visual effects quality, or decries depiction of certain events and/or mores of those times.

That also means you have to have knowledge of the time in which those products were created. Those same people who don't watch that way likely know nothing about the times and won't take the time to learn enough history to be able to properly watch an older product.
 

Bryan^H

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I just watched Survival Instinct for the first time. I'm not sure how I missed this episode first time through, but I did.

This is honestly one of the best episodes of Voyager (probably thee best, I have to take some more time to think about it)
and went straight into my top 10 Trek episodes of all time.

Truly satisfying, and heartbreaking. This is it folks, this is everything great about Star Trek wrapped in a 45 minute burst of brilliance!!
 
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Osato

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I just watched Survival Instinct for the first time. I'm not sure how I missed this episode first time through, but I did.

This is honestly one of the best episodes of Voyager (probably thee best, I have to take some more time to think about it)
and went straight into my top 10 Trek episodes of all time.

Truly satisfying, and heartbreaking. This is it folks, this is everything great about Star Trek wrapped in a 45 minute burst of brilliance!!
wow!
 

Kevin Hewell

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I complain about Voyager but I still like the show.

In fact I don't there's a Star Trek series I don't like

DS9 is probably my favorite, though.
 
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Bryan^H

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Ronald D Moore. He is already my favorite Star Trek writer, and that episode is just another reason why.
And props to Jeri Ryan who handled that Borg centered episode with probably the best acting I have ever seen from her.
Being both emotionally frail, and strong was haunting. Not an easy thing to pull off as an actor. She pulled it off wonderfully.
 
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