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Star Trek: Voyager went where no Trek had gone before — with the pilot stranding the ship in the Delta quadrant, decades away from home at maximum warp.
Kate Mulgrew (Janeway), Robert Beltran (Chakotay), Roxann Dawson (Torres), Jennifer Lien (Kes), Robert Duncan McNeill (Paris), Ethan Phillips (Neelix), Robert Picardo (The Doctor), Tim Russ (Tuvok), Jeri Ryan (Seven of Nine) and Garrett Wang (Kim) helped keep Trek alive for seven seasons from 1995-2001, breaking ground as the first show toplined by a female captain.
To mark the 50th anniversary of Star Trek this month, The Hollywood Reporter counted down the top 100 episodes of Star Trek across all six TV series. Now we're breaking that list down even further — ranking the episodes by individual series. (Check out our rankings from the original series, Next Generation and Deep Space Nine.)
Here, you'll find some of the cast Voyager sharing what makes these episodes among the best of what Janeway's crew had to offer.
For fans wanting that much-talked-about Captain Sulu show that never materialized, this was as close as we got. George Takei guest starred as the captain of the Excelsior, where he was Tuvok's commanding officer decades ago.
The series premiere for Voyager promised a Star Trek like none before it, with it boasting a female lead, a mixed crew of Starfleet and Maquis, and a ship alone in the Delta Quadrant. Premiering seven months after the end of Next Generation, the pilot did take some inspiration from the adventures of the Enterprise-D, whose crew on more than one occasion was flung to the far reaches of space (only to be returned by the end of the episode).
"It was a 31-day shoot. Typically, it would take 14 days to film a two-part episode," recalls Garrett Wang (Harry Kim). "It was exciting to meet my co-stars for the first time. For this episode we filmed at a multitude of locations, which kept it interesting."
"Mortal Coil" dealt with life, death and belief, with Neelix (Ethan Phillips) brought back from the dead thanks to Seven of Nine's technology, only to dive into a deep depression after returning to life with the knowledge that his people's heaven does not exist. Eventually, he turns to suicide.
"Chakotay finds him just as he’s just about to beam himself out into the void. Chakotay tells him he is needed on the ship for his unique gifts," recalls Phillips, who says the episode is his favorite. "The brilliance of the episode is its lesson: There is no security in life, safety is a myth, and what saves us in the face of this great uncertainty is the kindness we bestow on each other."
It's a meeting of like minds (literally) when two versions of Voyager are stuck in the same space and two Janeways must work together to get them out of it. Our Voyager is disabled, and Janeway offers to sacrifice her crew so that the other crew might live. The episode added a new layer of grit to Voyager, with an entire crew facing its death with grace, and our Janeway in particular being unphased by the prospect. In an oft-forgotten piece of Voyager trivia, the Ensign Kim we start the series with is not the same Kim we finish it with, as he's replaced by the Kim on the alternate Voyager.
"Worst Case Scenario"
Tuvok, it turns out, is quite the author. A holodeck program he wrote as a training exercise in case his Maquis shipmates staged a coup ends up becoming all the rage amongst the crew. Unfortunately, he stopped writing the program once he determined there was little risk of a revolt taking place — thus the novel has no ending. In classic Star Trek fashion, there's a twist, and yes, it involves safety protocols being turned off. (Why is this still an option?)
Showrunner Brannon Braga's love for the high concept is evident in this episode that starts 15 years in the future, revealing how just how unsuccessful Voyager was in attempting to get home (It might have crashed just weeks after the previous episode the audience had seen) before trying to undo the damage thanks to both the vagaries of time travel and the guest appearance of The Next Generation's Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton, who also directed the episode.) Although the future glimpsed ended up never happening, it nonetheless made an impression on Ensign Harry Kim (Garrett Wang), who got a confidence boost from his future self.
"Since 'Timeless' was the 100th episode of Voyager, the executive producers wanted it to be the signature episode. Brannon Braga referred to it as Voyager's 'City on the Edge of Forever,' " says Wang. "Playing future Kim and current Kim gave me a chance to really stretch as an actor. In fact, it was during the filming of this episode that Robert Picardo (The Doctor) came to me and said, 'Garrett, you can act!' (laughs)."
"Future's End Parts I & II"
Every Starfleet crew deserves a chance to return to 20th century Earth, and Voyager was no different. After a time ship from the 29th century attempts to destroy Voyager for a future transgression, both ships are flung back to 1990s America. Although Star Trek IV remains the gold standard when it comes to excursions in contemporary America, this one has plenty of charm too. Bonus points for Tuvok and Paris turning their portion of the story into a buddy comedy.
"Hope and Fear"
Just one season into her tenure, Seven of Nine makes an important choice in the show's fourth season finale, deciding that she doesn't want to return to Borg space — which is exactly where she's headed thanks to an untrustworthy alien (Ray Wise, clearly enjoying the role) who's attempt to help the Voyager crew is revealed to be a sham, wasting an important chance to get the ship home … and teasing the audience with the possibility of a new Starfleet ship along the way.
"Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy"
Voyager wasn't exactly known for its comedy episodes, which makes this late entry in the series — written by series regular Joe Menosky from a story by cartoonist Bill Vallely — so enjoyable. The Emergency Medical Hologram (Robert Picardo, rarely more fun) gives himself the ability to daydream, not expecting how valuable it will be when the ship comes under surveillance by an alien race who have reason to believe the Doctor's fantasies.
Not for the first time — "Timeless," anyone? — the series finale features a future that seeks to undo itself by righting previous wrongs, but there's so much more to be found than simply rehash: a long-awaited showdown with the Borg, the answer to whether or not Voyager would ever get home (Technically, two answers, given the time travel hook of the story) and, most importantly of all, the revelation of what the Emergency Medical Hologram has chosen to name himself after years of consideration. That alone earns it a place on this list. (The answer, by the way, is Joe.)
"Blink of an Eye"
While Starfleet crews often seemed like outsiders when visiting alien planets, rarely was that as keenly felt as this episode, in which time passes differently between the starship and the planet below, giving the Voyager the chance to watch a society evolve before its very eyes. Featuring a pre-Lost Daniel Dae Kim in an early appearance as an alien astronaut, this episode harkened back to the hard sci-fi roots of the franchise's origins.
Wait, there is an alien race out there more powerful than The Borg? On the one hand, the introduction of Species 8472 was a game changer both for Trek and Voyager. It was a mindblowing notion that the Borg might have to team up with anyone, much less Janeway. On the other hand, it was the beginning of making the Borg a lot less scary.The two-part episode introduced Seven of Nine, which changed the entire dynamic of the series, with the character becoming a focal point starting with season 4.
After 700 years of being offline, a backup copy of The Doctor (Robert Picardo) is reactivated, to discover a historical recreation of Voyager's journey has painted the ship and its crew as genocidal maniacs.
"It is classic science fiction, taking on an issue — revising history to serve a political agenda — in a way we can only dream of," says Picardo. "Regarding the shooting of this episode, I remember that the guest actor, Henry Woronicz and I both had excellent Ed Wynn (Mary Poppins) impressions and rehearsed our very dramatic scenes using our 'Dueling Wynnes' to the initial amusement and eventual exasperation of all present."
"Equinox Parts I & 2"
While Voyager purposefully shied away from the grittier implications of its displaced crew series concept — something that later fed into Ronald D. Moore's Battlestar Galactica reboot, after his short-lived experience on the show — this two-parter offered an exciting glimpse into what could've been, with the introduction of another Starfleet crew lost in the Delta Quadrant that had fallen prey to their worst impulses in their attempt to survive. Consider it a welcome view into a darker Voyager we didn’t get — if a somewhat frustrating one, as well.
"Year of Hell"
Voyager at times gets grief for not being as gritty as the premise promised, but even the most cynical of fans can't deny that "Year of Hell" delivered the goods, with the crew battling a genocidal villain (Kurtwood Smith) manipulating time itself. His opening act: erasing an entire civilization from time itself. If that's not dark, we don't know what is.
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