My wife and I have now watched all of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, along with every episode currently available for Star Trek: Discovery. On my own, I’d already seen all of Star Trek before we met, but it’s been really cool to revisit the franchise with her.
This weekend, we took a step into another new series with her with the pilot of Star Trek: Voyager. Since then, we’ve watched a few more episodes, and so far I’m liking Voyager a lot more than I remembered liking it before.
Deep Space Nine is my favorite series in the franchise, by a huge margin, because of the ongoing storylines that let us see development in the characters and the cultures that the show focuses on. Voyager, on the other hand, I remember as a throwback to the episodic nature of The Next Generation, with plot lines that left characters totally unchanged episode to episode.
So far, the reasons for that criticism have already been on full display, with literally the first two episodes after the pilot centered around time travel malarkey that undermines the idea of growth. In episode 3, “Time and Again”, they don’t just have a typical episodic show’s “reset button” format, they literally mess with the timeline in order to reset the episode back to where it started, so that the events of the episode never actually happened!
So, I know I’m still going to have problems with Voyager, but what has also stood out to me so far is how much fun it is to watch a Star Trek show about exploration. We’ve been so focused in on DS9’s political intrigue on ongoing war and Discovery’s season-long story arcs that I forgot how much fun it is to watch a crew in *those* uniforms uncover some weird thing just before the opening credits, spend about 35 minutes investigating and discussing the moral and philosophical implications of that weird thing, and then zip away at warp speed for the next oddity at the end of the episode.
It’s formulaic and episodic, but it’s still Star Trek, and that’s something that I’ll always love.