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STAR TREK: VOYAGER
Season Six

Review by Mark Wiechman

Stars:  Kate Mulgrew, Robert Beltran, Roxann Dawson, Jennifer Lien, Robert Duncan McNeill, Robert Picardo, Ethan Phillips, Tim Russ, Garrett Wang, Jeri Ryan
Directors:  Various
Video:  1:33:1
Audio:  Dolby Digital Stereo and 5.1
Studio:  Paramount Home Video
Length: Seven discs, 20 hours, 16 minutes
Release date: December 7, 2004

"A word to the wise.  Stay away from Maggie O'Hollerand.  She is promised to a pig farmer with a large rink."

"Does she have a sister?"

"Wooden teeth."

"Nothing a little adjustment to the hollow-matrix wouldn't fix."

Show ***1/2 

How many dramas continue to be interesting after five seasons?  Six?  Seven?  While the end of the series was near, Voyager continued to boldly go where no sci-fi drama had gone before in its sixth season.  B'Elanna Torres discovers more about herself, dis-assimilated Borg children cause some chaos, Seven of Nine takes on The Rock (yes, the wrestler), and in Equinox several crewmembers actually become assimilated by the Borg and live to tell about it. 

More importantly, the ship does make contact with Earth in one of the series' most interesting episodes, Pathfinder.  Featuring the neurotic Lt. Reginald Barclay (played wonderfully by Dwight Schultz) and the evanescent Counselor Deanna Troi (played with undiminished sexiness by Marina Sirtis) of Next Generation, the episode begins with the goofy premise that Barclay has become obsessed with the holodeck, spending most of his time with a simulation of the Voyager crew.  He decides to use his manic knowledge of physics to devise a way to contact the ship all the way from Earth and endangers himself to do so.  Counselor Troi also appears in "Life Line," in which the ship again contacts earth because the creator of the Emergency Medical Hologram is dying.  This provides Robert Picardo the chance to play two roles, one as the cantankerous holographic doctor, and the other as his bitter creator.

Another interesting episode is “Fair Haven” (quoted above), which features a simulation of a sweet and placid Irish town.  Many crew members find romance, including Captain Janeway, only to find that even simulated romance can cause real broken hearts.  The charm of the townspeople is irresistible and a welcome break from the all-too-serious and stilted Delta Quadrant.  Janeway deletes the romantic make hologram's wife, and the doctor even plays a priest!

Episode list: Equinox part II, Survival Instinct, Barge of the Dead,  Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy;  Alice,
Riddles,  Dragon's Teeth, One Small Step, The Voyager Conspiracy,  Pathfinder,  Fair Haven, Blink of an Eye,  Virtuoso,  Memorial, Tsunkatse, Collective, Spirit Folk, Ashes to Ashes, Child's Play, Good Shepard, Live Fast and Prosper, Muse, Fury, Life Line, The Haunting of Deck Twelve, Unimatrix Zero part I.

Video ****

As with prior seasons, the picture is crisp and clear, despite the fact that so many special effects were done before the digital revolution and so many dark scenes.  I could not detect any visual flaws.

Audio ****

Science fiction still rocks in 5.1!!!  While the rear speakers are not used as much as in some adventure movies such as X-Men, they are still used mainly for background effects and explosions, and the dialogue is still heard easily in the mix.  Voyager always featured excellent sound production and mixing, as good as any on TV, and that translated well into the DVD mix.

Features ***

While the usual "Braving the Unknown" segment is interesting, and features an interview with Marina Sirtis, and the "One Small Step: A Mars Encounter" shows work which might inspire future space exploration, the feature on Robert Beltran's portrayal of Chakotay is strangely bland.  According to every member of the cast, he is a hilarious person, but in his actual interview, he has little to say.  Perhaps he is trying not to complain about how little his character actually had to do over seven years.  He does point out how he likes the spiritual side of the character as a native American, and also how he admired explorers when he was young, and this combination of a spiritual explorer attracted him to the role, even though he was not much of a science fiction fan. 

There is also the obligatory special effects special and a guest star profile of Vaughn Armstrong, who has been a frequent guest star on several Star Trek series.  There are also the usual easy-to-find Easter Eggs that have short but interesting interviews.

Summary:

Slightly less interesting than some other seasons, but still featuring enough excellent and gripping enough to stick around for Season 7, Voyager continued to seek out new life forms and good holographic escapes while frying Borg for dinner.

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