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STAR TREK:  VOYAGER
Season Seven

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:  Full Frame 1:33:1
Audio:  Dolby Digital Stereo and 5.1
Studio:  Paramount
Special Features: See Review
Length: Seven discs, 18 hours, 53 minutes
Release date: December 21, 2004

“I was hoping our daughter would be special, but I never dreamed she'd turn out to be the Klingon Messiah.”

Shows ****

Viruses which cut the link between drones and the Borg Queen.  Holograms which adapt and make decisions on their own.  A Vulcan beating up his fellow crew members.  An excitable Klingon pregnant with her human husband’s child…which might be the Klingon messiah?  Q wants Janeway to have his child?  And Janeway meets her future self, telling her to take a chance on going home?  The holographic doctor experiences death, then demands equal rights for holograms everywhere?  Whew!

Too often a drama series goes out with a whimper instead of a bang, often due to budget problems, defections of key writers and actors, or just a loss of inertia.  Voyager suffered none of these, sticking around just long enough.  While some episodes are more interesting than others, the series still went where no Star Trek had gone before in its last season.

The first episode is Unimatrix Zero, Part II, which has the crew trying to undermine the Borg from within.  Seeing Janeway as a Borg is chilling…and wow, is she ugly as a Klingon!  The last two episodes deal with how Voyager almost does not make it home until many, many years later.  These episodes alone are reason to watch them all.  You know that it will have a happy ending, but it seems impossible until the last second.  It is like an amusement park ride with the good guys on one side and your friends on the other, and you are in the middle, just hoping you get home in one piece!

Episode list: Unimatrix Zero Part II, Imperfection, Drive, Repression, Critical Care, Inside Man, Body and Soul, Nightingale, Flesh and Blood Part I, Flesh and Blood Part II, Shattered, Lineage, Repentance, Prophecy, The Void, Workforce Part I, Workforce Part II, Human Error, Q2, Author Author, Friendship One, Natural Law, Homestead, Renaissance Man, Endgame Part I, Endgame Part II

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 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 ***1/2

Finally the Doctor, one of the most popular characters of the series as nobly portrayed by Robert Picardo, has his interview.  Probably the most entertaining of the cast profiles; Picardo even ends his witty and revealing interview by comparing himself with Jean Luc Picard as another follically challenged sex object for beautiful women!

Other features include the final Braving the Unknown: Season 7, which is also one of the more interesting installments of that recurring special feature.  Coming Home: The Final Episode reveals that the plot of the final episode had been on the back burner of the writers' minds for some time.  Other special features include Real Science with Andre Bormanis; The Making of Borg Invasion 4-D; and Lost Transmissions from the Delta Quadrant.  There are several Easter Eggs with nice bits of info any fan will enjoy.

Summary:

Voyager left when it was still excellent, which is just the right time.  I miss it, but seven seasons’ worth of adventures in the Delta Quadrant were a significant contribution to Star Trek lore and to science fiction mythology as a whole.  Now the entire adventure can be watched any time thanks to the magic of DVD.  Welcome home!

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