Star Trek Voyager Season 4 – television series review

"Star Trek Voyager" - season 4 DVD cover.
“Star Trek Voyager” – season 4 DVD cover.

Star Trek Voyager Season 4 picks up right where season three left off (second half of a two-part episode). Kathryn Janeway (played by Kate Mulgrew) has made a deal with the devil—the Borg Queen— in order to try to find something which can defeat Species 8472, an alien race even more powerful than the Borg.

The second half of “Scorpion” introduces one of my favorite characters in the series: Seven of Nine, played by Jeri Ryan. She seemed to be simply eye candy, placed in the series to improve ratings through sheer sexiness. I admit I actually didn’t like her at first. I found her obnoxious and irritating, but this character brought a real depth to the series. Kes was a nice, generally sweet character, but she really hadn’t been doing anything to move the show along in the last season or so, and so it was good to replace her.

Star Trek Voyager Season 4 was a turning point in the series. Instead of relying on the pointless conflict with the Kazon and Seska—neither of whom provided anything more than paper cutout targets to fill episode time—the series picked up the pace and got back on track with actually trying to get home. The major characters were better fleshed out, and not everyone was trying to kill the crew (though there was still plenty of that).

We revisit the promised “Year of Hell” double episode (previously mentioned in the season 3 episode, “Before and After”). The story was interesting, and the guest characters were also interesting. I loved how the writers played with how different things can affect time when it is manipulated. I think it showed the fallibility of trying to make things perfect without a complete understanding of how every action will affect things. This was one of the stronger episodes in Star Trek Voyager Season 4.

The Hirogen are one of the more interesting alien races encountered by the Voyager crew. I suspect they were inspired—at least in part—by the hunt-loving Predators from the movie franchise of the same name. They love to hunt, and they love having dangerous prey. In the two-part episode, “The Killing Game”, the Hirogen take over Voyager and put the entire crew into a holodeck simulation of World War II in France. The Hirogen play the part of the Nazis, whom they admire for their boldness and ruthlessness. How this episode is resolved comes back at a later date to impact the Voyager crew in season 7.

One of my favorite episodes in the entire series is “Living Witness”, in which the Doctor finds himself in the far future as part of a museum exhibit on an alien planet. Instead of accurate representations of what the crew of Voyager was like, the museum instead presents a very slanted view based off misunderstanding and wild interpolation of incomplete information. The Doctor tries to get the correct information presented, but the alien population is divided on the issue. This was a good analogy of how we try to recreate ancient civilizations based on the very little information we often have about them.

Star Trek Voyager Season 4 was the strongest season of the first four, and really helped keep the series interesting to me. I was beginning to lose hope after the first three seasons didn’t seem to be going anywhere (for the most part). Hold onto the occasional gems in the first two-and-a-half seasons and get to the last half of season three and then this season. From here, things tend to be much better.

Original Air Dates: September 3, 1997 – May 20, 1998 (USA)
TV Parental Guidelines Rating: TV-PG
Network: UPN (United Paramount Network)
Language: English

MySF Rating: Three point five stars
Family Friendliness: 90%

Content:

Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (some social drinking)
Language: 1 (occasional minor and deity)
Nudity: 0
Sexuality: 1 (implied sex, some romantic relationships)
Violence: 2 (regular science fiction fighting, space battles, deaths, nothing graphic)

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