Created by: Rick Berman, Michael Piller, and Jeri Taylor, based on Gene Roddenberry’s universe
Starring: Kate Mulgrew, Robert Beltran, Roxann Biggs-Dawson, Jennifer Lien, Robert Duncam McNeill, Ethan Phillips, Robert Picardo, Garrett Wang, and Tim Russ
- All twenty-six third season episodes
- “Braving the Unknown, Season 3” retrospective docu
- Voyager Time Capsules for Neelix and Kes: interviews regarding the characters
- A Flashback to “Flashback”: making-of docu for the episode
- “Red Alert: Amazing Visual Effects” featurette
- “Real Science with Andre Bormanis” science fiction vs. fact featurette
- Interviews with cast and crew discussing season three
- Photo gallery
Released by: Paramount
Rating: NR, suitable for audiences 12+
Anamorphic: N/A; appears in original 1.33:1 TV aspect
My Advice: Worth a rental, as this season is the best the show has to offer.
[ad#longpost]With The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, the third season marked the point at which those Star Trek shows hit their stride, working out early kinks and narrative indecision to carry the show onward through several more seasons. It is with the third season that all the warts and shortcomings of those shows are forgiven, and things generally tend upward through the close of the series. Not so with Voyager, alas. More accurately, the third season of this show marks the end of the show’s potential. With the loss of series co-creator Michael Piller, the series took a turn in season four that many regard as the final nail in the coffin.
That said, the show still suffers some of the fundamental problems it has had since day one. Janeway (Mulgrew) is as unlikable a character as ever, and the consequent lack of a strong leader figure makes the show feel disjointed and without a cohesive direction. In the vacuum left, however, some of the supporting cast really get a chance to shine. Most notable in this season are the departing Jennifer Lien as Kes and Ethan Phillips as Neelix. Robert Picardo does a solid turn as The Doctor (easily my favorite character of the entire series), also.
This season contains some solid sci-fi storytelling, but too often relies on connections to other installments in the Star Trek universe, including the much-hyped “Flashback,” which uses some digital wizardry to insert Tuvok (Russ) under Capt. Sulu’s (George Takei, continuing the trend of original series guest appearances) command during the events of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. The visuals are impressive, but the “wow” factor has sort of worn off since Forrest Gump. There’s also a connection via the Ferengi to NextGen and a tie-in to original series classic “The City on the Edge of Forever.” In comparison, previous Star Trek shows have pulled this trick out once or twice over seven-year runs. Voyager crams three into one season. It’s almost as if even the show’s creators didn’t believe the series could stand on its own two feet (it couldn’t, but that doesn’t excuse the creative bankruptcy).
The DVDs are loaded, as is typical for Star Trek fare, though the bonus material isn’t quite as deep nor as interesting as past season sets have been. The best of the bonus stuff doesn’t even show up easily…there are featurettes buried throughout the set as “easter eggs.” This is entertaining for one or two short snippets or maybe some outtake reels, but it’s irritating for those that just want to get to the bloody extras without playing hide-n-go-seek with their DVD remote.
This season represents the pinnacle of a troubled series. There are some bright spots to be found amidst the desperate grabs for legitimacy via tie-in, but one has to have some patience to find them. The show merits a rental for fans of the franchise or of sci-fi in general, but only the most die-hard fans of the show are likely to be interested in keeping this one on the shelf.