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The superior and highly entertaining season four of STAR TREK: VOYAGER showed that the television series had finally come into its own, and proved that this incarnation of Trek was worthy of the franchise created by that Great Bird of the Galaxy Gene Roddenberry. The addition of the freed Borg drone changed the dynamic of the show, which seemed to have taken on a darker edge in many of the episodes, not to mention that actress Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine gave STAR TREK: VOYAGER a sleeker, sexier attitude. Moving into its fifth year, STAR TREK: VOYAGER continued its winning ways producing a solid season of science fiction entertainment.

For those unfamiliar with STAR TREK: VOYAGER, the basic premise of this forth Trek incarnation finds the crew of the Federation Starship Voyager transported halfway across the galaxy and trying to make their way home from the Delta Quadrant- a seventy-year journey at maximum speed. The Voyager ship’s crew features Kate Mulgrew as Captain Kathryn Janeway, Robert Beltran as Commander Chakotay, Roxann Dawson as Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres, Robert Duncan McNeill as Lieutenant Tom Paris, Ethan Phillips as Neelix, Robert Picardo as The Doctor, Tim Russ as Lieutenant Commander Tuvok and Garrett Wang as Ensign Harry Kim.

STAR TREK: VOYAGER- SEASON FIVE ($130) comes to DVD in a seven-disc set that features all twenty-six episodes that were aired in the fifth year. The twenty-six featured episodes are as follows: Night, Drone, Extreme Risk, In The Flesh, Once Upon A Time, Timeless, Infinite Regress, Nothing Human, Thirty Days, Counterpoint, Latent Image, Bride Of Chaotica, Gravity, Bliss, Dark Frontier Part 1, Dark Frontier Part 2, The Disease, Course: Oblivion, The Fight, Think Tank, Juggernaut, Someone To Watch Over Me, 11:59, Relativity, Warhead and Equinox Part 1. Personal favorites among season five’s episodes include: In The Flesh, which finds the crew of Voyager finding a little piece of home, as well as an unexpected encounter with Species 8472. Timeless is one of those great stories in which Voyager crewmembers once again break the Temporal Prime Directive to save their ship and their future. Latent Image finds the Doctor in the midst of a conspiracy surround events that have been wiped from his memory. Dark Frontier Parts 1 & 2 features another encounter with The Borg and their Queen, who wants Seven of Nine to rejoin the collective- or else. Course: Oblivion finds the ship and crew of Voyager facing certain annihilation from an unknown cause. Relativity is another great time travel story, one in which 29th century agents enlist Seven of Nine to prevent Voyager’s destruction, and root out whomever has been tampering with the timeline.

Paramount Home Entertainment has made all twenty-six episodes from STAR TREK: VOYAGER- SEASON FIVE available on DVD in the proper full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. Like the preceding sets, STAR TREK: VOYAGER- SEASON FIVE looks great on DVD. Considering that STAR TREK: VOYAGER was an effects laden series competed on a television budget, the episodes offer a reasonably impressive visual quality. For the most part everything looks sharp and very nicely defined. There are some softer looking shots here and there, but they really don’t detract from the viewing experience. Colors are pretty nicely saturated, and never display any significant fuzziness. Blacks are accurately rendered, whites are clean and while the contrast is kept within the scope of television broadcast, the picture maintains a fairly dimensional quality. Even with four episodes on a dual layer disc, digital compression artifacts are always nicely contained.

Like the earlier releases, all the episodes that comprise STAR TREK: VOYAGER- SEASON FIVE feature soundtracks that have been upgraded to Dolby Digital 5.1 channel format. As expected, the 5.1 sound mixes appear to be direct transcriptions of the pre-matrixed surround sound stems prepared for television broadcast. Still, STAR TREK: VOYAGER was a well-mixed TV show from late1990’s, so the soundtracks prove to be quite effective and engaging. The strongest portion of the audio content is localized to the forward soundstage, with the rears adding a nice complement of ambient sounds, engine rumble and musical fill. Of course, sequences with space battles offer more sonic sparks than the more talky ship bound portions of the show. Fidelity is quite good for a television production, with the music producing a nice sense of presence and the sound effects having a convincing quality. Dialogue is always cleanly rendered, plus the bass channel is fairly sturdy for a television level production. English Dolby Surround soundtracks are also encoded onto the DVDs, as are English subtitles.

3-D animation, plus sound serve to enhance the DVD’s interactive menus. Through the menus one has access to the set up and episode selection features, as well as the supplemental materials, which have been relegated to disc seven of the set. Braving the Unknown: Season Five is a twenty minute program that features interviews with the cast and crew and reviews the highlights of the show’s fifth year. Voyager Time Capsule: Belanna Torres runs sixteen minutes and features Roxanne Dawson talking about her character and how the Human/Klingon hybrid developed over the course of the show’s seven-year run.

Voyager Time Capsule: Tom Paris is a fifteen-minute program that looks at the character portrayed by actor Robert Duncan McNeill. The Borg Queen Speaks clocks in at six minutes and features actress Susanna Thompson discussing the character and the differences she brought to the role created by Alice Krige in STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT. Delta Quadrant Make-Up Magic features Michael Westmore discussing alien character makeup designs in this nineteen-minute program. A Photo Gallery and some very enjoyable Easter Eggs close out the supplements.

STAR TREK: VOYAGER- SEASON FIVE continues the winning ways of season four by delivering consistently entertaining episodes worthy of the Trek franchise. As for the DVDs, Paramount once again delivers the goods, by providing the episodes with strong video and audio presentations, not to mention, some very nice extras. If you are a Trek fan, or a Voyager fan in particular, you want to add STAR TREK: VOYAGER- SEASON FIVE to your Starfleet library.



Star Trek Voyager - The Complete Fifth Season (1999)


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2004 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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