STAR TREK: VOYAGER- SEASON SIX
Seasons four and five certainly demonstrated that STAR TREK: VOYAGER had finally found its own voice and that the series had genuinely become worthy of the Trek moniker. Moving into season six, the show continued to produce quality episodes that were entertaining, but more than a few episodes that made their appearance during the sixth year seemed a little too lightweight, and moved away from the darker storytelling of seasons four and five that made the show edgier and far more compelling than it had been in seasons one, two and three. Of course, while some of the stories that appeared during season six weren’t as intriguing as they might have been, STAR TREK: VOYAGER did continue to deliver in terms of character development across its sixth season, allowing fans to see different sides of character’s they thought they already knew.
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 complement features Kate Mulgrew as Captain Kathryn Janeway, Robert Beltran as Commander Chakotay, Roxann Dawson as Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres, Robert Duncan McNeill as Ensign Tom Paris, Ethan Phillips as Neelix, Robert Picardo as The Doctor, Tim Russ as Lieutenant Commander Tuvok, Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine and Garrett Wang as Ensign Harry Kim.
STAR TREK: VOYAGER- SEASON SIX ($130) comes to DVD in a seven-disc set that features all twenty-six episodes that were aired in the sixth year. The twenty-six featured episodes are as follows: Equinox Part 2, 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 Shepherd, Live Fast And Prosper, Muse, Fury, Life Line, The Haunting Of Deck Twelve and Unimatrix Zero Part 1.
Personal favorites among season six’s episodes include: Equinox Part 2 features a darker side of Janeway in part two of this story about Voyager’s encounter with another Starfleet vessel in the Delta Quadrant. Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy finds aliens accessing the doctor’s daydreams with interesting and amusing results. Dragon's Teeth finds Voyager going from the frying pan into the fire in its attempt to avoid a conflict with one alien race by forming an alliance with another. The Voyager Conspiracy is an interesting story in which rumors of mutiny threaten to shake things up on Voyager. Pathfinder features appearances by Marina Sirtis as Deanna Troi and Dwight Schultz as an obsessed Lt. Barclay, who is desperate to make contact with Voyager in the Delta Quadrant. Collective adds a new dynamic to the starship Voyager, after an encounter with Borg children abandoned by the collective. Fury marks the return of Kes (Jennifer Lien), who comes back to Voyager in a very bad mood. Life Line transmits The Doctor’s program back to the Alpha Quadrant so he can treat his ailing creator. Unimatrix Zero is a place where Borg drones regain their individuality for short periods of time, as well as a potential way destroy the Borg Collective from within.
Paramount Home Entertainment has made all twenty-six episodes from STAR TREK: VOYAGER- SEASON SIX available on DVD in the proper full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. Not surprisingly, this set looks great- just as the preceding five seasons of VOYAGER did. Image quality is generally quite sharp and nicely defined, with filmed sequences the film sequences appearing a little stronger than those that feature a bit of postproduction work. An occasional softer looking shot creeps in from time to time, but nothing excessive. Colors are very strongly rendered and are free from chroma noise or smearing. . Blacks are inky, whites appear clean, and although the contrast remains at broadcast television levels, the picture produces a nicely dimensional quality. Even with four episodes on a dual layer disc, digital compression artifacts are always nicely camouflaged.
As with the earlier boxed sets, all the episodes that comprise STAR TREK: VOYAGER- SEASON SIX have had their soundtracks upgraded to Dolby Digital 5.1 channel format. Like the preceding releases, the 5.1 sound mixes contained herein appear to be direct transcriptions of the pre-matrixed surround sound stems prepared for the show’s original television broadcasts. As I stated previously, STAR TREK: VOYAGER was a well-mixed TV show from late1990’s, so the soundtracks still manage to be quite effective and engaging. Considering their origins, it should come as no surprise that the forward soundstage comprises the strongest portion of the sound design, while the surround channels round things out with ambient sounds, engine rumble and musical fill. Sequences with space battles do however; offer more sonic sparks than the more talky ship bound portions of the show. Fidelity is really great for a television level production, with the episodic scores producing a nice sense of musical presence and the sound effects having a convincing quality. Dialogue is always crisply rendered, plus the bass channel is fairly solid for a television caliber 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 Six is a sixteen-minute program that looks back on the highlights of the show’s sixth year on the air. One Small Step: A Mars Encounter clocks in at nine minutes and looks at the Mars themed episode, One Small Step, as well as providing some info on The Planetary Society. Voyager Time Capsule: Chakotay runs twelve minutes and features vintage comments from actor Robert Beltran, discussing his character, as well as recent comments from other cast members. Red Alert: Amazing Visual Effects is a seventeen-minute program that focuses on some of the excellent special effects work produced during the fifth and sixth seasons of VOYAGER. Guest Star Profile: Vaughn Armstrong is ten-minute profile of the actor, who has played all sorts of Trek alien characters, while buried under tons of makeup. A Photo Gallery and the usual complement of Easter Eggs close out the supplements.
While not quite as good as seasons four and five, STAR TREK: VOYAGER- SEASON SIX features its share of top-flight episodes. As for the DVDs, Paramount does their usual terrific job, delivering the episodes with strong video and audio presentations. If you are a Trek fan, Voyager fan or a Seven Of Nine fan in particular, it goes without saying that you’ll want to add STAR TREK: VOYAGER- SEASON SIX to your Starfleet library.
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