STAR TREK: VOYAGER- SEASON SEVEN
Coming into the home stretch, STAR TREK: VOYAGER delivered another season of good quality sci-fi entertainment, certainly worthy of the Trek moniker. Sure, there were a few mediocre episodes in the show’s seventh year on the air, but for the most part, the show delivered the goods with solid, character driven stories. Personally, I think there is a lot for a fan to enjoy across the seventh year of STAR TREK: VOYAGER, with the series finale proving to be proving to be one of the brightest, most shining moments of the show’s entire run. Of course, the last season of STAR TREK: VOYAGER started off with the crew, still many decades away from returning home to the Alpha Quadrant and little sign of them finding any shortcuts across the vastness of space.
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 SEVEN ($130) comes to DVD in a seven-disc set that features all twenty-six episodes that were produced for the seventh year. The twenty-six featured episodes are as follows: Unimatrix Zero Part 2, Imperfection, Drive, Repression, Critical Care, Inside Man, Body And Soul, Nightingale, Flesh And Blood Part 1, Flesh And Blood Part 2, Shattered, Lineage, Repentance, Prophecy, The Void, Workforce Part 1, Workforce Part 2, Human Error, Q2, Author, Author, Friendship One, Natural Law, Homestead, Renaissance Man, Endgame.
Personal favorites among season seven’s episodes include: Unimatrix Zero Part 2 is the second part of the Borg cliffhanger, in which several members of the crew have been assimilated into the collective. Imperfection finds Seven of Nine facing death as some of her life sustaining Borg implants begin to fail. Inside Man features appearances by Marina Sirtis as Deanna Troi and Dwight Schultz as both Lt. Barclay and his holographic counterpart in this story involving a dangerous potential shortcut home for Voyager. Flesh And Blood Part 1 & 2 offers a very interesting story involving a group of sentient holograms that want their own home and freedom from the Hirogen hunters that have used them as prey. Lineage finds Tom Paris and B'Elanna Torres facing the prospect of being parents, which resurrects feelings of self-loathing in B'Elanna, when she discovers the child will have predominantly Klingon features. Q2 marks an appearance of John de Lancie as the omnipotent Q, who deposits his errant offspring on Voyager’s doorstep, with hopes that some of humanities virtues will rub off on him. Endgame is the series finale that finds Janeway breaking all the rules and undertaking a dangerous gambit involving a final showdown with The Borg in an effort to get her crew home sooner, rather than later.
Paramount Home Entertainment has made all twenty-six episodes from STAR TREK: VOYAGER- SEASON SEVEN available on DVD in the proper full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. Once again, these are great looking presentations, equal to the previous six sets. The image is generally sharp and really nicely defined for a television production. There is some softness here and there, but it is all forgivable on this type effects laden television series. Colors are generally strong, producing vivid hues with out noise or noticeable fuzziness. Blacks are accurately rendered and the whites are crisp. Contrast is good for a television level production, as is the shadow detail. 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 SEVEN have had their soundtracks upgraded to Dolby Digital 5.1 channel format. As with the preceding DVD set, the 5.1 sound mixes offered for season seven appear to be direct transcriptions of the pre-matrixed surround sound stems that were prepared for the show’s original television broadcasts. Considering that STAR TREK: VOYAGER was a well-mixed TV show from late 1990’s, the soundtracks are quite effective and engaging. Not surprisingly, however, the forward soundstage usually dominates the sound design, with the surround channels augmenting the front with a goodly amount of ambient sounds, engine rumble and musical fill. As expected, sequences involving space battles provide more sonic fireworks than the talky ship bound portions of the show. Fidelity is really great for a television level production, with the episodic scores producing a clear musical presence and the sound effects coming across in a convincing manner. 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 Seven runs eighteen minutes and provides a retrospective of the highlights from the show’s seventh and final year on the air. Voyager Time Capsule: The Doctor is a fifteen-minute program that features actor Robert Picardo discussing the development of his character across the seven seasons, as well as his own personal influence on the character.
Coming Home: The Final Episode clocks in at twelve minutes and features vintage interviews with the cast and crew talking about the series coming to an end. Real Science With Andre Bormanis is a very interesting twelve-minute program that looks the technology of STAR TREK: VOYAGER and compares it to the real world of scientific possibilities and impossibilities. As someone who has been to the very cool attraction at the Las Vegas Hilton (a must see for any Trek fan coming to Vegas), The Making Of Borg Invasion 4-D is a fun nine-minute program that gives a nice look behind the scenes. A Photo Gallery, Storyboard Gallery and the usual complement of Easter Eggs close out the supplements.
As the series comes to an end, STAR TREK: VOYAGER may not have been a best of breed in the Trek litter, but it certainly delivered more than its share of interesting stories and sci-fi entertainment. As for the DVD set, Paramount has done their usual wonderful job, delivering the episodes with strong video and audio presentations. If you are a Trek fan, or a Voyager fan in particular, it goes without saying that you’ll want to add STAR TREK: VOYAGER- SEASON SEVEN to your Starfleet library.
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