Happy 15th Anniversary To Star Trek: Voyager

Star Trek Voyager is fifteen years old today. On January 16th 1995, the fourth-live action Star Trek series premiered on a brand new network, with a new ship, a new captain (the first woman to steer a series), a new crew and a mission to explore a strange new part of space where Star Trek had never been before.


Star Trek Voyager: 15th Anniversary

It was the mid nineties: the era of OJ, grunge music, and the Internet was just taking off. Star Trek: The Next Generation wound up its successful seven year run in syndication, and the cast had moved on to take over the Trek film franchise. Paramount still had Star Trek Deep Space Nine, which started its third season of syndication in 1994. But the studio still held the dream of launching its own TV network, a dream that began in the mid seventies which was going to be fueled by Star Trek Phase II. Two decades later the network was really going to happen and Star Trek Voyager was going to be its anchor show. The series and the UPN network premiered on January 16th, 1995 with the two hour episode "Caretaker" which received excellent ratings (ratings never seen again by Star Trek or UPN).   

UPN Preview for "Star Trek Voyager"

At the time the Star Trek franchise was being run by Rick Berman, who was Gene Roddenberry’s successor. Berman selected Next Generation showrunner Michael Piller and veteran Next Gen writer/producer Jeri Taylor to work with him creating the new show. The three chose to set their new series in the same 24th century as Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, but also decided to change things around. They wanted to continue the original series and TNG premise of exploration, but decided to get out of the comfort zone of the Federation by setting the show on a ship flung to a distant part of the galaxy (the Delta Quadrant). This gave the show a meta-arc of their voyage home, along with the chance to truly explore strange new worlds every week (all without the aid of the Federation).  

The team also wanted to put some conflict into the cast of characters, by populating the ship with a mix of Starfleet personnel, and the remnants of a crew of ‘revolutionaries’ (the Maquis, introduced in DS9). Two of the main cast would come from the Maquis, while two more would be Delta Quadrant locals, all of which was meant to mix things up with the all Starfleet feel of The Next Generation.

The first season cast of "Star Trek Voyager"

Another big move for the team was to introduce Star Trek’s first female captain lead, Kathryn Janeway, played by Kate Mulgrew who was best known at the time as Mrs. Columbo or Mary Ryan (from the soap Ryan’s Hope). Mulgrew was actually their second choice. The team first hired feature film actress Genevieve Bujold, but after only two days of shooting it was determined she could not handle the rigors of series television, and they brought in Mulgrew. The introduction of a female captain was both a way to continue to break barriers for Star Trek, and to also help the show with female viewers.

Scene from "Caretaker" with Bujold

"Caretaker" did an excellent job introducing each of the ensemble cast and the overall premise of the series. You could already seen hints of many of the future dynamics on the show, like the tension between the comic relief alien Neelix, played by Ethan Phillips and the Vulcan Tuvok, played by Tim Russ (an actor who had appeared previously in Deep Space Nine and Star Trek Generations) or the friendship between the green Ensign Kim (Garret Wang) and the bad boy Tom Paris (played by Robert Duncan McNeill, who had previously appeared in the TNG episode "The First Duty"). And even though he only had a few moments, Roberto Picardo stole he scenes as the Holographic Doctor with the terrible bedside manner. "Caretaker" also foreshadowed Voyager’s penchant for science and technology, with lots of ‘treknobable’ like cormaline, nucleongenics, and tricobalt. The episode ended with Janeway laying out the mission statement for the ship and the series to "continue to follow our directive: to seek out new worlds and to explore space" but all along they will be trying to "find a way back."

The two-hour pilot "Caretaker" was, at the time, the most expensive TV pilot ever made. Although much of that was due to reshoots, both for Mulgrew replacing Bujold, and to a hair style change for Mulgrew (from down, to the bun of steel). However, they really pulled out all the stops with multiple location shoots and a big effects budget, which garnered an Emmy for Best Visual Effects (the episode was nominated for a total of four Emmys, a tie for the most of any Star Trek episode). The episode also featured a beautiful new title sequence, along with a theme from veteran composer Jerry Goldsmith. 

Opening titles for "Star Trek Voyager"

.Star Trek Voyager went on for seven seasons and 168 episodes, wrapping up their story and coming home in the two hour finale "Endgame" in May 2001. Included in the run were some great Star Trek episodes, including a number of two-parters like "Year of Hell", "Equinox", "Scorpion", and "Workforce". Over that time the show went through some changes, including Brannon Braga stepping into Jeri Taylor’s showrunning shoes in 1998, and a cast shake-up which saw the departure of Jennifer Lein’s Kes and the addition of Jeri Ryan as the sexy Borg 7 of 9 in the fourth season. Many of the characters on the show went through interesting arcs, especially Tom Paris and B’Elanna Torres who eventually married by season seven. However, Voyager tried to straddle the line of maintaining the episodic nature of The Next Generation and more serialized shows, like Deep Space Nine. Although the show introduced many of it’s own aliens and
villains such as the Hirogen hunters, the gang-like Kazon, the diseased Vidiians, and the CGI tripods Species 8472, it was the Borg that ended up as the big bad of the series all the way from the introduction of 7 of 9 to the finale.

Promo for "Scorpion Part 2"

Voyager may not have caught on as well as the original Star Trek, or The Next Generation, but (like Deep Space Nine) it has dedicated fans. Voyager helped bring in some younger viewers and women into Trek and the ratings were strong enough to convince Paramount and UPN to launch a new Star Trek series (Enterprise), immediately after Voyager ended its run.

Star Trek Voyager is an important part of the Star Trek canon and TrekMovie celebrates its fifteenth anniversary.

Season 4 (and beyond) cast of "Star Trek Voyager"

Voyager Week at TrekMovie
All week long TrekMovie is going to be celebrating Star Trek Voyager. So keep your eyes out for a look back at the Delta Quadrant.



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January 16, 2010 5:43 pm

Now that it something I would like to forget, not to commemorate.

January 16, 2010 5:45 pm

Voyager was really hit and miss for me when it was on. To date I still do not have any dvds or interest of watching any episodes. Although I do love the new novels of the Voyager crew. Very strange.

Happy Anniversary Voyager!

January 16, 2010 5:45 pm

A series with a lot of promise in the begining….but just ended up being meh.

January 16, 2010 5:46 pm

I’ve watched and loved Voyager since I was six!
(TOS is still better.)

January 16, 2010 5:50 pm

I’m certainly glad that they swapped Mulgrew in!

January 16, 2010 5:52 pm

I liked a lot of voyager. It had some really good episodes. Tuvix, year of hell, shattered, blink of an eye, message in a bottle, the 47’s i think it was, equinox, timeless. And it exposed a lot of borg so that was cool. I’m not sure what people didnt like about it. The rest of the shows where “hit and miss” as well.

January 16, 2010 5:53 pm

we all know… that in the end…

Deep Space Nine was a better executed series and went in a better direction, whereas Voyager was boring and not as mentally exciting as DS9.

But i did enjoy Voyager for what it was… Although they missed a lot of opportunities to make it a great show.

None the less…. happy Voyager Anniversary

David Stoeckel
January 16, 2010 5:56 pm

HAPPY 15TH BIRTHDAY STAR TREK:VOYAGER!!!! I am a HUGE Fan of Voyager!!! I think the Cast was Great, U.S.S. VOYAGER NCC-74656 is a Hot Ship, I like the fact that a Part Starfleet/Part Maquis Crew became a United Crew, and I love the fact that Voyager dealt with issues such as:Redemption(with the Characters of Tom Paris, B’lenna Torres, and Chakotay), Technology with the EMH-1 Hologram went from Being Confined to Sickbay to being able to, with the Aid of a 29th Century Device, being able to move anywhere around Voyager, Betrayal with Seska discovered to be Cardassian disguised to look Bajoran, and then joining up with the Kazon and First Maj Cullah(I would love to know whatever to the child that Seska and Cullah had,or is that Seska and Chakotay, I don’t know), and Integration with Neelix, Kes, and being to help Seven of Nine regain her Humanity. One of the things that some people may not have caught on is, borrowing from the phrase “Heavy is the Head that Wears the Crown”, that Captain Janeway sacrificed her chance of Happiness, Her chance of finding someone, to Get that Crew Home. Voyager was a good show, I have Always liked it, I like it now, and I Always will like it!!! HAPPY 15TH, VOYAGER!!!!!!! YOU ROCK!!!!

January 16, 2010 6:03 pm


If you like stuff blowing up and constant references to war and occupation with religious hocus pocus. I wished sometimes they just stopped at TNG, these poor star trek step kids meh

That One Guy
January 16, 2010 6:08 pm

I’m currently looking at the seven seasons happily sitting on my shelf. I have been watching this show since it first aired when I was only 5 years old. Had it not been for Voyager, I never would’ve gotten into Star Trek and would have missed every other episode out there for the other series. It brought me, and a good few others I know into the universe of Trek.

For the older folks who dislike it, well, that’s your problem. But to me, it’s an essential part of my life that I would never give up. It brought me Trek. THAT is truly an important thing to me.

January 16, 2010 6:10 pm

Grew up with TOS re-runs, saw all the TOS movies in the theater, watched every episode of TNG, struggled through the first 2 seasons of DS9…

Made it about 5 episodes into VOYAGER before I realized, at the time, I was sick to death of all things STAR TREK. VOY killed my TREK enthusiasm for the next 10 years. Thanks for nuthin’!

January 16, 2010 6:11 pm

Biggest waste of a premise evah!

The ‘conflict’ between the Marquis and the Federation crew was over before it started, the neutered Borg, the magical repairing and restocking ship, the danger and desperation of being 75,000 light years from home amounted to Nelix making soup in the mess hall rather than relying on replicators.

Then to add insult to injury they went and made Year of Hell so we’d see how the show could have been and then went and chucked it all away with a reset button.

The show is ok to watch but it infuriates me how much possibility the show had and they never capitalised on and instead carried on rehashing the same old episodes we’d seen in other Star Trek series.

That One Guy
January 16, 2010 6:11 pm

Oh, and GOOD LORD the original Janeway was a hack. I’m so glad that she quit, or I never could have liked it to begin with. Mulgrew at least gave the character life. Bujold could have passed for a Vulcan.

January 16, 2010 6:13 pm

Glad Mulgrew got the part… I could see Bujold as the captain of a freighter or something, but definitely not Voyager.

January 16, 2010 6:17 pm

I agree that I’m glad Mulgrew got the part…Bujold would have been horrid as a captain. But, I just never cared for Voyager. Definitely the worst of the post-TOS Treks, IMO.

January 16, 2010 7:29 pm

My favorite series!

January 16, 2010 7:30 pm

Has it been that long?! Man I feel old. And I’m still 24 (for one more day) ;)

January 16, 2010 7:36 pm

There should be a rule for TV pilots that one should not kill off a hot betazoid that has more appeal than any of the main cast. Janeway should have been cursing fate like Captain Kirk would and wished she could have died instead of one of her crew.

January 16, 2010 7:45 pm

#12 Mostly agreed. Very good episodes mixed up in absolute dreck, and everywhere in between. I don’t think you can say that the series got especially better over time.

#18 Definitely agreed :P

January 16, 2010 7:47 pm

I loved Janeway and Tuvok to death, and later Seven (and even Neelix LOL) but the series just never really got me. It had its moments, though, and some good ones.

I admit it’s my least favourite series, but I still would rather watch it than most of the junk that’s on TV these days. Janeway was amazing, it’s just a shame the writing wasn’t better! Still I say, long live Voyager. :D

Stephen Whelan
January 16, 2010 7:52 pm

happy birthday voyager…some misses along the way but still a great show with some great actors

January 16, 2010 7:55 pm

It’s an ok show but a pass for them

January 16, 2010 8:00 pm

I think we should thank ST: Enterprise for making Voyager seem like it had boldly gone where no TV show had gone before in terms of creativity and drama – a true lost wagon train among the stars trying to get home adventure providing insight into the human condition and inspiring hope for a better future.

I personally will always remember the episode where they end up on 1996 earth and a VULCAN complains that there are dangerously high levels of sunshine in southern california. As I recall it was “high levels of thermal and ultraviolet radiation.”

January 16, 2010 8:01 pm

For most Singaporeans in the past decade, VOY was the series that introduced them to Star Trek, thanks to repeated showings on the Hallmark Channel. For that, it has it’s place.

But I will never agree with fans that rate it above TNG and TOS. They all had their “hit-and-miss” moments, no doubt, but VOY often suffered from weak plots and an over-reliance on what worked.

Nonetheless, for giving us the hottest half-Klingon woman in any galaxy, long live Voyager!

January 16, 2010 8:05 pm

Oh! And of course, I forgot to mention, we must thank VOY for giving us Tim Russ, Garrett Wang and Ethan Philips, all of whom went on to keep Trek alive in Of Gods and Men.

January 16, 2010 8:08 pm

I’d just like to say: BOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Voyager. BOOOOOOOOOOO.

January 16, 2010 8:12 pm

When it was on waaay back in 1996 I was trying to get my girlfriend into it, she kept telling me it was garbage. I slowly started to agree with her, then one day we were watching it because there was nothing else on, I was bored out of my mind so I started making out with her, she didn’t respond, I look up and she is intently watching it, lol.

January 16, 2010 8:16 pm

Happy Anniversary Voyager. Thanks for many great episodes. The cast did a great job.

Star Trek has been off t.v. for too long, and the end of Voyager was the last time I really watched a Trek show, so I kinda miss it.

I hope if Star Trek comes back to network t.v. (where it belongs) it is an honestly good show.

January 16, 2010 8:23 pm

I liked ‘Voyager,’ perhaps the least of the TREKs, but it did have its strong points.

One of my favorite episodes was ‘Memorial,’ I also enjoyed the ‘Captain Proton’ stories, especially ‘Bride of Chaotica.’ I also enjoyed the Irish village story arc in the holodeck.

I loved Janeway, the Holo doctor (though he rivaled Nelix as the most irritating too) and Paris. Something about the character on ‘Voyager’ were less than compelling.

‘Voyager’ proved it could pull of humor, much like TOS.

If there was a flaw, I felt that ‘Voyager’ went to the well too many times with the Borg. I also hated the Seven of Nine catsuit, which unfortunately led the way for T’Pol as well.

To say that ‘Voyager’ was the weakest of the TREK isn’t quite fair as each of the series did many things well and some not so much. I don’t think there were any truly embarassing stories like the first and second season of TNG.

Happy Anniversary to the cast of ‘Voyager!’

The Constable
January 16, 2010 8:27 pm

The final scene of the pilot, in which the Maquis characters meekly don Starfleet uniforms, was a harbinger of the series’ creative shortcomings and problems. How much more interesting the series would have been if the Maquis had retained their own identities instead of immediately becoming subsumed into the (rather bland) Starfleet status quo.

Oh well. It’s intriguing to see Bujold as Janeway. She was a curious choice for the role (an attempt to match the success of casting Stewart in TNG, perhaps?). Her performance is rather joyless, it must be noted.

That One Guy
January 16, 2010 8:28 pm

As I’ve mentioned, I adore Voyager, but I really hope the next series is more like Enterprise, especially in its third and fourth seasons. The one thing I really loved about ENT and DS9 were the story arcs. Voyager had a great plot that they wasted in an episodic format.

TV isn’t pure episodic anymore, there’s always some grand back-scheme to everything. Look at LOST, FRINGE, V, and Flash Forward. These are all shows that, while they have their individual plots per episode, there is always something bigger going on, which I absolutely adore. The next Trek has to be like this, or Trek is doomed.

That was one of Voyager’s pitfalls, is that it OCCASIONALLY had a bit of an arc going, but then the rest was just one episode at a time. If they really wanted to give it some meat, they should’ve brought them home in the 3rd or 4th season, and had them join the rest of Starfleet in the Dominion War. Perhaps even have a TV appearance of the 1701-E.

List of my favorites:

The first three are a VERY close tie for first, leaving Voyager as a true Second. And then there’s…. well… THAT series….


January 16, 2010 8:33 pm

I think some of the harsh critique of Voyager is valid, but overall, I have to say that I enjoyed the series for what it was. To me, Voyager was the “escapist” Star Trek. It wasn’t always the best written or performed of the Treks, but I always found that it was something that gave me an easy escape from reality for an hour. I have to admit that when it was actually on TV, I really didn’t watch it much. It wasn’t until it was in reruns running at midnight on our local UPN network that I finally gave it another look, and I enjoyed it. And, in all honesty, one of my favorite Trek stories period was in this series: Timeless. I think you could take that episode and put it up against just about any other hour of Trek.

In the end, I felt that of all the series, Voyager was the only one who was given a proper sendoff of ending right where it began. It was nice to have it go full circle. I sometimes wish we could have seen more of the aftermath of the crew and their mission, but at least we know they made it home.

January 16, 2010 8:33 pm

“Star Trek Voyager: Voyager” was not a bad show. My favorite episode was called “Shattered”. After it ended nine years ago, I wasn’t too upset to see it leave. As the shows begins to age, I noticed my appreciation for some of the episodes. “Year of Hell”, “Shatter”, “The Q and the Grey”, and “Death Wish” were really interesting episodes.

Has it been nine years since it ended? Wow! Time keeps flying.

January 16, 2010 8:36 pm

# 28
lol women…just when you think you have them figured out BAM!

January 16, 2010 8:36 pm

Such a great show, never understood why so many people disliked it.

I still watch episodes here and there.

January 16, 2010 8:42 pm

#9…’religious hocus pocus’? that is HATE SPEECH, and I resent your attacking all religion with that backhanded comment!!!

January 16, 2010 8:42 pm

Voyager had a promising pilot, though the Kazons were an early warning: warrior species, big hair, ridged foreheads, starts with K and ends with -ons. Uh huh. The writers weren’t trying very hard.

I’d grown up with TOS and this was the series that lost me as a regular Trek viewer. So many good premises discarded, so much forced drama and technobabble.

But Voyager kept up Trek’s tradition of casting well. The actors did fine jobs despite the writing. Kate Mulgrew earned her place in the captains’ gallery.

January 16, 2010 8:48 pm

Voyager definitely had its moments, but most stories felt very generic and even recycled, not to mention the overuse of the infamous technobabble. This series began the slow and painful fall of Berman era Trek, so its not remembered in an altogether positive light. Although I must admit 7 of 9’s silver catsuit was definitely a highlight for me on an entirely different level. ;-)

January 16, 2010 8:49 pm

i thought voyager was fine. it’s not something i’d watch like all the time, but i have good fun when i watch the episodes. and voyager had some really great trek moments and some of the best two-parters trek has seen.

January 16, 2010 8:55 pm

@ 36. EFFeX – January 16, 2010

“Such a great show, never understood why so many people disliked it.”


People were just getting tired of repetition. Almost every episode was about getting home, and then we were over exposed to the Borg. Woof. After Jerry Ryan came aboard, Seven of Nine and the Borg filled up every other episode. Don’t get me wrong. Some of the Borg episodes were very interesting, but they didn’t bring us back to the exploration factor of the franchise. Instead of taking advantage of their situation, each episode ended with “Let get heading home Mr. Paris.” It became a bore to some.

“Star Trek: Voyager” and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” marked the franchise’s shift into space opera. Some of the stories had deep romance, tragedy, and other personal drama. Instead of exploring a diverse spectrum of lifeforms and planets, both shows revolved around only a few planets and lifeforms. Everything was confined to “Voyager” (Spaceship) or the “Deep Space Nine” (Space Station). Almost claustrophobic compared to “Star Trek: TOS & TNG”.

January 16, 2010 9:02 pm

I love Voyager.
I love Star Trek
I love all the series and movies (except ST X)
Thats why I am a truly fan of this wonderful franchise.

January 16, 2010 9:08 pm

#24 and #32 :: Ouch!! I believe the operative word here would be “BURN!!” I’d take anything from Enterprise’s fourth season over ANY episode of Voyager, even the Q ones (and I love Q). Okay, maybe not “Q and the Grey”… But that’s it,

#41 :: Personally, I preferred the more internal situations as opposed to the planet/species-of-the-week thing. With DS9, unlike TOS, TNG, or sometimes even ENT, there was no magic reset button. Any slip ups someone on the crew made would very likely come back to haunt them. I loved that it did allow us to go deeper into the lives of this sort of dysfunctional family of a huge cast. Yes, it may be “claustrophobic”, but at least I found it interesting.

January 16, 2010 9:14 pm

“Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations” – Voyager catered for some of us, and for others, not. Thats the beauty of it all really isn’t it? It didn’t need to be “good”, it just had to “be”, and it would find its way with the people that loved it. I am proud that it was made, I am proud of all Star Trek (there were some real howlers in Next Gen, DS9 and Enterprise too!…not to mention some right embarrassments in the Original Series).

Star Trek isn’t about emmy’s or oscars, its about imagination and evolution. Star Trek is ground breaking, and Voyager takes its place amongst giants.

January 16, 2010 9:16 pm

Happy Birthday to us, warts and all.

January 16, 2010 9:17 pm

@ 41 – Alsom Voyager was the ONLY show that actually DID “explore strange new worlds and seek out new civilisations”. Instead of doing what the Enterprise D did, episode after episode and start with…

“while on a mission to Planet X to delivery medical supplies…”
“while on a mission to Planet Y to deliver to ambassador of Zzzzzzzzz”

Or Deep Space Nine, which boldly went…to Cardassia and blew sh*t up.

Or Enterprise which boldly went NO WHERE because it was too slow.

January 16, 2010 9:26 pm
“Star Trek:Voyager” was an inconsistent show in my opinion. Early on, the show was pretty good. While the Kazon ended up as a poor man’s Klingons, the Vidiians were compelling, but underused. Favorite episodes include Caretaker, Basics, Scorpion, Year of Hell, Dark Frontier and Timeless. Seasons 6 and 7 weren’t very interesting. Outside of Scorpion and Dark Frontier, most of the Borg episodes depicted them as being easy to defeat. The Borg lost their “mystique” that made them great villians on “The Next Generation” and the film “First Contact”. As great an episode as “Year of Hell” was as a two-parter, an opportunity was missed to make it a year long story arc ala “Enterprise”s Xindi plot. “Endgame” was too predictable and came off as a poor man’s “All Good Things….”. Captain Janeway, while my least favorite captain ( mostly due to the fact her background wasn’t as fleshed out as her male counterparts were), was a good move. Kate Mulgrew was the right choice. As for the other characters, Chakotay was a missed opportunity as was Ensign Kim. Kes was okay. Seven of Nine was great early on, but became less interesting as she got more attention over Harry Kim and Tom Paris. I really liked B’elanna Torres. Her romance with Paris clicked. The Doctor was great. Tuvok was okay. Echib(sic) was unneccessary. The show went against its premise after awhile. The conflict between Maquis and Starfleet officers was resolved way too quickly. And the fact that the ship… Read more »
January 16, 2010 9:26 pm

“Blink of an Eye” is one of the best hours of Star Trek ever. I love every incarnation of Trek, including Voyager, which had some very solid, very fun and very engaging episodes.

Series creator Jeri Taylor was a big part of Trek and deserves to be remembered right alongside the other creative legends.

(I really wish there was less sniping and negativity in these comment threads, but I guess that is a pretty silly thought.)

January 16, 2010 9:30 pm

@ 43. Christine – January 16, 2010

“Personally, I preferred the more internal situations as opposed to the planet/species-of-the-week thing. With DS9, unlike TOS, TNG, or sometimes even ENT, there was no magic reset button. Any slip ups someone on the crew made would very likely come back to haunt them. I loved that it did allow us to go deeper into the lives of this sort of dysfunctional family of a huge cast. Yes, it may be “claustrophobic”, but at least I found it interesting.”


Personal preference, right. “Star Trek” of all flavors has elements, which speak to a diverse spectrum of individuals. Majority of my real-life friends (offline) prefer the ‘planet’ and ‘adventure’ of the week; however, that doesn’t make “Star Trek: Voyager & Deep Space Nine” mute to everyone. As I said in my post/reply, some of the extended storylines in “Voyager” and “Deep Space Nine” were interesting. Odo and Quark’s relationship was hilarious. B’lana (sp?) and Paris’ chaotic romance also steamed up the screen. I had my favorites. I just didn’t find the series as a whole to be something of interest. Only bits and pieces.

January 16, 2010 9:31 pm

Rick, nice work on the design of the Voyager. The fact that it could land made it extra cool!