Kate Mulgrew Talks Voyager v. TNG, Jeri Ryan & Why She Hasn’t Seen Star Trek 2009

This week marks the 16th anniversary of the launch of Star Trek Voyager on UPN. Marking the occasion, Kate Mulgrew is talking about her time as Captain Janeway, and also about what’s new in Star Trek, including explaining why she hasn’t seen the latest Star Trek movie. .


Mulgrew talks Voyager v TNG, Jeri Ryan joining VOY + why hasn’t seen Star Trek 2009

Star Trek Voyager has a loyal fanbase, but the show is often ranked in fan polls behind other series. Talking to the official Star Trek site, Mulgrew discussed this status as being the "other show":

How overlooked and/or underestimated did you feel Voyager was back when it was on the air?

Mulgrew: When we were doing it? That’s a hard one to answer, honestly. I was so busy and I was just so immersed in the show. But I know what you’re asking. There’s a perception about Voyager. I guess, comparatively speaking, we didn’t get the same attention that Next Gen got. But I thought that was just a product of the beginning of what might be called saturation (of the Star Trek franchise). In terms of quality comparisons? Who cares? I did the best I could. We all did the best we could.

Mulgrew also talked about how producers introduced the sexy Borg character Seven of Nine for Voyager’s fourth season:

How hard was it for you, personally, when, in the middle of the show’s run, Jeri Ryan arrived on the set to play Seven of Nine?

Mulgrew: I found that that was hard, Jeri notwithstanding. Certainly, I could see with my own eyes that she was a va-va-va-voom and beautiful-beautiful bombshell of a girl. Sexuality was brought into Voyager, and that’s what I resented. I chose not to use sexuality. I thought that if Paramount and UPN and Rick (Berman) were being exceptionally prescient and brave, they would give a woman a shot at commanding without sex. “Can we do this without sex?” There are always other ways. So I resented that and I was hurt by the immediate, extraordinary attention given to this character. The numbers went up. And I thought, “Ah, you can’t argue with a business decision and you can’t argue with sex.” That’s just part of life, but all of that is very difficult for a woman, particularly an actress like me. But it had nothing to do with Jeri.

Mulgrew also revealed that she has yet to see the 2009 Star Trek movie. She explained her reasons:

Was that on purpose or do you just not see many movies?

Mulgrew: I think both. I think both. I think I just kept saying, “I will, I will,” and I didn’t. And there’s a reason why. I guess I just didn’t want to. Everyone said it was great and I’m sure it was. But… it’s a huge thing to be the captain in the Star Trek franchise. You get saturated. There’s a part of me that just wants to hold that in my memory, and it’s enough.

For more from Mulgrew see both parts of her interview: Part 1 & Part 2.

POLL: Ranking Voyager

How does Voyager rank for you?





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She never played captain of the Enterprise. She played the captain of a smaller starship, in a different time period, called Voyager. So she can’t watch a reboot of the original series (which she ows much) because she is still immersed in her actually being, well… ONE of the many captains in the Star Trek franchise. Talk about taking herself way too seriously. Get a life, lady. This really is a head scratcher…

As far as this sexuality thing goes, it is totally stupid, almost inhuman, to ignore sexuality. What – is she saying that because she is captain, if she had a (sexual) relationship with someone (so that’s why she had to be married), she’d somehow be a lesser captain? Of course, we had this BS about Kirk being “married to the Enterprise”. Good God, when are these people going to grow up?

Please – Bob Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Damon Lindelof, JJ Abrams? – Could we please have some sanity and maturity to be able to embrace our human sexuality as it should be. The last thing I want to see is another lonely but loving horndog of a captain (Kirk) who wants to but can’t because… PLEASE!!!!!!

You missed her whole point keachick. Even Majel Barrett had a problem with Seven of Nine.

You missed her whole point keachick. Even Majel Barrett had a problem with Seven of Nine.

I think fans (and new audiences) need to see every show in it’s own period.
TOS was great, but got cancelled and got cult status with the fans. You can’t beat that.
But most of the TOS fans now have grandchildren and when théy watch TOS, it’s a whole new ballgame.

That also goes for TNG; they got (in the late 80’s & early 90’s) a huge new fanbase, with very loyal fans.

The ‘saturation’ story begins in 1994: DS9 wasn’t picing up great in the beginning and VOY was created to let the TNG fans hang on to Star Trek.

The concept of VOY is sheer genius: creator Gene Roddenberry desgined TOS as “to boldly go where no one has gone before”. So, TOS had Earth as a homebase and went out, to discover.

VOY reversed that entire concept; call it a ‘Lost in space’ concept for Star Trek. A ship gets lost far away from home and tries hard to get back home to Earth again.

That reversed concept, together with a familiair sort-of TNG feeling, that was the success for VOY.
The saturation factor was the overlap with DS9 for 5 seasons at least. And where VOY got Seven of Nine, to combat with series like Xena, Hercules etc., DS9 had to fight against Babylon 5. DS9 threw in lots and lots of battle-action with the Dominion and got better from thát.

But a woman as captain (Kate Mulgrew has proven that, not only to women, but also to men) in a hard situation, lost in space, and getting a Borg as passenger, not to mention the other fine cast that they picked, thát made VOY special. Reversing Gene’s theme was brilliant and again:

for that period in time, it was the best sci-fi we could see.

Star Trek 2009 was another brilliant move on the part of J.J. Abrams. He got the best writers of this century around him, listened very carefully to his staff and to the fans, and did excellent work in rebooting the franchise.
Star Trek 2009 was fun again, and that’s what important to a frinchise as Star Trek: not only make money, but entertain and pick up new fans along the way.

I remember VOY very well as my favorite Trek show. I still look regurarly on dvd and i still enjoy it. Kate is still my #1 captain of them all, and i’m certain when my daughter is old enough, there are more movies and maybe even new shows on the air and that she looks at me and says: “Voyager the best Trek?!?”. But i don’t mind.

The Star Trek family is a large one and it still grows. We can all be Trek fans without having to argue about things like “what series the best is”. After all, it ‘s all Trek and that’s what real fans always keep in mind. Trekkers are a big happy familiy and we welcome new fans around the globe every week. Thát’s what i like about Star Trek.

Kate Mulgrew sounds a litlle jealous when she talks about bringing Seven (Jerri Ryan) in the show. Yet she acknowledges that it worked. Look they treated the Seven character with respect and intelligence. There was always plotlines about Seven searching for her humanity. We also learned more about the Borg. So it was successful decision by the much maligned Rick Berman..

As far as introducing sex into Star Trek, well from the original series and on, Star Trek has had a lot of sex in it.. That does not demean women. Star Trek blazed paths for women in television. You had Uhura as a bridge officer. And during the show there were intelligent women., see Lt. Areel Shaw (“Couurt Martial”), Then the next four series featured intelligent women also. From Dr. Crusher to Dax to T’Pol and of course, Captain Janeway. Sex and equality are not exclusive..

I always liked Voyager. Great show. There was quality in all five series. And that opening title sequence with Jerry Goldsmith’s theme! It makes you want to explore the stars.

voyager is ties with DS9 as my favorite series, with TNG being the first, simply because of the extraordinary care that went into it (after season 2). i love voyager, but there will always be things about it that bother me. TNG was the “continuing mission” of a ship named Enterprise, as i think trek should be whenever possible. DS9 was different but it had its purpose in the star trek universe. it brought the topics of race and religion and war and peace into the franchise like no other series could have.

what did voyager do? it began as a lost in space type story (a concept that didn’t last is its entirety) and it ended up a sexy show with lots of action and borg-killing. but nothing that happened in voyager really had any impact on anything that was happening elsewhere on star trek. i think the series crew realized that, and that’s why they stopped taking themselves quite as seriously. they gave us the lone starship vs. the galaxy style action that we didn’t get in the many action scenes of DS9, and they gave us something new to star trek. we saw families and friendships forming, and we saw sexual tension, and that’s where voyager excelled. that’s what made it a good show.

i’ve heard people bring up things like the many shuttlecraft and photon torpedoes that seemed to suddenly appear on voyager out of thin air, and i’ve heard people complain that it was far too easy for voyager to defeat the borg. but who cares! voyager was touching and exciting, voyager was different enough to be unique, but familiar enough that it didn’t feel strange. and most importantly voyager fun!

as for kate’s attitude in the interview, i can understand her position to a point. seven of nine got far too much attention than she needed. the only thing that really saved the story was the fact that there was typically another character (usually janeway) who shared the spotlight with seven each week. but i can understand why this might have caused some tension. i think kate was and still is being very mature about the subject, more so than many actors would be. i, however, don’t understand her attitude toward the new movie. buy the frickin’ DVD and take a couple of hours. after all, when everything boils down, it’s just a movie.

I was never interested in any of the series that followed The Original Series.

But, curiously enough, my not watching them didn’t prevent some of them from thriving.


So what if Majel Barrett also had a problem with Seven of Nine. The fact that these two OLDER women had a problem with this beautiful YOUNG woman who happened to ooze sensuality is surely their problem. I’m afraid Kate Mulgrew has left me with a quite a sour taste in my mouth, for more than one reason.

The fact is that people like Jeri Ryan’s character have always had to put up with the envy/jealously of other women. Seven of Nine was simply born that way. So Jeri Ryan should not have been cast because she was too attractive and appealed to most heterosexual males. Sexuality is part of life and to ignore it is beyond stupid. Shame on Majel Barrett and Kate Mulgrew. This attitude is so discriminatory, and please, don’t tell me it did not have anything to do with Jeri Ryan. I mean – look at her, even when she is not wearing that stupid Starfleet uniforms they forced women in those shows to wear

I thought the way they dealt with the whole area of Seven of Nine discovering her human side, including the beauty of her physical appearance and her sensuality/sexuality, was one of the better, more interesting, and at times very funny, aspects of the show.

4. assimilator47
>>And where VOY got Seven of Nine, to combat with series like Xena, Hercules etc., DS9 had to fight against Babylon 5. DS9 threw in lots and lots of battle-action with the Dominion and got better from thát.

How interesting a comparison you just drew. VOY battling trashy fantasy action series and DS9 against one of the thoughtful and well constructed SF sagas. This, I guess, tells us everything about the quality of both shows :)

@ 7

“I was never interested in any of the series that followed The Original Series.”

You are not a real fan. Period.


I resent that we never saw the dream movie featuring the cast of TNG, DS9 and Voyager in a big crossover movie.

Instead of “Star Trek Insurrection” we should have had the end of the Dominion war in the big screen in a big Star Trek party.

Guess i had to settle down of seeing situations like this only in the pocket books and comics. C´est la vie.

@keachick, See a lot of women feel degraded when they are treated as just sex objects, for women to be hired solely on their looks is highly degrading and disrespectful. It’s hard for them to be taken seriously in their line of work, when they only get hired because of their looks. As Jeri Ryan’s hiring on the show, she was just a piece of ass to the executives she was hired for no other reason. You could see how hard she worked to try to be taken seriously as a real actor on the show. The way they didn’t dress her just got all the Star Trek viewers to un zip their pants, the way her breast were dressed, were done exactly to get a rise out of the fan base.;) Even the way woman in TNG were depicted as good little doting women. The short skirts on the TOS have been duly noted over the years as being sexist, which has been reprised in the 2009 film. Star Trek has always evolved with the times, and for it to go backwards is an insult to our understandings. I’m sure a lot of the cast was upset with the reason of Jeri’s inclusion on the show that they couldn’t carry the show on their own respectfully. The new Star Trek movie is just more of that mainstream shallowness, of we only hire actors that are really good looking and they take their clothes off a lot! Lame attempts at forcing drama, who can we kill off and what planets can we destroy for a heightened a dramatic response from the audience.

I actually agree with Mulgrew. I am a red
blooded male and I was around 20 years old when Ryan was hired. I was the target audience, but I hated the character. Growing up I got to like ST because it seemed more intelligent and moral than other show on Tv at the time. It had a respect for itself, a dignity. I felt that was dumped when Seven of Nine came on that show.

I am not a big fan of Voyager. I think it suffered from poor writing and weak characters despite having a wonderful premise. It failed where TNG & TOS succeeded in not having engaging and well rounded characters and also where both these, and also DS9, by having intelligent and thoughtful stories. That said, VOY is still notable for being the first show of it’s kind to have a female leader and women have for so long been viewed as sec objects. Here was a chance to show a woman of strength and ability. For me it was a huge “F you” to women to turn the show into a masturbation fantasy for young men. They may have gotten away with it had the character looked more Borg like and had not worn tight cat suits. But the “Baywatch in space” look screamed a huge message to those more intelligent members of the audience that the studio felt that all we needed to be entertained was a pair of boobs and an ass.

@ 8 keachick

Terry Farrell oozed sexuality and she was just wearing a standard uniform.

no offense to Jeri, but her character was boobs on legs in skin tight Lycra but missing a personality.

@ 12


Women want to be taken seriously for their brains not for their boobs!

To make Jane way into a captain was a big step for women in the Star Trek franchise respectfully, to add Seven of Nine after the fact was a big FU!

I will probably get a lashing for this, but oh, well…

Kate Mulgrew may have intentionally played her without sexuality, but it is because she knows that she is in no way able to pull that off. There is nothing sexual about her in anything else she’s played, either. It’s too bad she’s a horrible actress as well.

For centuries women have been fighting so as to being treated equal to men, than just being depicted as sex objects and good little girls, nowadays everything is going completely in the opposite direction. Violence and war is being herald as good, as well as hate and bigotry all is under the guise of morality. So how are we going to get to the stars?

@David C. Roberson I always thought of Kate as being very attractive, she had to play it strait, she’s a captain none the less. The captain has a responsibility to hold up the highest level of morality and self control, and respectability.

I love it all. I also wish sex had never been used in a negative way. Because of the objectifying nature of sex, strong and beautiful women get recognized for thewrong thing. It’s like being rich and never k owing if you are loved for you or your money. A beautiful woman never knows if she is being recognized for her intellect or just because the guy is patronizing her to get in her pants. Some women don’t care and use it to their advantage, but many are not willing to prostitute themselves. I don’t know what the answer is.

There needs to be one other poll option that says, “Wish I Never Watched Voyager.”

Worst. Trek. EVER. SO many wasted opportunities with that series.


for me:

1. Star Trek TNG
2. Star Trek TOS
3. Enterprise
4. Voyager
5. Deep Space 9

Hasn’t seen the movie? She should be pecked to death by ducks!

I actually like Seven of Nine, the character, as played by Jeri Ryan. I agree that her unitard outfit is lame and too revealing not to be seen as purely gratuitous. However, I thought the stories built around Seven of Nine were WAY more interesting than those built around Kes.

Seven of Nine should have looked just like she did in Scorpion, all the way through the end of the series.

So both Shatner and Mulgrew refuse to watch ST09. I find that revealing.
That aside, I absolutely loved Voyager.

I liked 7 of nine and of course they put her in because of her looks . All those that rant about that though, should really rewatch TOS or any other series with mini skirts or all aliens wearing even less.
I liked the character also because of the fact that she is a member of the arch enemie. She was part of the always present enemy/outsider looking into the general society of the franchise.

I only discovered voyager and seven of nine a couple of months ago and have been kicking myself for not getting into it years ago.

Jeri Ryan is jaw droppingly good looking and to me that didn’t interfere with the show feeling like star trek. In fact i think the new level of tension added to it.

Each to his own, I suppose. And no disrespect to Kate, as an actress, or a lady. But I really couldn’t stand Voyager. After DS9, which was itself a step down from TNG, the quality of Trek reached a nadir. Voyager was unoriginal. The characters were recycled and generic. There was little connection between Voyager and prior Trek; and, I felt, little love of prior Trek. The stories were, again, rehashed, worse versions of what came before. They ruined the Borg. Worse of all, the dialogue was awful: replete with technobable. The only novel feature of Voyager was that the Captain was a woman. However, I’m not sexist; so, I don’t see any advantage or merit in our having a female captain: black, white, man, woman, it’s irrelevant. Some might say that the inclusion of a hologram and the ship journeying home were novel. But they were copied straight from classic British space comedy-drama Red Dwarf. I’m sorry, but I genuinely can’t find anything I like about Voyager. I suppose the theme song was quite good; but that’s really not enough…

PS. I think Ent. was pretty much as bad.

My favourites:

TNG (10/10. One of the best TV shows ever; shame about the films…)

DS9 (8/10. Ahead of its time with the terrorism theme. A good change of style. Interesting characters.)

TOS (7/10. Some of the best episodes in Trek. But the average is not as high as DS9 and TNG: there are many shockers. But a truly revolutionary and visionary show. Difficult to judge a ’60s product.)

Voyager (3/10)
Enterprise (3/10) : time for JJ.

It keeps suprising me that so many Star Trek Fans are so full of anger, i thought the theory of IDIC or whatever would get through to more. of course those who squeak the loudest are not always representative of the true population…
Nonetheless, personally I have problems with the writing of Voyager, yet I have friends who think it is the best show.
The point is we get along.
Can’t we all live and let live?

27. Phobos – January 21, 2011

Shatner has said he’s seen the film and that he liked it. He also went about as far as Shatner does in complementing another actor: here, Pine.
And you can understand why he was reluctant to see the film. He’s been this character for four decades; in many ways, he is Star Trek. No disrespect to Kate, but the same is not true for her. I don’t think Kate wants to see it because she knows it will be good and put her Trek to shame. (Though, little if any of the blame for Voyager is Kate’s).

@ #23:

I feel bad for you. If you dislike DS9 that much, you’re missing out. It’s part of the best of Trek, with far better character development and arcing storylines that get you invested more than an episodic show ever could.

Voyager strayed more from other Treks not so much for having a sexy Borgette… but, for aiming squarely for a Star Wars audience. Gee, what a sin. Same as the Trek movies STILL do. In truth, the writing was not much less good that TOS, but it hit more dull eps than any series before. Enterprise hit “high action/ low interest” eps a lot more.

Why all the anger and cheap shots at the lady? The thing many Trek fans here seem not to grasp is that Trek is not the center of life for every actor that participated in its production. Voyager was something Mulgrew did in her career, she likes what she did, she resented the intrusion of pointless, sensationalist sexuality merely for the sake of ratings into the work she offered, and now all of that is in her past.

She hasn’t seen the reboot. So what? That’s her prerogative. The characters in the Trek universe mean a great deal more to Trek fans than they actors who portrayed them, in many cases. And when that fact is manfested in reality, out come the fangs of some of the fandom….geeez…. Mulgrew was a nice actress and she did a nice job in Voyager, and her assessment of it being in the midst of “Trek saturation” is spot-on. Kudos to her.

Reminds me a lot of Christopher Lloyd’s reaction to being in the Trek universe for TSFS: It was a nice deal, he was “glad to be a part of Trek,” but it wasn’t some life-changing thing for him. It was a part, a job, one that professional pride demanded the best effort they could give, but once it was done, it was done.

Voyager was a decent TV show, and for some odd reason it captured my interest longer than some of the other Trek spinoffs of the era, but I had lost interest by the time it was over and they (Berman?) had given it the idiotic ending with which it was sentenced..

#33 — What about all the dreadfully dull Ferengi family episodes, or the ones about Odo’s uninteresting struggles to fit in, or the yawn-worthy Bajoran religious/political issues. I like certain DS9 episodes well enough, but I too have to rank it lowest of the 5. No need to get all patronizing about it. DS9 is still Star Trek, I watched all of it, and I’d rather see it than any crappy Babylon 5 episode….

DS9- good writing.
TNG- a mix. (And when the camps split, it resulted in the above.)
Like it or not, that sums it all up.

Ha Ha!!!

Vindication for Mr. Shatner!!

Everyone blasted him for not seeing the movie for so long and the gracious Kate Mulgrew has now explained why as a Captain in a franchise it was so hard to do. Plus, Shatner is THE Captain of the Star trek franchise.

I don’t want to hear one more negative comment about Bill Shatner ever again!

Bill is a blowhard, but a lovable blowhard.

Anywho, I understand Mulgrew’s point of view. They should have let Seven gradually become human in the physical sense at the same time that she asserted her personality over a period spanning two seasons or so and nixed the catsuit. Seeing her skin become pink, her hair grow and her implants slowly being removed would have been cooler (and made more sense) than ”HEY, I’M A BABE!”

Favorite series? Let the dollar speak:
I own every Star Trek series on DVD, including both Original and Remastered versions of TOS, all the movies, and a host of documentaries and ephemera. This even includes double dipping in VHS and LaserDisc. Paramount has made ALOT of money off of me over the years…

But I don’t own a single episode of “Star Trek: Voyager”.

I loved Enterprise far more than Voyager. I love Voyager but its the most bubblegummy, and with the Doctor and Neelix I almost threw up in my mouth a bit. DS9 was far better.

It has become rather upsetting how many Star Trek actors do no care for Star Trek beyond their acting in it. My favorite Star Trek actor is still Levar Burton, because he was a Star Trek fan before TNG, he was a fan during TNG, and he is a fan now, bless him.

Voyager wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t my favorite either.

Voyager had a great idea, just poorly written. By the end of the show, Voyager should have looked just like the Battlestar Galactica…beaten to junk ready to fall apart. No building Delta Fliers, etc. The Borg were turned into ding dongs, which was lame too.

Biggest POOR writing issue….7 year ENSIGN Harry Kim. Nuff said.

DS9 was amazing, but I’m pretty sure that B5 creator JMS could have gone on with his lawsuit against Paramount (being that he pitched his B5 bible to Paramount way before DS9, and they were very similar). Still, what an amazing ride of a show…just wish the Dominion War battles were done up more in the later seasons.

TNG was great, but I got annoyed real fast the with constant technology bailout to solve a problem and over Political Correctness. Still, a great, great show. Riker was the Kirk of the TNG era.

TOS IS STAR TREK! Love it, even when it was utter camp crap (large part of Season 3). Kirk, Spock and McCoy were and always will be my favorite 3 fictional characters of all time.

@ 40: I hear ya. I have all three seasons of TOS (Original DVD/Remastered DVD/Blu-Ray), all the Motion Pictures, and all 7 Seasons of DS9.

I have not bought any TNG because they are hard to find in stores for a good price. I thought about going online, but I”m waiting for the blu-ray “remastered” release when it happens.

I will not buy a single season of Voyager or Enterprise. I liked some season 4 episodes of Enterprise, but the show just bugged me from day one. If you are going to have a TOS prequel with a ship called Enterprise, why not have the adventures of Robert April and the original Enterprise. URGH!!!!

Mulgrew’s an actress, Voyager was a job. Why the heck should she have to watch the movie if she’s not interested in doing so?

VOY (10/10. One of the best TV shows ever)

TOS (9/10 Cult series.)

DS9 (7/10 Average)

ENT (3/10 not that good)

TNG (2/10 most boring Star Trek series, in my opinion)

I agree with Mulgrew: Voyager was the just saturating the “Star Trek” brand and the point of its arrival. Jane way was a good role model, but 7 of 9 was a throwback for women. Yes, she was eye candy, but her outfits left very little to the imagination.

40. My Best Fiend – January 21, 2011

Good point. I own all of TOS, all the movies, some of TNG, both on VHS and DVD, over the years.

No Voyager, no Enterprise. Pretty much speaks for itself.

As for Voyager on TV, I watched, but wished they’d given Janeway a bit more of a warmth, a personal side – they did an episode where she and Chakotay had a fling, but it didn’t go anywhere.

I for one would have liked her to have a relationship or two. Would have made her more relatable, and added more tension to the character. She was Wooden.

…and of course Jeri Ryan was hot, but I don’t look to Star Trek for my sexual thrills, frankly.

Jeri was sexy??? I thought she looked positively anorexic. No thanks!