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The newest product from Paramount's Star Trek stable began shooting almost as soon as the final tv episode of The Next Generation finished, with a first showing on US tv screens in January 1995. The series focused on the crew of a new starship, USS Voyager, and was set contemporary to TNG and Deep Space Nine.

Smaller than Enterprise, Voyager, NCC 74656, had a crew of 141 and there were no families aboard. First of the new Intrepid-class starship, it was capable of Warp 9.975, had only fifteen decks and bio-neural circuitry. It was far from being flagship material, being rougher, tougher, and not nearly so large as Enterprise.

In the 90-minute pilot, Voyager was sent on a routine mission to find a Starfleet agent planted aboard a rebel Maquis ship. The Maquis had been taking the law into its own hands, both in TNG and Deep Space Nine, combating Cardassian raids along the Cardassian/Federation border. Through an unfortunate set of circumstances, both ships are sent hurtling to the other side of the galaxy, 70,000 light years away, a distance that will take them approximately 75 years at maximum warp to cover. Forced to band together to survive, the two crews search for the technology to get them home. Obviously, this far out, the Federation is unknown, and the alien races the combined crews meet are completely new to them.

There was a four month hiatus between the end of ST:TNG and the beginning of Voyager, so the programme did not start shooting until autumn 1994, and casting and final characterisations, kept absolutely secret until shortly before transmission, were not announced. Voyager's commander was a woman in her thirties, played by Kate Mulgrew in a style very reminiscent of Kathleen Hepburn, who evokes a similar sense of brashness as did Kirk in the original Star Trek, and she is joined by Tom Paris, rogue officer with a conscience, a half human/half Klingon chief engineer, B'Elanna Torres, a young black Vulcan tactical and security chief, a holographic doctor, Asian-American communications officer Harry Kim, who is fresh out of Starfleet Academy, Native American first officer Chakotay, and the ship's emergency holographic doctor, who never seems to gain a name. The first episode also introduced two characters native to the new region of the galaxy in which Voyager found itself. The female character, Kes, was from a telepathic species with a much shorter life span, only nine or so years, so her appreciation of life was much different from anyone else's. The other was an ugly alien scavenger, Neelix.

The star originally chosen for the role of Captain Janeway, after the other front runner, Lindsey Wagner, was discounted, was Genevieve Bujold, who quit after just a few days, unable to handle the rigours of the filming schedule. Computer animation was by Steven Spielberg's Amblin company. The new series was created by the men responsible for the invention of Deep Space Nine and for engineering the greater part of The Next Generation, Rick Berman and Michael Pillar.

Four episodes from the first season were held over to form the start of an increasingly ridiculous and unbelievable Season 2. Things did not really improve until Jennifer Lien was replaced by Jeri Ryan at the start of Season 4. After that the series finally found its feet. Stardates listed in italics were never actually given on screen but form part of the studio's documentation concerning those episodes. Shortly before the programme began screening on Sky One, the station gave viewers the chance to see behind the scenes in a thirty-minute special entitled Star Trek: Voyager - The Making of a Legend, shown at 9.20pm on Tuesday 3rd October 1995.



Captain Kathryn Janeway Kate Mulgrew
Commander Chakotay Robert Beltrane
Lieutenant-Commander B'Elanna Torres
Roxanne [Biggs-]Dawson
Lieutenant (Ensign Season 5-6) Thomas Eugene Paris
Robert Duncan McNeill
Lt-Commander Tuvok
Tim Russ
Lt Harry Kim Garrett Wang
Ethan Phillips
Kes Jennifer Lien (Up to start of Season Four)
Seven of Nine
Jeri Ryan (Season 4 Onwards)
The Doctor
Robert Picardo
Computer Voice Majel Barrett


Creators and Executive Producers: Michael Pillar,
  Rick Berman and Jeri Taylor
Producers: Peter Lauritson and Merri Howard,
  with Brannon Braga (Ep 2 Onwards)
Co-Producer: Wendy Neuss
Supervising Producer: David Livingston
Theme: Jerry Goldsmith
Music: Dennis McCarthy, David Bell
and Jay Chattaway

A Paramount Production
172 colour episodes, pilot 90-minutes, rest x 44-minutes
(Sky One/BBC2)



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