Star Trek: Voyager-Season 1 (1995)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 4-May-2004

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Star Trek Main Menu Introduction
Menu Audio
Featurette-Braving The Unknown: Season One
Featurette-Voyager Time Capsule: Kathryn Janeway
Featurette-The First Captain: Bujold
Featurette-Cast Reflections: Season One
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-On Location With The Kazons
Featurette-Red Alert: Visual Effects Season One
Featurette-Launching Voyager On The Web
Featurette-Real Science With Andre Bormanis
Featurette-Star Trek: The Experience
Gallery-Photo
Easter Egg-3
Bonus Episode-Star Trek, The Original Series: Arena
Bonus Episode-Star Trek, Original Series: The City On The Edge Of Forever
Trailer-Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Trailer-Star Trek: The Next Generation
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1995
Running Time 700:17 (Case: 802)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (6)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Gabrielle Beaumont
Kenneth Biller
Cliff Bole
John Bruno
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Kate Mulgrew
Robert Beltran
Roxann Dawson
Jennifer Lien
Robert Duncan McNeill
Ethan Phillips
Robert Picardo
Tim Russ
Jeri Ryan
Garrett Wang
Case ?
RPI $150.80 Music Paul Baillargeon
David Bell
Jay Chattaway


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Danish
German
English
Spanish
French
Italian
Dutch
Norwegian
Swedish
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Launching in 1995, Star Trek: Voyager follows the adventures of the crew of (unsurprisingly) the U.S.S. Voyager, an Intrepid class Federation starship flung to the Delta Quadrant on the far side of the galaxy while in search of a missing Marquis vessel. Forced by circumstances to cooperate in order to survive, Captain Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) bands the two crews together in an uneasy alliance, and sets a course home for Earth, 75,000 light years away.

    Season 1 proceeds as follows:

Disc 1

    1. & 2. Caretaker: Part I & II (88:09) – The pilot double episode sets up the seven years that follow. When a Marquis vessel captained by a former Starfleet officer named Chakotay (Robert Beltran) disappears, an eager female captain named Janeway enlists the aid of a former Marquis and failed Starfleet officer Tom Paris (Robert Duncan McNeill) to track the vessel down in order to find her missing security officer, Lt. Tuvok (Tim Russ), who has infiltrated Chakotay’s team. There they encounter an alien being of immense power known as the Caretaker who kidnaps two of their crew, Ensign Harry Kim (Garrett Wang) and the half-Klingon Marquis engineer B’Elanna Torres (Roxann Dawson), and send them to a distant world. With half her crew dead and a holographic doctor (Robert Picardo) in place, Janeway offers an alliance between herself and the Marquis in order to get their missing people back. But first they must deal with a trader named Neelix (Ethan Phillips) and his girlfriend Kes (Jennifer Lien), and face off against the vicious Kazon.

    3. Parallax (44:02) – While trying to save a ship apparently caught in the event horizon of a collapsing star, Voyager is inadvertently caught in a temporal paradox. In order to foster better Starfleet/Marquis relations, Janeway agrees to work side by side with the aggressive and temperamental B’Elanna to get the ship out.

    4. Time and Again (44:00) – While investigating the destruction of a planet, Janeway and Paris vanish in pockets of time. Lost in the past, Janeway and Paris must try and prevent a pollution of the time stream while the rest of the crew work in the future to save them before the planet is destroyed.

Disc 2

    5. Phage (43:58) – While searching for alternative energy sources, Neelix has his lungs ripped out of his chest by a technologically sophisticated race. In order to save their new friend, the crew of Voyager must track his assailants across the quadrant and recover his organs.

    6. The Cloud (43:57) – With the ship’s power supplies running low, Janeway directs the ship into a cloud that is a seeming energy source, only to find that she has injured a space-born lifeform.

    7. Eye Of The Needle (44:04) – The crew of Voyager encounter a tiny wormhole that leads back to the Alpha Quadrant. While too small for the vessel to travel through, they nevertheless manage to make contact with a Romulan vessel on the far side that may hold the key to getting them home.

    8. Ex Post Facto (44:04) – While visiting a planet to gain new technologies, Paris is accused of murdering a scientist and is sentenced to relive the murder again every twelve hours from the point of view of his victim. Is Paris a killer, or will Tuvok’s investigation of the matters clear him?

Disc 3

    9. Emanations (43:51) – While investigating an asteroid belt with unusual energy properties, Ensign Kim is suddenly transported away through a vortex. On the other side he finds himself in a society that sees death as the evolution to the next level of consciousness and who view him as a person who has returned from beyond the grave.

    10. Prime Factors (43:53) – Approached by a pleasure seeking race, the crew of Voyager take a valuable time out. But when Harry Kim discovers technology that could take them thousands of light years closer to home in an instant and the aliens refuse to trade, the crew find themselves for the first time on the wrong side of the Prime Directive.

    11. State Of Flux (43:58) – When Voyager encounters a Kazon vessel utilising Starfleet technology Janeway and Chakottay begin to suspect that there is a traitor on board.

    12. Heroes and Demons (43:58) – After Kim and Tuvok disappear on the holodeck, The Doctor is given his first away mission into the holographic simulation which Kim had running at the time – the ancient legend of Beowulf.

Disc 4

    13. Cathexis (43:57) – Chakotay and Tuvok return to the ship apparently having been attacked. While Tuvok seems fine, Chakotay is brain dead. But when the crew try to return to their last known coordinates to try and find out what went wrong, a series of strange occurrences preventing their return leads Janeway into thinking there is an intruder on board.

    14. Faces (43:56) – After being captured by the Vidiian, B’Elanna wakes to find herself reformed without her human DNA and undergoing medical experiments. Meanwhile, Paris and Durst (Brian Markinson) must survive in the mines and hope that Voyager can rescue them.

    15. Jetrel (43:53) – When a scientist by the name of Dr. Jetrel (James Sloyan) arrives on Voyager, Neelix is forced to relive the days of the Talaxian War and face the news that he may be dying from the effects of a weapon of mass destruction that Jetrel designed and which killed Neelix’s family.

    16. Learning Curve (43:57) – Certain Marquis who are not making the transition well to Starfleet life are also not making things easier for the ship as a whole. In order to get them up to speed and properly integrate them into the crew, Janeway arranges for Tuvok to give them some Starfleet Academy training.

    Voyager is an interesting chapter in the canon of Star Trek small screen ventures, attracting both praise and criticism alike. Some people felt that, unlike Star Trek: The Original Series which usually involved a fisticuffs solution, or Star Trek: The Next Generation which involved a clever diplomatic solution, Voyager was overly reliant on the technological solution. While this criticism is less apparent during this first season of the show, there are moments where such comments do ring true. However, this critic is of the opinion that, on the whole, the Voyager series was (and remains) excellent, barring a few poorly conceived episodes that cropped up from time to time, as is bound to happen in any series.

    So why the vitriolic criticism, even from within the Star Trek community? I put this down to a simple fact – the audience was growing up. Those who had been watching The Original Series as teenagers in the 1960s were considerably older in the mid 1990s, and in fact most of their children had grown up too. Fans of The Next Generation who began watching the show in 1987 were nearly ten years older by the time Voyager came around. With an aging audience comes an aged expectation that necessitates a change in sophistication – one that was met with Deep Space Nine, which certainly pitched its stories at those in their late teens and older, and was reflected in Star Trek: Nemesis, which was for a grown up and matured audience. Voyager, on the other hand, was pitched (either intentionally or otherwise) at the younger teens and pre-teens who were not yet ready for the complex plotlines and intricate politics of Deep Space Nine, and who were more easily engaged by the marvel of self-contained stories featuring new worlds, new species and new technologies that Voyager provided every week. As the series progresses we can see it growing up to suit its own aging audience, with scarier and more violent storylines. But Season 1 of Voyager seems to be aiming to incorporate eight year olds as well, who would have been only fifteen by the time the final episode of this series (the awesome double episode Endgame) came to the small screen. When this consideration is taken into account, many of the faults of this series are cast in a new light, and one can appreciate the show for what it is.

    My own major criticism of Voyager is this – inconsistency. When it is good, it is outstanding (for an audience of any age), and I for one am looking forward to episodes like the awe-inspiring two parter Scorpion and the fantastic double episode The Killing Game, which were both imaginatively written and extremely well told. However, on its bad days, Voyager really struggled, and episodes like Threshold are just best forgotten. Thankfully, in my estimation at least, the good days outweighed the bad, and I have found myself returning to this series, especially the later seasons, many times since its finish.

    The only other criticism I have to level at the show, and it is a minor one, is the casting. Not that anybody is bad – in fact, Kate Mulgrew is an excellent Captain once you get used to her mannerisms, and Robert Picardo is genius at work. But too many of the people cast in lead roles here were well-known faces from the other two series, and the various movies, where they had ancillary roles as extras. This was a little disappointing, as what worked really well for The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine was their casting, drawn largely from the stage where their theatrical experience made for great Star Trek space melodrama.

    Those criticisms aside, the concept behind Voyager is an interesting one, and one well worth exploring through this show. Once you boil it all down, the basic premise is this – how do the virtues and values of humanity hold up under the harsh reality and everyday challenges of survival in a hostile environment? This message is especially relevant today. However, I guess if you are reading this review you are probably a fan already, so let’s move onto those little technical details shall we ...?

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    I am pleased to report that the image quality of Season 1 of Voyager is excellent, slightly better than the transfer done for the DVD release of Season 3 of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, but not quite as good as that done for Seasons 4 & 5.

    Those of you with VHS versions of this season can happily discard those well worn shells and washed out colours for this glossy new format – there is no comparison.

    The transfer is presented in 1.33:1 Full Frame, which is the original broadcast aspect ratio. Like other Star Trek incarnations from the 1990s, Voyager was also shot on 35mm film and then transferred to NTSC video. As a result, we unfortunately get the occasional mild cross colouration problem, but it is very limited and not distracting for the most part. Indeed, on the whole, colours are highly saturated and well balanced. The only times the cross colouration is obvious is during the outdoor scene between Paris and Janeway at the start of Caretaker, and a few times when the camera was angled a certain way towards certain computer panels. One of the poorer instances of this is at 16:59 - 17:03 during the episode Cathexis.

    Unlike Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, this particular series does not use the same soft-filter technique used on that show. As a result, the image is much crisper and better defined. The set detail is intricate and we can finally see it in all its glory, as opposed to those slightly fuzzy VHS images that blurred a lot of the finer work. Indeed, scenes in which fog, mist or smoke are used are done incredibly well, with nary an MPEG fault to be found.

    Shadow detail is very good, with rich blacks instead of dull blues. Although graininess was a little bit of a problem during Caretaker, there was a noticeable difference between the picture quality of the pilot and the rest of the series. While some very mild grain cropped up in some of the more shadowy scenes, the picture is for the most part pretty clean.

    Glaring MPEG artefacts are absent, and film-to-video transfer artefacts are limited but not absent. I noticed some very mild background aliasing and moire effect, but more irritatingly some of the panning motion is a little ‘jerky’, particularly external shots of Voyager, as is some of the ‘ship shaking’ footage. Parallax suffers slightly from this fault, but the intro sequence of Emanations with the ship flying through the asteroid field (the teaser intro, not the credits sequence) is worse and a little awkward to watch.

    Film artefacts are very few and far between with the odd white dot of dirt here and there if you go hunting for it.

    As with most Star Trek DVD releases, this season comes with extensive subtitle options: English for the Hearing Impaired, regular English, Danish, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, Norwegian and Swedish. They appear as white with a grey/black border and convey the general gist of the dialogue fairly nicely.

    The dual-layer pause is concealed in between episodes, with two episodes per layer.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The original English 2.0 Surround has been remastered into a full 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround field. It is about on par with the DVD release of Season 3 of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, although some real work and care has obviously gone into remastering the audio for Caretaker.

    The dialogue is very clean and easy to understand, and audio sync was never really an issue – any minor faults were from the source material, not a product of the transfer.

    The theme for Voyager is finally given a nice remix, although I thought the music done for this series was not half as good as the music done for Deep Space Nine, but that probably has more to do with the tone of the show than anything else. I am curious to see whether the immaculate score done for the double episode Scorpion comes up well, but that is still a few seasons ahead. For now, the music done for the show is good, suits the on screen action, and has a nice enveloping feel to it thanks to the remastering.

    There is a fair bit of surround usage here, particularly during the pilot Caretaker. I noticed that the surrounds were employed less during the rest of the season, although instances where the ship was being shaken up by whatever anomaly it had encountered were done very well. The low level rumble of the warp engines gives the show a nice cinematic feel, and in this regard the 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack really makes a difference over the VHS release.

    The subwoofer is put through its paces here and there, although more care was done for the audio on Caretaker than I think there was on some of the other episodes.

    Audio is also available in German 5.1 Dolby Digital and Spanish, French and Italian in 2.0 Dolby Surround overdub. These alternate audio tracks lose something with the overdub and lack the clarity that comes from the original English. Still, they are quite acceptable as foreign language tracks.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    Paramount Home Entertainment have kindly provided with us with an extensive list of extras across 2 bonus discs, all presented in 1.33:1, Full Frame, with 2.0 Dolby Surround audio, unless otherwise specified. Interviews are in 1.85:1, letterboxed within the 1.33:1 frame.

Menus

    All menus are presented in 1.33:1 Full Frame. The main menus are a CGI recreation of the ship flying through space which then sits at four different angles representing the four episodes on the disc. The episode menus have an ambient 2.0 Dolby Stereo track and are static until you hit Launch and then the ship takes off. All other sub-menus are static and silent.

Booklet

    I am informed that Voyager will be packaged much as previous Star Trek series with its own individualised set of packaging (this time in red) and a booklet.

Disc 5

Featurette – “Braving The Unknown: Season 1” (10:39)

    This is effectively a look at how the show got started and includes interviews with the creative producers behind it, Rick Berman, Michael Pillar and Jeri Taylor.

Featurette – “Voyager Time Capsule: Captain Janeway” (15:06)

    This is a featurette on the character of Janeway and is centred around various interviews with Kate Mulgrew. It includes many anecdotes regarding auditions and casting and behind-the-scenes happenings.

Featurette – “The First Captain: Bujold” (8:31)

    This is a look at the actress who was originally cast for Captain Janeway’s role, Genevieve Bujold, who sadly did not really fit the part. It features an interview with executive producer Rick Berman, and footage from the test auditions for Janeway from various people and the few scenes that Bujold did.

Featurette – “Cast Reflections: Season One” (8:32)

    Recent interviews with the cast of the show on the making of the first season, except for Jennifer Lien whose interview is from 1994.

Featurette – “On Location With The Kazons” (5:27)

    This is an on-set behind-the-scenes featurette done in 1994 during the filming of Caretaker with John Livingston, the supervising producer of the show. It focuses on the scene that introduces the Kazon which feature prominently in the first two seasons of the show.

Featurette – “Red Alert: Visual Effects Season One” (10:24)

    This is a look at the visual effects done for Voyager and is based around an interview with Dan Curry, the visual effects producer.

Featurette – “Launching Voyager On The Web” (5:57)

    When Voyager was launched there was a heavy integration with the early forms of web-browsing on the Internet to help advertise the show. This featurette includes an interview with the supervising producer of www.startrek.com, Marc Wade, on how they got Star Trek on the Internet.

Featurette – “Real Science With Andre Bormanis” (8:52)

    A look at the science that underpins the show, featuring an interview with science consultant Andre Bormanis.

Featurette – “Star Trek: The Experience” (16:35)

    A look at the “65 foot Star Trek-themed area” at the Hilton in Las Vegas.

Photo Gallery (7:36)

    A series of 40 inset stills from the production of this season of the show.

Lost Transmissions from The Delta Quardrant (Hidden Files)

    There are 4 Lost Transmissions, which are easy enough to find by just playing around with your remote until you highlight one of the inset panels on Voyager:

Disc 6

Bonus Episode – Star Trek: The Original Series: “Arena” (48:22)

    Presented with a fully remastered 1.33:1 Full Frame image and a remixed 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack, this classic Original Series episode has never looked or sounded better. It makes my slightly blurry, colour-washed, and colour-bleeding VHS copies look like junk. I'm very much looking forward to reviewing this show on DVD. In this particular episode, Kirk and his tactical crew beam down into an ambush. After several crew are killed, the Enterprise chases the enemy vessel through space until both are intercepted by another race with far superior technology. These beings put the captains of both vessels on a planet alone where they must fight to survive. The loser will be killed and his vessel and crew destroyed.

Bonus Episode – Star Trek: The Original Series: “The City On The Edge Of Forever” (48:23)

    Also presented with a stunning fully remastered 1.33:1 Full Frame image and a remixed 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack, this is the classic episode that sees Kirk and Spock lost in time after McCoy inadvertently changes the past and wipes out the human race in a drug-induced state. Lost in depression-era San Francisco, Kirk must make a choice between love and the fate of all humanity.

Trailer – Star Trek: The Next Generation on DVD (1:10)

    A short promo for the DVD release of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Trailer – Star Trek: Deep Space Nine on DVD (4:48)

    A far more in-depth promo regarding the release of Deep Space Nine on DVD.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    From what I can tell, the R1 release is only a 5-Disc set and does not have:

    The extras on Disc 5 would appear to be identical.

    R4 has come up trumps.

Summary

    Star Trek: Voyager – Season 1 was an interesting start to a promising series. While shorter than most first seasons of a Star Trek series (coming in at a meagre 16 episodes), it makes for good late night entertainment when it is cold outside.

    Great video, although there is a noticeable difference in the quality between the pilot and the rest of the series. Makes my VHS copies look obsolete, though, so I am not complaining too much.

    The 5.1 Dolby Digital remix is very well done, although I feel that the remixes done for the later seasons of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine were better.

    The extras are excellent, although there are still no audio commentaries.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Edward McKenzie (I am Jack's raging bio...)
Wednesday, May 05, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DVD-RV31A-S, using S-Video output
DisplayBeko 28" (16x9). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver.
AmplificationMarantz SR7000
SpeakersEnergy - Front, Rear, Centre & Subwoofer

Other Reviews
AllZone4DVD - Wayne F

Comments (Add)
The weakest of the trek series - Nick H
Why don't US fans get the same deal? - Noel
RE: The weakest of the trek series - Anonymous
Nice Packaging, But... - NovaDust
US has had Classic series on DVD for over 4 years - gRANT (Read my bio, mmm... uncompressed surround audio)
The previously released classic series DVDs were a rip-off - Alan
Re: Package problems - Tom G
re: packaging and dust - Anonymous
Missing Episodes? - Craig Walker
re: Missing Episodes - Roger T. Ward (Some say he's afraid of the Dutch, and that he's stumped by clouds. All we know, this is his bio.)
Get the region 1 versions - Anonymous