The Journey Home
The 1990s were an unprecedented era of growth for the Star Trek franchise. A year earlier, The Next Generation wrapped production with a record-breaking finale episode, then making a successful jump to the big screen with the film Star Trek: Generations. Deep Space Nine continued to perform well in direct syndication -- a market Star Trek had all but invented -- and soon saw competition from other syndicated programs like Hercules and Xena: Warrior Princess.
Even with two series running simultaneously, market research showed that viewer appetite for Star Trek had only increased in recent years -- a perfect opportunity for Paramount, which was once again planning to launch its own
Much like Roddenberry a decade earlier, the producers needed to create a Star Trek series that was familiar to fans, but without repeating the same stories, planets and enemies already seen in the Alpha Quadrant. Roddenberry achieved this by setting The Next Generation a century after his original series. Deep Space Nine was again set apart on a distant space station with a wormhole passage to the unexplored Gamma Quadrant.
For Voyager, the producers devised another way to give the series the space it needed. Remembering how Q had thrown the Enterprise to a far-flung part of the galaxy, they wondered, "What if our ship didn’t get back at the end?"
That ship would be the U.S.S. Voyager, a sleek Intrepid-class vessel preparing to embark from Deep Space Nine. It's mission: to pursue a group of Maquis rebels into a dangerous region of space known as the Badlands. But once inside, Voyager is violently transported 70,000 light years to the Delta Quadrant, an uncharted region of the galaxy too distant for contact with Starfleet. The crew, along with the Maquis fugitives, are quite literally lost in space.
The journey home will take a lifetime.
Star Trek: Voyager (1995)
Caretaker is the pilot episode of Star Trek: Voyager. It introduces us to our new ship, captain and crew, as well as their mission to apprehend a band of Maquis rebels in a dangerous region of space called the Badlands.
As you watch, consider the common themes of Star Trek introduced throughout the pilot. In what ways do the crew members embody elements of the established Star Trek formula? How are they different? How does the isolated setting of the Delta Quadrant change the dynamic of the series from that of earlier incarnations?
Away Mission 7.1
Captain Kathryn Janeway
Kathryn Janeway is a distinguised Starfleet Captain best known for her service as commanding officer of the U.S.S. Voyager, which was lost during a mission in a dangerous region of space known as the Badlands. Little was known about the disappearance of Janeway and her crew for several years until Starfleet learned that the ship had been transported to the Delta Qudrant -- more than 70 years from home -- by a powerful alien being.
Prior to her disappearance, Janeway had risen to the rank of captain after an exemplary career which included service as a lieutenant science officer aboard the U.S.S. Al-Batani (commanded by then Captain Owen Paris) and in the rank of commander aboard the U.S.S. Billings. At the academy, Janeway excelled at science and mathematics, but she has also studied something known as chromolinguistics, as well as American Sign Language. In her youth, she played tennis and learned ballet.
The defining moment in Janeway's career came just after Voyager arrived in the Delta Quadrant when, as captain, she decided to destroy the technology that brought them there. In an effort to protect a race known as the Ocampa from extinction at the hands of their enemies, Captain Janeway eliminated the Caretaker array, along with her only known way of returning to the Alpha Quadrant.
In the years that followed, Janeway would become the first Starfleet captain to explore the Delta Quadrant. Along the way she would make first contact with many races and visit new worlds as had been the original mission of legendary starships like the U.S.S. Enterprise. In the third year of Voyager's journey, the ship encountered a vast region of space controlled by the Borg Collective. In order to cross this territory, Captain Janeway once again made a controversial decision to ally with the Borg in a conflict between the Collective and a race from another dimension of space, Species 8472. The decision, although arguably a violation of the Prime Directive, allowed Voyager to continue on its way home.
How does Captain Janeway compare to Captains Kirk, Picard and Sisko that came before her?
Parallax (1995) / The Cloud (1995) / Prime Factors (1995) / The 37's (1995) / Sacred Ground (1996) / Macrocosm (1996) / Year of Hell (1997) / Fair Haven (2000)
Away Mission 7.2
Evolution of The Klingons (TOS - VOY)
The Klingons are perhaps the most well known alien race featured in Star Trek, and in all of science fiction. Since their first appearance in the original series, Klingons have remained a part of each new incarnation of the franchise, evolving and growing along with the Star Trek universe.
Who are these famous space warriors? How did they go from being the first villians of Star Trek to a beloved fan favorite and ally of the Federation? And why do they look so different in the original series??
The Klingons have been the focus of many legendary Star Trek stories, but their influence does not end there. They are perhaps the most developed sci-fi aliens of all time. The Klingon language has been fully written and even taught as a foreign language at universities. Klingonese words, like Qapla' ("success"), have entered into common use in the real world. Klingon mythology and philosophy have been deeply explored in Star Trek, and also by academics. Stories, songs and even operas have been written in the Klingon language, as well as great works of literature, including Shakespeare.
Like many non-human races in Star Trek, the Klingons help to highlight the human values that Gene Roddenberry hoped to promote or criticize in his series. While humans in Roddeberry's future are enlightened, compassionate explorers, the Klingons are aggressive, imperialistic warriors who are frequently at odds with the Federation. Created during the Cold War of the 20th Century, the Klingons serve as an opposing superpower in the same way that the United States and the U.S.S.R. once competed to expand their respective spheres of influence.
The Klingons of the original Star Trek are quite a bit different from the brooding warriors with ridged foreheads that appear in Star Trek: The Next Generation and later incarnations. This is largely due to budgetary restrictions on the orignal series, in which Klingons appear quite human-like, distinguished by their dark eyebrows and complexion. The most notable characteristics of the original Klingons were not their looks but their actions. Unlike the Federation, which is committed to peaceful non-interference, the Klingon Empire is aggressively imperialistic, preferring to conquor rather than explore.
By the 1980s, Star Trek had emerged as a global phenomenon, and its films and television series would receive far greater production budgets. As you have seen in The Wrath of Khan, the appearance of the Klingons began to evolve as a result. By the third Star Trek film, The Search for Spock, Klingons could be seen sporting their now famous head ridges. However, the final Klingon aesthetic would not emerge until The Next Generation, which featured the first Klingon Starfleet Officer, Lt. Worf. Classic episodes like Heart of Glory (1988) and Sins of the Father (1990) introduce much about Klingon tradition and culture, and the political underpinnings of the Empire, as Worf seeks to restore his family honor in the eyes of the High Council.
Klingons arrived on Deep Space Nine when a slump in viewer interest caused the stuidio to pressure Berman and Piller for a fourth season focused on their return as a military power in the quadrant, beginning with The Way of the Warrior (1995). The ensuing war with the Cardassians, and later the Dominion, created roles for reoccurring Klingon characters like Chancellor Gowron, General Martok and, of course, Worf as a new series regular. With episodes like Soldiers of the Empire (1997) and Sons and Daughters (1997), we get our first Star Trek stories driven entirely by Klingon characters aboard Klingon ships.
Though the Klingons had evolved significantly since their first appearance in 1967's Errand of Mercy, much of this develpment had been focused on Klingon men. Klingon women had appeared as early as 1968, in Day of the Dove, and later in the motion pictures, but these were supporting roles that revealed very little. Later, characters like the half-human K'Ehleyr, mother of Worf's son Alexander, and the villianous sisters, Lursa and B'Etor, reveal Klingon women as formidable warriors driven by the same code of honor as their male counterparts. These ideas would eventually inspire the character of B'Elanna Torres, also half-human, Voyager's Chief Engineer. Like Spock, who struggled to balance the conflicting values of his hertigage, B'Elanna must come to terms with her Klingon nature, first as an individual, and then as a mother.
In this Away Mission, you will explore the evolution of the Klingons, from the Original Series to Voyager. Begin by familiarizing yourself with the earlier Klingon stories mentioned above, and then continue with the following episodes from Voyager:
Day of Honor (VOY, 1997)
Barge of the Dead (VOY, 1999)
Away Mission 7.3
Kes & Seven of Nine
In some ways, Voyager can be viewed in two distinct halves: pre- and post-Seven of Nine. Much like Deep Space Nine, which struggled to maintain viewer enthusiasm in its first three seasons, Voyager faced a slow decline in ratings after its stellar debut in 1995. By season three, the series was often the subject of criticism, particularly from longer-term Trek fans that were critical of some of Voyager's more far-fetched episodes like Tuvix (1996) and Threshold (1996). With the emergence of home Internet in the 1990s (Voyager was the first Star Trek series to launch with a website), online forums were filled with debate, often blaming showrunner Brannon Braga for a lack of continuity with Star Trek history and/or the series more outrageous episodes (Braga wrote Threshold, and has since apologized for it). Other attention for Voyager seemed focused on less-important issues, such as Captain Janeway's ever-changing hairstyle.
As Braga and Berman prepared to introduce Seven of Nine in season four, they also planned to cut an existing series regular to make room for the new character. Initially, the decision was made to kill off Harry Kim, a character that had not been developed significantly and could be written out with relative ease. However, Garrett Wang was spared the chopping block at the last moment when he was named one of People Magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People" and the decision was made to keep him on the show. Still needing to free up room on the ship, the producers then chose to write off Kes, a rather unpopular decision with the other cast members and many fans who had grown fond of Jennifer Lien in the role.
The abrupt and somewhat painful departure of Lien would leave a scar on series, creating tension behind the scenes as Jeri Ryan (Seven of Nine) attempted to join the Voyager family. Fortunately for Ryan, he remarkable performance was embraced by fans and sparked a ratings renaissance.
In the Away Mission, you will explore some of Kes' and Seven's most significant episodes:
Cold Fire (1995)
Before and After (1996)
The Gift (1997)
Seven of Nine
The Gift (1997)
The Raven (1997)
Infinite Regress (1998)
Dark Frontier (1999)
Think Tank (1999)
Someone to Watch Over Me (1999)
Compare Kes and Seven as characters. What unique aspects does each bring to the series? Consider Seven of Nine in the context of previous Trek characters like Spock, Data, Odo and The Doctor. How is she similar? Different? How Does Seven impact the role of the Borg in the Star Trek universe.
After completing the mission, don't forget to share your thoughts and research with the class in our online community.
You may choose to complete some or all of this unit, but we want to hear your insights on the questions above, or anything else you've noticed in the episodes assigned.
If you've viewed other episodes not included in the Mission, please feel free to discuss those as well.
Tip: Try sharing your question responses individually, rather than responding to the entire unit in one post. We've found this makes for easier discussion.