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Paramount Studios presents
Star Trek: Voyager—The Complete Seventh Season (2000-2001)

"When I think about everything we've been through together, maybe it's not the destination that matters—maybe it's the journey."
- Ensign Harry Kim (Garrett Wang)

Review By: Matt Peterson  
Published: December 21, 2004

Stars: Kate Mulgrew, Robert Beltran, Tim Russ, Roxann Dawson, Robert Picardo, Garrett Wang, Robert Duncan McNeill, Ethan Pillips, Jeri Ryan
Other Stars: Susanna Thompson, Manu Intiraymi, Cyia Batten, Derek McGrath, John Kassir, Dwight Schultz, Marina Sirtis, Fritz Sperberg, Ron Glass, Jeff Yagher, Tarik Ergin, Peggy Jo Jacobs, Jonathan Del Arco, James Read, Donny Most, John de Lancie, Richard Herd, Josh Clark, Paul Sandman, Scarlett Pomers, Tarik Ergin, Alice Krige
Director: various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (sci-fi violence, adult themes)
Run Time: 18h:58m:00s
Release Date: December 21, 2004
UPC: 097360509144
Genre: television


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A BAA B-

DVD Review

This is the end, my only friends, the end. Have you stuck with me this long, faithful readers? Good. Thanks to the five of you out there. No, seriously, it has been quite a journey traveling with the intrepid crew of the starship Voyager, stuck in the Delta Quadrant thousands of light years form home. We've gotten to know the coffee-loving Captain Janeway, the tattooed Chakotay, the eternally-Ensign Kim, and the vixen Seven, among others. We've encountered Kazon, Vidiians, Hirogen, Species 8472, a few nasty nebluae, and Borg, Borg and more Borg. This is the home stretch. We all know Voyager will reach her destination by season's end, but will the show go out with a bang or a whimper? Let's find out.

Season Seven delivers much of the same quality standalone entertainment we've seen before, but does not reach the pinnacles set by Season Three through Five (see my previous reviews for a retrospective look). This year opens with the conclusion to the lackluster, derivative Unimatrix Zero. Janeway, Tuvok, and Torres have been assimilated, but against all odds, it was actually part of their elaborate plan to infect the collective with a virus that will allow an insurrection from within to take hold, hopefully finishing off the Borg forever. Now, as unlikely as it sounds that half the senior staff would willingly undergo assimilation to make this happen, this is the backbone of the story. This episode's production values are stellar, but it takes more than slick visuals to keep one engaged.

Season Seven is the season of Seven—she gets loads of screen time yet again, beginning in the near death experiences of Imperfection, which features another de-Borgified addition to the crew: The young genius Icheb (basically this show's Wesley Crusher). Human Error continues her exploration of humanity, as does Inside Man and Natural Law, two entries that develop a budding romance between Seven and Chakotay. This relationship always seemed a bit tacked on to me, but it's nice to see some level of character development, even if the majority of its focus is on one character. This year sees the pinnacle of Seven's maturation, taking an interesting turn that suggests perhaps her humanity can never be fully realized.

Relationships do receive a fair amount of attention this season. Aside from Chakotay and Seven, Paris and Torres finally tie the knot in the Nascar (*shudder*) inspired Drive, which centers on an intergalactic auto race. The couple frequently enjoys spending some nostalgic time in front of a vintage television and watching 3-D movies. In the worthwhile Lineage, B'Elanna continues her struggle with her Klingon heritage, attempting to erase such attributes from her unborn child. Prophecy deems B'Elanna's child to be the future leader of a Klingon enlightenment. Unfortunately, in the great Voyager tradition, most of the other crew members are left by the wayside, ending with characters who have changed little from their First Season counterparts.

Nevertheless, old habits die hard: Voyager's strongest, most consistently entertaining character, The Doctor, gets his fair share of episodes as well. Critical Care pits the doctor against an alien HMO who assigns health care based on a patient's importance to society. In Body and Soul, the Doctor takes his mentor relationship with Seven to new levels by being transferred into Seven's body, with entertaining results. Flesh and Blood and Renaissance Man places the Doctor in perilous situations that involve his holographic nature. Finally, Author, Author expands the Doctor's artistic talents beyond opera into holonovels, one of which ruffles some feathers among the crew.

Bold, adventurous standalone episodes are peppered throughout this season, with a fair amount of mediocre entries. The two part Workforce is a definite strength; the crew is abducted to work on an alien world, where they are given new identities and their memories of Voyager are erased. Chakotay, the Doctor and Harry Kim must save a crew with no desire to return home, and expose the wrongs of an industrially dependent society. Inside Man is another strong crossover episode between of Voyager and Earth, where Reginald Barclay continues his efforts to bring the crew home. Troi is back, as well, as are the devious Ferengi. Spatial anomalies wreak havoc in Shattered and The Void.

After an emotional departure by Neelix in Homestead (this one had some weight to it), we come to it at last: Endgame is the supposedly stunning conclusion to the series, in which the future Janeway returns to the past to guide Voyager home through one of the Borg's hidden transwarp hubs, but the Queen (Alice Krige returns) will not stand for Voyager's treachery. There are some great moments in this episode, including an opening that takes place in the future. We see the grand starship flying over the Golden Gate bridge amidst throngs of cheering Earthlings, and get to catch up with geriatric versions of our favorite characters, but there is so much adventure and special effects packed into this episode, we get zero time to feel the emotional weight of Voyager's return home. All we are given is a long shot of of Voyager flying toward Earth, escorted by other Starfleet vessels. That's it. Show's over. Hope you liked it. Really, this is a disappointing ending. There is zero closure here. I always thought the crew should have reached home a few episodes before the end so we can see the aftermath of the voyage, which we have taken part in over seven years. A lackluster conclusion at best.

After reading one my previous reviews, a friend of mine asked me why I like this show. I tend to be pretty critical, bashing various aspects without remorse. First of all, being critical is my job to an extent, and secondly, fans are always more critical than your average viewer. I expect great things from Trek, and it usually delivers. However, Voyager and the now-improved Enterprise remain fine reasons for why this franchise could use a break. They still provides some solid sci-fi adventure that speaks to important moral and social issues, but the franchise is losing steam fast. The freshness is fleeting, and the sense of adventure, fading. Sometimes loving something is knowing when to let it go. Voyager filled the void left by two other superior series, but only just. It's time for a break, some new blood, and the anticipation of a fresh start. Only then can we once again "boldly go where no one has gone before."

Disc 1: Unimatrix Zero, Part II, Imperfection, Drive, Repression
Disc 2: Critical Care, Inside Man, Body and Soul, Nightengale
Disc 3: Flesh and Blood, Shattered, Lineage
Disc 4: Repentance, Prophecy, The Void, Workforce, Part I
Disc 5: Workforce, Part II, Human Error, Q2, Author, Author
Disc 6: Friendship One, Natural Law, Homestead, Renaissance Man
Disc 7: Endgame, Special Features

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: The image quality is on par with previous sets. The image is occasionally soft, but detail is very good. Colors are bright and well saturated, and contrast is solid. This is certainly as good as these can look.

Image Transfer Grade: A

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby 5.1 audio delivers when needed. Check out the space battles in the finale Endgame, complete with sweeping starship flybys and some solid LFE. These are tasteful remasters that maintain the integrity of the original Dolby Surround mixes (also included), but add an extra punch.

Audio Transfer Grade: A

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 192 cues
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
2 Documentaries
8 Featurette(s)
Packaging: unknown keepcase
7 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Photo Gallery
  2. Storyboards
Extras Review: The 24 episodes are contained on seven discs. The set's packaging is the same as before, housing the discs in a book-like arrangement of plastic disc trays, enclosed by two clear plastic pieces that fit over the top and bottom. The color of choice this time is magenta.

Braving the Unknown: Season Seven (18m:11s) is another standard look at the season as a whole, featuring discussions with cast and crew on episodes such as Workforce, Flesh and Blood, and Homestead. Brannon Braga, Rick Berman and Jeri Ryan discuss Seven of Nine, who became the central focus of the latter part of the series. Other topics include the marriage of Paris and Torres, and reflections on the end of the series.

Voyager Time Capsule: The Doctor (15m:09s) looks at the eccentric hologram who never really picked a name. Robert Picardo offers some comments in new and archival interviews, which cover his character (he originally auditioned for Neelix!), the similarity of his name to another famous Starfleet officer, notable episodes and characters, and his current projects, which include stage musicals. Picardo is a gracious conversationalist who makes this a very interesting piece.

Coming Home: The Final Episode (12m:38s) features some behind-the-scenes footage of the final days of shooting, but centers on interview-based discussions about the show's conclusion. Berman comments on how the writers had decided Voyager would not get home at the end. What? I say again, what? He was serious, stating that the idea behind such a move would be to stress the importance of the journey, not the destination. Well, let's just say it was a good thing they changed their mind.

Real Science With Andre Bormanis (14m:02s) is another entry in the science consultant's series of featurettes. Topics this time around include Trek's power to inspire scientists, space exploration, a space elevator, teleportation, communicating in space, and more.

A glorified commercial for the Las Vegas Hilton's Star Trek: The Experience can be found in The Making of Borg Invasion 4-D (09m:34s). This behind-the-scenes look at the new attraction features an interview with Alice Krige, who played the Borg Queen. The package also includes a coupon for up to $25.00 off admission to a maximum of 5 attractions ($5 off each attraction).

A photo gallery and storyboard collection (a new addition) is also included, plus a rebate slip for $25 with the purchase the final three seasons of Voyager.

Finally, there are five easter egg featurettes, Lost Transmissions from the Delta Quadrant, found throughout the armor-plated Voyager Special Features menus: Robert Picardo on Critical Care (01m:23s); Dan Curry on booby trapping Unimatrix Zero, Part II (01m:28s); Jonathan Del Arco on The Void (02m:56s); Dan Curry on the VFX of Endgame (02m:23s); Dan Curry again on Workforce (04m:33s).

Pretty standard, predictable material, but there are some interesting bits.

Extras Grade: B-

 

Final Comments

Voyager's final season is underwhelming, sadly in the tradition of the series. This has been consistently entertaining, solid sci-fi, but it never reached the thematic potential of its bold, uncharted premise. It will go down as one of the weaker entries, but don't let that stop you. This is still part of the cultural force known as Star Trek, and is better than the usual dredge found on television. Paramount delivers fine a/v quality with a sparse smattering of special features. Can we try a bit harder on the extras for the upcoming Enterprise sets?

 


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