Two episodes from the seventh season of the third 'Star Trek' spin-off. In 'Critical Care', the holographic doctor is kidnapped and forced to work on a hospital ship where medical care is allocated according to the patient's use to society. 'Inside Man' sees an over-confident hologram of the usually jittery Starfleet technician Reg Barclay informing the Voyager crew that he has discovered a way to get them home almost instantaneously.
Star Trek: Voyager
, the first Trek
spin-off to be made without any input at all from Gene Roddenberry, made its debut in 1995 and quickly established itself both as markedly different from cosmic cousin Deep Space Nine
and as the successor to The Next Generation
. Despite a lack of originality in its premise (Lost in Space
has none the less often been a bigger ratings success than any of its predecessors. Catapulted unwittingly to the far-flung Delta Quadrant, the crew of the Federation vessel Voyager must try somehow to get back home. The ghost of Katherine Hepburn lives on in Kate Mulgrew's forceful Captain Janeway, who has an equivocal (does she, doesn't she fancy him?) relationship with first officer and Native American-lite Chakotay (Robert Beltran). Tim Russ gives possibly the franchises' first fully realistic (yawn) portrayal of a Vulcan, and to enhance the alien quotient there's cuddly chef Neelix (Ethan Phillips). Garret Wang must have drawn the short straw for character development, since his Harry Kim is never imbued with any of the drama of rebellious pilot chum Tom Paris (Robert Duncan McNeill), who even gets the series' only romance with the seemingly inescapable resident half-breed B'Elanna Torres (Roxann Dawson).
Until the fourth season, the fan favourite was the straight-funny man role of Robert Picardo's nameless Doctor. Then, with the brave Borg storyline "Scorpion Part 2", a serious improvement in the show's behind-the-scenes thinking introduced actress Jeri Ryan as 7 of 9, who immediately upped sex appeal and viewing numbers. There have been some oddities and errors along the way, such as the disappearance of cast regular Kes, the appearance of semi-regular Naomi Wildman, and various Holodeck obssessions with Leonardo Da Vinci, a smoky bar, and an "irish" village. Flashes of brilliance still emerge, while Jerry Goldsmith's graceful theme always opens the show in style. --Paul Tonks