Star Trek: Voyager The Complete First Season

After checking back in on Star Trek: Voyager after suffering through Enterprise and being reminded of how good DS:9 was with its avalanche of box-sets, one question immediately comes to mind: if the carbon rod up Kate Mulgrew's butt breaks, will she crumple to the ground or just keep going? There is no carbon rod, figuratively, but her rigidity is something for any spine to aspire to. After breaking the racial barrier with the casting of Avery Brooks as Captain Benjamin Sisko in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Trek's most maligned series (although Enterprise is positioned to inherit this dubious honour) did the "radical" thing and cast a woman in the captain's chair. But as the extras point out, Kate Mulgrew wasn't the first female captain, or even the first Janeway, as a very French-accented Geneviève Bujold was given the part over Mulgrew initially and lasted a whopping day-and-a-half in the big chair. But as Bujold's footage shows, Mulgrew was definitely the right choice. After the static space station setting of DS9, Voyager returns to Trek's time-tested "ship exploring space" premise but gives it a Lost In Space twist, dropping Star Fleet's newest ship, Voyager, along with a group of rebel Maquis, in the Delta quadrant, utterly cut off from home. And while they're not technically lost, it will take decades of travel (or roughly seven seasons) through uncharted space to get home. This is one aspect the makes Voyager interesting: the complete dismissal of the universe(s) and its antagonists (Romulans, Klingons, Cardassians) TNG and DS9 had established. Of course, it's also the major flaw in Voyager's first season (and would dog the series almost to its end), as the always on the move nature of the show made it difficult to introduce long-lasting story arcs (besides the quest to get home) and antagonists (although season one does try with the Kazon, and it does mine the conflict between the Maquis rebels and the Star Trek officers heavily). Still, Voyager is better, or at least as good, out of the blocks as any other Trek series, which always struggle in the first season to set up its characters, the universe(s) and find its footing. As established in previous Trek DVD sets, the extras are not insubstantial but also not overwhelmingly filling. Interviews with Kate Mulgrew and the series creators are interesting but allude to the problems Mulgrew faced as the first female captain trying to crack the boys' club, never getting in-depth about it. The aforementioned Bujold extras are also interesting, but they again dance around actually saying why she left. The prerequisite visual effects featurette is also included, as is a featurette on launching Voyager on the web, but the constant skipping around of continuity in the clips shown in the extras (stick to season one) is annoying and there again is no episode commentary. When does Jeri Ryan arrive again? (Paramount)