Star Trek: Voyager: Season Two

Like any Trek series, the first few seasons are always the rockiest, what with finding the show's focus, establishing characters and living up to the Trek that has come before. And the first couple seasons of Voyager are no different, experiencing the same pains as TNG or DS9 in their evolution, growth and development. In the not too thin but strangely lacking features, the creators/writers talk about the danger of falling into pre-existing Trek routines (commenting that it felt like TNG at one point) and the desire to challenge this and do something different with Voyager. And while later in the series they'll accomplish this goal (the continuous threat of the Borg and Species 8472, for example), season two feels like Trek treading water, with some good episodes ("Death Wish," "Tuvix"), some bad ("The Thaw") and way too many one-offs in between the continuity they're trying to establish (always tricky with episodic television). Of course, the story of a lone Starfleet ship trapped in the Delta Quadrant, cut off, alone and trying to make its way back to Earth lends itself to one-offs, but if season one had all the enthusiasm of a new series (the energy, the thrill of the unknown, the challenge to pull it off), helmed by a female captain (a first for Trek, who after breaking the colour barrier challenged the sex barrier), two is definitely trying to figure out where to go with it, besides home. As usual, the extras are what you expect from the Trek box sets, with a season overview, a feature on one of the main cast (in this case, Tuvok, who plays guitar a bunch, seriously, and it's kind of frightening) and one of the season's main characters (Seska). We also get a day in the life of Ethan Phillips (Neelix), which involves make-up, lots of make-up, the traditional visual effects featurette, and most interestingly, a "real science" feature that explains how real science anchors the fantasy sci-fi of Trek, however tenuously. Still, they seem rather light, and the lack of episode commentary is still an unaddressed problem that continues to haunt the DVD series of all Trek. Plus: photo gallery, more.