Many years ago, when I wasn’t watching much TV for reasons like–I didn’t have a TV, I was reading a lot, and I don’t know what all because it doesn’t matter, really–I missed out on a lot of Star Trek.
I did not watch the end of The Next Generation. I totally missed Deep Space 9, because I was in a Babylon 5 social group. I am unsure if I was even aware of Voyager for the first several years of its run. I did watch the premier of Enterprise, but it wasn’t fully engaging for me at the time.
Now, with Netflix streaming, I have worked my way though all the Star Trek shows (including the original series and the animated series) while washing dishes at night, and just recently started Voyager. Again. For, maybe, the fourth time. (As I write, CBS All Access has run a couple of seasons of Discovery, is about to launch Picard, and I think I heard something about maybe a third new show. Some day I’ll get up to these shows, too.)
Voyager. I never got past the premier. I thought I has seen about three pretty lousy shows. Turns out all of them I remembered were all stuffed into the premier.
But the show is better than that. After a forgivably rocky start (any new show, even a Star Trek, has to find its legs), it settled into a pretty good science fictional show. If it compares with any previous, it compares with the animated series. And it compares pretty well.
There are a lot of aliens. There are strange mysteries to solve. There are episodes where certain Star Trek-y things happen. There are episodes where these characters have problems only these characters can have.
The writers come up with good solutions (there is always technobabble, of course). And, in a nice move, they don’t linger at the end of the episodes. The problem is solved, maybe there’s a thematic button, maybe not, and the credits roll. Character development happens over the course of episodes, but we are not sucked into a soap opera degree of continuity.
If it’s a little thin, that’s OK. This show isn’t about exploring the depth of some sort of multi-decade conflict. It’s not about expanding the scope of Star Trek‘s world. It’s just about putting some ordinary Starfleet officers into extraordinary conditions, and having some adventures along the way.
It’s a good show, well done. That’s enough.