Top 20 Star Trek: Voyager Episodes

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This month marks the 20th anniversary of Star Trek: Voyager, the saga of a lost Federation starship in a distant corner of the galaxy trying to make its way home. Ever since the third Star Trek spinoff made its debut on the UPN channel it’s been considered as an inferior Star Trek show. That is a somewhat unfair claim, although many episodes were formulaic there were many that were worthy of the Star Trek name. These are twenty of the best episodes of Star Trek: Voyager.

20. “The Chute” Voyager crewmembers Tom chuteParis (Robert Duncan McNeill) and Harry Kim (Garrett Wang) undergo a harrowing ordeal while being held prisoner in brutal space prison.

19. “Lineage” B’Elanna Torres (Roxann Dawson) grapples with accepting her half Klingon heritage during her pregnancy since she doesn’t want her unborn daughter to face the same persecution she underwent as a child.

18. “The Thaw” Harry and B’Elanna are mentally trapped in a virtual reality by a malicious clown computer program (Michael McKean), who tortures them to gain release from its cyber trap.

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17. “Maneuvers” First Officer Chakotay (Robert Beltran) tries to track down his former lover Seska (Martha Hackett) and her Kazon colleagues after they raid the Voyager and steal transporter technology.

16. “Scorpion, Parts 1 and 2”An exciting two-parter introduced the popular Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) as the Voyager is forced into an uneasy alliance with the evil cybernetic Borg against an even deadlier threat–Species 8472.

relativity15. “Relativity” Seven of Nine is recruited by a Federation starship crew from the distant future. Her mission: travel through different time periods to prevent the destruction of the Voyager.

14. “Latent Image” The ship’s Emergency Medical Hologram (EMH) a.k.a. The Doctor (Robert Picardo) discovers that for some reason certain parts of his memories are being erased. His investigations lead to uncovering a tragic moment in his past and his reaction afterwards was very engrossing to watch.

13. “Basics, Parts I and 2” The crew of the Federation starship Voyager have a final conflict with the barbaric Kazons, who coveted the advanced Starfleet ship and its technology. This two-part episode had many thrilling moments and cliffhangers as most of the Voyager crew were defeated and stranded on a primitive world.

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12. “Equinox, Parts 1 and 2” The Voyager comes to the aid of another Federation starship also stranded in the distant Delta Quadrant. What is supposed to be a joyous occasion at encountering kindred spirits turns into conflict when the Voyager crew learns of the other crew’s unethical actions against an alien race.

11. “Dark Frontier” Seven of Nine’s DFrontbackground is explored as Captain Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) leads efforts to steal Borg technology that will hasten their journey home. During a pivotal raid, Seven is captured by the Borg, who plan a biotech attack on humanity. Meanwhile, Janeway mounts a rescue mission.

10. “Hope and Fear” The sudden appearance of an advanced, unmanned, supposed Federation starship could be the means to finish the Voyager crew’s years-long voyage home or a trap. Guest star Ray Wise excelled in his role as a tortured alien whose race was assimilated by the Borg.

9. “Blink of an Eye” The Voyager is trapped in orbit around a planet with a dense gravitational field. So what passes for hours on Voyager is actually centuries for the planet’s inhabitants, which means that the ship becomes part of that planet’s history as its people advance technologically and socially.

8. “Before and After” An elderly, dying Kes (Jennifer Lien) in the future begins to travel backwards in time to many events including her birth. Among the fascinating future moments explored included a foreshadowing of the Voyager crew’s encounter with the Krenim.

distant origin7. “Distant Origin” The premise that some dinosaurs on Earth actually evolved into a spacefaring race was intriguing enough. But this episode’s first contact scenario smartly focused on an allegory of Galileo’s plight as scientific progress and knowledge conflicted with societal and religious dogma.

6. “Deadlock” After going through a technobabble anomaly the Voyager and its crew are duplicated, but both ships are attached to each other. Events dictate that only one ship and crew can survive, but which one? The episode was a novel way of resetting the status quo after disastrous events without using time travel.

5. “Message in a Bottle” The Doctor is transmitted to an advanced Starfleet prototype ship in the Alpha Quadrant in order to make contact with the Federation. Once there, he must join forces with that ship’s EMH Mark 2 (Andy Dick) to fight off Romulans, who have captured the ship.

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4. “Course: Oblivion” In this tragic episode, things seem fine at first onboard Voyager. Tom and B’Elanna get married and the ship will reach Earth in a two years. However, it’s soon discovered that the ship is deteriorating, as well as the people onboard. After realizing that they and the ship are just copies of the actual Voyager and crew, it’s a race against time to seek help before it’s too late.

3. “Bride of Chaotica!” A wonderful and chaowhimsical tribute to old sci-fi serials in the tradition of Flash Gordon has the Voyager crew coming to the aid of photonic, extra-dimensional aliens, who are at war with the evil fictional characters from Tom’s holodeck program The Adventures of Captain Proton. Hilarity ensues as the crew assume the overdramatic roles of the program and endure old sci-fi clichés.

witness2. “Living Witness” In the far future on another planet, a copy of the Doctor is activated by a museum curator (Henry Woronicz), who is fascinated by the “warship” Voyager’s visit to his planet in the distant past. Appalled at the gross inaccuracies about the visit and the Voyager crew, who are shown to be basically space pirates, it’s up to the Doctor to clear his former comrades’ names for history’s sake.

1. “Year of Hell, Parts 1 and 2” Star Trek: Voyager had many epic two-part episodes and this one wasn’t only the best of those, but the best episode for the entire series. arronax2The Voyager passes through a region of space controlled by the despotic Krenim. Janeway and the crew soon find out that the Krenim uses time as a weapon by altering timelines. Leading these alterations is Arronax (Kurtwood Smith) a Captain Nemo type obsessed with time tinkering. Over the course of a year, the Voyager is badly damaged and falling apart, but Janeway must find a way to defeat Arronax. “Year of Hell” was riveting and presented a gritty view of a desperate Voyager crew on their own, plus Smith gave a great performance as the tortured Arronax.

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Honorable Mentions: “Nemesis”, “Caretaker”,”The Gift”, “The Void”, “Author, Author”, “Pathfinder”, “Prophecy”, “Alliances”, “Think Tank”, “Endgame”

José Soto

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Top 10 Butterfly Effects

One theme that runs through many time travel stories is that of the Butterfly Effect. Most famously demonstrated in Ray Bradbury’s short story “A Sound of Thunder” where time travelers go back to prehistoric times on a dinosaur safari and inadvertently change the future by carelessly killing a butterfly in the past. The most recent example of the Butterfly Effect is in Stephen King’s newest literary release 11/22/63; in that book the assassination of John F. Kennedy is prevented resulting in a radically altered timeline.

This list will cover some of the best Butterfly Effects presented on several media that I’ve seen or read (sorry haven’t read Lest Darkness Fall or The Time Ships yet), and are based on Effects directly due to time travel and the amount of time spent exploring those altered worlds.

10. “Storm Front, Part I & II” from Star Trek: Enterprise; the fourth season opener concluded the maligned and confusing temporal cold war storyline. Captain Archer and the Enterprise crew are trapped on Earth during World War II in a timeline altered by aliens. This resulted in the Nazis being more technologically advanced and occupying parts of the U.S.

9. “Turn Left” from Doctor Who; the episode examines what would have happened if Companion Donna Noble never met the Doctor. It’s a grim timeline that features the deaths of the Tenth Doctor, Martha Jones, Sarah Jane Smith, Torchwood and Britain under martial law.

8. “Year Of Hell, Part I & II” from Star Trek: Voyager; the crew of the lost starship Voyager stumble upon an obsessed alien intent on using time as a weapon in his region of space then as a means to restore his wife after utilizing the weapon erases her from history. The Voyager crew literally go through hell as they try to track down the alien and restore the timeline. It was so well done many fans grumbled when things went back to normal!

7. Flashpoint; The DC Comics mini-series and its spin-offs has the Flash preventing his mother’s death while time traveling, which forever alters the DC Universe. First the Flash is trapped in a nightmarish, violent version of the DC Universe with many altered heroes and villains then the storyline concludes with the creation of the New 52 titles running today with updated versions of the DC heroes.

6. “The Hanged Man” from Journeyman; it’s a short-lived series from 2007 that in a similar vein to Quantum Leap had the hero (reporter Dan Vasser-played by Kevin McKidd) uncontrollably time traveling and changing history. In this episode, Dan leaves behind a digital camera in 1984 that is reverse engineered. When he returns, not only is technology more advanced but his young son is erased and instead has a daughter, leaving him with a deep moral dilemma.

5.” Profile In Silver” from The Twilight Zone of the 1980s; the late Lane Smith portrays a history professor who goes back in time to study the assassination of his ancestor, John F. Kennedy, and winds up saving him. This of course begins a cataclysmic chain of events due to time trying to compensate for the alteration. In other words World War III is about to erupt. In true Twilight Zone fashion, the ending is a real twist.

4. The Guns Of The South; Harry Turtledove’s masterpiece is about what happens when Confederate soldiers are armed with AK-47s by time-traveling racist white South Africans. Obviously this turns the tide of the Civil War in the Confederate’s favor and readers learn that Lincoln loses re-election, Robert E. Lee becomes president of the C.S.A., the U.S. gets into a war with Britain and the Confederacy becomes a technologically advanced nation.

3. The Age of Apocalypse Storyline from the X-Men books; Professor X of the X-Men is accidently killed in the past by his son. This chain reaction leads to the villainous mutant Apocalypse conquering America and committing genocide on non-mutants. For months the crossover X-books featured alternate versions of mutants such as a heroic Magneto leading the X-Men, Wolverine with a missing hand and teams with different members some of whom are villains in the regular books like Sabretooth.

2. The Nantucket Trilogy comprised of S.M. Stirling’s books Island In The Sea Of Time, Against The Tide Of Years and On The Oceans Of Eternity; the storyline has the island of Nantucket, its modern-day inhabitants and a Coast Guard ship sent back in time to the Bronze Age. Their necessary interactions with the people in that time period lead to early introductions to gunpowder, primitive air travel and increased global trade and contact. Naturally trouble starts when renegades leave Nantucket and begin to carve out their own kingdoms leading to armed conflict.

1. The Back To The Future Trilogy; Robert Zemeckis’ three films about a time-traveling teenager and his buddy scientist is actually a fantastic examination of the Butterfly Effect. In the first film, Marty McFly travels from the 1980s in a DeLorean to the 1950s and prevents his parents from falling in love. The obvious effect is that he and his siblings are being erased so he has to restore the timeline (audiences are helped by the rapid fire explanations of Doc Brown about the nuances of time travel). He succeeds for the most part. While his parents do wind up together they are changed due to their future son’s influence and this results in Marty’s family being better off when he returns to the ’80s.

In the second film, a trip to 2015 results in a more dire Butterfly Effect. The trilogy’s villain Biff Tannen steals the DeLorean and travels to the ’50s to make his younger self rich. When Marty McFly and his friend Doc Brown return to the ’80s, their hometown has been transformed into a nightmarish vision. Seedy casinos and chemical plants are everywhere,

crime is rampant and even Richard Nixon is still president while the Vietnam War rages on. Marty’s family life is radically changed as his father is dead and his mother is married to Tannen. In the third film, the Butterfly Effect is reflected in the duo’s adventures in the 1880s; chiefly with their confrontation with Tannen’s murderous ancestor which could lead to their premature deaths. The Effect is last touched upon in the end when we see a landmark renamed and Marty McFly altering an event in the ’80s that has an unknown yet hopeful alteration to his future.

José Soto