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Paramount Studios presents
Star Trek: Voyager—The Complete Sixth Season (1999-2000)

"I've lost myself...in Voyager."
- Reginald Barclay (Dwight Schultz)

Review By: Matt Peterson  
Published: December 07, 2004

Stars: Kate Mulgrew, Robert Beltran, Tim Russ, Roxann Dawson, Robert Picardo, Garrett Wang, Robert Duncan McNeill, Ethan Pillips, Jeri Ryan
Other Stars: John Savage, Vaughn Armstrong, Eric Pierpoint, Jay Leggett, Claire Rankin, Mark Moses, Jeff Allin, Scarlett Pomers, Phil Morris, Albie Selznick, Marina Sirtis, Dwight Schultz, Fintan McKeown, Daniel Dae Kim, Kamala Lopez Dawson, Lindsey Ginter, Dwayne Johnson, Manu Intiraymi, Hariette Ivanans, Kim Rhodes, Tracey Ellis, Jay Underwood, Kaitlin Hopkins, Jeffrey Combs, Joseph Will, Jennifer Lien, Susanna Thompson
Director: various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (sci-fi violence, adult themes)
Run Time: 18h:53m:00s
Release Date: December 07, 2004
UPC: 097360508246
Genre: television


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A BAA B-

DVD Review

Now, Voyager...again. Not much has changed, I'm afraid. We're still stuck in the Delta Quadrant, trekking our way home across the infinite cosmos, stopping for drinks, sandwiches and the occasional spatial anomaly along the way. Season Six is the beginning of Voyager's slight downslope. It remains solidly entertaining, but becomes bogged down in syndication-safe one shot stories. The series boasts a bold, uncharted premise that holds great potential for edgy, dark storytelling. Seasons Three through Five, the best entries of the show, managed to produce some bold adventure in this vein. Even though this is good sci-fi, the series has not met expectations, finding its footing in the realm of familiar Trek territory. For more series info, look to my reviews of the first five seasons.

Season Six opens with the conclusion to the stunning fifth season cliffhanger, Equinox. Voyager encounters another Federation starship, the short range science vessel Equinox, commanded by Captain Ransom (John Savage). Unlike the powerful Voyager, the Equinox is a poorly equipped vessel, forcing her crew to take extreme measures to survive. Using a compound derived from the bodies of aliens killed by the Equinox crew, Ransom and company have found a way to enhance their warp drive and bring them home. In this dark, stunning conclusion, a game of cat and mouse possesses Captain Janeway, who develops a personal vendetta against Ransom, the personification of everything a Starfleet Captain should loathe: An unbreakable utilitarian morality, where the ends justify the means.

By now, Seven of Nine has become relatively assimilated into Captain Janeway's crew, and has taken over the majority of the show's focus. I do wonder how she attained Bridge crew status with relatively no training...I guess former drones come pre-qualified. There are several Borg-themed episodes, including Survival Instinct and Child's Play, many of which feature your convenient errant drones, without the cumbersome attachments of the big bad mothercube. Collective is the most notable, introducing three new youngsters, one of which will become a regular in episodes to come. Despite some fine moments, these episodes show Voyager's rampant overuse of the Borg, essentially running one of Trek's most feared villains into the ground. The finale, Unimatrix Zero, Part I looks great, but has a derivative cliffhanger saturated in a familiar sentiment: "Here we go again..."

Like Seven, the Doctor continues his exploration of humanity. He remains the show's most consistently entertaining and impressive character, and he thankfully gets his due in a few entries. Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy is a fun, entertaining yarn. When the Doctor alters his program to allow him to daydream, he finds himself in a variety of dramatic, heroic situations, including a bold transformation into the E.C.H., or Emergency Command Hologram. Unbeknownst to the Doctor, an alien is watching his daydreams with great fascination, believing what he sees is reality, causing hair-raising complications. In Virtuoso, the good Doc becomes a famous singer among an alien race who has never heard music, but fame is not all it's cracked up to be. This is a humorous episode that starts out strong, but trails off into a hammy ending. Life Line earned an Emmy nomination, and tells the tale of the Doctor being transmitted to the Alpha quadrant in an effort to save his creator from a fatal illness.

Since we're approaching the end, the writers saw fit to allow Voyager to make the occasional communiqué home. Pathfinder is a highlight of the season, featuring none other than neurotic TNG vet Reginald Barclay (Dwight Schultz), former holo addict and social reclusive. This episode, which also guest stars Marina Sirtis as Counselor Troi, reveals that Barclay has not improved socially, but has been reassigned to Earth, working to find a way to bring Voyager home. In the process, he becomes obsessed with the ship and her crew and lives among their holographic duplicates, disturbing his curt superiors. Through dedication and a few disobeyed orders, Barclay proves his diligence and gets through to Voyager, creating a very emotional moment.

There are a few more noteworthy treks to be had. One Small Step, in honor of the 30th anniversary of the moon landing, is a time-shifting narrative that takes us between an early manned mission to Mars and Voyager's quest to retrieve the lost capsule, which was consumed by a subspace phenomenon centuries before. In Dragon's Teeth, Voyager inadvertently rekindles a 900-year-old war. I consider Blink of an Eye to be one of the best hours of Trek ever produced. Janeway and crew get stuck in orbit around a planet that spins so fast, a second on board Voyager equals a day on the surface. Civilizations rise and fall, and Voyager's presence in the sky becomes the basis of the planet's religion and its motivation to make progress. It's a truly unique, mind-bending hour of science fiction that leaves you with lasting, moving messages.

Other crew members get their obligatory featured episodes: Tuvok in Riddles, Paris in Alice, B'Elanna in the visually impressive Barge of the Dead, Janeway in Fair Haven, among others. The latter is the basis for a few scenes throughout the season, set in an Irish town on the holodeck, which goes awry yet again in Spirit Folk. There are mediocre efforts, such as the ludicrous Voyager Conspiracy, Kes' return in Fury, and the incomprehensible appearance of The Rock (yes, The Rock) in Tsunkatse (an attempt to tap into UPN's Smackdown! audience). Sure, there are no arcs to be had and characters are at all stop, but what can I say? I still enjoy this for what it is: Decent, self contained sci-fi in the world of Trek. Just sit back, fire up an episode and rest assured the events you are about to see don't really matter, but Voyager is getting a little closer to home.

Disc 1: Equinox, Part II, Survival Instinct, Barge of the Dead, Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy
Disc 2: Alice, Riddles, Dragon's Teeth, One Small Step
Disc 3: The Voyager Conspiracy, Pathfinder, Fair Haven, Blink of an Eye
Disc 4: Virtuoso, Memorial, Tsunkatse, Collective
Disc 5: Spirit Folk, Ashes to Ashes, Child's Play, Good Shepherd
Disc 6: Live Fast and Prosper, Muse, Fury, Life Line
Disc 7: The Haunting of Deck Twelve, Unimatrix Zero, Part I, Special Features

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: The image quality is consistent. Contrast is solid, and colors are bright and well saturated. Detail is high, despite an occasional softness. The CGI effects shots are not prone to the kind of "jaggies" that were common on past episodes of Trek on DVD. This is as good as these can look.

Image Transfer Grade: A

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby 5.1 audio is dynamic when the need arises. Starship flybys and space battles engage the split surrounds, and the low drone of the ship's systems fill the soundstage nicely. Most of the mix is appropriately front heavy, maintaining the integrity of the original Dolby Surround mixes (also included). These are a great listen.

Audio Transfer Grade: A

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu
Scene Access with 208 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
2 Documentaries
8 Featurette(s)
Packaging: unknown keepcase
7 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Photo Gallery
Extras Review: The 26 episodes are contained on seven discs. The set's packaging is the same as before, housing the discs in a book-like arrangement of plastic disc trays, enclosed by two clear plastic pieces that fit over the top and bottom. The color of choice this time is a dark green.

More interview based extras, here we come!

Braving the Unknown: Season Six (16m:56s) recaps the season's highlights and features interviews with cast and crew, including Marina Sirtis and The Rock. Topics include John Savage as Ransom in Equinox, bringing back Barclay and Troi in Pathfinder, The Rock in Tsunkatse, Jeri Ryan's stunt double, and B'Elanna's maturation in Barge of the Dead.

In One Small Step: A Mars Encounter (09m:22s), science consultant Andre Bormanis covers future space efforts in our own timeline. Robert Picardo also makes and appearance, offering information on The Planetary Society, which he serves as a member of its advisory board.

Time Capsule: Chakotay (12m:05s) features archival interviews with Robert Beltran, who discusses the nature of his character. Other comments from fellow cast members, including Kate Mulgrew and Tim Russ, add to the piece.

Red Alert: Amazing Visual Effects (17m:18s) covers the VFX work in both seasons Five and Six. Episodes discussed include Barge of the Dead, Fury, Timeless, Dark Frontier, One Small Step, Blink of an Eye, Night, and Life Line. Dan Curry and Ronald B. Moore add some fine anecdotes, including how Ireland came in handy during this season.

Guest Star Profile: Vaughn Armstrong (10m:10s) covers a mainstay Trek guest star. Armstrong has played multiple alien races on all the modern Trek series and has most recently appeared as Admiral Forrest on Enterprise. He discusses convention experiences, alien tendencies, and even sings the blues about his roles. This is an offbeat, funny and refreshing piece.

A photo gallery is also included, plus a rebate slip for $25 with the purchase the final three seasons of Voyager.

Finally, there are five easter egg featurettes, Lost Transmissions from the Delta Quadrant, found throughout the Species 8472 Bio Ship-themed Special Features menus (odd, since 8472 doesn't appear this season...): David Livingston on Spirit Folk (02m:06s); Kate Mulgrew on Fair Haven (01m:33s); Jeffrey Combs on Tsunkatse (01m:58s); Tim Russ on Unimatrix Zero, Part I (03m:00s); LeVar Burton on directing (03m:11s).

Extras Grade: B-

 

Final Comments

Voyager's sixth season offers entertaining standalone hours of sci-fi adventure (you'll get your fill of Borg), just don't expect any kind of long term development. It's not quite as successful as the past three seasons, but we're approaching the end of the voyage, and both the ship and the show have managed to avoid total disaster. Paramount's a/v marks are exemplary; the extras are a few warp factors short.

 


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