Star Trek: Voyager
Season 6

Starring: Kate Mulgrew
RRP 84.99
Certificate: PG
Available 07 March 2005

The prospect of
Voyager returning to the Alpha Quadrant seems to draw closer when the starship is contacted by Lieutenant Reginald Barclay of the Pathfinder project. Meanwhile, Seven of Nine is forced to face up to her past as she meets some Borg children and other former drones. And an aged and embittered Kes returns to the ship, hell-bent on revenge...

Season 6 comprises another strong set of episodes. Following the suitably spectacular and dramatic resolution to the Equinox two-parter, other highlights of this season include Blink of an Eye, a staggering depiction of an alien culture for which time passes much more quickly than it does for the rest of the universe - including the starship Voyager, which is detected by the population for centuries of their time. This episode guest stars Daniel Dae Kim, who is better known as Gavin, the evil Wolfram & Hart lawyer in Angel, and as Lieutenant Matheson in Crusade.

Live Fast and Prosper is another - more amusing - tale of Voyager being sorely misrepresented, as a group of con artists masquerade as Captain Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) and her crew. As the fraudster Dala, Kaitlin Hopkins turns in a hilarious impersonation of Mulgrew.

Pathfinder sees the return of Dwight Schultz as Reg Barclay, establishes the Pathfinder project for communication between Voyager and the Alpha Quadrant, and also marks the first of several guest appearances in the series by The Next Generation's Marina Sirtis as Counselor Deanna Troi. The follow-up episode, Life Line, is even better, as it also features a dual role for Robert Picardo as both the Doctor and his ailing creator, Dr Lewis Zimmerman. Co-written by Picardo himself, this instalment boasts many amusing and poignant scenes with the two irascible doctors, not to mention seamless special effects that allow the same actor to appear in shot twice over.

The season concludes with another potent cliffhanger, and another dramatic encounter with the Borg Queen (Susannah Thompson), in the first part of Unimatrix Zero. More Borg intrigue is to be found in Survival Instinct and Collective. In Survival Instinct, Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) discovers that she was once freed from the Collective along with a group of other drones, but she was responsible for their re-assimilation. The group now wish to be restored to their individuality, though it may cost them their lives, as well as Seven's. Meanwhile, Collective marks the first appearance of the recurring characters of the Borg children Azan (Kurt Wetherill), Icheb (Manu Intiraymi), Mezoti (Marley McClean) and Rebi (Cody Wetherill).

Other strong contenders this season include Alice, a spin on the novel and movie Christine; One Small Step, a touching tribute to real-life space exploration (which commemorated the 30th anniversary of man's landing on the moon); and the chilling and poignant Ashes to Ashes, in which a crewmember returns to Voyager, despite having been killed during a previous mission. Muse is another fascinating view of the starship from an alien point of view, in this case that of a poet who encounters an injured B'Elanna Torres (Roxann Dawson), while Fury sees the final appearance of Jennifer Lien as Kes, in a time-travel narrative that also provides the perfect excuse to meet the gruesome Vidiians again.

The ever-popular EMH is the focus of Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy and Virtuoso. In both of these episodes, an alien race seeks to exploit the Doctor's versatile talents.

At the other end of the scale, you might want to skip Tsunkatse, which is a blatant attempt to cash in on the success of televised WWF wrestling, guest starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, and Good Shepherd, the plot of which is merely a rehash of the earlier - and even weaker - Learning Curve.

Around 90 minutes' worth of special features on the final disc include a Voyager Time Capsule spotlight on Chakotay and an exclusive interview with the versatile actor Vaughn Armstrong, whose roles have ranged from a Klingon in The Next Generation, Cardassians in Deep Space Nine, and numerous species in Voyager - including a Borg in this season's Survival Instinct and a Vidiian in Fury - to, more recently, Admiral Forest in Enterprise.

Following the absence of a Red Alert: Amazing Special Effects featurette in the previous box set, this time we get coverage of effects from both Seasons 5 and 6. These include the CGI assembly of the Borg Queen in the two-part Dark Frontier, the crash-landing and frozen wreckage of the starship in Timeless, and the motion-control effects used to allow the two doctors to interact in Life Line.

Timeless is also covered in one of the Lost Transmissions from the Delta Quadrant Easter eggs - which would have seemed more at home in the Season 5 collection, but never mind.

Who would have thought that so many excellent episodes could be spawned by what was, to begin with, such a pants series? Not me, that's for sure. Make the most of these Voyager box sets... before Enterprise comes out!

Richard McGinlay

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