Star Trek: Voyager was used to launch an entire network, and during its January 16, 1995 – May 23, 2001 run on UPN, it gave the Trek universe some classics (“Timeless,” “Scorpion,” “The Omega Directive,”), some fun rides (“Author, Author,” “Shattered,” “Relativity,” “The Voyager Conspiracy”) and what may be the single worst episode in Trek history (the infamous “Threshold,” in which Captain Janeway and Tom Paris de-evolve into horny lizards).
Until Enterprise came along, Voyager was the most derided of the Trek series, and it did have its share of problems. It had the most annoying character in the franchise (Neelix), dead weight (Poor Harry Kim remained an ensign the entire series, becoming a running joke), a bland bad boy (Tom Paris), and a doctor who was holographic but still somehow heterosexual (continuing Starfleet’s DADT policy).
The one way it did excel was in its female characters, starting with the imperious Katherine Janeway, played with hands-on-hips swagger by the fabulous Kate Mulgrew. Janeway remains the second greatest Captain in the 50-year history of the franchise (after Jean-Luc Picard), and she used her bun of steel and her sensitivity to conquer the Delta Quadrant (even if, technically, it was her fault they were stuck there).
She was joined by B’Elanna Torres (Roxann Dawson), the half-human, half-Klingon who had trouble reconciling her duality, and whose hot temper provided some much needed conflict, and Seven Of Nine, the rescued Borg who was the focus of much of the show’s final seasons. Stalking the corridors in a catsuit and heels, what could have been a one-note gimmick used to bring in horny straight male viewers was made into a flesh-and-blood, complicated character by Jeri Ryan.
Voyager also featured its fair share of hot guest stars (rivaling The Next Generation list), and in this edition of Space Beefcake, let’s take a look at ten examples of the finest the Delta Quadrant had to offer.
Resistance is futile.
* Note – You’re probably thinking “Hey, what about The Rock? Wasn’t he a guest star on one episode?” Yes, he was, but it was a cynical ratings stunt to plug Smackdown, and is best forgotten. DISQUALIFIED!
Episode 4.8 and 4.9, “Year Of Hell,” was a two-parter with Voyager caught in a dreaded “temporal disruption.” A deranged Krenim scientist is constantly messing with the space/time continuum, trying to re-set a horrible mistake he made centuries ago, and when Voyager interferes, he takes out his wrath on Janeway and the crew. Luckily, John Loprieno guest stars as a Krenim citizen named Obrist, who decides to help the crew out of their predicament.
John Loprieno will be well known to daytime fans, starring as Cord Roberts on ABC’s One Life To Live off and on for 25 years.
Episode 6.22 “Muse,” has B’Elanna front and center, as the Delta Flyer crash lands (which it seemed to do a lot), and she’s befriended by an alien named Kelis who agrees to help her retrieve items to repair the ship, in exchange for stories about Voyager’s travels. Kelis is a poet and writes plays, and the people of his society are mesmerized by his fantasy tales of a ship in space with a female Captain (in a wink and nod to fanfic, the Janeway and Chakotay of his stories share a lip lock).
Joseph Will has done a ton of episodic work on TV since Voyager, including the series finale of Revenge, and became a silver fox in the process.
Episode 6.20, “Good Shepherd,” was a change of pace for the show, as Janeway took three misfit crew members under her wing. Michael Reisz played the cute but easily frightened hypochondriac Tefler, reminiscent of TNG’s Reginald Barcley, and like Barcley, found himself in his worse nightmare – invaded by an alien parasite.
Michael Reisz went on to a very successful voice-over career in video games and anime, and is also currently the voice-over for E!
In one of the franchise’s more interesting cameos, Rage Against The Machine and Audioslave’s Tom Morello also guest starred on the episode “Good Shepherd,” as Crewman Mitchell, who bumps into Janeway in the bowels of the ship. It’s fraught with sexual tension.
Episode 5.24, “Relativity,” was one of the most fun episodes of Season Five, as Seven found herself traveling back and forth through time to prevent the destruction of Voyager. Jay Karnes starred as Lt. Ducane, a 29th century Starfleet officer serving aboard the timeship Relativity, tasked with guiding her to her goal.
Jay Karnes had recurring roles on Burn Notice and Sons Of Anarchy, but is best known for his 2002-2008 starring role on The Shield.
Episode 3.6, “Remember,” was one of the best episodes of the uneven third season, with Roxann Dawson giving one of her strongest performances as B’Elanna. While Voyager transports a telepathic race, the Enarans, to their homeworld, B’Elanna starts having vivid sex dreams in which she is a young Enaran having a star-crossed love affair with a young man named Dathan, played by Charles Esten. The dreams become more disturbing (Dathan eventually dies), and B’Elanna confronts the Enaran passengers about secrets from their planet’s history.
Charles Esten went on from Voyager to a huge Hollywood career, and will be starting his fourth season next month as country singer Deacon Clayborne on ABC’s Nashville.
Manu Intiraymi was in his early 20’s when he starred for eleven episodes as the rescued Borg drone Icheb. Taught the ways of humanity by Seven and the rest of the Voyager crew, he eventually settled in to his new home. When communication was made possible with Starfleet, he passed the entrance exam to the Academy, and was made a Cadet by Janeway.
Manu continues to work in Hollywood, with six films currently in post-production.
Daniel Dae Kim
Episode 6.12, “Blink Of An Eye,” is one of the most underrated episodes of the series, a wonderful blend of sci-fi and poignancy. Voyager is trapped above a planet by a magnetic field, and discover that time is accelerated for the planet’s inhabitants (for every second on Voyager, an entire day goes by down below). Days go by on Voyager, and centuries go by on the planet, until the planet eventually becomes advanced enough to send astronauts to the “sky ship” that has terrified and enthralled them.
Daniel Dae Kim plays one of the astronauts, Gotana Retz, and he shows the same charm and screen presence he would eventually bring to such shows as Lost and Hawaii Five-0. The final scene, in which an elderly Gotana Retz gazes at the night sky as Voyager finally breaks free is one of the great moments in the series.
Jad appeared twice as Bajoran Ensign Tabor, but made a lasting impression. In Episode 5.8 “Nothing Human,” Tabor protests when the Doctor seeks the medical advice of a another holographic doctor, a Cardassian who was responsible for horrific war crimes, using Bajorans as test subjects.
In Episode 7.4 “Repression,” B’Elanna and Tom enter the holodeck movie theater to discover Tabor comatose (no, he wasn’t watching footage of their courtship), and it’s discovered that someone on board is putting the Bajoran crew members into comas! Was it Nicole Janeway? After Voyager, Jad has continued acting steadily on TV and stage.
Tarik Ergin appeared in 116 episodes of Voyager, but only spoke four times. But those four sentences spoke for an entire generation.
“You’d better come down to the brig, ma’am.”
“Stop where you are!”
“There’s some kind of pulse being directed at our transceiver array. It’s coming from the Delta Flyer.”
As Lt. Ayala, Tarik was the true heart of the series, always the steady hand as chaos happened all around him. Stoic and sturdy, he walked softly and carried a big … phaser rifle.
After Voyager, Tarik appeared in a different role on an episode of Enterprise in 2002, but that’s where his acting credits end. But we’ll always have Lt. Ayala, the greatest hunk of the Delta Quadrant.