After the season-long arc of the Xindi attack in season 3 of Star Trek Enterprise, season 4 followed with several two and three-part stories. Thanks to a change in showrunner, season 4 saw more stories connected to TOS as a spiritual ancestor. One of the main threads of the final season was establishing long-term peaceful relations with not just the Vulcans, but Tellarites and Andorians as well. Together the four species founded the United Federation of Planets in 2161.
In 2155, several species arrive on Earth to discuss the potential of forming a Coalition of Planets. The Enterprise is recalled to assist and the crew are in attendance for Minister Nathan Samuels opening speech. They’re interrupted by a woman who presses a vial of hair into T’Pol’s hand before collapsing. The hair belongs to someone who has both T’Pol’s Vulcan and Tucker’s human DNA, which is impossible because T’Pol has never been pregnant. Archer vows that they will get to the bottom of this mystery. Continue reading Boldly Going: “Demons” and “Terra Prime”→
For most of the franchise’s history Star Trek has used episodic storytelling. Especially in the Original Series and to a lesser extent, TNG, there were several stand-alone episodes where the character development did not carry over. But in the 90s, overarching stories were introduced, and Deep Space Nine used arcs in several of its seasons, especially with the Dominion War. By the time Enterprise aired, the writers experimented with a season-long arc. The second season finale sets up an attack on Earth by an alien probe where seven million people are killed. The crew spend season 3 of Enterprise tracking down the Xindi to prevent another attack.
Near the end of the second season, the Enterprise crew discover a hypergiant star. Thanks to primitive shielding, they can only investigate from a safe distance before the heat damages the ship. But they make first contact with an alien species who developed advanced technology and shielding to allow them to explore stars much closer. The Vissians are very friendly and Captain Archer invites them over to Enterprise for dinner and a cultural exchange.
The Vissian captain dines with Archer, while the crew mingles with the rest of the Vissian delegation in the Mess Hall. Lieutenant Malcolm Reed meets the Vissian tactical officer and the two compare notes while flirting. Commander Trip Tucker introduces himself to the Vissian chief engineer who is there with his wife. The couple brought their ‘cogenitor’ with them because they want to have a child. Trip is intrigued, as he’s never encountered a species with a third gender before. He asks Doctor Phlox about it as he gets inoculated against omicron radiation. The Denobulan doctor doesn’t seem phased by the third gender.
When we last left the NX-01 crew, they were beginning their mission of exploration. It’s remarkable how unprepared Captain Archer and his crew was by the 24th century standards viewers were accustomed to. But by the beginning of Season 2, the crew has bonded and the dynamic has improved. The previous episode saw the ship encounter a minefield with disastrous results. “Dead Stop” picks up with Archer and Tucker inspecting the damage in a pod.
The ship is in such a way that it would take years to return to the Jupiter Station because the hull is so damaged they can’t go faster than Warp 2. Captain Archer decides he needs to send out a general distress call and asks Hoshi to be as vague as possible to hide how dire their situation is. The Alpha Quadrant is still uncharted territory in Archer’s time, and the captain is weary of encountering new species who may take advantage of them. A Tellarite freighter on the edge of communications range answers the distress call with coordinates of a repair station.
Riding the high that the Star Trek franchise enjoyed during the mid 90s, a fourth spin-off to the original show was ordered. Brannon Braga and Rick Berman teamed up to create a prequel halfway between the 21st century seen in Star Trek: First Contactand the beginning of Kirk’s voyage seen in “Where No Man Has Gone Before.” After the Vulcans notice humanity’s first warp flight, they leave a delegation on Earth to guide humanity’s first steps into deep space. However, not everyone is a fan of the Vulcans, as some grumble the aliens are deliberately withholding information and keeping humanity back.
The warp program was started by Zefram Cochrane to develop space vessels with faster-than-light engines. By 2151 they had a prototype vessel that had a Warp 5 engine. Earth is united and war, disease, and hunger are considered “wiped out” by some humans. Earth certainly looks far removed from the World War Three fallout we saw in First Contact. But the Vulcans still deem humanity unworthy for deep space travel because of their volatile nature. Everything changes when a Klingon crash lands in Oklahoma. Despite knowing very little about the species, Admiral Forrest decides to launch Enterprise ahead of schedule so they can return the Klingon to his home planet.
Star Trek Voyager wrapped its seventh and final season in May of 2001. The third spin-off carried the franchise into the new millennium. It was the only Star Trek on the air for its last two seasons. The show had been airing concurrently with Deep Space Nine, but that incarnation of Star Trek was syndicated, while Voyager was United Paramount Network’s flagship show.
Voyager finally makes it home in the series finale, but only because of a future incarnation of Captain Janeway who goes back in time to get the crew to the Alpha Quadrant. The episode opens with fireworks as Voyager flies over the Golden Gate Bridge. A newsreader’s voice-over reveals that it is the 10th anniversary of the ship’s return after their 23-year journey through the Delta Quadrant. Janeway ends the video and we see her older with silver hair. After the credits the crew gathers for a party and we see them 26 years older.
Content Warning: “Extreme Risk” deals with depression, self-harm, and mentions suicide.
“Extreme Risk” begins with B’Elanna Torres’ orbital skydiving on the holodeck. She pushes the shuttle even higher and disables the safety protocols, despite the warning of the computer. When she’s called to work, the chief engineer asks Seven of Nine to oversee the probe launch on her behalf. The liberated Borg drone, who joined the crew at the beginning of Season four, is surprised, as she and B’Elanna did not get along initially.
It doesn’t take long for a Delta Quadrant alien to find Voyager’s probe. This time it’s the Malon, introduced during the premiere of Season five as a species with a garbage problem. Captain Janeway sends the probe to a gas giant to avoid recapture by the Malon, but it becomes stuck in the atmosphere and out of range of transporters. Tom Paris proposes they construct a new type of shuttle, one outfitted specifically for the Delta Quadrant. He calls it the Delta Flyer. The Captain is on board with the idea and wants it built in under a week.
Voyager was the third Star Trek show in a row to reach 100 episodes. The cast and production crew had a party behind the scenes, with a big cake, as well as a celebration scene in “Timeless.” The Voyager crew are celebrating the installation of their Quantum Slipstream drive. B’Elanna even toasts the new warp drive with a bottle of champagne. Janeway raises a glass and says this is their ticket out of the Delta Quadrant after nearly five years of an arduous journey.
But not all are enjoying the celebration. Paris is already obsessing about the new engine. He’s worried the drive is defective. Harry Kim takes him to the holodeck where they run simulations. Twenty runs and twenty catastrophes later, the two bring their concerns to the Captain. Rather than scrap the project entirely, Harry proposes to take the Delta Flyer into the Slipstream ahead of Voyager and send course corrections to compensate for turbulence.
The USS Voyager is the only Federation ship in the Delta Quadrant and Captain Kathryn Janeway’s primary mission is to get her crew back home. Along the way they’ve explored new worlds. Unfortunately, most of the aliens they encounter are hostile. Still two years into their journey, the crew is in high spirits for the most part. They have begun to bond outside of work. More often than not, the crew gathers on the holodeck, a virtual reality room that can be programed to recreate any place real or imaginary.
In the beginning of “Coda,” Neelix and Janeway talk about how well talent night went the evening before. During a shuttle trip, Chakotay points out that Kathryn’s ballet act was the highlight. She goads him into signing up for the next one before detecting surprise turbulence. The two struggle to land the shuttlecraft and Janeway is severely injured in the crash. The Vidiians, a hostile race of organ harvesters from Season 1 and 2, surround Chakotay and Janeway. They shoot the commander and strangle the captain.
The mid-nineties were a very busy time for Star Trek. The third spin-off of the original show, Star Trek: Voyager was in development soon after it was announced that TNG was ending. It was the first show to feature a female captain. Premiering in January 1995 on a new network backed by Paramount, Voyager introduced viewers to Captain Kathryn Janeway and her ship, the Intrepid class USS Voyager. The ship was much smaller than the Enterprise-D with a crew of only 141, and no civilians.
Behind the scenes Voyager was created by Rick Berman, Michael Piller, and Jeri Taylor. All three had experience with TNG. Jeri Taylor was the one of the first female executive producers and primarily responsible for the creation of Janeway’s character. They set the show aboard a starship once again but made sure to distinguish it from TNG. The smaller Voyager was designed for different missions, instead of exploring the Galaxy. The premise of the show was that Janeway and her crew were stranded in the Delta Quadrant, 75 years from home.