Star Trek: Voyager Premiered 20 Years Ago

I remember wanting to like Voyager a lot more than I did. The first episode showed some promise, but I remember being disappointed with the first season. Looking back, I can see I was equally disappointed by the first Star Trek movie and the first few seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Some moments from the show have stuck with me, but not many. I was frustrated by contradictions in Janeway’s character. (Some episodes showed her as being curious about and interested in Chokotay’s spirituality, and some episodes required her to be scientifically rigid — usually so that she could learn a lesson of tolerance.)

Midway through the series, my first child was born, and I moved from Canada (where I had been attending grad school) back to the US in order to accept my first full-time job. In our new house we did not get whatever TV station carried Voyager in our area, and we chose not to bother paying for cable. While my sister regularly sent us videotapes with episodes of MST3K and Babylon 5, for whatever reason I never asked her to send me any Voyager.

I’ve spent more time over the years looking at the blueprints for the soundstage where all the Star Trek shows were filmed than I have thinking about any specific episode of Voyager. Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading this fan’s recollection of what Voyager meant to her.

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 6.54.44 PMThe “seeing yourself on screen” thing is a cliché, but it really is important. It’s not just seeing people you can relate to, it’s seeing people you can relate to being successful. That’s the empowering part. That’s what Star Trek: Voyager meant to me.

And that’s not all it meant to me. Everything I know about being an engaged fan, I learned from Star Trek: Voyager. That show wasn’t the first thing I had been a fan of, by any means. I’m pretty sure The Chronicles of Narnia as a kindergartner take that honor. But it was my first fandom.

As a latecomer in the age before DVRs, streaming, and even box-set DVDs, each night was spent with a TV Guide looking up the syndication airings of Star Trek episodes and setting the tape recorder. Episodes I liked were kept on tape. In my childhood bedroom there’s probably still dozens of VHS tapes, labeled with every episode I’d recorded and saved. I was anxious to see everything I’d missed. As a Janeway/Chakotay shipper, the episode “Resolutions” was my white whale. I wanted to see it more than anything. Funny that it kind of makes me cringe to watch now. —Why Star Trek: Voyager Meant The World To Mi09

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