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PHOTOGRAPHY

STAR TREK: VOYAGER Season 5

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 26 episodes on 7 discs (20 hours and 16 minutes), photo gallery, various featurettes

STUDIO: PARAMOUNT

Release date: 11-9-2004

DISC 1- NIGHT, DRONE, EXTREME RISK, IN THE FLESH

DISC 2- ONCE UPON A TIME, TIMELESS, INFINITE REGRESS, NOTHING HUMAN

DISC 3- THIRTY DAYS, COUNTERPOINT, LATENT IMAGE, BRIDE OF CHAOTICA!

DISC 4- GRAVITY, BLISS, DARK FRONTIER

DISC 5- THE DISEASE, COURSE, OBLIVION, THE FIGHT, THINK TANK

DISC 6- JUGGERNAUT, SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME, 11:59, RELATIVITY

DISC 7- WARHEAD, EQUINOX PART 1

ANALYSIS: STAR TREK: VOYAGER sometimes gets a bad reputation as the worst of the Star Trek series, but season 5 is one of the most solid series of any Star Trek TV series. DARK FRONTIER reveals more about Seven of Nine's parents mission to study the Borg and sees the first appearance of the Borg Queen on the show while SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME shows Seven of Nine taking up dating (she even wears a dress) and RELATIVITY where she is out of her usual cat suits and in a Starfleet uniform. 11:59 is a story of one of Janeway's ancestors in the days leading up to 2000 and it is one of the most interesting story departures for the season (the other episodes to tell stories in different ways are the excellent THIRTY DAYS and COURSE: OBLIVION that follows what happens to the Voyager crew clones from the Demon planet even though I feel cheated by the ending of the episode). Captain Proton is clearly a homage to the Flash Gordon cliffhanger serials of the 1930s and used to the best effect in the very humorous BRIDE OF CHAOTICA! (and too bad there were no more holodeck adventures with Tom Paris as Captain Proton beyond that episode which was the last appearance of the Proton adventures). Then the medical ethics discussion in NOTHING HUMAN and the cat-and-mouse game in COUNTERPOINT shows Star Trek at it's best.

Season 5 had some great guest stars and yet it had some creative misfires like the introduction of Naomi Wildman. The season ends on the excellent cliffhanger to be concluded in the first episode of season 6.

VIDEO/AUDIO: All 26 episodes and the special features are on 1.33:1 Full Frame. Colors are nice and warm. Black levels are great and image detail is sharp. Mostly, the episodes look better than broadcast.  The picture quality does suffer at rare times from jittery motion or being blurry.  A grainy quality does show up at times.

Audio is presented with two options: English 5.1 Dolby Digital (newly created for DVD) and English 2.0 Dolby Surround (the way it was heard when the episodes first aired on UPN). I prefer the 5.1 mix over the 2.0. Dialogue is clear as a bell. The music and sound effects are some of the best I have heard on any TV on DVD release. Subtitles available are English,

SPECIAL FEATURES:  A various wealth of extras are included on disc seven.

BRAVING THE UNKOWN: SEASON 5 (20 minutes)- info on various episodes including Rick Berman saying that Voyager didn't come home early because they felt those type of stories were still being done with the Next Generation crew in the movies. I would have loved to see a few episodes at the end of season 7 dealing with the aftermath of Voyager's return to the Alpha Quadrant.

VOYAGER TIME CAPSULE: BE'ELANNA TORRES (17 minutes)- Roxann Dawson talks about the initial make-up test, the character, her favorite B'elanna Torres episodes (Faces, Extreme Risk, Lineage), directing Trek episodes, and writing novels.

VOYAGER TIME CAPSULE: TOM PARIS (15 minutes)- Robert Duncan McNiell goes into it about Captain Proton, directing, and Thirty Days. Kate Mulgrew, Tim Russ, and Roxann Dawson talk about how it is to work with him. Clips from various episodes are shown including Caretaker, Gravity, Thirty Days, Lineage, and Endgame

THE BORG QUEEN SPEAKS (7 min)- Susanna Thompson reveals details about reading for the part in the FIRST CONTACT movie, her audition for DARK FRONTIER, and being in the Borg Queen make-up.

DELTA QUADRANT MAKE-UP MAGIC (19 1/2 min)- Michael Westmore (Make-Up Designer) talks about the make-up for various characters and alien races of Voyager.

PHOTO GALLERY- Stills and Behind-The Scenes Pics.

Also there are various mini-featurettes on various episodes with each lasting from 2-4 minutes: Kate Mulgrew talks about COUNTERPOINT, Garret Wang gives his thoughts on THE DISEASE, and Director David Livingston gives info on direction choices for INFINITE REGRESS, NIGHT, and IN THE FLESH.

MENU DESIGN: I have high praise for the neat menus and the chapter selection menus, but the Voyager theme music can get on one's nerves if you leave the DVD on the main menu for too long.

SET DESIGN: It may look nice, but the plastic outer case you have to remove in two parts to get to the DVD flipbook format leads to the first disc getting dirt and smudges on it after a very short time (putting disc one in a different case is a solution to that problem if you don't want to clean the top of the disc). The flimsy outer plastic parts can easily come apart and be an additional pain if one of the two parts don't slip together perfectly due to one part being a little too long on one side. The DVD flipbook case can be cracked easily if the DVD is being shipped. Some discs are hard to get out of their cases (so handle with care when removing a disc). My suggestion to Paramount is too go for a more user friendly and easier to replace cases for the STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE DVD sets in 2005.

FINAL ANALYSIS: Several Star Trek fans may have turned away from the show early, but season 5 is one of the seasons any Star Trek fan should own on DVD.  The extras give plenty of insight into the episodes of season 5 and the show itself.

this DVD review is (c)11-4-2004 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission (even in the Delta Quadrant). Send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com

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