Season 4 of Voyager is most notable for the addition of Jeri Ryan’s Seven Of Nine character. The stories grew a bit more complex. The season appears to have regarded style above substance in year 4. There is a modest attempt to develop a mother/daughter kind of relationship between Seven Of Nine and Janeway. The problem is that, like the potential for conflict inherent with the addition of the Maquis members of the crew, this conflict is all to often resolved in a Brady Bunch “What have you learned from this, Seven …f Nine” formula. No question the Borg and Species 8472 offer a better group of adversaries than the Kazon were ever capable of. I judge this season to be one of bright moments and missed opportunities.
The Federation starship Voyager is looking for a rebel Maquis ship that vanished in the “Badlands”. Capt Janeway (Mulgrew) is concerned for a Starfleet operative and friend aboard the missing ship. When they find the vessel they are thrown 700,000 light-years away from home. Now the crews of both ships must work together to overcome a 100 year journey back to Federation space.
Again you are given a choice of the original Dolby Digital 2.0 track or a newly mastered 5.1 version. The sound is fuller and more dynamic on the 5.1 option. The dialogue is always sharp and well mixed. A distinct improvement over the broadcast versions.
Each episode of Voyager is presented in its original television 1.33:1 full frame format. These transfers are definitely a step up from their cable presentations. Colors are quite vivid and at times spectacular. The opening sequence is a great example. The sun and flares are alive in wonderful contrast to a perfect field of darkness. Blacks are as deep and detailed as I’ve seen on television. The only real complaint is the digital artifacts and shimmers that appear from time to time. This often gives the show an obvious CGI look.
The color scheme is blue this time around. The extras are quite comparable to the previous three. Packaging remains exactly the same.
“Braving The Unknown: Season 4” is the longest feature at just over 20 minutes. Like the features before it this feature is a bit of a wrap of season 4. The focus is naturally on the Borg and Seven Of Nine.
There are two “Time Capsule” segments. Seven of Nine and Harry Kim. Both features offer a closer look at the characters and the actors who played them. Both include a fair amount of interview footage with the actor.
“The Birth Of Species 8472” is a look at the newest alien’s to battle our Federation refugees. The segment mostly deals with the alien designs.
“The Art Of Alien Worlds” This feature deals with what I think is the most neglected aspect of f/x: the matte paintings. Matte work is an essential part of selling the grand scale of alien planets and futuristic cities with relatively little money. I’m glad to see a feature dedicated to this art form.
A Season 4 gallery finishes the list of features on Season 4.
Menus are exactly like previous sets. It can be a little frustrating waiting for the 4 ship views to warp into screen before you can access the episode you want.
With the addition of Seven Of Nine it is important to mention the loss of Kes. I think the show runners boxed themselves in from the start with Kes. Her rapid growth and maturation led to many of the show’s nit-picks and continuity errors. When the crew expanded she was the logical choice to exit. Voyager seems to be once again just finding its legs in Season 4. The DVD’s are still a must for any Trek fans out there. If you already own 1-3, leaving behind 4 “would not be logical”.
Special Features List
- Braving the Unknown: Season Four
- Time Capsule: Seven of Nine
- Time Capsule: Harry Kim
- The Birth of Species 8472
- The Art of Alien Worlds
- Photo gallery