Voyager's Delta Flyers
selected from Cult Times Special #08
The Doctor assesses his new medical assistant, Tom Paris As Voyager inches ever closer to home Roberts Picardo and Duncan McNeill talk about the way forward. Here's an excerpt...

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When Deep Space Nine ends in 1999, there will be no replacement series immediately waiting in the wings to take over. For the first time in seven years, there will be only one series of fresh Star Trek episodes on television. For Robert Picardo, the actor who plays the austere holographic Doctor, that fact can only work in Voyager’s favour…

“Ultimately it’s a good thing for the show,” he tells Cult Times, “because Deep Space Nine has its loyal fans, and we have our loyal fans, and then we have fans that watch both shows. But if either our show or their show went off the air I think it would benefit the other because there is that hunger among loyal Star Trek fans for new shows. If we’re the only game in town, we’re hoping they’ll come over.”

There’s been much debate among viewers concerning whether the demise of Deep Space Nine will serve as the catalyst that resolves the starship Voyager’s current predicament. For five years the ship has been lost in the Delta Quadrant, cut off from Starfleet, family and friends. Kate Mulgrew recently voiced her opinion that the ship would arrive home by the end of Season Five, and Picardo agrees with this line of reasoning.

“My prediction, three years ago, when everyone would say, ‘Would Voyager make it back to the Alpha Quadrant?’, I would say ‘Yes, when Deep Space Nine goes off the air’. That was my prediction. I still think I’m going to be right. This is not based on any knowledge or fact, but I do believe we will find our way home at the end of this year simply because you’ve got to have one original Star Trek show in prime time in the Alpha Quadrant.

Picardo has already considered how such a move would affect the Doctor’s future, and predicts that an early story in Season Six will find the Voyager crew rallying around their holographic friend.

“The very first issue from the Doctor’s point of view is that he would be deleted,” he announces. “All of his additional adaptive learning would simply be wiped clean because, what’s the point? He’s designed for one use. This is an unprecedented situation where he has stepped forward and filled in for the organic ship’s doctor. I think Starfleet’s attitude would be, ‘Thank God, you’re all home, let’s blank this Doctor and reboot him so we can use him as a first aid kit again’.

“It seems to me that my first storyline would be for Janeway and the crew to testify on behalf of maintaining me – rearguing the whole sentience thing, whether my combined experience and record of service warrant keeping me intact as a I am now. I hope they do – otherwise they’ll fire me and I’ll be out of work!”

It’s 10 months since Cult Times last spoke to the actor (see Special #05), and it’s comforting to see that he remains as bright and inventive as ever. While some actors on a series are happy to sit back, receive their scripts and do their scenes, it’s obvious that Picardo thinks through the logic of his character – and always has a wealth of potential storyline and situations that he hopes the Voyager producers may one day use.

David Richardson

Continued in Cult Times Special #08 • plus Robert Duncan McNeill on Captain Proton, Dr Chaotica and the fire on Voyager's set "We were just about to break for dinner and as we were walking to stage eight they yelled, ‘Fire, get off the stage!’"

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