On Top of the World

Robert Picardo and Jeri Lynn RyanGet 10 pages on Voyager in Starburst: the new season previewed with Robert Picardo, Tim Russ - and Jeri Ryan on Seven of Nine: "I love the direction this character is taking". Plus our full interview with Brannon Braga (excerpts here)...

Brannon Braga, Voyager's executive producer, reviews Series Four – and looks forward to the new season with its 100th episode. By Melissa Perenson

The Borg were getting really good at pinballUsually, it takes a series a year or so to find itself. Sometimes, it takes two years. In the case of Star Trek: Voyager, however, the process took just a bit longer. “Voyager is working better now,” asserts Brannon Braga, the executive producer who’s been with the series since its inception in 1994. “I think to do a completely new Star Trek TV show, you have to do more than just deliver a new geo-political landscape, because that feels like The Next Generation. We had to come up with a new feeling for Voyager. And I don’t feel we really started to do that until the third season. That’s when we started to find our legs a little bit more.”

“The show was heating up again, feeling fresh, Janeway had a voice. But there was still something lacking,” he admits. “The political angle fizzled out after a while. Without the specifics of Cardassians and Bajorans in war zones and all of those emotional images, the context of the political strife is gone and all you’re left with are words – and that’s not enough. Another thing we tried to do in Season Three was to make Voyager a happier place. Even in the tensest of situations, like on ER, you know that the characters are dedicated and happy to be there. We had very disgruntled characters. Now, the crew likes each other, and they’re working well [together].”

As the fourth season approached, Braga and company decided to really push the envelope. “We threw caution to the wind and said let’s just tell audacious, cinematic stories – and make these characters larger than life,” remembers Braga. The question was posed, “‘What does it mean to be on Voyager?’ We kind of thought it should mean big adventures, larger than life adventures. Things really ignited by the time the end of the third season came and we did the Borg two-parter.” And in the final analysis of the fourth season, he concludes, “We finally hit our stride.”

For one thing, the fourth season saw the introduction of the half-Borg character Seven of Nine. “We realized that the Borg are to Voyager what the Klingons were to Next Generation and the Cardassians are to Deep Space Nine,” explains Braga. “That in turn led to thinking about the impact of having a Borg in the Voyager environment...

All Star Trek images copyright Paramount

Romance for Anji (Donna Murphy) and Picard? Plus: first pictures from Star Trek: Insurrection - the next movie starring Picard and crew - in our four-page feature!

All in Starburst #242 - order it here

Starburst gives you much more about Star Trek

Special #37 is a Star Trek issue, shipping mid-September: Exclusive interview with Nicole deBoer, new cast member of Deep Space Nine. Plus 10 reasons why Star Trek: Insurrection should be brilliant

• In #243, now shipping from early October, we interview Herman Zimmerman, production designer of Star Trek: Insurrection: 6 page feature with 7 Insurrection pictures

• In #244 and #245 - coming soon - loads more Insurrection coverage, with star interviews including LeVar Burton, and behind the scenes features

Starburst footer