9. Year Of Hell
Star Trek Voyager's fourth season was where the show truly found its feet, going from a fairly good Star Trek spin off to an absolutely excellent series on its own merit. The two-part epic, Year of Hell, displayed a truly frightening and engaging 'What If?' scenario, with Voyager being repeatedly battered day in, day out for an entire year - all while Janeway and the crew try to keep it together.
So much about the story works. All of the acting, including guest star Kurtwood Smith as the coldly diabolical Annorax, is top notch. However, the real star is Kate Mulgrew, through and through.
She anchors the episodes with her steely determination to keep the ship afloat, while trying to ensure the safety of the crew. Already as tough as nails, that toughness turns to armour to rival anything as she defeats the odds again and again.
This was reportedly a direction that could have lasted an entire season and while that may have been truly gripping for the fans to enjoy, this two-part story is a fantastic taste of just how dark Voyager's time in the Delta Quadrant could have been. It is, in a way, a spiritual prequel to Equinox. Janeway is pushed, almost to the breaking point, again and again - but she never gives in.
Truly excellent storytelling.