There are twelve feature length episodes in Voyager's run and it is clear that both time and effort went into each of them, which of course should be true of all episodes. However, it would not be fair to say that all of them share the same qualities. From the opening of the show, there was a lot of hope pinned on Voyager. It was running concurrently with Deep Space Nine and was the first series to premiere after the ending of the Next Generation. It was also the first series to air without any involvement from Gene Roddenberry, who by that stage had been dead for almost four years.
While many of the episodes of the show vary vastly in quality, the feature length episodes all lean on the stronger sides. It would take some time for Voyager to find its feet and it would take some of the entries on this list to help it get there. Fan reaction has been mixed to say the least to some of these and even the actors themselves have strong opinions about one or two of the entries.
Voyager may not have reached the heights of either the Next Generation or Deep Space Nine, but it did try to keep optimism alive in the rapidly darkening late '90s and early '00s and some of these episodes capture some of this essence beautifully.
The opening of Star Trek Voyager is by no means the worst pilot in Star Trek history - the honour is still afforded to the Next Generation. However, like any of the series, everything had yet to fall into place and there were issues that needed ironing out.
Kate Mulgrew, now instantly recognisable as Kathryn Janeway, was a late in the day addition to the cast. The rest of the cast were both solid and over-written, handed dialogue that was both clunky and full of exposition. The visuals were brilliant and the designs of Voyager, the Kazon vessels and the Caretaker's array are all top-notch.
Janeway's speech at the end of the episode is suitably stirring and there is enough in this episode to bring the viewer back for the next episode. Quite a lot happens in the episode that would either go nowhere (Chakotay and Paris's rivalry being one of them) and the female caretaker was a clear addition to allow the show to find a quick way home if it was cancelled.
It is not that this episode is bad, it is more a sign that the show took off quickly after that. While Voyager's early seasons are certainly its weakest, there was a thread of stellar quality from the off, that only improved as the show went on.