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Top 10 Episodes of Star Trek: Voyager

Star Trek: Voyager premiered on the now-defunct UPN 18 years ago this past January.  It was a show of several firsts for Star Trek, the first to feature a female captain (Kate Mulgrew’s Catherine Janeway) and the first to air on a major network (as opposed to in first-run syndication) since the Original Series in the 1960s.  Its premise was promising – drop a Federation ship on the other side of the galaxy, force them to integrate their crew with a faction of ex-Federation rebels, and watch the compromises they must make on their 75-year journey home in an uncharted area of space with no Federation back-up.  However, in the face of its own challenging premise it blinked, never fully committing to the potential for conflict or morally compromised characters and instead offering lots of fluff (why so many time travel and holodeck episodes?).  Perhaps as a result, most of the characters were painfully dull (the less said about Harry Kim the better).  So, those characters who were genuinely captivating – Robert Picardo’s Doctor, Jeri Ryan’s Seven of Nine, and, to a lesser extent, Ethan Phillips’ Neelix – got all the best storylines.

As such, one could arguably do a list of Top 10 episodes of Star Trek: Voyager and just populate it exclusively with Doctor/Seven of Nine-centric episodes.  However, that would do a disservice to an ensemble cast show which ran for 7 seasons and 172 episodes.  Regardless of who the story was about, Voyager quite often managed to deliver freakishly entertaining hours of television.  They had a real knack for two-parters, particularly season cliffhangers, and seemed on occasion to suddenly remember the promise of their own premise.  Plus, yes, the Doctor and Seven of Nine were awesome.

(SPOILERS AHEAD, FUN A-HOY)

10) “Deadlock” (Season 2, Episode 21) 

Star Trek Voyager Deadlock Janeway_meets_Janeway

A.K.A.: The one where a nebula accident creates two separate Voyager ships and crews which overlap one another with only enough antimatter fuel to support one ship and crew.

Every now and again, Voyager would just go all in on an episode, devising a conceit which allowed the writers to do whatever the hell they wanted because they knew it would all be re-set at the end.  Here, the notion of there being two separate Voyagers allows them to kill off major characters (bye-bye, Harry Kim) because they’ve got a spare (damn, Harry should have just stayed dead) as well as reach a conclusion in which the bad guys kind of win but only against one of the sets of heroes.  However, that they were able to do so, have a scene in which Janeway talks to another Janeway, and work in a killer surprise ending without seeming like a big ole mess is quite the impressive accomplishment.

Check out a Trailer Below:

9) “Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy” (Season 6, Episode 4)

Star Trek Voyager Tinker_Tenor_-_The_Doctor_as_ECH

A.K.A.: The one where the Doctor’s new habit of daydreaming is misinterpreted by a covertly observing alien race resulting in a potential skirmish that only can be solved by the Doctor behaving as he normally only does in fantasy, i.e., the hero of the day.

To some degree, this one is a bit derivative of an earlier episode involving Barclay on The Next Generation, but here the potential of the premise of others being clued in on a fellow character’s outsized fantasies is maximized to its immense comedic potential.   Seriously, how can you not love an episode of Voyager where the ending has the Doctor staring down a bad guy from the bridge of the ship while Janeway feeds him his lines Cyrano-style?  However, it must be pointed out that the potato head-shaped bad guys?  Totally ripped off from Doctor Who‘s Sontarans.

Check out a Trailer Below:

 8) “Latent Image” (Season 5, Episode 11)

Star Trek Voyager Latent Image

A.K.A.: The one where the Doctor investigates why a portion of his memory has been blocked only to discover an ethical dilemma from this past.

Present from the pilot to the series finale, the Doctor evolved from a comedic presence with a knack for acerbic one-liners to a quintessential-Star Trek character striving to understand the nature of humanity and coping with/exceeding his own limitations.  “Latent Image” is almost exclusively focused upon the Doctor overcoming the limitations of his programming, as he was never designed for the near-constant operation on Voyager.  So, when he suffers the equivalent of psychotic break the discussion emerges as to whether or not he even has the right to be granted the time to work it all out or if he still, at the end of the day, is just a computer program to be modified according to the needs of the actual living creatures on board.  The final scene involving the Doctor’s breakthrough is among Picardo’s finest acting on the show.

Check out a Trailer Below:

7) “Someone to Watch Over Me” (Season 5, Episode 22) 

Voyager Someone to Watch Over Me

A.K.A.: The one where the Doctor and Tom Paris do the Pygmalion/My Fair Lady/Pretty Woman/She’s All That thing with Seven of Nine, and the Doctor teaches her how to date while gradually and unwittngly falling in love with her.

The odd juxtaposition for a character whose costume meant to bring a video game or comic book heroine body-type to life is that Seven of Nine was just as chaste, if not more so, than everyone else.  Seven of Nine was assimilated into the Borg while still a 6-year-old girl and freed from the collective once an adult woman.  As such, she is basically constantly learning how to be an adult human (or, more accurately, refusing to learn).  “Someone to Watch Over Me” is her first introduction to the process of human dating, and while the results are predictably funny (she practically breaks the arm of her date) the element of the Doctor falling in love with her is surprisingly sweet.  The B-plot involves Neelix acting as a diplomat to a visiting foreign minister played to great comedic effect as a bit of, well, a total dick by Kids in the Hall‘s Scott Thompson.

Check out a Trailer Below:

6) “Equinox Parts 1 & 2” (Season 5, Episode 26; Season 6, Episode 1)

star trek voyager equinox_025

A.K.A.: The one where Voyager encounters another Federation starship who are also stranded in that region of space but have not held to Federation ideals the way Janeway and company have.

In science fiction, whenever you are the last of your kind or stranded on your own the sudden appearance of the too-good-to-be-true friend is usually never a good thing (see: the Time Lords on modern Doctor Who, the Founders to Odo on Deep Space Nine, the Reliant on Battlestar Galactica, or even the Kryptons in this summer’s Man of Steel).  Usually, this sudden mysterious other is simply used by writers as a dramatic foil to highlight just how easily our heroes could have become the bad guy.

Thus is the function of the crew of the USS Equinox to Voyager: the “there but for the grace of Captain Janeway go us” people.  However, it is an incredibly well done story featuring a surprisingly sinister turn from the Doctor, as the Equinox’s Doctor removes his ethical parameters and has him ruthlessly experiment on Seven of Nine.  In some way, this is Voyager’s answer to the Deep Space Nine episode “In the Pale Moonlight” in which the hero abandons once cherished principles for the greater good.  That one ends with the audience left to make their own judgement, but with Janeway in “Equinox” the answer is clearly that once we abandon our ideals where do we stop?

Check out a Trailer Below:

5) “Blink of an Eye” (Season 6, Episode 12)

Star Trek Voyager Blink Eye

And, yes, that is Daniel Dae Kim from the new Hawaii Five-0

A.K.A.: The one where Voyager becomes trapped in orbit of a planet featuring a strange space-time differential whereby living beings on the planet live through years in what to Voyager passes as mere minutes.

Remember how cool it was when a Simpsons “Treehouse of Horror” episode had an entire civilization of microscopic people grow on top of Lisa’s discarded tooth and come to worship her as their god?  Well, the Twilight Zone had done the same story years earlier with “The Little Men,” and “Blink of an Eye” is Voyager‘s take on the tale just minus the whole one party being physically larger than the other element.  In fact, it is kind of your standard “starship inadvertently violates the Prime Directive; oops, our bad” Star Trek story.  However, it is immensely enjoyable, and even features an interesting discussion of religion versus science.  It speaks to a people’s drive for accomplishment often being dictated by having something to reach for, in this case literally – they want to get to Voyager which to them is the mysterious object they’ve observed from their planet’s surface since the beginning of time.

Check out a Trailer Below:

4) “One” (Season 4, Episode 25)

Voyager Jeri Ryan One

A.K.A.: The one where the crew is placed in stasis for an extended period of time while the ship navigates through a toxic region of space, but Seven of Nine and the Doctor (and eventually just Seven of Nine) are left awake/running to keep the proverbial lights on until the crew can be awakened.

This is Seven of Nine’s great “be careful what you wish for” episode.  She would seemingly be more comfortable isolated by herself with minimal interactions with others, given an important but routine task upon which to focus her efforts.  However, what proceeds is her gradual mental deterioration and realization that she, in fact, may be just a wee bit traumatized from her whole “I’ve been part of the Borg collective since I was 6-years-old” thing.  Who would have guessed, right?  As with prior Star Trek episodes featuring a character who is far from a reliable narrator, there are some rather enjoyable fake-out moments here, and arguably Jeri Ryan’s most dynamic performance.

Check out a Trailer Below:

3) “Scorpion, Part 1 & 2” (Season 3, Episode 26; Season 4, Episode 1)

Star-Trek-Voyager-Scorpion-Part-2-jeri-ryan-23485827-702-530

A.K.A.: The one where the show re-sets itself by introducing the Borg and Seven of Nine, with Janeway forced to make a series of ethically dubious decisions.

For 3 seasons, there was always the question hanging over Voyager‘s head, “What the hell are they going to do once they reach Borg space?” They, after all, were in the Deltra Quadrant, the Next Generation-established home of the Borg.  However, the answer Voyager provided to the question was so surprising in its willingness to morally compromise Captain Janeway.  As it turns out, the Borg is actually getting their shiny metal asses handed back to them by a new alien named Species 8472.  That’s funny – Voyager happens to have a way to beat them as well as a need to be able to pass through Borg space cleanly.  What to do, what to do.  In Janeway’s case, she makes a deal with the devil, i.e., the Borg, and runs like hell at the time of their inevitable betrayal.  In so doing, she violates Federation ideals and sentences 8472 to death.  To make herself feel better about that, though, she rescues Seven of Nine from the collective, who really, really did not want nor ask for her help.  But, hey, that’s just the kind of gal Janeway is.

Check out the Final Scene Below:

2) “Hope and Fear” (Season 4, Episodes 26)

Star Trek Voyager Voyager Hope and Fear

A.K.A.: The one where the latest person with a too-good-to-be-true promises of a quicker way back to Earth is really plotting to exact a Borg-related revenge.

There are those Star Trek fans with the right amount of vast legal knowledge and free time to compose a legal case both for and against court marashalling Captain Janeway for her violation of Federation law while in the Deltra Quadrant. However, that is a judgement which would await her on Earth.  While still in the ass crack of the galaxy, she was usually heading one direction, leaving any of the consequences of her actions in the region behind her.  “Hope and Fear” puts a face on the consequences in the form of Arturis, as played by Ray Wise (a.ka., the devil from Reaper).

He initially appears as just the latest in too good to be true plot devices which promise the crew a quicker return to Earth.  The big reveal is that Arturis holds Janeway directly responsible for the Borg having assimilated his people, since that would not have occurred had Janeway allowed species 8472 to defeat the Borg.  He functions to force Janeway to accept her responsibility in the scenario while also concluding Seven of Nine’s season long arc of finally coming to realize she does not actually want to be re-integrated with the Borg again.

Check out a Behind the Scenes Look at the Making of the Episode:

1) “Year of Hell, Part 1 & 2” (Season 4, Episodes 8/9)

Star Trek Voyager Year Hell

A.K.A.: The one where a time-manipulating warlord named Annorax uses his time-warping weapon to restore his people’s lost empire and resurrect his dead wife and Voyager gets caught in the cross-fire, victims to the whims of seemingly random time shifts during a year-long standoff that brings them to the brink of destruction.

It seems fitting that Voyager’s best episode would be the one that ultimately lacks the courage of its convictions by hitting the giant magic re-set button at the end to erase all of its events from history.  However, like “Deadlock” you know where it is heading because at a certain point so many people have died you remember that you’d never heard anything about the show killing off most of its cast halfway through its run.  The ride to the end, though, is positively thrilling with absolutely nothing held back.  We get to see what Janeway is like when all the chips are down, and she is an admirable, Benjamin Sisko-caliber badass (which we already knew from “Deadlock,” but this is that times 10).  She has multiple fantastic character moments with Tuvok and Neelix, but even the villain, Annorax, gets some layers via ethical discussion-heavy interactions with Chakotay and Tom.

“One Year I’d Like to Forget”:

Honorable Mentions (The Ones Just Outside the Top 10):

  • “Scientific Method” (Season 4, Episode 7) – Where a race of aliens are performing experiments upon the Voyager crew as if they were lab animals, but nobody knows it other than Seven of Nine and the Doctor.
  • “30 Days” (Season 5, Episode 10) – Where Tom Paris writes a letter to his father explaining how he ended up being confined to the brig for 30 days and demoted all the way down to a mere cadet as the result of a series of increasingly bad choices.
Check Out Our Prior Top 10 Lists for Other Stark Trek TV Shows:

So, what do you think, guys? Are you a fan of our picks, or are there other episodes you think should have made the cut? Let us know in the comments!

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About Kelly Konda (1856 Articles)
Grew up obsessing over movies and TV shows. Worked in a video store. Minored in film at college because my college didn't offer a film major. Worked in academia for a while. Have been freelance writing and running this blog since 2013.

31 Comments on Top 10 Episodes of Star Trek: Voyager

  1. It had to be “Year of Hell” for best episode. I have vivid memories of watching it during its first airing. It still gives me chills.

    • Same here. I grew up on Star Trek, watching Next Gen in first-run syndication and trying to do the same with Deep Space Nine as well (until my local ABC affiliate started just randomly switching it around their schedule in pre-DVR days). Voyager, though, is the only Star Trek show I ever watched from beginning to end when it was still on the air, having needed DVDs/Netflix/syndicated re-runs to see the stuff I missed with the others. As such, I have a real soft spot for Voyager, and to anyone who speaks ill of Captain Janeway – and she certainly comes under sometimes justified criticism – I point to “Year of Hell.” She’s a boring captain, there’s not enough conflict, etc. Well, that sure as hell isn’t the case in “Year of Hell.”

  2. Alphonsus Jr. // February 5, 2014 at 11:34 PM // Reply

    Incredible that the real best episode isn’t mentioned: Dark Frontier Pts. 1 & 2. It happens to also be better than all the Star Trek movies.

    • I just checked the other Top 10 Voyager lists I included in the links section and none of them mentioned “Dark Frontiers” either. Maybe we overlooked it. For my list, it’s not really that I don’t like “Dark Frontiers.” I actually recall greatly enjoying it just like several of the really good Voyager two-parters. It’s just that a lot of the stuff they did with the Borg Queen felt to me like re-purposed versions of the Data, Picard, Queen triangle from Star Trek: First Contact, which is perfectly fine considering how much the Star Trek shows reused plots from prior shows and films. It just never really stood out to me as being the absolute best thing the Voyager ever did. However, whenever I re-watch Voyager I sure as heck do not skip “Dark Frontiers.” I wouldn’t call it better than any of the Star Trek movies as you have, but I would agree they are well-made and incredibly enjoyable episodes.

      • I should add that there are definitely certain lesser Star Trek movies (Star Trek 5, Nemesis) I’d rather skip and instead watch something like “Dark Frontiers”

  3. I like Message in a bottle more than any of those other episodes from season 4. What can beat 2 holograms fighting the Romulans with a ship they can barely fly? I also like the wormhole episode from Season 1, the crazy doctor identity conflict episode in season 2, Timeless, and the one with Jason Alexander in season 5. However all these ranked episodes are definitely plus episodes. Although I’ve always felt that Year of Hell is overrated.

  4. I think the final episode should be in there somewhere in the top 3, otherwise I agree with your picks.

    • Well, I guess 9 out of 10 isn’t bad 🙂 Since it didn’t make my top 10, it’s pretty obvious that I don’t exactly love the series finale. However, I don’t hate or dislike it either. I have a fair amount of fondness for it, recalling watching it live when it first aired and being more or less okay with how the show wrapped everything up. I guess may main issue was that it all felt a wee bit too familiar, and Janeway not being content with reaching home but having to do so on her time-travelling terms was a bit irksome to me, even if that was pretty much 100% in keeping with her character.

    • I hated the season finale. It just felt so forced and rushed, like someone told the writers “Okay, that’s it. You get one more episode to wrap up everything. Go, go, go!” And it really didn’t make sense when Starfleet (or whoever did it) was able to get a whole party and fireworks and everything ready in such short notice. They didn’t know Voyager was coming and yet they acted like they did.

      • “Starfleet (or whoever did it) was able to get a whole party and fireworks and everything ready in such short notice”

        I just assumed that Voyager had come close to getting home so many times that Starfleet just had the “Welcome Home” party arrangements on stand-by, ready to go at a moment’s notice, which would actually probably create a “Boy Who Cried Wolf” scenario where this time no one really showed up because they figured it was probably another false alarm.

        My main qualm with the episode was, like I said, that it’s whole entire premise is basically that they get home but Janeway’s not happy with how they did it so she undoes history, having to do everything on her time-travelling terms. It’s pretty much 100% what Janeway would do, but it was a bit irksome to me.

  5. our favorite of all the star treks! we loved this series!

    • For me, it’s kind of like I know I should want to watch TNG more, and dig deep into the WWII-parallels and oddly prescient pre-9/11 terrorism motifs of DSN9, but hands down the Star Trek show I watched the most is Voyager. Granted, a lot of that is just me re-watching the really good Seven of Nine/Doctor episodes over again, and I do steer clear of the early seasons but I do genuinely love Star Trek: Voyager. I know that Harry Kim is kind of bland, and Tuvok is most certainly no Spock, and that the show likely squandered its potential for Battlestar Galactica-esque dramatic conflict, yet I find it all so charming.

  6. I think an episode that doesn’t get it’s dues is Infinite Regress. When Seven has to deal with multiple personalities.

    • I like that episode, although obviously not enough to list it in my top 10 Voyager episode. It reminds of the Quantum Leap “Shock Theater” episode which, like “Infinite Regress,” also asked its lead character to have to adopt different voices and physical mannerisms to play someone suffering from a sci-fi version of multiple-personality disorder. Where that particular set-up usually either wins you over or loses you is how well the actor manages to pull it off, and I don’t recall Jeri Ryan embarrassing herself or anything like that. My main recollection of the episode, though, is of liking the lead-up to Seven’s break-down more so than watching Seven adopting the various personalities. It is kind of a cool idea that she would suffer a malfunction which the Borg would have seen as cause to simply give upon that particular drone while the Doctor and Janeway (and eventually Tuvok) work tirelessly to help her. It’s an episode I haven’t actually watched a whole lot, though. I’ll have to fire it up on Netflix again.

  7. PicardForPrimeMinister // August 18, 2014 at 6:56 PM // Reply

    If I had to make a top 2 Voyager episodes, it’d be Blink of an Eye and The Void. The Void was a bit recursive: it reiterated the series’ premise within a single episode… and did it better than the whole series.

    Also, Neelix wasn’t an interesting character. Neelix was a major annoyance. Poorly acted, even more poorly written, he should’ve been killed off early on. While it’s true that some characters are very bland (Kim, Chakotay), anything is better than Neelix. Even Wesley was better than Neelix.
    On the other hand, I’d add Tuvok to the list of interesting characters, and Tim Russ probably delivered the best performance on Voyager.

  8. so many greats overlooked.
    14 Projections
    13 drone
    12 course oblivion
    11 thirty days
    10 the omega directive
    9 scorpion pt 1/2
    8 year of hell 1/2
    7 message in a bottle
    6 timeless
    5 latent image
    4 equinox 1/2
    3 pathfinder
    2 author author
    1 endgame

    • To be fair, I did actually mention “Latent Image,” “Equinox 1 & 2,” “Scorpion 1 & 2,” and “Year of Hell 1 & 2” in my top 10. Plus, I gave an honorable mention to 30 Days, meaning it was right outside my top 10.

      That being said, I’m a fairly big fan of pretty much all the other episodes you put in your top 14, except for “Endgame” (the series finale, which I’ve discussed earlier in the comments section) and “Timeless,” which I get the impression is a popular episode among Voyager fans but I’m just always lukewarm on any episodes centered around Harry or Chakotay. Otherwise, your list has a bunch of good Doctor episodes, and that’s fine by me. I love the Doctor!

  9. Does anyone know the episode where Janeway has to go through some sort of spiritual journey on a planet with a deeply spiritual/religious group to escape? She basically goes through one of her own creation, involving arduous physical tests. Then learns that this is not what the (spiritual) journey is all about. Kind of like dropping an astronaut into a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in Nepal

    This one was really well done, but I can’t seem to track down the episode to re-see it.

  10. Meld. The episode where Tuvac melds with a murderer to understand his motives.

    • I never disliked Tuvok but I never loved him either. So, the Tuvok-centric episodes were more miss than hit for me. However, I remember really liking the one you mentioned, Meld.

  11. “Latent Image” is definitely in my list. “Revulsion” and “Course: Oblivion” stand out to me as well.

  12. “‘Year of Hell part 1 & 2’ are definitely two of the best Voyager episodes. I agree completely.

  13. I don’t but in case of Voyager it makes so no sense for me to create a top 10 episodes list i’d rather do a bottom10 list instead.
    If i had to do a top 10 i would probably never finish it as i couldn’t come to an agreement with myself.

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  15. I love Voyager, (4-7) go to hell haters!!, long live Voyager

  16. Alphonsus Jr. // June 22, 2017 at 9:47 PM // Reply

    After having re-watched all the series, I’m now convinced that Voyager is the most consistent and best of all the Star Trek series. It has great episodes in all seasons, from the very first season (such as the devastating Jetrel episode). Indeed it has some of the greatest episodes in the entire franchise. It’s fashionable somehow to bash Voyager. Resist this fashion.

    • I have a soft spot for Voyager because it is the one Star Trek show I watched from beginning to nearly end first-run, but I’ve now seen all of the shows and I don’t know that Voyager is necessarily the most consistent. Every one of these shows post-TOS has a bad first season or two, and Voyager, for me, is no exception. It’s first season just might not be as bad as the others, and its lows might not have been as low as the others. Huh. Come to think of it, that would still make it the most consistent of the bunch. Well, shut my mouth. I guess I do agree with you. I also agree that it has become fashionable to bash Voyager, and it’s not necessarily warranted. It’s the not the show it could have been, which is partially why Ronald D. Moore left and did something similar but more intense with BSG, but it’s still pretty good.

4 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

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