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Star Trek: Voyager – The 37’s (Review)

This September and October, we’re taking a look at the jam-packed 1994 to 1995 season of Star Trek, including Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. Check back daily for the latest review.

The 37’s did not close out the first broadcast season of Star Trek: Voyager, as the producers had intended. The last episode produced in the first season run, it was held back in the schedule into the second season – a decision made by UPN to allow Voyager to get an early start the following autumn. Still, the decision to reposition The 37‘s as the premiere of the broadcast season is quite telling.

Airing ahead of the three episodes produced before it, and ahead of any episodes produced specifically for the second season, there’s a sense that the production team intend The 37’s to be an important episode. After all, the season premiere is just as important as the season finalé in the basic structure of a broadcast season. The finalé serves as a capstone for what has come before, while (hopefully) indicating what might follow. The premiere is a way of setting up what is yet to come.

We have lift-off...

We have lift-off…

So the positioning on The 37’s is interesting, because it indicates just how much the production team had invested in the episode. This is a big episode of Voyager, this is an important episode of Star Trek. As such, it makes for a completely unsatisfying experience. The 37’s isn’t a bad episode by any measure – it has a few interesting ideas and a few memorable elements – but it’s not ambitious. It doesn’t radically change Voyager, but it also doesn’t distil it. It doesn’t offer the sense of purpose lacking for morst of the first season.

The 37’s just sort of is. It’s an episode that would be functional shuffled into the middle of a season – a few episodes earlier or later than broadcast. However, it simply doesn’t work when scheduled into a high-profile slot, particular when it has been moved so consciously and so purposefully.

A second pilot?

A second pilot?

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