Raules Davies is the resident Trekologist here at CBS Action. On Monday July 2nd he'll be conducting a live Twitter chat to celebrate the arrival of Star Trek: Voyager to the channel. So we decided to chat with Raules about this acclaimed series, about what it meant to him and the impact it made in the Star Trek universe.
CBSD: Can you recall what your initial thoughts were when the series Voyager was originally announced?
RD: I think my initial response was "AWESOME!!!" There was a sci-fi/fantasy shop in Chester called Middle Earth and the owners managed to get a picture of Voyager before it was released. I don't know how but I persuaded them to give me a photocopy of it. You know, I still have that picture! I was literally "chomping at the bit" for Voyager.
CBSD: What did you think of the idea of having a female captain?
RD: I was pleased... and excited... but I wasn't obsessive over the sex of the Captain as some people are. It's a TV show, the character is at least 33% down to the writing. She could be the best actress ever but if it has rubbish script writing or poor direction then the character will suffer. There's no way around that. Also I like girls. Why wouldn't I like a female Captain?
CBSD: Did you make watching the first episode an "event" in your life?
RD: Watching Caretaker did become an event... sort of. I didn't make it as big as a Super Bowl experience but it was certainly a "Hold everything stop the press" moment. It's your first view of a new Star Trek. For a Trekkie that's a big thing! Back in 1994/95 we watched them in a Star Trek club because someone was videoing them in the States and sending them to the UK or you were waiting for the VHS videos to come out. TV was too slow.
CBSD: What were your first impressions of the show?
RD: I think my first reactions were exactly the same as everyone's first reactions: Opening Credits: (about Voyager) "Wow!! She's beautiful... This is so cool". At the end of the pilot episode: "Wow - this is so cool... I need a new uniform!". All in all I thought it had an amazing start... in my opinion it's the best pilot episode launch of a series. I loved it then - I love it now.
CBSD: Do you have a favourite character?
RD: I do indeed. Captain Katherine Elizabeth Janeway. She was described in the 90's magazine Cult Times, as "The grand-daughter Kirk never knew he had." And it's very easy to see why. She leads from the front, shoots from the hip, and nothing gets between her and her duty. She's an amazing character and an incredible Captain.
CBSD: What are the show's strengths?
RD: One of the shows greatest strengths in my opinion is the sense of purpose that the crew has... like Battlestar Galactica, this crew has a greater agenda than just to "see what's out there", they're looking for a safe haven... The fact that each episode - although written as a 'stand-alone' story - is part of a greater whole of "trying to get home" and there are other story arcs within that, is incredible. The characters are unique enough in their own right - and the casting is superb. Most people get hung up on the Captains sex. Some find it hard to get behind after DS9 but if you can get over that - there are some amazing stories in Voyager.
CBSD: Which episode stands out for you from the first couple of seasons?
RD: That is not an easy question! For me the best stories from the first couple of seasons are Eye of The Needle, The 37's and Deadlock and The Thaw. Which one stands out over the others? Hmm, I would have to go with The Thaw. Closely followed by Deadlock! Heck - it's practically a tie! Voyager started strong, unlike the other series that took 3 years to find their feet, Voyager hit the ground running! There's a lot of good stuff to be found!
CBSD: What legacy did the series leave behind?
RD: I think you really need to look at where would Star Trek be without Voyager? Voyager wrapped up a few threads; The Ferengi lost in the TNG episode The Price, DS9s Marquis, and of course The Borg, linking back to Wolf 359 and First Contact. Most fans will tell you how TNG is their favourite series, but that's because it may have introduced them to the franchise. The memories that surround Voyager (1994- 2001) are engrained in people's consciousness and they remember those times most fondly. Characters, stories, and some of the best television at the time, the show continues to be spoken of highly. I think Roddenberry would be proud of it and what did it leave behind? A thirst... a greater thirst for more.
CBSD: Do you see room in the TV schedules of today for a new Star Trek TV series?
RD: Absolutely! Star Trek was the only science fiction show. Hell, I think the only show on television that actually painted a promising future for humanity. Actually gave people something to look forward to. Some people took it to heart like the boffins that created the mobile phone (communicator), the iPad (PADD), the needle-less injection (hypo-spray) but it was a positive show, an uplifting family show that engaged with people all over.
CBSD: Where do you think it should be set in space or earthbound?
RD: I think a little of both. It should be primarily set in space, in the spirit of adventure, but they should return to Earth or dock at a space station periodically so it breaks up the bottle shows. Shows confined to the ship and shows us more elements and a future that we'd like to see... sort of less Blade Runner, more Buck Rogers.
CBSD: Raules Davies, thank you very much.