Star Trek: Voyager
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that some of the main characters in this series die, though they're generally resurrected through a variety of advanced technological devices, including time travel. This can make life and death seem somewhat fluid, rather than a permanent condition, which might seem confusing to some young viewers -- though older children will probably understand that these twists are just one of many common plot devices in the sci-fi realm. Overall, as with most of the Star Trek series, there's not too much content to worry about.
What's the story?
STAR TREK: VOYAGER follows the crew of a starship that's been teleported to the very farthest reaches of the galaxy and is struggling to find its way home, a 70,000-light-year journey that could take decades. This handy plot device means that Voyager's structure can be pretty much identical to its predecessors, but with an almost completely new set of alien guest stars. Many of the ship's crew members perished when the Voyager was zapped across the universe; a renegade ship that the Voyager was pursuing was destroyed shortly afterward. Circumstances force the two groups to team up -- predictably, the \"marriage\" of the Starfleet crew and the rebels doesn't always go well.
Is it any good?
Because the Voyager is stranded out in the Delta Quadrant, Captain Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) -- the only female captain in the Star Trek franchise -- has to solve any problems that arise on her own, without being able to call for backup. The influence of characters who never attended the rigid Starfleet Academy leads her to make decisions that might never have happened on another starship or on a more traditional mission. In this way, the series harkens back to the original Star Trek's off-the-cuff feeling and can be refreshing.
What Voyager doesn't have is many storylines that serve as metaphors for important social issues, which gave the original series such cultural heft -- though this isn't necessarily a flaw, just a difference. The lost-in-space premise gave Voyager (which originally aired from 1995 to 2001) a compelling narrative arc. It may not be as deep as the original series, but it was ultimately a good addition to the Star Trek universe.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about humanity's need for companionship. This series follows the lonely travails of a ship that's been transported to the farthest reaches of the universe and is struggling to find a way back to Earth -- which could take about 75 years. How do you think you'd react in that kind of situation? How does the ship's separation from the rest of society make this series different from the other Star Trek shows? What does it have in common with those shows? Which is your favorite?