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The five worst Star Trek: Voyager episodes EVER!

Voyager is rarely held up as the high point of the Trek franchise, but these five Delta Quadrant dumpster-fires are indisputably the lowest episodes of the low.
5. "Endgame"

When the nicest thing anyone can say about your two-hour series finale is "well, at least it's over," you know something has gone horribly wrong. A future version of Captain Janeway travels back in time to personify deus ex machina, ram-rodding the series to conclusion with out-of-character rage and unexplained technological gimmicks. "Admiral" Janeway's plot devices suddenly make the Borg a (once again) surprisingly pwn-able threat while Voyager uses their transwarp technology to skip instantly home. Rather than the slow build-up to a satisfying seven-year conclusion, we get a slap-dash resolution guaranteed to not in any way resemble a larger plot arc (or interfere with running episodes out of order in syndicated reruns).

Adding insult to injury, future Janeway is motivated by a string of plot elements that would have made the last season (or three) of Voyager far more compelling: Tuvok is going insane, crew members are dying, Chakotay and Seven of Nine have a doomed romance, the Doctor wants a family. Where was all of this potential for the last seven years? When more interesting changes happen in the least two hours of your series than happened in the last 22 episodes, you clearly aren't winning. Game. Over.

4. "The Thaw"

The old "everyone is trapped in a computer simulation" saw is revisited, with the added twist of somehow wasting the talent of This Is Spinal Tap's Michael McKean. Team Voyager discovers a planet that put all its inhabitants into a cheap ripoff of the Matrix in order to sit out an ice age. Rather than obey the Prime Directive, the away team decides to wake the aliens up. Only they can't, so Starfleet's finest double down on the dumb by sending Torres and Kim into said Matrix, where they discover McKean playing a clown who is also the personification of fear (Steven King's It, anyone?) holding all the natives hostage.

A little PG-level torture later and the Doctor arrives to confuse the id-clown while the crew escapes, seeing as it's somehow easy to pipe a hologram into a shared mind-link even though the whole point is that the Doctor doesn't have brainwaves said id-clown can read. The good news is this isn't the first time the Doctor's holographic nature is used as a cure-all for plot contrivances, so the audience is used to it. This is also the bad news. Tears of a clown, indeed.

3. "The Fight"

Remember when we trashed the whole premise behind the NextGen episode "Night Terrors"? It doesn't get any better when Voyager blatantly rips it off. This time it's Chakotay, not Troi, who is the only one who can communicate with a group of aliens trapped in the same interstellar sand trap as the ship. Oh, and instead of confabbing via dreams, Chakotay's almost-always-ignored Native American heritage is exploited to make the alien hotline dependent on vision quests. Unfortunately, in these quests, Chakotay has to box -- maybe Rocky Balboa is his spirit animal -- putting his life in danger. And, because not enough weirdness is going on, Chakotay's imaginary boxing trainer is Boothby (actor Ray Walston), the Starfleet Academy groundskeeper who mentored Picard back in NextGen. Taking multiple blows to the head is more pleasant -- and more coherent -- than this episode. Throw in the towel, now.

2. "Fair Haven"

No longer content with stealing from any single NextGen episode, "Fair Haven" rips off three (or four) -- and we're not talking "Best of Both Worlds" here, either. First, the blatant Irish caricatures that made "Up The Long Ladder" such a painful experience return in the township of Fair Haven, a holodeck-hosted tourist spot the crew hangs out in while riding out some kind of hurricane in space. Janeway proceeds to fall in love with one of the holo-stereotypes, bringing back memories of the Leah Brahms-Geordi affair in "Booby Trap". The crew also gets unnaturally attached to the citizens, much like Barclay did in "Hollow Pursuits", except that there's the implication these programs are more than the sum of their parts -- just like Professor Moriarty in "Elementary, Dear Data." It all adds up to a lot of imitation, and an hour of Janeway, Chakotay, and the Doctor expounding on loneliness and ethics. It's every bit as dull and pedantic as it sounds. Have none of it, I tells ya.

1. "Threshold"

Referred to unfondly as "the salamander episode," "Threshold" mindlessly mines a trio of NextGen tropes to cobble together a final concept that's flat-out awful. Tom Paris thinks he's found a way to break the Warp 10 barrier (Wesley Crusher in "Where No One Has Gone Before"), and demands to test the concept on a modified shuttle despite every medical and technical reason not to. Janeway lets him, the test apparently fails, and then Tom wakes up allergic to water. Apparently he's rapidly evolving into a new life form (Geordi in "Identity Crisis"), then violently claims Janeway as his mate (Worf with Troi in "Genesis") whom he kidnaps to a remote planet. When Voyager finally catches up, Paris and Janeway have not only become weird giant pink salamanders, they've bred three baby lizard-lings already. The Doctor cures the crew members, but leaves Paris and Janeway's "kids" on the planet to live out their lonely, inbred lives. An episode so blandly bad that producer Brannon Braga called it a "royal, steaming stinker." Don't cross this "Threshold", cross it off your list.

Got a Voyager fan-crime you think outranks these trans-galactic train wrecks? Share it in the comments section.

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Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger -- amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can a...

133 comments
Lloyd949
Lloyd949

To me, Voyager is the best Star Trek has ever created. I love the idea of a group of like minded but very different people working together but always doing their utmost to find peaceful solutions and I like the laid back feel to it. I hate the new Star Trek Movies. I want to to see science, peace, exploration and unity as opposed to Guns, war, confrontation and disagreement. Star Trek is supposed to be about how humans can be so much more and voyager personifies this.

plattworx
plattworx

You know, Kate Mulgrew's return to TV in "Orange Is The New Black" caused me to go to Netflix in the last month and watch Voyager.  I thought I had seen most episodes during their original run. Clearly, I missed a lot since I am halfway through season 2 and don't remember anything I've seen so far.


Yes, there are some bad episodes and I actually found this tread while trying to see what people were saying about the episode I suffered through last night, "Threshold". I ended the hour not only creeped out but shaking my head at the HORRIBLE story from start to finish. You also gotta love how the Doctor was able to magically turn Janeway and Paris back in original form between commercial breaks.


Wow, what a mess Threshold was.  However, every show has bad episodes.


I have to say I mostly enjoy Voyager. I am a Trek fan who couldn't stomach DS9. To me, it was "Star Trek: Love Boat"  The thing just spun around each week with various guests (why did they not cast Charo at least once?) and Avery Brooks was HORRID as a captain. At least Mulgrew threw herself into the part. 



felangjr
felangjr

My personal list:


5. Macrocosm

4. The Voyager Conspiracy

3. Virtuoso

2. The Fight

"Honorable" Mentions: Favorite Son, Spirit Folk

1. Threshold


I think it was a little harsh to put Endgame on the list, but I do agree that it really was a bad finale. The crew didn't even seem that excited about being home finally.

metternich1815
metternich1815

I still love this show and honestly enjoyed the series finale. It may have had some bad episodes, but I really enjoyed it alot. The idea was quite interesting.

Rbrehm5912
Rbrehm5912

Look I get the voyager flaws (Kes) but I still love it and will always cherish it. The Tom and B'Elanna relationship is my favorite love story in all of trek and some of the episodes were fantastic. It is no tng or ds9 but I still love it as much as I love all of trek. Enterprise was not good sadly.

suziep12
suziep12

I totally agree with Computer Dave 3. I just can't believe I wasted all of those years watching the show only to be let down by the really stupid finale!!

Computer Dave
Computer Dave

IIRC, the never-ending voyage home was caused by destoying the giant crystal - the very thing that could have sent them back home as quickly as they got there. But no-o-o-o-o-o-o... If they don't destroy yhe crystal then someone else will use it as a weapon! Well that's just too freakin' bad! Oh, and with all the advanced tech onboard Voyager, couldn't they have rigged some sort of timer to destroy the crystal 5 seconds after Voyager is back home? Bad from the start = bad through the end.

XDotNet
XDotNet

I was OUT first season when Neelixs' cheese almost destroyed the ship. Not the Borg/Klingons/Alien of the week (with a slightly different nose prothstetic)....FRIGGIN CHEESE ???

JSmotherman
JSmotherman

Pick one. NONE of them were any good...

TBone2k
TBone2k

aka The Episode that Wasn't. Similar to a TNG episode. In the end everything that happened had no effect and really didn't matter since it was never the real crew and nobody will know about it. Interesting ties to earlier conversation here aabout Janeway and her scientific discovery obsession, since that seemed to be the only purpose to the last half of this episode.

boomchuck1
boomchuck1

As soon as I saw the topic I thought of that horrible episode of the mating salamaders. I was starting to worry that you hadn't included it, but thankfully you saved it for last and the #1 stinker!

boweb
boweb

.. in my opinion, was ST - The Motion Picture. It really did feel like an movie, and so does ST 2009. The pictures in between, and I am an ST fan, feel like long episodes. They miss cinema movie magic, they feel kind of TV movie cheap. So I can understand people about this. I love them nonetheless, but it is hard to convince other people to make the effort. It annoys big time to get in the theater and get an TV style movie of something you love and expect to be gold in the cinema. ST 2009 was an cinema experience I really enjoyed. It even sparkled!

boucaria
boucaria

I really don't care about the series past the Original Cast Movies. I bought the Spock episodes in the TNG back to back eps which I think was RE-UNION where Spock was an unofficial Ambassador. The films past that were great Sci-Fi but not really good Star Trek. So many good writers created TOS, and whilst most kids seem to dump on the films one to six, they are IMO the best despite flaws. Generations was a good film, but only for one reason. At least I can pare down my viewing by watching material that sticks to the original premise.

rsantuci
rsantuci

I thought quite a bit of season 4 could be considered filler as far as the over all storyline. Out of your top 5, I strongly disagree in regards to "Endgame" and "Thaw". I don't think they should be anywhere near the bottom five list. I would tend to agree with #s 1, 2, & 3. And as far as it only appealing to a younger generation - I disagree. I've seen all the Star Trek episodes when they originally aired, so I'm no youngster.

boweb
boweb

..to see an 'good' ending to the series. But I am not really interested. Who cares really, everything has changed with the new timeline anyway. Under the circumstances they gave us an fairly descent( yet an bit over the top) ending. Besides actors are people and they change the characters over time, not always for the good. If you see how Janeway started in the show and ended it, it may just be better to let it go and move on . She did an great job no doubt, and never really failed, she just looked bored at times in the last season. About time they release the new movie, and fire up the lesson! Hopefully they they don't go to mainstream blahblah.

suziep12
suziep12

I certainly do agree that the Voyager finale was awful. But at the same time I am truly heartened to see that there are so many fellow fans out there. I really did think I was alone out there! Thanks fellow geeks!

rasilon
rasilon

I really had looked forward to the series. The first few episodes had so much potential. However, they wasted it on miraculous "technology", Deus Ex Machina plots and ridiculous writing. For example, they seemed to have an infinite supply of shuttles. Why on God's gree earth would you let someone take one of your shuttles (you are supposedly stuck in unknown space with limited resources) to "meditate". You know that a ST series is in trouble when they have to fall back on eh Borg to write an episode. They also ended most episodes with the realization that it was all a dream, holodeck experience or going back in time. I finally decided to call it "Start Trek: Never Mind".. :-(

pgit
pgit

literally... the family chewed up "Threshold" tonight ala mst3k, as I expected. Washed it down with a triple dose of Garth Marenghi's Darkplace... You can tell I didn't marry a sister or like that, my wife actually thought "Threshold" was good... up literally to the last 2 minutes anyway. I have one question for Jay: If you were the absolute czar of television, would we ever be treated to such stinkers as these ever again? Think about it... would you kill Janeway's only offspring?!? And for all you contemplating the sexism angle out there on whatever side... what do you make of that? Janeway's kids are sea slugs... any message in there?

thewitch
thewitch

All I remember is one fateful line uttered by a straight-faced Janeway: "Get the cheese to sickbay!" I stopped watching the series for about 2 years. Then, like a crack addict, I went back for more. Now, that being said, Voyager either got better or I was desperate for technobabble. I started watching it regularly and enjoying it.

treks1
treks1

I have to say that I would watch them all over again without a complaint. Why? Well look at it this way at least we had a Star Trek show. With NG, Voyager and DS9 gone what do we have on TV now? Garbage for the most part and NO Star Trek. So even with all their faults I would gladly watch them again and again and again.

liltwin1101
liltwin1101

As a woman, Voyager appealed to me because of the female captain. I did not miss an episode. Believe it or not, it does matter to women who love Star Trek. Since most women on the orig Star Trek were evil seductresses or just people with boobs, or psychics, doctors, or and nurses in TNG, it was refreshing to have a woman as the captain. Captain Janeway and Sof9 were great and most people I know liked the series. That is why it lasted 7 years while others lasted less than 6, except TNG. (BTW CrowdedCranium, Sof9 is currently the head Medical Examiner in Body of Evidence on ABC and has been on several other series since Voyager). I really disliked DS9 and Enterprise was so bad I could not get through most episodes I happened upon. Can anyone say that any of the Star Trek series had great episodes each week for all the years they ran? The orig series is so campy (although visionary), it makes the cartoons look great. That may be blasphemous, but it is true. Bad Star Trek episodes and movies are a dime a dozen, as are bad sci-fi series. Can anyone explain to me why Battlestar Gallatica is still on the air?

boweb
boweb

.. love(d) Voyager.( ST Enterprise, now that's an other story) These commends way above where years never in the making, and way out of time.

seanferd
seanferd

FTW. You get +100 internets for that. :^0 :D :^0

IT Pixie
IT Pixie

Ahahahaha... I could not stop laughing about the Jay's synopsis of "Threshold"... Coincidently my husband's been on a Voyager marathon, from the very 1st episode (thanks to Netflix), and I remember watching the last part of "Threshold", and kept thinking how come no one's having any awkwardness about Janeway and Paris having "kids". I mean that's just plain weird for everyone involved (Janeway and Paris for having the "babies", and Tuvok and Chatokay for discovering the "babies")... How do you report that in your captain's log? Oh yeah, I vaguely remember the finale was a big bomb when I saw it the first time -- I have no memories of the plot, I just remember it was a crappy finale. Hubby is finishing up the series, and I'll have to see (remember) if Voyager's finale was as big of a stinker as Stargate Atlantis'...

derek_c
derek_c

was where they were wandering around a planet that was too hot for normal life and deuterium was lying around in pools...

kevcad2001
kevcad2001

Have you forgotten the hilariously craptastic wrestling episode with "The Rock"? 'Nuff said.

Computer Dave
Computer Dave

Recall the 1st episode - Voyager gets flung 1/2-way across the universe but finds a huge crystal thing that they could use to get back. But if they do, the crystal thing with wreak havoc with the locals. So what does Janeway do? She destroys it and their hope of a quick return. Here's a thought: You've got boatloads of ultra-advanced technology and weapons. Why not leave a handfull of secure explosives all over the crystal thing, all set to explode 5 minutes after you're back home?! But then, of course, there'd be no series. No Kess, no 7-of-9, no Belana, etc...

mbrown
mbrown

I did enjoy the series, not as good as TNG (the early shows were wooden though), but still better than most TV fare at the time...however, you are correct about the bad ones, and when they stunk it was really bad...seemed like the writers were phoning it in way too often. I was very disappointed in the abrupt ending on the series finale.

CrowdedCranium
CrowdedCranium

I am somewhat surprised that the very few times I viewed the series while it was running, it was the above mentioned seriously crappie episodes. Perhaps it is merely that they were so disgustingly bad they stand out in memory as a reminder to keep the remote handy. Per the characters. I somewhat remember most of them, the Only one that specifically stands out to memory is the thin blonde with the nice titties. How unfortunate she has not emerged in something else worth watching.

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

The show was political correctness run amok. A female captain, Native American 2nd officer, black Vulcan science officer, a half-human/half-Klingon, and the single straight-white-male was little more than a wiseass. The beauty of Gene Roddenberry was that he'd present a diverse cast and you'd accept it because they weren't caricatures. No so with Voyager, which was always in-your-face with it. I lost interest almost immediately.

MarkWAliasQ
MarkWAliasQ

I've watched them all and still think Voyager is the best. Try watching the first series of TNG again, with Riker posturing about the place like a Woodentop, now that's painful to watch. At least all the actors from Voyager could act.

sjm
sjm

...I should probably admit that my appreciation of Voyager was largely sustained by the whole seven-of-nine thing. Brilliant device to add a permanent Borgishness.

ChiefEngr
ChiefEngr

If you look very closely, the star formation just below the Voyager as it is jumping into warp during the opening vaugly resembles a shark. Perhaps the creators were trying to tell us something about the series?

DuncOne
DuncOne

I thought I saw all the episodes of Voyager, but I don't recall Threshold. Was it so bad I've blocked it from memory? Now I'll have to go watch it on purpose. Curses!

pgit
pgit

You gave me the play list for this weekend's family reunion! We watch things in much the same way as Joel, Tom and Crow did. Nothing survives, not even football.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Next Gen enterprise pretty much blew up at every small impact and required some sort of time paradox to fix it. Voyager was still fighting on the front lines when most of its outer hull was gone and it only had a torpedo launcher working with very limited shots.

susan_harkins
susan_harkins

I was ever so much more than twenty... which makes me ancient now. I loved Voyager and while 1 through 4 weren't great episodes, I loved the finale! I watch reruns if I can catch them. Loved DS9 too. Was sorry to see them both end.

andrew.beals
andrew.beals

"I know! Let's name the new series after the 'baddie' in the worst Trek movie, EVER!" Janeway had a chance to get the crew back home on a very regular basis. She always chose not to, for some "noble" reason every time, keeping her crew in their all-but-marooned state. It's a wonder they didn't mutiny and throw her out the airlock.

Nicole Clay
Nicole Clay

Seriously, is it some kind of geek right of passage that you must hate Voyager to be a true Trekkie? I happened to love VOY. I loved DS9, I loved TNG, but Voyager isn't by any means a horrible series. If you want terrible, watch Enterprise. Otherwise, get off your high horse and admit that half the reason why most alleged 'trekkies' hate Voyager is because it has a female Captain.

Jay Garmon
Jay Garmon

...I've met plenty of Trekkies that claim Voyager is their favorite series. Of course, they were all in their mid-20s or younger, which may explain a lot of the affinity. :)

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