Organics Are So Revolting

Shelly Brisbin is the latest guest. She’s a fan of B’Elanna Torres and The Doctor, so we chose Revulsion (S4E5) for our homework.

The story of the lonely hologram, stranded on a ship by himself, is one of the best Voyager episodes, with Torres and The Doctor forming an away team to help repair both the ship and the holographic matrix. But something is wrong, which leads to a tense and fascinating story. Guest star Leland Orser is one of the best in the Voyager series, with a creepy performance as the “isomorph” Dejaren, who resists The Doctor’s optimistic attitude towards humans.

This episode is also known for Seven of Nine’s matter-of-fact rebuff of Harry Kim’s attempts to woo her as they begin work on the new astrometrics lab, and if you are a fan of Tom + B’Elanna, there’s a key moment in their newly-acknowledged attraction for each other.

Jean MacDonald with Shelly Brisbin


Voyager’s Lower Decks

Star Trek is giving some attention to the junior crew this year in Lower Decks, the animated series available on CBS All Access. In this episode of Voyager Revisited, our homework was to watch Good Shepherd (S6E20), in which Janeway gives some attention to three misfits by leading them on their first away mission. Return guest Miraz Jordan suggested this focus on the crew that we don’t usually see, and we both enjoyed it! (Special bonus celebrity sighting: Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine has a brief cameo.)

Jean MacDonald with Miraz Jordan


Leading Your Crew Through A Year Of Hell

Tammy Coron, software developer, author and podcaster, comes back to Voyager Revisited to discuss Janeway again. Tammy appeared on our second episode, “What Would Janeway Do?” We continue to take lessons from Voyager’s captain, this time examining Janeway’s leadership style under extreme duress, and we glean some inspiration for our own extraordinary challenges this year.

Jean MacDonald with Tammy Coron


Neelix Has Had It With Your Condescending Attitude

James Dempsey returns to Voyager Revisited to chat about our favorite Talaxian, Neelix. This week’s homework, Rise (S3E19), gives us a chance to appreciate the challenges that Neelix has overcome, making his characteristic sunny disposition even more remarkable. But there is only so much sniping he can tolerate from his Vulcan commanding officer Tuvok as they attempt to rescue themselves after a shuttle crash. The episode is a classic action adventure story, mixed with bits of the classic whodunit.

Jean MacDonald with James Dempsey


Pheromones Defeat Death Ray!

Playwright David J. Loehr, fellow podcaster on The Incomparable network, discusses one of his favorite episodes of Star Trek ever: Bride of Chaotica! (Yes, the title has an exclamation point.)

David has a deep love of the 1930s serial adventure form, so it’s a treat to listen as he admires all the beautiful touches which elevate the episode well above a typical holodeck shenanigans story. When Captain Janeway must play Arachnia, Queen of the Spider People, to prevent a war between photonic aliens and Chaotica’s Army of Evil, it is a fun romp for the crew and the fans.

Jean MacDonald with David J. Loehr


Challenge Testing the Phage Vaccine

Frank Wu is back! Besides being a Hugo Award winning artist, Frank holds a Ph.D. in Bacterial Genetics. He’s the perfect guest to analyze—and criticize—the Vidiian scientists and their method for finding a cure for that debilitating and disfiguring curse known as The Phage.

With his genetics expertise, Frank also explains how unlikely it would be to successfully divide B’Elanna Torres into two individuals. Jean questions whether Klingon B’Elanna would actually know how to replicate a soufflé, and whether Human B’Elanna would have ever dared apply to the Starfleet Academy.

Finally, Frank proposes a new field of science, Zoocryptoxenophrenology.

Jean MacDonald with Frank Wu


Paris in Lockdown

We finally set our sights on Tom Paris. I admit that gingers are my weakness, so I’ve always had a bit of a crush on Paris. Jeff Gamet of Smile Software and former editor at The MacObserver (who happens to be a ginger) is this episode’s guest as we talk about what makes Paris tick, and why his character is redeemable.

This episode’s homework is “Thirty Days,” which shows us how Paris gets demoted and confined to the brig. So even if you don’t like Tom, maybe you’ll enjoy watching him be dressed down by a very angry Captain Janeway.

(Many thanks and a Jiballian fudge cake to Brian Hamilton for editing this episode!)

Jean MacDonald with Jeff Gamet


B’Elanna Torres: 50% Klingon, 100% Engineer

Miraz Jordan, a writer, educator, and longtime Mac nerd who lives in New Zealand joins Jean to talk about one of our favorite crew members, B’Elanna Torres.

The homework for this episode is to watch Dreadnought, a brilliant showcase of B’Elanna’s engineering skills. We talk about how the missile is such a perfect foil for B’Elanna strengths and foibles, and how her deep insecurities about doing the right thing set her back.

Jean MacDonald with Miraz Jordan


The Picard Support Group Is Now In Session


On a special episode of Voyager Revisited, Brianna Wu returns to discuss the new Picard series, which just wrapped, from Voyager fan point of view.

Of course we talk about Seven Of Nine’s new incarnation as badass Fenris Ranger; we imagine how Robert Picardo and the Voyager EMH might have been integrated into Picard; and we complain about the short shrift accorded a favorite Voyager character.

Jean MacDonald with Brianna Wu


Janeway vs. the Three-Armed Jellyfish

Why spend all our time watching a virus on the news when we could watch a virus on Voyager? A virus that mutates and grows to be huge. Bonus: our Captain really kicks virus ass. If only we had antigen bombs in the 21st century. Joe Rosensteel is here to wade through the gooey moments of this Alien-style scary story.

Is this an escapist romp suitable for self-quarantine viewing, or a bit too close to home? It depends on how much you’ll enjoy a bad ass Janeway in a tank top blasting these viruses into smithereens!

We wish all our listeners, as the Tak Tak say, “Good health. Strong body. Pure mind.”

Jean MacDonald with Joe Rosensteel


Captain Harry Kim On The Bridge

In the latest of our character-focused episodes, Frank Wu joins Jean to talk about Harry Kim. Frank is a four-time Hugo Award winning artist, who recently designed the bookcover for the Klingon translation of The Art of War. He is a super enthusiastic fan of all things Star Trek. We touch on some of the issues related to Asian representation in Kim’s character.

Kim is possibly the least upwardly-mobile Starfleet officer ever, having spent at least 7 years as an ensign. For this episode, we watch “Nightingale” (S7E8), in which Harry gets his chance to take over as captain of a alien medical ship under fire. It’s fun to see Harry in charge, despite Seven’s borgsplaining, but WARNING: to enjoy this episode, you must fast-forward through the B plot. (Sorry, Icheb, but yikes!)

Jean MacDonald with Frank Wu


Commander Chakotay and The Kazon Kid

Podcaster and comic con host Moisés Chiullán joins Jean to talk about Star Trek’s first Native American main character and a great first officer, Chakotay.

We also chose to focus on the episode “Initiations,” in which Chakotay is ensnared in a Kazon rite of passage, to pay tribute to Aron Eisenberg, best known for portraying Nog on Deep Space Nine for seven seasons. Eisenberg passed away this fall at the age of 50.

As Robert Beltran noted, “We both had a good time. Aron’s a lot of fun to work with. He’s got a wide range and he can do a lot of things.” RIP, Aron.

Jean MacDonald with Moisés Chiullan


Tuvok Defying Gravity

Our guest this week is prolific podcaster from Trek.fm, Justin Oser, who co-hosts Earl Grey and The Line, the latter focused on the new Picard series. Given Seven Of Nine’s return in Picard, Justin’s been rewatching Voyager and recently watched one of our favorite episodes, Gravity (S5E13). Rewatching together gave us a chance to talk about another favorite character, the Vulcan Tuvok, played by Tim Russ, and one of the great series guest stars, Lori Petty, whose character falls in love with him.

Jean MacDonald with Justin Oser


A Conspiracy of One

Photonic fleas, be free!

In this episode, Australian engineer and podcaster John Chidgey comes aboard to make the case for The Voyager Conspiracy (S6E9) as one of the must-watch Voyager episodes on Jean’s Voyager Viewer’s Guide. He argues that it is a crucial moment in the relationship between Captain Janeway and Seven Of Nine, whereas Jean labeled it as a “skip, unless you’re interested.” (Bonus: there are some great moments for Janeway-Chakotary shippers.)

Jean MacDonald with John Chidgey


Photons Be Free

On this episode, Jean talks to Barbara Greenberg, a publishing professional who provides editorial services to publishing houses and independent authors, an avid sci-fi reader, and a huge fan of Star Trek since 1966.

Barbara and Jean met in the 1990s, when they both worked in book publishing and have been BFFs ever since. Because of Jean has been laid up by knee surgery, Barbara traveled to Portland from NYC to spend a week helping out. This episode, the first one since Jean’s mishap in Trieste, was recorded with a makeshift setup on the bed.

For this episode, we chose “Author, Author” (S7E20), given our shared history in the publishing biz. The Doctor’s holonovel creates bad feelings among his crewmates, sparks a publishing contract dispute, and finally leads to the question of the legal standing of holograms.

Jean MacDonald with Barbara Greenberg


The Other Endgame

On our previous episode, guest Kathy Campbell came on to discuss the pilot of Voyager, “Caretaker.” On this episode, Guy English is here to discuss the finale, “Endgame.” Guy was recently a panelist on The Incomparable’s episode about what makes a good (or bad) TV series ending. Turns out, we both like the Voyager finale better than we remembered.

(Spoiler alert: all our episodes have spoilers, but Endgame is double trouble. You have been warned.)

Jean MacDonald with Guy English


Invitation To A Holographic Hoedown

In a departure from our usual format, Kathy Campbell, who has never watched an episode of Star Trek: Voyager, comes on to discuss the series pilot, Caretaker.

Kathy and Jean were the hosts of SestraCast, the Orphan Black watch/rewatch podcast. Kathy was new to the Orphan Black series, Jean had watched it multiple times and they had a lot of fun sharing from two different perspectives,

Taking a page from the SestraCast playbook, first time viewer Kathy brings a fresh perspective as we look at the strengths and weaknesses of this introduction to the Voyager crew and its plight, as the ship ends up in the Delta Quadrant, 70,000 light years from home.

Jean MacDonald with Kathy Campbell


The Doctor Makes A Pretty Good Captain

This week, James Dempsey, programmer, podcaster, and band leader, joins Jean to talk about the EMH aka The Doctor. The Doctor’s great range of personality traits, brought to life by the delightful Robert Picardo, make this character one of Star Trek’s most memorable.

The rewatch assignment for this episode is “Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy” (S6E4), which gives The Doctor an opportunity to shine as an opera singer, a painter, and even a spymaster.

Jean MacDonald with James Dempsey


You Can’t Underestimate Seven

Game developer, podcaster, and Democratic candidate for Congress Brianna Wu is our guest. Brianna has been my idol in her dedication to Voyager, so it was such a thrill to have her on as a guest on the show.

Brianna is a huge admirer of our favorite de-assimilated Borg, Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix 01, or as we call her, Seven. She makes a compelling case for Seven as a lens through which to view humanity’s qualities.

Our homework assignment, chosen by Brianna, was Equinox, the two-part episode from the end of Season 5/beginning of Season 6. It’s one of the most powerful episodes in Star Trek, and gives Seven a chance to demonstrate her commitment to her new-found humanity.

Jean MacDonald with Brianna Wu


What Would Janeway Do?

Coder, designer, and host of the Roundabout podcast, Tammy Coron comes on the podcast to have a chat about Captain Janeway. Tammy relates how her mom was a big fan of Kate Mulgrew, and together they watched the Voyager series when it aired. Tammy is a big fan of Star Trek generally, and an admirer of Gene Roddenberry’s vision.

This week’s Voyager assignment is “Deadlock” (Season 2, Episode 21), with double dose of our favorite captain.

Jean MacDonald with Tammy Coron


This Is Going To Blow Your Mind

On the premiere episode, Scott McNulty of Random Trek comes on to talk about Star Trek, why he likes what he likes, and why you should feel free to like what you like. We also imagine would happen in a captain swap between Voyager and Deep Space 9, and how fun it would be to see Janeway take on Gul Dukat. We watched a non-random episode, chosen by Scott, called “Blink Of An Eye” (S6E12), and discussed what makes it a good episode of Star Trek generally and Voyager specifically.

Jean MacDonald with Scott McNulty


Voyager Revisited Launches

In honor of the upcoming 25th anniversary of Star Trek: Voyager, here’s a new podcast for Star Trek fans who love the show… or want to revisit their opinions. Each episode features host Jean MacDonald with a Star Trek fan to discuss a character, alien, or story from Voyager.

Jean MacDonald