Caretaker

Star Trek: VoyagerStardate 48315.6: A starship controlled by the Maquis mysteriously disappears in the Badlands, a charged energy field near the demilitarized zone, after being pursued by a Cardassian ship. U.S.S. Voyager, commanded by Captain Janeway, is dispatched from DS9 to the Badlands to find out where the Maquis ship went, especially since a Starfleet security operative, Vulcan Lt. Tuvok, was aboard. Arriving in the Badlands, the Voyager is scanned by an unknown presence and then ripped out of the Alpha Quadrant by a subspace phenomenon that causes heavy damage and kills many of the crew. Voyager ends up in an unexplored part of the galaxy where the first thing the crew sees is an enegry collection array. While repairs are being made, Janeway and her crew are kidnapped from the ship via transporter and deposited in a virtual reality, the inhabitants of which conduct experiments on the Alpha Quadrant visitors and then return them – minus helmsman Ensign Kim. Making contact with the Maquis crew commanded by Chakotay, Janeway discovers that the same tests were forced upon the renegades and that one of their number has also been abducted. A tenuous truce is arranged so that both crews can recover their missing comrades. Ensign Kim and Maquis engineer B’Elanna Torres, in the meantime, have been beamed to the planet Ocampa, a barren wasteland of a world whose short-lived inhabitants live underground. There they are attended to by the Ocampa, who have been instructed by the Caretaker to look after the two visitors since they have somehow become infected with a terminal illness. Voyager’s crew track their missing comrades to Ocampa and encounter the scavenger Neelix, who offers to be the crew’s guide through this part of space. His knowledge of the local area is invaluable, such as the revelation that water is a rarity and is valuable currency here. The crew is also introduced to the Kazons, who roam the surface of Ocampa foraging a meager existence. They hand over a captive Ocampa named Kes in exchange for some water from Voyager. Shortly after Kes leads the crew to Kim and Torres, the energy array shuts down after transmitting a final burst of power to Ocampa.

The Kazons make a gambit to claim the array for themselves, but Chakotay and Tom Paris, a dishonored former Maquis member aboard Voyager, battle the scavengers off with their respective starships as Janeway and Tuvok beam to the array and find the elderly and dying Caretaker, whose race accidentally destroyed the Ocampan ecosphere and then built the subterranean habitat and the power array so the Ocampa could survive. The Caretaker must be succeeded by another and has been trying to find a replacement for decades, but so far all of those tested for their suitability – such as Kim and Torres – have not proven adequate to the task. The Caretaker decides to set the array to self-destruct to avoid allowing the Ocampa to be enslaved by the Kazons. In the fierce battle with the Kazons, Chakotay’s Maquis ship is destroyed when he rams it into the lead Kazon ship, which then collides with the array, disabling the self-destruct sequence. Janeway beams back to the Voyager and destroys the array herself, though it could have sent her and her crew back to the Alpha Quadrant. The Kazons swear vengeance should they encounter Voyager again. With the surviving members of the Maquis and Starfleet crews both safely aboard Voyager – and with Kes and Neelix in tow – the ship sets a course back home, E.T.A.: 75 years…

Season 1 Regular Cast: Kate Mulgrew (Captain Kathryn Janeway), Robert Beltran (Chakotay), Roxann Biggs-Dawson (B’Elanna Torres), Jennifer Lien (Kes), Robert Duncan McNeill (Tom Paris), Ethan Phillips (Neelix), Robert Picardo (The Doctor), Tim Russ (Tuvok), Garrett Wang (Ensign Harry Kim)

Order the DVDsteleplay by Michael Piller & Jeri Taylor
story by Rick Berman & Michael Piller & Jeri Taylor
directed by Winrich Kolbe
music by Jay Chattaway
series theme by Jerry Goldsmith

Guest Cast: Basil Langton (The Caretaker), Gavin O’Herlihy (Jabin), Scott Jaeck (Commander Cavit), Angela Paton (Aunt Adah), Armin Shimerman (Quark), Alicia Coppola (Lieutenant Stadi), Bruce French (Ocampa Doctor), Jennifer Parsons (Ocampa Nurse), David Selburg (Toscat), Jeff McCarthy (Human Doctor), Stan Ivar (Mark), Scott MacDonald (Rollins), Josh Clark (Carey), Richard Poe (Gul Evek), Keely Sims (Farmer’s Daughter), Eric David Johnson (Daggin), Majel Barrett (Computer Voice)

Notes: This was easily the most troubled Star Trek series pilot since The Cage was rejected in 1965 by NBC. Internal problems in mounting Paramount’s new network made the show’s future uncertain as to whether it would be a network production or syndicated. (An earlier attempt to launch a Paramount network, with Star Trek: Phase II starring William Shatner and much of the original crew as the network’s cornerstone program, was aborted in the late 1970s.) Academy Award-winning French Canadian actress Genevieve Bujold then accepted the role of Janeway, only to resign from the show three days into filming due to the hectic pace of TV production and, according to some sources, a disagreement with director Winrich Kolbe. At this point, forces within Viacom tried to exert pressure to make Janeway a male character, having resisted the suggestion of a female lead all along. Other voices in the executive ranks suggested – since the other shows comprising Paramount’s new network were even further behind schedule than “Voyager” – that the ever more problematic gestation of the fifth network should be ended, lest the network take to the air and fail, taking dozens of new affiliate stations with it. In the space of a week, Kate Mulgrew was cast for the role as production continued with the cast and crew trying to maneuver around the lack of a captain in the meantime. The theme for the show’s opening titles was composed by Jerry Goldsmith, who had scored the first and fifth Trek movies, the theme from which was also adapted to serve as the score for Star Trek: The Next Generation. (Goldsmith’s latest entry into Trek’s otherwise drab musical canon later won the Emmy for main theme music in September 1995.) The show premiered on schedule on UPN.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

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