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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 May, 2004, 13:10 GMT 14:10 UK
DVD review: Star Trek Voyager
By William Gallagher
BBC News Online

Genevieve Bujold as Captain Janeway
Extras include rare footage of Genevieve Bujold as Captain Janeway
The box set of Star Trek: Voyager, an outing of the long-running sci-fi series, is among the DVDs to have been released in the UK this week.

A great theme, gorgeous title sequence and some of the most patronising tales Star Trek has ever managed - it's no contest, Voyager is a dud.

But if only you could buy the disc of extras and skip the rest because the reason to get this set is its footage of Geneviève Bujold as the Captain.

Never seen outside Trek conventions, these clips show why she was dropped during production and replaced.

She tries to imbue the script with deep meaning and it's fascinating to watch.

But while the actor we finally got, Kate Mulgrew, is visibly better, the stories in this first set are poor.

The USS Voyager is stranded across the galaxy and you can see how to get it back home but the crew, Starfleet's second finest after the Enterprise, can't.

The Last Samurai

Tom Cruise stars as a Civil War veteran forced to train Japanese troops how to use conventional weapons - and who ends up learning far more than he teaches.

Tom Cruise discusses The Last Samurai in one of the DVD extras

Put like that, it sounds treacly but if it doesn't always work, on the whole you'll be surprised how engrossing it becomes as we follow his journey.

Cruise is strong in the role but the depth comes from Edward Zwick, the writer, director and producer previously best known for Thirtysomething.

He provides a commentary and also a video diary-style Making Of.

Tom Cruise joins Zwick for an on-screen discussion about the film and then there are many short featurettes about aspects of the production.

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What do you think of these two DVDs? Is Star: Trek voyager the "dud" of the sci-fi franchise? Is The Last Samurai a gripping epic? Send us your views using the form below.

Voyager was a good concept, but over the seven series, the quality of some of the stories and the level of technobabble let's the series down in comparison to both The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine.

Looking at the series individually, the pilot episode is probably the best one of the franchise for setting up the premise for the series and the rest does a reasonable job in introducing the rest of the crew. Overall it's one to buy.
Chris Tucker, Oldbury, England

I'm a Voyager fan too, but despite that, I don't think the first season was that great, and I haven't bought it - then again, how often is the first series of ANY show its best? I did manage to see the Bujold clips - and they were fascinating. She had a VERY different approach, and I am so glad the brilliant Kate Mulgrew was cast instead!
Cathy, Coventry UK

Voyager had a very slow somewhat boring start, and Soyes it started as a dud but got better. The Last Samurai was excellent as was Tom Cruise, and should have got some kind of award - much better then the ponderouse Master & Commander!
Seb Sufi, Manchester, England

Star Trek Voyager is a great premise - two crews who don't get on, stranded 75 years away from Earth and no means to even contact home. Ok, from over 100 episodes there were some duds but the series as a whole was very good and some of the episodes are up there with the best ever of any of the Star Trek shows.
Paul, London, UK

I agree with William Gallagher - Voyager is a dud. To date, its the only Star Trek series that never engaged my enthusiasm. On first viewing, only one episode from season 1 was any good - Eye of the Needle. Second time around it wasn't as good. Good episodes from other Star Trek series have stood up to repeated viewing.

The only points I disagree on are the theme - which is the blandest I have ever heard. Jerry Goldsmith has composed far better music and I still cannot understand why it's an award winning theme (perhaps because its not as pompous as the Next Generation theme?)

Neelix is also the most irritating character in any series.

No, for me Voyager is the dud - with only a small handful of good episodes. To paraphrase one of the series' episodes - Seven Years of Hell.
Stephen Carlin, Bangor, Northern Ireland

Voyager is a comic book sci-fi adventure series not a drama like its modern predecessors. The crew are whisked off to different universes and dimensions every other episode and if you sit back and enjoy the ride, you'll find it's good fun.
Andrew, Leicester

Someone who finally appreciates Voyager for what it really is! Mr Gallagher, I agree completely with your review. The series just doesn't live up to the standards set by Deep Space Nine. Well done!
Daniel, UK

Why doesn't everyone stop beating about the bush and get to the point - the later series of Voyager were better because they had Seven of Nine in them!
Ian Grange, Bracknell, Berks

Star Trek Voyager was certainly no dud! It was not as good as The Next Generation but easily outshines the other series, yes including the original series! Enterprise is not as good but is far better than Deep Space 9, which I did enjoy to a degree.
John, Hull, East Yorkshire

A dud, how dare he say that....Voyager is the best of the Star Trek series. Janeaway the best captain and for once the characters actually disliked each other at times and caused some great tension. Fantastic!
Chris Jackson, Eastbourne; UK

If the last two Star Trek outings (Voyager and Enterprise) didn't carry that hallowed name, both would have been dismissed as unoriginal copycat series. It's time that people stopped milking the franchise with recycled plots and scenarios and did something new!
MTM, Huddersfield, UK

The Last Samurai has the second worst ending ever conceived... behind AI, of course.
Robert Poole, Blackpool, UK

Voyager's first series did have some embarrassingly awful plots, but it got better. The main reason to watch the show, though, is Captain Janeway, perhaps the first Star Trek commanding officer who was shown as being - gasp - human and fallible, and all the better for it.
Gary Hellen, London

I completely disagree with Mr Gallagher's review. Voyager is one of the best Star Trek series and definitely not a dud!
Anon, UK

Voyager - The Dud?? Hardly! Admittedly, it does take a series or two to pick up pace, but is certainly a worthy member of the Star Trek franchise and in my opinion more so that the lacklustre New Generation and "money for old rope" Deep Space Nine.
Christian Favager, Wales

Oh look, more self-indulgent "look at me, aren't I great" earnest acting from Tom Cruise. The Last Samurai was a bore-fest from start to finish. Don't waste your cash on this rubbish.
Peter, London, UK

Star Trek: Voyager was a moderately promising concept that unfortunately turned out to be rather dull in the first season, very dull in the second and increasingly dull later on. There were some high points, but ultimately the series never quite went anywhere. It is exceeded in pointlessness only by most of the first three seasons of Enterprise, the current Star Trek series. This is a great shame, as I believe the Trek franchise still has life - it just needs to be taken in the right direction. Voyager was not that direction.
Matt, Cambridge, UK

Star Trek Voyager is ok, perhaps a little self-indulgent, which certainly seems to be the general direction of the major Star Trek films. Thankfully the retro series Enterprise is much more enjoyable. I personally thought The Last Samurai was an extremely tacky and offensive politically-correct mess, in contrast to the highly acclaimed Japanese film Zatoichi. When will hollywood stop trying to gain America some extra history by writing them into conflicts and events that they generally played no part in!.
Kevin Krishnan, Wallington, Surrey, UK

I think that Star Trek Voyager is one of the better of the franchise. Given the chance it deserves, it just gets better and better.
John Hansted, Hawkhurst, UK

I would suggest that perhaps William Gallagher is the dud here. I don't think he appreciates that with each strand of the Star Trek family there is a need to build new characters and develop the series. Of course the first series will not be as riveting as we are still getting to know the characters and watching them develop. I adore The Next Generation for example, but the plots of its first series are rubbish, far worse than Voyagers.
Andy, Liverpool, UK

The only way to judge the first season of Voyager is in comparison to the first seasons of the other Star Trek franchises, none of which show how good the series got before the end. Even in this series (which was arguably better than its second) there are a few stand-out episodes which make the purchase of this box set a must for fans of the series.
Steven J, Edinburgh, Scotland

I am not sure which Planet William Gallagher lives, but he is totally wrong about his impression of Star Trek Voyager. Instead of being a dud, it was by far the best of the three series since the original (excluding Enterprise, which isn't branded as Star Trek). It harks back to the original idea of exploring new frontiers and finding new civilisations - something which New Generation and Deep Space Nine never really did. Let's face it, they spent 7 years doing it. If I had the money, I would buy the discs, no problem.
Lee Bumstead, Farnborough, UK

Star Trek Voyager is no dud. The acting is first-rate, stories compelling, but like any series, the first is usually the worst. That being said, Voyager's first season is much, much beter than that of the other trek spin-offs' first outings. From watching these DVDs it is clear why Kate Mulgrew was chosen and just how MUCH better she is than Bujold.
Darryl, Birmingham, UK

The Last Samurai is possibly one of the best films ever, ever made. Fantastic visuals, excellent story, very good acting, but it just had that IT factor too. If you havent seen it, I know you have heard this before but truly, go and watch it, it is unlike anything else.
Gray Fox, England

Voyager was not a dud. Yes, it got off to a slow start, as the actors took a while to get the feel of their characters, but the later seasons were very good. I think, though, Next Generation was better.
Ian, Ashford, Middx, England

I have always been a Star Trek fan. Though Voyager is not my favourite it is definitely not a dud. All series start slow and give the characters time to meld. If you carry on watching it is well worth it. I finally watched the Last Samurai this weekend and loved it. Not usually a Tom Cruise fan but my hat is off to him. They all did a great job and it is one DVD I will be buying.
Michelle Hall, Barrow-in-Furness, England

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