Actor Allusion: In Ethan Phillips' Star Trek Cookbook, Neelix (the narrator) mentions that Benson was a comedic television program on Earth in the late 20th century. Archived footage of this program was enjoyed by Neelix, who believed the roles of "Pete" and "Clayton" were well acted.
"Endgame" also featured two Janeways: one is from the far future who travels back in time to speed Voyager's return.
Author Appeal: One of Braga’s more infamous early career moments was the interview in which he caused ructions in fandom by discussing his interest in S&M and kinky sex, and Seven of Nine is very much an icy queen dominatrix character. (Seriously, the response was almost as bad as that time he claimed to have never watched the original series.)
Jeri Ryan (Seven of Nine) sang on the show a couple of times. One episode even featured a duel with the Doctor and Seven singing a duet, in harmony.
That's actually Robert Picardo singing in that Operatic voice, first heard in the episode "The Swarm" and occasionally thereafter, especially after "Someone To Watch Over Me".
Common Knowledge: We're told along with the Millennium Gate, the Great Wall of China was one of the only man made objects visible from Earth's orbit by the naked eye before the 22nd century. Memory Alpha:"When Neelix suggests that the Great Wall of China is visible from space, he takes a popular Earth myth as fact and Janeway, a capable science officer, does not correct him. Under optimal conditons the path of the Great Wall is visible but the wall itself is not. Man-made objects visible from space include the Great Pyramids of Giza, collections of cities, man-made geographical features (like Lake Mead in Nevada, Kennecott Copper Mine [an open pit mine] in Utah, and Flevoland in the Netherlands), and wakes of large ships at sea."
There was a lot of infighting amongst the show's staff. Both cast and the writing crew, not to mention the executives at UPN. Robert Beltran and Ron D. Moore are among the better known examples of internal dissent.
Piller vs. Taylor vs. Biller played out across the pages of Cinefantastique, fandom’s paper of record, before the internet made that stuff even more ubiquitous. The Braga era, by contrast, is largely inferred and whispered:
Michael Piller was the first to go. Rick Berman has warned against the disappointing nature of running arc plots and recurring characters, and stuff like the Kazon (and later the Temporal Cold War) only confirmed his worst fears. Jeri Taylor was in full agreement, and promptly killed off all of Piller's original characters when she and Braga took over as head writers. (Apart from Ensign Wildman; this is Star Trek and no matter how much they object to recurring characters they couldn’t quite bring themselves to kill a child’s mother.)
Shortly after DS9 wrapped, Ron D. Moore was invited to come over from CBS and work for Rick Berman; Brannon Braga wasn't particularly happy about Moore's hiring. Moore soon left the show "under a cloud", as the trade papers took it. He was reportedly unhappy with the atmosphere of the writer's room and his relationship with Braga became unworkable; it got to the point where Braga relocated the meetings with staff to his house (to which Moore was not invited). Once Moore grasped he had no input and was expected to be a nodding head, he left.
Star Trek has always thrived in syndication, beginning with TOS re-runs and continuing with the monster-of-the-week approach that had proved so successful on TNG. Berman later mused that VOY's mixed reputation was not, as his critics surmise, a sign of changing attitudes toward television but rooted in the setting: The episodic format did not play well in the uncharted Delta Quadrant, therefore VOY would have been better served staying in familiar ground. The workings of Rick Berman's mind can be endlessly debated, but suffice to say, between a horrendous shooting schedule and those TNG veterans put in charge of scripts and directing, nobody was apt to fix what wasn't broke. All well and good, but there are obvious complications when attempting a prequel Trek series (ENT) using a film crew that identifies more with TNG...
Jeri Ryan burned her straightjacket catsuit after the last episode wrapped.
Little did Rick Berman suspect that when he cast the star of Night of the Comet to be his Number One, he had unwittingly birthed Winnebago ManIN SPACE. Not long into VOY's run, Robert Beltran (Chakotay) stopped playing Mister Nice Guy and openly expressed his loathing of the show's plot, his co-stars (he only signed on to act alongside Geneviève Bujold), the producers, himself for playing such a formulaic role, and most of all you for watching it (causing some disillusioned Trekkies to flee a convention in tears). His co-stars fired back in separate interviews, and the showrunners publicly told him to muzzle it, but they refused to grant Beltran the satisfaction of killing him off. Beltran saw out the entirety of his contract. This would not be the last time actors rebelled against Brannon Braga — see Enterprise.
Joe Ford: "Robert Beltran has resigned himself to the fact that Voyager is never going to be the vehicle he hoped it would be and so he limps his way through each episode praying for the end. Watch the way he enters the bridge around 11 minutes 50 seconds into the episode and tries to give a technobabble explanation about why he vanished in the turbolift. Clearly he has nothing but contempt for the vacuous dialogue he is being given to say."
Years later, Beltran claimed on Reddit that the public took his "flippant" comments too seriously and that his overall experience with the show was positive. Of course, he was plugging a movie at the time.
The male officers of VOY, who still vacation with each other yearly, gained a reputation for being cantankerous and uncooperative as they spent an enormous amount of time sitting on the bridge with nothing to do. This is part of the reason why Harry Kim was never promoted in-show. The producers couldn't fire him, either (for publicity reasons), but he pointedly did not direct a VOY episode despite many requests. He, too, made several heated statements to Trek fanzines about the people involved in production. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, though, and Wang now spends his days defending VOY at cons. He is a major evangelist for Captain Janeway.
Tim Russ, who auditioned repeatedly for various Trek productions and is one of its biggest fans, says he was drained working on the set and flat out of juice; he doesn't even bother to hide his indifference in his DVD interviews.
Ron Moore quickly abandoned the show in disgust upon realizing how little any of the crew seemed to care about making a quality product. The last straw was reportedly when he asked what B'Elanna's reaction to a certain situation would be, and got the reply "We don't know, do whatever you want."
Both Jeri Ryan and Garrett Wang have been open in their dislike (hatred, in Ryan's case) of the "Do you wish to copulate?" scene.
The Danza: Kate Mulgrew was hired as a last minute replacement for Nicole Janeway (played by Geneviève Bujold) and she asked to have the first name changed to her full first name, Kathryn. Janeway's first name had originally been Katherine (note the different spelling) while the series was in development, but was changed to Nicole when the French-Canadian Bujold was cast in the role. The creators asked Mulgrew which of the two she would prefer, and she opted for a slightly altered version of the originally planned name.
Defictionalization: Paramount put out a Captain Proton paperback in '99. It is purposefully bad.
Many creative decisions came about due to VOY being a network-owned show, unlike TNG and DS9. This led to some unusual—and at times, bizarre—decisions from UPN and Paramount both:
Several scenes in the pilot had to be reshot because the studio vetoed Kate Mulgrew's hairstyle.
The divisions between the Starfleet and Maquis officers were originally going to be more pronounced, but after the pilot, the network asked for this to be changed. The divisions were made more minor in Season 1 and largely ignored afterwards.
The infamous Rick Berman luncheon. Shortly before shooting began, Berman got the cast together and told them the Powers That Be wanted the aliens to be the show's real stars, and that the human characters were forbidden to steal the spotlight. (Presumably because Star Trek's previous breakout characters, Spock and Data, weren't human.) Indeed, it became difficult for the writers to save money on bottle episodes—typically character/psychological dramas—without attracting the ire of executives. They found a loophole by switching focus to the EMH (originally intended as a Drop-In Character) and adding a mini-Borg Collective to their "alien" roster.
Chakotay is often called 'Woodentop' (or variations thereof) due to his acting skills (or, more charitably, the limits the scripts imposed on the skills he had). More affectionate nicknames one might hear include Chak/Chuck, Commander Tat-face, and maybe Commander Studmuffin.
Neelix has one too. But it's not really repeatable in polite company... (HINT: It has to do with how useful his mind is, and what his head looks like...) SF Debris prefers to call him "Hedgehog," or "Shithead."
Harry Kim is called, both by people who hate and love him, "The Dweeb."
A Season Seven two-parter, "The Workforce", is a fairly obvious clone of Stargate SG-1's "Beneath the Surface" which aired a year before. SG-1 also attempted a very similar episode to "Drive" called "Space Race"...
It's safe to say that Trek and Stargate borrowed liberally from each other. Colm Meaney (O'Brien from the previous two Trek series) turned up as Cowen, a head honcho of the Genii (themselves a guerrilla outfit similar to the Maquis). In turn, Voyager used the telltale blue tunnel effect from Stargate for their more-advanced "slipstream drives" and "tranwarp conduits".
The Q Continuum as glimpsed in "Death Wish" is remarkably similar to the "Astral Diner", a facsimile of an American roadside cafe in SG-1's "Threads". The Ancients are so old that they've run out of things to say, and so they do nothing but sit in silence, just as the Q do.
"In the Flesh" seems to be taking inspiration from The Truman Show with its rotating day/night Earth replica cooked up by Species 8472.
Hide Your Pregnancy: During season 4 selective camera angles and a large work smock were used to hide Roxanne Dawson's pregnancy. During the two-parter episode "The Killing Game" the writers got creative and had her character on the holodeck be pregnant, including a Leaning on the Fourth Wall moment when she gripes to Tom over how realistic her pregnancy is.
Hilarious in Hindsight: The last thing we see of Carey is when he's confined to quarters for the duration of the investigation. In later seasons the writers would use Carey for Whole Episode Flashback scenes as they wrongly assumed he'd been killed. They realised otherwise when they needed a Mauve Shirt for Season 7's "Friendship One", creating the inadvertent impression that Carey had been locked up in his cabin all that time!
Method Acting: In "Scientific Method", Janeway's been awake for several days with an induced migraine and realizes she and her work mates are being used as lab rats. This the ep where Mulgrew quit smoking, and she was pretty miserable. After 17 hours without a smoke she used that nicotine fit as a release of fury toward the aliens.
Money, Dear Boy: Jeri Ryan originally signed a three-year deal. She planned to split the moment her contract was up, thanks in no small part to tensions on set (not to mention that damn suit), however her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and health care isn't exactly cheap in the U.S. so she agreed to stay on for an additional season, which turned out to be the show's last. (happily, her mother made a full recovery.)
The fascination with "gel packs" is very indicative of the nineties, when companies began attaching silicone gel to everything from basketball shoes to toothbrushes.
"Real Life" has the ship facing a CGI "Astral Eddy" space tornado. The episode aired the year after the film Twister, a disaster film featuring a CGI tornado.
"Macrocosm" is about the crew fighting macroviruses, viruses that have grown beyond the microscopic scale. The computing term "Macro virus" was widespread at the time due to vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office programs including Word and Excel.
"Distant Origin" focuses on a Voth scientist's controversial Distant Origin Theory being labelled heretical, obviously mirroring the heated debate at the time over religious belief, the Theory of Evolution, and paleontological discovery.
"11:59" is about Janeway's discussion of her 20th-21st century ancestors Shannon O'Donnell and Henry Janeway, and their involvement with the Millennium Gate, a tower built from January 2001 to 2012. Janeway, in the 24th century, notes the Millennium Bug wasn't a big deal, though it was when the episode aired mid-1999.
"Unimatrix Zero", about a shared virtual reality within the Borg collective, aired the year after the 1999 film The Matrix. "One", about a drone transcending the collective to become a super drone, aired the year prior to the film.
"Future's End": Fans noted the show never mentioned the Eugenics Wars of 1992-1996 despite travelling to 1996, portrayed as contemporary with no hint of a war or dystopian future. A tie-in novel duology called The Eugenics Wars lampshades this by having it all occur in the background of real history.
WWE wrestler Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson started his career in 1996, continued gaining popularity throughout the 90's-2000's, and was on a show on the same network as Voyager, WWF Smackdown! (later, WWE Smackdown!). The Rock appears as the Pendari Champion in the episode "Tsunkatse", demonstrating "The Rock Bottom" finishing move and "The People's Eyebrow".
Promoted Fanboy: Unlike most Star Trek actors, Tim Russ came into the series as a full-fledged Trekkie. He would get into arguments over how a Vulcan would behave, but still his portrayal of Tuvok was likely the best Vulcan performance since Leonard Nimoy and Mark Lenard. In fact, Russ' first try at getting into Trek was auditioning for Geordi La Forge in Star Trek: The Next Generation. He would eventually do a small guest star role there (funnily enough, as a villain who gets nerve-pinched) and on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, as well as play a bridge officer on the Enterprise-B in Generations.
Real-Life Relative: Q's "teenage" son was played by John DeLancie's actual son Keegan DeLancie. This was apparently somewhat of an accident; Keegan happened to be among the actors being considered for the role and the producers made it clear they didn't want him cast just for the joke. As it turned out Keegan won them over on the part and the existing Father/Son dynamic only made the episode better.
In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the Voyager sets were reused in the episode "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges" when Bashir is taken to Romulus on an Intrepid-class ship, the same class of ship as USS Voyager. Pretty surreal.
Most of the VOY sets are actually converted TNG sets that survived the filming of Star Trek: Generations (ex. the corridors, Main Engineering, Sickbay, etc.). This was done a cost-saving measure.
Similarly, Voyager sets would later be used in Star Trek: First Contact for the Enterprise-E's hallways. The bridge of the Equinox was also used a few times in different settings, including the bridge of the Prometheus.
A pre-Lost Daniel Dae Kim appears in "Blink of an Eye."
Romance on the Set: Jeri Ryan began dating the co-executive producer, Brannon Braga, although it's a little unclear whether they were involved before or after she joined VOY. (She claims it was after, and joked the atmosphere on set became much more genial after that.) They split up shortly after the show wrapped.
Science Marches On: Distant Origin has a species of reptilian aliens, one of whose scientists discovers the remains of a Red Shirt from a previous episode. They express surprise that the being, whom they note is a distant cousin of theirs, is an endotherm (warm-blooded). This was in 1997, prior to the knowledge of dinosaurs being probable endotherms was common knowledge.
Star-Making Role: Seven of Nine for Jeri Ryan. While still busy, for a time in the late 90's she was everywhere.
Trolling Creator: Robert Beltran, in his Reddit AMA, threw a bunch of red meat out to the J/C shippers. Whether he was in Sarcasm Mode or not, YMMV...
Due to the cost of building VOY's bridge, converting the old TNG sets, reshooting the scenes shot with Geneviève Bujold and Janeway's hair debacle, some very pricey special effects scenes and a substantial amount of location filming, "Caretaker" had a final budget of US$23 mil, making it the most expensive episode in the history of Star Trek. When adjusted for inflation, it proved even more expensive than The Wrath of Khan. A running gag on-set was, "I wonder if we'll get this pilot shot before the series is over."
You may recall how an additional cast member and second pilot revitalized Deep Space Nine. Well, lightning managed to strike twice, but Seven's arrival only aggravated the preexisting tensions in the cast. In spite of Paramount's frantic efforts to paper over the cracks, there were reports of an unnamed co-star making life difficult for Jeri Ryan. The cast member in question was widely suspected to be Kate Mulgrew, and it became something of an open secret in Trekdom. After two decades of fixed smiles and refutations of 'tabloid gossip', everyone involved with the show dropped the mask and confirmed the rumor was true. Mulgrew was ticked off about a number of executive decisions—the firing of Jennifer Lien, Jeri Taylor's habitual lateness in delivering scripts, and the writers shifting focus away from the Captain (nominally the show's star and spokesperson when dealing with the press) and toward the voluptuous Seven of Nine—and it's a wonder she didn't pop a blood vessel from frustration. Rick Berman, in one of his rare inspired decisions, took advantage of the animus developing between his performers to pair Janeway/Seven up as much as possible, creating a memorable double act. For her part Mulgrew has admitted the Seven character probably saved VOY from cancellation, but that she resented sacrificing time with her family for a TV series Janeway no longer starred in.
Ryan: Before every close-up, the hair and makeup and wardrobe teams come in and do touch-ups and everything to make sure everything's right. They shut the door to the set, and said, "She's fine.LET'S GO." Wouldn't let them in. Just stupid, stupid stuff like that.
Garrett Wang, who shares more in common with his character than he lets on, compared the Mulgrew/Ryan feud to his "mother and sister fighting", and says he was reduced to tears on more than one occasion. In fact, just talking about the experience makes him weep even today. He has even done his best to "broker peace" between the two actresses at convention halls—and he seems to have succeeded.
Kate Mulgrew is a tough customer who knew what she was getting into with the Star Trek "boys' club." The second season episode "Death Wish" is apparently where she'd had enough; Q's outrageously (and unceasingly) sexist dialogue wasn't as amusing as Michel Piller had hoped.
Nicola Bryant, who was Peri Brown in Doctor Who, auditioned for the role of Janeway.
Before getting the role of The Doctor, Robert Picardo originally auditioned for the role of Neelix.
The Caretaker and his mate, Susperia, were intentionally written with the ability to return Janeway's crew to Earth instantly if ratings plunged.
Braga did say that if Voyager was up to him, the show would have frequently been like the fan favorite episode "Year of Hell": enemies on all sides, dwindling resources, and crewman pushed to the ends of their rope.
Michael Piller also favored an increasing sense of desperation. Additionally, he pushed for a growing cast of less-than-sterling crewmen like Seska, Jonas, and Suder. Jeri Taylor disliked each of these characters and killed them all off in time for Season Three. Brannon Braga also categorically stated that he doesn’t like threading other writers' arcs or characters into his own episodes, so the serialized approach was thrown out.
This greatly changed the outcome of the Season Two closer "Basics". Piller's script originally had Maj Cullah and Seska's baby dying, and Seska escaping with Lon Suder in tow; As it turns out, the exact opposite happens. The showrunners wanted to close the book on the Kazon due to plummeting ratings.
At the end of season three, either Harry Kim or Kes was slated to be killed off to make room for new character Seven Of Nine. Neither were killed off in the season finale, but the more likely candidate, Harry Kim, was seriously injured so that he could die in the fourth season premiere. Between seasons, Garret Wang ended up listed on Entertainment Weekly's list of 100 Hottest Celebrities, and the Executives mandated that he had to stay — so they wrote out Kes instead. This is especially ironic given Rick Berman's mandate that the alien characters be more interesting than the human ones.
According to Jennifer Lien, she had recently given birth before her audition. The execs were thus floored when her breasts shrank down to normal size.
"Non Sequitur" was originally supposed to feature Counselor Troi as the one grilling Harry Kim in the alternate timeline instead of yet another random Admiral. The creators were unable to get Marina Sirtis on short notice. (She did appear with Reg Barclay a few seasons later.)
Jeri Ryan has said that she read two different scenes when she auditioned for Seven of Nine. One was the rather notorious Do You Want to Copulate? scene, which ended up being filmed (and she admits to hating it to this very day.) The other was apparently a really beautiful, touching scene where Seven first experiences laughter, and she seems to honestly regret that scene never made it to film. Other actresses who auditioned for Seven were Hudson Leick and Claudia Christian.
When the Borg tactical cube was in the planning stages, Doug Drexler sketched up a "pyramid" version; this was a joke, to reference the first UPN logo, which consisted of a circle (the Borg sphere), a triangle (the "Paramountain"), and a square (the Borg cube). It was only a joke sketch though.
Janeway was initially going to be a lesbian before the producers chickened out. Kate Mulgrew herself was very supportive of the idea, and this is still a major stick in the craw of many fans, given that the franchise still has yet to feature one single explicit homosexual character.
Michelle Forbes was intended to join the cast as Ro Laren. The plot of TNG's "Preemptive Strike" was meant to allow a way for her to join the crew of Voyagee. However, just as on DS9, Forbes didn't want to commit to a series.
Garret Wang campaigned to be the first homosexual in Starfleet, but the execs said no way. (Technically, Jadzia Dax was the first bisexual in Starfleet, owning to her species' gender-flipping attributes and long lifespans.) Wang's own view is that Harry's a closeted gay man who pursues unattainable women as a means of avoiding his feelings for Tom. Later, Dominic Keating came away with a very similar impression of his own character's psychological makeup — see Enterprise.
Robert Beltran jokingly said in one interview that Chakotay was a homosexual. For fans of slash fiction, this is the last bit of evidence needed to confirm that Chakotay and Paris are bitter ex lovers, and that Seven is merely his beard.
Word of Saint Paul: Second-hand sources from Trek conventions has it that Kate Mulgrew (Captain Janeway) believes her character is bipolar due to the inconsistent characterization. There's no real way to corroborate it, but we do know that Mulgrew found the Captain's waffling to be wearisome on her thespian talents.
"I've always liked Klingon females. You've got such... spunk." This is spoken by a Female Q to Lt. Torres in "The Q and the Grey." Not only did the actor playing Q (Susie Plakson) previously play a Klingon on TNG, she played a Klingon-human hybrid, like Torres.
Kilana, the Vorta commander in DS9's "The Ship", is played by Kaitlin Hopkins. She later played the Janeway impersonator ("Nice hair.") in VOY's "Live Fast and Prosper".
Christopher Neame plays Unferth, a character from Beowulf, in "Heroes and Demons". He turned up again in "Stormfront", an ENT episode, as a Nazi colonel. (From Dwarven hair to no hair, just like that?)
Speaking of which, J. Paul Boehmer played the Kapitan in "The Killing Game". He was so good, he was invited back as One in (you guessed it) "One". He also had two roles on Enterprise: a Vulcan in "Carbon Creek", and another Nazi in the "Zero Hour"/"Storm Front" two-parter. Lastly, he appeared in a DS9 episode, "Tacking into the Wind", as a Cardassian solider who is sympathetic to Damar's cause.
Leigh Joseph McCloskey is the second actor to play Joran Dax (in the DS9 episode "Field of Fire"). Interestingly, he plays another body-swapping bad guy, Tieran, in the Kes-centric "Warlord".
Kurtwood Smith, Annorax from "Year of Hell", had previously been the Federation President in Star Trek VI, and played the Cardassian predecessor to Odo in a flashback episode of Deep Space Nine.
Susanna Thompson played a couple Romulans on TNG before taking over the role of the Borg Queen here.