$129.99 1.33:1 Dolby Digital 5.1 PARAMOUNT

PARAMOUNT has begun to release the beloved sci-fi series, “STAR TREK VOYAGER.” While many consider “STAR TREK NEXT GENERATION” to be superior, this critic finds the writing more consistently superior with “VOYAGER,” and with the entry of the beautiful Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine, in later seasons, it’s a series worth owning for repeated viewings. The premise of the series is also engaging. The Starship Voyager is searching for the Marquis ship, controlled by rebels, and now lost somewhere in the Badlands. Voyager’s captain Janeway(Kate Mulgrew) has personal concerns, as a friend is among the crew of the vanished ship. The ship is eventually found, but both crews are now nearly a million light years from home, and must come together in order to endure the 100 year trek back home.

PARAMOUNT has preserved the show’s original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. The image is superior to the original airings, with more vibrant colors. Contrast is also impressive, with deep blacks and grays. While there are some minor artifacts, it’s infrequent, and not enough to diminish an otherwise terrific transfer.

PARAMOUNT has given fans a choice of either the original 2.0 mix or a new 5.1 remaster. While the 5.1 mix isn’t overly aggressive, it does offer superior directional effects in key moments, and is the preferred option. Dialogue is always intelligible and free from distortion.

 PARAMOUNT has presented the season in a five disc boxed set, with the episodes delegated to the first four discs, and extras on disc 5. The display is a mixed bag. It looks great, but it’s not sturdy, and requires more care than other PARAMOUNT “TREK” releases. “FIRST CAPTAIN: BUJOLD” is a worthwhile feature exploring the show’s original first selection for its captain, the great actress, Genevieve Bujold. Originally cast as Captain Janeway, the show began filming and there’s plenty of footage here. Unfortunately, there’s not really an explanation of what led to her suden departure. “BRAVING THE UNKNOWN” offers a variety of cast and crew interviews, no different than what’s been available, in structure at least, from other “TREK” dvd offerings. “ON LOCATION WITH THE KAZONS” offers an exploration of the series pilot with the show’s producer. There are other featurettes devoted to the special effects and more, all in all, adding to the worthiness of this series as an addition to every sci-fi dvd collector.