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Star Trek: Voyager

Voyager starts a few seasons into Deep Space Nine’s run, but very much tells its own story. After being thrown seventy thousand light years across the galaxy, the crew of the USS Voyager and a rebel Maquis vessel are forced to work together to survive and slowly make their way home. Along the way they encounter many new (and a few familiar) races and challenges that they must handle without any support from a Federation that’s too far away to even contact.

Episodic or serial?

Mostly episodic. Similar to The Next Generation, there are arcs, two-part episodes, recurring characters, and consequential events, but most episodes are largely standalone. It’s slightly less episodic due to the ship heading consistently in a specific direction (so the arcs have more continuity and change more about the ship’s status and what races are around) and relationships between characters are allowed to evolve a bit more than they did in The Next Generation (though not as much as in Deep Space Nine), so the show is still best enjoyed in order.

Idealistic or cynical?

Idealistic. Like Deep Space Nine, the circumstances of Voyager’s crew allow for testing of the Federation’s principles, but it’s an even gentler deconstruction in which it’s clearly correct to stick to those principles.

Worth watching?

Yup! Voyager gets a bit of a bad rap for being a step back in serialization and depth from Deep Space Nine while not being as iconic as The Next Generation, but it absolutely has its share of excellent character- and relationship-developing pieces, well-executed high-concept adventures, and thought-provoking moral dilemmas. It also has some stinkers, but every series does. If you enjoy The Next Generation, odds are good you’ll enjoy Voyager as well.

Anything else that should be watched first?

No hard requirements. Some characters or concepts were first introduced in The Next Generation or Deep Space Nine (or, rarely, The Original Series), but you don’t need to be familiar with them to enjoy Voyager.

What should be watched after this?

The closest thing Voyager has to a direct follow-up is Prodigy, which features some Voyager characters and species, but is quite tonally different as it’s targeted at kids.

If you’d rather stay with adult-targeted series, head on over to Enterprise. (And possibly right past it to Discovery.)