Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Voyager

Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994)
Star Trek: Voyager (1995-2001)
Type: Franchise
Group: 10

   Seeing that Star Trek: The Next Generation went off the air shortly before Star Trek: Voyager premiered it might seem that these shows would not be able to truly cross over. And you'd be right but for the wrong reasons.

   You see it's Star Trek. All the shows occupy the same reality. And getting a Next Generation actor to reprise their character in a guest role on Voyager? Come on. Money is money. Plus they get paid to play a role they already know by heart. Nope, the problem isn't with the timing of when the shows hit the air but rather with the continuing plot Voyager hit the air with.

   That plot was that the Starship Voyager was lost far out in space and their fate was not known to those back home on Earth. For the longest time the series clung to that plot like a starving dog to its last bone. It was far into the show's run before they finally broke down and at least let the crew of Voyager get word to Earth that they were in fact alive. But lost in space they still remained getting home only in the final minute of the final episode. This hampered crossover episodes. Until the producers let Voyager communicate with Earth all the crosses were almost and pseudo crossovers. For example...

   Right off the bat I have to point out what could have been a really nice crossover but wasn't. Crewman Tom Paris played by Robert Duncan McNeill started off the series (prior to Voyager being lost in space) in prison - a former Starfleet officer who has been thrown in jail for his activities with the rebel group the Maquis. This character was very similar to a character that was featured in an episode of The Next Generation also played by Robert Duncan McNeill named Cadet Locarno. Locarno was a cadet in Starfleet Academy who while leading his training squad on an unauthorized maneuver got one of his men killed, tried to cover it up and then was kicked out of Starfleet. In my mind, if they had actually let McNeill play the same character they would have been better off. The character would already have a history and a point of immaturity to grow out of. And it would make sense. Locarno gets booted from Starfleet and so takes up with the Maquis. He gets caught and Starfleet throws him in jail. Voyager begins. Where was the problem? But as it stands... no crossover.

   Voyager also inherited two of Next Generation's adversaries; the first being the enigmatic other-dimensional being Q. Q comes from a place called the Q Continuum which is inhabited by highly evolved beings who are all called Q. Q first appeared on an episode of Voyager called "Death Wish". The episode had another member of the Q Continuum who had tired of immortality and ultimate power arriving on Voyager asking for assistance in dying. The Q we all know from the Next Generation then arrived to try and take the second Q back to the continuum where he could be imprisoned so he could not kill himself. In trying to decide what should be done, Q and Voyager Captain Janeway agreed to a hearing on the situation featuring expert witnesses. One of those witnesses was none other than The Next Generation's Commander Will Riker.

   "Ah ha!" you say, "A real bonafide appearance on Voyager by a Next Generation regular!"

   Yes. And no. You see Q only brought Riker onto Voyager to give testimony and NOT to interfere with Voyager's fate by providing them with a way to communicate with Starfleet back on Earth. So once they were done with Riker and he was sent on his merry way, Q erased all memory of the incident from his mind. Thus in a way it was as if the crossover never happened.

   In the end, Q2 did die. His death brought turmoil and upheaval to the Q Continuum. Q would return later to Voyager with a full civil war going on in his dimension. In an attempt to breath some fresh air into the Continuum, Q and another Q who appeared as a female conceived a new Q through sexual means, something the Q no longer did. Later in Voyager's final season Q and his kid Q junior returned with Q junior becoming, for a brief time, a lowly human working as a crewman on the ship. If I recall it was to teach him your basic "with great power comes great responsibilty" malarky.

   The other adversary Voyager inherited was the Borg. The Borg were a race of cyborgs with a collective hive intelligence who were originally introduced into the Federations area of space by none other than Q. On an early Next Generation episode Q threw the Starship Enterprise into deep space in the Delta Quadrant where the Borg became aware of them and followed them back to Earth. Voyager was lost in that self same Delta Quadrant and so eventually found themselves running into the Borg. The Borg started out as a race that killed other races and stole their technology. This premise later changed to the Borg actually taking members of other races into their collective as new Borg drones.

   When Voyager encountered the Borg, they managed to free one of the Borg named Seven Of Nine from the group mind and restore her sense of self. Seven Of Nine became a new member of the crew and brought the Borg permanently into Voyager's storylines. They even encountered the Borg Queen, a character first introduced in the Next Generation film Star Trek: First Contact. Again though, neither Q or the Borg were regular Next Generation characters but rather just other folks in the general Star Trek universe. So counting either of them as full "crossovers" is iffy.

   It should also be noted that in First Contact there was a scene where the crew of the Enterprise activated the EMH - the Emergency Medical Hologram. The EMH is a virtual doctor that can be turned on in any case where the ship's real doctor is unavailable. In the movie it is activated to act as a decoy to distract Borg soldiers while some of the crew flees. On the first episode of Voyager the ship's doctor was killed. They turned on their EMH and it became their full time doctor they left it running almost full time allowing the EMH to grow and evolve into an actual indiviual. The EMH that later appeared in First Contact was a copy of the same EMH and was played by the same actor but was not in fact the same character from Voyager. So, again, kinda nearly a crossover.

   In the course of Voyager's adventures, the crew discovered that the Borg had invaded another dimension and severely pissed off an alien race designated Species 8472. Why bring this up? Because species 8472 leads us right into another almost crossover. On Next Gen a recurring character named Boothby was established. Played by Ray Walston (My Favorite Martian), Boothby was the groundskeeper at Starfleet Academy and a friend of Captain Picard. On an episode of Star Trek: Voyager named "In The Flesh" Voyager discovers a recreation of Starfleet Academy populated by doubles of real Starfleet personnel including Boothby. It turns out to be species 8472 in disguise preparing an infiltration of Starfleet. The episode turns into a nice cold war story with 8472 and the Voyager crew trying to learn to trust each other and diffuse a war before it happens. Very good episode but, once again, only an almost crossover. Sure Boothby is in the story... but not really.

   Then came an appearance by Next Generation's Geordi LaForge. Actually it was a "future" version of Geordi who had attained the rank of Captain. The plot involved Voyager having crashed and burned years earlier (actually crashing and freezing to be specific) and its surviving crew members taking off on a mission to undo Voyager's demise. Captain LaForge tried to stop them. Guess what? He didn't, history was changed and, say here we go again, the crossover meeting ended up not having happened! Okay it did but as part of a alternate future we will never see again. The Geordi we all know still has never said boo to the Voyager crew.

   Next Boothby returned for another non-visit in an episode called The Fight. The episode had crewman Chakotay going through weird shifting sort of realities... or loosing his mind... or something. In one of the realities/delusions Boothby is training Chakotay for a boxing match. But be he delusion, holodeck simulation or whatever, it once again wasn't really Boothby. The episode is a bit of a mess. In an issue of Cinefantastique the credited writer on the episode Joe Menosky was even quoted as saying, "I'm confused when I watch it, so I can't imagine the audience not being confused."

   Okay, we are nearly to an actual full fledged crossover. Those didn't really happen until Next Generations recurring (if not full time) character of Reg Barclay started making appearances. He first appeared in "Projections". The episode had the Doctor (you know, the EMH) coming online due to a shipwide calamity. Only when in the course of the show an order was given to turn off all holograms all the crew except the Doctor disappear. Huh? And the doctor could be injured, something that should be impossible. Soon Reg Barclay appeared (Yeah! I think we have full crossover in effect!). Both Barclay and Voyager's computer insisted that the Doctor is in fact Dr. Lewis Zimmerman, the man who created the EMH and whose looks the Doctor's physical appearance was based on. Barclay claims to be Zimmerman's assitant and that Voyager is really a holodeck simulation that they were running that has gone out of control (Uh oh... the odds that the entire run of the show was a holo-simulation seems unlikely. I don't think this is a real crossover). Barclay tells the Doctor to shoot Voyager's warp core to end the simulation. Only it turns out Barclay is the simulation and Voyager is in fact real (What were the odds of that?). The Doctor was trapped in an out of control holodeck it's just that it was Voyager's holodeck. Anyway, once again, fake crossover. Say it aint so Barclay!

   I promise, Barclay returned with a real crossover. Really! But before that another couple of very minor Next Gen characters pop in for an episode. The Next Generation episode "The Price" dealt with a number of alien races bidding on the rights to a wormhole in space. For the sci-fi illiterate, wormholes are space anomalies that let you travel between two far flung parts of space. A cosmic shortcut. A stable wormhole whose two ends stay in stable fixed locations are thus pretty valuable. One of the groups involved were the greedy, money hungry Ferengis. The other end of the wormhole is in the Delta Quadrant where Voyager will later be marooned. As it turns out though the wormhole wasn't stable afterall making it worthless. This is bad news to the two Ferengi who went through the wormhole to the Delta Quadrant end and ended up trapped there. Oops. Seven years later Voyager would find these poor saps. It seems that unable to get home the pair found a planet of primitive beings, used their technology to convince the Planet Of The Suckers that they were gods and sat back to live the good life. Wanting to save this alien world from these con artists, Voyager eventually manages to get the Ferengi off of the planet, back onto their own ship, then they manage to get control of the wormhole and send the two home. Of course having sent the Ferengi packing they can't get control of the wormhole again to go home themselves. I hate it when that happens.

   But never fear. There is still hope for Voyager to get home (suuuuuure there is). Voyager eventually found a way to transmit messages to and from Earth on a recurring basis. Now that Earth knew of Voyagers plight they set up a project called Pathfinder to help try and get Voyager home. Involved in the project was good old Barclay. The real Barclay this time. And he was as it turned out really working with Dr. Zimmerman, the inventor of the EMH. Zimmerman was actually quite ill and no one seemed able to help him. Since the Doctor was in fact a program it was possible to send him back to the Alpha Quadrant (that's our neck of the woods) via the message transmissions. At this point the episode, "Life Line", turned into a father/son sort of battle where the son tries to earns the father's respect. Zimmerman won't let the Doctor help him. It gets so bad that Next Gen's Councellor Troi is called in to help talk to him! Yee ha! The very first full fledge 100% no strings attached crossover of a Next Gen regular! Finally! Ahhhh. Was it good for you?

   But back to what happened next. Basically the Doctor ended up needing Zimmerman's help with a problem that would kill him! In the end each agrees to help the other. See? The holographic son and his dad become equals that way. Dawwwww.

   Barclay showed up twice more and Troi once more. "Inside Man" had Voyager being sent a holographic version of Barclay who claimed to be able to get them home. The real Barclay had sent them a hologram of himself but as it turned out a group of Ferengi had hijacked and reprogrammed Holo Barclay. Holo Barclay was going to send Voyager home via a route that would kill all aboard but that would let the ship get through. Also surviving would be Seven Of Nines Borg technology which the Ferengi hoped to make some sweet cash off of. The real Barclay meanwhile knew something had gone wrong. Given the short window of time that the short period of time Voyager could be contacted was over he couldn't find out directly what had happened but with a little investigation he figured out what was going on. With Councellor Troi's help Barclay managed to convince his superiors of the danger. Unable to talk to Voyager they instead set about tricking the Ferengi into wrecking their own plan so that Voyager will be safe. You can probably guess the plan worked pretty well and Voyager was saved... but still lost in space! Damn!!!!

   Barclay's final appearance was in the episode "Author, Author". Most of the episode actually dealt with the Voyager crew getting to communicate with folks back home and with the Doctor trying to sell his holonovel which used characters based on the crew of Voyager. Still, Barclay did sneak into the episode.

   Even though the Borg Queen has already been mentioned it should be noted that she was also intergal to the series finale of Voyager. The episode starts in the future... okay, technically all Trek is in the future. The episode starts even farther into the future at a time where Voyager has made it back to Earth but only after a very long trip and many deaths. A much older version of Voyager's Captain Janeway (I'll call her Granny Janeway - mainly to piss off Kate Mulgrew who played the Captain) decides she doesn't like how things have turned out. She sets off on a plan to go back in time and help Voyager get home faster and with less fatalities. Well what fun is that? Granny Janeway convinces her younger self to use a Borg transportation system to get Voyager home really fast. This of course puts them in conflict with the Borg who aren't too keen on people sneakin on their subway without a token. Will Voyager get home or will everyone die a horrible bloody death in the last episode? Gee... hmmm... I wonder. Hello? I already said they get home just in time for the credits to role and leaving no time to deal with the aftermath of their having been lost. Boo to that.

Other Star Trek: The Next Generation Crossover Links
Star Trek: The Next Generation and Enterprise
Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek
Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Other Star Trek: Voyager Crossover Links
Star Trek: Voyager and Enterprise
Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek
Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Links To Star Trek Related Web Sites
Cynics Corner (Star Trek Episode Reviews)
The Official Star Trek Web Site

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