I am not the biggest Voyager fan. The series never lived up to the potential I thought it had. So my disappointment in it is all on my end as a viewer. That being said I recently watched the premiere episode again and was impressed by how good it was.
The intro starts with a text crawl that looks like it came from a 16 bit video game. Its terrible. I don't think it was needed, some other contextual clue would have been better. The intro then drops us right in the action with Maquis being chased by Cardassians and disappearing. This is more action than most episodes get right off the bat.
The main function of a premier is to show us the crew, the ship and the setting. Voyager does an excellent job introducing the crew. Disgraced officers, rebels and a mix of new and veteran Starfleet personnel promises for an interesting show. Captain Janeway is fully fleshed out from the get go, they did a great job making her character feel real for the audience. The cameo by Quark is also very well used, setting up a crucial friendship between Paris and Kim. They spend enough time and give us something about all of our main cast here which is a very strong start.
The ship doesn't need alot of time and doesn't get it. It can't compare to the Enterprise so they don't try. It's a smart choice.
The plot in how they ended up in the situation is where this gets a little thin. I actually think they would have been better served by making the alien more incomprehensible rather than a hologram that babbles. Janeway makes a difficult and understandable choice, but if I was a crewman I would be mightily pissed off.
This is a strong start for the series and is the second best premier, after DS9, in my opinion. It was way lower for me prior to this rewatch, so I am somewhat surprised by Voyager here.
Every time I watch Caretaker I'm blown away by how good it is ... and then by how much of the premise the writers abandoned almost right away.
I think you're spot-on about the hologram hoe-down not really working. I too would have liked the alien to feel more alien and strange.
And yeah, I'd be furious, too, and I wish we'd gotten more of that perspective in the first season. Or, really, I wish she hadn't made the choice and that the whole thing had been out of her control.
I'm going to be watching a handful of Voyager Season One episodes over the next few weeks, and I was going to skip the pilot, but you've convinced me not to!
I’ve always thought it was maybe the best pilot. At least equal to DS9. Yeah. They could have scrapped the Star Wars prelude scrawl. OTOH I’m amazed at what people get confused over in general so maybe they did.