Star Trek: Voyager

Season 1 Episode 1

Caretaker (1)

Aired Wednesday 8:00 PM Jan 16, 1995 on UPN

Episode Fan Reviews (17)

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out of 10
291 votes
  • A powerful beginning

    Written primarily by the same man who stabilized TNG's writing staff and wrote DS9's pilot, Caretaker skillfully launches Voyager with a two hour romp that simultaneously works well as a beginning and as a standalone story. Like TNG's pilot, the story is basically a mystery mixed with a powerful alien, though here the elements are better interwoven and no expense is spared. At $23 million, this is Star Trek's most expensive episode of all time, giving the story ample location shooting, visual effects, and whatever it needs to jumpstart the series and launch a network.

    Benefitting from exposition planted in TNG and DS9 episodes ("Journey's End", "The Maquis Part I and II", and "Preemptive Strike") Voyager's pilot opens with a Star Wars-like crawl and then kicks into gear immediately, cutting a quick pace as it moves along and introduces the characters.

    Dodging the obvious choice of the captain as its central player, the episode uses Tom Paris (Robert Duncan McNeill) as the way into the story and makes him more or less the primary character. It's an interesting choice, with Paris being an outcast, getting a character arc that helps sum up what the show's all about: a new life. (Interestingly, the idea that Paris is unpopular because of a piloting accident that killed some popular crewman is remarkably similar to something that happened to Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. One day in the South Pacific back in 1943, where Roddenberry was serving as a pilot in World War II, his B-17 didn't pick up enough speed to become airborne and the brakes wouldn't respond. The plane ended up crashing into a sea of palm stumps, and two crewmembers died. Many in Roddenberry's squadron questioned why he didn't perform a ground loop maneuver that could have saved everyone's lives, unaware or not wanting to understand that there wasn't enough time. On a side note, the crash prevented Roddenberry from participating in a search for survivors of a Navy PT boat that was destroyed that same morning, forcing someone else to rescue John F. Kennedy). TNG fans, of course, will remember McNeill as Nicholas Lacarno from the fifth season episode "The First Duty", a character with nearly the same backstory as Paris. Naturally it's easy to wonder why the show invents Paris and doesn't just use Lacarno (which the producers did consider), but really, it's better for Voyager to start from scratch. The truth is that McNeill's character in "The First Duty" is (appropriately) selfish and arrogant, which is what really gets him into trouble. Paris, on the other hand, though similar in demeanor, is more selfless and full of self doubt. While VOY could (and almost did) reuse Lacarno and try to recharacterize him, there's no reason to go to so much trouble because of one TNG episode some years back. With Paris a blank slate, the show is able to introduce him to us the way they wish and develop him throughout the episode and series without being tethered down.

    In the meantime, the pilot offers Kate Mulgrew plenty of opportunity to put her stamp on Captain Janeway, creating a character that's vulnerable in private but unquestionably in charge in public. Mulgrew, who was brought in to replace Genevive Bujold, gives a performance that's not just extraordinary but extraordinarily important for Star Trek and television. It might seem sexist today, but after a poor performance by Bujold (who quit the second day), there was some doubt from the executives as to whether a woman could actually front a show they were relying on to launch UPN. Mulgrew, however, owns the part, giving it a Kathryn Hepburn quality and proving she's just as good as any leading man, Shatner and Stewart included.

    Meanwhile, with nine regulars to introduce, some characters get shortchanged. The Doctor, who would go on to be one of the show's breakout characters, gets in a couple funny lines but doesn't have much more to do than his cameo later on in the eighth Star Trek film. Seska (who is not a regular but does prominently factor into the first two seasons) doesn't appear at all. But while some have more to do and some less, most of the major characters get a chance to at least outline the basics of their personalities and relationships. (Meanwhile, a visit to Deep Space Nine gives us a Quark cameo).

    Always remaining a favorite for the cast, crew, and fans alike, the events in "Caretaker" come back into play in several episodes of the series, starting with second season's "Projections". Unfortunately, "Caretaker" is the last Star Trek pilot by Piller, who died of head and neck cancer in 2005. With his ability to successfully create Star Trek out of thin air, it's a shame he didn't get to do more, even if was through standalone TV movies featuring new characters. (George Lucas tried this very thing with The Ewok movies, but he couldn't replicate the spark he carefully developed in the Star Wars movies. Piller didn't seem to have this problem within the Star Trek universe).

    For the debut of Voyager and UPN, "Caretaker" is a heck of a beginning. In fact it's so good, the show never has to employ an idea planted in the pilot specifically to set up a quick finale if the show were to be cancelled early on: the idea of a second caretaker. (They bring back the idea, nonetheless, for the sake of completion in second season's "Cold Fire").

  • love it

    LOVE IT!
  • Caretaker (1)


    Caretaker (1) was a superb episode of Star Trek Voyager and I really enjoyed watching this pilot episode of the new series because the characters were awesome, there was action and intrigue, and the base story line seems to be really good. I think Captain Janeway is one of the best female heroes of television and this is her origin episode. I am not a trekie and don't follow any of the other Star Trek Series, however Voyager is the one I enjoy most for sure. I like how the the characters and story are coming together. I look forward to watching the next episode of Star Trek Voyager!!!!!!!

  • All beginning of Star Trek Shows are somewhat limiting. This one is no different!

    It seems to follow most shows on TV that they start of like somewhat new born child trying to find its feet after recently learning how to walk. Actors and writers are still trying to mold their characters, producers scrambling to understand what their show is going to be about and most likely studios meddling and messing with it all through the process.

    There are some characters here that seem to be pretty well worked out, such as Kathryn Janeway, Harry Kim and the Doctor. The rest seems unsure, and sort of stumble through their first two episodes.

    When I saw Voyager for the first time, it was the opening credits and music that got me hooked. I still think that the ship is the most beautiful Star Trek ship ever designed, and I hoped it set the tone for what would follow.

    The story of how they end up so far away from home is one of the worst cooked up, and almost turned me away from the series. There is a huge mistake in the storyline (SPOILERS) as the caretaker is shipping people there from all over the universe because of the debts he owes to the Ocampa. So in one hand we have such compassionate identity that it has stayed there for 1000s of years to ensure that the Ocampa is safe, but on the other hand it is condemning lots of ships and its creatures by stealing them and not even returning them.

    However, as bad of an idea the whole caretaker was, the brilliance is in the two different crews, the Maquis and Starfleet being thrown together. That in itself was almost more interesting than being light years away from home.

    My feeling is that they underplayed the pilots. Instead of excitement and good storyline, it ended up somewhat slow. Any episodes with identity in them used to be fill-in material in the old series... and definitely not for pilots.

    The series had so much going for it. The fact that we had the first female captain was enough to give the series good time to establish itself. Though I had a lot of issues with the first episode, it still got me hooked from the first moment!
  • A good beginning.

    I thought the pilot episode was good. It was a nice lead-in and was well written. I thought that it immediately seperated itself from the other Star Trek genres and it gave itself its own identity. This episode also did a good job of introducing the viewers to new characters such as Tuvok, Neelix, and Captain Janeway. The conflict between Starfleet and the Marquis was aslo nice as it added a snes of hostility to the show. The setting in the delta quadrant was also very refreshing as we got introduced to new species and potential friends and enemies. Overall, this was a good beginning to a new series. Thank you.
  • An enjoyable offshoot from the original line, but based on a main mission agenda of getting home, with the secondary mission of following the beliefs and regulations as set down by starfleet.

    The introduction to the new series, sees the new female Captain of the USS Voyager (Kate Mulgrew) and her crew, take up their first mission of tracking the Marquis ships that have entered the Badlands, they follow and like one of the Marquis ships, get transported by a strong beam to an unknown location.

    The location is then detected and verified as the Delta quadrant, some 75,000 light years from the alpha quadrant where they were initially. In order for them all to get back to the Alpha quadrant, the crew of the Marquis must join the crew of Yoyager, in order for both crews to survive. The also pick up Neelix and Kes from their damaged ship and they all form a motley crew, but under the guidance and tutilege of Capt. Janeway.

    The make there way back to the caretaker, only to be told that they are very pushy for a primitive bi-ped species, but needless to say, this was the best opener for any of the Star Trek series, which I throughly enjoyed and have watched numerous times, hence the perfect score of 10, as I was unable to ascertain how to give it an 11.
  • I love this episode because it has a lot of action & drama.

    My favorite part of this episode is when Voyager was having a skirmish with the Kazon and then the mother Kazon ship collided with "The Array". This episode is superbly well made I give this episode 5 out of 5 stars. I wounder why Neelix got involved with a woman that was not Talaxian. I just wish in the story that Voyager got home a little sooner but then the show would be ended sooner but maby they should had some more episodes after the endgame part 1 & 2 and the episodes would be based on the crew and their lives, am I making sense?.
  • "Caretaker" was the first episode of Voyager and one of the best episodes.

    (Written for both Parts 1 and 2.) "Caretaker" was the first episode of Voyager and one of the best episodes. The U.S.S. Voyager NCC 74656 is an Interped Class Starship on a mission: Find the Maquis. Under the command of Captain Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) Voyager launches and heads for the badlands, the last place the Maquis ship was seen. In the badlands, Voyager encounters a coherent tetryon beam that scans them. Then, they encounter a wave that pulls them into the Delta Quadrant, Seventy-Five Thousand lightyears from their last location, in the Alpha Quadrant. Once in the Delta Quadrant, the Caretaker pulls the Voyager crew onboard the Caretaker space station and scans/probes the crew. Afterwards, the meet the Maquis Crew, Mr. Neelix and Kes, and form One Crew: A Starfleet Crew.

    This episode is a 10 because it is one of the best!!
  • The “Voyager” is at Deep Space Nine Station. Captain Janeway has been given a mission to try and locate a Marqi ship that was lost somewhere near the badlands. Once Janeway finds the ship she is to turn the Marqi over to Starfleet Command.

    The “Voyager” is at Deep Space Nine Station. Captain Janeway has been given a mission to try and locate a Marqi ship that was lost somewhere near the badlands. Once Janeway finds the ship she is to turn the Marqi over to Starfleet Command. The “Voyager” enters the badlands and falls into the same trap the Marqi ship fell into. Some of the “Voyager” crew is killed due to a catapult effect. Now somewhere in the Delta Quadrant the “Voyager” has located some type of array. The “Voyager” has boldly gone where no one has before.
  • Voyager is taken 70,000 light years from home.

    In this episode voyager is trying to hunt down a maquis ship, but while searching for the ship, they are taken for a ride 70,000 light years away to the delta quadrant.

    I thought they started of the show pretty good. Although throughout the show and series, I think Janeway is a little too nice. I mean, they had a chance to go home and they blew it. Guess it wouldn't be much of a show if they selfishly went home and left the ocampa to fend for themselves.

    This was a great episode and I couldn't wait to see what happened next.
  • Kathryn Janeway and her ship enter the Badlands to capture Maquis and are eventually stranded in the Delta Quadrant.

    I was not impressed with the acting in the pilot. They were majorly overacting. The acting will get much better in later episodes thank goodness. I did not see this particular episode until much later in the series when they were running reruns during the offseason. I thought it was a pretty good story line though. I read the book as well and was pleased with it. It was worth the money I paid for it at the time though. I was impressed with the fact that they had finally given a women the captaincy. I thought they should have done so long ago, but that was kind of to be expected.
  • Voyager begins with a hell of a bang!

    This episode of Voyager marks the first in a really great television show. Every episode is great but as always there are a few standouts and this is one of them. This episode was really a great pilot. I just watched the TNG pilot and it sucks hard compared to this. This show is great and you should check it out!
  • An exciting start to this awesome show.

    In the tradition of the Star Trek shows, Voyager starts with a very cool story. Our main characters are thrown into the main focus of narrative. But they don't get there easily, it involves a pursuit that takes place in deep space. Nothing could be more exciting than that. Before we know it, the crew of the voyager are engaged in an instellar conflict. This is a very cool tv show, and the effects are a true delight. It makes the stories much more engaging. This episode go through several obstacles that the Voyager crew needs to pass through. When it's over, we take a sigh of relief, and we go on a ride because there's more to come next week.
  • The next generation of Star Trek begins with the members of the Voyager crew.

    Interesting pilot. Michael Piller and Rick Berman said they wanted to make this series different than the others. "Voyager" was different and yet still similar to the other Star Trek programs. You had holodecks, phasers, ship action, turmoil within the crew etc. The plot was different in that the ship was torn away from home.

    A lot of Voyager's crew was also carrying excess baggage especially the members of the Maquis who had an axe to grind with Tom Paris. However , all these things are put to a stop when a mysterious ship and environment known as the Array come into the picture. A mysterious being also known as the Caretaker causes problem and Harry Kim and Torres are captured.

    Kate Mulgrew was actually not the first choice to play Captain Kathryn Janeway but she was the best actress to do it especially when you see the other older actress do it.

    Tom Paris has a big part in the pilot as well first being an observer later a Lieutenant and then saving the life of Chakotay.

    A great pilot overall.
  • The best pilot of the modern Star Trek series

    I found this episode the best Star Trek pilot ever (I missed The Original Series pilot, though). A great deal of action, new lifeforms, and the excitement of being pulled 70000 light years from home. From this episode on Star Trek has changed: Janeway, will have to do a lot of compromises and tough choices to bring her crew home safely and, due t the distruction of the maquis ship, she - and all voyager crew- will have to accept some rebels aboard. I think this episode has been a great star for the last "seven season" Star Trek series.
  • Brand new ship and crew are sent 70,000 light years from home by a benevolent being and are stranded in an uncharted and unknown region of space. Voyager and the Marquis crew they followed into the area join forces to try and get back home.

    As with any new show, the crew, cast and writers need some space to expand and grow the series and the characters involved. That being said the cast did an admirable job in starting to shape their respective characters.
    Sometimes the actors seem to be searching around for the identity of the character and it is a bit raw and awkward. With the advantage of knowing the characters intimately now that the show is over it is funny and interesting to watch the actors get a grip on the roles. They do and say things that they never would do or say later in the show, which is fine, you have to expect some growing pains etc.
    The storyline is great, good healthy premise for lots of stories and adventures. You definately want to keep watching, which is the GOLD STANDARD for a pilot.
    Mission accomplished. I want more!
    Some very interesting things is the upgrades that are new to the franchise, like bionural gel packs for ship functions, a holographic doctor, a ship that can go warp 9.95 and the promise of many NEW aliens, monsters and fun!
  • Captain Kathryn Janeway recruits a former Maquis from the New Zealand Penal Settlement to help her take the crew of the newly commissioned U.S.S. Voyager to find her Security Officer, Lieutennant Commander Tuvok, who was undercover on a Maquis ship that d

    This is a top-notch epsiode and a great debut for the Voyager crew. It took months for them to even come up with a cast of characters for this series, and it took some convincing to, first of all, have a female captain, and also to put the story away from everything that was familiar, so that it would be truly "one ship, alone in the unknown, just like the original series". Well, it sure has paid off. Even in this plot-oriented two-hour episode, you can already see the direction each character is going to take. Though I do recommend the two-hour version over the syndicated version. Not only are scenes and dialogue missing, but some are not even in the same order! It may not seem like much, but the original version seems to flow naturally while the syndicated version suddenly drops in momentum, only to regain it later.