One Of Star Trek: Voyager's Most Memorable Episodes Could Have Been An Entire Season

Though "Star Trek: Voyager" isn't held in quite as high esteem as some of its fellow "Star Trek" series, it still contains a number of episodes that are worth watching. Who could forget season 3's "The Chute," which featured BFF's Harry Kim (Garrett Wang) and Tom Paris (Robert Duncan McNeill) working together to survive an alien prison? Or the emotional series finale "Endgame," which crosses time and space to bring the crew of the Voyager back to Earth? 

The Trek based podcast Inglorious Treksperts recently hosted Bryan Fuller, who served as a writer/story editor/co-producer on "Voyager" — and would later develop "Star Trek: Discovery." During the podcast episode, Fuller delved deep into his time on "Voyager," including the struggle to find an identity separate from "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and, more importantly, how the two-part season 4 entry "Year of Hell" almost served as the basis for an entire season of "Voyager."

Through hell And back

"Year of Hell" lives up to its name, as the Voyager is caught in a series of time waves that slowly destroy the ship and cause the crew to suffer heavy casualties: Tuvok (Tim Russ) is blinded when a proton torpedo backfires, Chakotay (Robert Beltran) and Paris are captured by the Krenim Imperium, and Janeway ends up sacrificing the Voyager by ramming it into a Krenim warship. Fuller said that the writers' room, particularly Brannon Braga and Joe Menosky, wanted the events to last an entire season.

"We wanted to see Voyager get its ass kicked every episode and through that season was going to be marbled the story of Annorax and the time ship that was changing things. So, we would go back to it every once in a while to remind the audience that is the larger story."

Ultimately, executive producer Rick Berman rejected the idea due to prior experiences on "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" making him "violently ill" to serialized storytelling, according to Fuller.

Battle on the bridge

Fuller also discussed how he witnessed Berman shooting down Braga's ideas, which had become commonplace within the creative battles that took place on "Voyager:"

"I remember Brannon going over to Rick's office with all of this enthusiasm and coming back broken and his head hanging low and having to break it to the writing staff. We all felt like we were doing it, we are making great 'Star Trek.' For him to come back and say we can't and we can only do two episodes as opposed to twenty-two, it was heartbreaking. There was an interesting division between what Rick Berman wanted the show to be, which was episodic and for the syndicated audience, and how we wanted to be creative storytellers playing with the 'Star Trek' toy box."

Ironically this would not be the last time that Fuller ran into creative differences while working on "Star Trek." During the first season of "Discovery" his original plans were upended, leading to him departing the series. However, "Discovery" would eventually catapult its cast into the far future — fulfilling Braga and Menosky's vision for "Year of Hell".