WHY I STARTED NOW VOYAGER
by Michelle Erica Green
I started this club because I've been waiting for Captain Kathryn Janeway my entire life, and Kate Mulgrew couldn't be incarnating her any better.
Okay, so maybe that's a bit of an overstatement. But I've watched "Star Trek" my entire life--the original show went on the air three months before I was born, and I'm told that as a baby I sat in front of the TV looking at the ship whooshing out of the stars. Paul and I were both Trekkers a decade before TNG made it cool to be one, long before fans could hook up electronically and share resources outside of conventions. We started dating as a result of the L.A. press junket for "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home," but that's another story...
My favorite episode of TOS was "The Enterprise Incident." I loved the Romulan Commander, and it drove me nuts that while the Romulans had women out commanding ships, the Federation had only Uhuras and Janice Lesters running the consoles and wishing they could be Captains. But I loved Kirk's desire to explore everything, and I thought the effort to make the show relevant to the issues of its era was terrific.
I can't say I was happy with all the characters on TNG, although I collected the action figures. Picard had a split personality--one week he'd be passionate while the next he'd be quoting regulations and barking orders. Plus we were left with two women in support positions whose pasts firmly anchored them to the male captain and first officer. DS9 made me feel a lot better on that count--it actually HAS a woman second-in-command, and a terrific one at that--but she's Bajoran, not Starfleet. Despite glimpses of Rachel Garrett, Norah Satie and Alynna Necheyev, we'd never really seen a woman of high rank with any dimension from what's supposedly our own future.
Until Janeway. Who managed to earn the loyalty of a group which despises the organization she represents. Whose fierce devotion to her crew in turn has made her the most accessible, likable commanding officer we've seen in the Federation. Who, like James T. Kirk, isn't afraid to lead landing parties and confront the Prime Directive head on. Who can outplay all the senior officers at pool, get Torres to admit she was wrong, laugh off holodeck sleazeballs from Paris' imagination, drink Neelix's better-than-coffee, negotiate in lingerie with Romulans...
Which brings us to Kate. Admittedly I primarily knew her from movie and stage roles before "Voyager," being a non-television watcher for the most part (although kind people have been sending us "Heartbeat" and "Cheers" episodes for which we are most grateful!) But I can't imagine anyone else playing Janeway; she IS Janeway. And based on the responses we got when we posted the first "Kate Mulgrew Appreciation Society anyone?" query online, we're not alone in our thinking. We were flooded with requests for information even before we had any; then people sent videotapes, scanned pictures, fan fiction, pleas for photographs...
It seemed obvious that there was only one thing to do: start a fan club, which we could not have done without everyone who contributed to this newsletter and everyone who's reading it. We thank you. We praise you. And we beg you: Tell your friends!