Star Trek: Voyager’s 15 Best Doctor Episodes – News Today

Star Trek: Voyager’s 15 Best Doctor Episodes

Some of Star Trek: Voyager‘s best episodes featured the holographic Doctor (Robert Picardo) as their focus. The Doctor was easily one of Voyager‘s most fascinating characters, beginning the show as a blank slate and progressing to one of the most dynamic Voyager cast members by season 7. As an emergency medical hologram who was never intended to be activated for long periods, the Doctor filled the role of a non-sentient entity striving to become more human that characters like Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation had filled before him.

Although the Doctor’s personality and interests were non-existent in Voyager‘s pilot episode, by the end of the show he was the character who arguably felt the most deeply and had the widest variety of hobbies, from singing to photography. These hobbies and the Doctor’s vibrant personality often made for some incredible episodes, with compelling stories at the center to carry the plot. The Doctor had at least one episode in every season of Voyager that stole the show, and often had multiple episodes in one season that were some of the series’ best.

Star Trek Voyager captain Janeway

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15 Heroes And Demons

Voyager season 1, episode 12

The Doctor in the Star Trek: Voyager episode

“Heroes and Demons” was the first episode where the Doctor truly got to shine and began his journey on the road to sentience. It also marked the Doctor’s first away mission when he was sent onto the holodeck to investigate a mysterious energy reading that was causing members of Voyager‘s crew to disappear. “Heroes and Demons” foreshadowed many of the things that the Doctor would explore on his humanity quest, including romance and choosing a proper name. The episode was also the first to show the Doctor’s true potential as a character, kicking off his stellar arc on Voyager.

14 Projections

Voyager season 2, episode 3

Reginald Barclay and the Doctor in the Star Trek: Voyager episode

“Projections” was a fascinatingly existential storyline about the nature of existence. Whereas “Heroes and Demons” mainly displayed the Doctor’s comedic abilities, “Projections” allowed the character to show his dramatic side, grappling with whether or not he was really a hologram after a feedback loop from a holodeck malfunction caused his program to degrade and the Doctor to think he was human. “Projections” also brought in a connection to the wider Star Trek timeline in the form of a guest appearance by Reginald Barclay (Dwight Schultz), and delivered a compelling storyline from start to finish.

13 Lifesigns

Voyager season 2, episode 19

The Doctor’s emerging humanity was on full display in “Life Signs,” as he fell in love with a Vidiian doctor, Danara Pel (Susan Diol) while he worked to stop her worsening condition from the Phage. The Doctor’s ineptitude with romantic relationships was charming and made for some hilarious moments, but the love that grew between him and Danara was genuinely heartwarming and packed an emotional punch, especially when the two had to part ways at the end of the episode. Stories of first love are universally relatable, and “Life Signs” showed the Doctor’s truly vulnerable side for the first time.

12 The Swarm

Voyager season 3, episode 4

Dr. Lewis Zimmerman (Robert Picardo) looks annoyed as he talks to someone off-screen in the Star Trek: Voyager episode

“The Swarm” was the first episode where the Doctor’s sentience came into conflict with his programming. The episode was also the first time that Robert Picardo acted in two roles: the role of the Doctor and his creator, Dr. Lewis Zimmerman, in this case represented by Voyager‘s EMH diagnostic program. “The Swarm” demonstrated the range of Picardo’s acting talents, and was a heartbreaking story for the Doctor, calling into question his right to sentience versus his duty to the crew. This question would come up other times during Voyager‘s run, but “The Swarm” demonstrated how worthy it was of exploration.

Collage of the Doctor from Star Trek: Voyager.

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11 Real Life

Voyager season 3, episode 22

The Doctor and his holographic daughter Belle from the Star Trek: Voyager episode

Another wonderfully dramatic episode for the Doctor, “Real Life,” saw the character explore what it would like to have a family, with the Doctor soon realizing that life isn’t as straightforward as it seems. “Real Life” is perhaps the best version of the “Doctor explores humanity” storyline that was so common on VoyagerThe episode is hilarious, dramatic, heartwarming, and ultimately devastating, taking the character through the full range of human emotions with a cadre of great guest stars. Although many of the Doctor’s comedic episodes were more popular, “Real Life” is one of his best dramatic stories.

10 Message In A Bottle

Voyager season 4, episode 14

Voyager's Doctor comedically covers the mouth of Andy Dick's EMH Mark 2 in the Star Trek: Voyager episode

A romp in all senses of the word, “Message in a Bottle” introduced the genius comedic duo of the Doctor and the EMH Mark II (Andy Dick). The two holograms teamed up to stop the Romulans from capturing a cutting-edge Starfleet ship after the Doctor was transferred to it, hoping to get a message to the Federation. Picardo and Dick’s hilarious on-screen chemistry made “Message in a Bottle” one of Voyager‘s funniest episodes, and is especially noteworthy for being the first time the crew established direct contact with Starfleet since their disappearance.

9 Living Witness

Voyager season 4, episode 23

“Living Witness” was a fascinating Doctor episode and provided audiences with the only time Voyager ever showed a Mirror Universe variant of the crew. The episode featured a backup version of the Doctor’s program setting the record straight about the USS Voyager’s visit to an alien planet when he was activated by members of the race 700 years later. The inaccurate portrayal of Voyager‘s crew provided a chance for the entire cast to have some fun, and the Doctor acting as the episode’s focal point was a perfect choice, since he provided the necessary dramatic chops to carry the storyline.

8 Nothing Human

Voyager season 5, episode 8

The Doctor and Crell Moset scan Torres in the Star Trek: Voyager episode

Star Trek episodes with a real-world allegory are almost always guaranteed to be winners, and “Nothing Human” was no exception. The Doctor working with the holographic recreation of a corrupt Cardassian scientist to try and save B’Elanna Torres (Roxann Dawson) from a parasitic alien provided a chilling allegory to Dr. Mengele’s experiments during WWII. The ethical dilemma this presented gave the Doctor a chance at another great dramatic storyline. Dr. Crell Moset (David Clennon) was a wonderfully complicated villain, and his chemistry with the Doctor made for a compelling episode from start to finish.

Captain Janeway and the Doctor from Star Trek: Voyager.

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7 Latent Image

Voyager season 5, episode 11

The Doctor behind a holo camera in Voyager episode

Every Voyager character has an episode that’s their best, and “Latent Image” is undoubtedly the Doctor’s. The episode offered a gripping story that combined everything that made the Doctor a great character, including the conflict between his humanity and his original programming. Watching the Doctor grapple with big existential questions after he saved the life of Harry Kim (Garret Wang) while allowing another Ensign to die was the episode’s highlight. It allowed Robert Picardo to take his acting talents to new dramatic heights, and the mysterious aspect of the episode’s plot also added a thrilling layer as the pieces unraveled.

6 Someone To Watch Over Me

Voyager season 5, episode 22

Voyager's Doctor and Seven of Nine dancing in the episode

The Doctor and Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) were often paired up for Voyager episodes, but “Someone to Watch Over Me” was arguably the characters’ best outing. One of the most hilarious aspects of Seven and the Doctor’s relationship was his teaching her about humanity, but this running storyline took a surprisingly poignant turn when the Doctor began instructing Seven on the intricacies of dating and slowly fell in love with her during his efforts. The episode’s funny moments were masterfully balanced by the truly heartfelt (and ultimately heartbreaking) unrequited love storyline that played out between Seven and the Doctor.

5 Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy

Voyager season 6, episode 4

“Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy” was perhaps the funniest Doctor-centric episode of Voyager and one of the top best comedic Star Trek episodes. While Voyager‘s entire cast gave stellar performances as participants in the Doctor’s Daydream program gone wrong, it was the Doctor himself who was the episode’s stand-out star. “Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy” offered everything, including several over-the-top ridiculous scenes and a surprisingly dramatic plot that included the introduction of the Emergency Command Hologram, an aspect of the Doctor’s program that became important in Voyager‘s final seasons.

4 Life Line

Voyager season 6, episode 24

“Life Line” once again allowed Robert Picardo to act opposite himself, playing both the Doctor and Lewis Zimmerman when the Doctor projected himself to the Alpha Quadrant after he learned that his creator was dying from an unknown disease. The comedic aspects of Picardo’s two characters interacting were undercut by a genuinely heartwarming story about family and self-acceptance, balanced out by some truly wonderful guest stars like Deanna Troi (Marina Siritis) and the return of Reginald Barclay. “Life Line” offered a great expansion of the Doctor’s story and gave him a reason to care about getting back to Earth.

Star Trek: Voyager's Doctor with the USS Voyager.

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3 Critical Care

Voyager season 7, episode 5

The Doctor stares concernedly off-screen in the Star Trek: Voyager episode

After being captured and sold to a hospital on an alien planet, “Critical Care” saw the Doctor struggle to properly care for patients within the hospital’s highly stratified system. The episode acted as another great commentary on real-world issues, namely the failure of healthcare systems that prioritize profit over the good of the patient. “Critical Care” also featured some hilarious side moments as Voyager‘s crew worked to locate the Doctor and found themselves jumping through a series of increasingly ridiculous hoops to find out what had happened to him.

2 Body And Soul

Voyager season 7, episode 7

As another incredible outing for the Doctor and Seven of Nine, “Body and Soul” played up the comedic aspects of the duo when the Doctor was forced to download himself into Seven’s implants to escape detection by hologram-hating aliens, essentially taking over her body in the process. Although the Doctor was the main focus of “Body and Soul,” the episode’s stand-out performance went to Jeri Ryan for her portrayal of the character. Ryan’s spot-on depiction of the Doctor absolutely stole the show, and this combined with a plot reminiscent of Twelfth Night created one of Voyager‘s most hilarious episodes.

1 Author, Author

Voyager season 7, episode 20

The Doctor writes his holonovel,

As one of the final Doctor-centric episodes of Voyager, “Author, Author” once again combined everything that made the Doctor such a wonderful addition to the series. The comedy thanks to the Doctor’s parody of Voyager‘s crew in his holonovel, was combined with the Doctor’s sentience being explored, resulting in a trial reminiscent of the famous Star Trek: TNG episode, “The Measure of a Man,” one of the franchise’s best and a great call back for Voyager to make. As the second-to-last episode focused on the Doctor, “Author, Author” rounded out the character’s time on Star Trek: Voyager beautifully.

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