Other significant developments of the season included the actors' getting to stretch themselves out "Mirror, Mirror"-like as evil counterparts in "Living Witness" (also Tim Russ's directing debut), the time- and mind-bending two-parter "Year of Hell," a battle with 1940s Nazis in the two-part "The Killing Game," the Doctor's comedic sparring with a new rival in "Message in a Bottle," the Alien-like "Prey," and Tom Paris (Robert Duncan MacNeill) taking a personal step and switching bodies with an alien in "Vis a Vis."
The DVD set offers the usual 20-minute season overview, crew profiles of Seven of Nine (natch) and Harry Kim (both of whom show warm appreciation for the Trek crowd), features on Species 8472 and the art of matte painting, and episode spotlights. --David Horiuchi
Unlike the previous three "Star Trek" television series, which (for the most part) took place within the bounds of the Federation of Planets (or in nearby sovereign areas of space, such as the Klingon Empire or the Romulan Empire) in the Alpha Quadrant, the starship Voyager is hurled tens of thousands of light-years from home into the previously unknown and unexplored Delta Quadrant, which is located at the far side of the Milky Way Galaxy. Even while traveling at warp 8 (the fastest safe speed that a typical starship can travel), it would take Voyager several decades to return to Earth. Hence, the series focuses on the survival of Voyager's Starfleet crew, who are completely isolated and unable to even maintain normal communications with Earth, as well as the crew's ultimate desire to find a way home faster than their ship is capable of doing. Also, along the way, Voyager adopts a few Delta Quadrant natives.
The primary cast members of the fourth season of "Voyager" include Captain Catherine Janeway (Kate Mulgrew), Commander Chakotay (Robert Beltran), the half-Klingon Lt. B'Elanna Torres (Roxann Dawson), Delta Quadrant native (Ocampan) Kes (Jennifer Lien, first two episodes only), Lt. Thomas Eugene Paris (Robert Duncan McNeill), Delta Quadrant native (Talaxian) Neelix (Ethan Phillips), the holographic Emergency Medical Holographic Program (a.k.a., "The Doctor", played by Robert Picardo), the Vulcan Lt. Cmdr. Tuvok (Tim Russ), Ensign Harry Kim (Garrett Wang) and the former Borg drone Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan). Voyager's fourth season begins with the second part (episode "Scorpion, Part 2") to the third season's cliffhanger about Voyager making an agreement with the Borg to aid in their war against the seemingly unstoppable species 8472.
With the departure of Kes in the second episode ("The Gift"), the fourth season of "Voyager" focuses much attention upon its newest crewmember, Seven of Nine, whom Captain Janeway chose to cut off from the Borg Collective at the end of episode "Scorpion, Part 2". She begins to relearn what it means to be human primarily from Captain Janeway, but also from the holographic doctor. Other stories during the fourth season include B'Elanna and her ongoing struggles with her Klingon half, a change in the relationship between Paris and B'Elanna, Cmdr. Chakotay becomes involved in an interspecies war in episode "Nemesis", the doctor encounters a psychopathic hologram (Leland Orser) in episode "Revulsion", the crew discovers the source of many physical problems afflicting the crew in episode "Scientific Method", Captain Janeway continues to enjoy time in the holodeck with Leonardo Da Vinci, Voyager's encounters the hunting Hirogen and Voyager encounters the most dangerous substance known to the Federation in episode "The Omega Directive". The best fourth-season episodes, in order of airdate, include "Scorpion, Part 2", "The Gift", "Day of Honor", "Nemesis", "Revulsion", "The Raven", "Scientific Method", "Year of Hell, Part 1 & 2", "Concerning Flight", "Waking Moments", "Message in a Bottle", "Prey", "The Omega Directive", "One" and "Hope and Fear".
Overall, I rate the fourth season of "Voyager" with 4.5 out of 5 stars, rounded to 5 stars. Thankfully, the Kazon are no longer around, but the Hirogen become slightly annoying and predictable over time. Though many "Voyager" fans regretted the loss of character Kes, the development of Seven of Nine's character was very good and only continued to get better in the succeeding seasons, as well as the further story development of the Borg collective itself.