Down the Ballot

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Top 10 Star Trek Voyager Guest Stars

I only have another month or so of 2013 to get through two more Star Trek television series. I have previously listed my Top 10 Guest Stars of TNG, and DS9. Now it is Voyagers turn.

10. Vaughn Armstrong

Perhaps one of the more recognized of the Star Trek acting troupe of guest stars, he might be most familiar as Admiral Maxwell Forrest from Star Trek Enterprise. Armstrong is one of five actors to have appeared in a Star Trek production in more than 7 different roles, his number is currently at 13. Spanning from TNG to Enterprise. He's lent his voice to numerous Trek computer games and even had a role in the first film of Star Trek the Experience. His appearance in the first season of VOY Eye of the Needle was a great performance and was one of the few appearances of the Romulans in VOY. He would eventually come back during the final episode to play a Klingon.

9. Marjorie Monaghan

One of the best first season episodes of VOY was Heroes and Demons. This was the first episode where Robert Picardo, better known as 'The Doctor' leaves Sickbay on his first away mission. Upon entering a recreation of the heroic epic poem Beowulf. Monaghan plays Freya, a sheildmaiden. Monaghan has had a fairly active career since 1990 on film and stage. Her sci-fi credentials are stellar. You might recognize her from Babylon 5 as the leader of the Mars Resistance. Other Trek related trivia you find interesting; she was considered for the role of T'Pol in Enterprise

8. Jason Alexander 

For the better part of a decade Alexander was best known on the award winning NBC sitcom Seinfeld as the neurotic-balding George Costanza. Seinfeld ended in 1998 and that freed him up to appear in the 1999 episode Think-Tank. Alexander is a big Trekkie and big fan of the Original Series. He isn't the only Seinfeld alumni to appear on Star Trek. His ill fated Seinfeld wife, Susan Ross ( Heidi Swedberg) played a character on DS9. His tv mom Estelle Harris (Estelle Costanza) appears on VOY and his fellow Yankees co-worker and supervisor Mr. Wilhelm (Richard Herd) played Admiral Paris in later seasons of VOY. Trek veteran Phil Morris also appeared on Seinfeld as the gang's lawyer Jackie Chiles.

7. Dwight Schultz 

Veteran actor Schultz is perhaps most famous for his role in the A-Team as H.M. 'Howling Mad' Murdock, but to Trekkers he will always be Reg Barclay. Between 1990 and 2001 Schultz delighted fans with his hypochondriac and fully awkward portrayal of the socially goofy Barclay.  Schultz appears towards the end of run of VOY as the crew make contact with the Alpha Quadrant and adopt Barclay as a member of the family for being the one to make contact with them in the Delta Quadrant. Between 11 appearances on Trek TV and his role in Star Trek First Contact Schultz has secured a wonderful place in the lore of Star Trek.

6. Claire Rankin

Stargate fans may recognize Rankin as Dr. Kate Heightmeyer from Stargate Atlantis. Rankin appeared in the VOY episode Alice, where she plays a computer system of a shuttle Tom Paris owns. She takes over her pilots minds and can influence them. Some of her other credits include: The Drew Carey Show, The New Outer Limits, Charmed, The District and Chicago Hope. 

5. Bruce McGill

Those of you unfamiliar with the life and work of Bruce McGill might be only aware of some of his recent work on shows like Lincoln and Rizzoli & Isles. He has a prolific career on stage and film. On VOY he played Captain Braxton from the 29th Century.  His most famous film role, and one of his first was that of Daniel Simpson Day "D-Day" from Animal House. He even played D-Day in the short lived Animal House tv series. From MacGyver to Babylon 5 McGill just keeps on working. One of his most recent works: FDR American Badass was raunchy, funny, and over the top in all possible ways. I hope McGill keeps it up.

4. Marina Sirtis

Veteran Trek regular Sirtis is best known as TNGs Deanna Troi. Her appearance in VOY Life Line is great for two reasons. It is only one of two episodes written by a Trek actor. Robert Picardo penned this show and Walter Koenig wrote the Star Trek Animated series episode The Infinite Vulcan. Sirtis brings Troi to life in in Voyager to help her old friend Reg Barclay. This is also the only episode to feature actors who have appeared on four different Trek series. Her diagnosis of Zimmerman and the Doctor is great, "You're both Jerks!".

3. George Takei 
Oh My, we knew this one was coming. 1996, Voyager was just starting its' third season. 1996 was also the 30th Anniversary of Star Trek. Both DS9 and VOY were doing special episodes to honor the event. Voyager took the events of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country and turned them into an episode inserting Captain Janeway and Tuvok on Captain Sulu's Excelsior. Flashback was their tribute to Star Trek and the fans. The late great Michael Ansara, Garce Lee Whitney and many of the Excelsior bridge crew came back to join Takei. Instead of reusing a lot of footage from the film, VOY crew filmed whole new segments and reenacted scenes from the movie with great detail to keep in step with Star Trek VI.

2. Alice Krige
The Borg Queen was one of the greatest Trek villains to hit the screen. Krige made her first appearance in Star Trek First Contact. She reprises her role for the series finale of Star Trek Voyager. Janeway vs the Borg Queen. Could there be any more epic of a match up? I only wish there had been a film for Mulgrew and Krige to continue the fight.

1. Jennifer Lien 
Most know the stories surrounding the departure of this cast member after the third season. Lien left and Jeri Ryan (Seven of Nine) was brought in to the show. I cannot speak to some folks criticisms that Lien was under utilized, as I am just a fan; all I can say is the show took a significant turn after she left. Two seasons later Lien came back to guest for one final episode in the sixth season. Fury represented the end of the Kes story arc started back on the first episode of season one. Aside from Star Trek, I will most remember Lien for voicing Jay Sherman's actress girlfriend from the pilot episode of The Critic. A quick look online, it appears Lien has left acting behind for the most part since 2003. It looks as if Star Trek was the peak of her professional acting career, but if you have to peak somewhere, Star Trek is the best place to do it. Even 20 years after your show is off the air, the legions of fans will still be there.

So did I miss someone more deserving to be on the Top 10 List? John De Lancie? J.G. Hertzler? The Rock?
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