After the exploration of the Gamma-Quadrant in Deep Space 9, Star Trek: Voyager is going even further away from Earth. The Delta-Quadrant – where the Voyager is transferred to by an alien creature, The Caretaker – is mostly unknown territory.
Until 2378, the main political power in the Delta-Quadrant is held by the Borg. Large parts of the territory have been completely assimilated. A transwarp network established by the Borg allowed them to routinely visit different points, scattered all over the quadrant.
With the Borg, our old enemy Nr 1 is back in the swing of things. This time however, they are topped by an even greater enemy, Species 8472. An attempt to invade Species 8472’s territory and assimilate them however, failed miserably. Species 8472 then planning to destroy the entire Milky Way Galaxy lead to a strange, precarious alliance between Captain Janeway and the Borg.
While the entire Borg/Species 8472 conflict definitely stands out as the single most important political conflict in this series, there’s a lot more going on as well.
One species the Voyager encounters relatively early during the series are the Kazon. Warriors, separated in 16 different sects, the Kazon are just a minor political force in the quadrant. They were rejected by the Borg and deemed unworthy of assimilation. Attempts to help the Kazon to unite themselves were not succesful.
Another political force to be reckoned with is the Krenim Imperium. The Krenim developed a temporal weapon, allowing them to alter the timeline. This of course is extremely dangerous, and only after long and gruesome battles was it possible to outsmart the Krenim, causing them to leap back into the restored timeline – without their temporal weapon.
Another species – the Viidans – once a civilised culture, have been suffering from disease for a long time. All political influence of a once glorious species is gone, leaving the Viidans as creatures without morale, without principles, basically serving as an example of how much despair can change an entire species.
Generally Voyager sports fewer political megaplots than DS9, but it’s still packed with politics. Starting with the conflict aboard the Voyager, of Starfleet Officers and Maquis rebels having to get along, having to learn to trust each other, VOY touches on a lot of political themes. Quite a few in depth and with much detail, spanning several episodes, although there is also the joy of single episode based topics as well.
For me the mixture of complex political plots and short, on-the-spot topics, makes Voyager what it is. A highly political series and a very good one to watch.