“Please State The Nature of The Medical Emergency”: My Top 5 Favorite Doctor Centric Episodes On Star Trek Voyager.
The Doctor, along with Seven Of Nine, was one of the true breakouts of Star Trek Voyager as well as a fan favorite and its best developed and fleshed out character. That was surely due to the writing but mostly to the impeccable acting by Robert Picardo who got the role initially not even understanding it. After all who knows how to play a hologram? And furthermore who wants to play what is essentially a one note part that had no real potential for development, right? Well, thankfully for Robert’s sake and all of ours he was completely wrong. As Robert stated in an interview, he went from having the dullest character to having the best character in the whole show. Here are my top 5 favorite Voyager episodes that centered on everyone’s favorite emergency medical hologram. Hang on to your protons, Trekkies, because the doctor is in.
5. Life Line.
When the Doctor finds out that his creator Louis Zimmerman is suffering from a terminal disease that no other doctor can figure out and treat, the Doc takes it upon himself to come to his “father’s” aid. The results are both hilarious and emotional as the push and pull between the Doctor and Zimmerman is a metaphor for the ups and downs of the relationship between fathers and sons. Picardo outdid himself here pulling off the dual role of both The Doctor and Zimmerman to where you forget it’s the same person doing the role. No small feat.
4. Critical Care.
The Doctor faces a moral dilemma he’s never faced before as he’s kidnapped and forced to work at a ultra bureaucratic hospital that uses a system that treats properly according to usefulness and value. It’s a very dark episode but very powerful and a great performance by Picardo as well as the rest of the guest cast.
3. Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy.
Not only one of the best Doctor centric episodes but a fan favorite for many a Voyager fan as well as an overall Trek fan. The writers must’ve had a ball writing this one as its one of the funniest and genuinely fun episodes of the entire series. Plenty of memorable scenes featuring The Doctor as well as ending on a very touching moment for the Doc as he finally gets the recognition he rightfully deserves. “Activate the photonic canon!”
The Doctor gains his fifteen minutes of fame when a superior alien race become fans of his singing. Though it gets to his head as he pushes to resign from his position to stay back on their planet permanently. This episode was just plain enjoyable for the full display of Picardo’s vocal talents alone, but what gives the episode the heart and soul it had were the very strong scenes between The Doctor with Tom Paris, Seven of Nine, B’lanna and Captain Janeway showing the pitch perfect chemistry between Picardo and those actors. This episode also had one of my all time favorite endings out of the entire series and the fact that, that level of sweetness came from Seven out of all people makes it top notch.
- Someone To Watch Over Me.
In this homage to My Fair Lady, The Doctor prepares Seven for her first ever date and ends up falling in love with her himself. A truly poignant and memorable episode that was Star Trek at its best. The focus on the characters and their relationships over limitless action and space ship battles was always what made Trek stand out from other Sci-Fi fare and this episode is no exception. The Doctor has fallen in love before but never has he been put into the position he’s put into falling in love with his good friend and pupil Seven Of Nine. How deeply he falls for her and how nervous he is to tell her to which he chickens out in the end shows just how human The Doctor has become over the years. While I’ll forever hate the writers for never getting these two together(talk about a dumb ass decision) I will always cherish this episode because of its touching story as well as the incredible chemistry between Picardo and Ryan being on full display.
I know what you’re thinking…. “What about so and so episode?” Look, while there are plenty of other iconic Doctor centric episodes I could easily list in a top 10 like Message in a Bottle, Author, Author, Latent Image and Living Witness, all of which I adore, these were the choices I just had to go with my heart for my top 5 favorites. These happened to be the episodes that in my opinion had the absolute best development for The Doctor as a character as well as just some of the funniest, most heart tugging and just plain entertaining scenes that feature Picardo at his best.