Monday, November 19, 2012

TWITrek Character Insight No. 29: Kathryn Janeway

This is the latest installment in a series of "Character Insight" articles regarding the rich history of characters in the Star Trek universe.  An audio version will appear on the This Week in Trek podcast, available for direct download here.
Welcome back to Character Insight!  This week, our subject is Captain Kathryn Janeway from Voyager.


Janeway served as commanding officer aboard the Voyager, which enabled her to be the first Federation captain to traverse and explore the Delta Quadrant. Despite her humble beginnings as a farm girl born in Bloomington, Indiana (home of the Hoo-Hoo-Hoosiers), she grew up as a doubter and skeptic with a scientific mind thanks to the influence of her father. That let her strive to the highest ranks to Starfleet.

Janeway is the first female lead or captain in the Star Trek series, and that move came with some controversy. While some of the more vocal fanboys wanted another gung-ho male captain like Kirk or even Picard, Janeway continued to break barriers like Uhura on TOS. This was also a nod to Gene Roddenberry, who wanted female lead characters in TOS but was denied by 60's television executives.

Janeway's birthplace is a nod to Jeri Taylor, the co-creator of Voyager who was born there and went to Indiana University. Janeway was originally to be called Elizabeth Janeway, but legal aspects made the producers change the name away from that name because a well-known American feminist writer shared that name. French-Canadian actress Genevieve Bujold asked that the character be renamed to Nicole Janeway, but this name did not stick after Bujold quit the show after two days of taping.

Janeway loves coffee and prefers it black because once you go black, you never go back. Her obsession with the morning drink of choice for America's workforce has even led to Darrell parodying her in a twitter avatar. Janeway also holds the distinction of being the second Starfleet captain assimilated by the Borg, but she was saved from the worst of it by a neural suppressant developed by the Doctor.

The best episodes featuring Janeway include Basics, Prey, and Equinox

Our notable quotes this week comes from the episodes Deadlock (VOY 2) and Hunters (VOY 4):
"We're Starfleet Officers. Weird is part of the job."
"Coffee: the finest organic suspension ever devised... I beat the Borg with it."
Actor: Kate Mulgrew played Janeway, and she is also known for her extended role in over 400 episodes of the soap opera Ryan's Hope.

Until next time, live long and prosper...

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