Fifty Shades Of Grey keeps on generating media attention everywhere you turn. It’s the romance novel – S&M adventure – to be a big Hollywood movie, starring Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan. You may not care about British author E. L. James’ book, but the news coverage surrounding its success is hard for anyone to ignore. Star Trek: Voyager, the syndicated, spin-off to Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, may not seem as having anything in common with the dark romance novel, but Voyager delved quite well into human and alien sexuality. The first Star Trek TV series with a woman captain boasted steamy holodeck romance novels, holographic lovers, two crewmembers becoming parents to a salamander like race, and the mind blowing omnisexual nature of the Borg Queen’s cybernetic libido.
Voyager – The ‘Lost’ Love Boat
Created by producers Rick Berman, Jeri Taylor and Michael Piller from the foundation of classic Star Trek, Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, Voyager is the sci-fi tale of a super advanced Starship whose crew finds themselves thousands of light years from UFP space. Getting home will take years, and along the way, romance within the crew will blossom – sometimes between non biological beings.
Launched as a flagship show on the then in existence UPN (United Paramount Network), the series featured Kate Mulgrew as Katherine Janeway – the first female Captain to head up a regular Trek program. Janeway was a skilled diplomat as well as a sharp scientific intellectual, and she looked after her crew like both mother hen and big sister protector. She’d have to deal with a dangerous rebel group called The Maquis, or terrorist clan depending on your take of the politics, and see them smoothly integrate into her limited crew. Save for a flash flirtation with her first officer, Cmdr. Chakotay (Robert Beltran), Janeway would mostly restrain her romantic proclivities to a literature loving alien and a holographic Irishman.
Romantic Spirit Folk
Voyager is on mission to go home. Since Starfleet space is tens of thousands of light years away, the crew must busy themselves with away missions, experiments, and a little rest and relaxation. Tripping around the fantasy offering holodecks allow the crew to visit virtually anytime or anyplace.
One holodeck program called Fairhaven becomes one of the most popular vacation spots with the crew to get away from it all. It’s so realistic, Captain Janeway falls in love of sorts with Michael, the genial barkeep of the pastoral village. Many fans wondered why the attractive Captain would focus her romantic energies on an artificial male, when there were more than a few real ones handy. A case could be made that Janeway was so professionally responsible, she felt the kindling of romance with her own flesh and blood subordinates would be problematic. What a selfless leader!
Interspecies Intercourse & Infinite Warp Speed
Lt. Paris is a man who loves speed. When a daring experiment is hatched to achieve the fastest warp speeds ever, Paris is selected as the one to pilot the experimental shuttle to break the warp 10 barrier. The episode called, “Threshold”, sees Paris successfully travel the mind bending speed, but he pays a steep price for his cosmic speediness.
Stemming from the unimaginable warp speed he travels, the red headed flyboy mutates horribly. What follows is a raw and heart breaking look at the steady decay of a man’s body and mind. Just when it appears there’s no hope for Paris to survive the nightmarish debilitation, comes an outrageous twist involving Janeway and the helmsman mating and becoming proud parents of a reptile like race.
Borg Queen Liaisons
Born of the 2nd season of TNG, in the Q centered episode, “Q-Who”, the Borg captured the imaginations of fans to become a race of villains worthy to sit right alongside Klingons and Romulans. When the feature film Star Trek: First Contact bowed in 1996, a supremely enigmatic Borg leader seductively emerged. She was the royal glue which held the cybernetic race together tightly. She was the Borg Queen. Played to eerie perfection by Alice Krige (Chariots of Fire), the concept and thrill of the Borg would never be the same after her introduction.
So too would the Queen’s dark sexuality. Although seemingly more machine than humanoid, Krige exuded a compelling allure exciting all who enjoyed her iconic performance. When she commands her drones to capture the android Data and start replacing his synthetic skin with an organic version, her sexual seduction begins. She asks the only android life form serving in Starfleet, “Are you familiar with physical forms of pleasure?” After the android responds favorably to her cosmic come on, it’s both a weird dating game and waiting game to see who’ll come up on top in the romance department. Finally, when Picard shows up – once known in the Borg world as Locutus – it becomes a kind of bizarre threesome, and like many a dysfunctional relationship, it all goes up in smoke.