The reviews are in: Most fans of old 'Star Trek' program like the new one, too

January 18, 1995|By Steve McKerrow | Steve McKerrow,Sun Staff Writer

"Star Trek: Voyager" slipped into a stable orbit this week, managing to please one of television's pickiest audiences: the devout fans of the "Star Trek" universe.

A two-hour series pilot, "Caretaker," aired Monday night as the debut offering of the United Paramount Network, and local and national fans call it an able successor to "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and a good companion to "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine."

"I have to say I liked what I saw. Even in those two hours, we saw interesting relationships begin to develop," says Inge Heyer, the education chairman of the Star Trek Association of Towson, which stages "Shore Leave" fan conventions in the Baltimore area.

"We got together with some friends and absolutely loved it," says Alan Purvis of Reisterstown. "We thought it was a worthy chapter in the continuing saga." His family is involved in Starfleet, an international service organization of "Star Trek" fans.

Across the country, generally favorable commentary about the show filled the "Star Trek" bulletin board of the America Online computer service, although plot inconsistencies and some characters came in for criticism.

"Our audience, both fans and not, had very suspicious expectations, and we enjoyed the ensemble acting . . . as well as the premise and attitude in general, and hope that the series will keep up this sense of wonder and promise," wrote a user named Mike.

Some users debated whether the voice of Kate Mulgrew, who stars as Voyager Capt. Kathryn Janeway, is too much like Katharine Hepburn's. Others found fault with the mathematics involved in the show's premise, which strands the Voyager on the other side of the galaxy, 75 years' travel from known space.

The series premiere drew strong ratings in Baltimore, according to UPN affiliate WNUV, Channel 54, where the program airs at 8 p.m. Mondays.

Mike Schroeder, program/promotions director, says the premiere show's 18 share -- a share is the percentage of viewers tuned in to a particular show -- ranked second for the night behind only the 22 share average for the CBS Monday night sitcom lineup of "The Nanny," "Dave's World," "Murphy Brown" and "Cybill."

Mr. Schroeder says the rating might be the highest ever in prime time for WNUV.

Some fans' approval of the new show is conditional.

"I miss 'Next Generation,' but I will probably try to watch 'Voyager' . . . to see if they can pull it together," says Kam Miller, an exercise physiologist in Washington.

"My reaction is a mixed bag. I thought it was better than the average television show, but not as good as a lot of the 'Next Gen' shows," says Rosanna Kroll, who chairs the "Shore Leave" conventions of the Star Trek Association of Towson.

But she notes that "Star Trek: The Next Generation" began slowly, yet became the best-rated syndicated series ever during its seven seasons on the air.

And, like most, she had praise for Paramount's casting of a female captain as star. Her Towson association mounted a letter-writing campaign last year when it was reported that Paramount was having trouble finding a woman to take the role.

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