The character of Seven of Nine has had a remarkable effect on the
fortunes of Star Trek's fourth spin-off show, Voyager, since her
introduction at the start of season four.
Jeri Ryan's portrayal of the Borg adopted by the lost Federation ship has
also managed to polarise opinion in Trek fandom. Some view the introduction
of a regular Borg crew member as a further unforgivable
weakening of arguably Star Trek's most chilling creations. Others claim
that Seven of Nine has revitalised the plots and character interaction
in Voyager to an extent that makes the character unassailable.
There also appears to be widespread appreciation of Ryan for less
considered reasons: something to do with the suit provided by the
costume department and the priorities of the show's lighting director.
Either way, there is enough enthusiasm for Seven of Nine to quash
carping that her introduction may be no more than a cynical Paramount
ploy to boost previously unspectacular ratings.
It is undeniable that there has been a
pattern of quality episodes in the wake of Seven's debut: 'Scorpion
- Part 2' (her first appearance), 'The Raven' and more recently
'Drone' and 'Dark Frontier' stand out particularly. Jeri Ryan's
portrayal perfectly balances Seven's cold, meticulous and
dispassionate Borg impulses with her slow recovery of human
understanding and curiosity. It is credit to Ryan's skills that the
exploration of the death of Seven's parents at the hands of the Borg
and her absorption into the collective proved unexpectedly touching.
But she has also provided a new seam of humour, acting as deadpan foil to the enthusiasm of Harry Kim and Tom Paris, and facing the Doctor's more than professional interest in her with Borg aplomb.
Ultimately, Seven of Nine looks set to be one of Voyager's most popular
and rewarding creations. It is intriguing to think how Star Fleet will
react to Janeway's contentious new recruit when (or if?) the ship returns to