Voyager Website 1995
Paramount’s groundbreaking use of a Web site to market the movie “Star Trek Generations” helped propel the movie into a box-office hit. To assist in the launching of the brand new series, and their own network (UPN), Paramount looked again to the Internet as a way to connect with Star Trek fans.
Working closely with Voyager creators Michael Piller and Jeri Taylor, a team from the Paramount Media Kitchen in Palo Alto, California designed and built the site. Starting with the series “bible,” production photos and press materials for reference, the team chose to go beyond a simple presentation of information about the show. A unique story was created that enabled visitors to the site to become a virtual crew member on the U.S.S. Voyager.
Injured in battle and rendered unconscious, the participating crew member awoke in Sickbay to be greeted by the Emergency Medical Hologram Doctor. The Doctor then explained what had happened and provided a PADD containing information about the crew, the ship, and their mission. By clicking through the PADD (the navigation device for the site), the visitor learned all about the new show.
Video scenes featuring Captain Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) and The Doctor (Robert Picardo) were produced exclusively for the site. (For the record, series stars Mulgrew and Picardo were amongst the first performers to appear in material produced solely for this new medium.) The scenes, shot on the Bridge and in Sickbay, were directed by visual effects supervisor and second unit director Dan Curry.
Star Trek fans eager for details on the upcoming new series made the site an immediate success and pages were viewed millions of times by visitors from around the world. On the night of January 16, 1995, the United Paramount Network was launched with Voyager’s premiere episode, “Caretaker”. UPN’s debut captured the most viewers that evening, beating established networks ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox. Once again, Star Trek blazed a trail with this innovative use of the Web.
For more information on the original Voyager site, a documentary about its creation titled “Launching Voyager on the Web” is a featured extra on the Star Trek: Voyager Season 1 DVD Box Set.
With the rebuild of StarTrek.com in 2010, the website was taken down. But here you can watch it as it was in 1995.