Kate Mulgrew is psyched.
"I'd say the tone of Voyager is much freer, much more personal, and much more dangerous as we get into season six," said Mulgrew, who once again assumes the captain's chair as Kathryn Janeway when Voyager returns to the airwaves on Sept. 22.
"There's also no question that we're going after a broader based audience now. We'd love to find more viewers, both those who watched Deep Space Nine and anyone else who's willing to see what we're doing."
What they're dong is making space safe from deadly aliens, and making Wednesday nights scared for born-again Trekkies.
"When I say Voyager is more personal, that's precisely what they've done. They're approaching the show from the inside out," Mulgrew said.
"Anybody who tunes in will think, 'Oh, that's interesting. What is B'Elanna (Roxanne Dawson) doing that for?' It is no longer just about the ship and our constraints," she said.
"Our first episodes of the season have not only been more personal, but they've been extravagant, more so than they ever before. And I mean that on every level," Mulgrew said.
"We've worked longer and harder hours, and we've probably spent more money per episode. Everyone is in a sense bending over backwards to extend themselves to this larger audience by getting across, as best we can, these pretty interesting stories."
The sixth season will kick off with Equinox, Part 2, which resolves the fifth season cliffhanger. Matters looked rather bleak for Capt. Janeway and her crew when last seen, as aliens closed in and Capt. Ransom (John Savage) of the USS Equinox seemed to be ready to sacrifice everyone on Voyager in order to get himself and his crew back home.
What happens in Equinox, Part 2? "I don't die. I can tell you that," she says. "It looks like there's a lot of me with Savage, but that's editing, because it's mostly me on the bridge, acting against a lot of things that weren't there and being extremely technically proficient."
"In terms of the story, it's Janeway assuring Ransom and his people that I'd go down with the ship rather than let them take over. In the end, of course, he doesn't, but why he doesn't is interesting.
"It's the kind of twist that's typical of the first six episodes you'll see this season."
Another intriguing development on tap: Janeway should finally beam some romance into her life. "It'll be a very big romance, very powerful and heartbreaking," she said. "I want it so unpredictable that it throws Janeway for the biggest loop you've ever seen her thrown for."
Speaking of real-life romance, Mulgrew recently wed Cleveland-based politican Tim Hagan. They met in Ireland before Mulgrew landed Voyager.
The relationship, not to mention Mulgrew's guilt over missing major events in the lives of her two sons, led the the actress to very publicly hint that she might not return to Voyager. Her comments sent shockwaves through Trek fandom.
Ultimately, the Trek producers agreed to coordinate Mulgrew's schedule with "extra vigilance."
That meant fewer days sitting at home idly, waiting to be called into the studio, and fewer instances of shooting a single scene on a given day.
"The acknowledgement of my need for time was crucial, and they did acknowledge it," she said. "They stepped up to the plate."
Now a happy camper personally and professionally, Mulgrew is fervent in her commitment to Voyager.
She's deep into season six and signed for a 7th year. And she has her eyes on the future. "After Voyager,......I will be immersed in my marriage and my family," she said.
"Perhaps, I'll write about my seven years on Voyager. I may move to Cleveland. Then, after some time has gone by, if I'm still desirable to the theater, I'll go to New York and do a play."
copyright The New York Times Special Feature