Voyager: Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy
Star Trek: Voyager, Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy. First aired Oct. 13, 1999.
Trek is at its best when it uses non-humans — Spock (only half human), Data (an android), Deep Space Nine‘s Odo, and Voyager‘s holographic Doctor — to reveal the flaws in the rest of us. Largely because he is played so well byRobert Picardo, Voyager‘s Doctor became my favorite of these characters. The Doctor is not even a robot, like Data. Rather, he is simply software program, the Emergency Medical Hologram (EMH), which was designed to be used only in battle situations when the corporeal physician has died. Because Voyager is flung across the galaxy, the EMH has to take over, and we see him/it develop and grow and change in ways that few TV characters can. Like hundreds of other Trek episodes, this one gets cheesy, but at its core is a grand idea, one that pays off in the final act of the episode: humanity is something humans can lose and other beings can gain.