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Old February 9 2009, 02:55 AM   #1
TheGodBen
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A Semi-Hater Revisits Voyager

Those who know me (ie. nobody) can attest, I am not a big fan of Voyager, it is my least favourite Trek series. The reasons why are simple; it lacked continuity, it had a lot of technobabble and a lot of the characters became incredibly bland. My Trek listing goes like this:

DS9 > TNG > TOS > ENT > VOY

But it has been a long time since I've seen Voyager, in fact it has been over a decade since I saw most of the episodes and when I saw them I would have been in my teens. I realise that my criticisms of Voyager may be unfairly filtered through the eyes of an adolescent, so I have decided to go back and watch Voyager through from beginning to end. I don't know if I will manage to complete the journey, but I'm going to give it a shot. To be honest, I don't even remember most of the episodes in the first three seasons, so this is like watching them for the first time. It's almost like being a Voyager virgin.

Caretaker (****)

This is a good solid start to the show, only surpassed as a show opener by Emissary. Most of the characters come across as interesting, although I thought Chakotay just acted like an empty shirt. I was surprised by how much I liked Neelix in this episode since I generally consider him to be the most obnoxious character in Trek. He managed to walk the fine line between irritating the crew and irritating the audience and I hope he manages to keep it up.

One thing I found odd is the tech-talk when we first see Voyager, especially the focus on the bio-neural gel-packs. It just seemed completely out of place and irrelevant; imagine Scotty speaking a whole load of technobabble to Kirk during the Enterprise fly-by in TMP.

I found the Delta Quadrant interesting, and the Kazon came across as an engaging villain during their first outing. I will confess that I often used to complain that Janeway broke the Prime Directive by destroying the Array and that it was a huge mistake, but seeing the episode made me change my opinion and I now think it was the right thing to do. She could have left some torpedoes on the array with a detonator, but now I'm just nit-picking. It wasn't the perfect way of getting the ship stranded, but it was thought provoking and I can ask for little else from Trek.

So Voyager is off to a good start, hopefully my rewatching can give me a more positive impression of the show.

TABLE of CONTENTS
Season 1
Caretaker
****
Parallax **1/2
Time and Again**1/2
Phage ****
The Cloud **
Eye of the Needle ****1/2
Ex Post Facto *1/2
Emanations *1/2
Prime Factors ****
State of Flux ****
Heroes and Demons **
Cathexis **
Faces ****
Jetrel ***1/2
Learning Curve *

Season 2
The 37's *1/2
Initiations *1/2
Projections ****
Elogium 1/2
Non Sequitur *1/2
Twisted **
Parturition **1/2
Persistence of Vision ***
Tattoo **1/2
Cold Fire *1/2
Maneuvers ***1/2
Resistance ****
Prototype *1/2
Alliances ***1/2
Threshold *****
Meld ****1/2
Dreadnought **1/2
Deathwish ***
Lifesigns ***
Investigations *
Deadlock **1/2
Innocence *
The Thaw ***1/2
Tuvix *1/2
Resolutions **1/2
Basics, Part 1 ***

Season 3
Basics, Part 2 (**½)
Flashback (*)
The Chute (***)
The Swarm (*½) (I retroactively deducted half a star from this one.)
False Profits (½)
Remember (*½) (Which led to an incident that caused my first drunk post.)
Sacred Ground (*½)
Future's End, Part 1 (**)
Future's End, Part 2 (**½)
Warlord (**½)
The Q and the Grey (*)
Macrocosm (*½)
Fair Trade (***½)
Alter Ego (*)
Coda (0) (The 0 score got some people riled up so I was forced to do what is probably my longest episode review.)
Blood Fever (***)
Unity (****) (Yes, they're the same link but it looks more official this way. )
The Darkling (½)
Rise (**½) (I know the guy was insulting and totally deserved the actions taken against him, but damn, the Jaespol era was fun. )
Favourite Son (0)
Before and After (***½)
Real Life (***½)
Distant Origin (****)
Displaced (*½)
Worst Case Scenario (**½)
Scorpion (*****)
Season 3 Review

Season 4
Scorpion, Part 2 (***½)
The Gift (***)
Day of Honour (**½)
Nemesis (***½) (This episode earned half a star back because I made a u-turn and decided to not deduct points for shuttle losses. I never did bother to incorporate the point deductions in season reviews because the show was having enough trouble keeping its score up.)
Revulsion (**½)
The Raven (***½) (This explains the origin of the shuttle-o-matic.)
Scientific Method (*)
Year of Hell, Part 1 (****)
Year of Hell, Part 2 (****)
Random Thoughts (*)
Concerning Flight (*)
Mortal Coil (***½)
Waking Moments (*½)
Message in a Bottle (****)
Hunters (***½)
Prey (****½)
Retrospect (***½)
The Killing Game, Part 1 (*)
The Killing Game, Part 2 (*½)
Vis à Vis (½)
The Omega Directive (**)
Unforgettable (*½)
Living Witness (*****)
Demon (*)
One (**)
Hope and Fear (***½)
Season 4 Review

Season 5
Night (***)
Drone (**) (That one sure did cause a kerfuffle that lasted for a few pages.)
Extreme Risk (**)
In the Flesh (0) (Post 1701! And then I left.)
Once Upon a Time (***½) (Not really.)
Timeless (****½) (In no way do I endorse the use of rohypnol as a date-rape drug. Just to be clear.)
Infinite Regress (**½)
Nothing Human (*½)
Thirty Days (***½) (And the show jumped the shark!)
Counterpoint (**½)
Latant Image (****)
Bride of Chaotica! (**½)
Gravity (**)
Bliss (*½)
Dark Frontier (**½)
The Disease (**)
Course: Oblivion (**)
The Fight (0)
Think Tank (**)
Juggernaut (**)
Someone to Watch Over Me (***½)
11:59 (****)
Relativity (**)
Warhead (**½)
Equinox (****)
Season 5 Review

Season 6
Equinox, Part 2 (***½)
Survival Instinct (***½)
Barge of the Dead (**½)
Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy (****)
Alice (*)
Riddles (*½)
Dragon's Teeth (***½)
One Small Step (**½)
The Voyager Conspiracy (*½)
Pathfinder (***½) (No, that was not the end, it was a poorly targeted joke about Fair Haven that confused everybody.)
Fair Haven (0)
Blink of an Eye (****)
Virtuoso (**)
Memorial (****)
Tsunkatse (**)
Collective (***½)
[Dark Images (*½)]
Spirit Folk (0)
Ashes to Ashes (*)
Child's Play (***½)
Good Shepherd (***)
Live Fast and Prosper (**½)
Muse (*½)
Fury (*)
Life Line (**½)
The Haunting of Deck Twelve (**½)
Unimatrix Zero (**)
Season 6 Review

Last edited by Akiraprise; September 1 2009 at 08:54 AM.
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Old February 9 2009, 04:49 AM   #2
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Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

Season 7
Unimatrix Zero, Part 2 (*½)
Imperfection (***)
Drive (***)
Repression (**½)
Critical Care (****)
Inside Man (**)
Body and Soul (*½)
Nightingale (*½)
Flesh and Blood (**½)
Shattered (**)
Lineage (****)
Repentance (**½)
Prophesy (*½)
The Void (**½)
(Explanation of my name change.)
Workforce (***½)
Workforce, Part 2 (**)
Human Error (**)
Q2 (*)
Author, Author (*****)
Friendsip One (**)
Natural Law (*)
Homestead (***½)
Renaissance Man (**)
Endgame (September Fools' Joke)
Endgame (*½)
Season 7 Review

Voyager Review

It seems a lot of people who give Voyager a second chance once they're older gain a better appreciation for it. Enjoy the journey and keep us posted.
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Last edited by Akiraprise; September 10 2009 at 12:05 AM. Reason: Had to put Season 7 here. The first post exceeded the 20000 charcter limit.
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Old February 9 2009, 07:17 AM   #3
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Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

Look forward to following this thread, I'm like you in liking the VOY the least (wouldn't call myself a hater though) but with plans to revisit the series before too long. However, despite that I've always thought that Caretaker was by far the strongest all round pilot of the five, it's a good solid story which introduces the characters well.
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Old February 9 2009, 07:27 AM   #4
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Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

kimc wrote: View Post
It seems a lot of people who give Voyager a second chance once they're older gain a better appreciation for it. Enjoy the journey and keep us posted.
Agreed, keep us posted on your journey through Voyager...
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Old February 9 2009, 08:29 AM   #5
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Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

I rewatched it.

It annoyed me more
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Old February 9 2009, 10:15 AM   #6
Tachyon
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Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

Caretaker is an excellent pilot. Compared to TNG's pilot, which was a little ridiculous even, Caretaker is simply superb. Emissary was okay for me, but it did not hook me to the show sameway as Caretaker did.

For me the concept of being alone in another side of the galaxy was simply fascinating. When that was added to interesting characters, there was no way for me to dislike it.
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Old February 9 2009, 12:09 PM   #7
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Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

kirk1980 wrote: View Post
I rewatched it.

It annoyed me more

lol I found the same thing recently. Seasons 1 to 4 had me hooked, but by the mid-point of season 5 I was losing interest and by Equinox I found most episodes were starting to annoy me (but not Equinox itself - still one of my favourites) much more than the first time round. I haven't really got the motivation to carry on to seasons 6 and 7 unfortunately.

Anyway GodBen, hope you enjoy going through the series - there are definitely some episodes in there among some of Trek's finest offerings worth sticking round for
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Old February 9 2009, 12:35 PM   #8
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Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

GodBen wrote: View Post
One thing I found odd is the tech-talk when we first see Voyager, especially the focus on the bio-neural gel-packs.
I agree. I always thought that this was supposed to end up being a bigger plot point. I think it would have been device to have the gel packs be responsible for the ships slow emergence into sentience, with the Doctor as it's personality.

Of course like most things with Voyager, they decided to go with the easy way out and make a magic holo-emitter. That's still the missed opportunity of Voyager to me. Every time they had the opportunity to write something challenging and interesting, they wimped out and wrote something easy or ratings-inducing, whether it was scarce supplies (they weren't), a contentious Maquis crew (they were almost never shown) or a Doctor who isn't really alive (oh wait, he magically is!).
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Old February 9 2009, 01:42 PM   #9
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Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

Coincidentally, i've just started doing the very same thing.

I wouldn't have described myself as a hater, more an "indifferent"-er.

When Voyager first came to the UK in June 1995 (via CIC's official videos), I was at the height of my Trek fandom. I liked it, picked up a few vids (remember when we had to pay £12.99 for two new episodes? Heh. I can pick up a complete season on DVD right now from Amazon for the same price. Ah, well...) and enjoyed them. However, I was collecting the DS9 videos so didn't really focus on Voyager; some friends were buying them though, so I managed to see all of seasons 1-2.

By the time the Beeb (I didn't have Sky then) got the series and got around to showing season 3 onwards, I was a bit indifferent to it all. I have only watched 3 episodes from season 3 ("Basics, Part 2", "Worst Case Scenario" and "Scorpion") and just 2 from season 4 ("Scorpion 2" and "The Gift"). I've never seen beyond this - and the moaning from others about how lame it was never motivated me to seek these episodes out either.

However, Virgin1 have just begun transmitting the series again from season 1 onwards daily, so I've jumped onboard again.

So far, I've seen the episodes up to "Emanations" - and it is good! I still enjoy these episodes; partly due to a tug of nostalgia (remembering my friends and I chatting about it, and all the hype and "feel good for Trek" spirit that existed during the mid-90s) but also, I think it's a good start to the series!

"Caretaker" was good - I thought it in 1995 and I think it now. Some of the episodes have been lacking ("Cloud" was as dull as I recalled), but most of them have been good. I'm going to watch the whole series now, and hope season 3-onwards maintains the quality of season 1 and 2. It won't ever be my fave series, but I'm now excited by the prospect of NEW (for me) episodes of Star Trek!
(I have also never seen "Enterprise", save for the very first episode, so will probably get on to that eventually).
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Old February 9 2009, 03:04 PM   #10
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Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

Thanks for the support guys. Hopefully I'll watch the next episode tonight.

I used to think that Caretaker was the best pilot, but I rewatched Emissary when I bought the DS9 some years back and it really grew on me. Part of it is because I love the characters on DS9 so much, but the personal story about Sisko having to overcome his grief was quite powerful and has became more relatable to me over the last few years.

As for being a hater, that was just to get people to look at the thread. I'm not fond of Voyager and I tend to make fun at its expense but I don't hate the show, I was just disappointed by it. Watching Caretaker last night reminded me how solid a beginning this show had, and it reminded me of how I felt when I first started watching Voyager. It made me feel bad that this show didn't reach its potential.
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Old February 9 2009, 07:47 PM   #11
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Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

It's a funny coincident that I re-watched "Caretaker" recently as well.

I've been very unhappy with Star Trek for a while, mainly because I got tired of constant bickering at another forum outside the TrekBBS and also because of the decision to kill off Janeway in the Star Trek books, someyhing I've strongly disagree with and also have debated about on the TrekBBS TrekLit forum.

Hiwever, I decided to have my own "Voyager Relaunch" and start with "Caretaker" to see if Voyager felt like a lost cause or if the magic is still there.

I must admit that when I watch this episode, the magic is still there! I still get the same feeling of excitement when I re-watch "Caretaker" that I got about 10-12 years ago when I watched it the first time. That moment when Kim says "we're on the other side of the galaxy" still give me goosebumps, "now the adventure really starts"!

"Caretaker" is a brilliant pilot episode. A good and exciting story overall, the main characters are introduced in a very nice way and there's a lot of interesting, exciting and even funny scenes as well. The first meeting between Tuvok and Neelix in the transporter room is hilarious.

I agree on the comments that the Delta Quadrant was interesting and I did also find the Kazon good villains as well.

I remember when I watched it the first time. I became a fan immediately and could hardly wait for the next episode. Voyager was also the first series where I took an immediate liking to ALL the main characters. OK, I did have some problems with The Doctor to start with, I thought the whole idea of a walking, talking, living and Doctor hologram was a bit over the top. But it took only three episodes (until "Time And Again") until he became a beloved favorite as well.

I remained an ardent Voyager fan for three seasons before things started to happen which did put me off the series. But I still consider myself a fan of the show, especially the first three seasons and I still have an affection for the main characters.

By the way, I decided to re-read the book "Caretaker" as well. The book is excellent too, with some details that we didn't see in the TV episode.

If I should rate the episode, I'll give it 5 points out of 5.
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Old February 9 2009, 10:21 PM   #12
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Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

I've been watching Voy again too. But I'm in the 5th season right now. I think the show gets weaker as it goes on. As the continuity problems appear (how many shuttles? lol). The endless resets after each ultra traumatic episode. The Voyager/First Contact-edition Borg (yuck). Seven of Nine's stupid outfit (she's a superb actress though). Excessive treknology deus ex machina life savers.

It's an ok show. It's entertaining. But it's really kinda weak overall. I just don't think that they had a plan for the show. They came up with stuff as they went and it showed.

You won't see me argue that any of the series are really "better than the rest" though. They have their own strengths and weaknesses (or share them).
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Old February 9 2009, 11:29 PM   #13
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Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

I didn't care for VOY all that much upon watching it the first time either. I began watching it in re-runs not long after the series ended (or thereabouts) and really started to see it in a new light. I enjoy VOY much more now.

I thought "Caretaker" was an excellent opening to this series. As far as enjoyment goes, I think VOY and TNG had two of the better series openers.

One thing I found odd is the tech-talk when we first see Voyager, especially the focus on the bio-neural gel-packs. It just seemed completely out of place and irrelevant; imagine Scotty speaking a whole load of technobabble to Kirk during the Enterprise fly-by in TMP.
The technobabble could definitely get heavy at times. I think the series would have been a little more approachable if they had laid off it more throughout.
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Old February 9 2009, 11:42 PM   #14
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Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

Good wrote: View Post
Every time they had the opportunity to write something challenging and interesting, they wimped out and wrote something easy or ratings-inducing, whether it was scarce supplies (they weren't), a contentious Maquis crew (they were almost never shown) or a Doctor who isn't really alive (oh wait, he magically is!).
That's been my problem with Voyager as well. Judging the episodes alone, they're for the most part entertaining with the same occasional clunkers every show winds up with. However, when taken as a whole, it loses something.

Moreover, when things in an episode demand follow-up, they're usually ignored, not to mention the lack of build-up to these events - B'Elanna's suicidal depression in 'Extreme Risk,' I believe it was, for example, should have been built up and it should have been followed up - Star Trek has yet to have an episode that deals with the long term effects of depression, and the episode itself basically says that suicidal depression is something with a quick fix and you're all better. The only characters I can look at each year and say 'yes, they have been affected by the things they've been through this year' are the Doctor and Seven.

As a would-be-writer myself, I was particularly disappointed by the statements from Voyager's writers that they didn't do things with some characters because they weren't interested in them - Seven and the Doctor, as the ones developing their humanity are easy to write for. Someone like Harry, or Chakotay, or Neelix, or Tuvok, or Kes aren't as easy, they're people with pasts that predate the show that can have an effect on them. The Doctor had no individual traits until they activated him in 'Caretaker.' Seven spent most of her life among the Borg Collective, having been assimilated at a young age, so she had no real personality that reassurted itself after she was disconnected from the Collective. Those two are blank slates and can be and do what the writers want without them having to make it a part of their character - they're experimenting with this or that, and if the writers don't like it, they can say that the 'experiment concluded, and I have no further use for that activity.'

Voyager had the potential for a number of stories, experimenting with what happens to people pushed to the edge, and the psychological effects (I got into some of the things I would have liked to have seen on the show in the 'what would you have done different' thread). But they decided to keep things lighter and 'easily accessible,' so they didn't include the arcs, both character and plot driven, that I prefer in shows. It's not a bad decision - just not a decision that I agree with.
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Old February 10 2009, 02:22 AM   #15
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Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

Parallax (**½)

And so we arrive at Brannon Braga's first contribution to Voyager, and it just happens to contain Voyager's first anomaly-of-the-week. Oh boy...

This is clearly still Michael Piller's Trek because the anomaly takes a back seat to the character story about B'Elanna and her quest to become chief engineer. I enjoyed seeing Chakotay going up against Janeway and sticking to his guns, although his character still hasn't made an impression on me. The argument between Chakotay and Janeway struck as something that would never happen on TNG without some sort of alien influence and I thought that was kind of cool, but then I remembered that in DS9's second episode Sisko threatened to cut Kira's head off so that dulled its impact.

As an aside, there is a meeting in the beginning where they are discussing power conservation and how they are planning to evacuate deck nine and leave it without power. This is the sort of Voyager I wouldn't mind seeing, but other than throw-away lines like this it hardly ever materialised. I consider that a big let-down.

There is a lot of technobabble in this episode, and unfortunately technobabble also serves as the solution to the plot which is a big pet peeve of mine. Also, does Brannon Braga even know what an event horizon is?

Janeway proves herself to have a more hands on approach to things than Picard or Sisko and that's okay with me. I'm not all that impressed with B'Elanna as she's only a good engineer because the writer wants her to be. There is some good music in this episode which makes the shuttle landing seem as dramatic as a real shuttle landing.

I'd give the character story 3 stars and the anomaly story only 2.


Time and Again (**½)


This episode sums up one of my big problems with Voyager; this could easily have been a TNG plot. It doesn't use Voyager's unique situation at all, so for the third episode they are already falling back on TNG-style alien-of-the-week stories. It's not a bad episode but it's nothing memorable either, what I remembered most about this episode is how the alien clothes looked like Rowntree's Fruit Gums. That's not a good sign.

Janeway's adherence to the Prime Directive is unsettling me a bit here. I used to be a big Prime Directive advocate when I was younger, but now I'm more in love with the idea of the PD rather than strict adherence to it. What is wrong with saving billions of people if no cultural contamination takes place? There's no problem with it, so why is Janeway insistent that she and Paris must let all these people die? And if she really feels this way then why did she destroy the Caretaker's array only two weeks before?

And what is it with Trek and extremely annoying kids? If they are not important to the plot then leave the kids out of the episode because all they manage to do is piss me off.

The plot resolution is Voyager's first use of the dreaded reset-button but I don't mind it so much. It was a neat little paradox and none of it ever really happened, which is fitting because I'll have forgotten this episode again by next week.


PS I'm rating the episodes out of five stars, not four.
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