Star Trek: Voyager‘s Robert Picardo shared his memories of joining Voyager and of the first episode, Caretaker.
Picardo was the last actor to work on the pilot which was a bit daunting. “I was the last guy to come in, and everybody else had already established relationships,” he said. “So I come in and say ‘Hello,’ and everyone knew each other already. That meant that there was that little feeling of I had to prove myself.”
Initially, Picardo believed that while working on Voyager would be good for his wallet, his role as the EMH would not be very satisfying emotionally. “I just had so little to do in the pilot,” he said. “I remember, when I first got the role, I was telling everybody, ‘I got the new Star Trek pilot. I’m sure it’ll run. I’m sure it’ll put my kids through college. But I’ve got to tell you, I’ve got the worst part on the show.’ That was an irony that I’ve lived with ever since. I thought I’d gotten the dull role in the show and that made the experience so much fun for me.”
Picardo assumed at first that Tim Russ would be playing the outsider character, played by Spock, Data and Odo on the other Trek televised series. “…I’d gotten the outsider character without being smart enough to realize it,” he said. “I assumed the Spock character on our show would be the Vulcan, would be Tim Russ. I didn’t know enough to realize that the artificial intelligence character, at least on Voyager, was the heir, the successor to that kind of role on our show. And that was very cool.”
Although years have passed since Picardo did Caretaker, the memories are fresh because of his convention appearances over the years. “…With Star Trek, we’re still constantly in the world,” he said. “We’re not making Voyager anymore, but we’re still making personal appearances. People are still watching it. The fans still even review the work. It seems a little bit more present in my memory than, say, China Beach, which was a show I did until just a couple of years before Voyager started. China Beach, though, seems like something I haven’t been a part of for a very long time, because we don’t have conventions for it, I haven’t really seen or talked about it in a long time. So that feels like more of a distant memory to me than Voyager.”