With the mission parameters of Star Trek: Voyager now firmly established, the various member of Capt. Janeway's crew are each getting a shot at the spotlight. In the April 24 episode (check local listing), it's Doc Zimmerman's turn. The imperious holographic medico goes through some unexpected changes when called upon to solve a mystery. People are disappearing from Voyager's holodeck, which is programmed with a simulation of the epic poem "Beowulf." No one can turn the holodeck off, and soon it actually begins pulling people inside. Once Janeway realizes that Zimmerman is the only one who can enter the holodeck without it being harmed, she enlists him to help out, and he ends up a hero in more ways than one.
"I get to do all sorts of exciting things," enthuses Robert Picardo, the actor who plays the cranky computer simulation. Entering the world of 6th-century Norse mythology gives Zimmerman an opportunity to experience things he's never experienced before. "He's got all this attitude, all this knowledge, but he's never set eyes on a sunset before," notes Picardo, choking back a fake sniffle. "It gave me a chance to add a kind of childlike streak to his petulant nature." It also gave Voyager's tech crew a chance to add some "Forest Gump"-esque effects when Zimmerman loses a limb - à la Gary Sinise's Lt. Dan - in his travels.
As for Picardo's own experience since beaming aboard Voyager, he's found that one of the most frequently asked questions from fans is this: How does Doc Zimmerman from Data of The Next Generation? "First of all," says Picardo, "Data's hardware; I'm software. Then there's that attitude difference." Which makes his relationships with Kes (Jennifer Lien) even more poignant. "If I'm the most armored personality in the cast, Kes is the most available," he says. "It's interesting that the writers chose to pair us."
By Glenn Kenny
Last modified on April 6, 1995