Star Trek Voyager - A Thread for Fans

Adam Lenhardt

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Last night I watched:
  • "Nemesis": I didn't love this one. The twist didn't feel earned. At the end of the episode we get an exposition dump that explains that everything in the episode up until the battle where Tuvok intercepts Chakotay was a simulation, but it's not explained how it's a simulation. The unconventional Vori dialect, in which they spoke seemingly via thesaurus, was clearly intended to be seen in retrospect as part of the indoctrination process, and the degree to which Chakotay adopted those speech patterns was clearly intended to measure how much he had succumbed to the programming. The reveal that the Predator-looking aliens were actually the "good" guys was a bit too obvious. I think it would have been a stronger episode if two of the crew had been stranded on the planet, Chakotay with the Vori and the second crew member with the Kradin, and then parallel their journeys from opposing sides of the conflict. Then the episode wouldn't have needed the complication of most of it being a simulation.
Tonight I watched:
  • "The Raven": This episode is basically Seven of Nine's origin story, filling in some additional details of her per-assimilation childhood, and providing the conditions for her to let go of her need to be Borg. The most interesting part of the episode for me was Jeri Ryan's performance. She hadn't quite found the character yet, and her speech and body language is a lot softer here than what she would eventually settle on. It's also interesting watching these early Seven of Nine episodes so soon after watching "Picard", in which Seven of Nine has been an individual for far longer than the period she was Borg, and is far more human. In other news, Voyager shuttles are dropping like flies.

  • "Scientific Method": I tend to like Star Trek episodes where the starship comes into contact with a technologically superior species, and this was no exception. The premise is extremely creepy: An escalating series of medical mysteries are the result of invisible alien researchers who have been conducting experiments on the Voyager crew for weeks or maybe even months. When Seven of Nine was walking around Voyager with the modification the Doctor had made to her ocular implant, I was reminded of the special sunglasses from They Live. I vaguely remember that TNG also did an episode where Starfleet officers were being experimented on by aliens without their knowledge. But as I recall, that story tapped into our collective alien abduction fears. Somehow, the fact that the experiments here were being conducted on board Voyager, while the unknowing lab rats were fully awake and going about their days, made it even creepier.
 

KPmusmag

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Last night I watched:


  • "Scientific Method": I tend to like Star Trek episodes where the starship comes into contact with a technologically superior species, and this was no exception. The premise is extremely creepy: An escalating series of medical mysteries are the result of invisible alien researchers who have been conducting experiments on the Voyager crew for weeks or maybe even months. When Seven of Nine was walking around Voyager with the modification the Doctor had made to her ocular implant, I was reminded of the special sunglasses from They Live. I vaguely remember that TNG also did an episode where Starfleet officers were being experimented on by aliens without their knowledge. But as I recall, that story tapped into our collective alien abduction fears. Somehow, the fact that the experiments here were being conducted on board Voyager, while the unknowing lab rats were fully awake and going about their days, made it even creepier.
"Scientific Method" is one of my favorites - a fraught episode with suspense and Janeway cracking at the end is exciting. I have to admit I am glad only one of the alien ships gets away. I thought Kate Mulgrew did a great job of showing escalating stress, especially since (I have no way of knowing) but the scenes may well have been shot out of order, in which case she would have to match her emotional intensity from previous takes. The reveal when we see what Seven sees when she looks at Janeway is an electrifying moment. IMO this is good science fiction as well as good Trek.
 
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Bryan^H

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I just watched "Bliss", and "Juggernaut" from season 5. Very entertaining episodes both of them. If only this series could get HD remastered. I know it will never happen, but it's nice to dream.
 
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KPmusmag

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Scientific Method is one of my favorite episodes too. Watching Janeway getting more and more agitated is one of the highlights of the episode. I agree it is creepy too.
I just watched it again, and when Janeway is flying into the binary quasar (or whatever it is) and the alien woman is trying to reason with her, I so wanted Janeway to just lose it altogether and give her a good karate chop in the trachea. The caveman in me. LOL

And I love when Tuvok says to Janeway, "I will join you for a glass of wine." And she takes his hand. Touching.
 
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Sam Favate

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Last night I watched:
  • "Nemesis": I didn't love this one.
I never liked that one. First of all, I disliked Voyager's one-word titles for nearly every episode. It made them seem generic.

Also, I recall Rick Berman saying in 1996 or 1997 that he wanted the next TNG movie to be titled "Nemesis." "I think that's a great title for a film," he said. So when the 1996 and 1998 TNG movies weren't named Nemesis, and this one was, well, it just felt forced. And then, of course, the 2002 TNG movie was titled Nemesis, and I absolutely hated that. Sometimes, old ideas that don't work shouldn't be used. It shows a lack a creativity.
 

The Obsolete Man

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I never liked that one. First of all, I disliked Voyager's one-word titles for nearly every episode. It made them seem generic.

Also, I recall Rick Berman saying in 1996 or 1997 that he wanted the next TNG movie to be titled "Nemesis." "I think that's a great title for a film," he said. So when the 1996 and 1998 TNG movies weren't named Nemesis, and this one was, well, it just felt forced. And then, of course, the 2002 TNG movie was titled Nemesis, and I absolutely hated that. Sometimes, old ideas that don't work shouldn't be used. It shows a lack a creativity.
OTOH, They'd been trying to call a Trek movie "The Undiscovered Country" since Star Trek II, and didn't make it until VI.
 

Sam Favate

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OTOH, They'd been trying to call a Trek movie "The Undiscovered Country" since Star Trek II, and didn't make it until VI.
To be fair, that's a bit different. That was Nick Meyer's idea of a title for II. It's unlikely anyone thought of it again until Meyer was brought back for VI. (There is no indication Meyer wanted that title for his script of IV.)

In the case of Nemesis, this was a title that Berman - the exec producer - was trying to shoehorn in for several years, first using it in a Voyager episode before he could get it on a movie.
 

Adam Lenhardt

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On Tuesday I watched:
  1. "Year of Hell" (two-parter): This story grappled with a lot of the ideas that I'd been hoping the show would have dealt with right along: Voyager is alone and unsupported in a remote, unknown, and often hostile corner of the galaxy. Yet up until this point, all of the damage from the ship's various encounters seemed to get repaired by the end of the episode, if not sooner, with only one or two exceptions that spilled into the next episode. My disappointment is that the show was unwilling to commit to that concept, undoing it all by the end of the second hour. I think it would have been a lot more daring, and a lot more satisfying, if the Year of Hell had played out properly over the course of a season, with Voyager and its crew slowly but surely worn down over a dozen episodes or so, and then another dozen or so episodes to claw their way back to full functionality. Kurtwood Smith gave a great performance as Annorax, a villain who is both one of Star Trek's most genocidal mass murderers and one of its more thoughtful and three-dimensional episodic antagonists, but I can't see him without thinking of Red Foreman. One thing that confused the hell out of me from a continuity standpoint: In the previous season episode "Before and After", Kes was experiencing time backwards beginning with events in the future from Voyager's perspective. The Year of Hell occurred in that timeline, and many of the events happened exactly the same way. After she was stabilized in time, Kes delivered a full write-up on the threat posed by the Krenim, including the 1.47 microsecond frequency needed to defend against the Krenim weapons. And yet Janeway and her senior officers seem completely unaware of the information she relayed, having to rediscover all of the same things over again.
Tonight I watched:
  • "Random Thoughts": Not one of my favorites. All of the scenes on the planet really felt like TNG-era sets, rather than an actual lived in place. The allegory driving the episode seemed to be a reaction to the political activism of the time by Tipper Gore and others against content they found objectionable in music, film, and television. It all felt a bit belabored, and the idea of thought crimes, and targeted lobotomies as sentences, should have been presented as a lot more horrifying than the rather bloodless presentation here. I also didn't buy that Janeway would acquiesce to the procedure, even provisionally. She had previously shown on multiple occasions that she was willing to violate local laws in order to protect her crew. The only part of the episode that really worked for me was Tuvok's journey, from admiring the local culture and legal system, to becoming quite disillusioned with it. I also liked that it increased his admiration for B'Elanna's self-control despite a naturally aggressive temperament.

  • "Concerning Flight": The idea Voyager being essentially the victim of a highway robbery was fun, and the kind of thing that could happen outside the reach of the Federation. Leonardo da Vinci's first flight was genuinely thrilling, with some very effective visual effects that hold up today. The compositing of the alien city into the location footage that was quite obviously the Santa Monica hills near Paramount's sound stages was actually quite effective. The planet in this episode felt real at times in ways that the planet in the previous episode never did. While I enjoyed this episode more than I expected to, I won't miss the holographic Leonardo da Vinci.

  • "Mortal Coil": I really loved this episode, anchored by a really tremendous performance from Ethan Phillips as Neelix, playing some introspective and dark moments that we don't usually get from that character. Because the Federation is a largely post-religious utopian society dominated by atheists who obey logic and scientific reason as opposed to antiquated superstitions, Star Trek doesn't get to tell a whole lot of stories about religious belief and conviction, and the stories that do get told tend to be pretty bad. (see Star Trek V: The Final Frontier) But I appreciated that this episode took Neelix's beliefs seriously, explored why they were so important to him, and began Neelix's journey to find meaning in life without the certainty of those beliefs. I'm always fascinated by the glimpses we get into Chakotay's 24th century Native American culture, which has vision quests triggered by technology instead of the ingestion of psychoactive hallucinogens. And the final beat, with Ensign Wildman's daughter dreaming of the Great Forest as described by Neelix, was a wonderful note to end on: Even though Neelix is no longer secure in his faith, he has still passed a bit of this thing that had so much meaning and importance to him onto someone else. His beliefs continue to offer comfort, his impact continues to reverberate in ways he couldn't know or appreciate.

  • "Message in a Bottle": This was a hugely important episode, the first contact between Voyager and the Federation since Voyager was stranded in the Delta Quadrant. Aside from its importance in the overall arc of Voyager's journey home, it's also just a fun and exciting episode. I've never been a huge fan of Andy Dick, but he's actually really well cast as the prototype Mark II EMH. That the two EMHs were able to retake the ship is a credit to the Doctor's journey and growth over the past few seasons. From a production standpoint, they did a good job of making the USS Prometheus feel more advanced than Voyager despite only having an episodic budget to work with. There are some nice details in this episode too, like the Alpha Quadrant Starfleet uniforms matching the ones introduced in First Contact and used in the later seasons of DS9. The introduction of the relay network reaching all the way to the outer edges of the Alpha Quadrant was a smart development, as was making the Hirogen in control of the network hostile to Voyager. It means there is a way of communicating with the Federation, but not an easy way, or one that can be used routinely.
 
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Osato

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On Tuesday I watched:
  1. "Year of Hell" (two-parter): This story grappled with a lot of the ideas that I'd been hoping the show would have dealt with right along: Voyager is alone and unsupported in a remote, unknown, and often hostile corner of the galaxy. Yet up until this point, all of the damage from the ship's various encounters seemed to get repaired by the end of the episode, if not sooner, with only one or two exceptions that spilled into the next episode. My disappointment is that the show was unwilling to commit to that concept, undoing it all by the end of the second hour. I think it would have been a lot more daring, and a lot more satisfying, if the Year of Hell had played out properly over the course of a season, with Voyager and its crew slowly but surely worn down over a dozen episodes or so, and then another dozen or so episodes to claw their way back to full functionality. Kurtwood Smith gave a great performance as Annorax, a villain who is both one of Star Trek's most genocidal mass murderers and one of its more thoughtful and three-dimensional episodic antagonists, but I can't see him without thinking of Red Foreman. One thing that confused the hell out of me from a continuity standpoint: In the previous season episode "Before and After", Kes was experiencing time backwards beginning with events in the future from Voyager's perspective. The Year of Hell occurred in that timeline, and many of the events happened exactly the same way. After she was stabilized in time, Kes delivered a full write-up on the threat posed by the Krenim, including the 1.47 microsecond frequency needed to defend against the Krenim weapons. And yet Janeway and her senior officers seem completely unaware of the information she relayed, having to rediscover all of the same things over again.
Tonight I watched:
  • "Random Thoughts": Not one of my favorites. All of the scenes on the planet really felt like TNG-era sets, rather than an actual lived in place. The allegory driving the episode seemed to be a reaction to the political activism of the time by Tipper Gore and others against content they found objectionable in music, film, and television. It all felt a bit belabored, and the idea of thought crimes, and targeted lobotomies as sentences, should have been presented as a lot more horrifying than the rather bloodless presentation here. I also didn't buy that Janeway would acquiesce to the procedure, even provisionally. She had previously shown on multiple occasions that she was willing to violate local laws in order to protect her crew. The only part of the episode that really worked for me was Tuvok's journey, from admiring the local culture and legal system, to becoming quite disillusioned with it. I also liked that it increased his admiration for B'Elanna's self-control despite a naturally aggressive temperament.

  • "Concerning Flight": The idea Voyager being essentially the victim of a highway robbery was fun, and the kind of thing that could happen outside the reach of the Federation. Leonardo da Vinci's first flight was genuinely thrilling, with some very effective visual effects that hold up today. The compositing of the alien city into the location footage that was quite obviously the Santa Monica hills near Paramount's sound stages was actually quite effective. The planet in this episode felt real at times in ways that the planet in the previous episode never did. While I enjoyed this episode more than I expected to, I won't miss the holographic Leonardo da Vinci.

  • "Mortal Coil": I really loved this episode, anchored by a really tremendous performance from Ethan Phillips as Neelix, playing some introspective and dark moments that we don't usually get from that character. Because the Federation is a largely post-religious utopian society dominated by atheists who obey logic and scientific reason as opposed to antiquated superstitions, Star Trek doesn't get to tell a whole lot of stories about religious belief and conviction, and the stories that do get told tend to be pretty bad. (see Star Trek V: The Final Frontier) But I appreciated that this episode took Neelix's beliefs seriously, explored why they were so important to him, and began Neelix's journey to find meaning in life without the certainty of those beliefs. I'm always fascinated by the glimpses we get into Chakotay's 24th century Native American culture, which has vision quests triggered by technology instead of the ingestion of psychoactive hallucinogens. And the final beat, with Ensign Wildman's daughter dreaming of the Great Forest as described by Neelix, was a wonderful note to end on: Even though Neelix is no longer secure in his faith, he has still passed a bit of this thing that had so much meaning and importance to him onto someone else. His beliefs continue to offer comfort, his impact continues to reverberate in ways he couldn't know or appreciate.

  • "Message in a Bottle": This was a hugely important episode, the first contact between Voyager and the Federation since Voyager was stranded in the Delta Quadrant. Aside from its importance in the overall arc of Voyager's journey home, it's also just a fun and exciting episode. I've never been a huge fan of Andy Dick, but he's actually really well cast as the prototype Mark II EMH. That the two EMHs were able to retake the ship is a credit to the Doctor's journey and growth over the past few seasons. From a production standpoint, they did a good job of making the USS Prometheus feel more advanced than Voyager despite only having an episodic budget to work with. There are some nice details in this episode too, like the Alpha Quadrant Starfleet uniforms matching the ones introduced in First Contact and used in the later seasons of DS9. The introduction of the relay network reaching all the way to the outer edges of the Alpha Quadrant was a smart development, as was making the Hirogen in control of the network hostile to Voyager. It means there is a way of communicating with the Federation, but not an easy way, or one that can be used routinely.
I love Year of Hell. Such a great 2 part episode!!!!
 

Nelson Au

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Since Adam has been re-viewing Voyager, it got me to re-watch the pilot and reminded me of the situation of the first Captain Janeway.

The Memory Alpha section on Caretaker is a very long and detailed entry, it’s been a while so it was fun to read it. I remembered back in the day the story of Geneviève Bujold and her difficulty with the first day and a half of work. It was fascinating re-reading the accounts of her hiring and preparation, and the account of Winrich Kolbe as he could see she just wasn’t up for the part. I had not known that Rick Berman had warned her ahead of time of the nature of TV production verse movies. Yet she was up for the challenge. So I re-watched the film clips from the DVD set of the parts that she did film. It always amazed me how old she looked, she was about 52 at the time. Reminded me of a head mistress of a boarding school. Then when she quit, it really caused a lot of turmoil for a week. When they hired Kate Mulgrew, it was a totally different feeling on the set. She had the authority that wasn’t there with Bujold. And I can see she has an energy too that would raise the mood on the set. She was about 40 at the time so she still had youth, but experience. There was a lot riding on the pilot for Voyager. It was the flagship for UPN. And the first series with a female captain. But the suits were nervous with her first day. But the part that really bugged them was her hair style. It was down, but they didn’t like it in the rushes. So the studio was willing to pay the extraordinary expenses to re-film several sections with her new hair up in a bun. After reading all that it, it’s amazing the pilot had been so expensive from recasting the lead and reshooting those scenes, plus reshooting for the new hair! It always take my attention away during Caretaker when some shots of Mulgrew has her wearing a wig, and others it’s her real hair.

I also forgot I had my copy of this book. Actually Memory Alpha is a lot more useful a reference.
186DC34D-FB05-43BB-8D33-780C9992D979.jpeg

I had not known that Stephen Poe who wrote the original The Making of Star Trek, back in 1968, also wrote a book on Voyager that came out in 1998. I don’t have this book:
446D0262-565D-4DC7-8927-8BE896A46A1B.jpeg

If you like to collect soundtracks like I do, there is the entire score for Caretaker from GNP Cresendo. And La La Land Records has two volumes of Voyager music. I have the first volume, but I forgot all about the second volume.
 
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The Obsolete Man

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They liked reshooting pilots.

Apparently, there's footage out there for DS9 of Jadzia in the original TNG style Trill makeup, which was discarded and reshot with the Kamala spots when they discovered the original Trill design didn't look that great.
 

Dave Upton

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I was at ST:LV about 3 years ago, and Kate gave a wonderful recount of her audition process and getting the role. It's a fascinating story, and I'll have to see if I can find it on YouTube to post here.
 

Adam Lenhardt

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Tonight I watched:
  • "Hunters": This episode dealt with the fallout from "Message in a Bottle" and the first communication from Starfleet in an interesting way. I liked the episode's melancholy tone; as excited as everybody is to hear from home, the news is decidedly mixed, as it would be under these circumstances. The news of the defeat of the Maquis in the fifth season of DS9 makes its way to Chakotay and Torres, which is also interesting: The only reason they and their crew are alive and not in prison is because they got zapped to the Delta Quadrant and were forced to join forces with Starfleet. One of the worst things that ever happened to them has ended up being an unlikely source of salvation. In other news, Janeway gets a Dear John letter from her fiance, who has moved on and married someone else. And Tom Paris finds himself in the infuriating position of knowing his estranged father sent him a letter, but having no idea what the letter actually said. I have to admit, I was surprised that the relay network was destroyed so quickly. I figured that the show would want to milk it for a while, at least. One result is that Voyager will have to wait quite a while longer to have regular communication with the Federation. The other result is that Voyager is put in the crosshairs of the Hirogen, the latest recurring alien villain race. The one majoring dangling thread left at the end of the episode is the encrypted Starfleet transmission that has not yet been deciphered.

  • "Prey": One of the interesting things about Species 8472 is that it is depicted as the apex predator, but in both of its appearances to date, it was acting in self defense against a hostile aggressor: first the Borg and now the Hirogen. The ending of this episode was a departure from the usual Star Trek message of reason, compassion, and cooperation triumphing over aggression, ignorance, and hostility. Seven of Nine sends a suffering creature who had placed its trust in the crew of Voyager to its death at the hands of barbaric and cruel murderers, disobeying a direct order in the process. Seven of Nine had been borderline insubordinate before, and Janeway tolerated it far more than she would from anybody else in her crew, presumably because Seven of Nine's rehabilitation is a personal project of hers. But things reach a breaking point in this episode, and ends -- at least for the time being -- the indulgence that Seven of Nine had enjoyed up to this point.

  • "The Killing Game" (two-parter): I've never been a big fan of holodeck episodes. They almost always feel too cute by half, and the stakes are rarely high enough to be dramatically satisfying. This story still wasn't my favorite, but my usual complaints were mitigated somewhat by the safety protocols being turned off and (particularly in the second hour) the lines blurring between the holodeck stories and the real fight being waged on the decks of Voyager. The alpha Hirogen was an interesting episodic bad guy, because his objectives made sense, were even laudable by Federation standards. But he was up against not just the crew of the Voyager, but centuries of ingrained cultural values.
 
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The Obsolete Man

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  • "The Killing Game" (two-parter): I've never been a big fan of holodeck episodes. They almost always feel too cute by half, and the stakes are rarely high enough to be dramatically satisfying. This story still wasn't my favorite, but my usual complaints were mitigated somewhat by the safety protocols being turned off and (particularly in the second hour) the lines blurring between the holodeck stories and the real fight being waged on the decks of Voyager. The alpha Hirogen was an interesting episodic bad guy, because his objectives made sense, were even laudable by Federation standards. But he was up against not just the crew of the Voyager, but centuries of ingrained cultural values.
Ah, the episode where Roxann Dawson doesn't have to hide her pregnancy with angles and that Engineering jacket.
 

BobO'Link

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On Tuesday I watched:
  1. "Year of Hell" (two-parter): This story grappled with a lot of the ideas that I'd been hoping the show would have dealt with right along: Voyager is alone and unsupported in a remote, unknown, and often hostile corner of the galaxy. Yet up until this point, all of the damage from the ship's various encounters seemed to get repaired by the end of the episode, if not sooner, with only one or two exceptions that spilled into the next episode. My disappointment is that the show was unwilling to commit to that concept, undoing it all by the end of the second hour. I think it would have been a lot more daring, and a lot more satisfying, if the Year of Hell had played out properly over the course of a season, with Voyager and its crew slowly but surely worn down over a dozen episodes or so, and then another dozen or so episodes to claw their way back to full functionality. Kurtwood Smith gave a great performance as Annorax, a villain who is both one of Star Trek's most genocidal mass murderers and one of its more thoughtful and three-dimensional episodic antagonists, but I can't see him without thinking of Red Foreman. One thing that confused the hell out of me from a continuity standpoint: In the previous season episode "Before and After", Kes was experiencing time backwards beginning with events in the future from Voyager's perspective. The Year of Hell occurred in that timeline, and many of the events happened exactly the same way. After she was stabilized in time, Kes delivered a full write-up on the threat posed by the Krenim, including the 1.47 microsecond frequency needed to defend against the Krenim weapons. And yet Janeway and her senior officers seem completely unaware of the information she relayed, having to rediscover all of the same things over again.
Like others, this is one of my favorite "episodes" of the series. Like you, I wish it'd been a season arc if not the general run of the entire series. You'd think they'd always be scavenging for parts and material to run the replicators with things constantly in need of repair, operating on short rations, and just struggling to survive.

I, too, can't see Kurtwood Smith in this without thinking "Red Foreman." Though with him, he did Voyager before That 70s Show went into production so it's more of a hindsight thing although I don't get that so much when I rewatch RoboCop.

In general, that, to me, is a failing in casting in many SF series and sometimes movies (Woody Harrelson in Solo for example - he's "Woody" from Cheers to me no matter how good he does). There's just something about seeing a familiar face from a TV series, that takes me out of the story a bit. They can be the best person and do a splendid job but I almost always see them as their "iconic" character. It's the dreaded "type casting" where an actor, in many people's minds, becomes the role and can't escape.
 

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