STARTREK: VOYAGER; Where is the Love?

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Rex Bachmann, Jun 25, 2002.

  1. Rex Bachmann

    Rex Bachmann Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2001
    Messages:
    1,975
    Likes Received:
    0
    Real Name:
    Rex Bachmann
    "Star Trek: Voyager; Where is the Love?"
    Long the stuff of both casual and serious vilification, Star Trek: Voyager is the show that so many Trek-fans love to hate. It suffers from most of the usual ST ills: it's driven by all too "easy ideology", the science is (almost) always secondary to the immediate needs of the plot, or the drama, or both, and the like. After thinking about it over the years, I've come to the conclusion that Voyager was not merely a bad program, it was an annoying one. It annoys people in ways that few other serious shows seem to have the ability to do. Why?
    Since it's summertime. How 'bout let's find out why in as much detail as you care to muster?
    I know that I could never pinpoint what really made me dislike parts of the show. In fact, I think one-quarter of the program is actually decent (or better). The problem is is that the other three quarters are bad, and not just "bad" either, but "bad" because they're so mediocre (as if mediocrity were one of the chief goals of the producers and writers---and, boy, did they ever succeed, if that's what they were trying to do). Like the little girl with the curl in the story, when she was good she was very good (but not often), but when she was bad, she was very, very, very bad. It's bad enough that this is one program I can't possibly consider buying DVD season sets of. They're too expensive and there're just not enough good episodes to
    justify the expense.
    From the more generic standpoint, I never did like the "lost in space" aspect of the show. As huge as the ever expanding Federation must already be in the so-called "Alpha Quadrant" alone, I found it totally artificial for the writers/producers to put the characters on the other side of the Milky Way to produce a "finish-line" of sorts for the series. Couldn't the crew have been making their way home from some distant part or edge of "Federation space" instead? And, yes, that would have made it a different show. (Hopefully, a better one, too.)
    Maybe the most maddening aspect of Voyager for me was the "Are we there yet?"-syndrome it aroused in me (and, I suspect, in many others, as well). Some of us stuck it out through the series hoping (against hope, as it turned out) that the program would "straighten up and fly right", to put it in old-fashioned terms, but, unlike DS9, which went from barely mediocre to superb action/drama, Voyager never did. It did for a short while in the second half of the third season give the impression that it had turned the corner and might blossom in the future with the episodes that led up to the first Voyager appearance of the Borg, in "Scorpion". I consider this to be the high point of the series, in fact.
    After that, unfortunately, there were just a few peaks with a whole lot of low plains and deep, deep valleys.
    It has been said that Voyager had a "darkness" about it, and that that's what turned some people off. Well, if there was a specific darkness about it, it was mostly lost on me. I would've welcomed it heartily. I would say, as a matter of production values, however, the lighting of the Voyager bridge-set was a wonderful relief from the overlit, warm, "comfy" feel of TNG. My motto is: if you want to feel like you're travelling to strange places, you need the setting to look the part. I don't want to feel as though I'm in my living room looking at that big old tv view screen. I want to feel weird, and weirded out by the end of each episode.
    The other Voyager plus in this regard is the villains, which are some of the best in all of Trekdom: the intelligent living-corpse society, the Vidian Sodality; the Borg collective (before cheap-sweeps-weeks overexposure); Species 8472 (before it was wussified in "In the Flesh").
    I find I didn't, and don't, much like the main characters (as you will be able to tell from the list below), although some of them I can respect. Janeway never bothered me so much, but some of the others . . . . .
    Here below are listed some of what were for me the highlights and the lowlights of Star Trek: Voyager.
    good Voyager (Voyager-"turn-ons" )
    "Prototype" (war of the robots)
    "Scorpion"
    "Phage"
    "Night"
    "Dragon's Teeth"
    some of the, if not the, greatest ST villains: the Vadhuar, the Vidians, Species 8472, the Melon, the Borg (see below)
    "Distant Origin" (believable or not)
    "The Thaw" (Okay, so I like some cheese with my ham! I'm a sucker for the science of dreams.)
    bridge & ship lighting
    bad Voyager (Voyager-"turn-offs")
    the Borg
    the Doctor seeking name/personality/family life
    Neelix the Clown ('nuff said?)
    Paris with his zipper down
    Paris playing 20th-century games including holographic episodes with Dr. Chaotica
    Q-episodes
    "Year of Hell"
    "11:59"
    Kazon (esp. their 'do's! "DON'T!")
    Kes
    time-travel stories/temporal prime directive: "Futures End" (ugh!)
    Reginald Barclay
    Janeway's holonovel adventures
    some terrible CGI there in the later seasons
    If there's enough interest expressed in this thread, I may come back with specifics on some of these.
    I would like to find out from the detractors more specifics of their complaints about the show. (Too generic: "All the people on Voyager were psychotic"; "Janeway the nanny" (one of Mr. Briggs's repeated complaints.))
    Despite all that's generally been said, Voyager seems to be a show that has its own corps of earnest defenders, as well. If you're one of Voyager's lonely voices of defense, do please join in and tell us what kept you watching over the life of the series.
    Detractor comments should basically address the following question:
    Was there anything you can point to that made Voyager for you distinctly annoying, among all the versions of Trek you've seen? Janeway's nobility, for example, that is, her willingness to sacrifice her crew (as in "Prey", by protecting a member of Species 8472 aboard her ship from the Hirogen hunters), as well as their chance to get home, would not count as "distinct" in my mind. It has a long tradition in post-TOS Trek. The Sisko-, Picard-, and Archer-characters have all suffered under the onus of the "Noblesse oblige"-dictum of the franchise (which was discussed in the "STAR TREK Gripes and Pet Peeves" thread ). (Spock mentions "our duty to other life-forms" in "The Galileo Seven", as well as elsewhere, but one gets the impression from TOS that Kirk himself would have little, if any, of this.)
    So, what irritated you about Voyager? Or what attracted you week after week? Either way, detractor or supporter, please be specific. Give examples, where possible. Oh, and tell us for how long (how many seasons) you watched.
     
  2. Geoffrey_A

    Geoffrey_A Second Unit

    Joined:
    May 22, 2001
    Messages:
    280
    Likes Received:
    0
    To me, Voyager was always the "cotton candy" of the star trek universe. It was all spun sugar with no actual substance. I felt the entire show was poorly handled. The premise itself was promising, but the show failed to deliver on the potential. Here's a list of my problems with Voyager:

    1) I never cared for Janeway really, and they always went out of their way to let us know she was a woman. Personally, I couldn't care less if the captain is a woman or a man, makes no difference to me, but because this was a new thing for trek, they would often go out of their way to highlight the femminin side of Janeway, and I felt it was unneccesary.

    2) 'convienient' explantations. I hate it when writers take the easy way out, why not use their brains and come up with something convincing. Example: We can use the holodeck but not the replicators, because they run on two different power grids which aren't compatible. Bull, they're practically the same technology, all I can say is, Geordi could do it.

    3) I also didn't care for the castrating of the borg, granted this started in First Contact. The borg were scary because they were a perfect hive. They had no remorse or pity, they had no human foibles. The borg queen turned the borg into a bunch of thugs controlled by a megalomaniac. May as well give her an eye patch and a white cat to stroke.

    4) Neelix

    5) Why do the producers instist on giving relatively good looking women those gawd-awful ugly "pixie" boy haircuts. Kess started the trend, 7 of 69 luckily didn't fall victim, though they did the next best thing and pinned it up severely. T'Pol of Enterprise continues the tradition of attractive woemn made amazingly less so by horrid haircuts.

    There's moe, but thinking about voyager is giving me a headache, so I'll stop there.
     
  3. Jeff Pryor

    Jeff Pryor Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2002
    Messages:
    653
    Likes Received:
    1
    I watched the entire series, never missed an episode, but I was only watching it because it was Trek and the worst Trek at that. I always viewed it so I could catch a glimpse of Voyager herself or some other new ship. Never cared for any characters except Tuvok and Chacotay, and Chacotay rarely got screen time that was worth anything. The premise of the holodoc becoming a sentinent being of photons was retarded. 7 of 9 was very irritating and 2 dimensional (except for her curves). Paris and Kim were horrendous and boring. Janeway was too patriarchal and bitchy. Kes was just dull. Torres was just there. But I'm one of the few who actually liked Neelix.
     
  4. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    9,306
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  5. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 1999
    Messages:
    11,267
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yep, Farscape is Voyager done right
    The problem with Voyager, outside of Neelix and Kes was that no one seemed as if they gave a damn. I cheered every time a phaser shot came close to N&K.
    I still watched the whole thing, hell it was Trek, but the only season that showed any real promise of turnaround was Season 5, and it went right back to sucking with season 6
    I loved the Capt. Proton eps, those were great
    I'll be very happy to buy season sets of every other Trek series. I'm sure that Paramount Home Video knows what Voyager's numbers are going to look like, and are prepared for it. I think the original "Voyager first" rumor was someone having the idea that Trekkies, so desperite for DVDs would buy more Voyager if that was all there was [​IMG]
    DS9 is the best Trek show ever made, and will likely continue to be. From the end of Season 5 on, I was on the edge of my seat to the very last episode
     
  6. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 1999
    Messages:
    16,738
    Likes Received:
    129
     
  7. David Williams

    David Williams Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2001
    Messages:
    2,288
    Likes Received:
    0
    What's truly sad, imho, is that one of the finest episodes of Voyager was its series finale, Endgame. Why? Because it so neatly underlines the show's biggest problem(s)... and then it ends!
    1) they always took Janeway up to a certain point and 99% of the time backed down. Janeway would always threaten to blow away the Vidiians or the Kazon if they did such and such, and when the villian o' the week did the unforgivable she would rant, rave & speechify until she was blue in the face but not act on her threat.
    2) hitting the freakin' RESET button after each episode. Even if you manage to take the characters over the drama cliff, there is no running ARC. After their season 2 experiment didn't go quite in the direction they were hoping, the producers took it in the other direction to the extreme, making continuity a bad word. This was the reason that so much of the cast was so very unhappy with their roles (paging Robert Beltran to the white courtesy phone).
    3) as almost everyone has already mentioned: the science deus ex machina. Sometimes it worked ('Dreadnought', 'Timeless'), more often it didn't. It gets very annoying when 7 of 9 becomes your Wesley Crusher every week.
    4) the starship Voyager: wussy vessel of the universe! How many times did it get the shit kicked out of it in Seasons 1 - 3? I lost count... it became totally ridiculous with Janeway threatening something she so couldn't back up. Janeway (by way of the writers) should have been more concerned with protecting her crew by stopping and trading with groups to get offensive and defensive technology (while holding true to Starfleet & Federation principles). Endgame really underlines this by having Future Janeway ram the Armor (the coolest Trek thing I've seen in some time!) down Capt. Janeway's throat.
    I really agree with you guys.... Voyager had serious potential and as a result of playing it safe was all over the place. It's really sad when you can do an episode like Lifesigns (which is in my personal top 5 Trek eps) and still be completely mediocre.
     
  8. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 1999
    Messages:
    11,267
    Likes Received:
    0
    How about the entire first season!
    "Watch out Tom! Viscious anomaly of the week!"
    "Hard right rudder"
    "Crap, we're stuck"
    "OK, who's turn is it to hallucinate? Who wants to be violent?"
    [​IMG]
     
  9. PhilipG

    PhilipG Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2000
    Messages:
    2,002
    Likes Received:
    0
    Let me sum up what was wrong with Voyager:
    Berman/Braga
    My main feeling with Voyager, however, was one of "sameness". Nothing much ever happened, and so nothing seemed to change (and anything that did was reset at the end of the episode). I didn't feel I was missing anything by missing an episode (or season [​IMG] ). Entirely lacklustre, and you could tell the cast weren't enjoying their dialogue (and who could blame them?).
    Looking back at the series, I can barely even remember the plot of one full episode (off-hand, the only one that comes to mind is "Worst Case Scenario", one of the only half-reasonable eps). I'll have to be very rich indeed the day the DVDs come out (and Paramount, if you're reading this, they need to be at least half the price of the TNG sets for fans to even start considering buying them).
     
  10. John Berggren

    John Berggren Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 1999
    Messages:
    3,238
    Likes Received:
    1
    I liked Voyager best before they brought in Barbie Borg to replace Kes. Begrudgingly I came to like 7 of 9, a credit to the actress. I would have preferred them sending Kim or Neelix out the torpedo tube than to have Kes leave. Then they make me happy & announce they are bringing Kes back... only to destroy her character entirely.

    If I buy V'ger, It will likely only be the Kes seasons.
     
  11. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2001
    Messages:
    4,951
    Likes Received:
    1
    In defense of Voyager (sorta):

    1. Janeway
    It is my impression that people are way harder on her than on other captains. I think it is because she is a woman. I'm usually the last person to cry "oppression," but this is the feeling I get. I've heard completely contradicting criticisms, such as, "She's too womanly," and "she's not feminine enough." "She's too head strong / stubborn," "she's too cautious." Folks, if you're going to bitch, at least have some consistency.

    Kate Mulgrew was the best part of the show. Yep, that's right, I said it. She often had garbage to work with and miraculously pulled it off somehow. Yes, her character is extremely flawed- that's the point. As much as I liked Picard, sometimes he was so goddamn perfect it was obnoxious. This was a welcome change.

    2. Story arc
    For me, the best story line of the show was Seska. A wonderful actress, a great charaters, and an intriguing plot. The Kazon thing was a nice start to a possible story arc. The first three seasons, while flawed, was interesting and presented lots of potential.

    As someone said above, "continuity" became a bad word. They show started sinking when that happened.

    3. 7 of 9
    Don't get me wrong, I'm in love with Jeri Ryan, and if only I could hold her in my arms.... uh, erm, anyway...
    While I was never a big fan of Kess, the show was better with her on. 7 of 9 was an awful character- just completely devoid of anything interesting. If they would have put half as much effort into her character as they did into designing that comic-book teenage fantasy outfit, they would have had something.

    4. The premise
    Get them the hell away from the rest of the Treks- I like that. It allowed them to start fresh- and it did start well.

    5. Characters
    Like any Trek show, some character were better than others. The problem was that there wasn't one that really jumped at me like, say, Warf or Spock.

    Janeway- yes, I did like her. So sue me.
    Chakotay- Normally pretty cool, except sometimes his moral preaching got a little annoying. But he was a good counterpoint to Janeway.
    Kim- didn't like him. He's the kind of guy we used to beat up on in school.
    Kes- weak, but not bad
    7 of 9- the hotness factor almost makes up for her awfulness, but not really
    Neelix- I never liked obvious comedy relief characters. If I'd have been stuck on that ship with him, I'd have to crack him in his hairy yellow jaw at least one.
    Tuvok- I like Vulcans, including this one.
    Torres- At different points, I could go from extreme dislike to real interest. Very schizo with this one. Like everything else in this show, she was better in the beginning.
    Paris- pretty cool, but nothing special
    Seska- rocked!
    The doctor- Was funny in the beginning, but got really annoying later on. "Look at me, I can sing!" Shut up and grab a medical tricorder, baldy.
     
  12. John Berggren

    John Berggren Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 1999
    Messages:
    3,238
    Likes Received:
    1
    Re: Janeway as a bad Captain...
    Okay, I get more pissed off about this when I hear she's going to be a FREAKING ADMIRAL ordering PICARD around... Picard, IMHO the Best. Trek. Captain. Ever. Janeway LOST HER CREW IN THE DELTA QUADRANT. Janeway alone. Prime Directive be damned, she could have used a TIME BOMB. Is this a foreign concept in the 24th century? I liked her as a character to some extent, and I think Ms. Mulgrew is a wonderful actress, but damn was she a bad captain.
    Janeway - She existed. I even liked her at times. Particularly her 7 of 9 arc, beleive it or not.
    Chakotay- Fairly weak. Mostly the writers fault. I agreed with the actor when he complained in the latter seasons about being underused. Could have been more interesting. The Maquis (sp) thing was just dropped 2 or 3 episodes in in favor of the Happy Starfleet crew. This was one of the more compelling aspects of the show.
    Kim- Torpedo tube. Waste of skin. Did he ever do anything of consequence? No wonder he'll always be an ensign.
    Kes- Favorite Voyager character. Loved her story arc, the potential to grow out of the bounds of her 9 year life span. I pretend she never returned after The Gift. I still wish Jennifer Lien would make more TV and movies.
    7 of 9- Wanted to hate her so much, but she turned out to be a pretty good character. Could they have held out more than 2 episodes to bring her from Borg to Barbie? I was looking forward to a slower return to humanity. Picard had a harder time, and he wasn't a borg for 15 years (or however long).
    Neelix- The other torpedo tube. I hated Neelix, and could never understand what Kes saw in it.
    Tuvok- No problems here. Typical Vulcan stuff. His history with Sulu was one of the more interesting points on the show.
    Torres- She was best when she was with Tom. At least she didn't ALWAYS seem to be on the rag when he was involved. Her attitude made for a good engineer character though.
    Paris- Helped that he was easy to look at. A good, dull character. Served his purpose.
    The doctor- The only complaint I have here is that they should have given him a name sooner. 5-6 years sooner. The eventual name was silly. I would have been happy with the Kes & the Doctor show though. He helped make me happy with Barbie Borg.
     
  13. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    9,306
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  14. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2001
    Messages:
    17,989
    Likes Received:
    1,545
    Location:
    One Loudoun, Ashburn, VA
    Real Name:
    David Fischer
    Obviously in the minority, I really enjoyed Voyager when it started. The overall production values, story focus, and performances were near that of Next Gen's third season. And I enjoyed most of the episodes. They were, generally, entertaining one hour stories.

    The largest problem, I think, was that it never progressed much beyond third-season quality. The characters never developed any more.

    And, perhaps worst, by the end, we'd seen nearly 21 years of Next Gen shows, all of which were very similar in style, tone, and stories.

    "hitting the freakin' RESET button after each episode"
    That's an issue with every Star Trek episode (and most TV shows, in general). Again, after two decades of seasons, I want more.

    My ultimate gripe, with the "reset" button, was the series finale. It was the ultimate Reset: All the crew's efforts, losses, Janeways moral quandries and Prime-Directive handwringing, every decision and choice was obviated. They could, in a sense, have kicked back at resort planet, and just waited for Future-Janeway to save them.

    I would have rather seen the characters, on the verge of returning home, all die giving their lives to "do the right thing." That would have been more fitting with the larger themes of the show.

    Stephen Bochco said, the story is not in the violence, it's in the consequences. For Voyager, in the end, the story was the violence and not the consequences. And that was it's greatest failing.
     
  15. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2001
    Messages:
    17,989
    Likes Received:
    1,545
    Location:
    One Loudoun, Ashburn, VA
    Real Name:
    David Fischer
    A lesser problem was their two "Vulcans", Tuvok and Seven. Worse, they were not truly emotionless: Tuvok was a pissy, bitter, cantankerous guy hiding behind an emotional wall. Seven was arrogant, brusque (rude?), and socially clueless. These could be interesting characters, played as such, but weren't.

    And some of the best scenes with Neelix were in the later episodes, where he called Tuvok on his "unemotional" contempt for him.

    Though Neelix started off very annoying, his character improved near the end.
     
  16. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    9,306
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  17. GordonL

    GordonL Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2000
    Messages:
    771
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  18. PhilipG

    PhilipG Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2000
    Messages:
    2,002
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  19. David Williams

    David Williams Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2001
    Messages:
    2,288
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  20. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 1999
    Messages:
    11,267
    Likes Received:
    0
    Let us not forget James Darren!
    Who DOESN'T like Vic Fontaine? [​IMG]
     

Share This Page