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NightJim February 26 2013 05:12 PM

Voyager again, for the first time
Last night I started watching Voyager again, for the first time.

When Voyager first aired I was a young whipper snapper, and lapped it up. However, living with my parents means that I probably didn't see every episode I could have. About four seasons in (I think, Seven had been introduced anyway) I went off to university. No Sky TV meant no new episodes, and I quickly forgot to pay attention when terrestrial TV caught up. So apart from the odd episode I've barely seen anything past the point when I left home.

With my inner Trekkie recently waking up again, having not seen Voyager or Enterprise properly has really started to annoy me, and I've got the stirrings of a Voyager based story in my head too, so I felt it was about time I addressed that.

I've decided to chart my feelings on the series here. Right now I'm going to say per episode. But if that's a bad idea (I realise someone is doing this already) and people shout at me, I can go set up a blog to make it easier. I also maybe shouldn't have started this just before I go on holiday for a week, but never mind.

So... Caretaker.

Loads of little problems with the story telling, mostly character beats that just don't sit well with me. I wonder how much was cut that addresses this stuff.

As it was when I first watched Voyager, I have quite a problem with the whole Marquis being brought on board being massively glossed over, but the whole issue of working with them is ignored too. Chakotay's a bit unhappy, and B'Elanna calls Harry 'Starfleet' for a bit. That's it. This was a place for serious contention and character development here, and I just feel it's dealt with too lightly. Especially Tuvok's reveal of being undercover with them for a few months. I know this gets addressed a little in episodes to come, but relations all went a little too smoothly for me.

Also, Neelix (who I remember being annoying) isn't too bad here. However, he does take them to see some nice tribal Kazon, then pulls a gun on their leader, destroys the water they're trading and straight away reveals that he did it all to save his beloved. Admittedly the beloved who holds the secrets to rescuing their friends, but he doesn't get screamed at, Janeway doesn't need to point out this isn't really the Starfleet way? And when he asks to join the crew later he gets welcomed with open arms. It just all felt a little too easy for him.

Finally, my big issue with the first episode. The whole reason Harry and Be'lanna were sent to the planet instead of being returned to their ships was that Caretaker rape had infected them with some horrible disease that couldn't be cured. We get a few shots showing just how much pain they're in too. They get back on board, get back into uniform, and return to their posts. All with no explanation what so ever. Maybe this gets addressed next episode, but I get the feeling this storyline is completely forgotten. An excuse to get the crew to the Ocampa homeworld. Whatever the excuse is, it'd be nice to at least offer one line of dialogue to resolve it.

However, I really enjoyed it. Caretaker does set the premise of the series up well, and I like how conflicted Janeway is about taking the way home or saving the Ocampa.

I also hadn't realised (or I'd forgotten) just how much bad boy Paris was used as the audience POV character. Also, it's great how everyone slowly finds their role, how the circumstances has people rising to the occasion, maybe this is more because Paris is the POV character, but it worked well.

75 Years to home.

teacake February 27 2013 02:16 AM

Re: Voyager again, for the first time
Caretaker is a pretty exciting pilot and might have beat out Emmisary as my personal favorite if it weren't for the inclusion of a banjo.

Guy Gardener February 27 2013 03:46 AM

Re: Voyager again, for the first time
Don't you mean the inclusion of ONLY ONE banjo?

Imagine duelling Banjos playing the TOS Star Trek Theme.

(Is that even possible?)

HGN2001 February 27 2013 03:53 AM

Re: Voyager again, for the first time
Heh. We're just about ready to wrap up VOYAGER with two single episodes and the two-part finale left. We'll probably get it done at the end of this week.

Then I think we're going back to TNG (with a concurrent, once-per-week TOS viewing).

Enjoy your romp through the Delta Quadrant and watch out for those spatial anomalies!


JirinPanthosa February 27 2013 03:57 AM

Re: Voyager again, for the first time
When it first aired I was like 12 and was really excited about the show based on the pilot.

When I watched it again, I thought it was a good pilot.

Lance February 27 2013 03:59 AM

Re: Voyager again, for the first time
I think "Caretaker" could be my favorite of all the Star Trek TV pilot episodes. It's like the franchise was running on all cylinders when it was written, and everybody came together in culmination of what went before. It's not as uncertain as DS9, TNG or ENT's pilots. There's a sense of confidence in the material that really pulls it all together. I honestly think it would have been a great big screen movie.

M.A.C.O. February 27 2013 05:31 AM

Re: Voyager again, for the first time
Caretaker is to all over the place for me to take seriously. Starfleet-Maquis conflict, lost in space, a banjo man, a farm and a bunch of 19th century white people dancing and singing around on an alien array, space elves and tomato red people with funny head dressings. Yeah Caretaker is too silly to take seriously.

If i had to rank them from best to worst it would be:

Broken Bow
The Cage
Encounter at Farpoint

teacake February 27 2013 06:22 AM

Re: Voyager again, for the first time
Encounter at Farpoint isn't even on my list. Heck I think banjos might even have improved it!

M.A.C.O. February 27 2013 07:10 AM

Re: Voyager again, for the first time
I give Encounter at Farpoint some slack since it was a relaunch of a series that had been cancelled. There were some stupid moments but from that to All Good Things it did reflect the show TNG began as and finally became. Voyager came out in a time where Berman, Taylor and Piller should've recognized that stupid gimmicks are stupid and not put them in there. I might have excepted the Banjo caretaker if he was just a projection for the crew's first encounter but no he takes that form until he dies in the final moments of the episode before he becomes a rock. Like wtf?!

NightJim February 27 2013 10:11 AM

Re: Voyager again, for the first time
I do think there were two many plots for the time. An extra ten minutes on the Starfleet/Marquis conflict spread throughout the episode would have improved matters greatly. I stand by my thoughts that it's a great pilot, that sets up a number of issues for the upcoming episodes.

Unfortunately, I know a know that most of those issues don't get the air time.

hux February 27 2013 07:24 PM

Re: Voyager again, for the first time
to be honest, the pilot bored me somewhat (though that's in hindsight...don't remember what i thought the first time i saw it) maybe because i know that the maquis thing is beyond redundant from the offset and has no major role to play in the series, maybe because i know that they'll never run out of torpedoes no matter what Janeway might say, maybe because i know the Kazon are the most insipid, laughable and disposable species ever seen in any Trek, maybe because if i'm watching it then i know all those missed opportunities are coming my way once again

I suppose it's a decent pilot (especially as it knows what it wants to achieve) and it gets the job done pretty well overall but i also know that i can't honestly watch it objectively will always be the pilot that forever sets up so many disappointments for me

Dick_Valentine February 28 2013 05:47 AM

Re: Voyager again, for the first time
Voy got off to a bad start with me as Kim makes a pretty off-colour comment to Quark, Quark calls him on it (then tries to milk the situation for personal gain) then Paris rescues him and they round the scene off with Paris making the same joke.

Its almost as if they were trying to send the message "hey, it's fine to be racist so long as the person you're being racist about can't hear your racist comments"

Also later in the episode they trade the precious commodity of water with dudes with huge spaceships.
Hey guys here's an idea, ; maybe go fly to a planet with water if you have such a shortage?

And then just when you're worried the series is going to have too much subtlety to connect with an audience, they have the lead kazon dial up the bridge after the battle and say "you have made an enemy today!"

Gee, thanks for pointing that out; wasn't really sure with all that shooting at us you did.

And so began 7 years of the show under rating its audiences intelligence levels. ..

teacake February 28 2013 06:08 AM

Re: Voyager again, for the first time
It didn't under rate my intelligence levels.

Guy Gardener February 28 2013 06:52 AM

Re: Voyager again, for the first time
You were an adult.

Most of us were idiot children capable of much expansion and growth.

teacake February 28 2013 08:04 AM

Re: Voyager again, for the first time
And Voyager stunted you. Squashed your little brains into its petty definition of wonder and its instant fix "science". Pummeled you with racist and specieist truths all newspeaked into Federation ideals. GUTTED the Borg. How are you supposed to expand and grow after that happens?!

Thank goodness I had TOS. I never suffered like you young 'uns did.

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