Sticking to the premise - rigidly.
what would have improved it for you?
Every other good/worthy/valid point made in this thread - at least to me - branches out directly from this.
The decision to break from the premise was the studio's decision (as Michael Piller said in an interview) and not the production team's.
There was such a huge amount of conflict and drama and excitement to mine from a premise as the one that Voyager launched with.
How exactly was the premise abandoned? As far as I remember, the show was about a Starfleet crew trying to make their way back home from the DQ in the beginning of the series, all the way to the end.