So basically, VOY was again in a no-win scenario: Their dramatic situation meant their enemies couldn't be allowed victories that would endanger the ship and crew otherwise the show would be over. THus, their villains could never keep up a massive menacing aura.
Putting all that aside, and speaking very generally, the problem I had was the writers put no more imagination into the aliens than did TNG or DS9. When the series was announced a full year before it premiered, the producers sold it to us the fans by saying we were going to go into a completely unexplored section of the galaxy and see some real alien
aliens. And what did we see as soon as we got there? The same boring TNG aliens with funny foreheads.
What makes an alien interesting and unique and, well, alien
isn't the amount of damage they inflict. Have you ever read any literary SF? There are loads of imaginative aliens which bring all kinds of story possibilities, some of which could never be represented on television, but many of which could. Having an alien with a funny forehead with all the same technology -- starships, shields, subspace communication -- is lazy, unimaginative writing. Certainly TNG and DS9 were guilty of this as well, but Voyager wasn't supposed to be TNG or DS9. Voyager, for me, had everything I didn't like about TNG and DS9 without anything that I did like -- good scripts, believeable characters. Acting and production values were top notch, IMO, but it's all about the story for me.
Isaac Asimov rarely wrote aliens into his books, but the ones he came up with for "The Gods Themselves" were fantastic, very well though out. If you can find a copy of it somewhere, I suggest picking it up. It was written about midway through Asimov's career and one of his best. I think once you start seeing how real SF authors create aliens and allow stories to naturally come out of those creations, you'll be able to better understand why Trek aliens are so often unimaginative.
But going back to your point about the VOY writers not being able to have an enemy that scored victory -- why not? Why not have the ship damaged, crewpeople -- including regulars -- killed? There would at least be a sense of danger.
And as far as the bad writing, that wasn't at all limited to the creation of alien races. My biggest problem with the writing was that it didn't even pretend to buy its own premise. The ship takes a severe beating every episode, with sparks flying and the lights going out on the bridge, only to be perfectly pristine by the next episode. Crappy writing.
But I'm not going to dwell on a show I never watch. There's a reason I never go into the VOY forum.
And yes, you DO need a constant enemy (even in a show like VOY), NuBSG and Farscape had them as well.
Why? Why do you have to have a recurring villain? Just because other generic "sci-fi" series do? Especially given the fact that the ship is constantly on the move, you wouldn't expect them to keep running into the same people over and over again. Why not just write good, imaginative stories that take advantage of the situation you've set up?
And no, the writing wasn't the problem. The writing for guys like the Vidiians was no worse than anything on DS9.
And that makes it good? "Yes, I cheated on my taxes, but so did my neighbor, so that makes it okay by comparison." Odd.
Soul of Saito wrote:
Easily one of the worst eps of TNG's entire "good section" (seasons 3-7), and the worst of the two-parters.
I completely disagree.
Season seven wasn't part of the good section.