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Old October 29 2009, 01:48 AM   #56
Anwar
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Location: Regina, SK, Canada
Re: I, Borg and Descent

Hober Mallow wrote: View Post
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.
Yeah, because alien aliens would be too expensive to create for a one episode appearance and the writers wouldn't want to waste their talents on making them the deepest race out there when we'd never see them again.

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.
That should read "most of which could never be represented on television", and the makeup FX or CGI needed for those that could would be too expensive. I have read my share of literary sci-fi, but lately I've been getting too irritated with how right-wing the more action-oriented stuff is.

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.
Having the aliens be a sentient swarm of dung beetles (or whatever an "alien" alien would be) wouldn't make a story good.

Isaac Asimov rarely wrote aliens into his books, but the ones he came up with for "The Gods Themselves" were fantastic. 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.
The difference in mediums is often too great, and the time allotted in Trek wouldn't be adequete either. Literary sci-fi gives us looks into the minds of the characters and descriptions that are near-impossible for Television.

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.
Because have the ship be too damaged and they never get home, which makes the whole series too nihilistic. Kill off people and regulars and soon the audience is turned off by you getting rid of the people that got them into the show to begin with, or they question how the ship can run when so many have died which AGAIN makes the whole show nihilistic in not getting home.

If VOY have a ragtag fleet, then they'd have ships full of nameless faceless extras to blow up and kill off without harming the main ship or the main characters, but all they had was one ship and one crew they couldn't afford to damage or kill.

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.
Too expensive to keep up the continuity damage, too nihilistic to damage the ship beyond repair, easy to assume that they just manage to fix the damage between episodes instead of wasting lots of money on FX of them landing anywhere to fix everything.

But I'm not going to dwell on a show I never watch. There's a reason I never go into the VOY forum.

Why? Why do you have to have a recurring villain? Just because other generic "sci-fi" series do?
According to most complaints, yes.

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.
That's what I say, but what do I know...

Why not just write good, imaginative stories that take advantage of the situation you've set up?
What, like some sappy BS of two people who fall in love, get married, get divorced and yet still have to work together over a course of years? This isn't a soap opera.

And that makes it good? "Yes, I cheated on my taxes, but so did my neighbor, so that makes it okay by comparison." Odd.
I'm saying that it wasn't the writing that caused the negative reaction, I don't know what did cause it but it wasn't the writing.
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