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Old December 10 2011, 03:32 PM   #52
stj
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Re: Does It Get Better???

Throughout its entire run, Voyager had the Elogiums, episodes that aimed to focus on character but settled for too trivial a dramatic choice or too easily settled for the conventional wisdom. Twisted was refreshing for denying the old convention that there is always a way for the hero to win, while yet getting away without killing off the series by denying the convention that the alien is always a homicidal maniac.

And of course it is true that there were numerous character moments in Twisted. But in my experience most people when they say they like character drama mean they like characters they identify with living out elaborate fantasies, like discovering their birth was arranged by supernatural entites or they were secretly genetic supermen or that they were not just foundlings but the children of creatures like gods or at least that their lovers will become more and more important, even exalted, people who shape the fates of whole worlds. The characters on Voyager are pretty much human scale, and don't become gods or even change the world very much. Which is to say, Voyager is boring.

Further, the absurdities of the setup for the story in Elogium closely reflects the absurdities of the setup for the 37s. And this is consistent throughout the series run. The producers of Voyager were thoroughly convinced that science was all technobabble. Once they conceived a story they wanted to tell, they would contrive any kind of absurdity, completely indifferent to helping us out with willing suspension of disbelief. The resolutions rarely depended upon technobabble, but upon character choice.

But for some crazy reason people will swear up and down that the technobabble came in at the end and somehow resolved the story. For instance, all the gibberish leading up to Paris staying behind in Non Sequitur was intended solely to offer the character a choice between sacrificing himself or helping right the world. People who dislike big words can get confused and think that it was the crux of the drama, not the set decoration. I remember even seeing Non Sequitur criticized for relying on technobabble!

A nitpick, though. Non Sequitur ends with Tom Paris, even the supposedly evil version in the alternate world, nobly sacrificing his life. Therefore it's a Paris episode. It just seems like a Kim episode because Wang is so much livelier than McNiell (yikes, I've forgotten the spelling?)
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