Kristen, I agree with you completely on Chakotay. I just finished rewatching Voyager on Netflix and I found Chakotay and Kim completely uninspiring, but Chuckles more so because he had much more lost potential. You are quite right, making him interesting and making us care about him was a challenge. A challenge met quite well, mostly probably because of his counseling sessions.
I also agree that Full Circle was great because of how well it describes coping with grief. Something I tell the Voyager fans is death is a part of life and we have to learn how to cope and move on.For anyone coping with a loss, I think Full Circle well mirrors their feelings. And yes, writing that would not have worked to chakotay. (Question: when the Before Dishonor concept was constructed, was Full Circle and the new Voyager direction always the plan?)
Thein, Kristen, and others have made a great argument that Voyager is now stronger. And I agree Janeway's death was a springboard to that end. As said in the books, Janeway was opposed to returning to Delta. Though Voyager is amazing now, I still think it could have still been amazing with that character alive and the right person writing. That is my opinion right or wrong but I continue to kube the new books and try to convince the Voyager fanatics to give it a try. And Thein might be right, maybe they have no interest in reading and just want to complain and call trek sexist.
I also am in full believe that Janeway is no more dead than Sisko was at the end of the tv show or Kirk was after the Enterprise B incident. Whether she returns or not, I don't care but I'll continue to believe she's out and probably miserable with the Q. And to the Janeway haters, you might be happier knowing Janeway herself would probably wish Peter David had killed her than left her with the Q.
Lastly, I think Janeway fans and young female trekkers should love how Voyager is currently. It is still filed with strong women in leadership positions. Even without Janeway, it still has heart and even more inspiring female characters with the same sense of family. It just now has extended family. It is preposterous to think the series has anything but the highest respect for women, especially when it is written by one.