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Old April 3 2012, 07:27 AM   #567
Lynx
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Re: Why was Kes written off the show?

stj wrote: View Post
In its unique way, a very impressive thread!

1. The Kes character was in fact extremely hard to write for because in her personal interactions with other characters, the other characters all loved her and were instantly swayed by her marvelous wisdom and angelic goodness. In Resolutions, for instance, she instantly persuades Tuvok to turn back for the Captain and Chakotay. Jennifer Lien is so cute and that voice is so gorgeous that in one sense you don't mind Kes sucking the drama right out. But it was Kim's confrontation with Tuvok that was more exciting. Petitions to the skipper are the first step to mutiny, after all. And thematically speaking, it was Kim testing Tuvok's resolution that made sense. Pretty much all her interactions with other characters followed this rather Mary Sue-ish pattern. This was dramatically dull.

Worse, the logical possibilities for dramatic development led Kes away from the rest of the crew or the ship. Nine year life span meant every relationship with the others was doomed to end. Psychic powers meant all forms of physical jeopardy should have been short circuited and resolved by Kes. Plust, psychic powers academy wasn't on Voyager. It's not accident that Cold Fire posed the choice of leaving the ship. Worst of all, it was never very clear exactly why Kes was there, going someplace strange to die with strangers met along the way. In the end, until we really understood why Kes abandoned the Ocampa we didn't have a real character.
No, I don't buy the propaganda fairy tale from those in charge that Kes was "hard to write for". What I can see, she wasn't harder to write for than, let's say Dax who was even more eye candy on DS9.

One of the interesting things with the character is that in befhavior and manners, she is both a contrast and complement to Janeway and Torres. She could get things her way without fights and arguments which is both interesting and unique. Tat scene with Tuvok in "Resolutions" is a brilliant example of that. Kes managed to achieve what Kim almost got court -martialed for. Anyone who watch this episode can see that Kim is a loser and Kes is a winner and that's not only in this episode.

When it comes to the character's only obstacle, the nine-year lifespan, that could easily have been altered with the help of Q, Suspiria or the good, old Voyager Doc. No problem at all. It took me five minutes to correct that in a story I wrote. Not to mention that it took me one minute to sort out the "Fury" crap. "Hard to write for?" Not at all!

When it came to her powers, they were undeveloped so therefore she could be no threat to the ship. It was only in that ridiculous episode "The Gift" they became uncontrollable and that was because the no-no who wrote the episode used that as an excuse to get rid of the character as soon as possible, as he was ordered to.

2. Kim was a token. The thing about the People magazine shoot was that it would have made firing the token embarrassing. Wang apparently no more liked the show than Beltran, and seems to have acted out his frustrations, but the producers slapped him down hard.
Well, if shows are made up by token characters, then there will surely be no good stories or development.

But I would also like to point out that I actually like Kim too and didn't want st see him being dumped. But if I have to choose between Kim and Kes, then Kes stays and Kim goes. I can also understand that both Wang and Beltran were frustrated.

On the other hand, as attractive as Lien was, she was very young and her performance at the center wasn't always compelling. Mostly I attribute this to the Mary Sue (or Pollyanna, as stated earlier in the thread,) aspect of the character. But in Warlord, I'm sorry, doing a lot of jumping really doesn't quite spell man in a woman's body. Before and After was by far the best Kes episode, and it was strongly characterized by a rather simple sentimentality in her performance. It was entirely correct and very effective but it wasn't much different from every single Kes adoration scene before and after.
I think that Lien was splendid in her acting. Just watch "The Swarm", "Before And After", "Cold Fire", "Persistence Of Vision" "Jetrel" and all episodes where Kes had an important role. She really gave life to the character.

And when it comes to any "Mary Sue", just watch Seven. There you have Braga's "Mary Sue" in catsuit and everything.

3. Much of Voyager was amazingly cheap in production values. A lot of the writing talent was spent on covering this up. Plus Berman is apparently good at knowing how to allocate the budget for proper effect. I really do believe that an iron determination to cut payroll was a main factor in terminating someone.
In that case they shouldn't have considering to add a new character at all and they shouldn't have had characters like Vorik, Naomi Wildman and Icheb in each and every episode either. Those actors didn't work for free.

4. I've read that Johnny Phillips was convinced Neelix was going to get the ax. But as few as Neelix' starring episodes are, they were some of the best episodes that Voyager did. Keeping Neelix over Kes was a no-brainer, and apparently the producers did have some brains.
I agree that it would have been silly to dump Neelix. But it was silly to dump Kes too. As for brains, I get the impression that the producers had wallets instead of brains and pieces of lead instead of souls.

5. However, given that the weakness of the Paris and Torres characters was a gaping hole in the series, they really should have given thought to disposing of one of those characters. McNiell, I should have thought. He couldn't make any of the repeated efforts to salvage the character work. Dawson at least always had screen presence, even with much less to work with.
I think that Paris and Torres were splendid in seasons 1-3 but both became superfluous and shoved in the background when the show was turned into "the Seven Of Nine" show with Janeway and The Doctor as supporting characters. Still no reason to dump them.

And no reason at all to dump any of the original main characters. They were some of the best Star Trek characters of all time.
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