Still new to BBS. Only really started posting to the site a couple of days ago and came across some pretty snarky folks; last one spoiled a good discussion by categorically informing me that "Voyager was stupid" (as if that refuted the point I had made). Life is too short to engage in uncivilized discourse, so I thought I'd come here and be among friends of the series, before giving up on that whole forum thing entirely ...
Anyway, I found this thread and am enjoying going through the first-time experience with you, Qutluch. I write fan fiction and recently have been having exchanges with a reader who was doing the same thing (apparently inspired, I'm happy to say, by a couple of my episode-based vignette type pieces). Your and her comments remind me of when I discovered the series -- a mere three years ago, when I bought all 7 seasons on DVD after watching all of Next Gen with my daughter and looking for something else.
I have found Voyager to be the best of all the series in terms of character development and interaction -- the reason it is the most popular with fan fiction writers, I believe. There are some dud episodes, to be sure, and some glaring inconsistencies in the writing, but overall it works. (And the gaps give us FF authors stuff to work with ...)
As for Prime Directive issues ... well, let's just say consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.
It gets dealt with in rather interesting (and at times aggravating) ways in later seasons -- just as it does in all the other series.
Look forward to what you have to say when you get to Threshold and Investigations (including the three episodes leading up to it), which are very interesting for Tom Paris' character arc.
I am rather jealous that all this still lies before you ...