I just had a discussion with Shatnertage about "Future's End" which he hated. He felt it that it could have been done differently. I stole this from his post:
"In the late 1960s, a young producer with a police show to his credit is out hiking at Vasquez Rocks. A small alien ship crash lands. It has no inhabitants, and YP is able to figure out how to use the only component that is salvageable: a time scanner. Scanning forward a few hundred years, he sees starships buzzing across the galaxy, and gets the idea for a revolutionary television show, set in the far future, showing just that.
Fast forward to 1996. He's still making TV shows, but he's running out of ideas. Somehow he's able to TECH the TECH to pull members of Voyager's crew back through time and space. Let's say it's Janeway, Tuvok, Paris, and Torres, with Chipotle and Paris back on board, trying to TECH the TECH to figure out where the others went.
In 1996, the producer starts pumping the Voyager 4 for ideas. Then he makes them go to a business lunch--cue smarmy Hollywood agent/tv exec stereotypes. You can take it to a whole meta-level, and have the Hollywood execs say that the real adventures of Voyager aren't good enough--you need to sex them up.
Meanwhile, Voyager discovers that the Producer opened a subspace chroniton rift that, if not sealed, will destroy the entire sector. Chipotle is able to TECH the TECH, and the V4 vanish in the middle of a dramatic studio meeting. Final shot is the studio greenlighting a pilot for a new show based on those fantastic special effects.
Done right, it's a tongue-in-cheek tribute to LA's entertainment culture and the show itself. "
Personally, I love most episodes where the characters are off the ship, but I do see some of his points. (Go check out his thread for the whole review)! As for Shantertage's revised idea...I do think that his whole idea could have been fun because they would have been able to drop the 4th wall, and that usually makes for a good episode. I forget which episode in DS9 that they did that, but I remember I laughed like hell!