Kes was as well developed as any other main character on the show.
She was as underdeveloped and pushed into the background just as much as Chakotay, Kim, Neelix & Tuvok.
As I see it, they should have omitted or got rid of the silly short lifespan and instead focus on her personality which was the most interesting with the character. She could have had some limited powers, just like these she showed in "Persistence Of Vision" and at the end of "Cold Fire".
According to the video, dumping Kes was a loss for the writers as well. It's possible. The actions of the writers when it comes to Kes is confusing, to say the least. They could come up with decent kes stories up to the last minute of her time on the show, then all of a sudden they lost those abilities. That's one of the reasons I don't believe their statements of "having difficulties to write for the character". It's more like they've been ordered to come up with such a statement.
OK, Kes could have been written better. But she's not the only character suffering from erratic writing, in fact all of them did.
So Kes wasn't the only character suffering from erratic writing. The whole show did. Still, the show has a certain charm and I do find the characters great.
This is all easy to say and accuse in retrospect.
When you're writing a series as it's in production things are different. It's proven fact people don't see mistakes or missteps until after they're done. Things that sound good on paper can can be a train wreck upon execution.
I think anybody that watched X-Files, HEROES & LOST knows this to be true.
Besides, if they were going to lie about it the majority of people don't lie by putting the blame back on themselves.
They showed they had trouble writing for Chakotay, Kim, Neelix add a few others but fact they couldn't write better for Kes is suspicious?
What made her so special that hey suddenly could shake off writers block just for her and not anybody else?
I also don't agree about getting rid of her life span because even without powers, it's what made her alien. By focusing on her life span it would have enhanced her personality because it would continue to bring up the issue of mortality. What would you do or how would you live your life if you knew you only had 9 years? Would you still spend you time with the EMH, who's has less life experience than you or would you spend more time around Tuvok and Janeway who have seen and done more than you could imagine? Having never even seen the sun until recently, wouldn't star charting hold more appeal than being a nurse? Couldn't she have been a nurse on Ocampa?
So yes, I do believe they didn't know how to write for Kes because they began to limit her desire. Kes that dared to questioned her peoples perception of God(the Caretaker) didn't exist anymore. The girl that took charge of her life in "Caretaker" was crying "I don't know what to do, I'm so confused" by "Tuvix." She left her own people/family and home behind without question but in by the end of "Darkling" she decides leaving those she loves isn't the best course of action. WTF!?!
Kes started out as an innocent, but what if she struggled to maintain that innocence as she started to gain more and more telekinetic power? That's a missed opportunity there.
I fully agree with this.
In "Caretaker" she was all "We used to have great mental powers" & "How great it would be if we had them back again, the Ocampa could be independent"
Then by "Coldfire" is was all "I'm so scared that I have mental powers, so I'll never use them again". WTF!?!
In less than 2 years, the girl that was bold enough to leave her world and explore her potential was gone. No personality and no powers IMO made Kes a dull girl.
At the beginning Chakotay's only role was to tell Maquis not to rebel, at the end his only role was to tell Janeway when she was going zany. His only development was stereotypical mysticism.
I think much of Chakotay's potential was at it's best when Seska was around. She was a great antagonist for him. After they killed her off, so did much of the better part of him.