Paper Moon wrote:
...and Data, whose death in Nemesis was never intended to be treated as a conventional death, thanks to the B-4 back door.
That's misunderstanding the intentions behind that "back door." The filmmakers did
intend Data's death to be permanent. The whole reason Brent Spiner proposed the story was because he felt he was too old to keep playing Data and had decided this would be the last time, period. The movie went to considerable lengths to establish that B-4 couldn't
become like Data, that the memory download failed because B-4's brain was just too simple. They gave Data that big speech about how B-4, like Shinzon, was incapable of learning or growing beyond his limits. The bit of song B-4 remembered at the end was just meant to offer hope that maybe Data had given him the ability to grow a little after all.
Sure, at the studio's behest, the download had the secondary purpose of being an "escape hatch," a way to bring Data back just in case the film did well enough and the studio offered Spiner enough money to convince him to change his mind. But that doesn't mean it was the
intent all along. Putting airbags in a car doesn't mean you intend it to crash. Building an escape tunnel in your castle doesn't mean you intend it to be occupied by raiders. The backup plan is what you resort to when things don't
work out as you intended.
Well, yeah, it was
the studio who intended that Data's death have a backdoor and therefore not be a conventional death. I know it wasn't the writers' original intent. That doesn't change the fact that, in its final form, Data's death was not intended to be a conventional one, nor should it be treated as one subsequently. (I concede that that wasn't "always" the intent; mea culpa.)
And I didn't say that the intent was that Data would return; I said that his death was not intended to be treated as a "conventional" oneľ simply by virtue of the existence of a back door. Any death that leaves a back door is not a conventional death. That's all I meant. To use your analogies, usually deaths don't have escape tunnels or air bags.
It would help make it more credible if we got occasional resurrections for the Third Redshirt on the Left or somebody -- if methods of cheating death were just established to be something that's part of the universe and can happen to anybody, rather than something reserved only for the core cast. (Although Mr. Leslie seems to have been resurrected at least once, since he was declared dead in "Obsession" but was fine the next week.)
Even if you look at it from an in universe perspective you could make an argument that they are more worthy. These people are fairly prominent members of Starfleet, serving on top of the line Starships who've saved the world and the galaxy several times. IMO that makes them pretty worthy. Now, that's not to say that they are the only ones who are worthy, there are probably a lot of other people who've done the same thing, and for all we know some of them could have been resurrected too.
I really don't have a problem with resurrections as long as the reasons and methods make sense in-universe.
Lyndsay Ballard, Yareena, Vantika.
But really, Spock, Data and Janeway are in a category of their own in terms of returns (the latter two in particular), due to the extraordinary circumstances involved. Data's case is unique in-universe; basically no one else had a back-up set of memories around, along with the ability to transfer them to a new body. Janeway's return was only made possible by the actions of multiple superpowerful beings, and then it was only in a situation where the entire universe was at stake.
I know it seems like I'm arguing both sides of the coin here, but my point is that, while incredible returns/resurrections/resuscitations have been part of Star Trek since the beginning (and are not
the result of lazy or death-cheapening TrekLit writers or editors), the examples of Data and Janeway are clearly presented as extraordinary exceptions to a rule that, even 350 years in the future, is still active 99.99% of the time.