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Old February 24 2013, 07:16 PM   #106
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Re: So many horrible characters aboard the Voyager

Lance wrote: View Post
The trouble with people trying to compare Voyager with DS9 is that they're fundamentally different types of show. You can't really compare them. DS9 was sold directly into syndication (just like TNG) whereas Voyager was a network show. Voyager was hamstrung by too many network directives about what it can and can't be, where DS9 had more freedom to just say "fuck it, let's just blow up some shit!" (that's an actual Ron Moore quote btw). Truth is there were a whole shitload more Men In Suits™ issuing disapproving memos to the Voyager producers every day than there were to the DS9 guys on the other side of the Paramount lot. Rick Berman would turn up at his office every day and open his inbox and just have to deal with dozens of people saying "our audience research suggests Voyager would be more popular if the cast wore funny hats -- can we have an episode where Janeway finds a planet of hats?", and all his dreams about being in charge of something edgy would just melt. The setup was there in the series bible for a really terrific series, and yes, the character dynamic was excellent on paper. But Voyager was fighting a losing battle from the start. Virtually from the pilot episode, those memos started coming in: "Great television shows always have a reset button! Can't you guys have a reset button on your ship?".

Ironically, what would have really helped Voyager would have been to have a format more like what we got in years three and four of Enterprise: a series of three-to-four part storylines (mini-arcs) that would have given the characters and situations some extra room to breathe, instead of having to have everything wrapped up in 60 mins including commercials. I say 'ironically' because Enterprise was a network show too, but the pervailing feeling about what was popular in tv shows had changed alot since Voyager was on, and suddenly the very same ominous Men In Suits™ who had asked for Planet Of The Funny Hats stories were all lining up at Berman's office door to say how great it would be to have ongoing story arcs and character conflict. Hence the temporal cold war.
Actually, Braga has publicly stated that the reason behind the Temporal Cols War was UPN wanted something set further in the future than DS9 was, while the creative staff wanted a prequel, so the writers shoved in the TCW into the show to satisfy the execs. I think the shift to arcs happened because the show was tanking in the ratings and the suits were desperate to get ratings, so they let the writers out of the box a little.
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