That's the problem, they wrote something into the premise of the show (no support) that they didn't really think out. The ship really wouldn't have survived without any support but they'd have to violate the premise to do anything, which meant they were screwed no matter WHAT they did.
Well no cause as I said they could have showed the ship slowly falling apart and being patched up with alien tec. As well as replaceing dead crew with some delta quadrent recruits as th series went along.
Dont know why voyager would have lost rateing if they had shown a ship falling apart.
As for killing off major crew? How can I buy a situation dangrous or develop a sense of suspence when I know that everything will turn out ok at the end of every episode?