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Old May 7 2009, 06:56 AM   #1111
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Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

Scorpion

This two-parter starts good in the first part but runs into a dead end in the second. Species 8472 is interesting and terrifying but the potential of the species were never used.

I'll give it 1 point out of 5



Just to sum it up, here are my ratings of the episodes in seasons 1, 2 and 3. I've used the following system to rank the episodes:

5 Excellent
4 Very good
3 Good
2 Average
1 Bad
0 Lousy (should have been thrown in a trashcan)

So here we go:

Caretaker: 5
Parallax: 3
Time And Again: 5
Phage: 3
The Cloud: 3
Eye Of The Needle: 4
Ex Post Facto: 5
Emanations: 1
Prime Factors: 3
State Of Flux: 4
Heroes And Demons: 2
Cathexis: 4
Faces: 3
Jetrel: 5
Learning Curve: 3
Projections: 5
Elogium: 1
Twisted: 4
The 37's: 3

Note: I have listed "Projections", "Elogium", "Twisted" and "The 37's" as season 1 episodes since they were filmed and produced as season 1 episodes, the stardates are season 1 episodes and since they were showed as season 1 episodes im most countries outside the US.

What we get totally are 5 episodes which I rank as excellent, 4 episodes as very good, 7 episodes as good, 1 episode as average and 2 ranked as bad.

Then we'll take a look at season 2:

Initiations: 3
Non Sequitur: 3
Parturition: 4
Persistence Of Vision: 5
Tattoo: 3
Cold Fire: 5
Maneuvers: 3
Resistance: 4
Prototype: 3
Death Wish: 3
Alliances: 5
Threshold: 1
Meld: 5
Dreadnought: 2
Lifesigns: 3
Investigations: 4
Deadlock: 3
Innocence: 4
The Thaw: 4
Tuvix: 5
Resolutions: 3
Basics #1: 5

So here we have 6 episodes which I rank as excellent, 5 episodes which are very good, 9 episodes as good, 1 episode as average and 1 episode as bad.

And then we have season 3:
Basics#2: 5
Sacred Ground: 3
False Profits: 3
Flashback: 4
The Chute: 3
Remember: 4
The Swarm: 5
Future's End: 5
Warlord: 5
The Q And The Grey: 2
Macrocosm: 1
Fair Trade: 4
Alter Ego: 2
Coda: 2
Blood Fever: 1
Unity: 3
The Darkling: 5
Rise: 2
Favorite Son: 3
Before And After: 5
Real Life: 1
Distant Origin: 4
Displaced: 3
Worst Case Scenario: 3
Scorpion: 1

And here we have 6 episodes which I rank as excellent, 4 episodes which are very good, 7 episodes as good, 4 episode as average and 4 episodes as bad.

To sum it up, season 1 is great but season 2 is excellent. I just love that one, my favorite season of all Star Trek!

Season 3 is great but not as good as seasons 1 and 2. Some rather lousy episodes in this season ruins the good impression.


Unfortunately the great seasons are over now.

Since I don't like seasons 4-7, since there was a long time since I watched those episodes and since my reviews of them would be rather negative, I will not comment on every episode, only on those I did find remarkably bad or on the few I actually liked.
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Old May 7 2009, 07:01 AM   #1112
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Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

Worst Case Scenario: ****
Scorpion: *****



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Old May 7 2009, 11:19 AM   #1113
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Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

Scorpion is fantastic. The teaser is brilliant, then the story slowly builds up the tension. 8472 is a great invention, made possible by the advancement in cgi technology. The menacing idea of an alliance with the Borg is one of Janeway's finest moments, as it seems utterly absurd. The Borg are depicted better than any time since Best of Both Worlds - a real collective, with no Queen, no Hugh, no Lore. The Da Vinci holo programme actually works really well here (but they never did find Janeway her Dixon Hill).

I love the cliffhanger too - Voyager taken away from an exploding planet by a Borg cube, and Harry Kim on his deathbed.

Part II isn't quite as good though.
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Old May 7 2009, 03:37 PM   #1114
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Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

Season 3 Review

You want graphs? I got em!



You know the deal by now, five star ratings translated into scores out of ten, and they are graphed by the blue line. The average score for the season is represented by the green line with a score of 4.269, a poor season saved a little by a strong finish. This is strongly shown by the red trend-line which very steeply inclines; a bad start to the season, a poor middle and a strong ending.



The score bar-graph shows a bell-curve centred near 4 even though only one episode received that score. 13 episodes (half the season) were below average, 5 episodes were average and 8 were above average. 2 episodes received zero scores, and one episode earned full marks.

Best episode: Scorpion
Worst episode: Coda


The Writers


As promised, I'm no longer focusing just on Brannon Braga but I'm looking at the writing team as a whole. How did they do this season?



The best writer this season was Kenneth Biller with a score of 5.6 from 5 episodes, but the real winner was Brannon Braga who recovered from a terrible second season score of 3.667 to get his first above average score of 5.286 from 7 episodes. It seems that teaming up with Joe Menosky really helped him out. Michael Piller wrote his final episode which was unfortunately average. Menosky was below average with a score of 4.429 from 7 episodes due to some bad episodes such as False Profits and Alter Ego, while Taylor wrote the awful Coda which causes her score to be 3.5 from 2 episodes. But the worst writer this season was Lisa Klink who scored 3.333 from 6 episodes, I guess you could call her the writing staff's weakest Klink.

I know, I know, I'm hilarious. I should write comedy professionally.



This is how the writers stand after three seasons. Michael Piller finished out his time on Star Trek as Voyager's best writer so far with a score of 5.667 from 9 episodes. (I've changed his colour to indicate that this is his final score, there is no more episodes from him.) Biller is slightly above average with a score of 5.154 from 13 episodes. Everyone else is below average, but the big news here is that Braga is no longer the worst writer on the show after overtaking Lisa Klink. Braga now has a score of 4.647 from 17 episodes while Klink has a score of 3.75 from 8.


What Would GodBen Do?

In an alternate universe; Michael Piller has just left the show and Jeri Taylor has eloped with Brannon Braga in the Philippines, so Rick Berman needs me to run the writing staff. What would season 3 have looked like? (For the purpose of this discussion we shall ignore the four season 2 episodes which were held back.)

Basics needed to be a longer arc, it was tied up way too quickly. I have already outlined my idea for this around the time of my season 2 review, but it would have been at least three episodes and it would have involved Tom amassing an alliance of DQ races to recapture Voyager. The whole thing about the baby not being Chakotay's was a huge cop-out, Chakotay should have had to raise the baby, this would have given his character an extra dimension and it would have given him something to do in the later seasons as opposed to turning into a prop rather than a person.

Seska would have survived and have been captured by the crew. They put her on trial and sentence her to life in her quarters. At some point she breaks out and causes mischief which leads Janeway to take the extreme position of stranding her on a planet with only essential supplies that she needs to survive. It would have allowed us to explore the justice system of this new society which Voyager should have become, and it would have led to a dramatic goodbye to Seska's character. Much better than the evil hologram of Worst Case Scenario.

I like the idea of doing a season without recurring adversaries, but this season was a bad way to do it. Rather than using this time without external conflict to explore the ship and crew, this year Voyager really did become TNG in the Delta Quadrant. Every week there was a new alien or a new problem that they solved and then flew off into the sunset. And it wasn't even good TNG, at times the quality was painfully bad. This should have been the year where they began to seriously explore this crew's identity and have them branch out from a standard Starfleet crew, but instead the season chose to focus on "fun" adventures and the quality speaks for itself.

And finally, even though I loved Scorpion and felt it was the strongest episode so far, I would have preferred not to play the Borg this early. The Borg were Voyager's trump card and they should have been saved for seasons 6 and 7. I know that the ratings were down and they had to do something to save the show, and so they had to play the Borg card early, but I'd like to think that if the show had been quality viewing then the ratings wouldn't have fallen to the point where the Borg had to be used.


Statistics

Shuttles Lost: 4
Torpedoes: 21/38
Harry deaths: 2

Season 1 Average: 5.867
Season 2 Average: 4.692
Season 3 Average: 4.269 (Without Basics Part 2, Flashback, False Profits and Sacred Ground: 4.545)
Overall Average (67 episodes): 4.791


In Summation

As you can see above, Voyager's overall quality has been declining each season, and for the first time the overall quality of Voyager has fallen below the average score of 5. The more episodes there is on the pile the harder it is going to be for Voyager to climb back up to a reasonable score. This show has a serious problem, and there is only one thing that can fix it.

Boobs.
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Old May 7 2009, 04:55 PM   #1115
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Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

I definitely agree about "Scorpion," both parts. While VOY does deserve some criticism for not always handling the Borg well, this was a great story. If fans felt the Borg had lost some of their teeth and scaryness, I think this ep restored some of that. It was also nice to see some conflict between Janeway and Chakotay on what to do, even though I think parts of that could have been better.
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Old May 7 2009, 05:42 PM   #1116
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Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

I heart 'Scorpion,' both parts. Two terrific hours of television. (Part of me wishes that Species 8472 had been tied to those little parasites from TNG's 'Conspiracy' somehow though.)

I also heart graphs. There are only 17 torpedoes left!!! And why hasn't Harry died more?

GodBen wrote: View Post
What Would GodBen Do?

In an alternate universe; Michael Piller has just left the show and Jeri Taylor has eloped with Brannon Braga in the Philippines, so Rick Berman needs me to run the writing staff. What would season 3 have looked like? (For the purpose of this discussion we shall ignore the four season 2 episodes which were held back.)

Basics needed to be a longer arc, it was tied up way too quickly. I have already outlined my idea for this around the time of my season 2 review, but it would have been at least three episodes and it would have involved Tom amassing an alliance of DQ races to recapture Voyager. The whole thing about the baby not being Chakotay's was a huge cop-out, Chakotay should have had to raise the baby, this would have given his character an extra dimension and it would have given him something to do in the later seasons as opposed to turning into a prop rather than a person.

Seska would have survived and have been captured by the crew. They put her on trial and sentence her to life in her quarters. At some point she breaks out and causes mischief which leads Janeway to take the extreme position of stranding her on a planet with only essential supplies that she needs to survive. It would have allowed us to explore the justice system of this new society which Voyager should have become, and it would have led to a dramatic goodbye to Seska's character. Much better than the evil hologram of Worst Case Scenario.

I like the idea of doing a season without recurring adversaries, but this season was a bad way to do it. Rather than using this time without external conflict to explore the ship and crew, this year Voyager really did become TNG in the Delta Quadrant. Every week there was a new alien or a new problem that they solved and then flew off into the sunset. And it wasn't even good TNG, at times the quality was painfully bad. This should have been the year where they began to seriously explore this crew's identity and have them branch out from a standard Starfleet crew, but instead the season chose to focus on "fun" adventures and the quality speaks for itself.

And finally, even though I loved Scorpion and felt it was the strongest episode so far, I would have preferred not to play the Borg this early. The Borg were Voyager's trump card and they should have been saved for seasons 6 and 7. I know that the ratings were down and they had to do something to save the show, and so they had to play the Borg card early, but I'd like to think that if the show had been quality viewing then the ratings wouldn't have fallen to the point where the Borg had to be used.
Brilliant! You're hired.

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This show has a serious problem, and there is only one thing that can fix it.

Boobs.
On second thought...
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Old May 7 2009, 05:45 PM   #1117
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Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

Scorpion is probably the best episode of the series. I remember when Part 1 first aired and when that planet was destroyed, I was like holy crap. Part two loses some of that creepieness feel from part one, but it was still an epic and great story.
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Old May 7 2009, 05:54 PM   #1118
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Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

GodBen- thank you for the graphs.
Interesting for me - in many threads and posts fans are always saying that Chakotay centred episodes are bad ones. But you rated two of them with high points- Unity and Distant origin.
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Old May 7 2009, 08:05 PM   #1119
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Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

GodBen wrote: View Post
Michael Piller wrote his final episode which was unfortunately average.
But statistically, above average.

This show has a serious problem, and there is only one thing that can fix it.

Boobs.
So true. It's weird how America went into national moral meltdown over a single nipple, yet sex demonstrably sells television programmes. One could write a dissertation on that if one were so inclined.


Mareika wrote: View Post
Interesting for me - in many threads and posts fans are always saying that Chakotay centred episodes are bad ones. But you rated two of them with high points- Unity and Distant origin.
He seemed like a character that the writers never got a handle on. He starts off as a man of great moral integrity, of peace, thoughtfulness and deep spirituality - admirable qualities, yet TV drama kryptonite.

I suppose they undermined the character from the outset. He's a terrorist, yet by the end of the pilot, he's in uniform, smiling as Janeway extols the virtues of the Starfleet way. With the Maquis elements more or less relegated to Torres and minor characters, he only really had his soporific spirituality as a hook.

There were good episodes here and there - Scorpion is arguably his finest hour, and he does well in Year of Hell and Equinox (though anyone to the left of Mussolini would look reasonable compared with the Janeway in that one) - but he fades into the background in the last couple of years. The excerable romance with Seven of Nine was a case of desperate measures to try and get him involved in the last few episodes.
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Old May 7 2009, 10:10 PM   #1120
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Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

Consideing Janet was wearing some clamplike nipple stud which hid the good bit, I would have to admit that that sounds just a little Borg.
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Old May 8 2009, 03:00 AM   #1121
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Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

Tomalak wrote: View Post
Mareika wrote: View Post
Interesting for me - in many threads and posts fans are always saying that Chakotay centred episodes are bad ones. But you rated two of them with high points- Unity and Distant origin.
He seemed like a character that the writers never got a handle on. He starts off as a man of great moral integrity, of peace, thoughtfulness and deep spirituality - admirable qualities, yet TV drama kryptonite.

I suppose they undermined the character from the outset. He's a terrorist, yet by the end of the pilot, he's in uniform, smiling as Janeway extols the virtues of the Starfleet way. With the Maquis elements more or less relegated to Torres and minor characters, he only really had his soporific spirituality as a hook.

There were good episodes here and there - Scorpion is arguably his finest hour, and he does well in Year of Hell and Equinox (though anyone to the left of Mussolini would look reasonable compared with the Janeway in that one) - but he fades into the background in the last couple of years. The excerable romance with Seven of Nine was a case of desperate measures to try and get him involved in the last few episodes.
Good assessment, Tomalak. I agree that it's not so much that Chakotay episodes are bad, but that as you suggest, the 'desperate measures' to get Chakotay involved in the later seasons were often painful to watch. 'The Fight' comes to mind.

I'll add that I think TPTB's desire to not nail down a specific real-world people for Chakotay hurt him in the long run, too, and is in many ways emblematic of the problem with the character: they wanted someone who could challenge Janeway when they wanted him to, but who would smile and say 'yes ma'am' without question when they didn't. Ultimately, it made him seem rather... whipped.

As GodBen suggests, I think letting Seska's kid be Chakotay's and letting him raise it would have done his character a lot of good. Given him purpose, at least, and likely a different perspective from Janeway that would have generated more conflict.
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Old May 8 2009, 04:18 AM   #1122
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Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

hahahah.

And all the Actresses that played Namoi thereafter, would be placed to ask: "Why isn't the baby growing up? I'm the Captains assistant already and he's just learning to walk!"

That would have been a damn interesting relationship to track as Naomi shot away from Chuckles Jr as Neelix reflects that this must have been how Kes felt, and then Tuvok mentions that he's a century away from middle age and they all seemed to be aging super rappidly to his keen stoic perceptions,

I must have said this before but at he rate Naomi was aging she would have been/seemed old enough to date Harry Kim by the time she was 10, which would have made her three times the age of Glinnis Kim.

A Maquis comes home smiling with a Cardie Ankle biter? hells bells that's a symbol that can cool a lot of blood and bury a few phaser rifles.
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Old May 8 2009, 04:46 PM   #1123
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Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

Praetor wrote: View Post
Good assessment, Tomalak. I agree that it's not so much that Chakotay episodes are bad, but that as you suggest, the 'desperate measures' to get Chakotay involved in the later seasons were often painful to watch. 'The Fight' comes to mind.
The boxing one? I never made it through that. There's also the ironically named "Unforgettable", and the one with him going undercover in a 8472 version of Starfleet Academy, which I really didn't get. I can't really remember any other latter-day Chakotay episodes. There was "Shattered", but that was just one of those "wouldn't it be cool if..." episodes that meant nothing.

I do feel sorry for Robert Beltran, as I thought he was a pretty capable actor and a smart guy. I suppose the character suffered because they needed to make him distinct from Spock, Kira, and particularly Riker, but that didn't leave much space to go. Have a look at the character description in the Voyager Bible. Even here there is very little to go on. There's the idea of him being "contrary", but that's about it. Interestingly, the Kim relationship never really panned out.

I'll add that I think TPTB's desire to not nail down a specific real-world people for Chakotay hurt him in the long run, too, and is in many ways emblematic of the problem with the character: they wanted someone who could challenge Janeway when they wanted him to, but who would smile and say 'yes ma'am' without question when they didn't. Ultimately, it made him seem rather... whipped.
Yeah, I'd go with that. The Janeway/Chakotay relationship they built up over the first three and a bit years could have gone either way, but at least it was something. After the forth season, they just seemed to drop it like a stone, which was probably a mistake. I didn't necessarily want to see them get together, but continuing the Mulder and Scully dynamic would have been preferable to the... nothing... we actually got in the later years.

As GodBen suggests, I think letting Seska's kid be Chakotay's and letting him raise it would have done his character a lot of good. Given him purpose, at least, and likely a different perspective from Janeway that would have generated more conflict.
The trouble with that is the inherent problem of TV babies. They aren't much fun unless they can speak, so you get accelerated growth syndrome. Fortunately, since this kid would have been the first (to my knowledge) Cardassian/Human hybrid, it would have inevitably have ended up as a fully cogent ten year old by the forth season.

Though the alternative is to keep the kid around for a year or two, then kill it, which would have been new ground for Star Trek. Either way, it's something that involves the character, and it's a shame they just abandoned it in "Basics".



On a slight tangent, I'm rewatching DS9 at the moment, and just finished the Circle trilogy at the start of the second season. There's a scene at the beginning of the middle part in Kira's quarters, which plays like an extended Marx Brothers farce. It's complex and ambitious, yet the writing is pin-sharp, and the actors can pull it off. I can't think of anything like that on Voyager, and there's still the best part of six seasons of DS9 to go. Why was there such a disparity in the overall quality of the two shows?
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Old May 8 2009, 04:56 PM   #1124
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Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

The main problem with Chakotay, IMO, was that he had a huge charcter development, which they completed in the first episode: in Caretaker he goes from a Maquis traitor to an examplory starfleet officer. They should have stretched that out.
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Old May 8 2009, 05:59 PM   #1125
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Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

Tomalak wrote: View Post
Praetor wrote: View Post
Good assessment, Tomalak. I agree that it's not so much that Chakotay episodes are bad, but that as you suggest, the 'desperate measures' to get Chakotay involved in the later seasons were often painful to watch. 'The Fight' comes to mind.
The boxing one? I never made it through that. There's also the ironically named "Unforgettable", and the one with him going undercover in a 8472 version of Starfleet Academy, which I really didn't get. I can't really remember any other latter-day Chakotay episodes. There was "Shattered", but that was just one of those "wouldn't it be cool if..." episodes that meant nothing.
Yep, 'the boxing one.' Trust me, you missed very little. And I always forget 'Unforgettable.' Always. And yeah, 'In the Flesh' was 'meh.' I like 'Shattered' for what it was. It could have been a lot better, and also wasn't really Chakotay-centric to my mind, even though he had a lot to do in it. (I mean, he is the first officer. )

Tomalak wrote: View Post
I do feel sorry for Robert Beltran, as I thought he was a pretty capable actor and a smart guy. I suppose the character suffered because they needed to make him distinct from Spock, Kira, and particularly Riker, but that didn't leave much space to go. Have a look at the character description in the Voyager Bible. Even here there is very little to go on. There's the idea of him being "contrary", but that's about it. Interestingly, the Kim relationship never really panned out.
Yeah, totally agreed on that front for Beltran.

To a degree, I think they preserved the image of Chakotay as a 'contrary' before his time on Voyager, in the flashbacks, but they clearly dropped the ball so they could have him behave however plot required. And the 'big brother' thing with Kim was yet another bible idea that was dropped and could have been very good for both, IMO.

Tomalak wrote: View Post
I'll add that I think TPTB's desire to not nail down a specific real-world people for Chakotay hurt him in the long run, too, and is in many ways emblematic of the problem with the character: they wanted someone who could challenge Janeway when they wanted him to, but who would smile and say 'yes ma'am' without question when they didn't. Ultimately, it made him seem rather... whipped.
Yeah, I'd go with that. The Janeway/Chakotay relationship they built up over the first three and a bit years could have gone either way, but at least it was something. After the forth season, they just seemed to drop it like a stone, which was probably a mistake. I didn't necessarily want to see them get together, but continuing the Mulder and Scully dynamic would have been preferable to the... nothing... we actually got in the later years.
Indeed and agreed.

Tomalak wrote: View Post
As GodBen suggests, I think letting Seska's kid be Chakotay's and letting him raise it would have done his character a lot of good. Given him purpose, at least, and likely a different perspective from Janeway that would have generated more conflict.
The trouble with that is the inherent problem of TV babies. They aren't much fun unless they can speak, so you get accelerated growth syndrome. Fortunately, since this kid would have been the first (to my knowledge) Cardassian/Human hybrid, it would have inevitably have ended up as a fully cogent ten year old by the forth season.

Though the alternative is to keep the kid around for a year or two, then kill it, which would have been new ground for Star Trek. Either way, it's something that involves the character, and it's a shame they just abandoned it in "Basics".
I think killing the kid and letting Chakotay deal with it would have been excellent. We've never really had to deal with a character grieving like that.

apenpaap wrote: View Post
The main problem with Chakotay, IMO, was that he had a huge charcter development, which they completed in the first episode: in Caretaker he goes from a Maquis traitor to an examplory starfleet officer. They should have stretched that out.
Agreed totally.
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"If you can't take a little bloody nose, maybe you ought to go back home and crawl under your bed. It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross; but it's not for the timid." - Q
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