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Voyager There's coffee in this forum!

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Old August 30 2011, 04:12 PM   #1
The Overlord
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Why were so many characters on Voyager underdeveloped?

Why were so many characters on Voyager underdeveloped? Janeway, the Doctor and 7 of 9 got the lion's share of the development, Tom Paris and Torres got some development, but everyone else:

Tuvok often didn't have much to do, Chakotay never really developed beyond an Native American stereotype, despite trying to give him random hobbies, Neelix never really developed beyond being an annoying unfunny attempt at "comic relief", Kes' character didn't really go anywhere and then there is Harry Kim, about as interesting as a block of wood and the oldest ensign ever, making his character completely static.

It seems like Voyager could not handle an ensemble cast like other Star Trek shows could.
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Old August 30 2011, 04:17 PM   #2
Jeff O'Connor
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Re: Why were so many characters on Voyager underdeveloped?

I disagree if for no other reason than to a point a finger at two 'worse' offenders -- TOS and Enterprise. Neither series intended for its cast to feel like a total ensemble though so they're technically off the hook, but put side-to-side I thought Voyager did a fine job.

Much as I like Enterprise that's what's missing for me -- its non-leading cast is less-developed than Harry Kim. Point is, that's saying something.

Does this excuse Voyager from the problem? No, of course not. But the thing is there are many worse offenders out there. Not every show can be DS9-esque about it.
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Old August 30 2011, 04:35 PM   #3
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Re: Why were so many characters on Voyager underdeveloped?

Jeff O'Connor wrote: View Post
I disagree if for no other reason than to a point a finger at two 'worse' offenders -- TOS and Enterprise. Neither series intended for its cast to feel like a total ensemble though so they're technically off the hook, but put side-to-side I thought Voyager did a fine job.

Much as I like Enterprise that's what's missing for me -- its non-leading cast is less-developed than Harry Kim. Point is, that's saying something.

Does this excuse Voyager from the problem? No, of course not. But the thing is there are many worse offenders out there. Not every show can be DS9-esque about it.
You have a point there, Mayweather may be less developed then Harry Kim. I was thinking more of TNG and DS9. But then what is the point of having these characters if they contribute nothing?

I am a bit forgiving to TOS, because it was the first show and from a far different era and some of the characters got a chance to shine in the movies.

Also just because Enterprise did the problem worse doesn't excuse Voyager in the slightest, if a student gets a D-, they shouldn't lord over a student who got an F, especially when there were students who got an A.

There is nothing I dislike more on a show then main characters who are completely one dimensional and contribute nothing of value.
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Old August 30 2011, 04:42 PM   #4
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Re: Why were so many characters on Voyager underdeveloped?

With Kim and Chakotay, the main issue was Wang and Beltran. Neither of them really put any effort into their work from day one and as such the writers didn't want to deal with them since they knew they'd just blow whatever they gave them.
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Old August 30 2011, 04:45 PM   #5
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Re: Why were so many characters on Voyager underdeveloped?

You're in luck then because even Harry Kim wasn't completely one-dimensional and managed to contribute occasionally valuable things!

As I said before, it doesn't necessarily 'excuse' the series. But I've watched enough television (or rather, used to) that I can positively compare Star Trek: Voyager's treatment of its full cast to the majority of television shows I've tried out. To that end I will still say that it 'passed' and I'm not lording over it, I'm merely stating that compared to the vast majority of shows on television it handled its cast decently. That is my opinion of course; YMMV.

What does this mean for me? Well, between the characters that were given the most attention being my personal favorites anyway, the often-at-least-serviceable plots and the occasional 'heavy thinking', I have a series I can safely call worth watching.

Your thoughts may not echo my own in any shape or form.
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Old August 30 2011, 06:51 PM   #6
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Re: Why were so many characters on Voyager underdeveloped?

Jeff O'Connor wrote: View Post
You're in luck then because even Harry Kim wasn't completely one-dimensional and managed to contribute occasionally valuable things!
Such as? The guy got maybe one focus episode in the first season and never made it past ensign. The focus episode wasn't very good and he got less to do as the series went on. Occasionally providing techno babble isn't contributing, because anyone can do that.

There was no real character development with Harry Kim, he never got that moment to prove himself, heck they were planning on killing him off at one point. It seems like they could kill him off, the show wouldn't have been that different. There is no point in investing anything into a character who started as a naive ensign who wanted to go home and seemed to end that way.

Jeff O'Connor wrote: View Post
As I said before, it doesn't necessarily 'excuse' the series. But I've watched enough television (or rather, used to) that I can positively compare Star Trek: Voyager's treatment of its full cast to the majority of television shows I've tried out. To that end I will still say that it 'passed' and I'm not lording over it, I'm merely stating that compared to the vast majority of shows on television it handled its cast decently. That is my opinion of course; YMMV.
What shows are we comparing to Voyager to, the Wire or According to Jim? Frankly there are tons of shows that handle their characters better Voyager, there tons of shows that don't have completely superfluousness characters running around. When compared to some of the really good TV shows we have now, Voyager just left behind in terms of handling characters.

Maybe its less of problem for you, because some of the characters they did focus on Voyager were great, like 7 of 9 and the Doctor, but to me having characters who I left added nothing was pretty annoying, I just hate characters who don't go anywhere.

If you enjoyed the show despite this flaw, that's great, but to me its something that really dragged the show down.
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Old August 30 2011, 08:39 PM   #7
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Re: Why were so many characters on Voyager underdeveloped?

What? You must have been watching a different Voyager in a different reality because the one I watch only had one undeveloped character. HARRY KIM. He was a stone. A sidekick to Tom was the best that boy got.
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Old August 30 2011, 09:24 PM   #8
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Re: Why were so many characters on Voyager underdeveloped?

While Harry Kim wasn't the best character, and Wang certainly wasn't the best actor, in skill or work ethic, whether or not a character gets promoted has nothing to do with development. And Harry had more than one focus episode. In fact, he had far too many for my tastes. But around here, character development seems to be largely subjective.
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Old August 30 2011, 09:50 PM   #9
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Re: Why were so many characters on Voyager underdeveloped?

Josan wrote: View Post
While Harry Kim wasn't the best character, and Wang certainly wasn't the best actor, in skill or work ethic, whether or not a character gets promoted has nothing to do with development. And Harry had more than one focus episode. In fact, he had far too many for my tastes. But around here, character development seems to be largely subjective.
Yes, he had way too many episodes, but he was blank as far as characters come. One dimensional. Just because he displayed emotions or played the clarinet doesn't really give him any dimension. Having episodes also doesn't mean he had depth. In a few of them he did, but across the series he was lacked depth and development, even in some of those episodes he still lacked it. It's like he was written as the green baby of the crew and then he barely grew beyond that. Most of the characters evolve. He does but just barely and only in rare moments do we see it.
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Old August 30 2011, 10:14 PM   #10
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Re: Why were so many characters on Voyager underdeveloped?

The Overlord wrote: View Post
Why were so many characters on Voyager underdeveloped? Janeway, the Doctor and 7 of 9 got the lion's share of the development, Tom Paris and Torres got some development, but everyone else:

Tuvok often didn't have much to do, Chakotay never really developed beyond an Native American stereotype, despite trying to give him random hobbies, Neelix never really developed beyond being an annoying unfunny attempt at "comic relief", Kes' character didn't really go anywhere and then there is Harry Kim, about as interesting as a block of wood and the oldest ensign ever, making his character completely static.

It seems like Voyager could not handle an ensemble cast like other Star Trek shows could.
Although usually dismissed as Voyager's Jar Jar Binks, Neelix was actually quite well developed with an interesting, tragic backstory. Rather than brooding over the loss of his family and world, he forces constant cheer.

They never evolved him further, but he's more than comic relief.
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Old August 30 2011, 10:37 PM   #11
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Re: Why were so many characters on Voyager underdeveloped?

KingDaniel wrote: View Post
The Overlord wrote: View Post
Why were so many characters on Voyager underdeveloped? Janeway, the Doctor and 7 of 9 got the lion's share of the development, Tom Paris and Torres got some development, but everyone else:

Tuvok often didn't have much to do, Chakotay never really developed beyond an Native American stereotype, despite trying to give him random hobbies, Neelix never really developed beyond being an annoying unfunny attempt at "comic relief", Kes' character didn't really go anywhere and then there is Harry Kim, about as interesting as a block of wood and the oldest ensign ever, making his character completely static.

It seems like Voyager could not handle an ensemble cast like other Star Trek shows could.
Although usually dismissed as Voyager's Jar Jar Binks, Neelix was actually quite well developed with an interesting, tragic backstory. Rather than brooding over the loss of his family and world, he forces constant cheer.

They never evolved him further, but he's more than comic relief.
Not much more and none of that makes him any less annoying or makes him come off as less of a liability to the crew.

I will give Neelix some credit, once in a blue moon he would have a moment to shine, something Harry Kim never really got. The actor who played Neelix at leased tried, something Garrett Wang couldn't be bothered to. Even when Harry Kim got a focus episode, it didn't make him more developed, they usually made him a putz and a loser, like when he got a space STD.

I think the fact that terrorists and a criminal got promoted over him and Harry never got a promotion in the series, just makes him seem like a waste.
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Old August 31 2011, 12:54 AM   #12
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Re: Why were so many characters on Voyager underdeveloped?

Even Naomi got promoted. She went from a newborn baby to Captain's Assistant...
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Old August 31 2011, 08:13 AM   #13
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Re: Why were so many characters on Voyager underdeveloped?

Neelix was a much better character (and actor) than Harry was. I thought he did a good job in the episode where he struggles with the Afterlife, as well as episodes involving Kes.
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Old August 31 2011, 09:40 AM   #14
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Re: Why were so many characters on Voyager underdeveloped?

After Voyager become "The Seven of Nine Show" all other characters aside from her and her two sidekicks (Janeway and The Doctor) were pretty much forgotten about. But then again, they weren't the best cast of characters: Chakotay, dull and uninteresting; Kim, boring; Neelix, loathsome.

Tuvok was a great character, a solid rock who started out as Janeway's friend and advisor, before fading into obscurity. Paris was a bad boy turned good, and had elements that I didn't mind though he too was at times bothersome. Torres was perhaps my favourite character in the series and was a breath of fresh air from previous Klingons, though after Seven came onboard, she went the same way as Tuvok. And then there's Kes, another character I really liked, that they got rid of for no reason. They took out a warm and compassionate young woman and brought in a stiff, cold and unpleasant one.

But that's just my thoughts.
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Old August 31 2011, 10:33 AM   #15
Laydin
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Re: Why were so many characters on Voyager underdeveloped?

I disagree with the original poster that many characters on Voyager were underdeveloped.

Kim. He started out green and would do anything to get back to Earth. Paris' sidekick, second guesses himself whenever possible. Throughout Voyager's journey, Kim showed again and again that he is extremely capable engineer, he even designed the Astrometrics. And don't forget about Kim's speech in Endgame.

Kim is not a well developed character I agree but at least he isn't one dimension in the end like Chakotay. Chuckles is the only character I agree that is mostly stagnant in character development to the level of Mayweather.

But in an ensemble cast the less popular characters/actors must take a back seat. Even in TNG and DS9 had them.

TNG: Crusher and LaForge. Except for Crusher trying at command in the later seasons, what has changed for her character since season 1? Same with LaForge. After he's promoted to Chief Engineer, what other developments did he have? He's still just as lame with women as the beginning.

DS9: Jake and Jadzia. Besides being there to support Ben and refused to join StarFleet, what exactly made him a well developed character besides the obligatory teen turned to man cliche. Jadzia was Jadzia through and through. Even Ezri got more in one season than Jadzia in six.

Voyager/ENT was no different. Popular characters got more, less popular characters take the back seats.
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