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Voyager There's coffee in this forum!

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Old May 19 2009, 02:20 PM   #1351
Tomalak
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Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

I think it's one of Voyager's best episodes, despite the dreaded reset button. I think this is probably the worst use of it in any Trek episode, as the whole thing is totally meaningless by the end - no one remembers anything. It would have been more interesting to have Tom and Chakotay (who work very well together in the story, well done writers) help the Kremin blow up the ship, but time is not reset. Then you can spend the rest of the season doing the usual stories, but framing it around Janeway's efforts to reunite her crew and repair the ship. I know it wouldn't have happened for a million reasons, but the ending as written is just a bit embarrassing. It's like "Course Oblivion", which has the same kick in the teeth ending.

Other than that, it's great. Annorex is an interesting character, not truly villainous, and the idea that these people have been flying around for centuries altering history a piece at a time is a brilliant one. You probably shouldn't pause for too long to think about the logic or the consequences of it all though. As I said, Tom and Chakotay are an interesting pairing, and the conflict on the time ship is believable.

Janeway annoyed me though. Flying through hostile space when she's been told they aren't welcome just they are a bit rude? It obviously wasn't worth the hassle, and she should have simply found another way around.
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Old May 19 2009, 05:11 PM   #1352
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Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

I like "Year of Hell" a lot, but the escape pods bit made no sense, and the reset button was annoying.

I think the idea behind the escape pods was to emphasize how dire the situation was, but why not just strand the crew on a habitable planet far enough away from anything to not be in danger? That might have been more interesting.

I also like the scenario Tomalak suggests above for how this could have gone without using the reset button. It would have been nice, several episodes from now, to have someone say "Remember that time the ship got blown to hell by the Krenim? This damn door hasn't closed right ever since."

Even that would have made me happy.
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Old May 19 2009, 05:34 PM   #1353
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Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

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Old May 19 2009, 09:55 PM   #1354
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Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

Year of Hell, Part 2 (****)

And the reset hits. Ah well.

What I really love about this episode is Annorax, since finishing the episode I've been using him in the Trek XI forum as an example of a really good antagonist because of the fact that you care about him and part of you wants him to succeed. He's not your standard villain who destroys entire worlds for absolutely no reason *cough*Nero*cough*, Annorax is a person first and foremost and his story is compelling. Even during the final battle sequence he is given that beautiful character moment where he runs into his office to find the lock of his wife's hair disintegrate before his eyes. That's how you make an antagonist.

In previous posts I made comments about how Voyager (the ship) never felt like a character as the classic Enterprise did. Well in this timeline Voyager finally gets the character I felt it was lacking; it held on just long enough to make it through the battle, and the ship's sacrifice saved the lives of billions. It is a beautiful idea, and it almost negates the fact that the episode ends on a big reset, but not quite.

I'm confused about what Voyager was doing for almost 200 days. The only reason I can think why this episode took place over such a long time-frame is that they had the title "Year of Hell" since season 3 and 80 days just wouldn't cut it.

It's a great two-parter, but it is a pity that there was no consequences for anything which happened in the episodes. It makes we wish that Braga's idea of having a year-long arc had been allowed, but I guess I'll have to wait until I rewatch Enterprise for that.
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Old May 20 2009, 07:31 AM   #1355
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Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

My main issue with this episode is that it is doomed to be a reset-button ending,

So what? There is nothing wrong with a reset-button ending. The new Trek movie certainly needed one. Now, we'll be stuck with more movies that involved a rapidly promoted Kirk, the Spock/Uhura romance and a 17 year-old Chekov with an officer's commission. Where is that reset button when one needs it?
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Old May 20 2009, 10:05 AM   #1356
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Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

Fish1941 wrote: View Post
So what? There is nothing wrong with a reset-button ending.

Of course there is. It's usually the writer taking the easy way out because they've written themselves into a corner and can't work out how to resolve the situation. It shows bad plotting, and it usually undermines the story. When I first saw "Year of Hell", I could see where it was headed, but still the sight of that gleaming Voyager on "Day 1" was galling. It's as bad as making the whole story a dream, or waking up to find Bobby in the shower. None of the characters are any the wiser for their experiences, since they never really happened.

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Old May 20 2009, 12:26 PM   #1357
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Old May 20 2009, 01:10 PM   #1358
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Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

Fish1941 wrote: View Post
So what? There is nothing wrong with a reset-button ending.
The point of drama is that characters learn and grow, so if the episode ends with a reset where nobody remembers anything that happened then the purpose of the show is defeated. Year of Hell had some great character work for the cast, especially Janeway, but that all comes to nought with the reset ending.

The new Trek movie certainly needed one.
No, it didn't. I did not like Star Trek and feel it was a bad movie, but one thing I will praise it for is the fact that it took big risks and didn't reset everything at the end. Star Trek became too safe over the years, it is nice to know that someone with balls is in charge again, I only wish they had the talent to match it.
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Old May 20 2009, 01:52 PM   #1359
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Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

Watching DS9 in almost its entirety (still have S7 to go) has made me realize the power of continuity, story arcs and daring writing, and Voyager most certainly missed out on all those frontiers.

Imagine a season long arc of "year of hell" where Voyager starts off bright eyed and cheery, proverbially speaking, then battle after battle wears it down into a more sober state as supplies run thin, replacement parts become scarce and crew morale suffers. The progression from an optimistic start to the harsh, brooding reality of space travel could've very well been the prevailing theme of the show, but unfortunately Voyager always chose to be too family friendly instead of risking to be a little darker in its presentation.

The same can be said of the Borg. Imagine a conflict with them that resembled the masterpiece that is the dominion war. Instead, the Borg conflict was an on-and-off kinda thing, with its only constant reminder being in the character of 7. And, once again, the Borg lost their intimidation factor as a means of keeping the show safe and approachable to all audiences, but the writing would've been far richer if Voyager didn't develop a quick-fix to the borg threat in nano-probes. The struggle could've been fleshed out over more episodes so we could get the impression that despite how dangerous the borg are, Voyager is making small strides against them. That way, we have a more genuine and appreciable struggle.

There are many other recurrences that gave DS9 its power, while Voyager suffered in its absence. The baseball for instance, represented the Dominion war as being a game, but with the highest imaginable stakes involved. Its secondary characters were amazing: General Martok, Zial, Rom, Laleeta, the Grand Nagus, Weyoun, even Morn. DS9 stuck with its premises about Bejor, Kardasia, the wormhole, the prophets, etc and wove a very intricate plot with a lot to appreciate, certainly enough for multiple watchings. Where was Voyager's reccurences? They were bare-boned at best.
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Old May 20 2009, 02:33 PM   #1360
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Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

Vykan12 wrote: View Post
Watching DS9 in almost its entirety (still have S7 to go) has made me realize the power of continuity, story arcs and daring writing, and Voyager most certainly missed out on all those frontiers.
Agreed entirely. DS9 took risks with the story and characters and it built upon previously defined traits in interesting ways. It still made mistakes and screwed up in many places, but there was a complexity and depth to the show which the others just didn't have, and it is the reason why it is my favourite show. The reason why I'm so critical of Voyager is that I watched both shows concurrently when they aired and Voyager's faults were made more apparent in contrast with DS9.

Imagine a season long arc of "year of hell" where Voyager starts off bright eyed and cheery, proverbially speaking, then battle after battle wears it down into a more sober state as supplies run thin, replacement parts become scarce and crew morale suffers. The progression from an optimistic start to the harsh, brooding reality of space travel could've very well been the prevailing theme of the show, but unfortunately Voyager always chose to be too family friendly instead of risking to be a little darker in its presentation.
Sorry if somebody has suggested this to you before, but you might enjoy Ron Moore's reimagining of Battlestar Galactica. Moore originally wrote for TNG before becoming one of DS9's main writers, and when DS9 ended he moved to Voyager. He hated the work environment on Voyager and how the show wasn't willing to take the risks that DS9 took, so he quit after 6 episodes and gave a looooong interview detailing everything he felt was wrong with Voyager.

Battlestar Galactica is a similar show to Voyager except Ron Moore implemented many of the changes he wanted to see on Voyager. It is about a fleet fleeing the genocide of their worlds, and it is a very dark and adult show with great continuity and it is focused very much on the characters. There is no aliens, no stopping off to scan nearby anomalies, it is about a group of 50,000 human survivors struggling to survive. It's not perfect, but it is a very dark and very serious cross between DS9 and Voyager, and it is one of my favourite shows ever.
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Old May 20 2009, 04:05 PM   #1361
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Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

GodBen wrote: View Post
Battlestar Galactica is a similar show to Voyager except Ron Moore implemented many of the changes he wanted to see on Voyager. It is about a fleet fleeing the genocide of their worlds, and it is a very dark and adult show with great continuity and it is focused very much on the characters. There is no aliens, no stopping off to scan nearby anomalies, it is about a group of 50,000 human survivors struggling to survive. It's not perfect, but it is a very dark and very serious cross between DS9 and Voyager, and it is one of my favourite shows ever.
It's also one of mine. However, I can see a place for both types of shows. BSG does a great time with the realism of the human condition. Voyager as well as all Trek explores the possibility of an enlightened humanity and what they can accomplilsh - to some including myself that's as much a sci fi idea as transporters and replicators.
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Old May 20 2009, 05:43 PM   #1362
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Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

As much I liked BSG, Voyager was never going to be that show. Star Trek has always shown a more optimistic future, where humans are better than they are today. Maybe it's not "realistic" to our 21st century eyes, but I think that's part of the charm. Also, I think BSG became too serious - I found the unremitting gloom quite draining to watch. It's a dystopian future, which Star Trek isn't. The perceived darkness of DS9 is often overemphasised - this was also the funniest of the Trek series, and handled that humour well. Even 'Profit and Lace' is a well-executed bedroom farce, regardless of whether you think it was a good episode.
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Old May 20 2009, 06:02 PM   #1363
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Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

kimc wrote: View Post
It's also one of mine. However, I can see a place for both types of shows. BSG does a great time with the realism of the human condition. Voyager as well as all Trek explores the possibility of an enlightened humanity and what they can accomplilsh - to some including myself that's as much a sci fi idea as transporters and replicators.
Oh certainly, Star Trek should never have gone to the extremes which BSG went to. Sometimes a Great Notion is a fantastic episode of BSG, but there is no way anything like that should have been attempted in a Star Trek series. Still, it would have been nice if Voyager had a little more damage as time went by, and if the stories had focused more on the crew and their situation.

Tomalak wrote: View Post
Also, I think BSG became too serious - I found the unremitting gloom quite draining to watch. It's a dystopian future, which Star Trek isn't. The perceived darkness of DS9 is often overemphasised - this was also the funniest of the Trek series, and handled that humour well. Even 'Profit and Lace' is a well-executed bedroom farce, regardless of whether you think it was a good episode.
BSG needed more humour, that's true. But they tried doing a lighter episode in season 1 with Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down and it didn't turn out so well. It seems like they stopped trying after that. Season 4.5 in particular was very bleak, but it was supposed to be that way as setup for the finale.
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Old May 20 2009, 06:49 PM   #1364
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Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

GodBen wrote: View Post
Oh certainly, Star Trek should never have gone to the extremes which BSG went to. Sometimes a Great Notion is a fantastic episode of BSG, but there is no way anything like that should have been attempted in a Star Trek series. Still, it would have been nice if Voyager had a little more damage as time went by, and if the stories had focused more on the crew and their situation.
Yes, exactly. That seems to be the theme we keep returning to in this thread. It's not that the show needed to be "dark" as such, but the reality of the situation often seemed so far away. They seemed to be a bit too happy for 150 people stuck together 70 years from home.
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Old May 20 2009, 06:59 PM   #1365
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Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

Tomalak wrote: View Post
GodBen wrote: View Post
Oh certainly, Star Trek should never have gone to the extremes which BSG went to. Sometimes a Great Notion is a fantastic episode of BSG, but there is no way anything like that should have been attempted in a Star Trek series. Still, it would have been nice if Voyager had a little more damage as time went by, and if the stories had focused more on the crew and their situation.
Yes, exactly. That seems to be the theme we keep returning to in this thread. It's not that the show needed to be "dark" as such, but the reality of the situation often seemed so far away. They seemed to be a bit too happy for 150 people stuck together 70 years from home.
But maybe it was their way to cope with a hopeless situation?

I mean, there have been people who have worked in dreadful places who have kept the spirit up by twisted jokes and weird humor. Maybe many of the crewmembers on Voyager just did the same. Tom Paris definitely seem to be that kind of person with his jokes and funny comments.
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