A Semi-Hater Revisits Voyager

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Voyager' started by TheGodBen, Feb 9, 2009.

  1. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 30, 2008
    Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

    Haven't you realised by now that this whole thread is only here in order to annoy you? ;)

    The problem I have is that I don't derive any fun from predictable situations. Are Tuvok and Tom going to die at the hands of the evil Seska hologram? No. Making me care about a predetermined outcome requires exceptional writing, and Voyager rarely displayed that level of writing ability. The best episodes are ones which don't rely upon peril as a crutch, the best episodes try to tell a story where the viewer can't determine how it will end. That's why the first half of this episode is so good, I don't know where the story is going, and that's why the second half is so boring.

    As for me assigning scores to each episode, I only do that because I have a very mathematically oriented mind and I love the act of deriving information from statistics. As with all reviews which have scores attached, it is only my opinion and I include them for my own purposes and because it indicates my general feelings toward an episode. I try to stay away from the extreme ends of the scale unless I feel that the episode really deserves it which is why only 5 episodes received half a star or zero, and only 3 episodes received four and a half or five. Ideally for an average season the results should form a bell-curve around two and a half.

    If you want a scale which explains my opinions then here it is.

    0: Not worthy of my ridicule
    ½: Awful
    *: Bad
    *½: Poor
    **: Meh
    **½: Average
    ***: Enjoyable
    ***½: Good
    ****: Very good
    ****½: Great
    *****: Exceptional
  2. Tomalak

    Tomalak Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jun 22, 2003
    Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

    What's the highest rated episode so far? Forgive my laziness. ;)
  3. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 30, 2008
    Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

    Prime Factors from season 1, followed by Meld then Eye of the Needle. I'm surprised because my favourite episode so far has been one I didn't even remember until two months ago.
  4. Tomalak

    Tomalak Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jun 22, 2003
    Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

    What did they get on the scale by way of comparison? Presumably not the full five stars?
  5. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 30, 2008
    Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

    Prime Factors got the full five stars because I loved the ending and I felt it was a great use of the show's premise. Meld and Eye of the Needle got four and a half each.
  6. Tomalak

    Tomalak Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jun 22, 2003
    Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

    Right, cheers. I haven't seen any of those episodes for years, so maybe time to have another look. I don't remember 'Meld' at all!
  7. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 30, 2008
    Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

    Scorpion (*****)

    It's by no means perfect, and the episode does have a number of problems, but it doesn't really matter because it was a great hour of entertainment. Voyager managed to pull off an episode where there was a race more powerful than the Borg, yet they kept the Borg terrifying at the same time. It's still exciting a decade later to watch 15 cubes overtake Voyager at high speed, and everything about 8472 is cool.

    Before Scorpion aired 12 years ago I had lost a lot of interest in Voyager and only tuned in if I could be bothered to remember, but afterwards Voyager became must-see viewing because I had seen the show's potential and I didn't want to miss a single episode in case they reached this level again. That's how good this episode is, it kept me watching through Fair Haven. ;)

    It's probably the most ambitious episode yet and it didn't disappoint like earlier episodes on this level, such as Basics. It's even more impressive now that I've learned it was a last minute decision to do this episode as the finale.

    Season 3 is over! Yay! :D
  8. startrekwatcher

    startrekwatcher Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jun 9, 2007
    Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

    I consider this and Part II the best episodes of the series. They were certainly the only ones that really hit all the marks.

    Brannon is bashed quite a bit by fans but this episode really captured him at his best and displayed those qualities I often enjoyed about his writing.

    All the little details were there showing the writers were on the ball. The realistic preparations the crew were taking upon realizing they were entering Borg space were absolutely essential and thankfully Braga & Menosky addressed them.

    Janeway reviewing the logs of those who encountered the Borg including Picard was a nice touch. The continuity flourishes of Wolf 359, Q, the Borg's "Resistance is Futile", Tuvok using the rotating frequencies idea developed on TNG--all expected and appropriate. The Doctor studying the Borg corpse from "Unity" in order to provide a medical defense against assimilation also showed some thinking because you have to prepare for the worst. I always found it interesting to consider that by handing over the Doctor's research on the modified nanoprobes and the alien cells that she was turning over not just a means to defeat 8472 but also preventing the opportunity for the Doctor to possibly modify 8472's immunity into a safe assimilation vaccine. It just added to the tough position she was in and made it that more compelling. Sending out a probe ahead of the ship was another smart move to scout for possible threats. I also liked it because it led to a great moment as B'elanna pulls up the last recorded images confirming Borg!

    I also appreciated Janeway acknowledging the reality of the situation she found herself in whether in her conversations with Chakotay or the crew in the briefing room or with the Collective itself(thankfully there was no emotional Queen to interact with)--Borg space is vast, there will be trillions of Borg and a myriad of vessels and the choice was either to try to sneak through or turn back, she did have the Collective over the barrel and that defeating 8472 whose goal was to wipe out all life in our galaxy trumps defeating the Borg. At least with the Borg the Federation has demonstrated the ability to deal with the Borg in some limited manner. I also appreciated the fact that Neelix had very little to offer up, beyond his efforts to ration food supplies, given he had not engaged the Borg before and I liked how Kes and her Ocampan abilities were used and how they contributed and how they would eventually set up for her exit. It gave everyone a little something to do including Kim who it seemed the episode was priming for an exit in the fall. Too bad, of course they didn't go through with it because as the series ultimately demonstrated he was deadweight and it would have shown the writers were willing to up the stakes.

    The urgency and the terrifying atmosphere were present and accounted for from the very first moment where, in the teaser, we see two Borg cubes meet resistance and are quickly dispatched before they could finish their assimilation sales pitch. The story wasn't a BoBW retread but was a brilliantly conceived tale that provided a clever, plausible and elegant excuse to how one lone ship could possibly survive in Borg space for any period of time--the Borg were busy with someone more powerful than they were. It also offered Janeway the leverage she needed--the Collective would not only not assimilate Voyager but would also protect Voyager from the aliens at all costs as they proceeded to move out of Borg space as they worked together on a weapon. I don't think you could have come up with any better idea. Also I figured the Borg were intrigued by a Federation ship all the way in the Delta Quadrant--the Borg must have wondered how they got to this region with the warp technology they possessed when last they met.

    Along with the armada of 15 cubes speeding past Voyager this hour supplied us with several effective visually-based visceral moments including the one when the crew first encounters the Borg graveyard and the sight of the bioships forming a weapon to destroy a planet . Brannon has always been one of the best people when it comes to effective imagery. I also liked the idea of two powerful races--one based on technology and the other on biology.

    The score was outstanding most notably when the away team is on the march away from the pursuing 8472.

    The least interesting parts were the ones involving da Vinci because I was more interested in seeing this crew react to the knowledge that they were entering Borg space and that they were facing not one but two mortal threats . Thematically they were interesting in how they tied to the story but when compared to all the other interesting stuff unfolding around them they tended to get in the way and was one of the few weaknesses in the entire hour. Another minor issue was the fact that a bioship was able to destroy a powerful cube in seconds yet Voyager just spins out of control.

    The one issue I did have was the way the writers played with the Borg's ability to study and adapt. On TNG, the Borg could study a ship's systems and counter the defenses by scanning them like in "Q Who?" or "The Best of Both Worlds" but here B'elanna suggests that unless they've assimilated
    something they are clueless. I suppose it isn't too much of a stretch but it did rankle when I first heard it but over the years it hasn't bothered me as much. And I didn't find Mulgrew's Picard impression that great.

    Overall, it was a fantastic hour made all the more impressive by the fact it was penned at the last minute. It finally gave me hope that maybe this would be the turning point for the series. In the end, it wasn't quite the transformative moment for a much improved series but it was a step in the right direction.

    I'd give it four stars out of four stars. Excellent!
  9. NumberSix

    NumberSix Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

    Worst Case Scenario

    Is it just me or at the beginning of the episode when holo-Chakotay runs up to B'Elanna in the corridor... did he pinch her butt? He seems to smile cheekily and his arm sort of lowers... but later he doesn't have the same expression when he walks up to Tom... ;) Haha or maybe that's my imagination running away with me.


    I really like this episode. The Borg are terrifying, probably the best 'villian' alien race in the entire Star Trek series. Also I like to see Chakotay acting-captain, he's more ruthless than Janeway is (except in Equinox...) and likes to yell "fire!" a lot.

    Plus the end of season 3 marks the end of Janeway's horrible bun and the start of the ridiculously perfect bob.
  10. DGCatAniSiri

    DGCatAniSiri Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Aug 1, 2008
    Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

    I always liked Janeway's ponytail, personally. There were points in Season four where the shoulder-length was just really odd looking - I can give Year of Hell a pass on it, since she's probably doing 'do-it-yourself' haircuts, but there are occasions...

    Anyway, on a less superficial note, Scorpion. Probably the best Voyager season-ender ever. All the other two parter finales always seem to place at least one character in mortal peril, but that just doesn't have the same punch it had when BoBW came out - cast members of a big show leaving is usually reported on, since I remember reading that a Voyager cast member was leaving at the end of Season 3 in the newspaper and TV Guide spoiled Jadzia's death the week before the episode aired. So if you don't hear about an actor leaving, the 'mortal peril' ending isn't that engaging.

    In contrast, Scorpion doesn't take a 'characters in danger' tack - something worse that the Borg is terrifying in it's own right, especially the sequence with fifteen cubes flying past Voyager - before Scorpion, we only ever saw single cubes. One cube destroyed a fleet at Wolf 359. We know one cube can be a nearly unstoppable force. And to see fifteen reduced to a cloud of debris... DAMN. And then to see them destroy a planet, and Voyager's best chance is to make an alliance with the Borg... for a moment, Voyager looks to be actually looking to the idea of making some serious shake-ups to the status quo, because I don't think negotiations with the Borg are a usually accepted practice among Starfleet. The possibilities that are created by a Voyager desperate enough to go home that they'd make an alliance with not just their worst enemy, but the greatest threat to the Federation are pretty big.
  11. Lynx

    Lynx Vice Admiral Admiral

    Mar 27, 2001
    Lynx Empire
    Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager


    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! :techman:

    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.
    Last edited: May 7, 2009
  12. Tachyon

    Tachyon Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Feb 5, 2009
    Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

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

  13. Tomalak

    Tomalak Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jun 22, 2003
    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. :D

    Part II isn't quite as good though.
  14. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 30, 2008
    Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

    Season 3 Review

    You want graphs? I got em! :p


    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.


    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.

  15. Undead

    Undead Continuity Spackle Moderator

    May 8, 2003
    Unicron (The Pyxis Unity)
    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.
  16. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Apr 18, 2004
    The fine line between continuity and fanwank.
    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? :)

    Brilliant! You're hired. :p

    On second thought... :rommie:
  17. Sela301

    Sela301 Admiral Premium Member

    Mar 2, 2003
    San Francisco Bay Area, CA
    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.
  18. Mareika

    Mareika Captain Captain

    Jul 7, 2006
    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.
  19. Tomalak

    Tomalak Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jun 22, 2003
    Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

    But statistically, above average. ;)

    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.

    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.
  20. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Apr 15, 2000
    In the lap of squalor I assure you.
    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.