A Semi-Hater Revisits Voyager

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

  1. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

    :rommie:

    I thought you said the ice maiden thing did nothing for you? :p
     
  2. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

    If it's on offer then I'd be mad not to take advantage of it. :techman:
     
  3. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

    Fair is fair, then. ;)
     
  4. Tomalak

    Tomalak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

    How did Tom Paris get out of his coffin if he was in stasis? Or was that an hallucination too?
     
  5. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

    ^ That was real, apparently it happened several times. It annoyed me too, the writers seemed to think that being in stasis is like being asleep.


    Hope and Fear (***½)

    One bad side effect of BOBW was that Trek nearly always went the cliffhanger route at the end of each season, except DS9 which went for shocking plot twists. What I've always liked about this episode is that it did not go down the cliffhanger route, instead it acts as a bookend for season four, that was a good idea considering the changes made this year.

    Seven's character arc this season is fairly well rounded off in this episode as she finally decides she does not wish to be Borg and stops resisting being human (at least for now, the continuity of this show has never been brilliant). The story itself also acts as an interesting bookend for the decision Janeway made in Scorpion to side with the Borg, something which was not really followed up on this season. The idea that there are aliens near Borg space who resent Janeway for making that decision is believable and overdue.

    The problem is that Arturis's plan is a little far-fetched, he has everything set up in advance even though he didn't even know about the message from Starfleet until he boards Voyager. Then there is the problem with the quantum slipstream drive which can only work on Voyager for an hour for some reason. Why can't they use it for an hour, then stop for a day and then use it for another hour until they finally reach home? This has bugged me for years. Finally there is the huge anti-climax of the real message from Starfleet, the highly secretive encoded message which says "Sorry, we've got nothing". That sure was worth encoding. :rolleyes:

    Does anyone else notice a timeline aberration with this season? Hope and Fear takes place nine months after Scorpion, but the second half of this season has had huge jumps in the amount of time which passed between episodes. The Killing Game stated that the Hirogen had control of Voyager for 2-3 weeks, and there was several days of fighting after that. Vis a Vis stated that Tom has spent weeks building his car in the holodeck. Unforgettable said that the female alien had been on board a month before. Demon suggested that Voyager had been running out of power for quite some time so there must have been large enough gap between this and the previous episode. One had Voyager going through a nebula for a whole month. I guess with Year of Hell taking up only five minutes this is doable, but the early episodes must have been fairly close together.

    Who cares, eh? :lol:

    Season review coming soon and then we'll jump right back into things.

    Edit: I forgot about the torpedo counter, four torpedoes were fired in the slipstream tunnel (and only one hit).

    Torpedoes: 25/38
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2009
  6. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

    I agree, as well with most of your other comments regarding the finale, in particular Seven's acceptance of what she is, and the consequences of Janeway's alliance with the Borg.

    However:
    Yeah, Arturis was a bit of an over-confident supervillain in disguise, apparently. If he had just faked the communication from Starfleet from the start and it had taken him this long to catch up with Voyager, then it might have been more plausible. And, frankly, I think hearing nothing from Starfleet might have been better than "We got nothing." The crew would have to assume they were working on something after the Doc made contact, and wondering might have been more hopeful than concretely knowing that nothing could be done at the time.

    I can't help but think the writers had no idea what they were going to do with the transmission when they had it happen, and only decided in this episode what it was going to be. It would be consistent. :p

    How about the Dauntless? Pretty little ship.

    I must admit, when I first saw this episode I thought she might be legit and the crew might actually manage to get home (yeah, I know, I'm a sucker :p) and was very sad and indeed angry at the prospect that the Voyager might be left behind to get the crew home after she had shepherded and protected them for all these years. (I think I was still reeling from the destruction of the Defiant weeks earlier, if memory serves. :scream:) I had envisioned some scenario where all of the crew except the senior staff manage to get home on the Dauntless but couldn't go back, and the senior staff has to continue to limp home on Voyager as karmic punishment for wanting to abandon the ship. :rommie:

    Granted, I am one who tends to get attached to "stuff." But at least the episode had some extra emotional resonance there with this audience member, right?

    I also took note of the timeline contradictions:

    Who was their script supervisor, again? Did they even have a consulting firm at this point? TOS had one (Kellam De Forrest Research) that would read every script and shoot up a red flag at ANYTHING that seemed self-contradictory. Whether it was ignored, however... :shifty:
     
  7. TedShatner10

    TedShatner10 Commodore Commodore

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    Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

    I liked "One". Not a flashy episode, but it had that bald guy from Prison Break.
     
  8. startrekwatcher

    startrekwatcher Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

    "Hope and Fear" gets a meager two stars out of four from me. This has to be one of the weakest Trek season finales. It felt just like any other middling episode you might encounter in season four.

    I anxiously awaited to learn the mystery of the coded message and it initially started off well--like so many of Voyager's episodes--but fell apart when it came for some payoff. I thought for sure they were setting up something really interesting that would shake up the status quo and pave the way for something different in season five. Would they get home? Would they abandon VOY and we'd get a new starship?

    No. And the writers had me up until the moment that Arturis' deception was revealed. It just took all the wind out of the episode for me. It became so pedestrian that any interest I had dried up. From there on out it was just formulaic VOY. The jeopardy of whether Janeway and Seven would be assimilated was non-existent because I knew they wouldn't be. Even the chase between VOY and the Dauntless was dull and felt like just another standard action sequence that the writers had supplied. I didn't like how the Borg were treated as a plot device although the final shot of Arturis landing in the middle of a trio of them was chilling.

    I guess I was just spoiled with other television programs being creative at misdirection. So even if it wasn't in the cards for the writers to bring VOY home they could have at least supplied an interesting intriguing plot development. We didn't even get a cliffhanger. Very disappointing episode. The only thing I consider that came out of this episode that contributed to a larger purpose beyond Seven's character development was the fact that I always considered that Arturis probably weighed heavily in her mind when she decided to help the rebel drones in Unimatrix Zero and why she would be willing to be voluntarily assimilated.

    I'm pretty sure the implication from the episode as I had detailed in an earlier post in this thread was that Arturis somehow intercepted the message in "Hunters"

    The way that I understood how everything unfolded was that Arturis intercepted the original message back in "Hunters" or sometime before then at some point along the alien relay Voyager was using to communicate with Starfleet(This of course requires some suspension of disbelief that Arturis would know any of this but yet he also was aware of Janeway's deal with the Borg which eludes me how he would be aware of that given there was no one else around at the time--maybe in "Concerning Flight" one of the items stolen contained the information). It was then that he created the false message about the Dauntless. I don't think he would have had the time in "Hope and Fear" in those few seconds to create the false message with Admiral Windbag.

    He then encoded it with one of his species' complex encryptions and placed it back in the relay to where Torres grabbed it. That would be the only way that Arturis could have controlled when the message was opened in order to guarantee he would be the one on hand when it was and that the "Dauntless" was in place.

    The reason Seven had such a hard time decoding it and the reason none of her codes mentioned in "Retrospect" and "Hope and Fear" failed to yield results in hindsight was because in her time as part of the Collective the Borg never assimilated Arturis' race as we learn in "Hope and Fear" and therefore hadn't asimilated their linguistic/coding skills and therefore wouldn't be able to developed a decryption algorithm to counter it:

    "Have you encountered his people before?" Janeway asks Seven. "Species 1-1-6," Seven replies.

    "Is that what you call us?" Arturis says "Yes," Seven says. "The Borg has never been able to assimilate them. Not yet."

    At least that is what makes the most sense to me. If Arturis just sent his message and didn't take into account the damage from the data stream then he'd be thinking that the crew would get the message right away so why would the Dauntless not be nearby instead of in a system five months from where the crew was in "Hunters".
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2009
  9. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

    I know a lot more about this episode than most because I was given the book Star Trek: Action! as a birthday present many years ago and it detailed how they broke the story for this episode. I can confirm that the transmission was something they pulled out of their ass for this episode. Surprised? ;)
     
  10. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

    Not at all surprised, good sir. A little reassured, in fact. :cool:

    I think startrekwatcher's assessment of how Arturis's plan worked is probably pretty spot on. He intercepted the transmission somehow, put in the fake, encrypted it with one of his own algorithms so he would have to be the one to decode it, and then retransmitted. A little ludicrous? Hells yeah.

    But hey, if the Ferengi can do it... oh, sorry. Not there yet. :p
     
  11. startrekwatcher

    startrekwatcher Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

    Writers pulling stuff out of their asses doesn't bother me. What it comes down to is whether the writers are good at coming up with stuff at the last minute or whether they suck at it. Piller did a good job with "The Best of Both Worlds II" and the DS9 writers came up with stuff off the cuff successfully many times. Brannon(whose work I usually like) and Menosky here sucked.
     
  12. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

    That's definitely true. With Braga and Menosky, it was almost a syndrome.
     
  13. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

    You're right, it's unfair to judge the Voyager writers for that and if the episode is good then ultimately it doesn't matter whether the story was made up on the fly. After all, I love nuBSG and I don't judge that show too much for doing exactly the same thing. I still wish that the Starfleet message had contained more than what we got because what he got was pretty much nothing, but I guess I should just be thankful that the writers even remembered that plot point at all.

    As for your explanation of Arturis's plan, it does seem to be the best explanation and it does make some sort of sense. In fact, it's probably the only explanation which actually works.
     
  14. NumberSix

    NumberSix Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

    Thank you starwatcher, the episode makes so much more sense now :)

    Liked Hope and Fear as an ending that wasn't on a cliffhanger, but tied up character and plot storylines instead, while again opening up future avenues to pursue (whether they pursue them is another matter). Sort of reminded me of the Buffy season 4 finale 'Restless'.
     
  15. Tomalak

    Tomalak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

    Oh yeah, I totally fell for it. Living in the UK and not really being on the internet much back then, I got most of my Trek news from the Star Trek Monthly magazine - it would be full of tantalising piccies with little in the way of explanation, and seeing the crew exploring the shiny new bridge had my mind buzzing. I think the episode I deduced from that scant information was much better though. ;)

    I think it's a pretty good episode , if somewhat low-key - presumably they'd blown the budget earlier on in the season with Year of Hell and The Killing Game, among others. Arturis is a bit of a weak villain, and I could never take him seriously because I was playing Red Alert 2 at the time, and Ray Wise was the President in the cut-scenes. :lol:
     
  16. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

    Warning! The following post contains dangerous levels of nerdiness. Wear protective goggles when reading.


    Season 4 Review

    [​IMG]

    As you can see, this season does pretty well for the first two thirds but the quality takes a significant drop after The Killing Game with Living Witness and Hope and Fear being the only winners from that point on. The red trend line clearly shows the quality declined in the second half of the season. As a result of this poor second half the season average is surprisingly low with an average score of 5.231.

    [​IMG]

    This is something we've not seen before! (Yes, I'm trying to make graphs exciting. ;)) Normally the scores form a bell curve around the season average with a random spike somewhere, but this almost looks like two bell-curves skewed to the right, one centred around 2 and the other around 7. The result is that while the other seasons have been mostly average with the odd good or bad episode, this season has mostly been good or bad with very few average episodes. I find this turn very interesting.

    *cue yawning from everyone else*

    11 episodes were below average, 13 were above average and 2 were average.
    Best episode: Living Witness
    Worst episode: Vis a Vis (For being so horribly placed.)


    The Writers

    [​IMG]

    Bryan Fuller makes a fantastic debut as a staff writer with an average score of 7.75 out of 4 episodes. I didn't know what to think of him several months ago when he said he was interested in creating a new Trek series in the JJverse, but if he manages to maintain his score at this level then he will have my full support (which I'm sure he will be very pleased to hear ;)). Braga has also had a very good season with a score of 6.75 out of 8 episodes, only The Killing Game two-parter held him back from being the best writer this season. Menosky scored 5.889 out of 9 episodes, not surprising considering most of his episodes were with Braga. Jeri Taylor finishes her reign as EP with a score of 5.333 out of 3 episodes, meanwhile Klink doesn't do too badly with a score of 5.2 out of 5 episodes, just slightly lower than the season average. This season's biggest loser is Biller who scored 3.667 out of 3 episodes, this is a long way away from last season when he was the best writer.

    [​IMG]

    This is how the writers stand after four seasons. Fuller's great debut performance puts him ahead of the pack, but with only four episodes he is going to have to work hard over the next three seasons to maintain his lead. Braga and Menosky's good season brings both of them over 5, Braga in particular did a lot of good work this year and he earned this score. We'll see if he can maintain it. Jeri Taylor's score stays roughly the same, according to MA she only has one more episode so it's not likely that the score will change all that much. Biller's poor season dropped his score from second best to second worst. However, this was Lisa Klink's final season and despite her strong debut episode (season 2's Resistance) she finishes her run on the show with a below average score of 4.308 out of 13 episodes.


    What Would GodBen Do?

    You know the drill, I take over the show for this season and discuss how I would have done things differently.

    Scorpion Part 2 was rushed, it should have been a two or three episode arc and we should have seen more of the war between the Borg and 8472. There was so much potential here and the final product suffered from being too rushed. Seven (once she gets past her annoying shouty stage) is a good character and a welcome addition to the show, she brings conflict to this show that it desperately needed. But she needs to get out of those catsuits and into something more flattering, right now she looks like a Barbie doll.

    Kes should not have been the one to leave the show because she still had a lot of untapped potential. I would prefer to keep everyone but I realise that the realities of TV budgeting meant they had to cut somebody, but the best choices for the axe were Kim and Chakotay. Kim isn't going anywhere and all he did this season was have a crush on Seven, meanwhile Chakotay doesn't seem to have a character arc anymore, his arc ended with the death of Seska.

    I'm not sure what I'd do about the Year of Hell story because I like the idea of a year-long arc but due to all the Borg and Seven stuff at the beginning of the season I might not have fit it in. If I couldn't go that route then this season itself wasn't too bad, and I really liked the Hirogen arc up until The Killing Game. Once you remove the disproportionate number of bad episodes this season it is very strong, all you need is to cut or improve crap like Demon.


    Statistics

    Shuttles Lost: 8
    Torpedoes: 25/38 (Point of interest, all four photon torpedoes fired this season were in Hope and Fear.)
    Harry deaths: 2

    Season 1 Average: 5.867
    Season 2 Average: 4.692
    Season 3 Average: 4.269
    Season 4 Average: 5.231
    Overall Average (93 episodes): 4.914


    In Summation

    This was a much better season than season 3, but it wasn't as strong as I was expecting due to large number of bad episodes holding it back. I still consider season 1 to be the best season of the show so far, but maybe season 5 will finally manage to beat it. Voyager's overall average now stands at 4.914 which is still slightly below average, but another season like this should bring it above 5 again.
     
  17. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

    Don't worry, I found it interesting. I think you'll find more people don't comment on the graphs because you pretty thoroughly assess them. I still like seeing them! :)

    Of all of your season-fixing assessments, it seems like this one is the easiest to fix: kill Harry instead of deporting Kes, as originally planned, and let Chakotay keep/regrow his balls so he's useful; put Seven in a civvy version of the Starfleet jumpsuit, but not right away (let her stay more Borg-y for a while) and stop her from shouting; cut the crap episodes like Vis a Vis and Demon and expand the Borg/8472 arc, Hirogen arc, and the Year of Hell.

    Also, it could still be the "Year of Hell" without just being the Krenim. The Krenim just could have been one of many reasons and the bookends for it; the other crappy stuff that happened could have rounded out the year of hell.

    Silly producers. So self-deluded. :p
     
  18. startrekwatcher

    startrekwatcher Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

    I've always liked what Fuller says in various interviews. He says all the right things and seems to be keenly aware of what works and what doesn't but when it comes to implementing things he never seems to be able to come through. Looking at his writing record on Trek I have to say I'm not all that impressed with mediocre episodes like Fury, Spirit Folk, Empok Nor, Gravity, Course Oblivion, Juggernaut, Alice to name a few.

    I didn't like Pushing Daisies. The only other work I've seen is on Heroes and that is sort of hard to judge because the writers have said because it was such a heavily serialized show that different writers worked on different storylines and then the staff sat down and assigned a script to each writer. He did receive credit for the show's best episode but he was suppose to rejuvenate the show in season three and I was far from impressed.
    I didn't realize until I came to the internet how many people were really bothered by Seven in a catsuit. Never was something that was an issue for me.
    I would have gotten rid of Kes and Kim. The cast was already too big and the writers were having a hard time writing for the cast as it was.

    I think this is VOY best year. It wasn't the year the show blossomed and was consistent like I had hoped but it was certainly better than seasons 2/3.
     
  19. Lynx

    Lynx Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

    DS9 had 10 main characters and the writers for that series had no problem coming up with stories for all of them.

    They should have gotten rid of the Voyager writers instead.
     
  20. Tomalak

    Tomalak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: A Hater Revisits Voyager

    Yeah, the size of the cast wasn't the issue per se, but from the fourth season onwards, you get a very clear split between the Janeway/Seven/Doctor stories and those for everyone else. They were the three easiest characters to write for, and probably the three most popular, so it's not surprising that the writers chose to devote more time to them than try and make Chakotay, Kim or Neelix work. I think it's pretty damning that Reg Barclay became a more well-rounded character after a mere handful of episodes over fifteen years than Harry Kim was in seven years of Voyager.
     

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