Does It Get Better???

Discussion in 'Voyager' started by AdmiralScreed, Dec 4, 2011.

  1. DonIago

    DonIago Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    That strikes me as a pretty reasonable approach.
     
  2. You_Will_Fail

    You_Will_Fail Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    But isn't that the case in tons of TNG episodes and some DS9 episodes too so why should Voyager episodes get marked down for it? There are standalone episodes in Trek that are just there to entertain us using the characters and surroundings we know. "Hard Time" was a fantastic DS9 episode but the events in it were never discussed again and didn't seem to affect O'Brien out of that episode but I definitely wouldn't mark it down for that.

    And regarding Phage, I did feel it set more of the scene for Voyager in the DQ. It gave us Neelix's mess hall, the Viddians we, Kes was offered the position of a trainee nurse, and it developed the personality of the Doctor and Neelix.

    As for why I like the episode. Well first of all I think it developed the characters of Neelix and the Doctor further in a fun way, I enjoyed their interaction a lot.
    I also love the scene in which the Vidiians were introduced and Mulgrew's acting was superb in that scene. The Vidiians themselves were interesting and a unique villain to Trek, 3 dimensional and sympathetic. Can we outright condemn their actions when they're doing it just to struggle to stay alive?

    Overall, its a strong episode and not simply just a "things happen oooh sci-fi" episode. We got character development and it set the stage for future events such as Kes training to be a nurse, Neelix running the mess hall and the Vidiians re-appearing.

    I feel the same way about Jetrel too, another strong character episode that tells us more about Neelix's tragic backstory and I'll be damned if Ethan Phillips wasn't one of the best actors Trek ever had.

    Definitely, I think you're trying to compare a few Voyager seasons to the whole Dominion arc or something.
    I personally take Voyager on an episode by episode basis and evaluate just how much the episode entertained me or touched me. Its only when I take a step back to evaluate the show and ask "how much did this show live up to its premise/develop its characters" etc etc that it takes a hit.
     
  3. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    All Trek, including Star Trek itself, has had plausibility problems. Except for the handful of hard SF fans, whenever someone talks about plausibility they usually mean something else. Coupling plausibility and premise related problems suggests very strongly the popular drivel about not living up to the premise. Moore of course comes in because his is the main authority for this propagation of this disingenuous nonsense.

    The 37s, whether you liked the episode or not, changed the premise of the show. Whether you can't see this simple point or merely refuse to accept it because you have some wacky agenda is irrelevant. The nonsense about the truck or the astronomical coincidence in running into this world or the inherent absurdity in carrying humans 70 000 lyrs are also irrelevant to the dramatic question posed. Which was whether to go on willingly or stay. If you think that people are too cowardly or diverse or whatever for the episode's resolution to be acceptable to your gut instinct about people, fine. But not to even see the question?
     
  4. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Brannon Braga and Jeri Taylor, who co-wrote "The 37s," do describe the episode as a "turning point" for Star Trek: Voyager. Having said that, the easy shuffling of three episodes produced prior to "The 37s" to the third, fourth, and sixth airdates of the second season suggests that the series was already so episodic at that point that so-called "turning points" were essentially irrelevant to following episodes.

    In general, I think that's pretty illustrative of the problem with the writing of Star Trek: Voyager, although I'd also say that beginning in the fifth season, more often than not the series commits a far worse sin: it's just plain dull.
     
  5. You_Will_Fail

    You_Will_Fail Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Ok so that's your opinion and I, like many others, do not agree at all. I can accept that the crew were happy enough to stay on the ship but that's ALL "The 37's" showed us. It didn't cover the rest of the problems this show had with living up to its premise and remaining realistic to the situation the crew/ship were in.
    I'm not really interested in discussing it either. You have your opinion and I have mine - if you want to know what mine is exactly then feel free to re-read that Ronald D Moore interview because he hit the nail on the head.
     
  6. AdmiralScreed

    AdmiralScreed Captain Captain

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    I just finishing watching "Projections." I thought it was a very smartly written and funny episode, and I enjoyed seeing Barclay on Voyager since he was one of my favorite guest characters on TNG.
    I'll give it a 7 out of 10. Thoughts? Agree? Disagree?
     
  7. exodus

    exodus Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    If you're watching the show in the hope the show takes risks, then you might not enjoy Voyage as much as TNG or DS9.
    If if you can step back and just enjoy a Trek show for it's pure entertainment value, then you can enjoy Voyager.
    I think it depends on how you view Trek in general.

    Do you take Trek seriously because it contains a moral/ethical message or do you watch Trek because it's entertaining that just happens to have a moral/ethical message?

    Me, I'm the latter, I love Voyager and found it gets better with the introduction of Seven of Nine.
     
  8. AdmiralScreed

    AdmiralScreed Captain Captain

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    I enjoy Trek for both of these reasons, although the moral/ethical messages have had a strong impact on me. That's part of the reason I enjoyed TNG and DS9 so much. There were many episodes that either reinforced my principles or added to them. One of the dilemmas that has come up continually in Trek is the rights of the many vs. the rights of the few. This is a dilemma that has been around for ages, and it still continues to surface in today's world. Trek has presented me with new ways to look at this issue. While I don't have a solid stance on this issue yet (it's very situational), it is something that I ponder over quite often. There are numerous other moral dilemmas that come to mind when I think of Trek. While VOY has presented some of its own moral/ethical messages, for the most part the plots seem based more around scientific concepts than philosophical issues, which is contrary to TNG and DS9 to a little lesser extent. That's not necessarily a bad thing because it's still an enjoyable series. I just don't feel like I'm taking a lot away from each episode. There's a lot less to think about.
     
  9. exodus

    exodus Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    That was the point of Voyager, too bring in an audience that found previous Trek to cerebral. The biggest complaint among non-Trek fans is that's it too talky and boring. Being that it was UPN's flagship show the idea was to make it more action adventure show rather than a thinking mans show. Should everyone have to be highbrow to understand a lesson of morality and ethics? Wasn't Trek meant to seen by the mass audience and not just the limited Trek fanbase? Just like TNG was geared to introduce Trek to an audience after our parents generation, Voyager was made to introduce Trek to our kids.
     
  10. AdmiralScreed

    AdmiralScreed Captain Captain

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    A Trek show to appeal to the masses......hmmm......I was too young to have watched this show when it was on the air in the 90's, so was Voyager popular with mainstream audiences at the time? Considering that it lasted 7 seasons, I would guess that it was.

    On another note, since last night I have watched Elogium, Non Sequitur, and Twisted, all from season two. Here are my thoughts on each one:

    Elogium: Absolutely abysmal. A ridiculous plot and a boring message about having children. Kes and Neelix were both fairly annoying in this one. 2/10

    Non Sequitur: A great parallel universe episode, and so far my favorite Harry Kim episode. 7/10

    Twisted: Two great episodes in a row. This episode featured some terrific character moments; Neelix asking Chakotay about jealousy, the disagreement between Tuvok and Chakotay, Janeway expressing her pride in Ensign Kim, and more. I also found the scientific concept to be quite intriguing, and I enjoyed the ending because we discovered that the anomaly was just an alien lifeform trying to communicate and learn about Voyager and her crew. 7/10
     
  11. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    How does it effect your interest in this episode if I tell you that by season 6, that either Projections had never happened because the viewership started following a new timeline, or some menace had erased this adventure from their memories.

    ;)
     
  12. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Throughout its entire run, Voyager had the Elogiums, episodes that aimed to focus on character but settled for too trivial a dramatic choice or too easily settled for the conventional wisdom. Twisted was refreshing for denying the old convention that there is always a way for the hero to win, while yet getting away without killing off the series by denying the convention that the alien is always a homicidal maniac.

    And of course it is true that there were numerous character moments in Twisted. But in my experience most people when they say they like character drama mean they like characters they identify with living out elaborate fantasies, like discovering their birth was arranged by supernatural entites or they were secretly genetic supermen or that they were not just foundlings but the children of creatures like gods or at least that their lovers will become more and more important, even exalted, people who shape the fates of whole worlds. The characters on Voyager are pretty much human scale, and don't become gods or even change the world very much. Which is to say, Voyager is boring.

    Further, the absurdities of the setup for the story in Elogium closely reflects the absurdities of the setup for the 37s. And this is consistent throughout the series run. The producers of Voyager were thoroughly convinced that science was all technobabble. Once they conceived a story they wanted to tell, they would contrive any kind of absurdity, completely indifferent to helping us out with willing suspension of disbelief. The resolutions rarely depended upon technobabble, but upon character choice.

    But for some crazy reason people will swear up and down that the technobabble came in at the end and somehow resolved the story. For instance, all the gibberish leading up to Paris staying behind in Non Sequitur was intended solely to offer the character a choice between sacrificing himself or helping right the world. People who dislike big words can get confused and think that it was the crux of the drama, not the set decoration. I remember even seeing Non Sequitur criticized for relying on technobabble!

    A nitpick, though. Non Sequitur ends with Tom Paris, even the supposedly evil version in the alternate world, nobly sacrificing his life. Therefore it's a Paris episode. It just seems like a Kim episode because Wang is so much livelier than McNiell (yikes, I've forgotten the spelling?)
     
  13. You_Will_Fail

    You_Will_Fail Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Wow, I thought Non Sequitur and Twisted were pretty bad. They're pretty badly reviewed across the board, I'm surprised you liked them.
    Twisted felt boring and pointless to me, another "spatial anomaly" episode. As for "Non Sequitur", ugh, it felt like "parallel universe by numbers" to me. Nothing was particularly well done or acted, and it always annoyed me how Tom Paris used a "site to site transporter" - because if something so convenient and useful actually existed then why weren't they being used all the time?

    I wouldn't call the trek fanbase "limited", TNG was pulling in 20 million viewers per episode in season 7....on the other hand, Trek haemmoraged viewers after that. And in a way, the whole making voyager completely episodic strategy did work in a way. I think it does better in Syndication and in foreign markets for that reason
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2011
  14. AdmiralScreed

    AdmiralScreed Captain Captain

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    I looked at some other websites and sure enough you are right. These two episodes are pretty unpopular. That's a shame because I thought both of these episodes were quite good. At least I've found some episodes of Voyager that I really enjoy.
    I think part of the reason I enjoyed these episodes so much is because I went into them without any real expectations. I just sat down for some Friday night Trek and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed these episodes. :)
     
  15. The Dominion

    The Dominion Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I also liked Twisted, but I too went in with low expectations due to it being another Voyager anomaly episode. I thought it was better than the average time distorting nebula plot they had a fetish for in the early seasons.
     
  16. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    He's not evil in "Non Sequitur" -- just a loser. But the episode shows that with people like Harry around, Paris is ultimately a heroic person (even self-sacrificing).

    Of course, we've argued about whether or not its a Paris episode before. By your reasoning, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is a Spock movie, and Star Trek: Nemesis is all about Data. That's just silly. Harry's the one in every scene of "Non Sequitur," not Tom. And Harry's the one with the goal -- getting back to his reality -- that he sets out with during the first scene and achieves in the last. Alternate Tom's a plot device, although one that gives us a little insight into the character of Tom Paris (as well as Harry, since the episode is ultimately saying that Tom would have stayed a loser without meeting him).
     
  17. You_Will_Fail

    You_Will_Fail Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Ha what do you mean? You can PM me to avoid spoilers in the thread.

    Also @ Admiralscreed, if you like episodes that have ethical debates/decisions, I think you'll love "Tuvix" later on in this season, people still debate it to this day! So that's definitely something to look forward to.
     
  18. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Basically correct about alternate Tom's loserdom.

    The above at least makes a clear and sensible argument. But the beautiful theory is killed by an ugly fact, which is that Harry's way back is basically handed to him by the observer, Cosimo. The point is not that Harry has to solve the problem of reaching his goal. Indeed, the point is not even Harry deciding to go back, which is why his decision is so briefly sketched. He really was aimed at going back from almost the first scene. This would be implausible were it not setting up the real plot.

    The big scenes that were obviously intended to have the emotional intensity or payoff were Harry's appeal to Tom, then Tom's rescue of Harry and Tom's self sacrifice. It was Cosimo and Tom who got Harry back, so the episode surely wasn't about Harry achieving his goal. Only if you assume that the episode was about Harry and the peculiarities in the dramatic structure were merely incompetence can you really argue that Non Sequitur was a Harry Kim story. Otherwise you're begging the question of what the story is about.

    Whether or not a character wins isn't really very dramatic, not like making a choice. Or a favorite substitute, making a self discovery. Which is why Wrath of Khan is indeed about Kirk, even if Spock is arbitrarily sacrificed to the script gods so that Kirk can "feel young again." (You didn't really think that a starship would need to have a steam pipe reconnected by hand, did you?) I have no idea what it means to say Data sacrificed himself, since there was no plausible reason to think he couldn't make up a backup disk. As to what Picard, I have no idea, but that seems to me to be pretty good reason to regard that script as a failure.
     
  19. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    As you point out, the episode hands Harry Kim exactly what the character wants (to be on Earth with his fiance), and the character doesn't struggle for a single second whether or not to leave. If that's not incompetence, then in the very least, it's not very dramatic.

    Data's technology was demonstrated as being impossible to replicate on the series. Is that plausible, given the level of computer technology displayed in the rest of Star Trek: The Next Generation? Not at all, but if you're looking for scientific plausibility, you won't find it anywhere near Star Trek.

    Of course, B-4 was designed as a trapdoor in case Spiner wanted to return to the series, but the lack of a sequel rendered that moot.

    As for reasons to regard that script as a failure, coming up with a comprehensive list would require me to re-watch the movie, something I'm not particularly inclined to do at the moment.
     
  20. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    So, you agree that Harry has no problem deciding to return nor does he really have a problem returning (thanks to Cosimo,) and you agree that this isn't very dramatic. Why do you then persist in assuming that the story is really about Harry? Because the episode didn't follow convention in showing us the hero in the first shot? The one who had a real problem was Tom, the one who had to make a tough decision was Tom, the one who got the high points, dramatically speaking (story beats I think they call them,) was Tom.

    Admittedly it is unusual, if not downright daring, to bring on the true protagonist later in the episode. But it is a legitimate dramatic choice. I think that you have to simply assume Voyager is terrible writing, in defiance of what is actually on screen, for whatever reason you really have, to defend the case.

    If Non Sequitur has a problem, it's Tom wasn't acted forcefully enough.
     

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