Star Trek: Voyager - A Marathon Re-visit.

Discussion in 'Voyager' started by SRFX, Jun 21, 2010.

  1. SRFX

    SRFX Captain Captain

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    Okay, as I stated in this thread , I have decided to watch through Star Trek: Voyager from start to finish in order to gain a fresh perspective on the series. It's been a while since I have watched certain episodes, and a lot I have recently watched have been out of order or simply other people's reviews of each episode. As such, I would like to gain my own, fresh perspective on the series and rate each episode as such.

    I would like to re-iterate - I am NOT taking the opportunity to bash Voyager. I am honestly hoping I can gain an appreciation of sorts for the series, because at the moment, I don't like hating it. Or at the very least, I don't like hating it based on long standing prejudgements and distant memories of watching the series during it's first run.

    That said, Voyager was the series that drove me away from Star Trek for a while, so it will always have that stigma. However, I was an angry, cynical teenager then, so who's to say who was at fault for my jaded disinterest. Now, I am an angry, cynical 25 year old but that's at least tempered with a decade of experience and personal development. :P

    Now, a bit of a thread outline. This is going to be a pretty fast re-watch. I have the following month off from studies and so my goal is to watch through season 1 to 7 in four weeks. It also helps I have a casual service desk job which 95% downtime. Watching it this quickly could be a bad idea, but I really don't want this to drag on for months and I can't afford to spend too much time on this once the new semester starts in late July. As such, I will review every episode, but I may not have the time/opportunity to go greatly in depth and some reviews may be very short. Of course, lengthy discussion is welcomed on every episode and review, and I will of course be actively involved as I go along.

    Anyhoo, without further ado, my next post will be my review of Star Trek: Voyager's series opener, "Caretaker". :)
     
  2. SRFX

    SRFX Captain Captain

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    CARETAKER - 1x01 - 4/5 stars

    Voyager's series opener is not without it's problems, but overall, I am going to say that this is the strongest series opener to any Star Trek series. I may personally prefer Encounter at Farpoint, largely because I adore the space jellyfish + it's nostalgic for me. But objectively, Caretaker is pretty damn good.

    The story develops quite well, there doesn't really feel like there's any slowness (at no point do I feel I need to the episode to hurry up - something The Emissary suffers from a bit). MOST of the characters get decent establishment and screen time.

    Something I find interesting, is that Tom Paris seems to have most of the focus in the first part of the episode, and I remember watching the show for the first time thinking that maybe Paris was going to be the main character - which would have been a nice change of pace for an ST series. However, the episode falls back into the ensemble style that is familiar to the franchise (which is not necessarily a bad thing, I just like variety!).

    Having Deep Space Nine as the launching point for the series is a nice touch as well - Star Trek has always tried to maintain a sense of 'universe' and this helps keep it all together. The scene with Quark, Kim and Paris is great too. Speaking of Kim, in the FIRST episode, something bad happens to him. I don't want to copy TheGodBen's Voyager counter, but I really want to keep track of how many times Kim has something horrible happen to him. So Kim getting infected for no reason by an alien entity = Horrible Encounter for Harry Kim + 1

    The drama in Engineering once Voyager comes through to the Delta Quadrant is a little odd to me - perhaps they were trying to establish Janeway's scientific/engineering background from the get go?

    There's a nice scene between Janeway, Chakotay and the Caretaker - where we see the differences in their command/diplomacy styles. Janeway is very aggressive, and strong and perhaps a little stand-off-ish(?) Chakotay tries a more gentle, curious approach. This is good because it establishes some nice differentiation between the characters, and that perhaps Chakotay is a bit more seasoned than Janeway.

    However, speaking of Chakotay - he has practically no lines in the series opener! This was something I only noticed once I got to the end of the episode. This was surprising for the actor given the second-place billing in the opening credits.

    A character and actor who DID make a big impression on me is Jennifer Lien's and Kes. She is just fantastic - I love her style of acting and I love the character.

    Now as for the resolution - we could debate the solution of Janeway blowing up the Array and I'm sure everyone's been through the whole "why couldn't she leave some timed bombs and still use the Array to return to the Alpha Quadrant". Well, whatever - I am willing to handwave this because the episode is so solid up until this point, and I can write off this decision as Janeway having to ensure target acquisition and destruction. In the contemporary military/navy, they don't ditch bombs at will and then ignore the aftermath. The target must be acquired, confirmed and the destruction ensured and also confirmed. I could also handwave it as the Tri-Cobalt devices being unable to have a timed detonation and they were the only weapons powerful enough to destroy the array. In the end, it really doesn't matter.

    What I WILL take issue with is Neelix. Sure he's kind of annoying, but that's not my problem. When on the surface of the planet, with the Kazon, he takes one hostage to obtain the release of Kes, in the middle of Janeway making some diplomatic headway. Neelix takes a temporary hostage, fires weapons and antagonises the Kazon, with the perceived assistance of the Voyager crew, involuntarily involving them in the issue. AND NO ONE CALLS HIM ON IT! At the end of the episode, Janeway welcomes them on board after Neelix convinces them he would be good help. If Neelix hadn't antagonised the Kazon, Voyager MAY not have been stuck on the DQ in the first place!!! I can't believe this gets glossed over. If I were Janeway, I would've dumped him back in his debris field to rot.

    This issue is pretty much the only thing that tarnishes an otherwise excellent episode and I am going to give it four out of five stars.

    Harry Kim Horror count = 1
     
  3. vas2009

    vas2009 Captain Captain

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    Interesting thought about Neelix.
    I always took his actions as being frightened and non-trusting of others. He only cared about saving his sweety. He does prove useful at times. Janeway will have to keep her eye on him;)
    Love the review good points.
    Harry Kim Horror count :guffaw:

    Drama in engineering: The chief died so she had to step in... Beauty and brains? Maybe?
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2010
  4. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It's been done. :shifty:
     
  5. SRFX

    SRFX Captain Captain

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    I know. But I am mostly doing this for myself and there seemed enough interest from the Voyagerians for me to post my thoughts (which I'd be recording to some extent anyway).

    Plus I get the impression I hate Voyager more than you but I am far less cynical. ;)
     
  6. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Cynical? Me? :confused: I happen to have an unwavering belief in the goodness of humanity. Naturally, my definition of humanity only includes the top 5% in terms of intelligence, with the lower 95% being a quaint ape species that should be contained within work camps for the good of humanity. That doesn't make me a cynic, that just means I'm a horrible person. But I digress.

    I started my thread as a personal experiment as well, if nobody in this forum had any interest I would have continued watching the show and scoring each episode regardless. So I wish you well on your journey and hope that you enjoy your stay in the work camps once they are eventually enacted. :techman:
     
  7. Sykonee

    Sykonee Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It may have been done, but you finished yours a long while ago. Don't you know every sub-forum must have at least one series review thread going on at all times?:p
     
  8. SRFX

    SRFX Captain Captain

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    PARALLAX - 1x03 - 3/5

    What could've been a boring anomaly of the week-episode is saved by some great character conflict. The scene between Chakotay and Janeway is fantastic and I've straight away connected with B'Elanna as a character. As a person who has a somewhat fiery temper and passionate disposition (I suspect my partner would feel I am putting this lightly), I really identify with B'Elanna and whilst some people might think her ridiculous for throwing things around the room or hitting consoles when they don't work, I see my own behaviour reflected in her, and I really connect with her as a person. Janeway and Chakotay locking horns over the issues in the episode, is fantastic and I would love to see more of this.

    Unfortunately, the great character stuff is wrapped up in anomaly shenanigans I just don't care about, and the whole time I'm just itching for the technobabble to shut-up and get to some juicy character interaction. As such, these things brings this episode's score down a bit.

    A welcome second episode, that could've done with a lot less TNG-style technobabble, and a lot more DS9-style yelling and bonding.
     
  9. SRFX

    SRFX Captain Captain

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    TIME AND AGAIN - 1x04 - 2/5

    This episode really doesn't do much for me. It's basically just another 'problem of the week episode', but doesn't have any substance or character development to back it up. The episode is 100% about the problem, and that just isn't satisfying to watch. There's a huge amount of technobabble and Chakotay is pretty much relegated to nodding in approval to technobabble solutions being proposed by Torres and Kim.

    There's some nice stuff early on between Kim and Paris, although it's pretty short and we get to see some insight into Janeway's handling of the Prime Directive (which appeared to be the same as Picard and Sisko - stick with it until it becomes a problem). The paradoxical nature of the problem is nice, and is pretty much the most I can say about the plot of this episode. Also that damn kid has got to be THE most annoying kid in any Star Trek iteration I've seen (I am including Wesley in this).

    On the whole, I didn't really get much out of this episode as it felt like formulaic filler - which is a bit concerning this early in the series.
     
  10. SRFX

    SRFX Captain Captain

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    PHAGE - 1x05 - 4/5

    Now, I don't exactly have it in for Neelix, but he hasn't done much at this point to win my affection. I find him incredibly annoying - and the episode basically starts off with this exact issue. Neelix bullies his way onto the away team, doesn't follow instructions (repeatedly) and then gets fatally injured because of it! I guess this hits a particular nerve for me as my job basically involves helping people who don't follow simple instructions. :P

    But this is merely the setup for an episode I enjoy immensely. The Vidiians are a compelling new species - creepy, ruthless but yet also somewhat sympathetic and justifiable. That's what makes a good antagonist - being unable to label them as purely evil, making you sometimes feel sorry for them and at other times despising them intently. They are complex and realistic - not simply Moustache Twirlers. Plus Cully Frederickson's portrayal of Dereth is fantastic - like a creepy mad scientist, but highly intelligent and conveys a sense of culture and intellectualism.

    Janeway, the Doctor and Kes are the standout performers this episode: The Doctor is his usual loveable and irreverent self, showing some more growth as a character, with Kes' interactions integral to that development. Janeway is on song the whole time and her speech is, by the way, fantastic:

    "They [Vidiians] may have found a way to ignore the moral implications of what you are doing, but I have no such luxury. I don't have the freedom to kill you to save another. My culture finds that to be a reprehensible and entirely unacceptable act. If we were closer to home I would lock you up, I'd turn you over to my authorities for trial. But I don't even have that ability here, and I am not prepared to carry you forever in our brig. So I see no other alternative, but to let you go."

    The speech is moving and to the point - I love it.

    The episode has some medicobabble here and there and I am curious about the validity of just beaming out someone's lungs, and them not dying in 3 seconds. But whatever - I am happy to handwave potential nonsense if they make a good story out of it.

    I had a hard time not giving this episode 5/5 marks, but at the end of the day, it's not 100% perfect and has minor issues here and there - but on the whole, I do feel this is Voyager's strongest episode so far.
     
  11. HGN2001

    HGN2001 Commander Red Shirt

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    We've been doing a slower VOYAGER marathon. We started at the beginning of the year, essentially averaging about 3 episodes per week, sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on what's going on.

    We're currently in the middle of Season Five, having just finished "Bride of Chaottica", some fine nonsense.

    Originally, we watched VOYAGER as it aired on its UPN Network run, and hadn't revisited any of it (except the pilot) in the intervening years. So much of the show is fairly fresh, with both the wife and I saying, "I don't remember ANY of THIS," about almost every episode.

    I'm not much of a Trek-basher - I like pretty much all incarnations of it - but I have remarked in the past that my opinion of VOYAGER was that it wasn't among the best. With the recent viewings, I don't know if it changes anything, but I'm finding the episodes largely enjoyable and a pleasant diversion from the daily rigors of life.

    Harry
     
  12. SRFX

    SRFX Captain Captain

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    THE CLOUD - 1x06 - 3/5

    "The Cloud" is a little odd in that it follows the exact same episode structure that "Parallax" did only a few episodes earlier - anomaly in space A story, character development B story.

    This episode is enjoyable, but I am not sure if it works as well for me as Parallax did in regards to the character stuff. Tuvok is continually portrayed as a total jackass. I mean, there are Vulcans, but Tuvok just seems to go out of his way to dump shit on people. Fortunately, it's Harry Kim who gets it this episode, so I don't mind so much.

    Sandrine's is just not an appealing locale for me. I never really got into it as a location. Also it seems a little at odds with the overarching issue that has been power conservation. They can't replicate coffee but they can run this high-tech piece of entertainment which has been stated in other series' as a huge drain on power? This seems to be glossed over entirely.

    Neelix raging about Janeway taking Voyager into another perilous situation is probably the first thing he has said and done that I have enjoyed. I also enjoy finding out B'Elanna killed her animal guide. She's great. :D

    One major thing that pissed me off was Neelix just showing up on the bridge during a Red Alert. That's just…..aaaaaargh. Made me almost scream - "WHY ARE YOU ON THE BRIDGE SERVING SNACKS!!?" The extent to which this unlikeable tag-along gets free reign is just intolerable. You'd think people would have learned to keep him on a proverbial tight leash after the Phage incident. But no - Neelix is freely allowed to get in harms way or just be a general nuisance.

    Overall, this gets a 3/5 from me. The character stuff isn't as strong as it was in Parallax, but I found the anomaly a little more interesting. It may have been derivative of other Star Trek space aliens (Tin Man, V'Ger, Galaxy's Child, TOS Space Amoeba), but that's probably why I liked it. It was a typical Star Trekky situation where the solution involved the main cast altruistically helping another life form, and that helped bump the episode from a 2 to a 3.
     
  13. NBG011

    NBG011 Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    "Caretaker" was brilliant, I found myself watching it again on several occasions when I was bored. It has everything a pilot episode should have, a plot that sets up the original premise, good introduction of characters, action, conflict...All done very well. I particularly liked the scene when we set our eyes on Voyager for the first time and you here a leitmotif of the opening theme in the background.

    I mostly agree with assesments of other episodes so far, there is just one remark I'd like to make about "Phage". IMHO, after watching almost the entire series (I've just completed "Lineage"), in retrospect Janeway's decision to let the Vidiians go and the speech in which she explains it prevents her from taking the path "Equinox" took to get home. She stayed true to Starfleet ideals even when it was not beneficial for the ship and one of her crew.
     
  14. SRFX

    SRFX Captain Captain

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    EYE OF THE NEEDLE - 1x07 - 4/5

    It's kind of difficult to fairly judge this episode, given that most of the suspense is ruined after the first viewing, and this is a Voyager episode I do remember quite vividly.

    That said, I remember it because it's still a good episode, and even if you haven't seen the episode before, common sense would suggest you knew they were going to fail.

    But what an astonishingly brutal failure it was, and I think this is what makes the episode so likeable. It's such an emotional roller coaster that results in the most depressing outcome possible.

    - Voyager can't go through the wormhole because it's too small. BAM.
    - Hope is built up when they realise a message can be sent.
    - Further hope is generated when this succeeds.
    - Oooh! We can send a transporter signal!
    - No you can't, the Romulan is 20 years in the past. BAM.
    - No, he can't send the messages because he's dead. BAM.

    Having Tuvok coldly deliver the news adds to the impact of the revelation, and Janeway's resolution and determination is admirable.

    There's some great stuff between Kes and the Doctor once again, in fact, the Doctor seems to be getting the bulk of the series' character development focus.

    Overall, despite being predictable, this is an enjoyable one to watch.

    EDIT: I just remembered a particularly dumb moment in this episode where it's stated the wormhole is approximately 30 centimetres in diameter, and then Harry Kim exclaims: "That's microscopic!!!"

    No, 30 centimetres is not microscopic, Harry.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2010
  15. T.D. Possum

    T.D. Possum Commodore Commodore

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    ^ Glad to see your high rating for Eye of the Needle. It's my favorite from the first season. Sure, the idea of them getting home so soon was clearly destined to fail, but once they changed their hopes to just getting a message through to home, that was great. Even at the end, when Tuvok revealed that the Romulan was dead, I kept thinking, well . . . maybe in a later episode they'll have it work out so that he passed the messages on to his kid or his lawyer and they contacted Starfleet.

    I never noticed Harry's "microscopic" line. Classic.
     
  16. SRFX

    SRFX Captain Captain

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    EX POST FACTO - 1x08 - 2/5

    We'll start off with the good stuff. Paris' punishment is an interesting one. It possibly violates the Geneva Convention, but it's an interesting type of punishment nonetheless. There's some good character development again and interaction between The Doctor and Kes. It's also fun seeing Tuvok play detective, a reminiscent feeling of watching Data Sherlock Holmes-ing in TNG. Even Neelix, comes off as useful in this episode providing good background information.

    However, despite this, the episode is BORING as hell. Even without knowing the resolution, this was never going to stack up to be an interesting episode. It's good seeing a main character acting in a less than professional manner, but that's about it. It's a run-of-the mill whodunit with no surprises along the way.

    Even the dog lynchpin in Tuvok's evidence presentation was kind of obvious coming - oh and by the way, that ending was lame as hell.

    Overall, there's nothing particularly remarkable about this by the numbers murder mystery, beyond the science fictiony punishment type.
     
  17. SRFX

    SRFX Captain Captain

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    EMANATIONS - 1x09 - 2/5

    This episode isn't good. There are so many things about this episode that bother me and in addition, it's just boring.

    First of all, Chakotay being portrayed as the self-proclaimed expert on religious practices is a little annoying, though I figure he's the most logical choice, given the cast of characters we have.

    Once again, Harry Kim gets screwed over and is randomly whisked away and deposited in a coffin. I find this somewhat amusing.

    One thing I will say is a nice change of pace is the attitude towards religion (although this was something that DS9 had already established on it's own before VOY). Religion is not dismissed as an antiquated concept - merely a different way of thinking. This is in contrast to TNG's 'religion = nonsense' attitude (although I personally prefer TNG's take as it's more closely aligned with my own attitudes).

    Also the special effects with Voyager flying around the planet are VERY pretty, arguably some of the best seen so far on the show.

    However, this episode is mostly boring, with in fact, a little discomfort. Voyager's peril in the episode plays out like it's getting corpses fired at it and Kim's escape plan involves a subversion of these people's funeral rites. It's all a bit silly, and in some ways distasteful.

    Harry Kim being abducted and deposited in an alien coffin nets him his second time in peril so far.

    Harry Kim Horror Count: 2
     
  18. SRFX

    SRFX Captain Captain

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    PRIME FACTORS - 1x10 - 5/5

    This episode is fantastic, but can I start off by noting that things kick off with us finding out Harry fell out of a holographic boat whilst on a date? I'm sorry, but that just kills me.

    Anyway, this an excellent outing for Voyager and is one of the first times the Prime Directive is really turned on it's head. It's a landmark story for Voyager, and for Star Trek in general.

    The pacing is excellent, there's no wasted screen time here. Characters and setting are established, the complication is introduced very quickly which gives us plenty of time to wrangle the issue (but not so much so that characters are left saying what we already know).

    There's plenty of inter-character conflict as we see the various ideals of each character debated and fleshed out and there's some decent character insight for Janeway and growth for B'Elanna.

    I will say, I don't agree with Janeway's decision here, but this doesn't mean I dislike her, nor is her perspective without merit. It's a tough call, but if it were me, my principles would have to take a back seat to my responsibility as Captain to safeguard my ship and crew. It's a tight situation where I don't condemn a person for going the other way on this one and an unwillingness to betray your own principles is admirable in the least.

    If i had one slight criticism, it would be the antagonist, Gathorel. Almost immediately his mandate is obvious. They could have replaced every line of his dialogue with "I AM A SLEAZEBAG". But it's not really an issue as his characterisation is not relevant to the story or issue at hand.

    This is easily Voyager's strongest outing so far and good science fiction overall.
     
  19. JanewayRulz!

    JanewayRulz! Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It also shows the real reason why Janeway never promoted Harry Kim. He interrupted the Captain just as she was about to be kissed by her "first" Delta Quadrant Alien.

    For that breach of First Contact Protocol, he was off the promotion list for the duration! :guffaw:
     
  20. SRFX

    SRFX Captain Captain

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    Meh, Janeway could do much better than that guy. :P
     

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