Why was Kes written off the show?

Discussion in 'Voyager' started by Kooz, Feb 23, 2012.

  1. exodus

    exodus Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Sex appeal has always been a major factor in selling Trek to the public. Every show be they male or female has always had a sex symbol type character. Look on all the TV shows, how many ugly people are on TV? Even the old people are pretty.

    As far as Kes, isn't there a recent interview with Jen Lien posted on this site that explains that her contact ran out and that she had talked to Berman about wanting leaving acting anyway? So it sounds like even if they killed off Harry Kim, Jen Lien didn't want to stay anyway. So they kept the guy that did.
    Doesn't matter how much potential Kes the character had. If the actor isn't serious about the job anymore, then they aren't going to put their best into the role.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2012
  2. NightOwl

    NightOwl Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    True, true. And even if they aren't, make up works wonders.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2012
  3. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    While this is true Trek itself is pretty sexless. You want sexy moments in Trek you have to pretty much subtext it. I think the brief scene with Juilian and Ezri in bed when they finally got together in DS9 is the single sexy moment in all of Trek that doesn't requite a lot of fannish reading into everything.

    Star Trek is quite hampered by this and if there is another series they will have to sex it up literally IMO. People are just used to quality, good looking sexy television nowadays.
     
  4. exodus

    exodus Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Well, Trek is supposed to be family friendly. So sexiness is kept to a simmer because of that. Too much sexuality, like on ENT. offended many people who had watched Trek for years with their kids.
     
  5. exodus

    exodus Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    If not, theres always plastic surgery. :lol::lol:
     
  6. DeepSpaceWine

    DeepSpaceWine Commander Red Shirt

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    That Kes' character "wasn't working" was an excuse. They were openly changing her in Season 3. She was put in a catsuit before Seven even arrived and they were maturing her character in episodes like "Darkling", "Before and After". The budget reason is true. They didn't want a net addition of characters, so for Seven to appear, somebody had to go. It was originally Kim but was changed to Kes. *That* should say that the studio/writers felt Kim wasn't working, not Kes.

    It was that 50 most beautiful people of Hollywood, and he was the token Asian on the list. Paramount felt that would look bad to fire him or that having him on was an asset. Digging around, it was People magazine. Influential? Not on regular people, but on Hollywood studios? Maybe. Looks like the issue came out around early May 1997. The Asian-American community really liked it because for them "finally" an Asian male made the list. Here's the list:
    #1-10: Winona Ryder, Toni Braxton, Brad Pitt, Claire Danes, Michael Flatley, Roma Downey, Cuba Gooding Jr. The Spice Girls, Oscar de la Hoya, Marie-Chantal
    #11-20: Tom Cruise, Mia Hamm, Jared Leto, Juliette Binoche, David Chokachi, Gwen Stefani, Garret Wang, Lauren Bacall, Tom Ford, Lisa Kudrow
    #21-30: Oprah Winfrey (her influence probably got her on that list out of fear on the magazine's part), Rebecca Romjin, Matt Lauer, Leonardo diCaprio, Jennifer Lopez, Andre Braugher, David Baldacci, Kristin Scott Thomas, Harrison Ford, Gillian Anderson
    #31-40: Paul Sereno, Jacinda Barrett, Derek Jeter, Michelle Yeoh, Deana Carter, Jeff Gordon, Liv Tyler, Kramer de los Reyes, Lucy Lawless, Jeanine Pirro
    #41+: Drew Barrymore, Christopher Cuomo, Gavin Rossdale, Pattie Maes, Jim Carrey, Vivica Fox, where I copied the list from stops numbering and formatting goes wonky from there.


    Wang was #17. Look who he was put above: Rebecca Romjin, Leonardo DiCaprio, Harrison Ford, Gillian Anderson, Lucy Lawless, Drew Barrymore, Jim Carrey. He wasn't just on the list, he was in the top 20. Obviously many would take exception to the list and that ordering of the list (I'd imagine many women in the '90s who read People were pissed Duchovny didn't make the list).



    The telepathic flare-up was the excuse to get her off the show. It was created to give Voyager some reason for jettisoning her in space and conveniently to skip over Borg space. Did the writers even think of how they were going to get Voyager to the other side of Borg space before the decision to remove Kes from the show was made? Borg fulfill their end of the agreement? Borg betray Voyager but she gets a transwarp coil in a battle or even from a leftover obliterated Borg ship from the many Species 8472 destroyed? Or the convenient wormhole?.

    And Kim was at Ops, basically what Data did on the Enterprise. Ops is sensors, communications, and ships systems. It's a position built into most scripts and usually they want a castmember reading those parts, not a Lt. Ayala. Maybe they could've used the Delaney Sisters. One could start a sentence, the other could finish it.


    I think Kes was chosen because she was redundant. Everyone else had a vital role.
    * Janeway, Chakotay, Tuvok, The Doctor, Torres: key personnel
    * Paris: he was not only the navigator, he was also field medic before Kes. He was also their resident 20th century historian and had a more developed backstory. Besides the disliked by Starfleet & Maquis early on, he was sort of the cynic, the one that balks at hierarchy and regulations, which of course led to his prison sentence, and all this in the context of being a skilled pilot and son of an Admiral who was descended from one of the higher-ups in the Yankees' front office 370 some years 'ago' :lol:. There was more substance in his background than some characters... scratch that, most characters.
    * Kim: he was admittedly the most dull. That seemed to be part of the intention, the green ensign, by the book but in no way street wise. Paris made an ideal friend/counterpoint. Of course, while there are many people that aren't wild exciting characters in real life, it doesn't really translate well into dramas or sitcoms. His role in Ops would need to be filled.
    * Neelix: people would have loved to get rid of him and his usefulness did end in "Fair Trade", but the Mess Hall was his set and they seem to have wanted a ship cook (need someone to cook for the dorm that is Voyager and feed < 150 people 3 times a day and prepare the snacks for off-hours). And each Star Trek show needed someone with mandatory heavy makeup, Worf was it for TNG, Quark for DS9, Phlox for ENT. Torres' little forehead wasn't enough, so the taxidermists' Frankenstein was made and behold, Neelix!

    Based on what transpired, he was obviously the one character they didn't know what to do with. Except for when they decided to growth-accelerate Naomi to an age where the kid can act somewhat and pair Neelix with her, all he got was, what, 2 or 3 lines in the mess hall per episode? Quark was an excellent example of how to use a B-story character or character who only appears in the downtime/interim scenes, not in the action scenes. Notice they stopped even using Neelix as a liaison for first contacts.
    * Kes: nurse, she was mainly there for the Ocampan POV (young, curious about the galaxy, but also accelerated lifespan). She came with her own set, hydroponics, which wasn't really too important or utilized in those 3 seasons. She overlapped with Paris as medic/nurse, she overlapped with Torres as love interest for Tom, she overlapped with Seven for blonde in a catsuit. Her character had growth potential, but it was those redundancies that did her in.
     
  7. KNH

    KNH Commander Red Shirt

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    Turn them into Bynars. Two token aliens, at least one female, and a much more interesting way to take care of Ops.
     
  8. Cyke101

    Cyke101 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yeah, I read that part on memory alpha. Still, I wonder why Garak wasn't upgraded to regular status and/or Jake wasn't demoted to recurring status.

    Yes, I think we'd have to take into account the timing here as well. As you point out, the issue came out in May 1997. Both DS9 and Voyager were pretty well respected critically (ratings be damned), First Contact came out a year before, and Trek was still in the midst of its wave of popularity and power. If a major mainstream magazine -- and let's remember that printed media was much bigger and more widespread in the 90s than it is now -- recognizes Trek, *especially* for something other than sci-fi, it's something that Paramount can plan around to draw in a wider audience.

    Funny enough, whatever momentum People Magazine provided for the writers was pretty much squandered anyway. For all the attention Garrett Wang received, you'd think that would be a sign to overhaul the character in some way, especially if the goal was to streamline the cast yet capitalize on the attention.
     
  9. LeadHead

    LeadHead Director of Comedy Premium Member

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    Thinking back on it, I really don't see how many things would have changed if Kim had left and Kes had stayed. Either character was gonna get largely ignored like everyone who wasn't Janeway, Seven or The Doctor from Season 5 onward.
     
  10. Yevetha

    Yevetha Commodore

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    Why didnt they get rid of Neelix instead?
     
  11. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Robinson may have indicated he did not want to sign a five-year contract. (Did you know he was in competition with Stephen Collins to play Decker in TMP?)

    Lofton was a child actor when he signed his five-year contract, therefore much cheaper than the other regulars. Due to not being used often, perhaps his next two contracts were also less-generous, but the actor signed anyway?

    The other Kes problem was that the actress had been "bombing" at numerous conventions. Painfully shy in real life, her often-bizarre public appearances instigated rumours of drug use. True or not, it made her a very unreliable ambassador for Star Trek.
     
  12. You_Will_Fail

    You_Will_Fail Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I hardly think conventions matter in the overall scheme of things, the percentage of people watching Voyager on TV who actually went to conventions or knew anything about how the people acted in real life really would have been miniscule.
     
  13. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Because he was a white male between 18 and 49.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2012
  14. Sandoval

    Sandoval Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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  15. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't think so. Jennifer Lien's a fine actress, but her character really didn't have much to do other than be somebody's girlfriend. I do think they were trying to find things for her to do like be the Doctor's assistant, be Tuvok's unofficial apprentice, and even have her be a gardener.
    It should be noted that the "catsuit" was in an episode in which her character was possessed by somebody else. Afterwards, the so-called catsuit disappeared.

    As far as the other episodes, they had to something with her, because the character was supposed to have a very short life-span, so she really should have matured by then.
    In your opinion, perhaps, but I'll have to side with the studio and producers on this one.
     
  16. Sandoval

    Sandoval Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It should also be noted that she wore a catsuit was in plenty of episodes, not just Warlord.
     
  17. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't recall a possessed Kes wearing it more than once. Could you provide some examples?
     
  18. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    in a figment of a mediocre mind's imagination

    Well, the Doctor's main assistant is a pretty big job by itself. Plus, her rapidly developing psychic abilities offered plenty of storylines-she was no more difficult of a character to write for than Troi was on TNG.

    She had more to do at the point when she left than Neelix did. He wasn't even needed as a guide at that point. All he had left was being a cook and a self-appointed "morale officer."

    Kes was more valuable to the crew than he was.
     
  19. Sandoval

    Sandoval Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Tracking down the images, saving them to photobucket and reposting them here is more effort than I'm prepared to go to right now if I'm honest.

    But sufficed to say she wore a dark skin-tight catsuit in episodes other than Warlord.
     
  20. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Do you remember who was his main assistant after Kes left?
    I actually think they gave Kes psychic abilities in an attempt to make her like Troi--to be able to sense the presence or intentions of various mysterious aliens.
    The studio and the producers felt differently.
     

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