Why was Kes written off the show?

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

  1. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    No ma'am, not "very little rain".

    Absolutely zero rain.

    The planet had been stripped of nucleonic Acids which are integral to precipitation and life on ALL M Class planets.

    This was the debt that could never be repaid.

    Why Caretaker caretook.

    His people destroyed Ocampa, and for all their power and savvy they couldn't fix it.

    Maybe for the first few years they might have told the near by powers that Ocmapa was a no go area, and maybe they killed a few colonies that tried to build on the bones of the dead Ocampa in the Ocampan cities/ruins... But it had been a thousand years.

    Caretaker was tired.

    It didn't hurt the Ocampa and if he chased the Kazon away, someone else would just try to set down roots next month.
     
  2. spot_loves_data

    spot_loves_data Captain Captain

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    I was tempted to say you pulled that out of your ass, the one over the tea kettle, but it's starting to sound familiar. It's been a while since I've seen that episode.

    That's a seriously massive fuck up on the part of the Nacene. Too bad they didn't have a genesis device. Or the means to just relocate everyone.
     
  3. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    In its unique way, a very impressive thread!;)

    1. The Kes character was in fact extremely hard to write for because in her personal interactions with other characters, the other characters all loved her and were instantly swayed by her marvelous wisdom and angelic goodness. In Resolutions, for instance, she instantly persuades Tuvok to turn back for the Captain and Chakotay. Jennifer Lien is so cute and that voice is so gorgeous that in one sense you don't mind Kes sucking the drama right out. But it was Kim's confrontation with Tuvok that was more exciting. Petitions to the skipper are the first step to mutiny, after all. And thematically speaking, it was Kim testing Tuvok's resolution that made sense. Pretty much all her interactions with other characters followed this rather Mary Sue-ish pattern. This was dramatically dull.

    Worse, the logical possibilities for dramatic development led Kes away from the rest of the crew or the ship. Nine year life span meant every relationship with the others was doomed to end. Psychic powers meant all forms of physical jeopardy should have been short circuited and resolved by Kes. Plust, psychic powers academy wasn't on Voyager. It's not accident that Cold Fire posed the choice of leaving the ship. Worst of all, it was never very clear exactly why Kes was there, going someplace strange to die with strangers met along the way. In the end, until we really understood why Kes abandoned the Ocampa we didn't have a real character.

    2. Kim was a token. The thing about the People magazine shoot was that it would have made firing the token embarrassing. Wang apparently no more liked the show than Beltran, and seems to have acted out his frustrations, but the producers slapped him down hard.

    As for being incompetent, that surely explains why Timeless was such a piss poor episode.:rolleyes: Incidentally, I've read reports that Robert Duncan McNiell couldn't handle the technical dialogue. I'm not sure they could have filmed some scripts without Wang to cover that.

    On the other hand, as attractive as Lien was, she was very young and her performance at the center wasn't always compelling. Mostly I attribute this to the Mary Sue (or Pollyanna, as stated earlier in the thread,) aspect of the character. But in Warlord, I'm sorry, doing a lot of jumping really doesn't quite spell man in a woman's body. Before and After was by far the best Kes episode, and it was strongly characterized by a rather simple sentimentality in her performance. It was entirely correct and very effective but it wasn't much different from every single Kes adoration scene before and after.

    3. Much of Voyager was amazingly cheap in production values. A lot of the writing talent was spent on covering this up. Plus Berman is apparently good at knowing how to allocate the budget for proper effect. I really do believe that an iron determination to cut payroll was a main factor in terminating someone.

    4. I've read that Johnny Phillips was convinced Neelix was going to get the ax. But as few as Neelix' starring episodes are, they were some of the best episodes that Voyager did. Keeping Neelix over Kes was a no-brainer, and apparently the producers did have some brains.

    5. However, given that the weakness of the Paris and Torres characters was a gaping hole in the series, they really should have given thought to disposing of one of those characters. McNiell, I should have thought. He couldn't make any of the repeated efforts to salvage the character work. Dawson at least always had screen presence, even with much less to work with.
     
  4. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I guess I am alone in not being able to stand her voice. I spent the first 3 seasons of VOY during my maiden watch of the series wanting to slap her.
     
  5. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Sigh.

    Love Unlimited. s02e12.

    Original air date january 18th 1999.

    One breath.

    Calista said all that, with just a single set of lungs air capacity.

    Han Solo is a very lucky geriatric.
     
  6. Lynx

    Lynx Vice Admiral Admiral

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    According to the book "Caretaker", written by L.A. Graf, the Caretaker transmitted all his knowledge and information to Ocampa shortly before his death. Since the book is based on the script of the episode, I consider that the Ocampa did get all valuable information from the Caretaker and because of that they were able to start develope their world. I think that this information and knowledge from the Caretaker would be much more valuable than whatever any Kes-impersonating pathetic wreck could come up with.

    Not to mention that the Ocampa on Suspiria's array could add some help to the planet as well, now when they were informed about the current state of their homeworld.
     
  7. Lynx

    Lynx Vice Admiral Admiral

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    No, I don't buy the propaganda fairy tale from those in charge that Kes was "hard to write for". What I can see, she wasn't harder to write for than, let's say Dax who was even more eye candy on DS9.

    One of the interesting things with the character is that in befhavior and manners, she is both a contrast and complement to Janeway and Torres. She could get things her way without fights and arguments which is both interesting and unique. Tat scene with Tuvok in "Resolutions" is a brilliant example of that. Kes managed to achieve what Kim almost got court -martialed for. Anyone who watch this episode can see that Kim is a loser and Kes is a winner and that's not only in this episode.

    When it comes to the character's only obstacle, the nine-year lifespan, that could easily have been altered with the help of Q, Suspiria or the good, old Voyager Doc. No problem at all. It took me five minutes to correct that in a story I wrote. Not to mention that it took me one minute to sort out the "Fury" crap. "Hard to write for?" Not at all! :hugegrin:

    When it came to her powers, they were undeveloped so therefore she could be no threat to the ship. It was only in that ridiculous episode "The Gift" they became uncontrollable and that was because the no-no who wrote the episode used that as an excuse to get rid of the character as soon as possible, as he was ordered to.

    Well, if shows are made up by token characters, then there will surely be no good stories or development.

    But I would also like to point out that I actually like Kim too and didn't want st see him being dumped. But if I have to choose between Kim and Kes, then Kes stays and Kim goes. I can also understand that both Wang and Beltran were frustrated.

    I think that Lien was splendid in her acting. Just watch "The Swarm", "Before And After", "Cold Fire", "Persistence Of Vision" "Jetrel" and all episodes where Kes had an important role. She really gave life to the character.

    And when it comes to any "Mary Sue", just watch Seven. There you have Braga's "Mary Sue" in catsuit and everything.

    In that case they shouldn't have considering to add a new character at all and they shouldn't have had characters like Vorik, Naomi Wildman and Icheb in each and every episode either. Those actors didn't work for free.

    I agree that it would have been silly to dump Neelix. But it was silly to dump Kes too. As for brains, I get the impression that the producers had wallets instead of brains and pieces of lead instead of souls.

    I think that Paris and Torres were splendid in seasons 1-3 but both became superfluous and shoved in the background when the show was turned into "the Seven Of Nine" show with Janeway and The Doctor as supporting characters. Still no reason to dump them.

    And no reason at all to dump any of the original main characters. They were some of the best Star Trek characters of all time.
     
  8. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Novels are dodgy at best, but that's fantastic fanwank to slip that into an adaptation of the pilot. completely altering the construction and drives of the titular character...

    When did this happen?

    Because seconds before he died Caretaker was still trying to enlist someone to look after the childlike Ocampa, but Janeway was able to reverse a thousand years of upside down morality with her superior human ethics and suggest that the Ocampa might be able to be their own Caretakers.

    Caretaker couldn't fix/activate the Arrays destruction telepathically from where he was standing so why should we beleive that he was able to transmit to the ocampa all the data they need to build their own Arrays and amillion other useful pieces of technology that makes voyager look like a rickity barge?

    Lets just compare missions.

    Spend 70 years trekking through unknown space, or spending 6 months showing the Ocampa how to build their own array while under siege from an unknown number of kazon forces ho they could destroy or pay off after the construction of the first piece of nacene tech runs off an Ocampan production line?

    The Ocampan city built form Caretaker technology would be as valuable if not more valuable to the kazon than the Array, and if they also had a nacene data base... Fuck their water, the Ocampans had a Nacene database and didn't have the balls or the spine to protect it.

    If it wasn't for a throwaway line in Fury, I would be sure that the Ocampa had been exterminated or enslaved by the Kazon the second their shield gave out.
     
  9. lurok

    lurok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    This is like a bipolar thread :crazy:. Lurches between nitrous oxide highs and Bergman-esque seriousness,
     
  10. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Where else do you think kathryn Janeway could have lead us by example?
     
  11. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

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    I can think of a few.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. spot_loves_data

    spot_loves_data Captain Captain

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    Gardener - now I get it, "ass over tea kettle" has its appeal. Too bad there will never, ever be a situation where I can use that without looking like I had just lost my damn mind.

    Lynx - if you consider novels canon, then I can see your point. But unless the novel was written by one of the regular writers for a show, I consider it glorified fanfic. That doesn't necessarily mean its not worth a read. I still don't see how the Nacene database could have helped the Ocampa if the Caretaker himself couldn't manage to give them more than a bandaid solution.

    I'd like to see a novel where the Ocampa take on the borg. Once they've reached Kes's stage of development (warping space, dissolving into light), they'd probably be impossible to assimilate, though the borg could still bombard their colonies.
     
  13. spot_loves_data

    spot_loves_data Captain Captain

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    [Sorry, double post]
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2012
  14. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Evolution is a reactive response to stimulus.

    The Ocampa wanted for nothing.

    A lack of stimulus and possible inbreeding left to retardation.

    A physical attack by the Borg is not going to promote psychic abilities in the Ocampa.

    Only if they are attacked by a race of telepaths who use telepathy as a weapon are they going to flex those long atrophied muscles.
     
  15. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Regulars are more expensive than recurring characters. I do believe there were budgetary reasons for axing a character if they brought on a new regular. And I can see why they wanted to try a new character. Rewriting the characters in an episode (like turning Bashir from an ordinary if unpleasant physician into a genetically engineered physician) is not very good writing in a show that has any use for character consistency.
    I believe this because to my eyes Voyager skimped an awful lot. We mostly didn't notice because one of the writers' main goals was to cover it up. (Between things like that and the number one priority of fitting in commercial breaks, is it really any wonder that the writing for network television can be so frustrating for the viewer?)

    Yes, Dax is a good comparison. I loathed Dax, a loathing sealed by the episode Dax. I didn't loathe Kes because, let's face it, only because I liked Jennifer Lien.

    Yes, Seven of Nine was a good bit of a Mary Sue. But unlike Kes, she didn't always win because everyone loved her and was awed by her native genius. She could at least be a suffering hero fantasy. Seven was a grotesquely schizophrenic character which gave her more variety than Kes. (Yes, that's supposed to be Janeway but that's just what the jutnobs say.)

    Even psychic powers that were under control would have been bad for the show. For one thing, they would have been home by the end of the third season. That's bad, because, nothwithstanding fanboy/Ron D. Moore BS, the show wasn't a survivalist epic/Lord of the Flies clichefest, it was modeled on the Odyssey. The end of the story is getting home. The rest, is incident. (Vide Aristotle's Poetics.) For another, Kes winning everything isn't very interesting dramatically. And lastly, why does Kes hang around Voyager? Psychically superpowered Kes surely has better things to do!

    And again, the Kes character, despite Lien's charm, had a gap. We don't know why she was there. Which is the sort of dramatic weakness that led me to speculate about dumping Paris (Gary Stu!) and Torres. We don't know why Paris is such a supposed bad boy or loser or rebel, especially since he's none of those things on screen. We don't know why Torres is so insane as to buy into Klingonism when Klingonism would put her down at the bottom.

    Kim, as the male ingenue, may not be a fun figure for vicarious identification. And Kim, as the one delegated to piss and moan about being lost, may also not be fun to identify with. And he spent a lot of time as a cardboard cutout spouting the jargon to move the plot along. But on one level Kim has a distinct character with identifiable motives. You know who he is, even if you don't like to daydream about him. You could say the same sort of things about Tuvok and Neelix and even Chakotay.

    But Kes and Paris and Torres were blank cardboard cutouts. Perhaps it fostered vicarious identification if you could project a little bit of yourself into the blanks. But I don't think it was good writing. And I do believe that it is hard to keep writing about characters while dodging around what they want, why they're where they are, where they intend to go.

    Yes, Lien was very charming in practically everything she did, because practically everything that was written for her was about how charming Kes was. The Darkling was catastrophic because we don't know why Kes stayed, nor do we know why Kes dumped Neelix, any more than we know why she took up with him in the first place. Cold Fire was pointless because we already knew that Kes had a perfect heart and couldn't succumb to the temptations of power. I really do see problems with writing for Kes and don't think the producers were just making pointless lies. I can believe that Ken Biller thought she was great, because I think Ken Biller is the biggest hack writer on Voyager.

    And I will repeat, I think they would have fired Wang if the People poll hadn't highlighted the actor. Hiring a token was bad enough, but dumping on him would have been embarrassing.
     
  16. Lynx

    Lynx Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^^
    I have to disagree with most of your statements here. I don't find Kes, Paris or Torres "cardboard cutouts". On the contrary, all three of them are unique characters with interesting background stories. Paris, with his troubled background who was given a chance to put everything right and took it. Torres, also with a troubled background, the woman who was at odds with everything but finally found her place as engineer on Voyager. And Kes who wanted to leave her drab homeworld to explore and learn. I think all therr of them are brilliant characters. In fact, Voyager had the most interesting characters of all Star Trek series.

    If there were any "cardboard cutouts", then it was Kim and maybe Tuvok. Kim, the typical Starfleet character, in this case a more unexperienced Starfleet character but similar to most of them we've seen in most of the shows. Maybe Tuvok fits in her too in a way. Typical Starfleet and typical Vulcan (but definitely a great character who I really like).

    As for "Cold Fire", it's my favorite episode. Kes was tempted by evil forces but she could withstand them and in the end she saved the ship. What's wrong with that? I find it a brilliant story where Kes's strong will and ability to withstand the power of evil forces clearly shows. And the good guys mostly win in those situations when you watch a series. It could have been Janeway or anyone. It's only in the current "doom and gloom" series where the evil forces actually wins in similar situations (which tells us a lot about the current trends in today's society).

    Plus a personal request from me which has nothing to do with Star Trek. Could you please remove that avatar with the hammer and sickle, a symbol for a system which has murdered more people than even the Nazis did.
     
  17. Lynx

    Lynx Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I used to regard novels as "canon" as long as they don't contradicted what could be seen on the screen too much and I was involved in a lot of discussions about it. If you look at the season 1-3 Voyager books, they are very easy to adapt to the ongoing Voyager story. There are some contradictions here and there but they are easy to ignore and continue reading.

    But after the annihilation of Janeway in the recent books, I don't care about official Star Trek and "canon" anymore.
     
  18. Collingwood Nick

    Collingwood Nick Vice Admiral Admiral

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    So, why was Kes written off the show??
     
  19. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    People Magazine.
     
  20. Collingwood Nick

    Collingwood Nick Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'm starting to sense there is very little point in asking a straight question here