Why were so many characters on Voyager underdeveloped?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Voyager' started by The Overlord, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. The Overlord

    The Overlord Captain Captain

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    Why were so many characters on Voyager underdeveloped? Janeway, the Doctor and 7 of 9 got the lion's share of the development, Tom Paris and Torres got some development, but everyone else:

    Tuvok often didn't have much to do, Chakotay never really developed beyond an Native American stereotype, despite trying to give him random hobbies, Neelix never really developed beyond being an annoying unfunny attempt at "comic relief", Kes' character didn't really go anywhere and then there is Harry Kim, about as interesting as a block of wood and the oldest ensign ever, making his character completely static.

    It seems like Voyager could not handle an ensemble cast like other Star Trek shows could.
     
  2. Jeff O'Connor

    Jeff O'Connor Commodore Commodore

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    I disagree if for no other reason than to a point a finger at two 'worse' offenders -- TOS and Enterprise. Neither series intended for its cast to feel like a total ensemble though so they're technically off the hook, but put side-to-side I thought Voyager did a fine job.

    Much as I like Enterprise that's what's missing for me -- its non-leading cast is less-developed than Harry Kim. Point is, that's saying something.

    Does this excuse Voyager from the problem? No, of course not. But the thing is there are many worse offenders out there. Not every show can be DS9-esque about it.
     
  3. The Overlord

    The Overlord Captain Captain

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    You have a point there, Mayweather may be less developed then Harry Kim. I was thinking more of TNG and DS9. But then what is the point of having these characters if they contribute nothing?

    I am a bit forgiving to TOS, because it was the first show and from a far different era and some of the characters got a chance to shine in the movies.

    Also just because Enterprise did the problem worse doesn't excuse Voyager in the slightest, if a student gets a D-, they shouldn't lord over a student who got an F, especially when there were students who got an A.

    There is nothing I dislike more on a show then main characters who are completely one dimensional and contribute nothing of value.
     
  4. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

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    With Kim and Chakotay, the main issue was Wang and Beltran. Neither of them really put any effort into their work from day one and as such the writers didn't want to deal with them since they knew they'd just blow whatever they gave them.
     
  5. Jeff O'Connor

    Jeff O'Connor Commodore Commodore

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    You're in luck then because even Harry Kim wasn't completely one-dimensional and managed to contribute occasionally valuable things!

    As I said before, it doesn't necessarily 'excuse' the series. But I've watched enough television (or rather, used to) that I can positively compare Star Trek: Voyager's treatment of its full cast to the majority of television shows I've tried out. To that end I will still say that it 'passed' and I'm not lording over it, I'm merely stating that compared to the vast majority of shows on television it handled its cast decently. That is my opinion of course; YMMV.

    What does this mean for me? Well, between the characters that were given the most attention being my personal favorites anyway, the often-at-least-serviceable plots and the occasional 'heavy thinking', I have a series I can safely call worth watching.

    Your thoughts may not echo my own in any shape or form.
     
  6. The Overlord

    The Overlord Captain Captain

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    Such as? The guy got maybe one focus episode in the first season and never made it past ensign. The focus episode wasn't very good and he got less to do as the series went on. Occasionally providing techno babble isn't contributing, because anyone can do that.

    There was no real character development with Harry Kim, he never got that moment to prove himself, heck they were planning on killing him off at one point. It seems like they could kill him off, the show wouldn't have been that different. There is no point in investing anything into a character who started as a naive ensign who wanted to go home and seemed to end that way.

    What shows are we comparing to Voyager to, the Wire or According to Jim? Frankly there are tons of shows that handle their characters better Voyager, there tons of shows that don't have completely superfluousness characters running around. When compared to some of the really good TV shows we have now, Voyager just left behind in terms of handling characters.

    Maybe its less of problem for you, because some of the characters they did focus on Voyager were great, like 7 of 9 and the Doctor, but to me having characters who I left added nothing was pretty annoying, I just hate characters who don't go anywhere.

    If you enjoyed the show despite this flaw, that's great, but to me its something that really dragged the show down.
     
  7. starlitegirl

    starlitegirl Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    What? You must have been watching a different Voyager in a different reality because the one I watch only had one undeveloped character. HARRY KIM. He was a stone. A sidekick to Tom was the best that boy got.
     
  8. Josan

    Josan Commodore Commodore

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    While Harry Kim wasn't the best character, and Wang certainly wasn't the best actor, in skill or work ethic, whether or not a character gets promoted has nothing to do with development. And Harry had more than one focus episode. In fact, he had far too many for my tastes. But around here, character development seems to be largely subjective.
     
  9. starlitegirl

    starlitegirl Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Yes, he had way too many episodes, but he was blank as far as characters come. One dimensional. Just because he displayed emotions or played the clarinet doesn't really give him any dimension. Having episodes also doesn't mean he had depth. In a few of them he did, but across the series he was lacked depth and development, even in some of those episodes he still lacked it. It's like he was written as the green baby of the crew and then he barely grew beyond that. Most of the characters evolve. He does but just barely and only in rare moments do we see it.
     
  10. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    Although usually dismissed as Voyager's Jar Jar Binks, Neelix was actually quite well developed with an interesting, tragic backstory. Rather than brooding over the loss of his family and world, he forces constant cheer.

    They never evolved him further, but he's more than comic relief.
     
  11. The Overlord

    The Overlord Captain Captain

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    Not much more and none of that makes him any less annoying or makes him come off as less of a liability to the crew.

    I will give Neelix some credit, once in a blue moon he would have a moment to shine, something Harry Kim never really got. The actor who played Neelix at leased tried, something Garrett Wang couldn't be bothered to. Even when Harry Kim got a focus episode, it didn't make him more developed, they usually made him a putz and a loser, like when he got a space STD.

    I think the fact that terrorists and a criminal got promoted over him and Harry never got a promotion in the series, just makes him seem like a waste.
     
  12. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    Even Naomi got promoted. She went from a newborn baby to Captain's Assistant... ;)
     
  13. Qew

    Qew Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Neelix was a much better character (and actor) than Harry was. I thought he did a good job in the episode where he struggles with the Afterlife, as well as episodes involving Kes.
     
  14. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    After Voyager become "The Seven of Nine Show" all other characters aside from her and her two sidekicks (Janeway and The Doctor) were pretty much forgotten about. But then again, they weren't the best cast of characters: Chakotay, dull and uninteresting; Kim, boring; Neelix, loathsome.

    Tuvok was a great character, a solid rock who started out as Janeway's friend and advisor, before fading into obscurity. Paris was a bad boy turned good, and had elements that I didn't mind though he too was at times bothersome. Torres was perhaps my favourite character in the series and was a breath of fresh air from previous Klingons, though after Seven came onboard, she went the same way as Tuvok. And then there's Kes, another character I really liked, that they got rid of for no reason. They took out a warm and compassionate young woman and brought in a stiff, cold and unpleasant one.

    But that's just my thoughts.
     
  15. Laydin

    Laydin Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I disagree with the original poster that many characters on Voyager were underdeveloped.

    Kim. He started out green and would do anything to get back to Earth. Paris' sidekick, second guesses himself whenever possible. Throughout Voyager's journey, Kim showed again and again that he is extremely capable engineer, he even designed the Astrometrics. And don't forget about Kim's speech in Endgame.

    Kim is not a well developed character I agree but at least he isn't one dimension in the end like Chakotay. Chuckles is the only character I agree that is mostly stagnant in character development to the level of Mayweather.

    But in an ensemble cast the less popular characters/actors must take a back seat. Even in TNG and DS9 had them.

    TNG: Crusher and LaForge. Except for Crusher trying at command in the later seasons, what has changed for her character since season 1? Same with LaForge. After he's promoted to Chief Engineer, what other developments did he have? He's still just as lame with women as the beginning.

    DS9: Jake and Jadzia. Besides being there to support Ben and refused to join StarFleet, what exactly made him a well developed character besides the obligatory teen turned to man cliche. Jadzia was Jadzia through and through. Even Ezri got more in one season than Jadzia in six.

    Voyager/ENT was no different. Popular characters got more, less popular characters take the back seats.
     
  16. exodus

    exodus Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I think the issue is learning to distinguish the character development of the characters with dominate personalities like 7 & the EMH from those with less dominate personalities like Tuvok or Kim.

    They all had development and story arcs, just some were more subtle while others were more pronounced.

    Tuvoks develpoment carries thru the series and is fleshed out in "RISE".
    Tuvok's stroy arc was to learn that just becasuse he believes he is superior, he had to learn tolerence and that EVERYONE derseves respect, regardless of his personal feelings for them. It was because of this Tuvok learned to tolerate the practical jokes by Tom & Harry and too learn to respect Neelix. At the start of the series Tuvok barely wanted to speak to any of them. By the end, he was Kalto partners and friends with Harry. He accepted relationship and sexual advice from Tom and had an ever growing friendship with Neelix. By the end of the series, Tuvok is a more open minded and socially friendly Vulcan.

    Harry's development is fleshed out in "Favorite Son", about how he was always told by his parents that he was special. What Harry had to understand was, he wasn't. He was just adverage and had to learn by trial and error just like everyone else. Harry ambition was the wanted to be more like Tom. Harry was bland on purpose, to bring home how not special he was. This is why his failure in "Timeless" haunts him and again in "Nightinggale".

    Neelix' development is fleshed out in "Fair Trade", about how he has to learn to let go of his past insecurities and leartn to have faith in himself and in the surrogate family he's made on Voyager. His comic relief is only a mask that hides a sole that desperate to be needed because he's terrified of being alone. IMO I think many fans missed out of Neelix' development because of the bias against him. They turned their backs on him and didn't care to learn what he was really about to care about his development but it was there. Duie to Neelix' mistake of abandoning his people during war (Jatrel), Neelix now stands up anmd fights for them in "Homesteafd". That alone shows development by learning from a mistake.

    Chakotay development is based on the Angery Warrior speech.
    He desrcibe himself as someone angry and aggressive, we saw this aspect of him whenever Janeway left him in charge. He was tired of playing leader and was looking for someone to help him shouldre the burden and stresses of life. Most of his eps. put him in situations where he has to be the aggressor but he's always reluctant to do so. This why from the very start Chakotay gives up being Maquis and supports Janeway fully.

    All these themes and arcs with these characters carry thru out the series.
    While not as pronounced as Janeway or 7, they sre still there and show subtile character development but development none the less.
     
  17. Laydin

    Laydin Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    TOTALLY AGREE!

    Especially Neelix. I love this character and I have always see him as a tragic character instead of comic relief.
     
  18. creek_chub

    creek_chub Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    In regards to Neelix, I also sort of often got the impression that he knew the crew found his antics laughable, but that it didn't bother him because, in a sort of innocent but ethnocentric way, he assumed he was the superior life form. Not that he felt anything bad towards humans or thought they were stupid per se, just...for example, I love my dog to pieces and consider him to be super smart for a dog but would be more inclined to be amused than offended if he thought I was the cute, funny one.
     
  19. starlitegirl

    starlitegirl Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Yeah that! Though for me, it was not so much that he was superior as he was he seemed to find them a pessimistic bunch who went in search of trouble. He even got pissed at Janeway a few times for it whether it was examining a nebula or strange phenomena. I remember a few episodes where he thought she was craaaazy for peeking into every nook and cranny they came across. Looking back, I suspect he thought they were all a little nuts.
     
  20. creek_chub

    creek_chub Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Weren't there also a few instances where Neelix would take aside whichever DQ native the humans were currently annoying and be like, "Hey, look, I know they're kinda weird but they're ok, really." :lol:

    I actually really liked Neelix and felt like, yeah, he was in the background a lot, but his character is actually rich with characterization. The change in his relationship with Tuvok alone is a fascinating, though somewhat subtle at times, arc.