Why were so many characters on Voyager underdeveloped?

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

  1. starlitegirl

    starlitegirl Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Yes. Yes! YES! I love his scenes with Tuvok. I really loved the episode when Tuvok lost his memory. That was so beautifully done. And Homestead makes me cry it's so awesome. I felt like Tuvok truly grew fond of him and his ways. That episode was a thing of beauty just for capturing that.

    And yes to him pulling the DQ aside. He did that a lot actually, didn't he? Now I'm wondering if it was because he thought they were a little crazy or a little daft? Or maybe a little of both? :guffaw:
     
  2. henbane

    henbane Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Overall, I think Voyager suffered more from inconsistent writing rather than poor character development. Characters were actually well developed compared with TOS and ENT, but inconsistent writing created problems for their character directions at times.
     
  3. creek_chub

    creek_chub Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I will admit I definitely teared up a little at the end of the Homestead. Riddles had a similar effect on me...considering he's lost his memory, all Tuvok really knows is what people are telling him, and most of them are telling him there's something wrong with him. Neelix is the only one who isn't making a fuss and is taking him as he is, no questions asked. No wonder Tuvok clings to him the way he does.
     
  4. TheLobes

    TheLobes Commander Red Shirt

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    I think its because the writers just pitched 'interesting characters' without giving any though to how they would function within the show.

    'Oh, the engineer. Okay! Shes part human, part Klingon, and shes like... the fiesty one! Oh! And shes part of the marquis and distrusts the federation!'

    In TNG, TOS and DS9 the characters all revolved around who the captain was and what the situation was. They made an interesting team because of how they reacted to each other rather than just existing seperately. Like in TNG, Picard was the humanist, Riker was more of the mans man type officer who could liase between him and the crew and be trusted in tight spots. Data was the naive child who helped Picard reinforce or challenge his ideas on humanity. Every other crew member has a specific skill that they are the best at.

    Nothing like that occured in VOY, there isnt any strong character dynamic, and nobody seems to have any speciality. Torres is the engineer, but its seems like anyone else can do her job, and Janeway can pretty much do any job herself.
     
  5. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm not so sure I buy your argument where TNG is concerned. LeVar Burton, going into TNG was the most popular actor for American audiences (due to Roots and Reading Rainbow). Geordi should've been a much bigger character in order to capitalize off his familiarity and relative popularity, but they didn't do much with his character. Ergo his character didn't become 'popular', which meant he got even less development. So I think the writers/powers that be, have some say in terms of who gets how much of the pie. And that in turn leads the audience. It doesn't always work, ex. Wesley, who I think was given some prominent screentime, that created a fan backlash, but I think it has worked more often than not. If the writers get a feel for a certain character I think they are more apt to write or find ways to do something with that character.

    Geordi and Dr. Crusher didn't get that. Despite LaForge's popularity and the potential romantic tension existent in the Crusher-Picard relationship, that never really got the attention it deserved during the course of the series. Trek Lit. has handled it much better.


    Regarding VOY, I'm not sure how much behind-the-scenes, office politics played a part in who got how much screentime and development. It certainly didn't hurt Jeri Ryan to be in a relationship with Brannon Braga during her time on the show, to be honest. Though I thought Ryan is a good actress and Seven was an interesting character until they decided to make the show mostly about her.

    On the surface I thought VOY had a very nice looking, interesting cast, and I think the writing staff failed a good number of them. Even Janeway came off as an uneven character, though she did get development. The best were the Doctor and Seven. Torres, Paris, Neelix, and Tuvok all had interesting hooks about them as characters, that were sometimes explored, sometimes not. Even Chakotay and Kim got some episodes (like Mayweather), but I can accept how they and most of the cast except Doctor, Janeway, and Seven weren't sufficiently developed.
     
  6. TheLobes

    TheLobes Commander Red Shirt

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    One of my favourite things about TNG is that it didnt feel the need to 'flesh out' every single character, and I am beyond grateful that the writers never put Crusher and Picard together. Not everything has to be 'developed', in fact it can really ruin a show. The Picard/Crusher relationship got the exact right amount of attention, it was something always present between the two characters that served to give them some more depth and give an impression of their pasts in an interesting way.

    Its a relationship that never quite happened for a number of reasons, but theres still a slight feeling between them. I found it subtle and interesting, and am glad they never made it into a 'relationship'. It just seemed so real and natural.

    Same with Laforge, or even Riker. He was a well developed character in terms of personality, and there was really no need to make any changes or give him any particular arcs. The idea that every character needs 'development' is something that killed trek, in my opinion.
     
  7. Daggin

    Daggin Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Kudos to Exodus on their glance back at Tuvok, Kim, and Neelix. As for the latter, I'm pleased to see that there are actually some fans, who DO find the character likeable, and worthwhile. I believe that some aspects of him get focused upon too much, and the rest overlooked.
     
  8. exodus

    exodus Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    You can't or rather shouldn't compare the crew of the Enterprise: the Flag ship of the Federation with the Voyager. Only the top graduates of the Academy serve on the Enterprise, anyone else serves on all the rest. Sorry but it's like comparing the crew of the Queen Mary to the crew of a Carnival Cruise ship. Picard is an ambassador to the Federation. That's the title you take upon being captain of the Enterprise. That's why Riker didn't want to captain any other ship. LaForge graduated top honors and is blind, Torres dropped out. How is there even a comparison? Torres can't even serve on another starship after Voyager because she doesn't even have a degree.

    The point was, Voyager was a ship of average people with an extraordinary task set before them.

    :lol::lol:

    Did Robert Picardo have to suck cock too for his part to increase?:shrug:

    No, it's simple economics.
    Paramount spent millions of dollars in advertising to promote the character to the general public. So if you tuned in to see her, there she was because her image sold TONS of merchandise. Otherwise, she'd be a wasted investment. Paramount was giving the audience just what they were paying into. Does Tuvok even have a T-Shirt with just him on it?
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2011
  9. TheLobes

    TheLobes Commander Red Shirt

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    Yes, I can compare them, and really its more relevant to say its like comparing the crew of a modern day flagship with, say, a frigate or something. Theyre both instruments of the same authority, and theyre both highly prized in terms of technology, if not grandeur. The crew of the frigate might not be quite as good as the crew of the flagship, but they would still have had to go through years of training and experience in order to be trusted and relied upon with such responsibilities. Not everybody on board was starfleet, but the ones that werent did have skills learnt from the maquis.

    You mean the average people who built a ship capable of breaking a speed barrier previously thought impossible by the federations top scientists?

    Even if they are just ordinary people, that doesnt invalidate the point Im making. The problem is that so many other people on the ship seem to be just as capable at engineering as her; there wasnt anything she alone seemed capable of doing, as had been the case with Scotty, Laforge and O'Brien. She did indeed drop out of the academy, but then she also spent that time with Chakotay, in which she acted as chief engineer on his ship.
     
  10. exodus

    exodus Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Tal Celest passed the Academy.
    Had the same training and experience as Harry Kim.
    Same rank.
    Is she on equal standing as an Ensign on the Enterprise?

    Like who?
    Who else but her, Harry and Seven did they ever show build something?

    I recall O'Brian needing ALLOT of help getting DS9 to stay up and running. Sisko built the Defiant, that also trumps O'Brians skills and I also recall Dax having skills in Engineering too. LaForge often asked Data for help for almost EVERYTHING he did. Westly had ideas and created stuff LaForge never even dreamed of.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2011
  11. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Rikerbait.
     
  12. TheLobes

    TheLobes Commander Red Shirt

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    I have no idea who Tal Celest is, but if she was an ensign then, yes, she would have equal standing as an ensign on the Enterprise. Maybe an enterprise ensign would have had a bit more prestige, maybe theyd actually be better at the job. However, they are both of the same rank and would be expected to perform the same duties competantly.

    The difference with O'Brien and Laforge is that they were always the centre of the engineering department, and everything worked through them. Laforge asked Data for input, but it never felt like Data took over control, they always just collaborated. As for Wesley, that was a mistake that the writers got rid of.

    I dont think Sisko built the Defiant, and remember that episode where O'Brien was off doing something else and the whole station was suffering. O'Brien was always on a tight schedule and you could see his was pretty vital. Torres never seemed like the centre of engineering in that way, often characters just took over from her.

    Since we're not going to agree on this though, I will amend my former statement. How about this: the characters on Voyager, generally, were people first and job decriptions second, whereas previously this was reversed.

    Before, most characters started off as either 'the engineer' or 'the doctor', and then their characters grew from that. On Voyager, it seems like the actual characters were worked out before they were placed in their roles on the ship. So, the fact that Torres is a half Klingon maquis is much more important than the fact she is the head of engineering.
     
  13. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    With regards to O'Brien and DSN, wasn't part of the engineering problems down to the fact that sometimes Cardassian and Federation tech didn't work that well together. You've also got to remember O'Brien would have been trained first and foremost with Fedeartion tech. So all things considered he did a very good job of keeping the station operational.
     
  14. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

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    And he was a veteran of the Cardassian Wars, so he had experience with their tech.
     
  15. exodus

    exodus Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Tal Celest was an Ensign that barely made it thru the Academy and couldn't perform her duties on Voyager because to spite her ranking, she couldn't understand the jobs she was given. Therefore he skill level wasn't near ANYONE of her rank no matter what starship she was on. You can't expect someone that graduates with straight A's to have the same skill level as someone that graduates with straight C's.regardless of rank. That's why the reward of good grades and excellent service is to serve on the Enterprise.

    Sisko says he helped build it in "The Search".

    Don't you find it odd O'Brian has an entire Engineering staff that can't do their job while he's gone? You don't find it far fetched that one man can fix an entire station as large as DS9 all by himself? It's not only unrealistic, it's nearly impossible.

    Yes, Torres works smart so she doesn't have to work hard.
    Part of being a good boss is training your staff to carry on work while you're away or delegating work to others to get it done faster. Regardless of who ever does the job, B'Elanna still gets credit because she head of the dept. and trained her staff well.
    That's realistic.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2011
  16. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    You don't get promoted for being excellent at your job if it's your job is to be excellent. They promote you if they think you can do "more" because it should be impossible for you to do better, otherwise you'd be dismissed.

    Kim was excellent at following orders, but promotion from his current position meant that he would have to give more orders and take less. The higher up he goes the more freethinking he would have to be in his ability to make the crew follow his will. Just because Kim could change the ships sparkplugs it doesn't mean that could organize 80 crewmen to simultaneously carry on a lexicon of activities across a broad spectrum of responsibilities aboard ship frictionlessly.

    What about the guys and dolls in Security with no engineering background who excel in their profession? Are they never going to be promoted because they don't know how to change the sparkplugs? or are they going to be promoted because Tuvok thinks that can Guard more important doors and sneer more panoramically?

    (Can nurse become an admiral or a general if they're really good at their job? I'm sure doctor can. But if you're good at your job, no matter what your job is, surely there's room for advancement... I always wanted to see Hotlips in charge of the 4077th. She was career military, it seems weird that Frank outranked her.)

    They handled this on Battlestar quite well. There was a deck hand technician who wanted to be a pilot, and she had almost qualified before civilization fell, but "now" they said that she was too valuable and good at her job repainring ships to be promoted and they couldn't "waste" her sending her off against the Cylon Vanguard if it would take 10 years to train up a replacement for her.

    Maybe the reason Kim was never promoted was that he was too awesome?

    If they promoted him to management, they'd need 12 guys to replace him, which means that they would have to promote a further 6 Ensigns to Lieutenant to administer all the extra substitute Kim's (all of who would have to be replaced with enlisted personal, who would... and so on and so on...) which would evaporate the lower ranks and (re)place firmly Lieutenant Junior grade at the bottom of the rank totem.
     
  17. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Picard-Crusher

    As opposed to unreal 'relationships'? I didn't think it made much sense to build this thing up and then put Picard with a series of random women that the audience didn't have an attachment to while Crusher was sitting around. The Picard-Crusher marriage in "All Good Things" felt right, even if it ended in a divorce, which happens too in life. I didn't say they had to be happily together.

    I don't agree with you on LaForge. I don't think he was well developed, or as developed as he should've been. He would get the occassional bone tossed here and there but he was mostly a background player, when he could've been more than that. TNG largely wasted an opportunity to utilize Burton's talent. And I don't understand how more character development "killed" Trek. How did less interesting or developed cast destroy the franchise?

    I don't think widespread character development has ever been a hallmark of Star Trek. By my estimation, with TOS, Kirk and Spock were the main ones that got developed. On TNG, Picard, Data, and Worf. With VOY, Janeway, Seven, Doctor, and ENT, Archer-Tucker-T'Pol. DS9 is the only Trek series that I felt truly attempted to be an ensemble piece (not perfectly, but it got it better than the others; TOS excepted since it wasn't designed to be an ensemble show; and maybe ENT wasn't either-not sure).
     
  18. exodus

    exodus Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I agree with this.
     
  19. propita

    propita Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    So do I. And it was the relatively massive character development of DS9 that I was hoping for with VOY. Good actors, potentially great characters, and many were all-but ignored.
     
  20. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Eh, I personally think the show would've worked out better with a smaller central cast with guys like Kim, Neelix, Kes and possibly even Torres as secondaries. DS9 worked with its' larger cast because it was a Galactic Epic storyline, whereas VOY was designed to be a smaller show (practically an Anti-Epic).

    That the show really only had 1/2 or 1/3 of a series plot compared to the other shows didn't help much either.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2011