Why were the Maquis even on Voyager?

Discussion in 'Voyager' started by The Overlord, Mar 12, 2012.

  1. The Overlord

    The Overlord Captain Captain

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    Why were the Maquis even on Voyager? Any sort of conflict between Maquis and the Star Fleet officers seemed to be muzzled right from the start, when the Maquis didn't seem to have a problem with Voyager remaining a Star Fleet vessel and were willing to wear Star Fleet uniforms and follow Star Fleet regulations.

    Now I realize that the conflict the Maquis were part of was 70,000 light years away, but still I think some of the Maquis would have resented Janeway for destroying the Array and preventing them from going home right away to defend their land from the Cardassians.
     
  2. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    See any of the 'what was wrong with Voyager' threads in this section - lack of character development, everything reset at the end of the episode, unlimited shuttles and torpedo's, 'forgotten' conflict between Maquis and Starfleet / Voyager and Equinox crews etc. etc. It's all there...
     
  3. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It was one of those ideas that seemed a good idea in the beginning. But having a crew that would have been strongly divided for most of the series--if not all of it--probably would have made the series too dark in the end. There might have been more stories about fighting for control of the ship than anything else, IMO.
     
  4. AdmiralScreed

    AdmiralScreed Captain Captain

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    ^^^ Too dark!? I disagree. More conflict between the Maquis and Starfleet is what the show needed. That was the most interesting part of the shows premise, and they blew it right from the start.
     
  5. Ar-Pharazon

    Ar-Pharazon Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    Other than that one where Tuvok was training some of them, were there any "conflict" episodes?
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, the Maquis were created for Voyager, and seeded in TNG and DS9 specifically to set up the spinoff. It was the creators' intent that they would be a source of ongoing conflict and tension.

    However, those creators were used to the autonomy they had in syndication. Since VGR was the flagship show of the newborn UPN network, it came under much closer scrutiny from the network executives, who wanted it to be nice and crowd-pleasing and accessible to casual viewers and not take a lot of risks with its storytelling. So the network pushed for a more TNG-like show without a lot of ongoing story arcs or internal conflicts, and so a lot of what the show's developers initially intended got suppressed or abandoned in practice. So, ironically, the concept created for VGR ended up being developed more fully on DS9.

    Even aside from that, though, I've often felt it was an odd choice to create this whole backstory about the Maquis and the demilitarized zone specifically for a show that would send its characters far, far away from that DMZ, rendering their conflicts pretty much moot. I think it would've been a stronger show if Janeway had sought out other Caretaker abductees and assembled a refugee caravan of sorts (in fact, I think it's unconscionable that she made no such effort), and it would've made for some very interesting Maquis-based storylines if there'd been a Cardassian ship or two in the mix on a regular basis.
     
  7. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    I think it was bizarre from the start because, in order to have any real grasp on the Maquis, you needed to have regularly watched DS9. I don't think it was smart for the writers to have assumed this. I saw most of VOY before I ever managed to watch DS9 (mostly because DS9 aired randomly on Saturday afternoons and was regularly pre-empted by sports), so throughout most of VOY's run, I had no idea who the hell the Maquis were even supposed to be. All VOY gives you is a little blurb at the very beginning of the show saying that they're criminals.

    I finally managed to watch DS9 straight through on Netflix last year, which I immediately followed up with a VOY rewatch, so I appreciated some of the continuity (ex: the episode where Chakotay and B'Elanna find out that the Maquis in the Alpha Quadrant have been wiped out). The thing about the Maquis, though, is that most of them are either former Starfleet officers or former Federation citizens anyway, so adapting to life in Starfleet again really shouldn't have been all that difficult. And with no Cardassians around, they shouldn't have anybody to really be pissed at.
     
  8. The Overlord

    The Overlord Captain Captain

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    Well they could have had the crew slowly evolve into one cohesive group, rather then just having them start that way. If the Maquis wouldn't wear Star Fleet uniforms at first, but slowly decide to adopt them over time, that be work better then all of them just wearing the uniforms and following the regulations right away.
     
  9. jefferiestubes8

    jefferiestubes8 Commodore Commodore

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    http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Star_Trek:_Voyager
    Perhaps you would like
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worst_Case_Scenario_(Star_Trek:_Voyager)


    The Maquis and the USS Voyager
     
  10. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That's an issue you have to take with the show's producers, because they certainly made it clear from the start that the Voyager was going to have a unified crew. Sure, there were those that still considered themselves Maquis, but it seemed most of them accepted Janeway's mandate (if not Chakotay's) they were all going to do things the Starfleet way.
    I agree, but I think the producers had other ideas.
     
  11. The Overlord

    The Overlord Captain Captain

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    And why didn't it, Chakotay seemed to cowed right from the start by Janeway. For a terrorist Chakotay seemed very passive.

    Now Worst case Scenario was a good episode, but here is the problem, it was set in the Holodeck instead of the real world. Its like the Maquis federation tensions had become such a non issue by season 3, the only to explore it was through the Holodeck.

    You are just quoting the story bible as a answer to my question, but really how often did Maquis-Federation surface in a way that wasn't contrived, that didn't involve the Holodeck or brainwashing or something. The Maquis didn't have nearly enough of an impact on the series to justify their presence in the first place.
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    That's part of the tension between the creators and the network that I mentioned before. Because of the network restrictions, the only way the writers could tell the kinds of stories they wanted to tell was through things like holodeck simulations, alternate timelines, duplicates of the crew, and the like. In episodes like "Worst Case Scenario," "Before and After," "Year of Hell," and "Course: Oblivion," you can practically see the writers straining against the restrictions, telling the kind of major, consequential stories they wanted to do but keeping it in contexts that would let them reset it all by the end of the hour.


    Because the original idea didn't work out as they intended, due to the network's policies. It's not unprecedented. A lot of things about TNG's original conception fell by the wayside due to producer changes. The Galaxy-class Enterprise was designed for deep-deep-space exploration, had civilians and families onboard so it could function as a whole community in space without needing external support, and had a separable saucer so the civilians could be left behind before the ship went into combat, but that all ended up being ignored in most of the series, with the ship mostly on diplomatic, political, or relief missions and the civilians being all but forgotten. And once Geordi became chief engineer, his VISOR became an almost irrelevant part of his character, except when some outside force co-opted it.

    This sort of thing can happen with TV shows for multiple reasons. The creators may have ideas that they initially intend to develop as a major part of a show, but then once the show is in production, some of those ideas may end up falling by the wayside. Nobody can really know in advance exactly what will happen when a show goes into production, so plans will inevitably change.
     
  13. The Overlord

    The Overlord Captain Captain

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    But see the problem is those elements you mentioned were not as set up or given as much importance as the Maquis were in the lead up to Voyager and in the first two epsiodes.

    Really civilians being on the Enterprise isn't something you have to refer to all the time, just seeing some kids, once and a while is enough. Some deal with Geordie's visor, we can see it on his face, we don't need to refer to it all the time. The saucer separation was just too expensive to do very often and frankly it wasn't that important.

    There is a difference between having civilians on board and having terrorists on board. Terrorists on board isn't something you can just refer to off hand, like civilians being on board. The civilians don't have goals that run contrary to goals of the officers.

    It seems like if the executives insisted there be no real conflict in this show, the whole Maquis angle should have been dropped in pre production. Its not something that can be ignored like not using the saucer separation very much. If the crew was made up of career star Fleet officers, them rallying around Janeway so quickly would make sense.
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Of course different examples of a pattern are going to have differences in their specifics, but that doesn't mean the pattern doesn't hold. Nobody who produces a television show can know in advance how that show will end up developing over time. So plenty of shows start out with ideas that get abandoned as the show goes along, whether due to network pressure or certain actors becoming breakout stars or who knows what. In the case of Voyager, it was definitely the result of network pressure.
     
  15. The Overlord

    The Overlord Captain Captain

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    But again, I think the problem is the Maquis angle was more important to Voyager then any of those other elements were in TNG. If something like the saucer separation is too expensive, that's fine, I can concede the realties of budget issues.

    But really the network and writers should have worked this out in advance, if the writers wanted a Maquis-Star Fleet conflict storyline, but the network didn't want any conflict, they should have agreed to drop the Maquis angle. You are setting your fans up for disappointment if you hype up a story element and then drop within a few episodes. I think this problem was avoidable, more so then the saucer separation issue, which just became too expensive after a while.
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I doubt it would've been that simple. It would've been an ongoing process, as the producers developed their show, the network gave notes, and the producers tried to balance those notes with their own goals. Maybe the network execs didn't decide to ask for the Maquis aspects to be toned down until after they'd seen the pilot. That happens all the time -- things get put into pilots that the network decides it doesn't like, so they get abandoned. That's part of what a pilot is for. It's one thing to read about an idea in the abstract, but you often need to see it actually there on the screen before you can get a feel for how well it works. So things often show up in pilots that get discarded afterward. For instance, in the original Battlestar Galactica pilot in 1978, the character Cassiopeia was a "socialator" -- implicitly a prostitute in a society where that profession was legal and respected, foreshadowing Inara on Firefly but addressed more indirectly due to censorship of the time. But the network objected, and by the second episode she'd become a nurse. And there are plenty of pilots -- two that come to mind are The Flash and The Invisible Man (2000) -- where the heroes have girlfriends who disappear without explanation by the second episode.

    You can argue all you want that the Maquis element is more important than those and that they "should" have worked it out in advance -- but the bottom line is, you can't always know. It's not a single discussion that leads to these decisions, it's a whole ongoing, evolving dialogue with both sides pushing for what they want. It's a complicated business, and it's easy to be an armchair quarterback and claim to know what they "should" have done, but if you actually had to do the job yourself, you'd find it wasn't that simple by a long shot.
     
  17. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I think people could have gotten the idea behind the Maquis pretty quickly with just a few lines of backstory-explaining dialogue. The real problem has been hashed over plenty here. The VOY producers - or maybe UPN was to blame - just wasn't prepared to really deal with the series premise in any more than a shallow way.
     
  18. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    More and more, it seems to me that one overlooked aspect is that having so many Maquis for main cast means having so many characters who won't be all bummed out about taking a long time to back to jail. Which means a lighter tone. Somebody may have had ideas about terrorists and dropping morality to make the ship go faster and insane quarrels about starting a war 70 000 lyrs away. But in practice those were all really stupid ideas. The only thing dumber was the shortages idea.

    Most importantly, The 37s did a soft reboot. Everyone was on board Voyager voluntarily, for the duration. Anyone who thinks all that other stuff was really fascinating needs to shut up and go watch their Stargate Universe DVDs.
     
  19. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Did they ever specify how many Maquis crew members were on the ship? You never saw more than a handful and there couldn't have been that many on Chakotay's ship. So really, just how much tension could they expect to drum up over a few people who have an axe to grind with the Federation? I never had the impression there were many of them, but sometimes the early dialog made it sound like there were to huge crews than needed to join forces.
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Not counting Paris, Tuvok, or Seska, we know of 20 named Maquis in Chakotay's crew. However, there were no doubt others we saw as extras.

    In "Repression," it was stated that "almost a quarter" of Voyager's crew was Maquis, meaning the number was somewhere around 35, and that's after all the fatalities during the Caretaker's abduction and the previous six seasons. So Chakotay's ship must've been roomier than it looked.
     

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