A problem with Captain Janeway

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Voyager' started by The Overlord, Feb 19, 2013.

  1. STEPhon IT

    STEPhon IT Commodore Commodore

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    I agreed with everything you'd mentioned so far with this thread; your observations are spot on and I'd mentioned many of your points in previous threads through the years. Which is why I call her the G.O.A.T. because I found Captain Janeway to be a preposterous character; the premise appeared to have some major obstacles for her to struggle. The Maquis who should have resentment for her decision and a 1st officer who was suppose to have more experience than her.
    Voyager kool-aid drinkers continue to forget this Maquis assignment was her first as Captain; zero experience, so I would believe she would make some mistakes along this dangerous journey home, and would eventually make her a better CO in future outings because of those pitfalls. Hard to have an investment in the character when the chips are always in her favor, and shifting the goal posts whenever there could be an avenue of vulnerability, and internal character conflicts. I found Bujold's take on the character was what I wanted but it was obvious the showrunners didn't want that and never cared about the premise and never took it seriously. The result is a bland series and the lead was a major issue for its blandness.
     
  2. Michael

    Michael [ˈmɪçaːʔeːl] Moderator

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    No time to read through all replies right now, but in general I disagree with the premise of the thread. I have my problems with some of the writing decisions for Janeway in a couple of episodes (some writers seemed to disagree on what kind of captain she should be), but by and large I found her to be an amazing character with lots of interesting nuances and angles. The casting of Mulgrew in the role was a blessing. Much of what makes the character iconic – even with some of the general non-Trekkie populace – can be attributed to her portrayal alone. I think she's a joy to watch and a big reason why I love Voyager so much, despite all its shortcomings. Quite frankly, I can't and don't want to imagine anyone else in the role.
     
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  3. Oddish

    Oddish Rear Admiral Commodore

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    I agree with a lot of that, especially the "G.O.A.T." notion, that's why I refer to Janeway as the Chuck Norris of Star Trek: many of her accomplishments are just out of proportion with a mere Starfleet captain. However, I don't blame Kate Mulgrew for decisions made by the writers. She has certainly proven her versatility as an actress; if Janeway had been allowed to show weakness, Mulgrew could have pulled it off. As for Bujold, I don't really agree: I don't think she was putting a given spin on the role, she was just in over her head and she knew it. All the players realized their mistake, and a potentially series-killing crisis was painlessly averted. Kudos to Bujold for realizing this, the showrunners for doing the same, and Mulgrew for stepping confidently in and knocking it out of the park.

    As to character development... yes, you're right again. It was an issue for a lot of the cast. Ben Sisko set the high mark for character development. Seven and the EMH were reasonably well developed. Janeway was mostly static. So was Chakotay. Worst of all, so was Harry Kim: compare him to characters in his position like Nog, Jake, and even Bashir. As deplorable as his lack of promotion was, it was a symptom of a greater issue. And again, not Mulgrew's fault.
     
  4. STEPhon IT

    STEPhon IT Commodore Commodore

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    What I appreciated about Sisko and his 1st officer was the complexities of their conflict, she challenged him to look at options he never would've considered. It was a valuable trait I respected about Kira, of course she was hot headed too and at times do some really bone headed things but her intensions were always in the interest of the greater good. The GOAT never had that person who could make her better because the awful writing made everything convenient for her to thrive. In a world so far away and dangers at all ends it's cool to have a 1st officer who compliments the Captain.

    I believe a good 1st officer who has some dimensions can make the stories and the lead a lot better because their view should be something the audience had never considered and if the writing is well crafted never saw coming. Voyager needed more internal conflict and the lack of those elements to protect their Mary Sue hurt the product. I recently watched Genevieve Bujold's performance again as Elizabeth Janeway, and I think her character would've been open for conflict and would've propel those lame and very bland TNG wannabe plots and stories to something more interesting, something along the lines of DS9 in its 1st 3 seasons.
     
  5. Lynx

    Lynx Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I have to correct you here.

    The "Maquis assignment" wasn't Janeway's first mission as Captain or as Commanding Officer in charge of a ship. Both Memory Alpha and Memory Beta states that:

    In 2363, Captain Janeway assumed command of the USS Billings. The Billings was her first proper command, and she often felt deeply responsible for her actions and the effects on her crew. (VOY episodes: "Revulsion", "Night"; VOY novels: Pathways, Cloak and Dagger)

    According to Memory Beta:

    In 2365, the now Captain Janeway was in command of the USS Bonestell on a six-month exploratory mission of the Beta Quadrant. Following the mission, Janeway went before a review board consisting of Admiral Paris, Admiral McGeorge Finnegan, and Admiral Alynna Nechayev. Her close friend Ensign Tuvok was called in to criticize Janeway's ignorance of tactical regulations on the mission, and it was recommended by Admiral Finnegan that Tuvok serve under Janeway on her next deep-space mission. Janeway and Tuvok were still serving together on the Bonestell when Janeway asked Tuvok to transfer with her to Voyager. (VOY novels: Mosaic, Pathways)

    Since the novels Mosaic and Pathways were written by Jeri Taylor at a point when she still was one of those in charge of the show, I assume that Janeway's background story was clearly established when it came to both episodes and books and that she had been in command on different ships a couple of years before she became Captain on Voyager.
     
  6. STEPhon IT

    STEPhon IT Commodore Commodore

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    In "Revulsion" she mentions meeting Tuvok in her "first command", and in "Night" Tuvok shares a moment in her past on the USS Billings as a Commander not Captain with Chakotay. The books don't count for me, as for the episode whether she was the CO is vague and I suppose the books may have some clarity to these very 2 subpar episodes. You can look at it that way but I rather take what I saw from the TV series and not a series of novels. You can look at it that she was a CO of that vessel as a Commander, heck it didn't stop Ben Sisko from not only commanding a space station and The USS Defiant, to me is the 2nd to the last awesome looking ship to Voyager. From my view I was considering her discussing her first command as it were and that's being a Commander and not a CO of a Starship*, while in "Relativity" it's stated Voyager was her first ship as Captain and the Admiral saw Janeway as an apt pupil, but thank you.

    My father is a military officer and I asked him about the episode "Revulsion" he sees it as a Commissioned Officer would specify and not speak vaguely about their duties to subordinates. "Night" does specify she was ranked Commander but not the Commanding Officer of the Billings.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2021
  7. Laughing Dragon

    Laughing Dragon Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Kirk and Sisko even, yes... but not Picard. I have not seen one instance of them questioning him. He was seen as practically perfect. Even in First Contact it took Lilly to convince Picard that he was wrong to blow up the ship because the others - the crew were listening to him despite their better judgement. They were convinced he was right simply for being Picard. And I say this as a big TNG fan.

    ETA: Despite the whole presentation of him being open to his officers thoughts on his judgement.
     
  8. Laughing Dragon

    Laughing Dragon Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Ha. I did not see this.
     
  9. Lynx

    Lynx Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You have some good points here.
    I think that the Maquis situation was handled good by those in charge even if I think that B'Elanna was tamed too quickly. It should have taken two-three episodes at least, considering her attitude in Caretaker.

    AsI see it, Chakotay and his Maquis members were smart enough to realise that Voyager was their only chance to get home and wether they liked Starfleet or not, most of them did what they had to do in order to get home. I guess that Chakotay was well respected and liked too, therefore they respected his decision when it came to joining Janeway's crew.

    Personally I count what is written in the books as "real" as long as it doesn't contradict or erase established history from the episodes.

    When I constructed the Voyager Timeline on the Kes Website, I found that there aren't that many things in the books which contradict what we saw in the series and that it is very easy to skip thos contradictional passages while reading.

    Since Jeri Taylor was one of those in charge of the show when she wrote both Mosaic and pathways, I guess that she was aware of Janeway's background story at that time so my assumption is that Voyager wasn't her first command.

    However, there are some contradictions in Jeri Taylor's books to, most notably the name of B'Elanna's mother, the name of Admiral paris's ship during the Arias Expedition and the name of Chakotay's Maquis ship. But most of the contradictions in those cases are because of events and names made up in the series after the books were published.

    There are also some minor contradictions in Taylor's books when it comes to the characters background stories, most notably B'Elanna's, Chakotay's and Tom's childhood considering their family problems and Kes's time as captive by the Kazon but I think that's more because an irritating habit of the author to sugar-coat certain events.

    Despite being a TNG fan too, I have to agree here. Picard was never questioned by anyone, not even by Riker.
    Chakotay is ofthen criticized for being some puppet to janeway but he did at least defy and criticize some of her suggestions and actions, something Riker seldom did.
     
  10. STEPhon IT

    STEPhon IT Commodore Commodore

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    Although it wasn't the real Picard, a doppleganger did attempt to harm the Enterprise in "Allegiance" Riker stood up to Picard because at the moment he thought he was out of line.
     
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  11. Oddish

    Oddish Rear Admiral Commodore

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    Tamed too quickly and promoted too quickly. She should have had to serve under Carey for the first year. Then, in "The 37's", have him and a few others jump ship. It adds a touch of realism, and establishes a bit of loss/betrayal, having a character we knew choose to desert the family. It's not like he brought anything to the table afterward. By this time, B'Elanna has settled down and reined in her temper, and is ready to succeed him.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2021
  12. STEPhon IT

    STEPhon IT Commodore Commodore

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    Roxann Dawson had done an excellent job in presenting B'Elanna as a character who's working things out in her own way. I don't think she ever settled down but picked her poison and channeled it in other ways; the actress exceled whenever her character was on screen, Tim Russ did the same thing which caught my interest.
     
  13. Laughing Dragon

    Laughing Dragon Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I am up to ep. 9 and I haven't been seeing what others were seeing with Janeway... yet. But I am only on the first season so...
     
  14. Lynx

    Lynx Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It wouldn't have been necessary to dump or kill of Carey or some others. In fact, B'Elanna could have been made Chief Engineer some episodes in the season and still have the lousy episode or at least she could have been like, Hogan, Jonas and Seska for a while.

    Her attitude could have changed somewhat during the first episodes. It was just that quick change in the second episode I found a bit unrealistic.
     
  15. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Exactly. So many people threw in behind Janeway without much resistance and left a lot of character development aside for the sake of one big happy family. Carey largely was underused, and then ignored in favor of B'Elanna. Having him leave would have her have to rise up to the occasion of more responsibility.
     
  16. Oddish

    Oddish Rear Admiral Commodore

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    And if he'd been developed a bit, then left with some others (mostly Maquis), it would lessen the Cult Leader Janeway vibe. I liked Janeway, but she sometimes seemed a little... infallible. There's a reason why I call her the Chuck Norris of Star Trek.
     
  17. STEPhon IT

    STEPhon IT Commodore Commodore

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    Then at that point don't look for anything, enjoy those masterpieces called Star Trek: Voyager, me and a few are obviously just seeing a different show, and just go somewhere else where you can talk how fantastic the G.O.A.T. was and still is. There are some circles who think VOY was better than TNG and DS9 and I'm fine with that, but if you have nothing to include in this discussion please don't rock the boat?
     
  18. Akiraprise

    Akiraprise Vice Admiral Moderator

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    Laughing Dragon feel free to discuss anything you like as long as it's within the general thread topic.

    I personally found VOY to be "better" than TNG and DS9 and I like both of those shows just fine. I also respect those that think otherwise. This doesn't mean that I don't lament what the series could have been. I just finished a DS9 rewatch and the two shows are thematically very different. DS9 had the freedom of syndication and was allowed to explore more of it's premise while VOY was hampered by the suits at UPN who wanted TNG-lite stories of the week show. The beauty of Trek, and having so much content spread out over 55 years, is just about everyone can find something they like about it. Janeway was sometimes an inconsistently written character depending on the plot of the week. But on the whole she was great (not the GOAT) and portrayed well by Kate Mulgrew with the scripts she was given. It's also clear that Janeway became a more main stream character, and VOY on the whole a more relatable series, than say Archer(ENT) or Sisko(DS9). The popularity of VOY on streaming platforms and the fact that several of it's characters are seeing a resurgence in modern Trek outings would seem to support this.
     
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  19. at Quark's

    at Quark's Commodore Commodore

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    I don't dislike the Janeway character, but I agree that it seems they were afraid to give her any weaknesses that were acknowledged in-universe, even though she had some implied by uneven writing (overprudent in one episode, beyond reckless in the next one).

    Every other series' captain had to acknowledge defeat or a tie on some rare occasions, or at least a 'we can't have our cake and eat it too' , which I had the feeling was a bit lacking from Voyager, at least in its later seasons, where Janeway almost always emerges triumphant. In fact, you would expect this to happen more frequently to Voyager than to the crews in other series, with the deck of odds so stacked against them. I would have liked the occasional enemy simply escaping or outsmarting them even when they thought they had him - much like the Botha antagonist in early Voyager Persistence of Vison- in the later seasons as well (and it's possible these occasional examples exist but they simply have eluded my memory).
     
  20. Lynx

    Lynx Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Janeway as such was a good character and Mulgrew's acting was great. It was the writing of the character which was erratic, to say the least.