Watching Voyager (basically for the first time)...

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Voyager' started by Overgeeked, Jul 26, 2016.

  1. Overgeeked

    Overgeeked Captain Captain

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    So back in the day, for various reasons, I didn't really keep up on Trek much after 1995 or so. When Voyager first aired I caught the pilot and maybe 2-3 of the season one episodes. I think, at best, I saw half a dozen Voyager episodes in total over the years. I've watched a few episodes (Deadlock, Equinox, Scorpion, Blink of an Eye, Year of Hell, Tuvix, Worst Case Scenario, Meld, Learning Curve, and maybe one or two more), but I haven't seen the vast majority of Voyager. With this being the 50th an all...well, I just needed an excuse to watch it so there it is.

    This won't be a hate-in and it won't be a love fest. I'll be honest about what I like and don't like. The episodes I've seen before this marathon were mostly good and I don't listen much to fan consensus or opinion. I'll like episodes others hate, and hate episodes others love. Sorry. Rather than rehashing an old argument, just pretend you vented at me and save everyone the time.

    Not sure how consistent I'll be, so there's that. And here goes...

    I love Caretaker. It's one of the better (top 2) Trek pilots they've done. Sets up the premise of the show perfectly, including a heap of interpersonal tension just waiting to boil over from time to time. I was really disappointed when they fully integrated the crew by the second episode and basically hobbled half of the show's premise. The Federation / Maquis tension could have played out a lot longer and driven the stories a lot more.

    Parallax was decent enough. A time travel space anomaly episode that's the A-story, whilst the B-story is B'Elanna earning the spot as chief engineer. Intro of the spirit animal guide and B'Elanna being the only person to attack theirs. Kind of generic but shows a bit of the potential for the Fed / Maquis split in the crew. Largely undercut and eliminated in the first 2-3 episodes.

    Time and Again...woot, another time travel space anomaly episode. At least this one has more overt jeopardy and is more concrete to Parallax's abstract threat. Some decent ideas and oddities, though the bootstrap paradox is a bit lame, as is a lot of the acting and writing. You mean there's a threat to this entire world and civilization, and the terrorists are running inside the power plant to mess with it? Good, let's hang out on the lawn and jaw for a few minutes. I did like the more grounded nature of this one compared to Parallax.

    Phage. Like a lot of Trek fans I'm also a fan of science and science news. So when this one rolled along all I kept thinking of was the advances in stem cells, growing organs from stem cells, cloning, and 3D printing of organs. Interesting episode and some horrific (in a good way) makeup for the aliens. Nice all around episode with a solid premise to compel the story and crew into action. Drove home a lot of empathy for Neelix who'd till this episode basically been a doofier Quark with no clear motivation.

    The Cloud. Ugh. There's coffee in that nebula. Whatever good will and empathy garnered for Neelix in the Phage was instantly lost here. One replicator ration to get a cup of coffee or depleting 20% of the ships reserves just because Janeway listened to Neelix of all people about setting an example. Right, like Neelix sets an example in this episode. My least favorite style of Trek story. The abstract thing that's somehow a threat, carried along by too much technobabble and not enough elbow grease.

    And that's where my rewatch is so far. Not much of one, but it's a start.
     
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  2. TonyLeung82

    TonyLeung82 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Hey, I wish you really fun with watching all of the episodes. I like it that you are in a way neutral, do not hate it but also not love it, only opinion counts. Thats the spirit.
    I am excited about your comments....
     
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  3. Overgeeked

    Overgeeked Captain Captain

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    Eye of the Needle. Watched this one last night before bed. The A-story was interesting enough, though as it's episode 6/7 in season 1, it's a foregone conclusion nothing will come of it. Though I did like the characterization and acting by Mulgrew and Wang. His optimism throughout and her cheerleading then crushing disappointment at the final reveal. But it was the B-story that was far more engaging for me. Kes learning first aid and anatomy, the Doctor being treated poorly, and the captain stepping in. The look of shock and realization on Mulgrew's face after her initial conversation with Kes was played straight, but overdone so I couldn't help but laugh. Not at the story beat, just the expression she used. As a Trek fan I've picked up via osmosis a few key plot points in these characters' arcs that will be coming over the seven seasons of Voyager (good and bad), but I'm looking forward to the journey.
     
  4. Overgeeked

    Overgeeked Captain Captain

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    Ex Post Facto. A really decent story. Solid enemies and a bit of intrigue wrapped into a murder mystery. A bit cliched as a murder mystery, but good for having to couch it in Star Trek trappings and the requisite science fiction touches. Liked the use of Tuvok, love me some Vulcans. Odd that the B-story basically consisted of one scene that was a carry over from the last episode. I know some of the story beats to the Doctor's future in Voyager and I'm looking forward to seeing them play out. So too with the evolution of Tuvok. But the dog. Yikes what an ugly little beast to hang Paris' future on. Some of the troubles with ensemble casts popped up here as it's basically Paris, Janeway, Tuvok, and the guest stars doing their thing whilst the rest of the cast has a few lines and tries to look busy.
     
  5. Overgeeked

    Overgeeked Captain Captain

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    Emanations. What an interesting story. Great to see some larger issues dealt with in VOY. The alien culture's death rituals and philosophy was cool to explore. The sudden appearance of shrouded corpses around the ship struck me as a lot funnier than the writers and actors were probably going for, but that's me. Liked the little speech at the end. Janeway is a great captain.

    Prime Factors. Nice reversal of the Prime Directive problem, though it was I satisfying. Don't get me wrong, Janeway's rage and disappointment were great to see at the end, but making the aliens selfish and self-centered dulled the point. It would have been better to me if they weren't jerky aliens but still refused. With that you can just dismiss them as asshats instead of really wrestling with the philosophical question. Still, great acting and loved that Tuvok made the call. And it was wild to see Lou from Young Riders (Yvonne Suhor). It took me a few minutes and an Internet search to place her.

    State of Flux. I must have seen or heard about the reveal dozens of times over the years so there was no surprise, really. Starting to pick up on character/actor quirks though. When Janeway's disappointed or mad does she always look watery-eyed into the camera for a beat then turn away and cover her mouth and/or clutch her pearls? She seems to have done this a fair amount in the last few I've watched. The relationship between Seska and Chakotay was the thinnest and most ham-fisted last minute add-on that I could imagine. Going from barely having a name to being the long-time lover of a main character and revealed as a spy and off the show in the span of an episode? Damn. Yeah, I know she comes back. Still. Rushed is a great word.
     
  6. Tracy Trek

    Tracy Trek Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    But didn't you find it basically a redo of a TNG episode where Riker was suspected of killing an alien scientist? He had even interacted with the man's wife. Although the TNG one didn't have a dog as a witness for the defense.
     
  7. Sophie74656

    Sophie74656 Commodore Commodore

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    Even if it is similar to another episode in TNG, doesn't take away someone enjoying this episode. Though personally this is not one of my favorites.
     
  8. Overgeeked

    Overgeeked Captain Captain

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    It's all the same pieces, but they're arranged differently. If only slightly. The TNG you're thinking of is A Matter of Perspective, which is basically a rehash of Rashomon given a TNG twist. But as a fan of monster of the week shows like Star Trek, Doctor Who, Supernatural, Buffy, X-Files, and most cop shows, minor variations on a theme don't bother me, as long as they're done well. And Ex Post Facto was done well. It's certainly not the best episode of Trek ever, but it doesn't need to be to be good or enjoyable.
     
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  9. Sophie74656

    Sophie74656 Commodore Commodore

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    There are some pretty good episodes in the early seasons but I think overall the show gets much better after the end of season 3.
     
  10. Overgeeked

    Overgeeked Captain Captain

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    Heroes and Demons. That was a good one. I love the Doctor. I've seen some of his later episodes and know some of his arc. Can't get enough of Robert Picardo. It's a bit wild that a energy starved ship that has to dole out replicator rations and convert space onboard to hydroponics bays so they can grow food still somehow has enough energy to allow the use of the holodeck. But whatever. I'm sure it's handwaved somewhere. Love the Doctor's put upon and completely over it attitude for most things, and it's cool to see him featured as the main character.

    Cathexis. Is basically like Power Play from TNG, only it's different. From the moment there was a "brain dead" character and a mysterious alien possessing people I kept yelling at the screen that it was Chakotay. Anyone else see that coming from the first moment? So weird that the characters whose lives are filled with this kind of thing on a regular basis never jump to an intelligent conclusion till the plot requires it. The spirit wheel / map was a little too cute and convenient. But if you need an ass-pull, might as well come from that. This is the style of story that I'm not generally a fan of, the abstract enemy with abstract solutions to abstract problems. It's all to flighty and lacks interest for me because it's not concrete. Gimme something solid to be in conflict with any day instead of a malevolent nothing to fear.

    Faces. Something like TNG's Genesis episode and the later VOY episode Tuvix, though different. It's nice to see Torres without the makeup...and with the full Monty as it were. The Phage aliens are even less believable in this one that the first. Their medical tech borders on magical godlike powers, yet they can't cure a single disease. Cool villains though. Something of a pre-cursor to the Insurrection aliens. Far less scary here than the original. They would be more interesting if they were full-on Frankenstein or Island of Dr. Moreau type villains. If this doctor can split Torres on a genetic level but still somehow retain her full personality in two bodies, why the hell can't they just clone workers and replacement organs? Take a blood sample from Torres and simple clone her. Take a sample from an able-bodied alien and clone them as a work force. Harvest their organs. Could have been a great premise for a villain species, if only it had been given a bit more thought.
     
  11. Overgeeked

    Overgeeked Captain Captain

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    Jetrel. Nice. Now that's some cool Star Trek. Oppenheimer, MD, in space. Nice to see more development of Neelix and his species, though it was really odd to not see a single other Talaxian in the episode. It was a cool twist at the end to have him try to revive the disintegrated people. I'm more interested in a follow up on that one. What comes of it and what's done about the possibility of being able to pull the people out of the cloud. But again it's not following through with the consequences of the technology introduced. If they could reform a pattern from medical records, simply pull enough matter through and format it to the stored template. Like they would if they recreated a person on the holodeck. Still, good character work for Neelix.

    Learning Curve. I've seen this one before, but for completeness I'll go ahead anyway. This is one of my favorite lower decks episodes. And it follows from the premise of the show with the mixed crew and them all being stranded together and far from home. Should have had a lot more episodes like this, or ones that at least show the tension there. But that's the A-story, the B-story was annoying and trite. The ship's computer gets a cold. It's these kind of stories that make me hate Star Trek sometimes. A technobabble problem, with technobabble complications, and a technobabble solution. Snore. Gimme a solid problem, with solid complications, and a solid solution any day of the week. Like the A-story. Insubordinate crewmen are given special attention and training to get them into shape. It doesn't quite go as planned, but it's resolved by everyone learning something...even if it is blatantly stated at the end. Still, it's better than five minutes of made up words that mean nothing and evoke zero emotion or tension.
     
  12. Overgeeked

    Overgeeked Captain Captain

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    Woo hoo. Season 2.

    The '37s. Ugh. Okay, so did they fire the science advisor before this script could be vetted? Right, because a 400 year old truck in space is going to work perfectly after five minutes in the cargo hold. The gasoline would be frozen solid and the oil would have thickened and lost viscosity and become useless. But whatever. Instant expert Tom Paris knows exactly how to operate the thing. But whatever. It happens so often in Trek it's laughable. It's just that it was particularly poorly done here. The ominous people in full body suits were poorly done. The tension between the '37s and the away team was basically non-existent. The reveal of the humans living on the planet should not have been a surprise...but there was bad weather, so the sensors didn't work. Too convenient. The bad weather keeps the humans hidden but they somehow detect Voyager...but they haven't visited the '37s' shrine in generations, but just happen to be close enough that day to watch the ship land. Yeah, I know. It's just a lot of little things that build up to be really annoying. Nice moment at the end where the crew is unanimous. Doesn't feel earned at all though. Could have been a great two-parter playing up the ups and downs of the crews, working together...but whatever.

    Initiations. I really wanted to like Chakotay. Finally a First Nation character on Trek...but he's played by an American-born Mexican. But hey, at least it's not a white dude in red paint saying "how!" all the time. The whole religion in Trek thing is tough. Non-Federation types are clearly less advanced in this regard, and since he's a First Nation character, of course he's going to have a spirit guide and a sacred bundle and all that. But still. Ugh. And really? You need to go to the far side of the system to be alone enough to perform this ritual. On a planet you wouldn't get more than a few miles at best. But whatever. Seeing Aron Eisenberg (Nog) in different alien make-up was cool. Great actor. Really pulled it off. The bit of culture of the Kazon was neat, though they're basically less advanced Klingons with a hard-on for their ever-shifting territory. Not impressed as yet. Chakotay's plan was cool, but Not-Nog's plan was better. Nice twist. Also, where'd the sacred bundle go when Chakotay was captured and his shuttle destroyed? Did he just replicate a new one? If it's that simple and the materials don't matter, why does it matter that he's millions of miles away for the ritual in the first place? Oh, yeah, they had a plot to push through.
     
  13. Overgeeked

    Overgeeked Captain Captain

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    Projections. What a great story. Inception-level mindfuck on the Doctor. Great to see Lt. Broccoli again. The false ending actually got me. Lost track of the time and didn't realize there was five minutes left till just after the second go around. Love seeing the Doctor sweat and confused. Best comedy moment was him reacting to someone pounding on the door. His little crawl to the window in his office and peeking out was great. Even though it could have gone really abstract, they did a good job keeping things concrete. The hologram Doctor trapped in a holodeck program as his program degrades could have been really weak and mealy-mouthed. But the obstacles and complications were solid.

    Elogium. I really can't stand pouty or jealous-lover Neelix. He's a whimpering, simpering douche. Though I wasn't that impressed with a dirt and bug eating Kes either. I get why they're doing that, to show how strange and unusual her species is. But she's a forehead alien with a bit of plot-based mind powers. Can't stop eating, bad eye shadow, a mucus sac on her back, yellow paste on her hands, foot rubs, and swollen tongues? Yeah, we get it. She's strange new life. And frankly, the writers needed to pad out the story. The A-story was worth maybe half as many scenes without the padding, and the B-story was a snorer, except the opportunities to make sexual innuendoes. A few good character moments, and a great face from Kes as Neelix hauls her out of their suite.
     
  14. 2takesfrakes

    2takesfrakes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The Second Season was a boon for the Chakotay character. I always did like the number two ... the 2nd Season of Voyager, The Wrath of Khan, First Contact, was the second TNG movie and the best, of course ... good things always come in two's it seems like.
     
  15. 2takesfrakes

    2takesfrakes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    And speaking of two's .... this was an accidental double post. Ha! I guess this makes me 2-for-2!
     
  16. Mareika

    Mareika Captain Captain

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    Always interesting to hear some other reports of the episodes.
     
  17. Logopolis

    Logopolis Commander Red Shirt

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    I love Caretaker. Although I like Encounter at Farpoint, I consider Cartaker to be EAF's final draft and done the right way. Out of any of the pilots, it's the most alien and has the best establishment of characters. Great pacing, excellent settings, tense, mysterious, dark in areas and with just enough action. Outstanding setup for what should have been one of the best Trek shows.
     
  18. Sakonna

    Sakonna Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I totally agree. My favorite shows are TNG and DS9, but VOY and ENT have the better pilots. "Caretaker" is the only pilot that never goes slack, they build the tension so skillfully... it's such an assured piece of television.

    Since they barely did anything with the Maquis angle, I wonder if the series would have played better if they didn't even have that as backstory... just a regular Federation crew thrown across the galaxy.
     
  19. Sophie74656

    Sophie74656 Commodore Commodore

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    I don't know if it would have been better but it certainly would have been different. You would have, at the very least, lost a couple of episodes dealing directly with the Maquis issue...a couple of them that I really enjoy personally.

    You would also have some characters that would have developed differently if they were just regular Starfleet officers. One of the things I'm thinking about is Tom being different without his past issues. I think a big part of what made him what he was was his own desire to work hard to overcome his past. Then you have B'Elanna who several times used tactics and and ideas she picked up with the Maquis that might not have occured to a "regular" Starfleet officer. A few times these Maquis tricks really helped.
     
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  20. Logopolis

    Logopolis Commander Red Shirt

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    Season 1 did actually deal with some of this and managed to establish some arcs. But, they were resolved very quickly or were just absorbed in the events of the show where the crew simply learn to work together because....they simply learn to work together. DS9 was a Marquis heavy show, so I understand why Voyager didn't quite go that far. It's a better show for understating the Marquis elements. But, if they at least fleshed out the origins of people like Chakotay and Torres in greater detail outside of their childhoods, I think we could have had an even more detailed take on the characters and the tension between Marquis and Starfleet officers.