Where did the show go wrong?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Voyager' started by gakelly, May 4, 2019.

  1. gakelly

    gakelly Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I have watched Voyager one time, but decided to rewatch it again. While watching the pilot, the show starts off strong. Tom Paris is written very well in this episode and the acting is particularly strong from the actor. Then the writers just decide to not use his character after that. The first 25 minutes of the pilot are strong, probably the best part of the series. After the crew is beamed into the array, the pilot becomes boring and corny.

    Why did they even go with the plot of having the Maquis in the show. Why not just have the ship lost and it goes on with the actual Starfleet crew, since the Maquis seem to just suddenly fit in with the crew after no time at all anyway I think the tension between Paris and the established crew (the guys who die) would have made for much more interesting story arcs.
     
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  2. ALF

    ALF Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Is this a pun, riffing on the Aunt Adah farmhouse holo-character in The Caretaker offering corn to the Voyager crew members?

    "Corn on the cob?"
    Aunt Adah, said multiple times in her attempts to welcome the Starfleet officers from Voyager

    "Very well. Since no-one seems to care for any corn, we'll have to proceed ahead of schedule."
    Aunt Adah, accepting the curiosity of Voyager's Starfleet crew members




     
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  3. Lynx

    Lynx Vice Admiral Admiral

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    When Kes was dumped. :mad:
     
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  4. Mysterion

    Mysterion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well, they came up with a potentially interesting premise - ship stranded off in the ass-end of nowhere with half a crew of dissident terrorists, which was good. Cool! We're going to get fresh new stories, and some interpersonal conflict! However, by the end of the first episode the dissidents are all wearing Starfleet uniforms and for the most part just like anyone else we've ever seen on a Starfleet ship. And then before too long, we're getting a steady diet of borg stories and broken holodeck stories, and generally stuff that could've been done in TNG with little or no adjustment. Oh, and a the end of seven years the ship still looks showroom fresh, and they somehow never ran out of shuttles of photon torpedoes. And poor Harry is still an Ensign.
     
  5. Hey Missy

    Hey Missy Captain Captain

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    During Season 3 when they really just make the show Diet TNG week after week without an actual sense of direction.
     
  6. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I do think they had ideas in the beginning. And they followed through with many of them, but the ideas fell flat and were quickly put behind them, in exchange for audience pleasers. Except the audience pleasers didn't please the audience either. :D
     
  7. gakelly

    gakelly Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I guess I am just sad the creative minds decided to go in the lame direction they took. They relied on the gimmick of time travel way too often. Every time some character was damaged or seriously injured, it was fine because it either took place in an alternate time line or they found a way to change it through time travel.
    The writers made Janeway extremely smug and unlikeable. She was a cross between Wesley Crusher and Guinan. The rest of the crew fell into line and was super submissive and subservient immediately.
    If my captain did what she did to strand them so far from their home and then played everything by the book instead of trying to actually get home, she would be shot out of a photon torpedo launcher at the earliest convenience.

    Even the year of hell episodes really were pointless because it never actually happened.
     
  8. NewHeavensNewEarth

    NewHeavensNewEarth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The premise had some interesting ideas, but it was also seriously flawed from the beginning. Moving in a linear direction towards the Alpha Quadrant, the ability to have recurring characters (outside of the crew) and even recurring species was seriously affected. It was almost doomed to species-of-the-week formatting from the get-go.

    But there were other serious issues:
    - the very concept of going to a distant part of the galaxy immediately lost its luster when we found that the Delta Quadrant was almost exactly like the Alpha Quadrant. Very little about it felt distant or alien. Comparable technology, comparable ideals, etc. We traveled across the galaxy to find more of the same.
    - by my estimates, the writers only put serious effort into writing for 1-in-4 episodes. Many of them go down as some of the absolute worst episodes in the entire Star Trek franchise's history. The few that had serious effort behind them were memorable and a reminder of what could've been.
    - all of the tension between the 2 crews melted away in no time, and that entire concept was virtually forgotten and wasted.
    - Voyager was a time capsule that eventually became a pleasure cruise in the latter seasons.
    - the need for recurring characters/species led to the Borg being overused and looking more like a nuisance than the foreboding menace that almost brought down the entire Federation. Voyager always bested the Borg, but somehow the Kazon had been their biggest threat?

    VOY (along with ENT) presented more of the same, and they were going-through-the-motions much of the time. They presided over the decline and fall of ST on TV that lasted for many years to follow. It still had more potential, but I mainly blame the writers for laziness, arrogance, and a general lack of creativity that could've taken us so much further. I had personal preferences about the characters/actors, but overall there were good ingredients to work with that rarely got used to their potential.
     
  9. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Lisa Klink was on the Inglorious Treksperts podcast. She noted these problems: it was difficult to sustain any adversary or obstacle because Voyager wss always flying away from it; characters tended to get "blanded out," more generic.

    What she wasn't apologetic for was the dilution of the Maquis: the fans didn't want internal conflict, they wanted something bright and sunny.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2019
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  10. at Quark's

    at Quark's Commodore Commodore

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    I think the show was more original in its early years. The later seasons weren't bad, but centered way too much on Seven, imho. The way the show was going in later years, they would even have found a way to make a freshly revived Starfleet Maquis conflict focus around her: ("who will she choose? Mommy Kate or Chakotay who's she's secretly in love with? Her knowledge may be vital in determining which side wins!")
     
  11. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Sure VOY was always flying away but that doesn't mean you can't work with what you have given that the ship would be doing ~1000ly per year. That still gives you time to build up interesting races as the ship could be travelling through their space for several weeks or months. You could have a more totalitarian race and news of this ship brings unrest and rebellion to those subjugated by it. Sure we had the Kazon but they where seen by many as inferior version of the Klingon's. One of the more interesting earlier foes on VOY were the Vidiian's.

    And it would be accurate to say some of the fans didn't want internal conflict. Question of the interaction between Janeway and Chakotay which were more memorable or better the bland interactions or when they are in conflict such scenes in "Scorpion" or "Equinox"?
     
  12. BigDaveX

    BigDaveX Captain Captain

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    I think the biggest thing the show got wrong was being released when it was - a decade earlier, and it would have fit in perfectly with the TV landscape at the time. Two decades later, when viewers were starting to get sick to the teeth of grimdark sci-fi with densely packed story arcs, it would have been seen as a nice genre throwback.

    But when the likes of DS9, Babylon 5, The X-Files, and even stuff like Buffy the Vampire Slayer were starting to dabble in long-term story arcs, Voyager's approach just seemed outdated, and I don't think the stories were, for the most part, strong enough to make up for it.

    That, and I think the whole "teach ignorant aliens about enlightened Federation values" mantra was starting to get a little grating by the late 90s, especially when DS9 was doing much more to analyse and subvert said values. Heck, Rick Berman has more or less admitted that as he saw it, the Maquis were never there to provide a source of ongoing conflict with the crew, but rather to be educated on why they were wrong to rebel against the Federation - they weren't adults with their own differing values and opinions, but naughty children who were there to learn a life lesson.
     
  13. Cutie McWhiskers

    Cutie McWhiskers Commodore Commodore

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    IMHO, the show's first misstep was to get both factions to become cozy picnic friendly after the grueling antagonistic sparring in two episodes. The show sold a good premise but never really took it anywhere. Except backwards.

    Technobabble felt a lot more lax.

    VOY, for all its potential, often tried to feel like "more TNG", trying to recapture season 2-4's feel but not quite succeeding. Were people clamoring for more comfy Trek feel at the time as opposed to more gritty DS9?

    One could argue "Trek Burnout(tm)" was starting to creep in as season one, while passable, wasn't as engaging as it could be.

    Season 3's "Worst Case Scenario", had VOY been made the same way today, would be perceived, misperceived, and/or heralded as a "Froofy Unicorn to the critics in the audience" as it starts out with a great premise but becomes a magical mockery with the holodeck, amazing what Seska could do in such a short time to all of those ship systems, years before leaving, and nobody noticed. (All in all it's a good premise, ultimately let down by a couple of moments and maybe not being a two-parter to let the good stuff breathe and develop instead of rushing to the ending.)

    The other big mistake would be, of course, how the ship never got worn down or ever looked battered for more than one episode - "Year of Hell" encapsulates what many would rightfully expect VOY to explore since the premise pretty much states they're out there, truly alone. Then the selective reset button gets hit and everything's all pristine and perfect again. The show had a great premise but didn't often use it as more than a gimmick.

    At the same time, other sci-fi shows of the time were exploring different ground and ideas, and given VOY already had Trek Legacy and Baggage being lugged around, people would have passed it off at the time saying "it's just trying to do the same thing as those shows, with no originality or innovation or anything different", especially as DS9 was doing the war arc and rather successfully... There was just no way for it to win, at the time, since TNG and DS9 did it all already and there was no new spin or facet... Except there was, as told in the premiere, but they didn't run with it. And the TLaB seems to be an integral reason to that.

    But it kept enough viewers to get through seven years so it wasn't a flop.

    And if Space 1999 could go through Eagle ships like candy, so can Voyager's torpedoes.

    VOY did have some good, robust, and classic episodes. Some of which were the sort only VOY with its premise could do, but others would have worked just as well in TNG but weren't thought of at the time. "Worst Case Scenario" (even with Seska's holodeck magic and all, it's still largely a great episode) and "Blink of an Eye" are respective examples of VOY only/TNG extension.

    And, indeed, the addition of the Borg, until they got buried into the ground, was ingenious. Better yet, Seven - despite apparent offscreen animosity - lead to what I thought was a great double-act between Janeway and Seven for discussing humanity the way that hadn't been pursued with Tuvok (though I appreciated how Vulcan sociology was explored via him.) The fact they got the excellence of Jeri Ryan -- before anyone says "They just hired her for T&A", check out her work in "Boston Public", she's a great actor. "T&A" doesn't maintain ratings unless it's "Baywatch" or "Jerry Springer". And even then.

    The show did have its missteps, but so much would be overlooked because of Trek's lengthy lifespan and the Trek Burnout that came with it.
     
  14. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The show was the wrong away around - Voyager should been the name of the Maquis ship, the federation ship should have blown up and the Starfleet officers should have had to work out what to do in a ship where they don't have control.
     
  15. chris of nine

    chris of nine Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Shatner and Seven.

    Ice cream and sprinkles.
     
  16. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    We could argue about the degree to which it was present. Kerry McCluggage came to the realization that DS9 had a smaller fan base than TNG, but it was probably more dedicated. However, the studio was concerned that DS9 didn't build upon TNG's popularity, especially when plans for the network started to come into view.

    However, I believe that the network had a knee jerk reaction that negatively affected Voyager. You put forward franchise fatigue as better explanation for Voyager's problems. What factors contributed to the notion that Star Trek was never going to offer something new to science fiction fans or the audience in general? I would argue that the flagship series imitating TNG created a sense that Star Trek was creatively spent. In the interview I mentioned above and in Fifty Year Mission, there is a sense that the writers became indifferent whenever it was pointed out that they were treading upon ground covered by TNG (or TOS). And perhaps that would have been sufficient if there had been more attention to character and development. Unfortunately, the more the series went along--the more Brannon Braga's voice came to dominate--, the less character became a central concern. As he put it, he was into "weird Twilight zone shit." The less character was central to the episodes, the more apathy set in with the set. I am always struck by how much energy the cast has in the first three season in spite of the rather generic stories they have. Thereafter, it seems like half the cast sleepwalks through the scripts.
     
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  17. Starflight

    Starflight Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    That happens in pretty much every other Star Trek too, often with worse resolutions than time travel - Worf gets crippled to the point of suicide in Ethics and is fine a week later. Spock gets blinded, and then healed within 10 minutes. Kirk gets stabbed by the Orion-as-Andorian spy en route to the Babel conference and is walking around again shortly afterwards. Time travel is as good a plot device as any other to have plot-armoured characters miraculously survive severe injuries.

    There are probably too many time travel episodes in Voyager, but a couple of them are decent in the way that most Star Trek time travel stories are decent, and it's not like they time travel more than three or four times a season at most.

    If you're doing a full rewatch, you might be surprised by the time you get to around season four. Janeway pretty much jettisons the Starfleet rulebook and starts dealing with obstacles in much more aggressive and practical ways (while still basically sticking to Starfleet diplomacy where possible). She's absolutely unbearable in the first two seasons, but becomes one of the better Star Trek captains by the end, IMO.

    As a general note for anyone planning a rewatch or first time watch-through, parts of the first two seasons are completely, shockingly terrible. There's an extended multi-episode arc about Tom Paris going undercover and it's some of the most brain-numbingly shit TV ever made. Might as well just skip to season three and go from there, maybe watch the 10 - 15 good episodes from the first two seasons.
     
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  18. gakelly

    gakelly Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    The first time I watched on Netflix, the first 3 seasons seemed really awful. It got to the point that I just kind of used it as background noise while I did other things.
    The show about Amelia Earhart might have been the biggest pile of dung I've ever watched; in fact, other than the pilot, it was the first episode of Voyager I saw when it was current on television and it really turned me off to the entire franchise.
     
  19. suarezguy

    suarezguy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The cast of characters wasn't bad but weaker than the other shows. But I think the show overall did indeed stumble big in the pilot, not that the crews teamed up, even wearing the same uniforms, but that they did so kind of skipping over it, little to no justification for why they did so other than it was I guess inevitable, which was underwhelming.

    Then through the series yes it too often felt like it could also just be on a regular ship in the Alpha Quadrant, the characters didn't need to have constant conflict but they were too lacking in angst or doubts let alone disagreements or conflicts often enough. Although I think that for a while the characters were becoming more bland but the actors more likeable as them so it kind of balanced out.

    The show was pretty much intended to be pretty TNG-ish, and the studio weary of making it too different and so skeptical of the premises (being really far from home, the Maquis crewmembers) that could make it too different, which makes sense given wanting to not lose existing fans, I'm not sure how it could have struck a much better balance.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2019
  20. gakelly

    gakelly Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Just watched Parallax. Insufferably bad.
    You would think as the 2nd episode, they would have tried to have a stronger script.
    Boring plot, 20 minutes of technobabble. A disturbance in the space time continuum...just send out some dachyon thingies and everything will be fine. Torres breaking someone's nose and Janeway just shrugging her shoulders...sorry, but I have trouble believing Starfleet personnel would be cool with a captain that condoned that type of action.
    And enough with the best pilot in Starfleet garbage. How hard is it to punch numbers into the conn panel and let the ship fly itself? It's not like Paris is controlling the ship with a joystick.
    And Torres seems like Voyager's counterpart to Wesley Crusher.