Where did the show go wrong?

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

  1. Farscape One

    Farscape One Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2017
    Sisko, who lost his wife, raises a son alone, becomes a reluctant religious icon, and has a unique connection with an unusual alien race, the Prophets... not interesting?

    Kira, who had to help defend her planet from a repressive race since she was a child, also serving under a superior officer who is a religious icon to her, also having to come to terms with her terrorist activities as well as trying to see not alk Cardassians are evil... not interesting?

    Dax, who has lived 8 previous lifetimes, one of whom was a mentor to Sisko, not interesting?

    Odo, who is a shapeshifter, had no idea where he came from, and he eventually finds out only to discover they are rulers of a totalitarian empire, and caught between his sense of justice and desire to luve with his people, not interesting?

    Quark, Bashir, O'Brien, Jake... not interesting? (This post would become excessively long if I wrote more.)

    From the jump, DS9 had the most interesting characters, and the most real ones.
     
  2. damfino

    damfino Ensign Red Shirt

    Joined:
    May 25, 2019
    Aside a from a few "old man" lines trough-out the series I don't see how the writers contributed much to this dynamic you're describing here. So, pretty uninteresting.
     
  3. Farscape One

    Farscape One Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2017
    I'll admit, Jadzia didn't get as developed as the others, but she was an integral part of the show. She had some great moments, and she worked as a good mirror for other characters... sort of like how I describe Riker on TNG. (Mirror, in this context, being great at helping the other actor/actress get the most out of a scene. Sort of like an assist in basketball... the guy may not make many shots, but can be an excellent assist for someone else to score. That particular trait serves him even better as a director.)
     
  4. BigDaveX

    BigDaveX Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2016
    That's what makes Voyager so frustrating - had it been just some out-and-out TNG copy set in the Alpha Quadrant with a near-identical set of characters, it'd just be a middle-of-the-road and completely forgettable show. But they set up all the elements to make something new and interesting, and did absolutely nothing with them.

    To use another analogy, it'd be like if DS9 had clearly signposted the conflict between Odo and Quark in the pilot episode... then by halfway through the first season Quark had suddenly been inspired to become an honest businessman by the Federation's ideals, and Odo was best buddies with him, with absolutely no foreshadowing of either of these developments. It might technically be more in line with Star Trek's message, but it would be a massive cop-out and squandering of potential storylines.
     
    NewHeavensNewEarth likes this.
  5. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Location:
    The glorious Shetland Isles!
    Jadzia suffered early on because the writers had the wrong notion about her (a wise old Spock-like character who just happens to be in the body of a young woman), but when they realised that someone with all that experience behind her would embrace life and live it to the fullest, that she came into her own. She and Kira also had a great relationship between them, very much one of peers--their gossiping (like about Odo/Arissa and then about trying to find Kira a date) are some of the best little moments, that builds on their characters and the feel of the DS9 universe (this is a place where big historic events happen, but it's also a place where people live together and work with daily).

    I think part of the reason VOY never drew me in was that it didn't match the rich tapestry of life that DS9 created.
     
  6. Prax

    Prax Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2017
    Location:
    Middle West
    They didn't know what to do with Dax. She was rarely even the star of her own character focus episodes. As for Kira, her character focus stories were incredibly repetitive. If it wasn't a "Kira's past and the occupation" story, it was a romance.

    It's this kind of talk that makes a good show(ds9) into an overrated show. Voyager is a Star Trek sci fi show. It is heavy in high concept stories, and concept heavy stories. It is not a soap opera or a sitcom, and didn't set out to be, and doesn't have to be. And the only truly objective way to appraise art is to determine if the producers achieved the goals that they set out to accomplish.

    "They should have done..." is the least objective way to criticize a thing, because everyone can have a different answer. It's not even actual criticism.

    It's hilarious that the same few self-professed "niners," who have admitted they don't like Voyager, don't watch Voyager, and haven't seen it in years(or decades) continually come here and dump on it(How many different ways can one person come up a way to say "I think the problem was..."). I realize there's a certain elation in the act of disparaging the thing you don't like, but it doesn't necessarily mean you have a legitimate grievance.

    Perception is incredibly subjective. If someone really doesn't like DS9, and watches it, they will pick up on a plethora of "flaws." If the illusion is broken for someone on a movie of tv show, all the ugly bits will be readily visible. DS9 is not immune.
    I've heard lots of people say that Avery Brooks ruins scenes with his bad acting, that Ferell is wooden, that Dax is shrill and annoying, that Bashir is insufferable all through. Once you pick up on a "flaw," you won't be able to unsee it. I myself get annoyed with DS9's frequent dumbed down expodumps. They'll show something, and it is good, then they'll have the nearest character tell the exact same thing, no matter how awkward or out of character. It's very frustrating and when abused ruin what should be good scenes/episodes. TNG and Voyager are so much less guilty of this, or they manage to cloak it better.
     
    cosmic mouse likes this.
  7. Jonesy

    Jonesy Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2003
    Yes, they were disappointed because TPTB made sure the premise that would have brought about a more interesting show was wiped clean following the pilot. It is not because Piller and Berman set out to create a premise with the intent or knowledge that it would be substantially altered by those higher up. If it had stayed, it would have resembled BSG a lot more.
     
  8. Prax

    Prax Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2017
    Location:
    Middle West
    You can read the Voyager story bible online. They followed the premise almost exactly.

    Maybe you are thinking of Enterprise? That show had substantial changes to its original premise, and a lot of interference/attempted interference from Paramount. Voyager otoh, essentially follows exactly what is laid out in the story bible, and pilot episode.
     
  9. Voth commando1

    Voth commando1 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2016
    Location:
    In a sub-sub atomic universe with kittens
    No, the pilot made clear what the tenor of the show was going to be in janeway’s speech at the end of the episode.

    In any case, if it had been Trek BSG I doubt I would care as much for voyager as I do.
     
  10. Brennyren

    Brennyren Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    This, a thousand times over. The show started out with a ton of potential, which I for one was very excited about. It never exploited most of it.
    Nothing in that speech precluded conflict between the two aspects of the crew (and how could it? That part was purely aspirational). Nothing in that speech prevented the crew from encountering actual difficulties related to survival. (Again, how could it?) Nothing in that speech guaranteed a relatively routine trip devoid of ethical conflicts like the ones the Equinox encountered. (A speech couldn't do that either.)
    Voyager didn't look like a place where people actually lived. It was always spotless, pristine, and regulation, unless the plot specifically called for it to be otherwise -- and then never in a positive way. Nobody so much as jogged through the corridors unless ordered to do so. PDA? Not on this ship, not even off-duty, except as a plot point. Nobody hung artwork on the walls. Everybody wore their uniforms everywhere, even off-duty, unless there was a particular event requiring different garb. The P/T wedding is the only one we know of (we didn't even see it take place), and it was confirmed on-screen that Miral Paris was the first child on Voyager conceived in the Delta Quadrant. People live like this, when they may be living in this situation for the rest of their lives? Hard to believe.
     
  11. Voth commando1

    Voth commando1 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2016
    Location:
    In a sub-sub atomic universe with kittens
    Alright let me try to explain. That speech was clear as day a fourth wall breech where the writers were saying “this is what the show is going to be about”

    In terms of the formality, I mean it’s still a starfleet vessel with the regulations and demands that go with it. And it’s good that people develop a routine and sense of familiarity especially in such situations.

    Janeway even complains to Tuvok at one point that discipline had become rather lax on the ship(she was under alien influence but the sentiment was real).

    In terms of difficulties relating to survival, I honestly don’t know what people expect when they seriously contemplate the technology available to the setting. They have warp drives, replicators, as well as other resources. And what they don’t have they can trade with friendly aliens on their way home.

    TBH-I very much enjoyed voyager as it was, and if it had been BSG lite, I honestly don’t think I would care for the show. That may make me a minority, but I’m used to having unpopular opinions.
     
  12. Prax

    Prax Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2017
    Location:
    Middle West
    But there is conflict. It's just not handled in a juvenile fashion. There are numerous episodes in the first two seasons where the types of actual problems that would result from the circumstances are explored in an organic way, such Maquis having a hard time adjusting to a professional and structured environment(Learning Curve), Maquis ways of doing things actually influencing Starfleet crewmen to do things they never would otherwise(Prime Factors), problems from Maquis individuals who would not pass the psychiatric requirements or background checks for entering Starfleet, yet they are there(Meld), and then there's all the Seska episodes, and the Maquis guy who was willing to betray his crewmates. This is all related to the premise. Doing much more than this simply breaks plausibility, and could drag the show down to a more low-brow, immature soap opera.

    There is PDA on the show. I'm afraid it's not to the level of the asinine rave party on Discovery, but it's there.

    They certainly did in their quarters and offices. Why would they hang artwork in the corridors, or on the bridge? Did they hang artwork in the corridors of DS9? It would be more fitting there, yet I don't remember any.

    One or two weddings might have been nice(3 weddings and I guarantee you, people would be complaining about "all the weddings"), but the rest is wrong. Voyager introduced hang out places other than "ten-forward," which would be the mess hall for Voyager. They had the Sandrines bar, the beach, and even the Irish town. They kept the holodeck as a hangout place, where everyone could go. This makes complete sense. DS9 didn't do this until its last season or two.

    This is a military environment. You have your duty uniform, your fitness uniform, and whatever you choose for your pajamas. In today's military, you really don't wear civilian clothes unless you're "going out." There's just no reason to. They probably show people wearing civvies on Voyager even more often than you would today. Perhaps if there had been a next generation on Voyager they would have abandoned basic uniform standards, but there's no reason for the original crew to. What is seven years anyway? Aren't there deep space assignments talked about that are just as long?

    Also, Naomi Wildman was the first baby born on Voyager in season 2.

    I'll say it again. One reason a lot of these complaints fall flat, is because no Star Trek show is "one thing." Every episode is a different story/theme/genre/style. Any of these complaints could at best be worded "I wish they did this more." While there's always room for more ex-post facto suggestions, there's nothing here that isn't actually covered in the show, and the show was never going to be this one tone/story/thing. It's not built that way.

    Another reason is that a lot of these "complaints" seem to be coming from a place of unfamiliarity.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2019
    Voth commando1 likes this.
  13. Voth commando1

    Voth commando1 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2016
    Location:
    In a sub-sub atomic universe with kittens
    I agree! All excellent points.

    I think a lot of these complaints come from people having preconceived ideas in their heads as to what voyager was “supposed to be” or what they wanted it to be(and I suspect it’s not what people wanted individually so much as commonly recited consensus).

    Having the starfleet and maquis crew be either in engaging in soap opera antics or mirror universe style intrigue where everyone watched their backs for knives and hidden phasers would have lowered the show to something immature and utterly unrealistic.
     
  14. Farscape One

    Farscape One Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2017
    I will say one thing regarding the lack of seeing Tom and B'Elanna's wedding, we got to see a version of it in "COURSE: OBLIVION". I think the producers figured the audience saw that one, and doing it again would feel redundant, since we can imagine it being pretty much the same.

    So I can give that a pass.
     
  15. eschaton

    eschaton Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2017
    Jumping into the thread for a second.

    The reason why the DS9 character interactions worked was because they were varied. Take, for example, Quark who was a pretty polarizing character. Sisko didn't like him, but as station commander had to tolerate him unless he really got out of line. Odo disliked him due to his shifty nature, but Quark was always weirdly interested in gaining his respect. Kira absolutely loathed him. Both Dax's liked him, and the feeling was mutial (albeit more physical from him). Julian was cordial with him, as was Garak. So there were a huge variety of different interactions you could see Quark have with the regulars, depending upon who he was in a scene with. Sometimes this had great dramatic promise - such as when Quark of all people is one of the first to notice Odo's feelings for Kira, and begins pushing him on it.

    Let's contrast this with Neelix. Neelix is just irritating - everyone onboard except for Kes (until she breaks up with him) is irritated by him to some degree. Tuvok's feelings (ironically as a Vulcan) are a bit stronger, and they play up on this. Early on, Neelix was insanely jealous of Tom Paris because he thought he and Kes were flirting, though Tom really seemed oblivious. But that's about it. Dramatically speaking, it would have been more interesting if they had picked just one main cast member and had him/her be a legitimate friend to Neelix. Seven would have been the logical choice, because as an outsider to non-collective culture, she wouldn't understand why he was irritating.
     
    Bry_Sinclair and Brennyren like this.
  16. Brennyren

    Brennyren Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I'm sorry, no: that's your interpretation of the speech. I saw it as Janeway's aspirational mission statement, just as it's presented in the context, and it works fine that way too. But let's look at the speech itself.

    JANEWAY: We're alone in an uncharted part of the galaxy. We have already made some friends here, and some enemies. We have no idea of the dangers we're going to face, but one thing is clear. Both crews are going to have to work together if we're to survive. That's why Commander Chakotay and I have agreed that this should be one crew. A Starfleet crew. And as the only Starfleet vessel assigned to the Delta Quadrant, we'll continue to follow our directive to seek out new worlds and explore space. But our primary goal is clear. Even at maximum speeds, it would take seventy five years to reach the Federation, but I'm not willing to settle for that. There's another entity like the Caretaker out there somewhere who has the ability to get us there a lot faster. We'll be looking for her, and we'll be looking for wormholes, spatial rifts, or new technologies to help us. Somewhere along this journey, we'll find a way back. Mister Paris, set a course for home.
    Quote pulled from the ever-reliable Chakoteya. The italics are mine, and indicate the part on which I think you're basing your assumption that there should be no internal conflict. And I still tell you that nothing in that speech demands, or foreshadows, that Voyager play out like TNG-lite.
    I'm still trying to figure out what about that would have precluded jogging. Or changing out of uniform when one was off-duty. I know what the real-world reason for the uniforms was: more costumes=more money. But real people don't usually wear their work clothes all day (unless their work uniform basically is street clothes, which was not the case here).

    And yet, early in the first season, the crew foraged for supplies, and Kes started a hydroponics garden (the latter of which she inexplicably needed soil samples for, but that's a separate complaint), which implies that at least initially, the showrunners were not intending for Voyager to produce everything they would need on the ship. That choice came later, and robbed the situation of some of its drama and uniqueness.

    The use of replicators isn't unlimited, even on Voyager, as shown by the existence of replicator rations. In "Year of Hell," an energy or materials cost is implied, when Janeway gives Chakotay grief over replicating the pocket watch instead of saving the resources. There's your potential limiting factor -- you have wonderful technology, but not unlimited energy or unlimited materials. The showrunners could have made use of that possible limitation, but they did not. They chose, as they often did, the least dramatic or interesting solution.
    Four of them. Out of all of the Maquis, four of them. And it took them exactly one (tired, predictable) episode to straighten up and fly right.
    In one episode, and never again.
    .
    Suder wasn't a problem because he was a Maquis, he was a problem because he was nuts. Seska wasn't a problem because she was a Maquis, she was a problem because she was a spy. Jonas was just another example of a Maquis screw-up.

    What all of these examples have in common: in every last one, the Maquis are bad, or wrong, or just screw-ups. The Starfleet crew, OTOH, are flawless (it would take until "Good Shepherd" for us to meet Starfleet screw-ups, and they all straightened up in one episode too), and have nothing to learn from their counterparts. There is no give-and-take. If you're not Starfleet, and you don't assimilate, you kinda suck (the cute resident aliens excepted). This is why I say having the Maquis on board doesn't matter: because they never make a positive contribution unless they're acting just like Starfleet officers.
    Because real people don't have differences of opinion that last more than one episode?
    I don't watch Discovery, so that comparison is lost on me. As for the rest, there can't have been much. Aside from romances-of-the-week, name me one other couple than Paris and Torres?
    I never said on the bridge. As for the corridors or the mess hall -- to show that the ship is a home, that they feel at home.
    :guffaw::guffaw::guffaw: That I'll concede!
    Of course, people in the military today have some idea of when they're going home. For our crew, this is supposed to be home, for they-don't-know-how-long.
    And that you know the end date of (approximately, anyway). I can do anything for a set period of time; if I might have to do it forever, that changes things.
    No foolin'. I didn't say Miral was the first baby born on Voyager.
    Oh no, Prax, you can't play that card with me. I'm not some 'Niner slumming it on this forum. I watched Voyager straight through, in its first run. Every last episode. I belonged to three actor fan clubs (Robert Beltran, Kate Mulgrew, Robbie McNeill). I edited an assortment of Voyager fanzines (We'll Always Have Paris, Unto Us a Son Is Given, Wayfarers, Visions, ReVisions, and A RanDoM Zine 3, and some amateur novels), and have a ton of posted VOY fanfic. I know my VOY.

    The difference between you and me is that even though I liked it (and I guess I still do), I still think it could, and should, have been better.

    [[Edit: Sorry, of course there was one other couple besides Paris and Torres: Neelix and Kes. Though they were partnered before they came aboard, so I'm only awarding that one a half-point.]]
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2019
    NewHeavensNewEarth likes this.
  17. Voth commando1

    Voth commando1 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2016
    Location:
    In a sub-sub atomic universe with kittens
    Kate Mulgrew stood in front of the camera and IIRC looked directly at it, while giving that speech. To me, it was clearly a fourth wall break.

    You may not agree with that interpretation, but it’s the most sensible one to me.

    And do you know why? Because the show followed the template Janeway set out in the italicized lines you reference.
     
  18. Brennyren

    Brennyren Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    You've been citing those lines as if the rest of us were wrong, or foolish, for not seeing the writing on the wall just from hearing them. I have to ask: did you have that insight at the time, or only in retrospect? Because I'm generally considered a pretty insightful audience, and I didn't.

    Though to be fair, perhaps my perceptions were affected by what pre-series publicity said about the show: that two contentious crews would combine to survive the perils of the Delta Quadrant as they sought a way home. Some of the folks in this thread seem to wonder where the rest of us got the idea that Voyager was going to be anything like that. We got that idea because that was what we were told the series would be! And then we found that there was no contentiousness, and not much peril, and the only part of what we'd heard that was true was that they were in the Delta Quadrant, and trying to get home. As my grandma would have said, we were sold a bill of goods. Hard not to be a little bitter about that, even at this late date.
     
    NewHeavensNewEarth likes this.
  19. Voth commando1

    Voth commando1 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2016
    Location:
    In a sub-sub atomic universe with kittens
    I guess that’s the difference of when we watched it then. I started watching voyager 3-4 years ago, when I discovered nineties Trek in general(this was around the time I got Netflix access).

    So whatever marketing you were excited over I wasn’t affected by.

    I think that really impacts the way a lot of people think of voyager. People that watched in when it was on, I have noticed are the most disappointed with it, while those who are watching it twenty years later don’t share such sentiments. I think Charles Sonnenburg of SFdebris made a similar point recently.
     
    cosmic mouse and Brennyren like this.
  20. Brennyren

    Brennyren Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    ^^^That's an interesting insight, and one I hadn't thought of.