Where did the show go wrong?

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

  1. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    In the lap of squalor I assure you.
    I wasted seven years of my life watching seven seasons of Voyager.

    My wife and I got through DS9 in three weeks earlier this year.
     
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  2. cosmic mouse

    cosmic mouse Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I completely, utterly agree with this since this has been my experience as well.
    I have a few friends and handful of family members that also saw VOY years later and almost all of them consider it one of the better Trek series.
     
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  3. Prax

    Prax Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    That must have been awful! How do you cope?

    EDIT: Wait a minute. I'm no math professor, but you watched DS9 for 8 hours a day, 3 weeks straight? This all sounds very unhealthy. And... did you accomplish anything during those 7 years?
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2019
  4. eschaton

    eschaton Commodore Commodore

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    I've actually found DS9 quite easy to binge watch due to the semi-serialized status of the series as a whole. In contrast, VOY's strict adherence to standalone stories/two parters, along with the formulaic nature of many of the episodes (most plots boiled down to "ship in danger," the crew thinking they found a way home, or focusing on a singular character) mean that watching more than two episodes a night can get very monotonous.

    Edit: Also, unlike TOS or TNG, where there were a plethora of both great and awful episodes, more VOY episodes are...okay. Not amazing, but not terrible either. This means you can't just do a "curated watch" of the series skipping out the bad bits.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2019
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  5. Prax

    Prax Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    binge watching anything seems like a bad thing
     
  6. Brennyren

    Brennyren Commodore Commodore

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    Probably true, but sometimes it's hard to resist!
     
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  7. Lynx

    Lynx Vice Admiral Admiral

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    After watching the whole DS9 series from beginning to end last year and after being right in the middle of a DS9 relaunch right now, I have to agree with you.

    I ahe always thought that Voyager had the best characters and I still like them a lot but I must admit that the DS9 characters are very likable and interesting,

    I have to state it again that Voyager could have been as great as DS9 if Voyager had had better writers. Voyager had great, interesting and likeable characters and I still have a soft spot for them and the whole series which had an even better premise than DS9 but the potential was never fulfilled and I lay a lot of blame on Berman and Braga for that.

    A relative of mine who is a Star Trek fan and also a fan of music from the 60's and 70's onse said that if TOS was like Elvis who started rock music as it is known today, then TNG was like beatles who started something even bigger, DS9 was (or is) like Rolling Stones, different than TNG (Beatles) but still very creative and loved by many and Voyager was or is like The Who, Animals, Jimi Hendrix or those who weren't as big as Beatles or Rolling Stones but who still had their loyal, die-hard followers who are still fans up to this day. I can only agree with that.

    And in that case I must state that ENT is like some boring lightweight plastic act from the 90's and Discovery is like some crap artist from the musically boring 2010's. :rommie:
     
  8. Prax

    Prax Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Voyager and DS9 shared a number of writers/producers, including a showrunner. They shared the same executive producer all seasons, and they shared almost all directors. They are just different types of shows.
     
  9. eschaton

    eschaton Commodore Commodore

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    One of the major differences is DS9 was syndicated, while VOY was on UPN. My understanding is this meant DS9 was a lot more insulated from network interference.
     
  10. Prax

    Prax Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    They were both produced by/under paramount tv.
    Is there evidence of UPN interfering with Voyager? It seems like at that point, Rick Berman had total control over the shows, just as he did with TNG(also produced by Paramount TV)
    In interviews I've seen, he(or Braga) mention UPN's attempts at interfering with Enterprise, much of which was ignored, but that show had a huge ratings collapse during its first season, and I'm sure the network was concerned. And even with the interference on Enterprise, it sounds like any concerns the network had, they still allowed the producers to come up with their own solutions. They weren't directly instituting any creative content found in the show. I haven't heard them tell any of these stories regarding Voyager.
     
  11. eschaton

    eschaton Commodore Commodore

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    I know from reading The Fifty-Year Mission Braga said the network pushed back tremendously whenever he wanted to serialize anything beyond a simple two-parter.

    Also, my understanding is almost immediately walking away from any Maquis/Starfleet conflict on the ship was due to network wishes.
     
  12. Prax

    Prax Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It may have been nice to have an occasional greater-than-two-parter, like ds9 did. I haven't read the book. I will say that the whole "serialization=good" and "procedural=bad" is a totally false concept. They each have their strengths and weaknesses, and preferences. Nor is "Procedural=dated" a true statement, as procedural shows still basically dominate network tv. TNG is probably the most prestigious ST show, and definitely the most successful, and it was even less "serialized" than Voyager. TNG would have been the gold standard to emulate at the time Voyager was being made.

    As for the Maquis, I don't see how or why the network would interfere with that. By all indications, the way they handled the Maquis, and the stories they developed relating to them were exactly what they had in mind. Michael Piller developed all this stuff(Maquis, Cardassians, Bajor, et al), created DS9, ran that show, then created Voyager, and ran this show. I don't see any reason to assume that he didn't tackle exactly what he wanted to, and in the manner he wanted, at the time. Those early seasons featuring Maquis plots were under his leadership.
     
  13. Jonesy

    Jonesy Commodore Commodore

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    It did? You and I must have been watching different shows.

    Or, are we discussing the execution and full dramatic advantage of the premise?
     
  14. Jonesy

    Jonesy Commodore Commodore

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    I think as I just responded to another person, I'm referring to the full dramatic execution of the premise. Not the bare dry bones basic concept.
     
  15. Prax

    Prax Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You aren't in a place to say so. "full dramatic advantage"? Is this a way of shifting from the original claim, and moving into a more nebulous and subjectively undefinable realm? As I said in a more recent post, the same guy who developed the premise was the one who carried it out. There is no indication that he didn't get what he wanted, or at least attempt it.

    Where the criticism fails is that there are so many fantastic episodes in every season of this series, and plenty more solid ones, but you will judge on a more generalized, broad, undefinable, and retroactive standard. One which doesn't make you accountable to actually justify any of your criticism in any way, as would be possible on an episode by episode basis. That's like the scope of this thread, a failure to apply actual criticism in an effort to berate the whole show all at once.

    Now we'd have to prove that the show didn't take "full dramatic advantage" of its premise, objectively.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2019
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  16. Lynx

    Lynx Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yes, but still the Voyager writers managed to mess up a lot of things.

    They did create a lot of contradictions and such and if they realized that "this doesn't make sense", they carried on as usual, sort of "the viewers won't notice.

    The Borg baby is probably the most ridiculed of those things but there were other as well. I wonder what they were on when they came up with the Ocampa lifespan and Ocampa can only give birth to one child once. The breakup between Kes and Neelix was also badly handled. It should have taken place over two-three episodes and been better explained than kes being taken over by alien who breaks up the relationship with Neelix.

    A lot of people criticizes the lack of conflict gbetween Starfleet and Maquis crew members. I don't, I find it logical that most of the 30 Maquis or so realized that joining Voyager's crew was the only way to get home. However, B'Elanna became tame too son. It could have taken two-three episodes instead of just the events in "Parallax".

    I can understand that they were on pressure from Paramount to come up with episodes where everything was back to normal when the episode was over instead of archs which would have been even more perfect for Voyager than for DS9. But even here the writers managed to mess up things. Take those episodes, like "Deadlock" when the ship was bvadly damaged and next episode it's fresh and clean right out of a Starship Shipyard. If the writers are on order that everything is back to normal after each episode, then don't create a situation where the ship is almost shot to pieces because a ship as damaged as Voyager was in "deadlock" would have taken months to repair.

    And "Threshold"! Actually a brilliant episode if they had explained it at the end of the episode as a nightmare Paris had after eating too much of Neelix's food. But as it was, we had Paris who breaks the warp 10 threshold which make him as famous as Cohrane and Armstrong, then get sick and almost dies, turns into a lizard, abducts Janeway who is also turned into a lizard and they have lizard “children” and no one talks about it or jokes about it later!

    On the other hand, if they hadn't messed up so many things, I wouldn't have had the joy and pleasure to create the page on the Kes Website called "Voyager's Mysteries-and how to solve them!" :techman:
     
  17. eschaton

    eschaton Commodore Commodore

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    Again, the fifty-year mission book compiled a lot of quotes regarding Voayger. There was an underlying tension between the original original intent of the show by Berman/Taylor/Piller (which was to do something new, - Delta Quadrant, stranded ship, conflict between the Federation and Maquis cast members) and the desire of the network (to play it safe and make it TNG 2.0 as much as was feasible). I think part of it was the fan reaction to early DS9 was mixed - in part because it broke so much of the TNG format (darker, on a station, more conflict) so the studio wanted to contrast that with a lighter tone and slam-bang adventure. The idea of constant sniping between the Maquis and Starfleet made it more - DS9-like - and thus the studio was nervous about it. I'm going to quote Piller here. I have to hand type this, so it won't be a long passage.

     
  18. Lynx

    Lynx Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I have to give Piller some points here. I can understand that they didn't want to make it DS9#2 because DS9 was unique in it's way and a copy is always a copy. And in some way they did succeed to make a different show compared to both TNG and DS9. Voyger actually had some darker episodes too ("Jetrel", "Resistance", "Tuvix" among others). What bother's me is the sometimes sloppy writing of which I have pointed out some examples in my earlier post.

    My impression is that Voyager had the premise and possibilities to be much more than it was, even if I cosnider Voyager a great show in many ways.

    But when it comes to a "bright, wonderful, happy show", Berman and his gang definitely crashed that intention when they scrapped Kes, dumped Jennifer Lien, came up with pathetic lies about "her leaving the show of her own will" and then came up with that horrible episode in season 6 plus "Endgame". Those events annoyed many fans, not only me.
     
  19. Prax

    Prax Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Thank you for the quote. I concede the point. You were right

    I think that it's really impossible to talk about the "tone" of the show as a whole, and that goes for DS9 as well. There is no singular tone for these shows Every episode has a different tone.

    For example: Take season 6 of DS9, where they do their first big serialized arc. It is 7 episodes long if you count the s5 finale. You can discuss the tone of this arc, but not the whole show. Not even the season. The rest of s6 includes a light-hearted semi-romance mirror universe episode, 3 Ferengi/Quark comedies, a honey I shrunk the kids light-hearted parody, a Donnie Brasco homage, 2 time travel episodes, a Vic Fontaine love story, the worf wedding episode, a prophets vs pah wraith episode, and finally 4 or 5 episodes that are both serious, consequential, and episodes that strictly deal the dominion war arc.

    There are so many different types of tones, themes, styles, and stories going on here. Sometimes they'll draw even a comedy into the dominion war stuff(The Magnificient Ferengi), and sometimes they don't even mention there's a war going on(Who Mourns For Morn).

    Now let's look at Voyager. What is the tone of Voyager? Is it a "bright, happy show"? it can be that occasionally. Like DS9, it depends on the episode. These aren't modern serialized HBO opera dramas.
    Is Voyager dark? It certainly can be. It can even go darker than DS9 when it wants to. It does this a few times a season. In the first season, there was Phage, Faces, and maybe Jetrel. In season 2, there is Resistence, Meld, The Thaw, Tuvix, and Deadlock. These episodes generally would not happen on TNG, and a few of them, I can't even picture on DS9.

    Each season will explore a variety of tones, ideas, themes, styles, genres, etc. They can't exist as one single thing doing 26 episodes per season. You could say "I wish they did more with the Maquis," but that doesn't mean they did nothing with it. Or you could say "I wish they experimented with more serialization," but that doesn't mean they didn't at all. They did. They didn't have a six-parter or ten-parter like DS9, but they generally did the same little callbacks to previous episodes in most episodes that DS9 was doing.

    A 3 episode arc about Neelix and Kes breaking up? No offense, Lynx, but suggestions for improvements have to be better than what is originally there.;):whistle:

    Well, this kind of thing barely happens across the whole series(Maybe The Killing Game is one of the other examples?). They also have an episode(The Gift) that is about repairing the ship from the events of the two previous episodes. It's acceptable within the limits of a tv production to allow for this occasionally. In Deadlock, they do mention the repairs, and how long they will take. Additionally, all the series are guilty of this. In DS9's To The Death, a whole "Pylon" is blown off the station, which is like losing a chunk of the station larger than Voyager. It is back to normal a week later with no explanation, when we've also been told that many critical parts of the station can't be fabricated, and they have to get genuine cardassian parts.

    Every series has their Thresholds.

    Not really, actually. DS9 is sitting in one place, with events happening on it and around it. It almost has to have multi-episode arcs.

    Voyager, on the other hand, is constantly moving through space. They are always on to the next thing. Every stop is a one-time stop. Every planet is a one-time-planet. Each species is eventually passed and (with very few exceptions) cannot again appear. The show is basically built for the kind of storytelling it did, which is a lot of high concept, thematic, or concept heavy trek style sci-fi episodes. People even complain about the straining credibility of having the Kazon be around as long as they were. On Voyager, you can't really have a season focusing on a war, conflict, etc, without stopping the ship from continuing its mission.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2019
  20. Lynx

    Lynx Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Prax wrote:
    No honestly, I wouldn't like to have three episodes just about that, more something like the Michael Jonas arc where there were other things happening and the Kes/Neelix break-up should occur as Jonas's scemes did or those scenes with Paris behaving badly. However it should have been better explained than it was in "Warlord".

    As for arcs, the Jonas arc and the Seska/Culluh arc were just what I would have liked to see more of, not only those stories which ended when the episode was over. As for the Kazon, I like them as villains and I had nothing against having them involved for two seasons, however they should maybe have concentrated the Kazon episodes to about half season 2 which should have taken place near "The 37's planet" and left the non-kazon episodes to the later half of the series. Otherwise I'm perfectly happy with season 2 which I still consider the best Star Trek season ever.