Where did the show go wrong?

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

  1. eschaton

    eschaton Commodore Commodore

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    I concede the latter is true if you concentrate on serialization as being about stories external to the ship. It became pretty ridiculous how Voyager was still dealing with Kazon by the close of Season 2, when they should have traveled through tens of thousands of light years of space.* Considering the Kazon never came across as anything but a minor power, this came across as a bit ridiculous.

    That said, Voyager should have been highly serialized internally, in terms of having consistent character arcs and ongoing dynamic character development. Voyager went out of its way, barring a few cases, to ensure that none of the character moments we ever saw would be reflected upon again. So Neelix would have great moments, like his questioning of faith in Mortal Coil, and then go back to being a bumbling fool. Or Torres would become "Born Again" in the Klingon religion in the amazing Barge of the Dead, and then a few seasons later tell the religious Klingons in Lineage she was a non-believer. Or the inconsistent way in which Seven and The Doctor were treated, becoming more or less human as the plot of the week required, rather than having consistent movement forward (or at least, if they regressed, setbacks which made sense from a narrative perspective.

    In addition, it would have made sense for Voyager to have constructed a whole supporting cast of recurring characters on the ship beyond the odd ones like Vorik and Samanata Wildman. Given the ship was constantly traveling through space, except in weird cases like Q and Barclay it was hard to have any character not on the ship recur from season to season. But if they had spent some time fleshing out another 20 or so characters, entire stories could have sprung from them from time to time - as long as the show had the confidence to not thin every episode needed a wacky sci-fi premise or alien of the week. Basically, Voyager should have embraced more of the soap opera element of Trek than TNG or DS9 did, because it fits well with the small crew cooped up on a ship together for years aspect.

    * Season 2, perhaps not coincidentally, was the one time Voyager really experimented with serialization, with the Kazon arc involving Cullah, Seska, and Micheal Jonas. The arc was honestly horrible, but that had more to do with the Kazon not being believable bad guys and the writing not being great for it than anything. Nonetheless, Voyager's seeming lesson from this was serialization=bad, and they never bothered to do something so ambitious again.
     
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  2. gakelly

    gakelly Commander Red Shirt

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    I noticed on some shows certain members of the crew were on shuttlecrafts returning from a symposium that they attended, etc.
    How did they find out about the symposium if they are simply flying through space on a direct route back to the Alpha Quadrant?
    Why wouldn't Voyager just fly to the area of the symposium, etc? What are the rest of the crew doing? They aren't continuing on their way home.
    I realize it was just a plot device to get a few of the characters isolated away from the ship, but those scenarios always bothered me.
     
  3. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Voyager is a powerful gunship that can slag the crust off a planet in hours.

    Any advanced culture, is going to have customs enforcement set up, that will take Voyagers Torpedoes and wind down it's phasers before she is let into their mother system.

    The other option is to have space guns trained on Voyager ready to pick it off the moment it seems dodgy, which is great unless there are thousands of foreign and untrustworthy ships visiting your star system every day.

    That's why some shuttles are sent out by themselves to visit new worlds, becuase Voyager would take months to get past the border, as every crewman is checked for health concerns and criminal histories.
     
  4. Prof. Axe

    Prof. Axe Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    They contact every world they come near, and are always setting up trade, negotiating passage, routes, organizing shore leave, etc.
     
  5. Nightdiamond

    Nightdiamond Commodore Commodore

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    I have to agree with this one. I noticed there is a huge difference when I watch TNG and the shows that came later like DS9 and even Voyager. TNG used to be my all time fav, but now it seems kind of stilted. The characters basically talk about the plot, the plot is solved, and on to the adventure next week. The plot can involve religion, relationships, war etc., but the outcome is the same.

    That really limited the characters. It's no surprise by the last movie they're basically the same people doing the same thing they did over 10 years. Some of them hardly had anything to do in the movie. Just an opinion anyway, but it's something I notice lately when I watch the reruns.

    And true, the Voyager crew-the background characters, never seemed all that real to me, because they were always showing different people, and never fleshed out. If we got to saw the same faces, and heard the same names (and heard them talk) the story opportunities would have been huge.

    And as far as serialization and continuity, there were a couple of weird issues about how faithful Harry was. He had a fiancé or at least a serious girlfriend named Libby back home, but in the first few episodes he cozying up to an alien girl and later he went on a double date with some twin with Paris. There's no mention of Libby or heartache or worry about her whatsoever.

    Janeway did something similar, though not as bad.

    That being said, after watching reruns of Voyager for awhile, it's a pretty likable crew with some thought provoking episodes and a few underrated ones.
     
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  6. Lynx

    Lynx Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Personally I don't understand why people are so critical against the Kazon. I think that they were good villains and the scenario where a people overthrow and opressor or an occupant and then starts fighting among themselves has happened a couple of times in Earth history as well.

    When it comes to the width of the Kazon Territory, it can be explained by being the remnants of a huge Trabe Empire in which the 18 or so Kazon sects are fighting for power. However, what I found a bit exaggerated wwas that Voyager were chased by the Kazon-Nistrim across the whole Kazon-controlled area for more than a year. That's why I think that all the Kazon episodes of season 2 should have taken place in the first half of thge series and also taken place in the area of "The 37's" planet, maybe in a scenario where Voyager is helping the people there to build up their defences or so. The episodes without the Kazon could have taken place in the other half of the season.

    Personally I find the episodes with Seska and Culluh highly entertaining and I still consider seaason 2 of Voyager the best Star Trek season ever. Therefore I have to disagree about the statement that the Jonas arc was "horrible" and I find the episodes in that arc more entertaining than some of the lame episodes in the later seasons.

    I agree that Voyager should have been serialized immedfiately and your statements about that subject. What sometimes annoyed me was that there were events happening of great importance which had no impact in later episodes, especially those episodes when Seven was searching for her humanity and then were back on square 1 the next episode. She must have suffered from severe memory loss.

    The same when the ship was shot to pieces in episodes like "Deadlock" and then fresh as a newly fabricated ship in the next episode when it should have taken months to rebuild it. If the directive to the writers were "everything back to normal at the end of the episode", then they should never have come up with such destruction in the first place.

    Sometimes the writers did seem to treat the viewers like goldfish wo couldn't remember anything from pervious episodes. Almost like "If we kill of, let's say Paris in this episode, we can ahve him back in the next because the next week the viewers have forgotten this week's episode. Well, Star Trek fans don't work that way.

    I really agree on the statement about Voyager having a cast of recurring characters, just like DS9 had in Garak, Morn, Kasidy Yates, Vic Fontaine, Nog, Rom, Leeta and some others. That would have been a good idea because Voyager was a ship with about 150 crewmembers and therefore it would have been logic to see many well-known faces. I can't understand why they dumped sucg good characters as Dalby, Henley, Chell and Gerron after only one episode, not to mention how Carey was treated.
     
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  7. Prof. Axe

    Prof. Axe Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Chell came back. Carey was in a bunch of episodes, as was Vorik. And there were other recurring characters. There was also a bunch of named-but-not-always seen characters.
     
  8. eschaton

    eschaton Commodore Commodore

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    The Kazon just came across as dime-store Klingon stand-ins to me, without the interesting cultural elaboration Ron Moore and others added. The writers' intent was essentially for them to be an allegorical stand in for urban street gangs (they were even called the "bloods and crips" in early discussions), which is why they made them a disorganized rabble always fighting among one another. But they written so broadly stupid (with rare exceptions) that it was hard to see them as a credible threat to Voyager.

    I didn't like it because it seemed like a shallow knockoff of Deep Space Nine's concurrent semi-serialization - which was used much, much more effectively. That said, I give them some credit for at least trying something ambitious. After the second season the writers very much played it safe with Voyager.

    I'd also argue that the lack of serialization played a big role in why some detractors concluded Janeway was "insane." They had no cohesive idea of her character, and no idea of forward movement, so she'd go back and forth from being someone who was concerned with the lives of her crew above all else, to someone who was single-mindedly focused on the journey back to the Alpha Quadrant.

    It's not as if fans who missed the previous week would be hopelessly lost if they followed up Deadlock with a week where they stopped at an inhabited planet for repairs. It would have been a nice little touch for the die hard fans. It also would have made the job easier for the writers. It's been pretty much admitted by Braga that the writer's room began running out of ideas as the show drew to a close, because there are a finite number of sci-fi ideas which work within the Trekverse, and the lack of serialization meant they couldn't heavily refer to things that happened earlier. Contrast this to say the final season of DS9, where even if you ignore the fully serialized final episode arc every single episode picked up on some thread from earlier in the show.

    Yeah. The first few seasons of VOY they really did seem to try and make it feel like there was was an entire community onboard the ship. But by the end of the show, that was entirely gone. You had the main characters, a bunch of extras, and a few others (Naomi Wildman, Icheb, the other Borg kids for awhile etc). Even Samantha Wildman and Vorik all but vanish in the final two seasons. It's not quite as sparse as TOS's third season, but still, pretty notable.
     
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  9. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Commodore Commodore

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    A lot of people saw them as second-rate Klingons, mostly due to funky foreheads and lesser things like their name. The name alone would create parallels faster than Q snapping his fingers.

    VOY didn't really know what to do with its potential or if they were told not to do a serialized format. VOY still had a lot of good episodes, but clearly did not live up to its initial premise, as exemplified via "Worst Case Scenario" and "Year of Hell" (which a glimpse of what could have been.)

    Agreed. Times like that were a bit much... The show amazingly did ration energy and food at times (hence Neelix's kitchen as well) but way too often they could do anything a la TNG, right down to building a new shuttle from a replicator (Delta Flyer)?

    Is it possible that VOY may have been intended for a grittier show but then DS9 ratings goingward downward prompted a change of course, back toward TNG due to its higher ratings?

    That would have been interesting as well... certainly easier to set up and stick to.
     
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  10. eschaton

    eschaton Commodore Commodore

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    The studio made a wrong conclusion based upon a sample size of one.

    They knew TNG had strong ratings right through the end. They also knew DS9, after very strong ratings for the pilot (higher ratings than any individual TNG episode), had a rapid ratings decline, followed by a slower dropoff. So they decided that Voyager needed to be more like TNG, and less like DS9.

    The problem is, VOY basically had the same trajectory in terms of ratings as DS9. Every single season did a little worse than the previous season in terms of ratings. Worse still, VOY ratings were worse than DS9 basically through its entire run. Maybe this was partially attributable to UPN having lower market penetration than DS9 in syndication. But still, VOY was if anything more of a failure than DS9 in terms of ratings.

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. Prof. Axe

    Prof. Axe Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Both DS9 and Voyager overall did fine ratings-wise. While more viewers is always better, that graph(excepting a few few uber popular sitcoms and reality tv shows), is fairly representative of Network tv in general from 1995-2000(and beyond). TNG was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time.

    TOS, for a while averaged a third of all american viewing audiences(sometimes even more- only 3 channels), and that was seen as "okay." TNG averaged 10-14(and there were roughly 10 channels in 1990 depending on where you lived), and that was seen as outstanding. Throughout the 90's, cable tv rapidly became more prominent, and more widely available.

    In the late 90's/early 2000's probably because of TNG, sci fi also became more prominent, maybe oversaturated.

    There's also the fact that DS9 was less widely available than TNG, and Voyager was even less widely available than DS9.

    This is all to say that I'm sure Paramount was making a healthy profit on both shows for their entire runs. They were both more expensive than TNG to produce, and saw increased budgets throughout their time on air.
     
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  12. robau

    robau Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    The show went wrong when they immediately decided that Chakotay shall never assert himself. Fucks sake they let the convict pilot the ship and he did things he thought was right. Why wasn’t that Chakotay?
     
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  13. Lynx

    Lynx Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I know. In my country they only aired the first season of DS9. It took 10 years before I got the chance to start watching the whole series and even longer than that to watch all of it due to crappy malfunctional DVD:s.

    Now I'm watching DS9 from beginning to end for the second time-and I love it! :techman:
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2019
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  14. Lynx

    Lynx Vice Admiral Admiral

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    There were a lot of odd things and contradictions in Voyager due to bad writing. The constant waste of shuttles and torpedoes was one.

    The Hydroponics bay did seem to vanish when Kes was dumped. Obviously they had no food problem anymore.

    Not to mention that the holodecks were functional all the time despise their energy problems.

    I guess that Voyager's biggest problem was Berman and Braga. They did seem to lose interest very quickly. They did a great job with TNG and I give them all credit for that but their work with Voyager were sloppy to say the least.

    On the other hand, their sloppy work inspired me to come up with the page "Voyager's Mysteries-and how to solve them" on the Kes Website! :lol:
     
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  15. Prof. Axe

    Prof. Axe Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Berman isn't a screenwriter. Between TNG, DS9, and Voyager, Rick Berman has actual screenwriting credit on only two episodes, both from TNG("Brothers" & "A Matter of Time")He only got involved in storytelling for the really big episodes, like pilots, finales, and a couple of season finales.

    Braga was showrunner of Voyager during season 4, 5, and 6, which are usually hailed as the best seasons of Voyager. And he wrote many of the most applauded episodes.

    This whole "B&B" thing is just something people hear and repeat, and comes more from Enterprise, which they two created, and where they lost almost all of the writing staff, Berman was forced to take a more active role in story ideas, and Braga was having to write too many episodes for one writer.

    As an individual, Braga has one of the best track records for continual hits from both TNG and Voyager. Most of the best of... TNG episodes from the latter seasons are Braga episodes, and it's the same for Voyager.

    The shuttles and torpedoes thing is trivial at best, and usually exaggerated beyond reasonable. The hydroponics bay is never forgotten, and is still occasionally mentioned in the later seasons. I know for certain it is actually seen in season 7's "the void"
     
  16. Lynx

    Lynx Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Berman was the one responsible for "the changes in season 4". He did also write the story to that insulting s**t episode in season 6 together with Braga.
    Braga was showrunner of Star Trek-Seven Of Nine" which I don't consider to be the best seasons of Voyager and the mastermind behind the s**t episode in season 6 which he wrote together with Berman and made a teleplay of that horrible crap together with Bryan Fuller.
    That's all I need to know and then I don't care about how many good episodes Braga may have written, although I have to give Berman and Braga credit for their work with TNG.
     
  17. Prof. Axe

    Prof. Axe Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You can't just write-off a writer for one or two episodes you don't like. With what I was talking about earlier about the two shows sharing numerous writers, I should also mention Michael Taylor, a big Voyager writer who wrote a lot of the episodes in the later seasons, also wrote a couple of DS9 episodes, such as
    The Visitor and In The Pale Moonlight.
    How about them apples? DS9's two best episodes, which are at the head of almost every "Best of DS9" list, were written by a prominent Voyager producer. For Voyager, he wrote such titles as Counterpoint, Relativity, Shattered, Someone To Watch Over Me... but like any writer, even he had a few stinkers, such as The Fight, and...


    ...wait for it...



    Fury
     
  18. Lynx

    Lynx Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Sorry, I forgot Michael Taylor. He was also involved in a certain episode I hate and therefore he's also on my s**t-list.

    I can give those people certain credit for what they did on TNG and some DS9 episodes. But it doesn't change my final verdict.

    Let me put it this way: It has happened many times during history that certain people have came to power in countries, politics, business, sports teams, started good and became popular and then they have screwed up everything and everything has fallen to pieces.

    Now, what will the lasting memory of them be? As great people who started this and that or as failures who ruined everything?
     
  19. Infern0

    Infern0 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Voyager had a super interesting premise but threw most of its potential out the window by the second episode and became a TNG clone.

    TNG worked in the early 90s but the formula was out of date by voyagers time.
     
  20. Riker'sMailbox

    Riker'sMailbox Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I wonder what the discussion would have been on message boards in the mid to late 90s, back when shows were not readily available to stream and pause and rewatch and binge and analyze. When plot holes went more unnoticed and mistakes weren't caught.
     
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