Author Topic: Star Trek - Voyager  (Read 23722 times)

dr_christian_troy

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Star Trek - Voyager
« on: October 05, 2020, 01:52:46 PM »
As requested on the DS9 thread, here's a thread to discuss all things Voyager.

I'm currently on Season 2 - admittedly it's not cementing for me in the same way TNG and DS9 have done, but I'll persevere. How about you?

JamesTC

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Re: Star Trek - Voyager
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2020, 02:24:49 PM »
I feel like the first two seasons have a little more focus and are more cohesive. They balance on going stories with episodic storytelling in much the same way as DS9 was at the time but then the two shows diverged into different direction.

I would say that the later seasons are better but that is only due to a change in focus to Seven and The Doctor as well as better individual episodes.

Lemming

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Re: Star Trek - Voyager
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2020, 02:32:11 PM »
Over my most recent rewatch of TOS through to VOY, I honestly think Voyager was more enjoyable than TNG on the whole. TNG has better high points, but also a ton of total shit, while Voyager is at least usually fun. It's far more willing to play around and explore pulp-y ideas than the other post-TOS series were, which leads to some fantastic big concepts. Plus they started doing metafictional episodes later on - there's one where the Doctor gets a fandom who start sending him fanmail and demanding he appear at conventions, and I remember another one where Torres crashes on a planet full of playwrights who are trying to basically write Voyager episodes, or something like that.

Season 4 is where the show really takes off, IMO. I appreciate that they tried to do running arcs in the first two seasons with the Kazon and such, but none of them really work - anything involving the Kazon, Seska, or the godawful Paris-Kes-Neelix triangle really sucks. Season 3 has plenty of great standalone episodes, but the introduction Seven of Nine lifts the show up to the next level.

I also think Janeway is the best Captain in all of Star Trek*, and the hate she gets from fans online confuses me. She mixes Kirk's decisiveness and determination with Picard's morality, while mostly avoiding the pitfalls that those two characters exhibit (Kirk is a fucking idiot who regularly gets people killed by doing stupid shit, while Picard hides behind the Prime Directive far too often, and also frequently disappears up his own ass and starts giving everyone boring didactic lectures where the writers just tell you what to think). She also treats the crew as equals and usually bothers to actually explain what she's doing and why, rather than just barking orders and deciding everything solo like Kirk and Picard often do.

*From the third season onwards, at least. I remember her being occasionally oddly written and annoying in the first two seasons.

Mr_Simnock

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Re: Star Trek - Voyager
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2020, 02:38:54 PM »
oooooooh yeah


Malcy

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Re: Star Trek - Voyager
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2020, 04:00:52 PM »
Original Janeway before Mulgrew took over

https://youtube.com/watch?v=8SIZcDWKyw0

I like Voyager. It’s not as shit as a lot of people make it out to be.

Re: Star Trek - Voyager
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2020, 05:59:50 PM »
I feel like the first two seasons have a little more focus and are more cohesive. They balance on going stories with episodic storytelling in much the same way as DS9 was at the time but then the two shows diverged into different direction.

I would say that the later seasons are better but that is only due to a change in focus to Seven and The Doctor as well as better individual episodes.

There are also some real stinkers in the later seasons, though, like the awful Fair Haven episodes.

I'm currently nearing the end of season 6, finding it a bit of a mixed bag.

JamesTC

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Re: Star Trek - Voyager
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2020, 06:12:43 PM »
There are also some real stinkers in the later seasons, though, like the awful Fair Haven episodes.

I'm currently nearing the end of season 6, finding it a bit of a mixed bag.

Definitely. Fair Haven and 11:59 are down there with Shades of Grey as the nadir of Trek (pre-2009) for me. But the positive of ultra episodic TV is that these rubbish episodes can be forgotten about when you move on to the next episode. Funnily enough Fair Haven and 11:59 are both followed by great episodes (Relativity and Blick of an Eye).

Re: Star Trek - Voyager
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2020, 06:34:28 PM »
Any episodes centred on the Doctor or Seven are the best. Series 3-5 are the peak. Enjoy this show.

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Re: Star Trek - Voyager
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2020, 07:41:16 PM »
There are also some real stinkers in the later seasons, though, like the awful Fair Haven episodes.

I can't remember now whether that was a real space colony gone 'retro', or a Holo-deck program (seemingly based on a couple of the 'County Cork' episodes of Murder She Wrote!)

Re: Star Trek - Voyager
« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2020, 07:57:08 PM »
Fair Haven was a holo program. One of those conceits of Voyager that with massively limited resources they still kept a holo program running 24/7. Both are shite, pronounced with a bad Oirish accent.

The worst episode is Retrospect, where Seven is convinced some bloke has taken some of her borg implants without consent. It's a horrible sexual abuse metaphor made worse by the ending (and I'm gonna spoil it because it's awful) where it turns out Seven was wrong and had falsely accused the guy who is now very dead. So don't believe women accusers, they're probably making it up. Definitely hasn't aged well.

My favourite episodes are:

Eye of the Needle
Meld
Future's End (1+2)
Distant Origin
Year of Hell (1+2)
Message in a Bottle
Living Witness
Drone
Timeless (so good they remade it for the finale)
Latent Image
Someone to Watch Over Me
Equinox (1+2)
Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy
Blink of an Eye
Life Line

Re: Star Trek - Voyager
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2020, 08:12:06 PM »
Over my most recent rewatch of TOS through to VOY, I honestly think Voyager was more enjoyable than TNG on the whole. TNG has better high points, but also a ton of total shit, while Voyager is at least usually fun. It's far more willing to play around and explore pulp-y ideas than the other post-TOS series were, which leads to some fantastic big concepts. Plus they started doing metafictional episodes later on - there's one where the Doctor gets a fandom who start sending him fanmail and demanding he appear at conventions, and I remember another one where Torres crashes on a planet full of playwrights who are trying to basically write Voyager episodes, or something like that.

Season 4 is where the show really takes off, IMO. I appreciate that they tried to do running arcs in the first two seasons with the Kazon and such, but none of them really work - anything involving the Kazon, Seska, or the godawful Paris-Kes-Neelix triangle really sucks. Season 3 has plenty of great standalone episodes, but the introduction Seven of Nine lifts the show up to the next level.

I also think Janeway is the best Captain in all of Star Trek*, and the hate she gets from fans online confuses me. She mixes Kirk's decisiveness and determination with Picard's morality, while mostly avoiding the pitfalls that those two characters exhibit (Kirk is a fucking idiot who regularly gets people killed by doing stupid shit, while Picard hides behind the Prime Directive far too often, and also frequently disappears up his own ass and starts giving everyone boring didactic lectures where the writers just tell you what to think). She also treats the crew as equals and usually bothers to actually explain what she's doing and why, rather than just barking orders and deciding everything solo like Kirk and Picard often do.

*From the third season onwards, at least. I remember her being occasionally oddly written and annoying in the first two seasons.

Part of the problem I'd say though is that she's too good a captain, doesn't leave much room for reasonable conflict, Picards standoffishness and Sisko's impulsiveness made for better drama.

I'd agree Voyager is better than its reputation and picks up post Kazon I'd say it was more inconsistent than TNG and DS9 because it didn't have as interesting a crew to draw on and so was more dependant on the writers coming up with interesting concepts. The only ones I felt they could consistently go to for good character episodes were Torres, Seven and the Doctor.

JamesTC

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Re: Star Trek - Voyager
« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2020, 08:16:20 PM »
My favourite episodes are:

Eye of the Needle
Meld
Future's End (1+2)
Distant Origin
Year of Hell (1+2)
Message in a Bottle
Living Witness
Drone
Timeless (so good they remade it for the finale)
Latent Image
Someone to Watch Over Me
Equinox (1+2)
Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy
Blink of an Eye
Life Line

Endgame was basically the opposite of Timeless. Endgame was a crewmember going back in time to convince them to get home through dangerous means whereas Timeless was a crewmember stopping them getting home through dangerous means. Plus Endgame was rubbish and Timeless was brilliant.

Mostly agree with your list. Timeless, Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy, Equinox and Future's End are top of the pile for me. I would also add The Thaw, The Killing Game, Bride of Chaotica, Course: Oblivion and Renaissance Man.

Lemming

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Re: Star Trek - Voyager
« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2020, 10:34:57 PM »
Part of the problem I'd say though is that she's too good a captain, doesn't leave much room for reasonable conflict, Picards standoffishness and Sisko's impulsiveness made for better drama.

True, but creates a new dynamic, in a way. I like the idea of the Captain being a strong yet reasonable authority figure who sort of sits in the background much of the time while the show focuses on lower-ranking people. Most of my favourite stuff from Sisko is when he fills a similar role, just trying to hold the station together while Quark or Kira or whoever go off on whatever mental adventure they're having that week.

Agreed with Torres, the Doctor and Seven being the choice lineup. Torres in particular is a really underrated character, the writers gave her so much good shit (Dreadnought, Barge of the Dead, Prophecy, Lineage, a bunch more). Paris is a character I like a lot, too, at least after he gets a near-total personality change around Season 3 or 4.

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Re: Star Trek - Voyager
« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2020, 11:40:50 PM »
Good list. I would add Scorpion. My personal favourite, most rewatches, though I admit there are stronger episodes. It just plays like a movie for me. Great new villain (later squandered). The Gift makes it a good triple binge.

It's season 3's Unity kicks off the series for me. First season is thin on quality and 2 is uneven. The pilot is good though.

Anyone listening to The Delta Flyers podcast? Garret Wang and Rob McNeill go through episodes. On season 2 at the moment.

JamesTC

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Re: Star Trek - Voyager
« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2020, 11:46:38 PM »
I would add Scorpion. My personal favourite, most rewatches, though I admit there are stronger episodes. It just plays like a movie for me. Great new villain (later squandered). The Gift makes it a good triple binge.

Good shout. Scorpion is a great story.

Anyone listening to The Delta Flyers podcast? Garret Wang and Rob McNeill go through episodes. On season 2 at the moment.

Listened to the pilot but not got round to the rest. Wang is really insightful and has loads of great stories about the production whereas McNeill just repeatedly says he doesn't remember anything.

Mr_Simnock

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Re: Star Trek - Voyager
« Reply #15 on: October 05, 2020, 11:47:46 PM »
As much as I love Janeway she did at too many times become a bit too authoritarian and dismissive of her crew. The doctor could be interesting but had such a grating voice. Seven of nine was great and there are some aspect of Paris that I liked a lot too. Chakotay was almost invisible at times, the weakest No2 in any treck.


PlanktonSideburns

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Re: Star Trek - Voyager
« Reply #16 on: October 05, 2020, 11:49:50 PM »
love how it constantly starts an episode like its going to be a holodeck one, then theres a little earthquake, and the space phone lapel thing goes, and theres an emergency in the ship, terminate program

thank fuck!

Re: Star Trek - Voyager
« Reply #17 on: October 05, 2020, 11:51:25 PM »
Anyone listening to The Delta Flyers podcast? Garret Wang and Rob McNeill go through episodes. On season 2 at the moment.

Yes, it's a good listen. They're refreshingly honest about the show, McNeill in particular seems somewhat horrified by some of the stuff from series 1. It's interesting to hear him talk about the differences in attitudes with TV production between then and now. Wang doesn't have much of interest to say as he's largely been outside of acting for a while now, mostly working at conventions. I take most of what he says with a pinch of salt anyway, as he always seems to have a story for every situation. "Well I said to the producers at the time ..." No you didn't Garrett.

Re: Star Trek - Voyager
« Reply #18 on: October 05, 2020, 11:53:50 PM »
Chakotay was almost invisible at times, the weakest No2 in any treck.

The most interesting thing about Chakotay is that the Native American cultures expert they hired to advise on the character turned out to be a massive fraud who was making it all up. Which is why none of it made sense.

Re: Star Trek - Voyager
« Reply #19 on: October 05, 2020, 11:55:37 PM »
Endgame was basically the opposite of Timeless. Endgame was a crewmember going back in time to convince them to get home through dangerous means whereas Timeless was a crewmember stopping them getting home through dangerous means. Plus Endgame was rubbish and Timeless was brilliant.

In general though they were both about crew members going back in time to fix a mistake. Which is what I was going for. And yes, Endgame is rubbish.

PlanktonSideburns

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Re: Star Trek - Voyager
« Reply #20 on: October 06, 2020, 12:03:57 AM »
chakotay is a glorious laid back sexbeast, i dont care if all of his history is made up racist bollocks

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Re: Star Trek - Voyager
« Reply #21 on: October 06, 2020, 12:06:29 AM »
whether you think Janeway is too good or too authoritarian I don't think she ever damaged the drama of the show, where you want to rank her as a captain is personal taste but as a character she's absolutely an asset. Archer from Enterprise is kinda the same, though he's more in the camp of being an actual shit captain (or at least nothing like the sort of person we should have been sending out to conduct numerous first contacts with) but as someone who makes stories get from A to B he's fine.

The only really iffy problem with Voyager is the whole Maquis thing, which was conceived, I think, to generate tension and conflict in the crew, never really amounts to anything and if you missed the first episodes then I think you could watch whole series' without being aware this dynamic even existed. Also somewhat on Chakotay, their supposed leader, who is one of the worst characters in the whole franchise, a completely bland, uninteresting wet blanket (he's worse than Neelix imo). The most unconvincing Janeway moments in the show are her banging on about what rock he is and how much she values his support, because for the most part she seems to find him completely unnecessary.

Anyway, yes, Voyager is great, probably my favourite if I'm honest.

PlanktonSideburns

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Re: Star Trek - Voyager
« Reply #22 on: October 06, 2020, 12:10:25 AM »
the fuck dudes, chakotay is a babe

Lemming

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Re: Star Trek - Voyager
« Reply #23 on: October 06, 2020, 01:09:16 AM »
Chakotay is so funny, even just as a concept. Glorified middle manager. 90% of his screentime is just people coming to him asking for like a shift change or whatever, and him approving it. Plus his constant hard-on for "nature" adds more inherent comedy to the character. Love the early episode where him and Janeway get stranded on a planet for an extended time, and Janeway starts doing actual useful things (like trying to find a way back to Voyager) while Chakotay sits around making sad little chairs out of wood and saying dumb shit like "you know, Kathryn, this really puts us in touch with nature" and "maybe it's not so bad down here".

Also love the episode where he crashes on that war-torn planet and falls hard for alien propaganda. "I'LL NULLIFY ALL OF YOU!!!". Dumbass!

He is kind of a babe, but that's mainly just Robert Beltran. The Chakotay character's overwhelming blandness manages to actually somehow negate Beltran's attractiveness. Chakotay is at his best in the latter seasons, where Beltran just walks onto the bridge and doesn't even play the Chakotay character anymore, clearly having not read the script outside his own lines, and clearly not giving a shit at this point. It's not even Chakotay on the screen now, it's just Robert Beltran. All the other actors are still trying, so it creates the beautifully surreal effect of seeing a great sci-fi drama play out on the screen, then suddenly it cuts to Robert Beltran - not Chakotay, just actor Robert Beltran - sat in a plastic chair saying something like "systems are at 50%!" in a monotone voice, before disappearing for the rest of the episode.

Beltran was also occasionally great when given good material, but I liked him far better after he completely stopped trying.

Anyone listening to The Delta Flyers podcast? Garret Wang and Rob McNeill go through episodes. On season 2 at the moment.

It's a good podcast. They both come across really well, especially Robbie McNeill who is probably the most laconic and chilled out person I've ever heard, which plays nicely against Garrett Wang's hyperactive "YOU KNOW, AS AN ACTOR, SOMETIMES YOU'VE GOTTA PUSH FOR A BIGGER ROLE AND ANYWAY I WAS JUST GETTING INTO APHEX TWIN BACK IN 1997 SO I WENT TO THE FLOOR MANAGER AND I SAID 'HEY, YOU NEED TO PAY THE EXTRAS MORE' AND SHE SAID 'GARRETT, LISTEN, PATRICK STEWART WAS HERE THE OTHER DAY AND HE WAS SAYING HE LOVES YOUR WORK'" anecdotes that go on for like half an hour.

PlanktonSideburns

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Re: Star Trek - Voyager
« Reply #24 on: October 06, 2020, 01:11:31 AM »

He is kind of a babe, but that's mainly just Robert Beltran.

good point


Re: Star Trek - Voyager
« Reply #25 on: October 06, 2020, 02:10:41 PM »
My favourite episodes are:

Eye of the Needle

We recently did a full-Voyager rewatch and were astonished by the quality of this episode. One doesn't generally think of Season 1 Voyager as particularly stand-out Trek, but I think this might be the best-written episode of the whole series. I even wondered if it was an unused TNG script repurposed or something, but it's such a context-specific thing for Voyager I can't quite believe this could be the case. It's so tight, the stakes are at precisely the correct level, and every time something occurred to me like "but what about..." it was swiftly and excitingly addressed. 10/10 and nobody ever remembers or talks about it.

Another underrated one for me is Bliss. It's not perfect but the glimpses into how each character imagines their return to the Alpha Quadrant is quite endearing and intelligent (especially Neelix shaking hands with Starfleet Admirals), compared with Endgame which always felt to me like a bit of a fudge.

There's a general collective memory that Voyager improves when Seven arrives and she IS great, but the quality of writing post-Season 3 is a little weaker in my opinion (still love it though, especially the funny EMH eps) and Kes is universally underrated.

On Kes: I really liked Before and After (the one where she's hopping backwards in time) and the idea of a short-lived humanoid species is inherently interesting: it's weird that people say her character doesn't develop when she literally goes from naive hobbit to Q-like cosmic being via her Elogium and various relationships and the development of telepathic powers!

Re: Star Trek - Voyager
« Reply #26 on: October 06, 2020, 02:19:26 PM »
Anyone listening to The Delta Flyers podcast? Garret Wang and Rob McNeill go through episodes. On season 2 at the moment.

It's good and I like those chaps but I'm ultimately not interested enough in Trek production. I watch it to escape, I think.

On the subject of pods though: Greatest Generation anyone? They're a few weeks away from completing DS9 so they'll be on Voyager soon. It's genuinely funny, in the right spirit ("a star trek poscast by two guys who are a little bit embarrassed to have a star trek podcast"), and with a strong and good-natured community around it.

Re: Star Trek - Voyager
« Reply #27 on: October 06, 2020, 02:21:04 PM »
It was often amazes me how opinions on Voyager have turned around in the last twenty years or so. I used to read the fan reviews that got posted as the episodes were going out and week-after-week Voyager got pasted. Possibly that did colour my opinion of the show, although I think I'd still agree with many of those criticisms.

To be fair I did enjoy quite a few episodes at the time, looking back on the series just kind of leaves me with lingering disappointment that it played it safe far too often and never lived up the possibilities of the premise. I was left with the feeling Paramount just wanted more episodic Trek after the extremely unconventional, arc-heavy DS9, and ultimately the Lost In Space premise of Voyager is just window-dressing for fairly standard space adventures. Oddly it is closer to the original conception of Trek as "Wagon Train In Space" - no matter how far they go they never really actually get anywhere.

They'd pay lip-service to things like supply shortages but these never amount to anything that really affects the story to a major degree. I was always frustrated by the fact that they'd tease major plot and character developments but then not follow through on them - The Year Of Hell is a classic example. Maybe it was too much for that all to happen in two episodes, but imagine if they'd actually committed to those developments taking place across a whole season.

Seven is a good character, but after a certain point it felt like her and Janeway(and occasionally the Doctor) became the only characters, which was around the time I started to lose interest. Damn near everyone else on the ship was painfully underdeveloped, stuck in a rut like Eternal Ensign Harry Kim or completely irrelevant like Chakotay.


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Re: Star Trek - Voyager
« Reply #28 on: October 06, 2020, 02:31:58 PM »
In retrospect Voyager was pretty good and doubt it's a spoiler to say there's one episode towards the end that acts like a clip show homage that really made me look back on it quite fondly.

However, when I watched all the Star Treks about a decade ago, I did watch them in order of airing (so that included things like, starting to watch Voyager in parallel to later DS9) and could totally see where the criticism came from.  When you're in the middle of DS9 and have watched story arcs created, changes happen over time  and general good long-term thinking in the writing, it's disappointing when you see the same POTENTIAL in Voyager (progressing home is an obvious ongoing story, could've had more stories about a ship falling apart with nowhere for repairs, running out of shuttlecraft (lol), potential for long term conflicts with the Maquis crew etc) but end up with the reset button pushed at the end of every episode.  Even though this was no different to TOS or TNG, it felt a little bit lazy in context of being in DS9's shadow.

It's when you revisit it later without such expectations that I think you can really enjoy it for what it is.

Did kind of become "The Doctor Seven Show" towards the end.

Lemming

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Re: Star Trek - Voyager
« Reply #29 on: October 06, 2020, 02:46:26 PM »
It's true that Voyager often abandons its premise, but it's unfair that people never criticise TOS and TNG for doing the exact same thing. A 5 (or 7) year mission out into the vast unknown reaches of deep space, far beyond the Federation's borders, where no one has gone before... except we can somehow turn around and go back to Earth instantly any time Worf's parents want a lift somewhere, supplies are never an issue, and the ship will always be repaired a day later no matter how severely it gets fucked up. Shoutout to TOS for at least occasionally giving lip-service by having Uhura calculate that the ship is so far away from Federation space that communications will take a day or two.

Voyager has some sense of progression, in that they move out of Kazon space (thank fuck) and into Vidiian space, then through Hirogen space into Borg space, and then through the space of those weird guys who have big pollution-ships full of toxic waste. Plus the show has a little more continuity than TNG - episodes like Course: Oblivion and The Voyager Conspiracy basically require you to have watched every episode up to that point to get the most out of them, and Seven has a reasonably clear arc of development across the series.

I'm glad the writers went for episodic if it's what they were comfortable with. They tried story arcs in Season 2 with Paris-is-going-to-spy-on-the-Kazon and there's-a-defector-on-board, and they were so irredeemably awful and ended up getting in the way of some otherwise decent episodic stuff. I wasn't a huge fan of DS9's later story arcs either, everything to do with the Dominion War ended up feeling really overwrought IMO, and the less said about the Prophets/Pah-Wraiths stuff and the final Dukat episodes, the better. Seeing the state of Discovery and Picard's terrible serialised arcs makes me think Star Trek writers probably just work best when they're shitting out an endless stream of one-and-done ideas and then seeing how many are worth making into episodes.

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