A while ago now, I was at a social function and met a rather unlikeable little man who decided to barge into my conversation and spout off about some topic or another. Not wanting to be rude to the unwanted intruder I engaged him in some light conversation, but quickly realized that the conversation could go no further with any hope of seeing reason. You see, the annoying person in question happened to be a Star Trek Voyager fan and try as I valiantly might, he refused to admit into evidence that Voyager is a foul abortion of a show, exceedingly so within Trek shows (until Enterprise appeared).
Having not a lick of influence upon this beetle brained nitwit I turn to webses where I may hopefully enlighten other poor bastards who don’t know why Voyager is such a terrible show. This is broken down into four sections;
-giving up the Maquis dynamic and other lost opportunities
As Star Trek TNG came to an end, the producers of the Trek decided that they needed another show up and running next to the one with the space station. Deep Space Nine was a good show and was really starting to hit it’s stride. Admittedly it did need a little ship named the Defiant to stay cool and mobile. If the station was mom’s station wagon, the Defiant was dad’s midlife crisis sports car.
Even so, everyone knew that Star Trek was all about boldly going and how far could you get away from a space station, a fixed point? Voyager had so much promise when it was launched. Trapped in the delta quadrant with no way to get home, the intrepid crew would have to make alliances where they could, even if it meant working side by side with the Maquis; a group of revolutionaries that oppose the Federation. Voyager loses half her crew chasing the Maquis into the delta quadrant and now the two ships will have to work together! This was an exciting premise! It promised tension and edge and an easy way to write drama. We all gathered around the TV when the pilot aired to see how it would all unfold. After all, Star Trek never disappointed, right?
By the end of the pilot, Captain Janeway has already appointed one of the renegade Maquis as her second in command. In fact, within three episodes the two crews have forgotten all about their differences and proceed to act like they’re all one big happy family! This is just one example of how time and time again, the show would throw away great dramatic elements for an empty grasp at Gene Roddenberry‘s ideals.
At the beginning of the show the Maquis had a raider; a small ship that would fly along side Voyager. It’s destroyed in the first episode I believe, or at least in the first few episodes. How stupid is that? The ship could have provided episodes worth of wicked stories. Maybe the Maquis could have been hording supplies on their ship. The ship would have given them more autonomy and opportunity to disobey Janeway’s orders. Why not at least turn the ships on one another? Of course the little ship wouldn’t stand a chance against Voyager, but what a great situation to put the Captain in; do you destroy the ship that has supplies, some of your crew and crew mates of the Maquis who are still aboard your own ship? What happens after she does destroy it because she felt she had no other alternative? How does her crew feel? What about the other Maquis on board?
Voyager is replete with these lost opportunities. There is mention of a “year of hell” that the crew had to endure. Why not show it? After all, that’s what we’re here to watch! Instead we’re given buddy-buddy time on the holodeck with Tom Paris playing pool and trying to teach Harry Kim how to pick up girls. I thought they were trying to survive in a hostile environment? The show threw away every chance to make itself interesting or challenging to viewers.
-the Craptastic Captain Janeway
Every ship has a Captain. Every ship but Voyager of course. Voyager has a mother and the saddest part about it is that so many women feel that Captain Janeway is a strong leader when in fact the opposite is true. Put aside her doting affection for young Ensign Kim which is both disturbing and inappropriate. Instead we can look at every decision she’s ever made on the show.
Janeway’s problem is this; she continues to try to cling to her federation ideals out in the wilderness at the expense of her crew’s lives and any chance of getting home. It doesn’t make any sense why the crew would follow her. There should have been a mutiny, hell, many mutinies before season one even finished! Season two should have replaced her altogether with a new Captain who could better have navigated the dangerous waters of the delta quadrant with the crew’s survival at the top of their list of priorities.
I know that many would argue, saying that Gene Roddenberry’s values are what make Star Trek the show it is or was, but I think a show about people who break all of those rules and how they rot from the inside out, would further emphasize those very same ideals. In Voyager, there are no consequences. Sticking to high ideals always bares out in the end. What makes this good television? Where is the conflict for the viewer to immerse themselves in when every episode has the same, safe outcome? High and mighty Janeway is written unbelievably and makes poor choices that I can’t get behind.
-raping the Borg
As the ratings went down and the viewers left the show, the writers and producers needed a new gimmick. And what better idea could there be than bringing back Star Trek’s most notorious and deadly villain; the Borg? They stand as the antithesis of everything the Federation stands for; no individuality or originality, melded with their own technology they stand as the dark side of our own potential.
Of course in Voyager the Borg are represented by a gorgeous supermodel with double D’s. Supposedly freed from the collective, “7 of 9” takes only one episode to turn from the hideous perversion of humanity and technology into the sexy mascot for the show. This of course undermines everything the Borg stands for. If it were so easy to recover people once they’d been assimilated, the threat wouldn’t be so fantastic would it? “You were turned? No worries, take two of these and call me in the morning!” Turning a Borg drone into Data with tits is a tired idea for a dying show.
I know some might argue that Picard recovered from being Locutus, which I’ll agree was also a bit of a cheat, but time and again we were given glimpses into how this affected Picards mind and being on an altogether classier show also helps.
Beyond Seven’s implants, the show interfaces with the Borg menace on several other occasions. While in the alpha quadrant, the Borg is a nigh undefeatable threat, conquering entire civilizations and laying waste to entire fleets of star ships; in the delta quadrant it will only take one ship running low on gas to bring the gastronomic despots to their knees! Oh help me Rhonda! While I’d be impressed if this crew of imbeciles could open a can of baked beans, it seems the height of absurdity that they would be anything other than a bug on the windshield of a Borg cube.
Even further than simply surviving countless encounters with the scourge of organic life as we know it, the finale of the series has Janeway and her little ship defeating the Borg entirely! How do you set up the most unstoppable menace the universe has ever known and have them beaten by a ship that’s been kicked around by every other race this side of the galaxy? The Hirogen, the Kazon, Species 8472 and anyone else who bothered to throw their hat in the ring! I think the Borg ought to line up to complain about their poor representation behind the Asians who were offended by the Trade Federation aliens in Star Wars and the black people who were offended by the twins from Transformers 2. Thank you Voyager, you hold fast to all your crappiness, you even had to ruin the Borg for everyone.
-atrocities of tech-talk
Anyone who watches Star Trek knows that sooner or later they’re going to have to invert the polarizing tachyon field or phase shift the warp bubble by realigning the iso-linear chips. Tech-talk is part of writing a science fiction show. It only becomes a problem when the solution to every problem is simply “teching the tech”. Babbling your way through every episode conflict takes away any story context that a human could identify with and is the cheapest writing technique next to waking up and finding out it was all a dream.
Here is an example of what I mean. In one episode of Next Gen, Picard comes into contact with an alien probe and in his mind he ends up living an entire lifetime with in a few seconds. The science of the probe doesn’t matter, how to stop it isn’t the point, it is simply the idea of being able to perceive an entire lifetime within the span of a few seconds as a way to pass along your culture to another person. To literally put one person in another persons shoes. What matters is the emotions and the repercussions of how this will effect Picard for the rest of his life. The science isn’t as important as the ideas for the shows. Voyager is constantly throwing out science as an umbrella to protect the show against interesting ideas that might mean something to someone. Of course coming up with those would be a lot harder, but hey, we can’t all be great writers…
So there you have a pretty concise essay in four points on the just why this show is the dregs of television sputum. No living creature should ever be forced to endure an episode of this ragged filth! Okay, maybe I’m being a little extreme, the Doctor is always pretty good and Seven does have big boobs, but you read those points and you know the truth.
This is a crappy show, and I may have missed some obviously glaring points, so feel free to add your own two thoughts on what you hated about Voyager.