Tuesday, May 31, 2016

TV Talk - Star Trek: Voyager

Well, I knew I had to get to this one eventually. It was waiting in the “My List” part of Netflix for some time at least. Heck, I think a part of me was dreading re-watching this. I think SfDebris’ ramblings have latched on to me or something. So, where should I start with Star Trek: Voyager? I guess I’ll start at the usual place: the beginning.

Star Trek: Voyager debuted on UPN in 1995. I think it was one of the first shows on that station. The first I ever saw of this show was on a recorded tape my uncle owned. I couldn’t watch the show at the time since we didn’t have UPN as part of our roster. The cassette had bits and pieces of “Scorpion” on there. It wasn’t until about 2000 when I actually got to watch the show proper. UPN was finally added to our roster of channels. I was able to see the show until its end in 2001. I was also able to catch up with the show since UPN aired reruns almost nightly.

It was a long time before I ever saw another episode of Voyager. Spike TV was playing the show for a while and I tuned in for some episodes. One thing that brought Voyager back to my attention a few years ago was an Internet reviewer by the name of SfDebris. He… wasn’t a big fan of Voyager. He tore those early seasons to shreds at places and it was pretty funny. When I got Netflix, Voyager was around, but I thought I’d hold off on it since it wasn’t one of my favorite shows. Since I got curious and I’ve reviewed the other Trek shows here, I started a re-watch of Voyager a few months ago.

For those who don’t know,the show revolves around a Federation starship that gets thrown 70,000 light years into the Delta Quadrant. Not only are they far away from home, they lost most their crew in the incident. There’s also the fact that they have to also deal with members of the Maquis, a rebel group of former Federation citizens. Captain Katharine Janeway takes the Maquis in and tries to make the best of a weird situation. I know of one person who really likes the show and my mom even likes it more that some of the others shows. So, what do I think now?

  • Nice concept – The idea of a show revolving around a Starfleet vessel being lost in space is a good one. Usually, the previous shows would have something like this but it would get undone by the end of the episode. TNG’s “Where No One Has Gone Before” and “Q Who” are prime examples. Then, you mix in the Maquis who don’t live by Federation rules. Sometimes, you’d have Janeway and Chakotay (First Officer and former Maquis) butting heads over a couple of things. Since it was set in an unexplored part of space, we did get to see new races to mess around with. 
  • The cast (Sometimes) – Like other Trek casts, the cast was diverse and sometimes interesting. I will say that it took a long while for me to care about them. The only ones I was behind the whole time were The Doctor, Tuvok, Kes, and Seven of Nine. I also liked the pairing between Paris and B’Elanna Torres. I do have to unfortunately say that it took a long while for me to come around with Janeway. I wasn’t a fan of her in the beginning. I think I began to come around in Season Four. As for the rest, I’ll get to them later. 
  • The stories (for the most part) – You would get some good stories coming from the show. I will say that it look a while for them show to really shine. The stories were of the usual Trek variety which is mostly episodic. The stories did get a little better in the Third Season. After Seven popped up, the writing did get much better to me. It felt like stuff was much better plotted post-Season Four. I felt that the moral dilemmas meant more here since the dilemmas revolved around them getting home. 
  • The Effects – The special effects were pretty good for this show. The costumes and makeup looked good I liked the look of Voyager. 
  • The music – The music for the show itself was okay. What I do really like is the actual theme to the show. It was done by Jerry Goldsmith and it felt like Star Trek. 
From the episode "Threshold." Oh man... at least there are some good looking masks and makeup!
  • Some of the characters – While I liked most of them, I did think some of the characters were bland throughout the show. Chakotay and Harry Kim were that for me. There just wasn’t much to them. Torres was okay when she wasn’t losing her temper. Tom Paris was okay. Then, there was Neelix. Now, I will say that when the episode centered on him, he was okay. That being said, he was really annoying in the early seasons. When they needed him to be comic relief, it didn’t work all that much for me. Most of these characters also got shafted in favor for more popular characters like the Doctor and Seven. At least I liked those two. 
  • Weak early seasons – As usual, the early seasons to the show weren’t that good. You did have some good episodes in there, but they weren’t all good. The writing could be a little off. I think Season 2 was the show at its worst for me. Also, this was where some of the characters weren’t that great. Hopefully, the new Trek show that’s coming in 2017 can beat this. I think folk may be less forgiving on weak stuff these days. 
  • Some weak concepts and villains – It felt like Voyager didn’t use most of its concepts well. The whole thing with the Maquis really wasn’t much of a thing after the first season. Janeway and Chakotay would butt heads over a couple of things, but it was all peachy… a little too peachy. There were also some villains that were either not good (the Kazon) or not used well (Species 8472). There is a part of me that felt like they were a bit hampered by the network. The other shows like TNG and DS9 were syndicated, so they could get away with a little more. 
  • The ending (sort of) – Now, the final episode wasn’t bad but it did feel a little disappointing. That seventh season ending felt a bit rushed in the end. It’s possible the creators didn’t know if they were getting another season. Before the last few episodes of the season, it felt like business as usual. I would have liked to see them get home sooner since that would have been interesting to see. Also, who thought pairing up Seven with Chakotay was a good idea? That’s even more random than having Worf and Counselor Troi hook up. 
Favorite Episodes 
Finally, here are some of my favorite episodes from the series:
  • Caretaker – It’s the pilot. The Voyager is pulled 70,000 light years into the Delta Quadrant. 
  • Prototype – Voyager finds an android in space. 
  •  Meld – Tuvok investigates a strange murder on the ship. 
  • Death Wish – The Voyager encounters the Q for the first time. 
  • Future’s End – The Voyager accidentally gets sent to Earth in the 20th century. 
  • Scorpion – The Voyager enter Borg space and end up encountering Seven of Nine. 
  • Year of Hell – The Voyager goes through a year of Hell… sort of. 
  • Night – The Voyager encounters a part of space that has no stars. 
  • Timeless – Voyager’s 100th episode. 
  • The Omega Directive –Janeway finds out about a dangerous particle that could wipe out warp drive. 
  • Blink of an Eye – The Voyager finds a planet where time passes much faster than it does in normal space.
  • Equinox – Voyager finds another Starfleet starship in the Delta Quadrant. 
  • Author, Author – The Doctor writes a holo-novel. 
  • Shattered – Voyager gets affected by an anomaly and the ship is split into different time periods. 
  • Endgame – Final episode. The Voyager goes up against the Borg one last time. 

 In the end, Star Trek: Voyager was good. It had some interesting characters, an interesting premise, and some nice stories. Did it have serious issues? Yeah, it wasn’t always good. Still, I can say that it was Star Trek. Well, I can end this month properly. I did have some more things I wanted to do, but this month was already pretty busy. Some of that stuff will have to wait. I’ll also being doing more stuff involving Star Trek since it’s Trek’s 50th anniversary. Until then, Peace, God Bless, and don’t tick off the crazy lady known as Janeway.
 Aw snap... you done did it now, son! You unleashed the Janeway!!!

1 comment:

  1. So I heard that Robert Beltran actually dared one of the writers or producers or someone to put Chakoty and Seven together so yeah, apparently that's how that happened. Random indeed. Garrett and I just rewatched Resolutioins recently and it reminded me that Chakoty and Janeway could have been a good couple! I know that the captain-first officer pairing is not ideal but I mean, they are in the Delta Quadrant...