Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Voyager Tragedy

Star Trek: Voyager is a tragedy. Not in the classical sense of "a story where the hero is defeated by his weaknesses". It's a tragedy that it had to make so many mistakes. There's almost nothing in the show that isn't tainted with a layer of crumminess:

Very few episodes are about character. I'm not demanding that every episode be in the Lost format of revolving around a single character, but I'd like to see something about Chakotay and Tuvok in particular. In the entire series to date, (I'm in late season 6) there have been maybe two episodes about each of them. Come to think of it, essentially none of the characters get any character development. 7 of 9 and The Doctor are the only people who I'd describe as having character or character development.

The actors are generally lackluster. This isn't entirely their fault; the writers give them very little to work with. B'ellana Torrez' role went from "be an engineer" to "be a little angry". Chakotay seems to only get enough lines to fulfill contractual obligations. Tuvok gets very little to do as well. This all relates back to the previous paragraph: the show doesn't do much with character. It seems to me that a show can only lose focus on a character because it's moved to another, sacrificing development on Janeway to have an episode about Tuvok, for example. This turns out to be false. Somehow, you can have episodes that take focus away from the entire cast, giving increased attention to no one at all. I wouldn't have thought it possible before I started thinking about Voyager.

I don't know exactly when it happened, but somewhere around season five, Janeway started exhibiting Shatner-esque levels of smugness. Why is she so smug? Maybe Kate Mulgrew was just having a good time on the set. As with Kirk, her smirk becomes intolerable quickly when they're talking about something serious. (I have a feeling she constantly carries a cup of coffee because she has to do something with her hands. In the earlier seasons, she just flailed her arms around or put her hands on her hips constantly.)

There are good episodes and good ideas in Voyager, (The Year of Hell is probably the best part of the show.) but they're inevitably fumbled in one way or another. I just get the feeling that whoever was on top of the chain of command simply didn't care.

7 of 9's outfit is ridiculous too. If I could do anything to science fiction, it might be to get rid of "rational" females who wear 6 inch high heels.


Mike said...

Thats why STNG is the best Star Trek.

Carsonist said...

I'm really torn between TNG and DS9. TNG has stronger "core" characters, Picard, Data, etc. while DS9 has stronger "secondary" characters, Weyoun, Quark, etc.

DS9 also has way more character development than any other star trek. Riker is the exact same character and the beginning and end of TNG, just 30 pounds heavier.

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