Author Topic: Suffering Through Voyager: Do I call you Ma'am or Sir Ma'am/Sir?  (Read 4584 times)

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Offline nacho

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Oh yes! On July 1st, all the Star Trek series went watch instantly at Netflix.

I haven't watched Voyager since it aired, and I haven't seen anything except the first season of Enterprise... Because, holy shit, are these shows bad sci-fi.

But... What the fuck! I'll sacrifice myself for the sake of entertainment. So we're starting with Voyager.

Voyager was an attempt to bring back in the ship-based fandom of Star Trek who were all suitably horrified by the strange and terrible trainwreck that was DS9. It attempted to blend the best of both worlds -- the glitzy, perfect life of TNG with the gritty death spiral of the Federation hinted at later in TNG and very much the theme of DS9.

The new Intrepid Class Voyager is a comparatively tiny ship sent to police a minor uprising that was set up late in TNG and in DS9 -- a Cardassian/Federation no man's land where unincorporated colonies are abandoned by both forces in a sort of de facto neutral zone arrangement. The colonists have formed a militia force called the Maquis (named for the French rural guerrillas in WWII) who seem to have no truly specific goals except some poorly-written angst. They've stepped up their protest into a shooting war, so the Voyager is sent.

Locked in combat with a Maquis ship, the ship and the Voyager get sucked into a wormhole by an advanced alien and find themselves in the far-flung Delta Quadrant, 70 years from Earth at maximum warp.

Janeway blows up the array that brought them there and the Voyager, with a fractious crew of Maquis and Starfleet folks, are forced to head back to Earth on the slow road through uncharted territory.

The idea -- an attempt to reclaim the wonder and magic of TOS. The Voyager is out there alone. No rules, no Starfleet, no way out. Throw in a dynamically diverse crew -- a black Vulcan, a female captain, an indian first officer, etc. -- and you have a show intended to reboot the franchise.

The result is an abysmal failure. This is clear from the pilot, Caretaker, which is a cross-over episode with DS9. The pilot starts off with a bang, then devolves into 70 minutes of talky nonsense introducing the flat and impersonal crew and the new tech of the ship (they opted to go for a pseudo-living ship approach, bizarrely, though it only comes up two or three times after the pilot). Overall, the approach is talky, political TNG stuff, even though the obvious goal is swashbuckling TOS stuff.  It's a wild, insane mess.

Background: Berman hated Voyager. The series was, very much, a child of the studios. Paramount launched their new network with this show, believe it or not. They wanted a flagship, jewel in the crown show.

As a testament to how much Berman sucks, he and his crew infamously bragged that they spent "at least two weeks" planning out Voyager, as if that was the most thought they'd spared for the show since they took over the franchise in the 80's.

Also famously, the pilot was star-crossed from the beginning. Initially rejected by Paramount, they had to go back and rebuild all of the uber-expensive sets to reshoot most of it. Ultimately, the pilot cost $23 million in 1994 dollars. That's more than Star Trek II cost to film.   

Offline nacho

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Re: Suffering Through Voyager: Do I call you Ma'am or Sir Ma'am/Sir?
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2011, 04:31:34 PM »
Heh... Re-watching the pilot, though, is a great nostalgia kick. There was a strong contingent of the fan base that hated DS9. I had trouble getting into the show (and it wasn't aired in the town where I went to school, so I missed most of DS9 anyway).

With the launch of UPN, Voyager was everywhere... And, by the second season, I was home from college and moving into the working life. So I was part of the fervent hope that we would recapture TNG or, better still, TOS... Which was how the show was sold to us leading up to the launch.

We were all very forgiving of Voyager.  Which is probably why it managed to last the traditional seven seasons (Berman had announced, after TNG, that every Star Trek spin-off would only last seven seasons).

Offline Cassander

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Re: Suffering Through Voyager: Do I call you Ma'am or Sir Ma'am/Sir?
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2011, 06:18:43 PM »
But the doctor is a HOLOGRAM! How cool is that?
You ain't a has been if you never was.

Offline nacho

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Re: Suffering Through Voyager: Do I call you Ma'am or Sir Ma'am/Sir?
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2011, 08:46:22 PM »
Parallax

We launch right into a typical Star Trek episode -- tech gibberish, a quantum singularity, time fuckery, duplicates. Just about every Star Trek trope haunts a very complicated, almost nonsensical script.

To make matters worse, this episode is an extension of the pilot. Shit that "seemed like overkill" in the pilot is dealt with here -- mainly the Maquis-Starfleet conflict. They spend an enormous amount of time trying to maneuver Torres in as chief engineer and getting Paris on the helm, not to mention Chakoty's promotion to first officer ahead of, you know, 100 qualified Starfleet personnel. 

It's all really quite silly considering that, once the appointments are made, everyone's fine with it and there's never a peep from the crew beyond this episode. If this were BSG, we'd have a mutiny and body count by the third episode.

Brannon Braga on writing the technobabble: "They could say anything. I just leave those sections of the script blank. Who cares? Who really cares?"

And that's the attitude that colored the entire show -- and the franchise overall. Here's this hugely ambitious "reboot" of the Star Trek franchise designed to launch a new network that wants to compete with the big three and Fox, right? And the second episode is basically a bottle episode.


Offline Reginald McGraw

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Re: Suffering Through Voyager: Do I call you Ma'am or Sir Ma'am/Sir?
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2011, 12:50:54 AM »
Man...what was the show that followed Voyager on UPN...something about a platypus.

Ah yes, thank you Internet. Platypus Man starring Richard Jenni. Mrs. McGraw and I were avid watchers of both shows in our first year of marriage with a tiny TV and no cable.

Offline nacho

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Re: Suffering Through Voyager: Do I call you Ma'am or Sir Ma'am/Sir?
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2011, 07:05:03 AM »
UPN was the height of culture!

Offline nacho

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Re: Suffering Through Voyager: Do I call you Ma'am or Sir Ma'am/Sir?
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2011, 01:45:59 PM »
Oh! Netflix is working at work!

Time and Again

We continue into the first season with yet another Star Trek trope episode. This time, Paris and Janeway set off some shit and get thrown back in time. While they figure out what destroyed the planet they were investigating, the crew tries to rescue them. Ultimately we learn that the rescue attempt is what causes the explosion and Janeway then thwarts it and time resets itself and nobody remembers what happened except for stupid Kes.

Wow. So we start the series off with a bottle episode, then a convoluted time paradox/reset bullshit episode.

I guess it's better than starting off with sequels to TOS episodes like TNG did.  But, seriously. Come on people.

Offline nacho

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Re: Suffering Through Voyager: Do I call you Ma'am or Sir Ma'am/Sir?
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2011, 02:04:17 PM »
You know...I don't think I can do this. Voyager really sucked, didn't it? In the next episode, an alien race steals one of the character's lungs and there's a race against time to save him. Then the crew starts taking samples from a nebula that turns out to be alive. Then, by episode seven, they have a whole episode where they contact the Alpha Quadrant, but it's 100 years too early. Then there's a space court episode, and a kidnapping episode, and a prime directive episode, and a spy-among us episode. 11 episodes in, we get our first Holodeck episode (Beowulf). After that there's a brain swap episode, then a duplicates episode, then a rip-off of "Let this be your last battlefield" from TOS, and then we end season one with a crew angst episode.

The whole fucking season is a series of tropes that were painfully overused prior to 1995. At this point, they're being driven into the ground.

Offline Reginald McGraw

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Re: Suffering Through Voyager: Do I call you Ma'am or Sir Ma'am/Sir?
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2011, 10:52:50 PM »
But it's different. GIRL CAPTAIN!!

Offline Cassander

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Re: Suffering Through Voyager: Do I call you Ma'am or Sir Ma'am/Sir?
« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2011, 12:11:28 AM »
I think you should quit while you're ahead. 
You ain't a has been if you never was.

Offline nacho

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Re: Suffering Through Voyager: Do I call you Ma'am or Sir Ma'am/Sir?
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2011, 07:20:51 AM »
I switched to Enterprise, which is different because there's a dog on board. Also, they cut to the chase and have half naked busty models in the first 15 minutes.

Offline Cassander

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Re: Suffering Through Voyager: Do I call you Ma'am or Sir Ma'am/Sir?
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2011, 09:44:35 AM »
They should have just made a 7 of 9 action-adventure show next. It would still be on the air!
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Offline nacho

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Re: Suffering Through Voyager: Do I call you Ma'am or Sir Ma'am/Sir?
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2011, 11:29:36 AM »
And Jeri Ryan would have been saved from a shadowy career as a character actor on USA summer shows.

Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: Suffering Through Voyager: Do I call you Ma'am or Sir Ma'am/Sir?
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2011, 05:14:53 PM »
Thread is now about Jeri Ryan.


Offline nacho

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Re: Suffering Through Voyager: Do I call you Ma'am or Sir Ma'am/Sir?
« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2011, 05:16:56 PM »
Ah, yes. Now I'm tempted to skip ahead to the 7 of 9 years.