Star Trek: VOY Reviews - From Start to Suicide!

Discussion in 'Media Central' started by Kyle, Jun 30, 2009.

  1. Kyle

    Kyle You will regret this!

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    So, we all know Voyager was, arguably, the weakest of the contemporary Trek series (a fate narrowly missed by Enterprise, saved mostly by the series actually acting like a prequel every once and a while).

    But just how awful was Star Trek: Voyager? People hate it like it sucker punched their grandmother while stealing her pension, so let's take a look and see just how it got there.

    I find the :tos:/:borg: system a little constraining, so I'll start with a 1-4 star system and see how it goes. I don't think any human being could actually honestly commit to reviewing all of Voyager, but I'll do my best.

    Caretaker
    We open to a ticker giving a brief introduction to the Maquis. We then switch to Chakotay, Torres, and Tuvok as an undercover spy (I guess pretending to be Vulcan Ron Paul or something - I don't see much logic in fighting over border worlds, even if taken wrongly) escaping from a Cardassian patrol. Seeking refuge in the Badlands, they are soon swept up in a wave of technobabble. Cue opening credits.

    We then start meeting the Starfleet crew. We are introduced to Janeway and Paris in a Starfleet penal colony in New Zealand. I've got to question the Federation establishing penal colonies in one of the nicest locales on the planet, and they certainly don't seem to be living a difficult life. Eventually, we learn Paris is there not for getting a bunch of officers killed and falsifying reports about it, but because he fought for like a week with the Maquis. The scary thing is, I think this jives with the Federation as established in contemporary Trek, no matter the series. Janeway offers him a job as a sort of parole hearing, and they head off to DS9 to set out to the Badlands.

    We see Voyager docked at DS9 and are assaulted with technobabble from the Voyager helmsman to Tom Paris - I'm so glad bio-neural gel packs are explained within the first twenty minutes. They're important, you know. Tom them saves Harry from Quark trying con him into buying cheap gemstones, and then the duo reports to sickbay, where the doctor is instantly marked for death by being an absolute dick. They report to Janeway, who is cordial, and then to the first officer, who is also a dick (again, the death mark on Voyager). After departing, Voyager too is swept up in the technobabble.

    After their journey to the Delta Quadrant, it's revealed that about a third of the crew has died, including every single one who was a dick to Tom. They soon meet the Caretaker, who promptly abducts Harry and keeps the already-abducted Torres around to try to get them knocked up. In Voyager's investigation of what to do next, they run across Neelix, who seems to be happily scavenging from ships that didn't fare as well from the Caretaker's express lane. After bribing him with water, they go to Ocampa to try to find Harry and Torres, and negotiate with a group of ineffective space bikers known as the Kazon-Ogla. The Hells Angels these guys are not - they get held up by Neelix of all people, and they rescue Kes, who helps them get to the Ocampan city underneath the crust of the planet.

    After a 'daring' rescue of Harry and Torres, in which Tom redeems himself with Chakotay, thus preventing him from being killed by the Mark of Death, Janeway confronts the Caretaker, only to learn that he has to destroy his station, their only means of returning home, to protect the Ocampa. She does the Starfleet thing and helps him after his self destruct malfunctions because a Kazon capital ship ran into it after Chakotay got the dubious honor of being the first cast member to crash a ship into something (don't worry - Tuvok will soon take the mantle as being the guy you'd least like to be in a shuttlecraft with). I'm sure there was a reason they couldn't just set a time bomb on the station to explode after it sent them home, but it would have all just been technobabble anyway, so I'm willing to accept it as a dramatic conceit.

    Janeway gives an inspirational speech, promotes Tom, and lets Neelix and Kes mooch off of them. The integration of the crew begins, but even though it's all warm and fuzzy, there are still some issues ahead, contrary to what some naysayers claim.

    Overall, it's not a bad episode. It's probably a more solid start than TNG had, and the promise it makes for the series is worth something (though it doesn't exactly fulfill that promise).

    Rating: ***
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  2. Kyle

    Kyle You will regret this!

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    Parallaxis
    Voyager encounters a ship rapidly sinking into a 'quantum singularity' - because everyone there is just too damn professional to call it a black hole. Meanwhile, the Maquis crew members are busy beating people up and trying to convince Chakotay to mutiny. Chakotay plays hardball with Janeway to convince her to select Torres over Carey as the Chief Engineer (Carey's actually one of Voyager's relatively few recurring characters, and they kill him off like a bitch in S7, but at least he wasn't forgotten like so many others). We also meet Seska, whose cries for mutiny make a lot more sense with how her character develops - was she always intended to be a secret Cardassian, or did they figure that out later down the line as a "Ha ha, gotcha!" moment?

    Anyway, the crew discovers that the ship is actually themselves, a glimpse of their future selves. And then, Janeway and Torres have a bonding moment over what is pure technobabble. They even shoot warp particles at the damn thing. What are warp particles? Who fucking knows. I'm pretty sure they're only referenced in this episode, and Memory Alpha doesn't even have a page for them. Whatever they are, they're orange and come out of the deflector dish. Anyway, Janeway and Torres continue to be in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and fly off in a shuttlecraft to widen a hole out of the singularity (Yeah, 'cause gravity wells work that way), and then Paris flies the ship out of it.

    Janeway promotes Torres over Carey, and Carey takes it like a little bitch. It's a recurring theme for him. Janeway hints that there are still tensions, and that she is still receiving complaints about the Maquis crew, but she is optimistic. Yippee.

    Oh yeah, and throughout the episode, a problem with the holoemitters in sickbay cause the Doctor to shrink. He spouts more than 'Please state the nature of the medical emergency' and diagnoses this time around though, and gets a bit of character development that was sorely lacking in the pilot (see how I didn't mention him? He was that important). He'll go on to be one of Voyager's only consistantly decently portrayed characters (largely thanks to Robert Picardo), so it's nice to see that shaping up.

    Uhg, why would you hand the reins to Brannon Braga for your second episode? This was pretty bad, but I know it doesn't even approach Voyager's, or even Trek's, worst. I'm rating it up a bit because there is actually conflict between Starfleet and the Maquis. I think they decide to hit the time travel well in the next episode, though, so I'm sure that conflict will be on the backburner while temporal mechanics gets overcooked by the sous chef that is the Voyager writing staff.

    Rating: **
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  3. Chris

    Chris Anime Protagonist

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    The Maquis go from an untrustworthy partner, to a sub caste, to model crew members in just about three episodes.

    It was kind of painful when the writers visted the idea several seasons later with the whole Seska-takeover hologram program that Tuvok wrote.
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  4. Robotech Master

    Robotech Master '

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    Cool! Props for undertaking this. I couldn't bear to go through the series again.

    Are you actually watching the episodes or just going off memory?
  5. matthunter

    matthunter Ice Bear

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    The first problem was that they made Chakotay too much of a noble character. He'd have been right at home on the Enterprise-D, pretty much always doing the right thing. No Maquis rebellion was likely on his watch, even when Janeway went into full-on batshit insane Jack Bauer mode in Equinox.

    The second problem was that they gave the Maquis too small a ship. Voyager lost a third of her crew in the opening ep and we're meant to assume that the Maquis were roughly the same number in order to fill the gap... given what Chakotay says in a later ep about the minimum number of people required to operate Voyager on a long-term basis, there's no way the Maquis could realistically pull off a hostile takeover - unless they persuaded a sizeable fraction of the Starfleet crew to join them, they wouldn't have the numbers necessary to run the ship (let alone the logistics of pulling off a coup when outnumbered 2:1).
  6. Kyle

    Kyle You will regret this!

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    I'm actually watching them. God have mercy on my soul.
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  7. Faceman

    Faceman Negative Creep

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    This is an awful idea, Kyle. Think about your mental health.
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  8. The Esquire of Gothos

    The Esquire of Gothos The Squire of Gotham

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    V'GER's main problem was they had it too easy in Gilligan's Quadrant. Never seemed to have problems with supplies, weapons, shuttles, power, maintenance, entc ent al.

    7's origin story was sloppy too:rolleyes: Why couldn't she just have been someone at 1 of the Fed colonies on the Romulan border the Borg had scooped up prior to the TNG episode "The Neutral Zone":huh:

    Plus 7of9's backstory
    .

    Some things that happened during V'GER's run were too much:jayzus: Really broke the envelope of credibility:rolleyes:

    Still, I didn't think it was so dreadful all-in-all. V'GER had it's share of good stories too:tos:

  9. Order2Chaos

    Order2Chaos Ultimate... Immortal Administrator

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    They may have been counting on some Starfleet support. There were a good number of Maquis supporters, spies, and sympathizers in Starfleet in DS9. No reason it should have been different on Voyager.
  10. Chris

    Chris Anime Protagonist

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    ^Somehow, I think being stranded far from home was a big motivator to let that tyrannical, coffee despot murder her crewmen and destroy entire civilizations at a whim's notice.

    Or at least, that's what the writers wanted us to believe.
  11. Dan Leach

    Dan Leach Climbing Staff Member Moderator

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    I have to disagree.
    Ent was the worst ST series
    imHo!!
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  12. Damar

    Damar Liberal Elitist

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    Voyager wasn't all that bad. Sure as the show progressed it spent too much time focusing on Seven and her giant space boobs, but better that than some wormhole aliens.
  13. Kyle

    Kyle You will regret this!

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    Time And Again
    This episode opens with Harry cock-blocking Tom out of a date with the Delaney sisters, thereby setting the tone of their entire friendship for the next seven years. A shockwave then rocks the ship, and the crew discovers that a planet has managed to wipe itself out in a terrible disaster. So, rather than leaving things be, Janeway decides that the best course of action is to head down to the planet's surface to check it out.

    I had forgotten how important Tom Paris was in the earlier seasons - he was easily one of the top players. Acting wise, eh, but he certainly wasn't the worst. Anyway, for whatever reason, he is selected to accompany the away team in beaming into Flint, Michigan after GM got the fuck out.

    It is revealed that the planet destroyed itself with 'polaric ion energy.' Tuvok mentions that the Romulans managed to pull a Praxis with the stuff a while back, resulting in the 'Polaric Test Ban Treaty'. Have you figured out what the message is yet? 'Cause they'll beat you over the head with it as the episode progresses.

    Janeway and Tom end up passing through a technobabble rift and travel back a day in time, and while the crew attempts to get them back, Kes is doing her best Deanna Troi impression after having telepathically witnessed the death of the planet. However, I think that there's a temporal rift on the ship itself. Despite the Doctor having patched up Carey last episode after Torres beat the shit out of him, he seemed surprised to hear about the Maquis' existence from Neelix and Kes when they go to sickbay to see if there's anything the doctor can do. He also talked with her in the last episode, but seemed surprised by her species in this one. I would just say that they had aired them out of order, but Torres seems to be acting as the Chief Engineer.

    Anyway, Tom and Janeway go to investigate the source of the polaric energy now that they've gone back to the glory days of the planet, and encounter a polaric energy protest outside of the power plant. Yeah. I wonder if Greenpeace is still around in Janeway's time, bitching about the Federation dumping deuterium waste into space or something, or if they just gave up after mustache-twirling whalers killed off the last of the humpbacks? Janeway and Tom manage to get their dumb asses caught. Big surprise.

    Turns out that Space Greenpeace is planning on sabotaging the polaric energy plant, and it's scheduled just before the planet was obliterated! Looks like space hippies are fucking us over again. Back to Voyager, where it's a shitton of technobabble, eventually resulting in Harry and Torres shooting a laser that somehow opens up a rift in time, when Janeway comes to a terrifying revelation - that it is the rift created by Harry and Torres that causes the explosion in the first place. She seals it with a phaser, thereby pushing the first of many Voyager reset buttons, and deus-ex-machinaing the fuck out of the predestination paradox that was created. The planet is never destroyed, and Voyager flies right on past it at a bafflingly-slow Warp 6.

    In the end, Tom drags Harry off on the double-date with the Delaney sisters. Any man who has to be dragged on a double-date with twins deserves to be shot, IMHO.

    This was pretty bad. And you can thank Michael Piller for it!
    Rating: *
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  14. Kyle

    Kyle You will regret this!

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    Phage
    Ration packs aplenty as Janeway and Chakotay walk down a corridor that I'm convinced has no actual relation to the exterior of the ship, as it seems to be entirely made of windows. Janeway is headed to her personal dining room (WTF? Picard didn't get a personal dining room, and his ship was about four times as large as Voyager) to consume a breakfast ration. Apparently, the power situation is dire enough that the replicators aren't functioning, but nobody got the idea to dim the lights or anything. Janeway discovers that Neelix has converted her dining room into a kitchen for the mess hall, and promptly violated Starfleet fire codes by having open flame in an oxygen-rich environment. He's sent them towards a planet rich with dilithium ore, and Torres plans to somehow convert it using the impulse engines. I guess.

    Anyway, Neelix beams down with Chakotay and Kim, only to promptly wander away from the group and have his lungs beamed out of his body. The dilithium readings were a trap. The Doctor sets Neelix up with a bitchin' pair of holographic lungs, and he just whines about it.

    Meanwhile, Voyager pursues the organ thief's ship into an asteroid, where it appears that there is a hall of mirrors that conveniently have the same properties with sensors as they do with light. Chakotay comes up with the idea to shoot a gentle phaser beam and see where it bounces to, leading it to the ship.

    At some point, Kes ends up talking with the Doctor, who is frustrated with his situation. He feels overwhelmed and underinformed, and feels incapable of dealing with the prospect of having a long-term patient. If the patient were Neelix, I would have just decompiled myself, as he had already shitted up sickbay with a bunch of hippie BS hung from the walls. Kes points out that, like everyone else, he can learn how to deal with the situation, and somehow, that brightens his day. It also earns her the pleasure of working with him as a nurse, her duties in Hydroponics apparently forgotten. At least she'll be hanging out with the one male on the ship that doesn't want to bang her. Two year olds are sexy, I guess.

    Anyway, Janeway kidnaps the thieves and confronts them in the transporter room. She discovers they are Vidiians, infected with a plague known as the Phage. It causes massive tissue degeneration, and the species eventually started harvesting organs from the dead and annoying to survive. Janeway huffs and puffs but pulls a Picard and basically says that she's too ethically pure to steal back the organs out of the body of one of the Vidiians. After sparing their lives, said Vidiian insists that they examine Neelix and see if there's anything they can do for him. With a magic Vidiian tricorder, all is right with the world - Neelix mooches a lung off of Kes, and Janeway lets the confessed murderers off with a warning that she'll kill the fuck out of any Vidiian that tries to pull that shit again with Voyager. Of course, we'll find out later that, per usual, it is a hollow threat.

    Oh, yeah, and Seska showed up, this time sporting a yellow uniform. Tom also makes a comment to Kes that Neelix thinks is a pass. Was it? I suppose it depends on how well the date with the Delaney sisters went.

    Oddly, this episode wasn't that bad. I like the concept of the Vidiians as enemies - they were a departure from standard aliens of the week, and were actually reasonably threatening. I was always disappointed that they were dropped out of rotation from the recurring villains gallery of Voyager, though a one-off line in Season 5 does essentially close off their story line. Additionally, this was the first episode in which the Doctor was one of the central characters. I like that his journey is different from Data's. Data was trying to become more human, while the Doctor simply embraced his inherent advantages to try to improve who he was, rather than trying to reach a goal of understanding humanity.

    Anyway, high marks for setting up the Vidiians.
    Rating: ***
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  15. Raoul the Red Shirt

    Raoul the Red Shirt Professional bullseye

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    ^Personally, I think the Vidiians were one of the worst villains in Trek, just short of the Pakleds.

    It just doesn't make sense to me given their level of technology and their lack of moral scruples why they didn't just create massive clone farms to provide those organs.

    It just seems like yet another clumsy AIDS parallel.
  16. Kyle

    Kyle You will regret this!

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    If I had to guess, I would say that clones would probably suffer from the Phage just as well, so you'd be transplanting sick organs into sick bodies. Not a good return on investment, especially considering your only investment is plastic jars to keep stolen organs in.
  17. Liet

    Liet Dr. of Horribleness, Ph.D.

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    Kyle, whatever you do, don't rewatch Spirit Folk. Watching that more than once could collapse your brain into a universe destroying "quantum singularity." Worst. Hour. of television. Ever.
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  18. Raoul the Red Shirt

    Raoul the Red Shirt Professional bullseye

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    Even if you suppose that the entire Vidiian population has the Phage to some degree or another, that doesn't mean that they couldn't start the clone farms out of the strangers that they encounter. Instead of ripping organs from everyone and risking reprisals, they could ask for donations of a few cells and then using those cells to grow organs or whole clones.

    In addition, at the level of tech the Vidiians have, they must be able to create completely artificial hearts and other organs that would be wholly unaffected by the Phage.
  19. Kyle

    Kyle You will regret this!

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    Eh, I think the idea of a race of organ thieves is more interesting than a lot of the enemies that showed up throughout Trek, even if it required a little suspension of disbelief (you are, after all, watching a show about people flying around the galaxy at speeds faster than the speed of light, disintegrating themselves, then reintegrating on planets, and being the moral lighthouse of the known universe).

    I think they addressed the cloning issue adequately by simply stating that they'd need a volunteer for a lung rather than simply cloning up Neelix a couple of genuine Talaxian ones of his own DNA.

    In the grand scheme of things, this requires less fanwanking to make it work than does the Klingon forehead debacle, or why Romulans suddenly had prominent foreheads, or why the Founders would get their army so hopped up on drugs that if there was even a hiccup in supply, things were going to go to shit. Seems like a rather obvious weakness if you ask me.

    And besides, in the grand scheme of Voyager, they are certainly one of the best villains of the show. I will agree that they were criminally underused, though. They were deadly and they just kind of faded away.
  20. Liet

    Liet Dr. of Horribleness, Ph.D.

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    Wasn't one of Voyager's major problems that its premise practically forced bad guys to just fade away? Why that was the one aspect of the show's premise that the writers and producers decided to mostly stick to is one of the great mysteries of the universe. It's also what made the Borg such an attractive villain and resulted in their pussification through overuse.
  21. Kyle

    Kyle You will regret this!

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    Oh yes, it certainly was. One of Voyager's many problems was that they encountered few species that could keep up with them.

    One way to keep the Vidiians around could have been to have a caravan of them essentially trying to make their way through Borg space in the hope of reworking Borg technology to fight the Phage. Since their only real asset was their medical technology, something the Borg had no need for, they would probably be ignored. That would have allowed them to stick with Voyager a while longer, at least.

    Sadly, such things were not meant to be - we needed to have more episodes where people turn into lizards or where Borg run around in Imaginationland.
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  22. Kyle

    Kyle You will regret this!

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    The Cloud
    All in all, this was an exceptionally uneventful episode.

    Neelix has embraced his role as chef, enjoying the captive audience that the replicator rations has created. Janeway tries to get a pot of coffee, but the best Neelix can offer is some bizarre concoction that would fit in at a Starbucks. Yuk yuk yuk.

    Anyway, sensors pick up a nebula with technobabble particles. Janeway exclaims "There's coffee in that nebula!" and orders the ship into the nebula, consequences be damned. This is why I avoid caffeine.

    Neelix confides in Kes that this behavior that humans exhibit is irrational and dangerous, and indicates his increasing frustration with 'exploration' that seems instead to put the ship at risk. He's the most annoying character on the show, but damn, he's right. Janeway just flew the ship into what scientists refer to as a stellar nursery just so that she could get a cup of joe.

    However, turns out that this stellar nursery is anything but. After encountering some resistance, the ship bursts through a layer of the nebula, only to have globs of stuff latch onto the hull and drain power. The ship loses 11% of reserves in its escape attempt, and ultimately, they end up blowing a hole out with a photon torpedo (the first of the show, and one of thirty eight in their armory - let's see how that goes).

    After analyzing the stellar barnacles, they come to realize that the nebula is actually a life form, and they essentially just shanked it. However, while people are actually working, Tom breaks into Harry's quarters and convinces him to join him on the holodeck - its first appearance on the show. Remember how they just lost 11% of their energy reserves and they are stuck eating rations and Neelix's experimental cooking? Well hell, that doesn't apply, because we've got a virtual bar set outside of virtual Marseille, which is literally the ass of virtual France. Inside, it is quickly revealed that all of the female characters get hot and bothered by Tom. The holodeck jizz moppers must have a busy schedule when Tom's got the place reserved. Hell, they've probably got Carey doing that.

    The Doctor helps Torres to come up with a technobabble solution that uses the ship as a suture across the wound the ship created. The creature lives happily ever after (well, until someone else needs their caffeine fix and goes barreling into it), and Kim invites Janeway to the waste of ship's resources, and she hustles them at pool.

    For whatever reason, the B-plot of this episode, in addition to Tom Paris essentially siphoning gas out of Voyager's tank in order to bang virtual chicks, was Chakotay teaching Janeway about spirit animals and helping her get kitted out with one. Somehow, he had all that crap from his ship beamed over before he crashed it into the Kazon party bus. Her spirit animal, ironically, is a salamander or lizard of some sort, much like what she will 'evolve' into in the episode we all love to hate, Threshold. Ah-kooch-y-moya indeed.

    Rating: *
    Torpedoes Remaining: 37/38
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  23. 14thDoctor

    14thDoctor Listen here, Jack

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    I think that was the last time Neelix ever showed any sort of backbone. It's a shame, his knowledge of the Delta Quadrant could/should have made him a major player early on, the way Seven was in later seasons, but instead he ended up the ships cook.
  24. 14thDoctor

    14thDoctor Listen here, Jack

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    Nah... scarred war vet, dead sister, emotionally needy, jack of all trades... he could have been the best character on the show.


    So much wasted potential...
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  25. Liet

    Liet Dr. of Horribleness, Ph.D.

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    Potential, perhaps, but after the fact?
    Given how things actually played out, Voyager would have been better with Neelix being raped to death by a subspacial anomaly in episode -1.
  26. Lanzman

    Lanzman Vast, Cool and Unsympathetic Formerly Important

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    The tag line for the whole show.
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  27. Robotech Master

    Robotech Master '

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    Kyle, I will be really impressed if you make it through this whole show.

    I tried to rewatch the whole series a few years ago and gave up around the end of the 4th season.

    Season 1 was okay. Season 2 was awful. Season 3 was mostly awful except towards the end. Season 4 was surprisingly decent. Seasons 5-7 returned to mediocrity.

    I wonder if you'll be able to make it...
  28. Lanzman

    Lanzman Vast, Cool and Unsympathetic Formerly Important

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    Yes, it will take intestinal fortitude to get all the way thru. Only reason I watched the original run's last couple seasons was for Jeri Ryan, and that was only because she's freakin' gorgeous, not for any acting ability or anything.
  29. The Esquire of Gothos

    The Esquire of Gothos The Squire of Gotham

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    Why couldn't STPTB&B have kept Kes the whole run, with 7of9:huh:
  30. Kyle

    Kyle You will regret this!

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    Ratings:
    +2,759
    Face it, for Voyager, writing for nine characters was a bit of a stretch. Ten, forget about it. Plus, by the end of Season 3, I think Jeri Taylor was starting to be pushed out of, or was giving up on, the show, so I would imagine that Jennifer Lien's contract not being renewed was also tied up in that (as the drug allegations were never proven).

    One thing that the producers realized was that people would always come back for the Borg. Pussified, yeah, but they get people watching. So hey, a Borg regular should really reel them in, right?

    I don't know how many I'll be reviewing tonight, but IIRC, 'Eye of the Needle' wasn't that bad of an episode.