Terri's Cellar Door

Stuff that happens to me, Terri.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Why Voyager is the Best Star Trek Series.... Ever

This wasn't going to be another stupid list, but I couldn't think of a better way to organize this thing, so here we go. If your any kind of Trekkie, I imagine that you've got a favorite series. Oh course, a Trekkie is a fan of the cult classic, scifi, television show Star Trek. Now if you're not really a fan, read it anyway! Cause, dang, you might learn something or get interested. If you've never heard of Star Trek before, get out from under that rock! It's going to crush your scapula. Anyway, so I've always been a fan of the franchise. Weened on TNG, left the flock on DS9. (By the way, I'm going to be using all kinds of geeky words, phrases and acronyms in this, so if you're running the Fox, go ahead and have Wiki open in another tab.) So, Voyager was my chance to get back in the game. My mom had forced me to watch TNG for years, and while I'd always enjoyed it, Voyager was of my own accord. I took the time to watch it every week, and I made the commitment. Maybe this clouds my judgment a little bit, but it doesn't make my points any less true. I should also note that I love TOS, TNG, and DS9. This isn't to say that they're not great shows, it's just that Voyager got something oh-so-right.

1. Captain Kathyrn Janeway
Okay, this first point is a no brainer. A woman, what a novel idea! I mean, you had the Shat, baldy, blacky... The only logical continuation was lady, um, y. But, it's not just the fact that she was a woman that made Captain Janeway such a bangin' Captain. It was what Kate Mulgrew brought to the role, and how they did it. She wasn't a woman first and a captain second. She was a Captain first, a diplomat, a scientist, a disciplinarian, a teacher, a friend. She was everything that a good captain should be. She didn't need to remind you that she was a woman every five seconds, she was a great captain, and that's all that needed to be said. She was tough on her crew, but tougher on herself, and when things got down and dirty, she didn't mind getting downer and dirtier. Anything to look out for her crew, and her ship.

2. It's the Brady Bunch of Star Trek's.
This is something that I'm going to touch on later, but Voyager did things differently. Melding the Maquis and the Starfleet crews together was such a stroke of genius that it certainly did merit it's own series. Think about it. To force these two crews together, who are so diametrically opposed in every way makes for undeniable drama. This made the series about the people. And it lasted. The fact that the crew was about 1/3 Maquis, and 2/3s Starfleet had implications from the first episode to the last. How could Captain Janeway make sure that the Maquis followed the Prime Directive, how could both crews mix and work together fluidly, while having such different work ethics? These are questions that were both asked and answered on the show. And of course, this brought about the most awesome merger that I have yet to witness in a Star Trek show; Tom Paris and B'elanna Torres. I mean, c'mon, they're like the Sam and Diane of Star Trek.

3. There were no Klingons, Vulcans, Ferengis, etc.
Now, a lot of people thought this was a bad thing. Take Star Trek out of the Alpha Quadrant and thereby, out of the Star Trek universe? Preposterous! But by this time, the ol' AQ had been done to death. There was no shortage of episodes about tribbles, or Klingon wars, or vacation trips to Rygel 7 (That's a real place, look it up). You're dealing with another whole universe, where you can create whatever you want. New technologies, new species, new everything is available for interaction. And the best part is; you're still putting them up against a very old school captain, and a Starfleet crew. This takes a very stale idea, and makes it totally fresh. It's almost if you're starting the whole franchise all over.

4. No Starfleet.
Now, this goes to number three, but this is a biggie. Without Starfleet there Captain J was forced to stand in for all the admirals, other captains, committees, and bureaucracy that usually makes up the UFOP. This was a stroke of genius because there are basically no rules. There is no Prime Directive, if Janeway doesn't want it to be, and this changes the dynamic of the mission. Also, it pushed the limits of what a Starfleet vessel could do. You're working with limited resources, limited replacement supplies, and limited time. It calls on ingenuity, and quick thinking. It also lets you be more free with alien technologies, and incorporating technologies into Voyager. Who would have known that the slipstream technology (that got Voyager home), could have been so seamlessly integrated into Starfleet systems? This never would have happened in the Alpha Quadrant because there was no use for it. Warp drive, would have been warp drive, would have been warp drive. And who knows how long it would have taken for the bigwigs at Starfleet to see the use in it.

5. It was a veritable, um, what's the opposite of Sausage Fest?
Besides Captain Janeway, there where huge amounts of strong female characters on the show. I think, for me anyway, that the woman were definitely brought to the foreground in this series. They were strong, smart, and just as likely to have the answer as the men. Thinking of the women from previous series, they each had a role to play, and they were each vital to the crew, but you didn't get the idea that the ship would fall apart without them. The Enterprise would have made it just fine without Uhura, but Scotty? And Kira was strong, but was she was vital as Odo? B'elanna, Kes, Seven, and Captain Janeway were just as vital as the guys (well, maybe not Kes), but they certainly seemed just as vital to the storylines as the men. And certainly had more episodes focused squarely on them (at least, it seems to me).

So there you have it. A very objective analysis, I think. What do you think? What series do you like best and why? There are tons of varying opinions on this, but I want to hear yours. Do you think that this might convince you to give Voyager a try? It really is a splendid series, and I suggest that you catch a few episodes when they come on SpikeTV.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always thought voyager was great, I don't know why alot of trekkies hated it.

2:05 AM  
Anonymous Harley Quinn said...

I disagree. The Next Generation was the shit. Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Number One? I mean, it was just full of awesomeness. And not to mention Data.
But really, I just couldn't get into Voyager. I mean, I guess maybe if I kept watching it I would've liked it, but, I don't know. Sometimes. That doesn't mean I hate it though.


12:53 PM  
Blogger Terri D. said...

I never said that TNG wasn't awesome, but just said that Voyager was awesomer. I actually watch TNG every chance I get on TV. It's really a classic of television. I just think that Voyager did something new and different and was underappreciated for it, even though they broke hella new ground.

3:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Voyager is the best. The scripts, dialogue, humor, acting and characters are great. The first episodes weren't that great though, witch might be why some poeple didn't like it. But watching the reruns now, there is no question that it's the best.

5:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd agree with everything you said, but I say those are the reasons Voyager SHOULD have been the best series, because the writers and producers certainly failed at elements.

The Starfleet-Maquis tension? Underplayed. It was there when it was convenient for the plot, but then the next episode it was completely gone until it was convenient to bring it out again. That's called bad writing.

The women, particularly Seven of Nine, were there by design for eye candy and frankly nullified the whole women-power thing. Another opportunity lost.

As for being out of the Alpha Quadrant, well, that turned out to be such dissappointment by the writers.

The writing on Voyager was very weak, and the characters and the actors (aside from Janeway and The Doctor) were quite unremarkable and bland. Easily the worst cast and the worst writing out of the entire Star Trek franchise.

Which is a shame, because like I said, it should have been the best, and could have been the best if they had decent writers and the producers would have stood up to the network's ridiculous demands.

But that's just my opinion. Bad, or even mediocre Star Trek is still better than most of the crap that's on TV.

11:41 PM  
Blogger Terri D. said...

I would agree with the last comment, except, I enjoyed the characters and the development. I would say that Seven was definitely eye candy, but B'elanna, Captain Janeway, Kes? These are attractive women in to be sure, but they never wore anything as skin tight or, um, silvery as Seven. They never wore anything more revealing than a Star Fleet Uniform. Even Kes' outfit was just as confining.

2:32 PM  
Blogger Juanita's Journal said...

"Okay, this first point is a no brainer. A woman, what a novel idea! I mean, you had the Shat, baldy, blacky...

Dearest, do you think it's possible to describe Benjamin Sisko with a word other than . . . blacky? It sounds a bit tacky.

As for VOYAGER being the best Trek show . . . I disagree. I think that it was on the same par as TNG and DS9. VOY, TNG and DS9 were the three best, in my opinion. However, VOY is my favorite Trek show. There is something about the cast and the setting that really appealed to me.

11:48 AM  
Anonymous Thestral said...

Having recently been ill for a while I got the chance to just sit home play video games and rewatch all the Trek series back to back on Netflix. I gotta agree. Voyager was definitely the best series. TNG will always be on a pedestal next to TOS but Voyager just got it all right. DS9 had a painfully slow start and didn't get truly interesting until the Dominion war.

Even then the "Pan up on a huge fleet of Federation ships [commercial break] pan up on a small fleet of banged up Federation ships" got a little old. A budget issue for sure, I mean they simply couldn't show all out space warfare every week because the FX cost an arm and a leg granted. They could have varied it up more though.

While all the series started off slow (TNG when not being visited by Q or the Traveler got downright tedious at times). But once Voyager found its voice they really got rolling. Their two-parters were downright epic. The protracted fight with the time ship that killed most of the crew and forced Janeway to stand alone in a suicide run on a nearly decimated ship? Epic. Species 359 busting out of a wormhole linking ships and blowing up a Borg PLANET forcing the Borg to flee with Voyager in tow? Epic. The [spoiler] ending with Voyager destroying the entire Borg transwarp hub and emerging through an exploding Borg cube to greet a Starfleet battalion that would've gotten their asses handed to them otherwise? Ep-ic.

The show had great meta-pacing, never subjecting its viewers to looong strings of dull episodes like TNG was wont to do. The Characters (except for Chakotay) were interesting across the board. Even the Doc was given many a cool scene (anyone remember him rescuing shipmates from the redneck militia guys):

RMG: God help us. (when Doc is unharmed by bullets)
Doc: Divine intervention is... unlikely. (fires phaser)

That alone made up for all the opera.

Okay so rambling aside here's my list:

*) TOS (above reproach for being the original)
1) Voyager
2) TNG
3) DS9
9,999,999,999) Enterprise (9,999,999,997 places demoted for the theme song alone).

9:42 AM  
Anonymous ufohqs said...

Voyager is the best Star Trek ever and I can't believe what an excellent job you did of summing up why in your column! Kudos to you! Live long and prosper.

8:58 AM  

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