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Star Trek: Voyager Season 4 Re-Watch

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#41 RJDiogenes

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Posted 17 December 2018 - 06:17 PM

View PostVirgil Vox, on 16 December 2018 - 07:51 PM, said:

I loved Seven confronting Janeway at the end about all the stops Voyager makes. She has a good point. The crew is prolonging their journey by making all these stops to meet new races and investigate special anomalies. They are also risking losing crewmembers. Janeway’s response is a good one. They stop because they want to. They have a desire to meet new races and add to their knowledge of the universe. I’m sure it also helps morale.  

Plus, they could gain some bit of knowledge or access to some technology that would help get them home.

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The fact that this was a Janeway/Leonardo da Vinci hologram team up adventure episode had me scratching my head. There isn’t anything wrong with that idea (and I am a fan of John Rhys-Davies) but nothing much is done with the concept.

I might be wrong about this, but I seem to remember that Janeway and Leonardo's chats were supposed to become a regular feature of the show.

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I can’t help but feel like this would have been a better episode if it had been the Doctor on the planet teaming up with Janeway.
Actually, I think it was a mistake to ever let the Doctor out of sickbay at all.
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#42 Christopher

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Posted 17 December 2018 - 09:01 PM

The original intention of Voyager's developers was that eventually they'd move past the "search for a way home" arc and just focus on exploring the Delta Quadrant. But it wasn't until season 3 that the producers committed to actually making that shift ("False Profits" was the only season 3 episode until the finale that involved the quest for home), and then for some reason they totally reversed course in "Scorpion"; once Janeway proved willing to make an insanely dangerous and ethically questionable bargain with the Borg merely to get closer to home, it became impossible for the show ever to be about anything but the quest for home. And that never really fit well with the Star Trek format of exploring strange new worlds, of embracing the frontier rather than running away from it.

I feel they should've regained regular contact with Starfleet no later than the end of season 2. Reunions with friends and family could've been handled by tying the holodeck into the communications system, so physical interaction would effectively be possible. Then that would've effectively resolved that quest and they could've been given a new mission by Starfleet to explore the Delta Quadrant.

(By the way, I was recently reviewing The Making of Star Trek from 1968, and it turns out that the TOS Enterprise was supposed to have an entertainment center providing lifelike 3D simulations around the user, "a sophisticated extension of holography," which could also be used for "mail call" messages to and from home. So basically holodecks of a sort were supposed to be part of TOS, although not to the point of allowing physical contact or interaction. But they never got around to showing it. I wonder why; it would've been easy enough to simulate even then.)
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#43 Virgil Vox

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Posted 30 December 2018 - 10:49 AM

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Actually, I think it was a mistake to ever let the Doctor out of sickbay at all.

Really? I felt it helped the character a lot. There was only so much they could do with the Doctor stuck in sickbay aside from more holodeck stories. I might be biased though because I am a big fan of the Doctor.

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The original intention of Voyager's developers was that eventually they'd move past the "search for a way home" arc and just focus on exploring the Delta Quadrant. But it wasn't until season 3 that the producers committed to actually making that shift ("False Profits" was the only season 3 episode until the finale that involved the quest for home), and then for some reason they totally reversed course in "Scorpion"; once Janeway proved willing to make an insanely dangerous and ethically questionable bargain with the Borg merely to get closer to home, it became impossible for the show ever to be about anything but the quest for home. And that never really fit well with the Star Trek format of exploring strange new worlds, of embracing the frontier rather than running away from it.

Interesting.  There does seem to have been an uptick in the number of episodes in season 4 where getting home is mentioned or the driving force. I know an upcoming episode has them establish a link to Starfleet and get updates from home.

It would have been interesting to see what the series would have looked like if they had abandoned the urge to get home completely.

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(By the way, I was recently reviewing The Making of Star Trek from 1968, and it turns out that the TOS Enterprise was supposed to have an entertainment center providing lifelike 3D simulations around the user, "a sophisticated extension of holography," which could also be used for "mail call" messages to and from home. So basically holodecks of a sort were supposed to be part of TOS, although not to the point of allowing physical contact or interaction. But they never got around to showing it. I wonder why; it would've been easy enough to simulate even then.)

That's pretty cool. I remember some of the Star Trek books using the holodecks to carry out giant conference calls (I think it was in the Gateways series) and I remember thinking that was a neat idea. Nice to know the idea has been kicking around for a while.
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#44 Christopher

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Posted 30 December 2018 - 12:03 PM

View PostVirgil Vox, on 30 December 2018 - 10:49 AM, said:

That's pretty cool. I remember some of the Star Trek books using the holodecks to carry out giant conference calls (I think it was in the Gateways series) and I remember thinking that was a neat idea. Nice to know the idea has been kicking around for a while.

And yet it took until late DS9 for the franchise to flirt with the holocommunicator concept, and they gave up on it after two tries. Discovery has embraced the hell out of it, though, and since that's in the pre-TOS era, they've finally fulfilled what The Making of Star Trek promised 50 years ago.
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#45 RJDiogenes

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Posted 30 December 2018 - 05:26 PM

View PostVirgil Vox, on 30 December 2018 - 10:49 AM, said:

Really? I felt it helped the character a lot. There was only so much they could do with the Doctor stuck in sickbay aside from more holodeck stories. I might be biased though because I am a big fan of the Doctor.  
Having him confined to sickbay is one of the things that made the character unique. Giving him the holo-emitter turned him into just another character.  (Also, why did the transporter effect appear over his whole body and not just the emitter?  :lol: )

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I know an upcoming episode has them establish a link to Starfleet and get updates from home.  
Now that was a good idea, and should have been part of the show from the start.  One of the flaws in the concept was that they were flung so far away that it was pretty much hopeless that they ever get back to the Federation.  They should have been maybe ten or fifteen years away and in intermittent contact with home the whole time. This would have given them hope and a sense of urgency, and opportunities for pathos. They could have done occasional episodes like the M*A*S*H letters-from-home episodes.  Somebody's parent dies. Or maybe a sibling dies and the crewmember could have saved them with a transplant.  Do spouses back home wait for their significant other, knowing that it will be a decade before they see them again?  Do the crewmembers remain faithful?  Stuff like that.
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#46 Christopher

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Posted 30 December 2018 - 06:44 PM

View PostRJDiogenes, on 30 December 2018 - 05:26 PM, said:

Having him confined to sickbay is one of the things that made the character unique. Giving him the holo-emitter turned him into just another character.

If he'd been unable to participate in any stories that didn't take place in either sickbay or the holodeck, it would've been terribly limiting to the writers, and unfair to Robert Picardo.

Besides, the Doctor was hardly "just another character"; he was one of the breakout characters of the show, along with Seven of Nine. When I was developing episode pitch ideas for season 5, I tried to avoid coming up with Seven stories or Doctor stories, because I figured everyone was doing those and I wanted to offer something different to improve my chances. But I found it was hard to come up with interesting stories about anyone but the Doctor and Seven, so the majority of my pitches still centered on one of those two. The other characters had pretty much resolved their story arcs by then, save only the developing Torres-Paris romance. But the Doctor and Seven were both rich characters, still new and growing and learning, able to offer unique perspectives and prone to get into interesting conflicts. They deservedly became the primary anchors of the show aside from Janeway. So of course the writers had to find a way to do more with the Doctor, to put him into a wider range of situations and interactions. You don't keep your MVP on the bench.
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#47 Virgil Vox

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Posted 06 January 2019 - 04:14 PM

Mortal Coil

I wasn’t sure what to expect out of this episode. I didn’t remember anything about it (something that has happened with other episodes) and an episode about Neelix examining his faith didn’t inspire confidence in me.

However, I found this be an engaging episode that dealt with the subject respectfully and had good roles for most of the cast. It even brought back Ensign Wildman and her daughter Noami, who haven’t been seen since season 2 I believe.

Essentially, Neelix is killed on an away mission but Seven is able to revive him after 18 hours using Borg technology. This throws Neelix’s faith in the Talaxian afterlife for a loop because there was nothing after he died. He didn’t see all of his family at the great spiritual tree like he was taught. Suffice it to say, Neelix goes to a dark place after this.

Having Neelix be the one to suffer a crisis of faith makes a lot of sense. Aside from Chakotay none of the other characters are really spiritual so they wouldn’t be having crises of faith anyway. Plus Neelix is always the happy, exuberant one. This episode did a good job of showing the multiple functions Neelix serves on the ship. He is basically the cook/ambassador/counselor/imaginary under the bed and in the replicator monster hunter. Watching someone who has a sunny outlook on life break down was hard.

It didn’t feel forced, either. Neelix was dead for a long time and he didn’t see anything. He tried to fake his way through it but that didn’t work either. Chakotay’s vision quest only made things worse. That was a powerful, disturbing dream as Neelix “saw” his sister who told him the afterlife was a lie and he had nothing to live for.

I have to give the episode props for not giving a clean ending, either. Yes, Chakotay was able to talk Neelix out of killing himself but Neelix’s faith is still shattered. The ending was melancholy with no easy answers.

Seven had a good part in this episode. She is the one who comes up with the method to save Neelix because she feels he is needed and a valued member of the crew. It shows that she has started to assimilate into the crew and come to care about them. Of course she still has a lot to go as her attempts at small talk during the dinner party were abysmal and yet so funny.

In the end, this was a powerful episode that explored what happens when someone loses their faith and what it can do to that person and the people around them. It is just too bad that I don’t think there any follow up to Neelix’s loss of faith after this.

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Besides, the Doctor was hardly "just another character"; he was one of the breakout characters of the show, along with Seven of Nine. When I was developing episode pitch ideas for season 5, I tried to avoid coming up with Seven stories or Doctor stories, because I figured everyone was doing those and I wanted to offer something different to improve my chances. But I found it was hard to come up with interesting stories about anyone but the Doctor and Seven, so the majority of my pitches still centered on one of those two. The other characters had pretty much resolved their story arcs by then, save only the developing Torres-Paris romance. But the Doctor and Seven were both rich characters, still new and growing and learning, able to offer unique perspectives and prone to get into interesting conflicts. They deservedly became the primary anchors of the show aside from Janeway. So of course the writers had to find a way to do more with the Doctor, to put him into a wider range of situations and interactions. You don't keep your MVP on the bench.

I totally agree that the Doctor was on the break-out characters. No other series had had a hologram as a main character so there was a lot of new and interesting angles to mine. The same with Seven. There were stories you could tell with those characters that you really couldn't with the others. The other characters definitely had the potential for growth but the writers never really capitalized on it. Take what I wrote about Neelix in this review. The writers could have turned his loss of faith into an on-going arc but they didn't. I'm pretty sure we never hear of it again after this.
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#48 RJDiogenes

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Posted 06 January 2019 - 05:19 PM

View PostVirgil Vox, on 06 January 2019 - 04:14 PM, said:

Essentially, Neelix is killed on an away mission but Seven is able to revive him after 18 hours using Borg technology.  
I don't remember this episode, either, but it kind of raises the question of why Seven didn't save everyone who was ever killed on the ship.

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I totally agree that the Doctor was on the break-out characters. No other series had had a hologram as a main character so there was a lot of new and interesting angles to mine.  
The Doctor was essentially an Artificial Intelligence, like Data.  The thing that made him unique at the beginning was that he was essentially designed to be the spare tire that's only supposed to get you as far as the next gas station so that you can get a real tire. But, because of the circumstances, he had to be the official ship's doctor for the foreseeable future. He was a metaphor for rising above your limitations.  But that can only last so long.  If he were confined to sickbay (or even sickbay and the holodeck), then you could tell stories about all the people in the world who are shut-ins, who can't leave their house because of agoraphobia or an immune disorder or whatever.  What is life like for someone who has to stay in their room while everyone else is out in the world?  Giving him this magic future technology so that he could be on Away Teams was just a cop out that took away that unique aspect of the character.
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#49 Christopher

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Posted 06 January 2019 - 05:40 PM

View PostRJDiogenes, on 06 January 2019 - 05:19 PM, said:

I don't remember this episode, either, but it kind of raises the question of why Seven didn't save everyone who was ever killed on the ship.

It was a risky, uncertain procedure, but admittedly the episode didn't really address why it wasn't attempted again. But then, Trek is full of magic cures that never get followed up on. Why don't people constantly inject themselves with kironide so they can develop telekinesis, like in "Plato's Stepchildren"? Why don't they use the tech from "The Passenger" and "A Man Alone" to download their minds into clone bodies after death?



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Giving him this magic future technology so that he could be on Away Teams was just a cop out that took away that unique aspect of the character.

I still say you're failing to consider how frustrating it would've been for Robert Picardo to be forced to spend 7 years on a single set (plus the occasional holodeck visit).
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#50 Doppleganger

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Posted 07 January 2019 - 05:52 PM

View PostChristopher, on 06 January 2019 - 05:40 PM, said:




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Giving him this magic future technology so that he could be on Away Teams was just a cop out that took away that unique aspect of the character.

I still say you're failing to consider how frustrating it would've been for Robert Picardo to be forced to spend 7 years on a single set (plus the occasional holodeck visit).

Wow never considered how tough something like that could be on an actor and certainly makes you think as likely when Picardo auditioned for the part he was likely made aware his character could well be stuck in one room for the duration of the series.
I do remember at the time thinking that the Doctors portable emitter should have been used as a one off or something to be only used in emergencies as the tech was to poorly understood or unpredictable. It seemed to me that the Doctor getting the emitter was a way for the writers to shake things up a little.
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#51 Christopher

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Posted 07 January 2019 - 07:34 PM

View PostDoppleganger, on 07 January 2019 - 05:52 PM, said:

Wow never considered how tough something like that could be on an actor and certainly makes you think as likely when Picardo auditioned for the part he was likely made aware his character could well be stuck in one room for the duration of the series.

I think there were always plans to give him more mobility eventually. About a year before the Doctor gained the mobile emitter in "Future's End," the season 2 episode "Persistence of Vision" opened with an experiment to install holoemitters on the bridge so the Doctor could be transferred there if needed (with plans to expand the emitters further if it worked, though it didn't).
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