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Shuttle Pod – The TrekMovie.com Podcast Episode 4: Celebrating Star Trek Voyager’s 20th Anniversary

Having premiered in January 1995, Voyager has been celebrating its 20th anniversary. Before that anniversary ends and the series becomes legal to drink, we at Trek Movie wanted to pause and reflect on the series much as we’d done with TNG two shows ago, answering the question what is Voyager’s legacy?

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Shuttle Pod: Episode 4 – Celebrating Star Trek Voyager’s 20th Anniversary

Tidbits from this week’s podcast:
In this podcast, we discuss the various characters of Star Trek Voyager: how they interacted, and who stole the show. To answer the question “Who was the star of Voyager?”, Jared turned to Wikipedia, which lists the “star” character of each episode. When compiled for the entire 7 season series, the data look like this:

VOY_stats
Percentage of episodes in which a given character (or ensemble, as “various”) was the star of a VOY episode. Data source: Wikipedia

From Jared’s Treknecdote… Multi-Vector Assault Mode!

Links to some of our favorite episodes discussed on the podcast:

 


 

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I miss Trek on television… this does remind me of a few Voyager episodes that really were standouts. Some people are too hard on the series.

Without a doubt, the weakest entry in the franchise. Boring, terrible writing, and bad acting by about half of the cast…then they try to bring in a “hot Borg babe” to save the day — that never worked for me, although it wasn’t Ryan’s fault.

A lot of missed opportunities to explore her PTSD (I mean c’mon she had to have it after all those years of being a Borg). The character they wrote felt like T’pol before T’pol. But again, by that time, Trek was following a formula instead of updating their storytelling formula. All that aside, they did have some good episodes.

The weakest out of all the Trek series.

Why not just build three ships? It would require the same flipping resources and you’d have… you know… three ships. Is Starfleet also working on a fleet of small starships that link up to form Voltron?

What’s Voyager’s legacy? Turning away Trek fans and sparking the beginning of the end for the franchise for many years (Enterprise and Nemesis, of course, hammered the final nails).

I love Voyager. I have fond memories watching the show as a kid. I do understand the complaint of Voyager not sticking to it’s premise, but I still enjoy it. Despite not sticking to it’s premise Voyager was able to squeeze themes about a ship lost in space into several episodes I feel like when it comes to the network as far as they were concern Star Trek a space ship traveling around the galaxy having random adventures. They won’t very fond of a trek premise involving a space station or a ship lost in space. I feel like Voyager gave into the network demands and DS9 didn’t. The cast were extremely likeable in the beginning.

Top ten Voyagers episode off the top of my head.

Living Witness
The Void
Year Of Hell
Night
Scorpion
Timeless
The episode where the Doctor experience daydreams.
Good Shepherd.
Life Line
The Swarm.

IMO, Voyager was horrible. Bad acting, boring characters, dull stories. And, to top it off, they squandered a pretty good overall premise. I watched the first couple seasons and then I just couldn’t take anymore.

It’s a travesty that Voyager lasted a full 7 seasons, but Enterprise…which had really hit its stride…was canceled after 4.

Totally agree with Richpit. Could have done without the Xindi arc, but season 4 and it’s TOS and TNG tie-ins…really enjoyed that and wanted more. A big lost opportunity, IMHO.

DS9 was a very dull show that was trying to make something out of stolen ideas and was never able to deliver any drama or interest because they did not understand the source material due to their plagiarism of it. The acting was from what I call the “Hey Dad” school of acting (hey dad was an aust comedy show in the 80s where all the actors only moved there arms from the elbow down and when they walked around the set they begrudgingly moved their legs). Sisko was a shoe in for a gig on hey dad. Watch how little animation their is to his acting and when he does it seems so uncomfortable and unnatural for him to walk and talk at the same time. All the actors were just wood like the scripts. Even their enemies in the show seemed bored and disinterested with the ds9 crew. Enterprise was a dog of a show with a lot of lost looking actors over blowing their performances while looking confused about which direction they were going in both in charactor and plot lines for four years. Damn right it was canceled Voyager was entertaining it could be watched without one becoming board and going to sleep. What more can you ask from a TV show ? A voyager movie. DS9 went for 7 years and could not even come close to what B5 accomplished in the television viewing arena in 4 years (I know their is 5 but etc… Read more »
Kevin A Melbourne Australia

Why get on this site, a site that was setup to celebrate all Trek, and bitch about it? If you don’t like a series, don’t watch it! Don’t tell other people they are somehow wrong because they do like it.

I enjoy all Star Trek and am old enough to have seen 1st run TOS in the 60s. Sure there are some episodes that suck but they make the good ones look even better.

There seems to be a lot of trolling on this post which was setup to celebrate Voyager. I some times wish the mediators here would act a bit faster in removing posts that do nothing but slam Star Trek series with a contempt and lack of respect for others who actually do enjoy it.

You know, I watched Voyager faithfully, and for the most part, I enjoyed it.
Yes, there were a lot of episodes that went “clunk.”

Then, there were quite a few episodes where they nailed it for me.

It was-“Star Trek”

I think the filter of Nostalgia clouds a lot of peoples memories over what makes good Star Trek

Easily the best series after TNG. Deep Space Nine was boring for too many seasons and Enterprise felt like a remake….

I Khan Believe it Ain't Butter

Star Treks answer to Lost in Space.

I think the more entertaining questions to 20 years since Voyager is, ‘What are they doing now (and is anyone in jail)? At least 1, sadly…

I’ve always felt that the star trek crew “family” was the main draw for TOS and TNG, making the viewer care and have concern for the characters. That was not the case for DS9 and Voyager due to, IMO, both intent by the producers and poor casting choices (good actors in bad parts and bad actors in what could have been good parts). ENT was the closet to TOS and TNG in that family feel but failed badly with casting (just some bad actors in what should have been good characters).
Voyager was the same as its rip-off (StarGate Universe), full of potential and with plenty of what should have been new stories but left feeling pointless, plotless and populated by characters I just didn’t care about or were just plain irritating. It was simply the only series that I just couldn’t care enough about to even watch in it’s entirety…
IMHO…

Besides wondering how Romulans would be able to steel a super secret, experimental starship, how the hell did then know how to operate it? They seemed to have the experience of Sulu flying that ship.

I tried to get into DS9, but I found it boring. It felt like a soap opera. I enjoyed Voyager. In fact, I recently watched the series again via Amazon Prime on my iPad while on the treadmill. While it is my third favorite Trek show after TOS and TNG, it has aged much better than TNG (especially the first couple of seasons of TNG).

I could never get into Enterprise either. I tried… but it did not hold my interest. Just never had characters I could buy into. Too bad since I really liked Scott Bakula’s work on Quantum Leap.

Voyager and DS9 are favorite spin-offs.

VOYAGER
Voyager had a great premise and for the most part, delivered on it week after week. I disliked the “reset” button aspect of the series (the Year of Hell should’ve been a Season of Hell and suffered the consequences thereof), however, it was a show of its time when few shows serialized. If Voyager suffered from anything, it was the fact it was on exactly the wrong network. UPN tried putting a round peg in a square hole by sexing it up, increasing puerile violence, and forcing a Dwayne “The Rock” WWF (WTF?) crossover episode. I watched every episode of the show (who didn’t?) and felt, for the most part, that the heart of Star Trek was well represented.

SHUTTLE POD
These three are doing a great job and I truly enjoy listening (what a perfect name!). The current Voyager podcast had the participants divided by speaker (left/right) which made it less enjoyable to listen to, so I recommend keeping the full team on stereo next time if possible. The possibilities for Shuttle Pod are enormous — with guests from the many incarnations of Star Trek, SciFi writers and TV/filmmakers, and even science-related guests who can drop in for Star Trek geeking. Who wouldn’t want to hear a leading astrophysicist talk about his or her Star Trek influence? I can completely see Shuttle Pod having its own page at TrekMovie, with Q&A for future podcasts, photos, bios, contests. Love the ShuttlePod, may it LLAP!

Only six TOS character films. There should have been twelve! Or twenty seasons of Star Trek II on TV filmed in 16×9.

Voyager started out so promisingly with a good premise and what should have been dynamic/enjoyable/fascinating characters…but it just never seemed to rise much above formula/mediocrity after that. I faithfully watched all 7 seasons, but I found myself doing so out of loyalty more than actual enjoyment. At the time, I was much more “into” Babylon 5 as I found it much more interesting and worthy of my enthusiasm.

For every decent Voyager episode, there are many, many more boring/bad/uninteresting ones. Without getting into yet another bashing session and/or rehashing the debates regarding the Berman/Braga legacy, I do mostly blame the writing staff as they just seemed to be both burned out and phoning it in and really should have looked into hiring new blood at that point.

And it is true that pretty much all of my like-minded friends/family who watched Trek agreed with me. Most had stopped watching before Voyager’s run ended, and unfortunately did not even give Enterprise a chance even after it improved in its last season.

So that’s my 2 cents on Voyager’s legacy…of course, other opinions may differ :).

Jon

p.s. I’d still take Voyager over STID, and I’ll leave it at that ;) …

Interesting points about Tom Paris being the original protagonist vis-a-vis the audience (or seeming like he was going to be) and the data about who the episodes were most often about. I don’t understand the complaints about Chakotay being a Native American not affiliated with a specific tribe. In the US, there are over 500 Native American tribes, some of which don’t like each other. If they’d made Chakotay Navajo, for example, then the other tribes might feel left out. So, why not make Chakotay representative of all Native American tribes in order to be, you know, inclusive. But, then, I’ve never really understood these sort of arguments about this culture or that lifestyle or this religion or that ethnicity or this socioeconomic-psychographic-geographic sub-sub-sub-group not being specifically represented in Star Trek. Where are the bi-sexual post-operative-transgendered Serbo-Uruguayan recurring characters, huh? It’s an outrage! And, for some reason—again, not understood by me—people really seem to ignore the DS9 episode, “Rejoined,” which is all about two women having romantic feelings about each other, and they even kiss. And prior to that there was the TNG episode, “The Outcast,” in which Riker falls in love with an alien version of a transgendered person. Both of these episodes were intelligent, sophisticated treatments of minority-sexual issues. So, what’s the problem? I don’t think that sticking in gay characters for no reason other than to say that you have gay characters is smart, good drama or worthy of Trek, which has arguably been the most diversity-promoting… Read more »

I love Voyager. It was my gateway into Star Trek. DS9 and VOY are still the best trek. Now lets talk about putting it on blu-ray.

Enjoyed the podcast overall. Discussing Voyager episodes that are sort-of well-kept secrets is always fun, being that the show tends to get a lot of flack for its shortcomings and it’s easy to overlook the diamonds in the rough.

I remember reading an article here a couple years ago that discussed the best VOY episodes. I agree with Jared about “Lineage” being well done episode—very compelling and meaningful thematically. Another one that I’d put in that category is “Tuvix,” which really sneaked up on me and tugged at my heart-strings when I didn’t expect it, and also has a powerful theme that’s relevant to everyone. The whole Seska arc was the best aspect of Season 1, for me, just in terms of drama. The addition of Seven of Nine to the show boosted it in the latter half of the series and provided some good substance with that character’s arc/development. Also, the “Year of Hell” two-parter stands out as being among the best of VOY. As I recall, Ronald D. Moore wanted it to be a season-long arc, and after being denied this he split to go do the same basic concept, albeit to much greater effect, with his re-imagining of Battlestar Galactica.

VOY is the only failed Star Trek series. And frankly, I think the very premise of the show set it up for failure — we are supposed to WANT to ship out on the Enterprise, but we would never voluntarily ship out on Voyager. (In one of the TNG relaunch novels, Janeway even chastises a fellow Starfleet captain who said “I wish I had been there,” retorting, “No. You really don’t.”) Moreover, the much-ballyhooed Maquis-Federation conflict was a dud; the Maquis were completely boring outside of their native environment in the Alpha Quadrant. That’s not, contrary to what’s commonly argued, because the Maquis were poorly written or blended into the crew too easily; it’s because the raison d’etre for the Maquis, the territorial conflict along the Cardassian DMZ, evaporates when you’re a few hundred thousand light-years away. (Plus: it’s hard to generate sympathy for settlers on disputed land. Making some of them Amerind settlers doesn’t change that; in fact, it reinforces it.) The very format of the show made it impossible to develop the characters’ backstories. What would Spock have been without AMOK TIME or JOURNEY TO BABEL, or Picard without Robert, or Ben Sisko without his dad? The “marrooned in the Delta Quadrant” theme eliminated the possibility of exploring these characters’ relatives or their past (setting aside flashbacks and such). It also made ongoing story arcs very challenging. VOY could never develop story arcs like TNG’s portrayal of Klingon politics. The politics of the Delta Quadrant mean very little… Read more »

26. The River Temarc – October 29, 2015

VOY is the only failed Star Trek series.

So, the series that ran its full seven seasons (VOY) is a “failure,” but the subsequent series (ENT) that got cancelled after four seasons is not a failure. At this juncture, I should ask for your definition of “failure.”

I love love Voyager and it’s my favorite TV series of all time

What is it with all the haters out there?! There just seems to be so many that come to this site……

22. Jon – October 29, 2015 Voyager started out so promisingly with a good premise and what should have been dynamic/enjoyable/fascinating characters… I do mostly blame the writing staff as they just seemed to be both burned out and phoning it in and really should have looked into hiring new blood at that point. The main problem with VOY was unquestionably the writing. I don’t know why or how they managed to do this, but when I analyzed why so many of the episodes fail, I noticed an unmistakable pattern of the writers simply abandoning the main theme they’d been developing in the story. They’d introduce what were quite often a compelling concept and theme at the beginning of the episode, and then just sort of abandon it about halfway or 3/4 of the way into the episode, without any sort of statement or intended meaning about it. It’s like if TOS City on the Edge of Forever didn’t include the whole love-story part of the episode and the theme of Kirk having to chose between a woman he loves and everything else in the world; and instead, Kirk and Spock simply find McCoy and then return home. That’d be how VOY would have done City on the Edge of Forever. It’s just so bizarre how these producers—Berman, Braga, even Piller at the very beginning of VOY—suddenly forgot how to tell good writing from bad writing, or for some reason lost all of their good writers and were never able… Read more »
Spock's Second Favorite Organ

If only Catherine Deneuve had been willing to deal with the rigors of TV. She would have made all the difference (those who’ve seen the extras that came with the DVD set will know what I’m on about). With a world-class actor setting the bar so high, Voyager would have been just as good as TNG. Instead we got Kate’s mannered Errol Flynn impression.

27. Cygnus-X1 – October 29, 2015 So, the series that ran its full seven seasons (VOY) is a “failure,” but the subsequent series (ENT) that got cancelled after four seasons is not a failure. At this juncture, I should ask for your definition of “failure.” Whatever my definition, it’s surely not “how long does a series run.” By that definition, VOY should be, what, about 30% better than BREAKING BAD (laughable, that), and 120% better than TOS. 20 years out, VOY is less consequential than both TOS and TNG. With the possible exception of 7 of 9, it hasn’t embedded itself in the cultural zeitgeist in quite the same way. (Said BREAKING BAD characters didn’t brainstorm a script about the exploits of Harry Kim.) So that’s one definition of failure, one that admittedly applies to ENT as well. The other definition is dramatic quality: Flotter. Captain Proton. That stupid bar in Marseille, space Nazis (at least ENT did away with the Holodeck). The soap opera-style wrangling about Naomi Wildman and Icheb and Tom and B’Elanna’s baby. That great nemesis, the Kazon (they make the Ferengi look ferocious). The Endless Antics of Neelix (Whoopi Goldberg the character was not). The Hollywood Indian trope. Need I go on? And unlike with every other Trek series, including ENT, I can think of very little social commentary that redeemed the low points. Where was VOY’s version of Yesterday’s Enterprise, the Inner Light, or Darmok? The ENT Vulcan trilogy? The name of the ship encapsulates… Read more »

Let me try to say something positive about Yoyager, well, it wasn’t the worst Star Trek series, an even more terrible series came after it. Anyway, even though I’m still a Star Trek fan, I have never (re)watched any Voyager (or Enterprise) episode after it’s original run, so that kind of says it all. To me, Star Trek is TOS, TNG, DS9, and the movies up untill the shitty remakes.

30. The River Temarc – October 30, 2015

Well, personally, I agree that VOY wasn’t as good as TOS or TNG (or DS9, or ENT). The first two seasons of ENT, by and large, are about as bad as the average VOY episode, but ENT showed more improvement, more consistently and more quickly than did VOY. The latter half of VOY is better than the first half, but still inconsistent.

Still, there are some VOY episodes, such as those discussed in the podcast and some that I added, that cannot be called “failures” by a reasonable standard of TV drama. As a series taken as a whole, I suppose I agree that VOY was a failure. It was certainly disappointing to many Trek fans. Though, it still managed higher ratings on average than did ENT. Though, again, I think there’s a good case to be made that after the disappointment of VOY and the first two seasons of ENT, fans started giving up on ENT.

I thought they were grasping at straws with the original concept.

It’s as if someone said, now REALLY no Klingons or Romulans this time, but then created the Kazon as a substitute ridge-headed irritant.

So, with little to no ability to fall back on reliable fan-favorite enemies, then came First Contact. It was obvious that film’s success forced the hand of the writers to exploit the hell out the upgraded and popular Borg while the getting was good. So they did it to the point of overdose.

Gene Roddenberry had the ‘No Klingons and Romulans’ shtick in his original TNG Writer’s Guide, and we know how that turned out.

Reinventing the wheel with Star Trek just turns out bad Star Trek.

Blah. Blah. Blah. I loved Voyager.

“DS9 was a very dull show that was trying to make something out of stolen ideas and was never able to deliver any drama or interest because they did not understand the source material due to their plagiarism of it.”

Yeah, I’ve never fully bought the “they stole B5” argument.

I was able to keep interest all through Voyager, unlike with TNG. Could never warm up to DS9 or Enterprise at all. Other than Neelix, I liked most of the characters on Voyager. Not perfect, but enjoyable.

The concept of a space station story, wasn’t really stolen from JMS. Just because he presented Babylon 5 proposal to Paramount, and their response was to create their own UFP version of a Federation-run Starbase, doesn’t make it theft. C’mon, TOS had Starbases in the 1960’s. The concept isn’t new…. one could argue The Trouble With Tribbles itself is a basis for DS9. Space Station K-7 stories were a-plenty in fandom in the 1970’s. And that was on the Klingon-Federation border with an Organian Peace Treaty turning it from an all-out war to a Cold War.

JMS, really stole the ideas from David Gerrold.

I liked Voyager a lot. And I find it strange some of the negative comments about the series. But I suppose everyone has their reasons. In many ways, Voyager was exactly what Gene Roddenberry had in mind. It crossed every convention of television, and broke many of their rules. You had both a female captain and a female engineer. This isn’t even present in current science fiction. Women in leadership roles? Forget it. Tuvok’s character was interesting also for having a non-pale skinned actor play a Vulcan. And it was never really discussed. It was assumed to be natural that multiple races within a culture exists. If you think this line of conversation is very off, then consider why Gene Roddenberry had characters like Lt. Uhura, Mr. Scott, Sulu, or Chekov? Diversity was very much the name of the game for Gene.

Of course Voyager wasn’t great all of the time. None of the Star Trek’s had hit it 100% of the time. But for what it had, it was pretty damn good…even with it’s flaws.

So if I don’t like the show Voyager, I am a “hater” ???

Control your emotions, son. Name calling is not going to help you to get your way here.

++++++++++++++++++++++++
28. John – October 29, 2015
I love love Voyager and it’s my favorite TV series of all time

What is it with all the haters out there?! There just seems to be so many that come to this site……

Battlestar Galactica showed us how the voyage to Earth really should have been done. A struggle for survival! Voyager however was just a TNG-clone and the original premise was wasted. Everything felt like a pleasant day trip like on TNG not like the epic odyssey it was supposed to be. Pitty.

I miss Trek on television as well. I mean new Star Trek. Things have changed so much in 20 years. I long for the good old days of looking forward to a new episode; a new season. I will not put Voyager down as I have in the past.

Please bring Star Trek back to tv.

Enterprise was the worst execution of a bad idea.

Voyager was the worst execution of a very good idea.

Last season of Enterprise was outstanding. Too bad it already was a dead format airing when it was made. And VOY did not deserve it’s weak finale. There must be reasons, Moore left it to make the outstanding BSG ;-)

I thought Voyager was a wonderful premise but due to uninspired writing, soap opera level acting, boring cinematography and music, it unfortunately became a missed opportunity. On the writing side it was mostly flat one dimensional characters involved in predictable politically correct stories conveniently wrapped up at the end in a nice technobabble bow. There were some very good episodes but it was almost frustrating because it gave you a tiny taste of what the show COULD have been if the right people were running it, but then next week it was back to business as usual. It was almost as if they were so worried about playing safe creatively, that they thought if they might offend us with something really challenging, exciting, or unique. I loved the potential of the Janeway/Chakotay dynamic but then it was ruined by that fact that Tom Paris and Harry Kim were as dull as paint. 7 of 9 was obviously a Data/Spock hybrid in a sexy package with the (now tired) struggle of balancing logic or borg implants with her humanity. Although I think Jeri Ryan did as much as she could with what she was given, as did Robert Picardo and Kate Mulgrew. The show was dripping with mediocrity on almost every level, and if someone in control simply had the courage to break away from the Berman TNG cookie cutter formula, it might have stood on its own two feet and been something excellent. Ironically, (or not) the best episodes were… Read more »

IMHO this is the best series after TOS without a doubt. Janeway was like a female Kirk, shoot first ask questions later. That would definitely be their legacy.

YES YES YES

=============================

New ‘Star Trek’ TV Series in the Works

Prolific producers Alex Kurtzman is developing a new take on the beloved sci-fi classic for TV, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. A formal announcement with additional details is expected to come later this morning.

The drama is set up at CBS Television Studios, where Kurtzman and Orci’s K/O Paper Products banner is under an overall deal. A search is under way for a writer to take on the cult hit.

The new Star Trek TV series would continue Kurtzman’s relationship with the beloved franchise. He currently produces the Star Trek feature film series, writing 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness and 2009’s franchise revival. The fourth in the franchise set for 2019.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/star-trek-tv-series-works-828638

Just saw this on my FB feed! About time!

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