Voyager. Oh, shit.

Brikar

The Dude
Jan 1, 1970
3,661
3
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Massachusetts
#1
1x01/1x02 "Caretaker" - The starship Voyager, in pursuit of a band of Maquis resistance fighters, is pulled 75,000 light years across the galaxy by a mysterious alien 'caretaker.' Captain Kathryn Janeway is forced to make a moral decision to help the Caretaker to save the kindly Ocampa race, making enemies of the vicious Kazon and stranding Voyager and the Maquis ship decades from home. For all the flak 'Voyager' takes, "Caretaker" isn't a bad episode. Sure, the cast isn't all that great, but it's pretty well-written and features some very fine special effects and production design. At least this early in the game, the antagonistic feelings between the Maquis and Starfleet crew are fun. Even Neelix is far less annoying than I remember him being later on in the series.
 

Brikar

The Dude
Jan 1, 1970
3,661
3
0
Massachusetts
#3
For the moment. I watched the first couple seasons earlier this year, and I've watched the entire series at various points in the last few years, so it's much fresher in my mind. But 'Voyager' I haven't watched at all since its initial television run.

1x03 "Parallax" - The Voyager crew tries to help a ship escape a quantum singularity, only to discover they are the ones trapped within it. This is a pretty decent episode; the Starfleet vs Maquis atmosphere is still going strong, with some good arguments between the Starfleet and Maquis crewmembers, particularly Torres and Carrey and Janeway and Chakotay that are fairly fun. The Doctor quickly proves himself to be the best actor in the whole cast, though his subplot is mostly just played for laughs. The sci-fi hook for the episode is fun, too. The only problem is that the second half of the episode devolves into some extremely expository dialogue, and it starts to grate after a while, with the crew simply shouting out things that are beyond obvious at this point.
 

Brikar

The Dude
Jan 1, 1970
3,661
3
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Massachusetts
#4
1x04 "Time and Again" - Paris and Janeway are accidentally flung back in time several hours before a massive explosion that will destroy an entire civilization. Again, not a bad episode. The twist at the end regarding the true cause of the explosion is pretty cool. The ending features the dreaded 'reset button' that everyone seems to hate but me... but since I don't hate it, I'm fine with it.

1x05 "The Phage" - Strange aliens attack Neelix and steal his lungs, forcing the Doctor to try and create holographic lungs to keep him alive. The Vidiians are an interesting race, but ultimately the failing of this episode is that Neelix is pretty annoying. Instead of feeling bad for him, I'm kind of aggravated. Once again, though, Robert Picardo proves that not only is he the best actor in the whole cast, but he's lucky enough to have the best written character, too.
 

Brikar

The Dude
Jan 1, 1970
3,661
3
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Massachusetts
#5
1x06 "The Cloud" - Voyager investigates a nebula, only to discover that it is a living creature and their movement through it has injured it. Not bad. This one reminds me a lot of an original series episode, in terms of its sci-fi premise. The stuff with the nebula is all well and good. It's the stuff on the holodeck I don't care for; the whole point of the episode is that the ship is running low on power, but the crew ends up dicking around some fake french bar for half the episode. No one seems to care about the fact that the holodeck consumes vast amounts of power. It would have been better if Janeway had struggled with the idea and then decided that it was worth it to boost crew morale.

1x07 "Eye of the Needle" - The crew discovers a wormhole and manages to make contact with a Romulan captain in the Alpha Quadrant... 20 years in the past. This is a pretty good episode. The cast all does a pretty good job with their characters. Kate Mulgrew is kind of back and forth as Janeway, though; sometimes she manages to sell it, sometime she comes off as too stiff. She does a great job in the last scene in the transporter room when Tuvok reveals that the Romulan died years earlier. And, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, Robert Picardo owns his scenes. The bit at the end when he asks Kes for a name is a great moment for the character.
 

Brikar

The Dude
Jan 1, 1970
3,661
3
0
Massachusetts
#6
1x08 "Ex Post Facto" - Tom Paris is accused of murder on a world where the guilty are forced to re-live the murder through the victim's eyes. Not bad, but not great. The hook for the episode is pretty good, but Paris comes off as acting kind of douchey at parts. The real problem is the friggin' Scooby Doo-esque ending where a dog is a key witness. Oy.

1x09 "Emanations" - Harry Kim is accidentally transported to an alien world where they believe he has come from the afterlife. This episode has some good ideas behind it, but dramatically it falls a little flat. There's a lot of good philosophical debate going on about the afterlife and the nature of death, but debate doesn't always make for good drama. It never really feels like Harry is in any danger, even though we're told that his mere presence is disrupting an entire civilization - and we never get to see any of that, either.

1x10 "Prime Factors" - The Voyager crew find themselves on the other side of the Prime Directive when they encounter an alien race with the technology to send them 40,000 light years closer to home. Here's a great idea - the Federation crew is the one that wants better technology, and is refused by another culture that has laws against it. The scene at the end when Janeway chastises Torres and Tuvok for their actions is excellent. Aside from the cheesiness of the episode's 'antagonist', I think this might be the show's best episode so far.
 

Brikar

The Dude
Jan 1, 1970
3,661
3
0
Massachusetts
#7
1x11 "State of Flux" - The crew discovers a damaged Kazon ship and uncovers evidence that one of their own may be a traitor. Here's another good episode; Seska is a worthy character, and the twists and turns of the plot are well-written. The Kazon are pretty vicious, killing their own man right in Voyager's sickbay, even if I think their costumes are kinda lame.

1x12 "Heroes and Demons" - When Kim, Tuvok and Chakotay disappear inside the holodeck, the Doctor must go in and investigate. This one is problematic; Robert Picardo gets a number of good scenes, and there's the occasional good line of dialogue but for the most part this one is just too silly. I like 'Beowulf,' but I couldn't really get behind this one.

1x13 "Cathexis" - An alien comes aboard the ship with the ability to control the crew's minds, and points the ship toward a dangerous nebula. Most of this episode is pretty good, too, but ultimately it just goes way too far. The ultimate revelation of who one of the alien presences actually is is just too silly, and putting it back together at the end is positively magical. Plus, no real explanation is given for why or how Chakotay is able to do the things he does.

1x14 "Faces" - B'Elanna is captured by Vidiians and separated into two beings: one fully Klingon, the other fully human. Another solid episode; Roxanne Dawson gets to stretch her legs a little. The Vidiians prove to be an interesting race once more, and the scene where the scientist kills a member of the away team for his face is dang effective.

1x15 "Jetrel" - An alien comes aboard Voyager, claiming Neelix could be suffering from some kind of fatal blood disease. But it turns out that the man is a scientist responsible for creating a weapon that destroyed a Talaxian colony, and killed Neelix's family. At first, I thought the idea of making Neelix a war veteran didn't work at all, but the episode managed to sell me on it (mostly) by the end. Ethan Phillips puts in his best performance of the season, which helps a lot. The ultimate resolution to the episode isn't particularly satisfying, however.

1x16 "Learning Curve" - Tuvok attempts to train troubled Maquis crewmembers in Starfleet protocols while the ship's bio-neural gel packs get sick. Not bad, but not great, either. As a season finale, it's not particularly satisfying (but it apparently wasn't meant to be) even if it's not that bad of an episode. The best I can manage is... "meh".
 

Brikar

The Dude
Jan 1, 1970
3,661
3
0
Massachusetts
#10
2x01 "The 37s" - When Voyager locates a human distress call, the crew discovers a colony descended from humans kidnapped from Earth in the 1930s. Meh. The idea of finding Amelia Earhart out in the Delta Quadrant is silly enough to be fun, but the execution is lacking. There's a massive human colony that we never see, and too much time is spent wasted on a hostage situation that never feels dangerous. There's a couple of funny bits, and the scene with Janeway and Chakotay in the cargo bay is a nice moment, but otherwise this episode is a waste.

2x02 "Initiations" - Chakotay saves the life of a young Kazon who attacks him, but discovers that doing so may have damned the young man in the eyes of his society. This is the best look at the Kazon so far in terms of their culture, buuut that culture isn't particularly interesting. The actors portraying the Kazon give simple, uncomplicated and angry performances. Aron Eisenberg, Nog of DS9 fame, is the only one who is sympathetic in any way and he works well with Robert Beltran.

2x03 "Projections" - The Doctor finds himself in a crisis when a Starfleet lieutenant named Barclay appears and tries to convince him that Voyager is just a holographic simulation. This episode is pretty good except for one scene at the climax with the fake-out ending. I wish they hadn't done that, because it's too obvious and pretty lame. Otherwise, Robert Picardo is once again the highlight of the cast and the idea of the Doctor contemplating the nature of his own existence is pretty interesting.
 

Brikar

The Dude
Jan 1, 1970
3,661
3
0
Massachusetts
#12
I honestly have no idea. The DS9 cast to me always seemed very theatrical, very stage-oriented, as though if you were to take away the cameras and put them in a Broadway showhouse it would seem perfectly natural. There's a scene in one episode where Kira is leaving after having been replaced as first officer, and the crew all comes to say goodbye and there's a very interesting feel to that scene. The way the dialogue is written and the way the scene is staged, it feels very much like a stage play. And there are a lot of interesting moments like that where DS9 doesn't feel like a television show, and it doesn't hurt that the cast they managed to get is capable of taking anything thrown at them.

By comparison, the cast of Voyager is never feel like anything other than B-grade TV actors... aside from Robert Picardo. And I can tell that the writers like writing for him, too, because he's getting all the best material on the show, too. But most of the rest of the cast just has one mode and they stick to it. B'Elanna is impatient and angry. Paris is kind of a slacker. Neelix is obnoxiously bubbly (or obnoxiously angry... the ongoing storyline regarding his jealousy of Paris and Kes is seriously grating). Chakotay is just kinda there. Harry is over-eager. There's no range to any of it.

If I were to replace the DS9 cast with the Voyager cast in that goodbye scene, it would fall flat on its face.

Now, I'm liking these episodes... They're decent, easily digestible television. I'm entertained - but nothing about Voyager is blowing me away. I find it very easy to have on, but my attention wanders and I'm rarely thoroughly gripped by an episode.
 

Brikar

The Dude
Jan 1, 1970
3,661
3
0
Massachusetts
#13
2x04 "Elogium" - Voyager encounters a group of creatures in space that are... sexually attracted... to the ship... Meanwhile, Kes enters a physical stage where she must have a child. Yeah, this is an epically strange episode. The special effects for the alien creatures might have been cool in 1996, but they look pretty awful today. The Kes pregnancy storyline is not particularly interesting, nor is Neelix's obnoxious response to it. Also, at this point, Voyager has been in the Delta Quadrant for about 8 months. I have no idea how Ensign Wildman is only just finding out that she's in the early stages of pregnancy if her husband is the father back on DS9.

2x05 "Non Sequitur" - Harry Kim wakes up in San Francisco in an alternate reality where he and Paris never joined the crew of Voyager. Pretty solid alternate reality episode, but nothing special. Seeing Paris as a drunken loser is fun, but otherwise there's nothing groundbreaking or truly amazing about this episode.

2x06 "Twisted" - A spatial anomaly begins to reshape the ship, causing the crew to get lost on board. Yet another spatial anomaly episode, which seems to be happening more often in these two seasons than all of TNG and DS9 combined. The best part of this episode is the scene where the crew all sort of say goodbye to each other just before they think the anomaly is going to kill them all. It's a nice scene, with each one getting a good moment. Otherwise, meh.

2x07 "Parturition" - Tom Paris and Neelix are stranded on an alien world, caring for an alien baby and squabbling over their love of Kes. Good gawwdddd this episode is annoying. Neelix's jealous is freaking aggravating as hell, and watching him and Paris bicker is just freaking awful.

2x08 "Persistence of Vision" - The crew begins to experience hallucinations as they enter a realm of space claimed by a mysterious and powerful race. Not bad; but what starts as a Janeway-centric episode ends up focusing on Kes about halfway through. The makeup effects at the end are pretty gross, well-done there. Otherwise, this episode is a kinda messy and I'm not sure I get the point.

2x09 "Tattoo" - Chakotay leads an away team to an alien world where he encounters beings with the same forehead tattoos as his own. Not bad, a nice look into Chakotay's backstory and a good message about respecting the land. I'm not sure it makes a lot of sense for the aliens to have visited Earth 45,000 years previously and never developed a faster method of transportation than they did, but maybe that's part of the point.
 
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Brikar

The Dude
Jan 1, 1970
3,661
3
0
Massachusetts
#14
2x10 "Cold Fire" - The Voyager encounters a space station full of Ocampa who inform them that the Caretaker's companion is nearby. While I enjoy the presence of Gary Graham, this episode is kinda meh. Watching Kes learn about her mind abilities is fine, but the plotting is sort of dull. The scene where Kes boils Tuvok's blood is well made, with some good makeup effects and is pretty creepy.

2x11 "Maneuvers" - The Kazon Nistrim board Voyager and manage to steal a transporter module. Chakotay leaves the ship on his own to retrieve it, against Janeway's orders. Ok, this episode rightly pissed me the fuck off. The Kazon don't manage to steal the transporter module because they're that good... they manage to steal it because the Voyager crew is a bunch of retards. When Seska left the ship as a traitor, obviously her knowledge of the ship would come into play later on. But at one point in the opening battle, the Kazon are able to get through Voyager's shields because she still has access codes. Why the fuck does she still have access codes? Further, when Tuvok responds to intruders in the cargo bay, he shows up with only two other security guys, up on a catwalk, and waits for the Kazon to fire first... and then they run out of the cargo bay and into the corridor unopposed. This kind of idiotic response to a boarding party is just absurd. The idiocy doesn't end there, either. Chakotay boards the Kazon ship to destroy the transporter module and then just allows himself to be captured and tortured... But what good did destroying the transporter module do since his shuttle has one, too? Ugh. This i by far the worst episode of the series to date, though I know it'll get worse.

2x12 "Resistance" - Tuvok and Torres are arrested on an alien world and Janeway must infiltrate the prison to rescue them. Meh. Nothing remarkable about this one, but nothing terrible, either. Joel Grey's performance is decent, but the writers beat us over the head with it.

2x13 "Prototype" - Torres is kidnapped by a race of artificial life forms and forced to build a prototype for a new one that will allow them to procreate. I like the ideas at work in this episode, but the production is troubled. The alien robots are so inanimate in their faces saps them of any real dramatic power.

2x14 "Alliances" - Janeway tries to get all the Kazon sects to sit down at the negotiating table with their former masters, the Trabe. Furthering the storyline of Voyager versus the various Kazon sects, this one is leagues better than "Maneuvers." It still has its own troubles; I can't believe the crew would ever so optimistically propose an alliance with Seska and the Nistrim after the events of the previous episode. The betrayal of the Trabe is well-played and the episode overall is pretty entertaining, despite its issues.

2x15 "Threshold" - Tom Paris begins to mutate after breaking the warp 10 barrier. What... the... fuck. This episode is just bewildering. Nothing that happens seems to make any damn sense whatsoever and the salamander thing at the end is just freaking bizarre. I have no idea what anyone was thinking when they were making this episode, and I'm not entirely certain they did, either.
 

Cymro

Religious Fanatic
Nov 30, 1999
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#15
But most of the rest of the cast just has one mode and they stick to it. B'Elanna is impatient and angry. Paris is kind of a slacker. Neelix is obnoxiously bubbly (or obnoxiously angry... the ongoing storyline regarding his jealousy of Paris and Kes is seriously grating). Chakotay is just kinda there. Harry is over-eager. There's no range to any of it.
The thing is, they aren't even that good at doing those aspects of the characters, they never did anything memorable that made them stand out. Whereas Michael Dorn, for instance, is not what I'd consider a great actor, but he was great at being Worf and helped make him such a popular character.
 

Bean

The Awesome One
Jan 1, 1970
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cheese.com
#16
I think a lot of the acting issues weren't "just" the actors fault. I think a lot of it had to do with TPTB wanting Voyager to be "background" entertainment. Something where you don't have to be halfway intelligent to get the point (Like DS9). Subtlety is not something you see very often in Voyager. Be it the story, the dialog or anything else.

Prototype is a perfect example. Something happens, which obviously leads to a certain result, and any 2 year old watching can understand that, yet they still feel the need to have the character actually SAY it out loud. Like someone didn't get the point. Prototype could have been a really good episode if it weren't for that pandering to a "dumber" audience. I've found that most of Voyager is like that. An utter lack of respect for the audiences intelligence and ability to connect the dots.

Whereas DS9 and to a lesser extent TNG, used subtlety magnificently. Hell, even TOS did a better job of it.

I guess the best analogy I can think of, is that if TOS was written the same way as Voyager, in City on The Edge of Forever when McCoy says "Do you know what you just did??" to Kirk, instead of saying "He knows doctor, he knows" Spock would have responded by recapping the entire thing. "Doctor, he fell in love with her, and made the ultimate sacrifice by allowing her to die to save the timeline. He will be forever plagued by that decision and it will hurt his very soul.".

Make sense? lol
 

Brikar

The Dude
Jan 1, 1970
3,661
3
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Massachusetts
#17
That's absolutely true. There are so many instances of the cast simply announcing their thoughts and feelings out loud that it's almost absurd, and it's gotten a lot worse in season two from season one. And repetition, too... I feel like I'm hearing the same lines over and over again because they're trying to beat me over the head with their point. There have been a number of instances in the last few episodes where, in my head, as I was watching the episode I would start to pick out places I could easily streamline the dialogue.
 

Brikar

The Dude
Jan 1, 1970
3,661
3
0
Massachusetts
#18
The thing is, they aren't even that good at doing those aspects of the characters, they never did anything memorable that made them stand out. Whereas Michael Dorn, for instance, is not what I'd consider a great actor, but he was great at being Worf and helped make him such a popular character.
Dorn doesn't have a lot of range... but neither did Worf, which mean the role was suited perfectly. But Dorn could always sell the character, and he had pretty excellent comedic timing. And that's one thing that the TNG and DS9 casts always did well - they could be fuckin' FUNNY.
 

Bean

The Awesome One
Jan 1, 1970
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Canada eh!
cheese.com
#19
That's absolutely true. There are so many instances of the cast simply announcing their thoughts and feelings out loud that it's almost absurd, and it's gotten a lot worse in season two from season one. And repetition, too... I feel like I'm hearing the same lines over and over again because they're trying to beat me over the head with their point. There have been a number of instances in the last few episodes where, in my head, as I was watching the episode I would start to pick out places I could easily streamline the dialogue.
The other part of that is that there are so many lines that Janeway has, that serve no other point, than to give Mulgrew something to say. I've picked out line after line of hers, that made no sense in the story, that any other character could have said.

It's kinda like they'd have a non-Janeway centric episode, but throw her in just to remind us that Mulgrew is the "star". Kind of "me too" lines. Drives me fucking crazy!
 

Brikar

The Dude
Jan 1, 1970
3,661
3
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Massachusetts
#20
2x16 "Meld" - When a crewmember is found murdered, Tuvok discovers that the identity of the killer isn't as mysterious as the motive. This episode's not so bad; Suder is a pretty interesting character, and Brad Dourif is a good actor and does a nice job. The problem I have is that previously on 'Star Trek,' the Vulcan mind-meld is described as something extremely, deeply personal and rare. Yet on 'Voyager,' Tuvok seems to throw it out all willy-nilly like some kind of telepathic slut.

2x17 "Dreadnought" - Voyager encounters a Cardassian missile that had been reprogrammed by Torres two years earlier. This episode makes no sense whatsoever. The Cardassian missile is almost miraculous in its technology, with a Borg-like ability to adapt to new weapons systems. And the idea that the Caretaker would have snatched an unmanned weapon from the Alpha Quadrant as he did Voyager and the Maquis ship is absurd.

2x18 "Death Wish" - A Q requests asylum aboard Voyager with the intention of committing suicide, forcing Janeway to arbitrate over a hearing to help determine his fate. Y'know, aside from John De Lancie's overt sexism, this episode is pretty fun. A guest appearance by Riker is cute, but short-lived. There are some pretty humorous bits throughout and the script has some solid ideas and good performances supporting it.

2x19 "Lifesigns" - The Doctor saves the life of a Vidiian woman by creating a holographic version of her, whom he promptly falls in love with. Meanwhile, the traitor aboard Voyager is ordered to sabotage the warp drive and Tom Paris' behavior problems grow worse and worse. While the Doctor's personal growth is nice, I was more interested in the B-plot involving Jonas and Paris. Still, this is a decent episode even if the idea of transferring someone's consciousness into a hologram is a bit too magical.

2x20 "Investigations" - Neelix uncovers evidence of a traitor aboard Voyager just as Tom Paris announces his intentions to leave. Aside from the annoyance of focusing so much on Neelix's newfound "journalistic integrity", this episode is a pretty cool culmination of little seeds planted in several earlier episodes. This is the kind of storytelling I'd prefer 'Voyager' to continue indulging in, standalone stories mixed with more long-term storylines. Oh well.

2x21 "Deadlock" - The ship is split into duplicates occupying the same space. Unfortunately, one ship's attempts to reverse the process is causing heavy damage and casualties to the other. This is a fun episode, a decent twist on the usual alternate reality story. The reversal at the climax is cool, too. I liked this one.