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The end of a journey (Star Trek: Voyager Rumination)

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Wow, it's been a long time. Was it really 4 years? I want to start out by thanking Lorerunner for the years of great analysis and insightful discourse. Rewatching Voyager again with a full understanding of English and your thoughts make me appreciate this series so much more. The journey was long and fill with obstacles but the ship have returned to port, and like it's crew I await our next grand adventure.

So what are everyone's thoughts? What in your opinion would have made the ending work better? For extra challenge, try to do it without any reshoots.

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Four and a half years! Yeesh, never thought I'd get through all of that. This is actually the third Feature I've completed to satisfaction (the others being the incredibly unpopular Roleplay series). I have to admit I'm still in a bit of shock over the whole thing.

Now, fixing Endgame? That's easy... but requires setting up for it, IE doing episodes that lead up to it properly. So let's assume that's out the window. No reshoots? That means the only way to 'fix' is to remove, IE the ever popular 'fan edit Phantom Menace' style. Given those extreme limitations, I'm not sure much could fix this... though if I had to do that? I'd completely cut out Admiral Janeway's scenes prior to her heading to the past. They, ultimately, add nothing. All the necessary exposition of her motivations are well explained when she's in the past, there's no insight into any characters, no foreshadowing, and in fact several of the scenes are actively nonsensical.

The Lorerunner
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Hi there Lorerunner and anybody else, I'm watching your Voyager videos at the moment, still in Season 2 so I have a way to go, discovered them a bit late I'm afraid, although I have done most of the Movies alongside.

A friend and I started the conversation about Voyager relatively recently, just casually kicking around thoughts on the phone one day and agreeing that "that show could have been really awesome", but found your videos, looking for extra input into something that had become more specific that just a 'shooting the breeze' kind of chat. I didn't want general observations of the "too much Seven" or "Janeway is crazy" variety or just pat observations (and I happen to find Seven a very interesting character from a very particular perspective and I'm not the biggest Janeway fan in the world). I was looking for something a bit more textual and re-watching the episodes along with the videos just to see whether anything sparked or I saw anything new. Oddly, there is a lot I find we agree on and I thought the 'changes' bit really worked. I was curious about how your proposed Conclave (seasons 1 and 2 re-write) concept would have worked out, so it's kind of a bummer to me that you didn't continue with that, that's a Voyager I would have loved to see. Did you post your thoughts anywhere? I'd love to see that. Predictably I am also a Battlestar Galactica person, so I guess that makes sense that I'd like a more political and grittier take on these themes, I've often wondered whether BSG was basically Voyager if Ron Moore had been showrunner. Instead we got the Ovaltine version of Star Trek, general cosy, pleasant and not nearly as challenging as it could or should have been.

Ironically, they maybe should have held off making it for some years, they could have done something like that now and with an even half-way adequate budget it could have been really special.

Anyway, I am still slogging through Season 2 (just finished 'Dreadnaught' so I have a way to go but boy that and 'Meld' and 'Projections' keep you going through that dreadful year, I count 11 episodes I'd keep period, un-canon everything else). No doubt I will see you on the other-side eventually.

The five core things I'd change is 1. no Janeway or at minimum fundamentally change her character to someone not the Queen of Inflexibility, 2. I'd change the reason they are stranded in the Delta Quadrant to something that makes more sense or at least make something more of the Ocampa so we care about them enough to actually support Janeway's decision to destroy the array, 3. bin the Kazon and do something more original, 4. keep the Maquis as the Maquis, I wouldn't have them in-uniform, it would inject shades of grey into decision-making and discipline on-board and 5. serialise the show.

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I actually had a document of notes and everything about the my Voyager thing, but the extremely summarized concept is that the Conclave is a massive organization that functions as more of a region-wide peace-keeping force rather than actually being a state itself. Their job is to ensure no one reaches a certain level of advancement, as it is the solution they came up with to prevent the Borg from taking an interest in their part of the galaxy. They don't say this upfront (for a large number of reasons) and the Terenok faction (pushed by Seska) was trying to get a leg up on the many other nearby nations in neighboring sectors with Voyager. This would push Voyager directly onto the Conclave's radar, since the very existence of such an advanced ship would be a big shiny beacon to the Borg (which, it ends up, is what happens). In fact I remember my planned season ender off the top of my head; Voyager, pretty battered by this point, is literally running at full warp away from Conclave ships, when they just sort of... stop following. The episode would end on the cliff hanger of Paris asking the obvious, and Voyager slowly flying forwards into (what would eventually be known as) Borg Space. I wouldn't even introduce the Borg immediately, I'd have several episodes of build up as they basically fly through the galactic equivalent of a graveyard.

...okay that took too long. Hope you enjoy the Ruminations though, love to hear your own thoughts. I read all the comments on each video if you feel like doing any specific ones to an episode too.

The Lorerunner
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Now something like that would have been cool. Not to talk down Season 3, but I am basically hanging on for 'Scorpion', say what you like about Seven, but at least the writers had a theme they were able to explore – the nature of humanity.

What you suggest sounds a tad like an authoritarian version of NATO but with the willingness to interfere in the business of member-states when it suits them (France detaching in 1966 under De Gaulle and involvement in Kosovo and Afghanistan in-particular). I'm guessing that an intelligent show-runner making a sci-fi show now and looking for source-material might look to Europe and think about how big organisations grow, change or even shrink (EU and NATO enlargement, Brexit, Russia and its neighbours, the end of Yugoslavia or maintain the status quo, my own country, the UK.)

It's a shame they didn't wait in a lot of ways, now-a-days would be the perfect time for Voyager to come along, the character-heavy, serialised nature the concept suggests is completely in-vogue (as is TV's willingness to explore darker subjects such as terrorism with the Maquis). This show done now would question what Star Trek actually is at its core (concept, themes, presentation of humanity), how you tell it in the modern world (storytelling methods, film-making techniques, effects, make-up, music etc – you are so right about the battle sequences, we Scots would say “utter pants”), focus on character development and conflict and have a female authority figure where the fact that she is female is TOTALLY unimportant. Leaving aside Seven = hot babe, I have no problems with Torres, Seven or even Kes as authority figures – Torres might be personally a mess, but she knows her subject (I salute any actor who has to handle that amount of Techno-crap and just about gets away with it, never-mind the immortal "get the cheese to Sick Bay"), leads a well-trained crew from the front and can kick the crap out of anybody when required. Seven is brilliant, has natural authority and ability, is lethal when necessary and learns loyalty. Kes handles herself and others around her very tactfully, particularly with the Doctor and Neelix, is curious and adapts and learns extremely quickly, (I wish Kes could have stayed too, I'd have loved to see her helping Seven, it would have been really interesting given Seven has so little life-experience herself and aside from the fact we have to assume she knows Samantha Wildman quite well, struggles relating to other women). Janeway on the other-hand is a hot mess, for all her bad-assery with a phaser rifle in-hand, she was intended to be a woman Captain and was written and portrayed as one far too often. She is a piss-poor diplomat, has questionable strategic vision (I’m being nice) and she clings to Starfleet ideals far too closely. I never understood, why send a Captain who used to be a Science Officer to capture terrorists? Why not pick a Captain who used to be a Tactical Officer? I just don’t believe she’d make Captain in a real military, even in situations where taking advice is appropriate too often she has already made up her mind. Basically, I just find her annoying, compared to other women in vaguely similar roles, President Roslin on BSG, Aeryn Sun on Farscape, even Sam Carter on Stargate, she looks out of her depth or resorted to obvious and weak solutions too often and got incredibly lucky whilst we are continually told how great she is, she doesn't ever learn from her mistakes and I have so many problems with her in 'Endgame'. If they'd made her flaws into an arc as she learned to be a Captain, maybe as the First Officer promoted up in a crisis when her Captain had been killed coming to Delta Quadrant, that would have been great, instead they hand-wave it away by stating she is on her first mission as Captain, 'but hey, that's alright, 'cos she's awesome'. She has her moments, but she's nothing compared to Picard or Sisko. I even prefer Rachel Garrett from the Enterprise-C….

Voyager is the Star Trek show all fans are destined to be most frustrated with isn't it? Brilliant concept, hemmed-in by corporate greed and network politics. TOS - the prototype, TNG - imperfect but still wonderful, DS9 – the franchise grows up and tests its own limits, Enterprise – an attempt to do something else, cut out most of Season 2 and you've got a solid show and I agree with you completely on Season 3. Voyager – the woulda, shoulda, coulda of the franchise. Bloody waste….

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