Jammer's Review

Star Trek: Voyager



Air date: 10/14/1998
Written by Brannon Braga & Joe Menosky
Directed by David Livingston

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"Nihiliphobia—the fear of nothingness. Or in layman's terms, the fear of ... nothingness." — Doc

Nutshell: A reasonable start to the season, but with a few too many drawbacks.

Voyager's season five premiere, "Night," is like a seesaw, where on one side we have elements of promise and originality, and on the other we have the familiar frustrations. Which side wins out? I'm not exactly sure. I'm inclined to call it a draw.

An episode like "Night" reveals a duality that exists within much of starship-based Trek. One half of this duality allows me to be interested in where these characters are going next, because sci-fi's possibilities are so broad. But with the other half, I realize that, in creative terms, they've probably already been where they're headed. It's a duality that makes me wonder how long a Trek series can last without striving to break the conventions of formula—which in turn makes me wonder how fatal a mistake it was for Voyager to ignore the more consequential implications of its setting way back when the long-lasting standards were being set.

What's funny is that DS9 seems strangely immune to this Trek duality because its format these days is so labyrinthine, unpredictable, and particularly mindful of its own history. I'm not trying to go out of way to say "DS9 good, Voyager bad"—what I'm saying is that Voyager continues to come off as a new breed of TOS, whereas DS9 comes off as a breed of its own. (Sometimes I wonder where we'd be if DS9 had turned to exploring the Gamma Quadrant in TNG style rather than exploring its political and metaphysical powers within a war setting.)

Anyway, back to the point here: For me, a lot of "Night" was an example of utilizing the standard Trek formula, but also an example of how to use Voyager's elements well. The original point of this series was that the ship and crew were alone. But the ship has never really been alone; they've always been in contact with some alien species, or as Janeway puts it, "constantly under attack."

In "Night," Voyager is travelling through a void where there's nothing—no stars, no civilizations, no light. Just the starship Voyager, out there alone for two months now, with no expectations for encountering another star system or alien ship for another two years. "Every sailor's worst nightmare," Chakotay says ominously.

The psychological aspects of the episode are its most compelling. An early shot of the ship is eerie, with no stars visible anywhere—the only light emanating from Voyager itself. It's quite a striking visual. Later, a panicking Neelix wakes up in the middle of the night, looks out his window, and sees … absolutely nothing. It's like looking into the depths of literal oblivion.

The effect this all has on the crew is believable and interesting. Everyone is a little on-edge. Neelix's panic attacks provide the most immediately effective example. And even Tuvok looks mysteriously at stars on the astrometrics lab viewscreen, almost as if for comfort, as he comments to Seven that the view from his window "has been less than stellar lately." (If that isn't the Vulcan pun to end all puns, then I don't know what is.)

The Tom/B'Elanna bickering, however, didn't do all that much for me. Is seemed pretty standard and tired, and Tom's jokes resided on the not-so-funny-but-just-plain-insulting side. (His mention of Klingon pain sticks seemed especially inappropriate. For one, B'Elanna has never "enjoyed" such activities; for another, the comment is, well, stereotypical.) Overall, though, the idea of Voyager in darkness is probably the highlight of the episode.

There are some other good ideas in "Night." Beyond the isolation setting, there's also the new "Captain Proton" holonovel—Paris' fantasy program that pays homage to those cheap 1940s sci-fi serials. It's a scream. (Besides, how can you not like a holodeck program that's offered in black-and-white?) We seem to go through approximately one holodeck theme per year, ranging from the French pool hall, Janeway's Victorian novel, Neelix's resort, to Leonardo da Vinci's workshop. "Captain Proton" easily has the potential of being the most fun if the writers can keep it interesting.

Meanwhile, through the early stages of the episode, I kept asking myself, "Where's the captain?" Chakotay's on the bridge; no Janeway. Staff meeting is run by Chakotay; no Janeway. The crew asks for the captain; Chakotay responds, "The captain sends her regards." Where is she and what's going on?

A good question, but the answer isn't quite what I had in mind. The biggest problem with "Night" is probably this aspect of the story—and unfortunately, it pretty much brings the emotional core of the episode tumbling down with it.

There's always been plenty of potential for Janeway to wrestle with controversial decisions she has made over the years, the most obvious one, as in this case, being her original decision to destroy the Caretaker's array and leave Voyager stranded in the Delta Quadrant. Fine and good, but I have some severe problems with the way Janeway goes about "dealing" with this guilt here.

In short, I find Janeway's actions a little inexplicable. As Chakotay rightly puts it, "You've picked a bad time to isolate yourself from the crew"—and I personally don't think this demonstrates Janeway being a good leader. Sure, I can understand her guilt catching up with her given the current predicament of being out in the middle of a dark, empty void. But for her to simply make herself unavailable, telling Chakotay to "send the crew her regards" is questionable behavior at best—and selfish and out of character at worst. Even when her flaws are at their most evident, Janeway has always been one who maintains confidence in the decisions she makes, and I find the notion of locking herself in a darkened room to be something of a plausibility stretch and a bit silly.

Objections to Janeway's course of action aside, I also feel the "guilt issue" falls severely short of what it could've been dramatically. Why not press it further? Chakotay's attempt, for example, to comfort the captain with, "We're alive, aren't we?" should've opened the door to an entire conversation, but didn't. Just once I'd like to see all those unnamed Voyager crew members who have died over the past four years receive some sort of acknowledgement. Even having Janeway counter with a well-played, "What about those who aren't with us anymore?" could've gone a long way. But such crew members simply vanish into the convenience of "red-shirt oblivion" (despite the fact that Janeway, unlike Captain Kirk, doesn't have the luxury of setting course for the nearest starbase to take on new crew members).

Fortunately, once the episode launches into action, Janeway resumes her rightful place on the bridge. And as far as New Alien Encounters go, this week was fairly fresh. Not groundbreaking, but effective.

Over the summer, Brannon Braga voiced the writing staff's intention to "push the envelope" of alien encounters this year. While this is an attitude that should've arisen the moment Voyager found itself in the Delta Quadrant when the series began, I'm all for the concept of "better late than never," and it's a completely prudent measure to take at this stage of the game, where it's obvious that the goal of the series is to be "TOS in the Delta Quadrant." So on this front, the idea of aliens who live out in the middle of "nowhere" and thrive on darkness is a perfectly workable idea.

That's not to say that the plot is particularly imaginative; it's essentially the TOS attitude with a '90s spin, the theme that seemed to be the goal of much of Voyager's fourth season. For the most part, it's fine here. We have the bizarre aliens who live in the dark and attack Voyager. And then, in perfect TOS fashion, we learn that peace and conflict come in unlikely packages (the reverse of what we initially assume); the dark-habitat aliens are actually the peaceful group (who made a mistake when attacking Voyager) at the mercy of the alien visitor who had earlier come to Voyager's rescue when it was under attack. The formula then follows that Janeway & Co. must get involved to do the right thing, which is made particularly easy when it turns out the visiting alien to this realm is literally dumping toxic waste, which is killing the peaceful aliens who live in the darkness.

This is classic Trekkian morality—not particularly challenging, but nice nonetheless. And conceptually, Michael Westmore's makeup design delivers on the "strange and unusual" level. Ultimately, Janeway's decision to open fire on the toxic waste dumper when he refuses to listen to reason displays a very Kirk-like attitude. Funny how the cycles repeat themselves.

Turning back to problems, however, is the silliest moment of the show—a crucial decision that is much too easily plotted around. I'm referring of course to Janeway's decision to make sure Voyager escapes through a spatial vortex that exits the void on the other side. Her decision requires that she stay behind and collapse the vortex after Voyager has passed through it. But her crew won't let her make this sacrifice. They refuse to follow the given order, and as a result Janeway essentially folds and says, "Fine, then—Plan B." Plan B requires that no one make any sacrifice; instead, the ship must be put in some sort of artificial technobabble jeopardy for 90 or so seconds (accompanied by a battle sequence and nifty special effects).

This is the flaw that keeps the episode from being worth a recommendation. I enjoyed this show okay as an action outing, but when the central character core becomes virtually a non-issue solved with a laughably thin plot device, it becomes hard to get much out of the show in terms of dramatic payoff. Besides, given how much danger the ship is put through week after week, I don't see why Plan B wasn't just Plan A in the first place.

As a season premiere, "Night" manages both to entertain and to frustrate. The teaser and first act are wonderfully engaging, but then the show slowly descends into reasonable action and ultimately resigns itself to shallow solutions, which is a shame. Within this episode I see elements that could turn out to be the beginnings of some very good trends, but I also see some of the same old pratfalls and the series' general refusal to tell a story requiring any length of an attention span.

Next week: Beware—baby Borg becomes big, bad burden.

Previous episode: Hope and Fear
Next episode: Drone

Season Index

43 comments on this review

Dirk Hartmann - Fri, May 9, 2008 - 4:05am (USA Central)
I would have preferred the episode staying in claustrophobic night mode and "nothingness" until the end (=no story involving aliens etc). This would have been a perfect scenario for more in-depth character development. Could have been a winner.
The other thing that bothered me was Janeway acting out ouf character by isolating herself.
gion - Wed, May 6, 2009 - 5:54am (USA Central)
Excellent episode that was unfortunately detracted by Janeway's silly attempt at self-sacrifice. It's a shame they didn't stretch Voyager's tour through the Void across several episodes.
Markus - Sat, Jul 25, 2009 - 5:10am (USA Central)
Agree with my two predecessors, but nevertheless: One of my favorite shows of the whole series. Considering what happened at the end of season 4 I found Janeway's conduct absolutly believable and well acted!
Jay - Sat, Sep 5, 2009 - 12:31am (USA Central)
They must have loved this empty region of space, because they found another one like it in Season 7.
AJ Krovarkrian - Wed, Sep 23, 2009 - 10:19pm (USA Central)
Alright. I like this episode because it has some variety, but I agree that the whole Janeway wanting to sacrifice herself was probably the silliest thing, and was done purely for emotional exploitation. I do like the role Chakotay plays though. And of course the magic deflector always comes to the rescue. It can do anything apparently.

And I still have a problem with their destroying that vortex. Who gave them the right to do so ? It would have been much more interesting to see them make the first contact with the Melon homeworld, because frankly that judgement that Janeway made based solely on ONE corrupt Melon they had just met, was highly illogical to put it mildly. And I would really like to have seen a real big Delta quadrant civilization.
Eric - Tue, Nov 10, 2009 - 9:05pm (USA Central)
I really liked this episode, but I couldn't help but wonder: How can the aliens possibly live this far away from any stars? Where do they get their energy?
Oh! Dear God! - Fri, Nov 20, 2009 - 7:20am (USA Central)
The musical peice Harry was playing should have been called: "Echoes of an idiot"!
RT - Sun, Jan 10, 2010 - 3:11am (USA Central)
I'm also willing to overlook this episode's weak points, the worst one for me being that hopelessly obvious escape down the tube... er... vortex... and out of the void. The plot framework felt inventive enough, the eye candy was impressive, and the dialogue was sharp. The crew's unease set up some excellent moments (Tuvok and Chakotay, and Seven in the holodeck).

As usual I think Jammer was right on the money with most of the analysis. But I didn't have much of a problem with Janeway's actions. She was never written to be quite as ruthless as her decisions suggest her to be, and by this point in the series it was past time for her to do some soul searching, even if it wasn't going to drastically alter the show on a larger scale. Even a half-hearted attempt to revive some of the issues raised in "Hope and Fear" was better than none at all.

As for the amorphous crew, it's the writers' fault for never meaningfully including them, not Janeway's. If they'd ever given us something like "The Ship", or even just some "Ten Forward" style filler, I could see Voyager's losses having a real emotional impact. But Voyager's isolation would have made broaching that topic in a way that wasn't utterly deflating very tricky. It clearly wasn't something they wanted to deal with.

Matrix - Mon, May 17, 2010 - 7:00pm (USA Central)
I really like the first part, up until the malon show up. I especially like the way voyager's lights go off all over the ship slowly, even if it doesn't make a lot of sense. Hollywood physics. The one part that really annoys me for some reason is when tuvok and harry are discussing how they'll 'shed some light' on what's going on, or whatever, tuvok technobabbles and harry says "a warp flare". Why is it a warp flare? Why not just a flare? Sure it's a photon torpedo but just call it a bloody flare!
Tim - Fri, Jul 2, 2010 - 8:44pm (USA Central)
I'm weird. But over time this has become one of my favorite and most re-watched episodes. I really think its Voyager's better stand alone episodes. And its nice to have a strange alien like the Void dwellers, black and slimy. Nice change of pace instead of your usual goofy looking forehead alien.
Cloudane - Tue, Nov 23, 2010 - 3:22pm (USA Central)
It's no DS9, but after the mostly mind numbing Season 4 I found this episode quite enjoyable. It introduced a new idea for once instead of recycling and at least provided some variety in the Hard Headed Alien of the Week.

However it's also an example of *why* it's no DS9. With such a compelling idea they could have made the void last 4-5 episodes and properly analysed the crew's despair and maybe even some character development (heh). No such luck though - it's the usual reset button at the end. What a waste.
Nathan - Mon, Nov 7, 2011 - 12:17am (USA Central)
So er... why not give the dark guys the means to destroy the vortex? This isn't like "Caretaker" where the Ocampa are isolated underground; the people being protected are able to help.
Elliott - Mon, Nov 14, 2011 - 12:13pm (USA Central)
Regarding your complaint about the story's resolution : I repeat, this show is about characters; the A/B solutions (while a little pat) provided the character resolution in Janeway; the Family plot thread which grew significantly last season had a lot to do with Janeway's choices to corral the crew together as matriarch and leader; what she failed to realise is that she herself is a member of that family and bound to its duties and benefits as anyone else. I would have enjoyed seeing a story resolution which accomplished this AND seemed like a relavant plot thread, but that is the unending problem with this series; plot is sacrificed or canned for the sake of character.

This is a 3 star episode. The beginning of one of Trek's best seasons.
Paul - Tue, Dec 6, 2011 - 11:16am (USA Central)
The point about the crew members who died is a great one. Voyager always suffered from what could be called "Late-season M*A*S*Hitis."

When it first premiered, M*A*S*H didn't focus solely on the characters in the credits. Guest stars were the norm, and it was clear that the main characters frequently interacted with secondary characters at the 4077. This changed late in the series when the main cast seemed to only communicate with each other.

This was largely true of TNG, too, but that made sense for a few reasons. The Enterprise had regular transfers, it had a MUCH larger crew than Voyager and the characters in the opening credits were actually all senior officers (except for Wesley).

After Janeway, Chakotay and Tuvok, Voyager's main cast includes two LT JGs (one of whom was demoted to ensign for a while), an ensign, and a non-commissioned Borg, a Talaxian, an Ocampa and a hologram. The fact that Paris, Torres, Kim, Seven, Neelix, Kes and the Doctor are essentially the senior staff makes no sense -- unless you figure everybody else on board is ranked no higher than a LT JG.

This COULD have been something that was addressed early in the series, BTW. One line about how the crew is more reliant on junior officers and non-comms -- because of the deaths in 'Caretaker' -- would have covered it.

Two examples from the series really jump out on this point: The fact that the main characters (sans Chakotay and Paris) are the only ones to stay on the ship in "Year of Hell," and this episode. And considering this episode wasn't undone by time mechanics, it's worse.

When Janeway comes to the bridge to declare her intentions to stay behind, there are a couple extras manning bridge stations. But as Janeway is explaining her plan -- and as the main characters are essentially starting a mutiny -- the extras just turn around and appear not to notice! Do they not care about what's happening behind them?

Enterprise actually got this point more right than Voyager, by having some recurring secondary characters and not having as many extras milling around apparently not paying attention at moments like these. It was always weird that the Enterprise's senior staff was made up of two ensigns, but could sort of be explained away by figuring Starfleet was still a newish organization.
Elliott - Tue, Dec 6, 2011 - 11:38am (USA Central)

The rank of ensign does not preclude one from being a senior officer; Kim was one in the pilot. Torres and the Doc are the chief of staff for their respective departments, rank aside. Kes only came to meetings when it seemed she had something to contribute (eg Scorpion); Neelix is the ambassador (I grant this one's a bit flimsy) and 7 is a genius, besides being the chief AM officer.

I noticed the issue with the extras as well, and shook my head--bad execution on Livingston's part.
Justin - Sun, Apr 29, 2012 - 8:57am (USA Central)
This is a 3-star episode, IMO. I didn't have a problem with Janeway's seemingly out of character depression or her drastic solution. Frankly it was refreshing and different to see a heroic captain in a moment of weakness and despair. I also liked that Chakotay knew her so well as to be able to predict what she was going to try and do.

My main quibble with the episode had to do with the Void Aliens. They should have been designed to look similar to Earth's deep ocean-dwellers. Living in total darkness they could have evolved to the point where they would be bioluminescent with huge eyes. It would have been far more interesting than black and slimy.

@Paul, since she's chief Engineer, I believe Torres is considered a full Lieutenant (but a brevet Lieutenant at that).
Justin - Sun, Apr 29, 2012 - 9:29am (USA Central)
Oops, I forgot about my other main quibble. I'm surprised no one else has mentioned this.

When Seven discovers one of the Void Aliens on the holodeck, she conveniently commands the computer to "disengage safety protocols," and proceeds to shoot it with Captain Proton's "ray gun."

Um...no. First of all, Seven isn't an officer and shouldn't have that kind of authority. Second, even if she did have that kind of authority the command should not have been instantly obeyed by the computer without at least a warning. Third, it's a fictional weapon in a fictional setting - it should STILL be harmless. I get that it's a gag, but it's a very poorly thought out and utterly dumb one.
bunchOFcryBabies - Fri, Oct 5, 2012 - 7:37am (USA Central)
Really love the scene where the lights go out. How cool was that? Didn't bother reading any other posts since I'm sure most of them are people who try to analyze and cry about petty stuff. Nerds.
Jay - Tue, Oct 16, 2012 - 3:12pm (USA Central)
You can turn an enormous cargo bay int oa holodeck just by installing a few emitters?

Aren't the emitters those huge X shaped panels?
takeiteasy - Mon, Nov 12, 2012 - 12:20pm (USA Central)
Agreed with AJ: just like that decided to destroy the vortex.

Agreed with Eric: How are those aliens living there?
Arachnea - Tue, Jan 15, 2013 - 7:54pm (USA Central)
I thoroughly enjoy reading these reviews, but they really are biased against this show. I'd rather it would be rated for what it is and not for not being DS9. Don't get me wrong, I respect your point of view and the time/thoughts you put in these reviews.

Granted, it would have been great to have the crew remaining a bit more in the Void, there are many shuttle crashes, there are no long story-arcs, many plot-holes and easy ways out. However, there are often some nice subtle character developements that you don't talk about in favor of deploring plots and/or metaphors that are simply dismissed.

In this episode, it's nice to see how the staff react in their own particular ways. Though Neelix isn't my favorite character (by far :p), his panic attacks were very much in character and I felt for him. About Janeway, I don't agree it's not like her: a depression may "fall on" everyone, wether the time is right or wrong (well... usually, there's never a right time). One of the symptoms of depressive episodes is isolation. I certainly would have liked it not being magically cured at the end of this episode, but it's very consistent for a person who's had heavy weight on her shoulders - totally alone - to get depressed.

I know it's totally silly to write this comment years after you wrote your reviews, but as I'm overcoming my shyness to write in english, it felt good to type it ;-).
Grumpy - Mon, Jan 21, 2013 - 10:34pm (USA Central)
This episode benefited from its slot as a season premiere. You could imagine that the ship spent most of the summer break in the dark void. That gimmick would not have been possible if Season 4 had ended with a cliffhanger.
Jo Jo Meastro - Thu, May 16, 2013 - 8:34am (USA Central)
A nice start to season five. I loved the concept of the void and the effects it had on the crew. The void was almost like a physical manifestation of the emotional place the crew was at.

I'm guessing it was Joe Manosky who contributed this approach to the story as its very consistent with this style. On top of that, I actually appreciated the aliens of the week and they bring much more than the usual action. They were right at home with the story instead of being a distraction.

Janeway got the chance to confront the guilt she'd been harbouring for so long and the way this situation parallels the events of Care Taker let her find redemption and gives renewed hope. Tackling and escaping the void had emotional under currents I'd like to see resurface more often.

The wonderful special effects, strong direction, intriguing change of pace, impressive story telling, great acting and characterisation all add up to a classic season opener in my eyes. 4/4
Ash - Mon, Jun 10, 2013 - 12:35am (USA Central)
First Emck isnt allowed to go further then the transporterpad next thing hes walking in engineering
smorter - Sun, Jul 7, 2013 - 12:19am (USA Central)
Seems unrealistic for Janeway to casually murder 100 or so people aboard the Freighter...
skadoo - Wed, Jul 10, 2013 - 11:32am (USA Central)
I agree with everyone but what bothered me about Janeway's depression is that the Doctor wasn't consulted. There should have been a discussion btwn the Dr. & Chakotay where they acknowledge that the Captain is having a hard time of it and they may need to do something. Or perhaps Chakotay lying a bit to the Dr. the the Captain isn't all that bad. Having personally battled depression, you don't just throw it off that fast.
Lt. Yarko - Mon, Jul 22, 2013 - 1:14pm (USA Central)
I always have to laugh at the extras on the bridge. They never notice anything going on around them.

It was weird when Janeway said "assemble the crew" and only the senior staff and a few busy extras were on the bridge to hear her plan.
ian - Tue, Jul 23, 2013 - 4:29am (USA Central)
This is an example of the frustrating aspects of trek in general, especially Voyager.
Take an episode that would work as an psychological adventure and make it another silly Bad Aliens (TM) of the week episode.
Also the Politically Correct silliness.
Toxic waste dumping in space?
Oh Please...
It is one thing to maybe do an episode based on a planet where environmental poisoning is being dramatized, but in space?
Space is BIG, really big remember?
Already full of stuff like Cosmic radiation, Gamma rays, X-rays, etc...
If anything just dumping the waste near a star would do the trick to incinerate it.
Also how do Aliens living in a void have spaceships?
Finally, any business person worth a damn would love to get on the ground floor of a new and revolutionary discovery that is sure to be worth a fortune like the malon was offered.
Domi - Fri, Aug 9, 2013 - 2:16am (USA Central)
There were a lot of good parts but also a lot of bad parts in this episode. It could have been a great episode if it had been given the "page 1 rewrite" treatment.

Some of the problems:
- Janeway's sudden personality change was jarring and not convincing (I'm talking about the concept, not Mulgrew's acting, which actually seemed really good). It just seemed so sudden and to come out of nowhere. They could have foreshadowed it in the first couple of scenes instead of wasting time on Captain Protein.

- The aliens live in a vast void thousands of light years across. Where did they come from? Where do they get sustenance? More importantly, they have ships! What do they use these ships for if they have nowhere to go?

On the bright side, the black slimy aliens were really well-done, and I like the "greedy selfish garbage man" concept. Oh, the costuming and ship design for the garbage aliens was good too. I'll also note this is one of the few episodes where I thought Janeway's usually cheesy one-liner worked. Time to take out of the garbage.
Domi - Fri, Aug 9, 2013 - 2:21am (USA Central)
Oh yeah...

I'll say again Robert Beltran's acting always looks especially terrible when he is in a scene with Mulgrew. And the line, "Chakotay, there's no one I trust more than you" was ridiculous. We all know Janeway trusts Tuvok the most, and that she only picked Chakotay to be F/O to help the Maquis feel at home.
William B - Fri, Aug 9, 2013 - 6:50am (USA Central)
@Domi, I agree on much (including Beltran's acting), and I agree that she chose Chakotay as her XO to make the Maquis feel at home. Still, it's been four years since then, much of it spent basically alone with Chakotay ("Resolutions"); things have changed.
T'Paul - Mon, Sep 16, 2013 - 7:56pm (USA Central)
I think that this rating is really unfair.

Here you have a new concept, character moments, original aliens... and basically Voyager gets bashed for not being DS9.

So Janeway hasn't been gnashing her teeth about her decision in front of us for the last few years- as she herself says, she's had other things to do, now she's in pure blackness.

I wish that Voyager had been rated on its merits, not as a comparison with "the Sisko".
Jack - Sun, Sep 22, 2013 - 10:47pm (USA Central)
Where did these indiginous aliens get the materials to build vessels out of?
Petrus - Tue, Oct 8, 2013 - 12:34pm (USA Central)
@T'Paul I agree with you.

Yes, DS9 was awesome; I'm not going to disagree with anyone who says that. At the same time, however, Jammer's incessant bitching that Voyager sucks largely because it wasn't DS9, does grow tiresome.

In terms of the characters, if nothing else, I've come to realise that Voyager is my favourite Trek series; and I've seen them all at this point, although I haven't spent as much time re-watching TOS.

Granted, the writing a lot of the time was awful. I'm not going to deny that. But I also think that the Voyager crew had some of the most charismatic and likeable actors that I've ever seen on television; and that in addition to that, their characters were all the more interesting, because of the fact that they were flawed.

I've also realised more recently, that it is actually Voyager's flaws that are a big part of what has made it so endearing to me, as well. I tend to be a strange person, in the sense that I usually find myself deriving value from things which most other people think are of terrible quality. Voyager is no exception. At the moment, I'm also currently in my second playthrough of the Voyager PC game, Elite Force, which I've always really enjoyed as well.

In other words, although I like your reviews, please lighten up, Jammer. Yes, Voyager is genuine drek in places; but there are other places where it really isn't.
Jammer - Tue, Oct 8, 2013 - 8:57pm (USA Central)
One of the oddities about having comments on reviews I wrote 15 years ago is that it means I'm sometimes asked to adjust behavior (e.g., "lighten up") for a future that is more than a decade in the past.
Petrus - Thu, Oct 10, 2013 - 4:50am (USA Central)
True. I realised that not long after I finished that post, and felt exceptionally stupid. My apologies.
Jammer - Fri, Oct 11, 2013 - 3:37am (USA Central)
No need to apologize. It's just one of those weird and interesting things -- and it makes me feel old.
Nick - Sat, Nov 2, 2013 - 5:57am (USA Central)
I liked this episode, it had a bit of everything.

However, Chakotay was especially annoying, especially his apparent readiness to mutiny (yet again) - but of course everything gets neatly tied up in the last five minutes.

Voyager is constantly compared to TOS, which is fair. However, it just goes to show how strong the Kirk/Spock/McCoy relationship was that served to sustain the fabric of that show. Chakotay is the weakest link in voyager. They should have killed him off - then we'd have been left with Janeway, a promoted Tuvok, combined with Seven, and the Doctor - every other character would have remained cardboard cutouts and the show would have been perfectly fine and much stronger for it.

Lastly, one key of TOS success is many of the best episodes were written by dyed in the wool sci-fi writers. Voyager clearly benefited from this tradition. Meanwhile, DS9 wasn't much more than a soap-opera (space-opera - with a high dose of melodrama)- not true science fiction.
Caine - Tue, Nov 19, 2013 - 9:33am (USA Central)
Ah, another new season ... and, sadly, another new mess.

I'd really, really love to like Voyager as a series - but the writers just make it impossible for me. The amount of things that just make no sense, be it practical stuff or crew behaviour, piles up to a point where I just can't ignore it, try as I might. It's a shame, 'cause the show actually has a lot of good stuff tugged inbetween the total brainfarts.

Oh, and:
The power goes out all over Vo├Żager. On the holodeck, Paris and Seven turn on a flashlight and we see that:
1) Although there's apparantly no power on the holodeck (lights went out), Paris and Seven are still surrounded by the set from the Holonovel
2) ... and everything is in black and white (or rather: grey).
*tripple facepalm*
Cloudane - Wed, Jan 22, 2014 - 9:02am (USA Central)
@Jammer yes that's quite an amusing effect :)

I've also been guilty countless times of sayings things like "I hope they improve the writing of soandso". In the back of my mind I know it already finished over a decade ago and the writers have long since packed up gone home and written other things. But sometimes you get so immersed in the show (especially if you do things like watching early Voyager and mid-late DS9 in parallel to match how they aired) that you kind of forget it was all done and dusted years ago. It's interesting :)
Trent - Wed, Jan 22, 2014 - 9:39pm (USA Central)
Excellent episode. The alien plot was unnecessary, but still, the character moments were touching.
karatasiospa - Sun, Nov 9, 2014 - 3:32pm (USA Central)
I think this episode is the perfect example of what was wrong with Voyager. A crew alone thousands of light years from home, fighting for their lifes for 4 years, alone and tired and now they have to face the reality of a years long journey through nothingness! That could be a great psychological episode ( even a thriller) and a good chance for the writers to give us a closer look to the crew. But what they did instead? The alien of the week again and in the end a cheap trick to get them out of the difficult situation! The first 16 minutes were very good and Janeway rethinking her decisions was a nice moment but the writers didn't elaborate. A pitty.
stallion - Thu, Jan 8, 2015 - 6:44pm (USA Central)
One thing I'll say about Brannon Braga he does a good job at writing stand alone episodes and big two parters. I love the episodes he wrote with Ronald Moore, Joe Menosky, and Rick Berman. With episodes like All Good Things, Year of Hell, Broken Bow, he could easily write a big epic stand alone Trek movie that would appeal to Trek fans and non Trek fans.

Considering how hard it must had been to produce 24 episodes a season I'm surprised the creative staff didn't attempt to expand theme in this episode and other episodes such as Parallax, The Cloud, Basics, The Swarm, Year of Hell, The Void and etc into more than one episodes.

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