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John Byrne
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Posted: 11 March 2017 at 8:43pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Commencing my viewing of the episodes in order. How long will I last? We shall see. Tonight:

Caretaker

First, a few general observations:

Astonishing how far TV special effects have come. Voyager herself looks fine (a practical model?) but the CGI stuff is... sad. Was this really state of the art?

Remembering how TOS hit the ground running THREE TIMES (two pilots and a first episode) this VOYAGER premiere felt too much like a first episode, laboriously setting up characters and situations instead of diving right in. And taking 90 minutes to do it!

Which was another problem: too many plots/set-ups. Too much time spent doing so.

All that said, nothing entirely turned me off. Partly that might be because I am familiar with the characters from later episodes I have already seen, so I was reacting to them more as I know they will be, rather than as they were.

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 11 March 2017 at 11:08pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Voyager herself looks fine (a practical model?) but the CGI stuff is... sad. Was this really state of the art?

++++++++


Yeah, Voyager was (usually) a practical model. And perhaps the last such physical, "hero" starship model which will ever be built for a STAR TREK production!


Anyway, I watched VOYAGER in first-run, for the entire run. At the time, I thought it was a fair-to-middling show (whereas the latter seasons of DS9 were quite good), but there were definitely some solid ideas and episodes. The pilot didn't impress me, especially since a lot of the ideas it set up (the integrated Starfleet/Maquis crew, the other Caretaker, etc.) were pretty quickly abandoned.


I've been catching bits and pieces of episodes on Heroes & Icons channel, over the past few months. Perhaps I'll give the series a rewatch, eventually. 


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John Byrne
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Posted: 12 March 2017 at 6:16am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

The pilot didn't impress me, especially since a lot of the ideas it set up (the integrated Starfleet/Maquis crew, the other Caretaker, etc.) were pretty quickly abandoned.

Articles at the time made a big deal about the Maquis being on board. After the blanderized interpersonal actions of TNG, critics hoped this would see a return to something like the verbal sparring of TOS.

This was, of course, remembering the open hostility that the writers shoveled into the Spock/McCoy banter in the third season.

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John Byrne
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Posted: 12 March 2017 at 6:17am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

PS: While watching I used my iPhone to look up some of the actors, and what they had been doing since.

Jennifer Lien. Good god!!!

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 12 March 2017 at 9:24am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Jennifer Lien. Good god!!!
+++++++++

Yeah, that's a horrorshow if ever there was one. Pretty shocking.

There's also still a lot of controversy as to why she was axed from the show. Word has it that Garrett Wang was original gonna get fired, due to his constant lateness to the set (among other shenanigans), but that he was suddenly named as one of PEOPLE Magazine's "50 most beautiful people", and was therefore useful in boosting the show's publicity. So, Lien got the axe, instead.

Given everything that happened to her, later on, I kinda wonder if there isn't more to the story. Yikes.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 12 March 2017 at 9:46am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

I find myself remembering how I knew almost nothing about the private lives of the actors on TOS. TV GUIDE did some puff pieces, and my dad even brought home that issue of EBONY with Nichelle Nichols on the cover, but the rumor mill ground hardly at all.

Which was a good thing, since it allowed me to see the characters as the characters. (None of them were really familiar to me from previous performances.)

Note to self: watch show, leave iPhone in pocket!!

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 12 March 2017 at 9:56am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Yeah, it can be difficult to maintain verisimilitude when you start reading about studio politics and actors' personal lives.

Fortunately, I had many childhood years of watching TOS in a vaccum, so that the characters burned themselves into my psyche. Now, of course, I'm deeply into the making of TOS (and the actors' autobiographies), and while fascinating (and occasionally horrifying), it can't really diminish the experience of just watching and enjoying the show.

I am quite eager to start reading the two volumes of THE FIFTY-YEAR VOYAGE, because I am very curious about all of the behind-the-scenes goings-on of the spin-offs. I haven't really gotten into the nitty-gritty, behind-the-scenes stuff for the post-TOS series, so it should prove interesting. And probably horrifying!

At the very least, I know that there was a good deal of tension between Kate Mulgrew and Jeri Ryan. Mulgrew, seeking to protect her position as the series' lead, was apparently put off by the inclusion of Ryan and her sex appeal.
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Matthew Chartrand
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Posted: 12 March 2017 at 11:01am | IP Logged | 8 post reply



 I have never seen a single episode of this show. So, I am going on this adventure too. Three episodes in, and its not terrible. The first one after the pilot felt familiar. Didn't TNG do a similar one? I hope this show doesn't do to much rehashing.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 12 March 2017 at 11:08am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

If they rehash TNG I'm not likely to notice!
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 12 March 2017 at 2:19pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Greg Kirkman wrote: "At the very least, I know that there was a good deal of tension between Kate Mulgrew and Jeri Ryan. Mulgrew, seeking to protect her position as the series' lead, was apparently put off by the inclusion of Ryan and her sex appeal."

This image certainly plays into that... That expression... :-)


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John Byrne
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Posted: 12 March 2017 at 4:03pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Parallax

Just about every third word is technobabble of the worst kind, and the first half feels like vintage DOCTOR WHO -- and not in a good way. The sense of "making it up as we go" is inescapable.

When the story settles down to something that actually feels plotted, the pseudoscience gets ramped up to a point that would have made Gene Roddenberry blush. A hole in an event horizon?

Two episodes in, and already the format is gone. The whole story could have happened anywhere, to any ship. Voyager's ongoing dilemma gets only lip service. (And just how fast are the impulse engines? At one point Janeway initiates a four light year journey on impulse only.)

Stuck with it thru the whole episode, and preparing to watch the next, but feeling pretty whelmed at this point.

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John Byrne
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Posted: 12 March 2017 at 4:58pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Time and Again

Two "time travel" stories in a row? And even using the same "things can happen before they happen" bit?

The "twist" is clever enough on its own, but buried in technobabble. Not sure, either, why a planet 70,000 light years from Earth uses Arabic numerals! (Again, the ship's dilemma gets mentioned only in passing.)

Kes is already starting to feel like "Super Spock."

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Peter Hicks
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Posted: 12 March 2017 at 6:04pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

There was a physical and a CGI model of Voyager right from the first episode.  At the aft of the secondary hull, the CGI model has three lights illuminated.  On the physical model, the lights are painted black because there was insufficient room to install the electronics.  As the years went on, the CGI aversion was used ever increasingly.

I have read that at the same time the producers got rid of Jennifer Lien, they also told Garrett Wong they would be writing him out of the show.  Mr. Wong reportedly went to the studio execs, cried his eyes out, and threatened to play the visible minority card.  So Harry Kim got to stay, but his part was scaled way back.
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Matthew Chartrand
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Posted: 12 March 2017 at 7:35pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply



  The tilting of the nacelles right before warp seems a rather unnecessary flourish.
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 12 March 2017 at 8:54pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

JB wrote: "Not sure, either, why a planet 70,000 light years from Earth uses Arabic numerals!"

Hodgkin's Law of Parallel Planetary Development. It covers a multitude of sins. :-)

Peter, "Garrett Wang," not Wong.

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Marten van Wier
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Posted: 13 March 2017 at 2:05am | IP Logged | 16 post reply

When the story settles down to something that actually feels plotted, the pseudoscience gets ramped up to a point that would have made Gene Roddenberry blush. A hole in an event horizon?

**

I never thought about it at the time but you are right, an Event Horizon is not like some kind of impenetrable shell around a singularity.
This is really bad science.

**

Yeah, it can be difficult to maintain verisimilitude when you start reading about studio politics and actors' personal lives.

**

I was rather disappointing about hearing some of the stories behind the set about the various actors, especially as the show already suffered because of bad character development.

Beltram did an interview years after Voyager, I think at some point he mentioned that he wanted to get fired of the show but perhaps I am postulating.
All I know is that he was really disappointed with his role on the show.

Thing is, I still think a show in the Delta Quadrant could be really exciting but perhaps it should have been instead about the first ship that is send there.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 13 March 2017 at 5:38am | IP Logged | 17 post reply

ANNOUNCEMENT: I have been forced to delete a couple of posts in this thread. Apparent there are those who do not quite "get" that this is not a "General Commentary" thread, inviting anyone who wants to to post "reviews" of episodes.

So, PLEAE, no more such posts. And, most especially, no such posts that are AHEAD of where I am.

(Speaking of which, I have decided VOYAGER suffers from marathons, so I will be devoting my Sunday evenings to watching a couple of episodes each week. Again, this is not an invitation for others to "fill the gap.")

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Conrad Teves
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Posted: 13 March 2017 at 11:40am | IP Logged | 18 post reply

For comparison:

The Voyager filming miniature: Here  (That's Mike Okuda hovering over it).

The CG model: Here 

JB>>Astonishing how far TV special effects have come. Voyager herself looks fine (a practical model?) but the CGI stuff is... sad. Was this really state of the art?<

One thing with CG for older TV shows is that it's often rendered using the sRGB color model (matching a CRT Tube TV--which no one uses anymore), rather than something higher dynamic range.  Looks horrid on a modern HDTV.  If your final render was done like that, it literally doesn't matter how good the model is or how well textured it is, it can't look like a photograph because the light can't be made to match what a camera does.

If your renderer has color management and you switch away from sRGB, side by side even on simple models the difference is shocking.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 13 March 2017 at 12:04pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

...Mike Okuda..:

Seeing his name in the credits cooled my cockles considerably.

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Steve De Young
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Posted: 13 March 2017 at 2:28pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

Voyager's ongoing dilemma gets only lip service.
---------------------------------------------------
During the run of the show I was torn about this.  On the one hand, I didn't want it to devolve into Gilligan's Island plots (ala 'Hey, we found a way to get home!'  'Oh no, that wacky Neelix fouled it up again...').  And I tended to enjoy a lot of the 'one-off' exploration episodes more than the ones that tried to crate some kind of serialized 'lore' around the Delta Quadrant.  On the other hand, logically, other than necessary stops for food or supplies, why wouldn't they have just plotted a course for Earth and zipped along at maximum warp? There was always the lip service about missing home, but in terms of the plotting, they seemed to just sort of being exploring unexplored regions of the Delta Quadrant more than trying to actually get there.
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 13 March 2017 at 6:31pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

Not only did Janeway take the very, very Starfleet tack of "we're explorers. Let's explore," potentially adding decades to their trip back, she did it with a ship full of violent terrorists, who were not explorers, and whose entire complaint centered around Starfleet arrogance and being denied their homes. This sort of thinking is exactly what made the Maquis take up arms in the first place. "But Janeway's so badass and our guy Chakotay seems okay with it, so I guess all of us, who comprise a militarily significant portion of the crew, will all just be okay with it as well..." That premise never made any sense.

"If you want to leave a marker buoy so a properly equipped Starfleet vessel with a crew that wants to be here can explore the Delta Quadrant from point onwards, fine. In the meantime, Dora, you, Diego, and Mochila point this thing in an Alpha-like direction and fire up those bio-pack powered engines for home," says half of her crew and probably more.

I don't know that I would build a show around a group of people stranded in the desert with an equal number of their mortal enemies and give the entire bunch a commander who says, "Home's that way, everyone. We can get there in a couple of months and many of us are likely to die in the attempt. But y'know, I've never been out this far in the desert. Let's deliberately not get there very quickly..."


Edited by Brian Hague on 13 March 2017 at 6:33pm
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 13 March 2017 at 10:02pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

Mike Okuda..:

Seeing his name in the credits cooled my cockles considerably.

++++++++


Y'know, he and his wife seem like nice people. And, they worked on every iteration of TREK from 1986 (beginning with THE VOYAGE HOME) through 2005. But...I have to wonder: how exactly did they become the Keepers of the TREK flame, and essentially in charge of the official TREK chronology, etc? I mean, Mike was a graphic designer and technical consultant (and inventor of such technobabble as "Heisenberg Compensator"), and Denise a video supervisor. Aside from being uber-fans, how does that qualify them for having such sway in shaping the lore?


Granted, I appreciate all of the work they've done as STAR TREK archivists and scholars, but some of the other stuff doesn't sit so well with me, like certain choices made for the CHRONOLOGY and Remastered episodes.


It's sort of an ultimate fan-turned-pro story, with all of the good and bad that you'd imagine.

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 13 March 2017 at 10:05pm | IP Logged | 23 post reply

Voyager's ongoing dilemma gets only lip service.
---------------------------------------------------
During the run of the show I was torn about this.  On the one hand, I didn't want it to devolve into Gilligan's Island plots (ala 'Hey, we found a way to get home!'  'Oh no, that wacky Neelix fouled it up again...').  And I tended to enjoy a lot of the 'one-off' exploration episodes more than the ones that tried to crate some kind of serialized 'lore' around the Delta Quadrant.  On the other hand, logically, other than necessary stops for food or supplies, why wouldn't they have just plotted a course for Earth and zipped along at maximum warp? There was always the lip service about missing home, but in terms of the plotting, they seemed to just sort of being exploring unexplored regions of the Delta Quadrant more than trying to actually get there.
++++++++++

I believe I've read that Ron Moore was very dissatisfied by his time on VOYAGER, because he really wanted to dig into the inherent meat of the premise. Instead, he was stuck with the producers wanting the ship kept immaculate, and the other logical elements of a "lost in space" scenario downplayed.

I've also read that his reimagined BATTLESTAR GALACTICA was a sort of response to (and therapy for) all of the things he wasn't allowed to do with TREK. 
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 13 March 2017 at 11:58pm | IP Logged | 24 post reply

I wonder how many series and stories there are out there like this. After leaving CHARLIE'S ANGELS, producer Barney Rosenzweig began efforts to make more intelligent, feminist projects, eventually selling CBS on CAGNEY & LACEY.

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James Woodcock
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Posted: 14 March 2017 at 3:40am | IP Logged | 25 post reply

Greg: 
I've also read that his reimagined BATTLESTAR GALACTICA was a sort of response to (and therapy for) all of the things he wasn't allowed to do with TREK. 
------------------------------------------------------------ --
I could see that
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