10 Ways To Remake and Fix Star Trek: Voyager . . .

Mekaela and I are slowly — excruciatingly slowly — working on our recast for Star Trek: Voyager. But before we get to that, I felt it was necessary to also make a list on how we would turn this remake into a much better show than its predecessor.

See, Voyager was my favorite Trek when I was a kid, mostly because I was nine when it started, and I got to watch it from beginning to end. (I very distinctly remember how angry I was when TNG concluded because, to me, it seemed like it had just begun.) And conceptually, the show had a lot of really cool things going for it. The potential in Voyager is almost staggering.

Unfortunately, in execution . . . yeah, there are some serious problems.

Disclaimer: Spoilers for the show. As if you care.

First, let me give you a list of things to keep from the original. (It’s pretty short.)

A. In the fifth or sixth season, the Voyager crew actually manages to make contact with everyone on Earth. They can’t get home any faster, but they let everyone know they’re still alive, and a lot of interesting personal arcs arise because of it. Janeway finds out her husband has moved on and remarried. Paris has to deal with his daddy issues. Torres suffers from depression after finding out that pretty much everyone she ever fought with in the Maquis is dead. I actually really liked this storyline, and I would like to see it in the (not actually happening) remake.

B. The villains are kind of awesome.

Okay, the Kazon are admittedly sort of blah.

Species 8472? They were kind of badass. The Hirogen? They’re a pretty decent example of the oft-used hunter trope. And the Vidians? The Vidians were fucking creepy. The whole idea of them attacking people and harvesting their organs in order to try and cure the Phage? Yeah, the horror potential there is just huge. With better makeup and special effects, they could look pretty hideous. I’d actually like to see way more of the Vidians because come on now; they were pretty damn awesome. They even had the decency to remove Neelix’s lungs at one point! (Sadly, he still lived.)

C. B’Elanna and Paris have one of my favorite romantic relationships on TV.

Let me tell you why B’Elanna and Paris are awesome: unlike most romances I can think of on television, the progression of their relationship actually makes sense.

B’Elanna and Paris aren’t friends at first. Then they slowly become friends due to the various shit that happens to them on away missions. Their flirting is a little antagonistic at times but never ridiculous or awful, and they actually have decent chemistry. Eventually, after a believable amount of time, they start dating. A few years after that, they get married and have a kid. And . . . that’s the end. No bullshit adultery storylines. No unnecessary drama. Once they get together, they’re pretty much together, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

I would kill for more TV shows to have relationships like this.

Unfortunately, Voyager has so, so many problems as well. So, to fix those problems:

1. Rework Neelix’s whole character.

Neelix is one of the most disliked characters in all of Trek, and if I wanted to just vaporize him, well, I don’t know that anyone would really object to that. But even Neelix’s character has potential. He’s introduced as a scavenger, which is a nice contrast to all of these upright Starfleet officers hanging around that, until now, could have pretty much whatever the hell they wanted. Neelix also ends up serving as the quasi tour guide to the Delta Quadrant — which is eighty times more interesting than the bullshit morale officer role that he later appoints himself. And when you think about it, Neelix is actually kind of a manipulative bastard, willing to lie to the crew of the Voyager and use them in order to rescue his ladylove, Kes. Put all of that together, and you should either get a lovable rogue or a slightly seedy opportunist. What you shouldn’t get is an ultra cheesy, ridiculously perky caricature/shitty comic relief.

If Neelix is a little darker, a little more scheming, and a lot more intelligent . . . you know, he could actually be a pretty fun character. He shouldn’t be a cold bastard or anything . . . I like the idea that he really loves Kes, and he can totally be romantic and sweet with her . . . but he also does what needs to be done to survive. Cause he’s pragmatic, see, and pragmatism will be an important theme in this new Voyager because . . .

2. We’ll remember this time that resources are limited when your ship is stranded at the ass end of the universe.

It’s not that I don’t like Captain Proton and Dr. Chaotica, just . . . you know, maybe playing Holodeck adventures shouldn’t be as important as SURVIVAL.

One of the strongest things Voyager has going for it is the concept. Not only do you have two enemy crews, Starfleet and Maquis, being forced to work together on one ship to get home . . . you also have the challenge of these people trying to survive in a part of the universe where they have no space stations to refuel and no allies to back them up. Hard choices have to be made . . . or at least, they ought to be made.

But in Voyager, every time anyone even contemplates throwing out their Starfleet ideals in order to survive . . . something happens so they don’t have to, or they choose the righteous path and everything turns out for the best because of it. I don’t want the Voyager crew to become a bunch of bloodthirsty monsters, but this show backs off hard choices and real consequences so fast that it’s almost hard to become invested in their journey.

So, there will be much more moral ambiguity in this new Voyager. Also, stuff like replicators and the Holodeck? Yeah, maybe they shouldn’t be working anymore by, say, Season 3. Occasionally, the show talks about rationing and whatnot, but it’s never as consistent of a theme as it ought to be. By the time this ship gets home at the end of the show, man, they ought to be limping.

And speaking of the end of the show . . .

3. The series finale will not be complete and utter bullshit.

Oh, time travel. Why must you always be so, so predictable?

“Endgame” has to be one of my least favorite series finales of all time. (Not my very least favorite. That particular honor still goes to BSG, I think.) It’s just . . . it’s just boring. Old Cynical Admiral Janeway goes back in time to alter the past and save Seven of Nine, and she argues with Young Idealistic Captain Janeway, and eventually she sacrifices her life to defeat the Borg Queen and . . . yawn. Just . . . yawn.

Also, why the hell are Chakotay and Seven suddenly dating? Seriously? You don’t just throw out a relationship like this in the last episode of a series with absolutely no groundwork to support it.

Honestly, I don’t have any specific ideas for what should happen in the series finale. I just know that having the bitter future alternate of anyone sacrificing their lives is the most boring thing you can ever do in time travel because it’s been done so many times. Hell, it’s already been done by this show before. What would actually be a lot more interesting is to have Admiral Janeway go back in time, only for Young Janeway to sacrifice her life . . . that almost never happens, presumably because no one wants to deal with all the timey wimey paradox stuff. Still, at least it would be different.

Also, preferably, there won’t be a Borg Queen. Because I just don’t like the Borg Queen. I never have, and I never will.

4. While we’re eliminating Borg, let’s eliminate the Borg Kids while we’re at it.

I don’t hate the Borg children as much as other people do, but they’re really an unnecessary complication that just takes time away from all the other characters who are far more important. We already have the ongoing process of turning Seven of Nine human again. (Not to mention the Doctor, who also wants to be more human, because it’s just not Trek if it there isn’t a Humanity is Awesome! theme happening all the time.) The Borg kids are just kind of repetitive, at this point.

Besides, seriously, so many other characters need to be reworked or developed, not just Neelix. For instance . . .

5. Ohmygod, give Harry Kim something to do.

This can’t be right. I don’t get promoted EVER? Not once in seven seasons?

Poor Harry. He’s stuck being Naive Guy, his storylines usually suck, and he never once gets promoted or gets a girlfriend. He has one bromance, and that’s about it. For seven seasons, that’s not much to work with.

The thing is, though, that Harry could be fascinating. In the pilot, he’s the green ensign about to have the very worst first day on the job that you can possibly get, short of actually dying. Watching him grow and change over seven years could be so interesting — if you bother to write in growth and change, that is. Harry should not be the same innocent guppy by the end of the show that he is in the pilot. In fact, he literally isn’t the same, innocent guppy that he was in the pilot because he’s an alternate Harry Kim.

In “Deadlock,” Voyager and everybody on board is accidentally duplicated. (I forget how. Vidians are somehow involved.) On the original ship, Harry Kim is killed when he gets sucked into space through a hull breach. However, Alternate Harry Kim manages to escape his ship onto the real Voyager before his Voyager is destroyed all to hell. Now, mind you, everyone’s pretty much technically the same person, but if you’re telling me that Alternate Harry Kim wouldn’t go through a serious existential crisis after this . . . well, I just don’t believe you. This could be such an interesting personal arc for him, and yet the show never goes back to it, not once.

In my remake, Harry Kim will be very aware that he is not Original Harry. He will also get to date somebody for more than one episode, preferably somebody who is not a hologram or an evil alien, and by the last episode, he will get promoted to Lieutenant because good God, I think the man deserves it.

And while we’re fixing problematic characters . . .

6. Give Chakotay a personality.

My tattoo is more interesting than my entire character.

I am still waiting to see an interesting Native American character in Hollywood. Chakotay is a particularly terrible example. He didn’t seem so awful in the first episode, you know, back when he was the captain of a rebellious Maquis crew, but pretty quickly he just became the . . . I don’t know, the spiritual voice of the ship? In lieu of an actual personality, he just has wise sayings that his father or grandfather taught him and, occasionally, a medicine wheel. It’s pretty terrible.

So, here’s an idea: let Chakotay actually be a character instead of a stereotype. Remember why he was in the Maquis in the first place and give him some much needed edge. He can totally still be spiritual . . . just, you know, maybe his spirituality should encompass more than just a hodgepodge of Native American traditions. I mean, honestly. Why is it so hard for people in Hollywood to write Native American characters that actually come off as, you know, people?

Also . . .

7. Seska isn’t terrible, but she could be so much better.

Seska is the angry Maquis officer who bitches about everything and shockingly, oh so shockingly, defects to the Kazon. Oh, and she was secretly a Cardassian the whole time, so it’s not like she was once a good guy because we wouldn’t want that pesky moral ambiguity EVER. Oh, AND she pretends to be carrying Chakotay’s baby at one point because everyone knows how well sudden baby storylines play on television.

Okay, so maybe Seska was pretty terrible.

But she’s an easy fix. Because the Maquis and the Starfleet crews clash so much in the first few seasons of Voyager, there’s a lot of tension on board . . . not to mention the fact that people are pissed at Janeway for not getting them home faster by screwing over the Ocampa. So, the brewing ground is already there for traitors and mutiny . . . we absolutely do not need the stupid secret Cardassian twist. The best thing to do would be to make Seska a bit more likable or, at the very least, relatable, so that when she switches to the Dark Side, you’re much more invested as an audience member.

And seriously, just drop the whole baby thing, whether it’s Chakotay’s kid or not. I can think of one show that has successfully done the Surprise! Baby! twist. One. And honestly, I just don’t see it happening again.

And hey, about those pesky Ocampa . . .

8. Kes’s whole story arc, particularly the conclusion, needs to be entirely rewritten.

And yes, infusing her with some personality would be helpful as well. It’s amazing just how bland some of these characters are. Although no one is quite as bland as Chakotay.

Kes wasn’t well-loved among fans, and she was ushered out in favor of Seven of Nine and her reformed Borg hotness. I’m okay with that . . . well, I’m okay with Seven of Nine’s reformed Borg hotness. But I actually want Kes to stay in the series — admittedly, with a better personality — because again, so much misused potential in her storyline.

Kes is an Ocampa, and the Ocampa only live for nine years. Kes is two when she comes aboard Voyager, and the show lasted for seven seasons, which means we could have seen her whole life span play out over the show, and I think that could have been really interesting to watch. I mean, I’m okay with her random burgeoning psychic powers too, but using them as an excuse to get her off the ship by turning her into a non-corporeal being or whatever? Lame. (And the less said about her dumbass vengeance return episode, the better.)

So. Let’s have Kes stay on board and live her whole life until she dies of natural causes. It’s kind of sad, but it would actually be sort of cool to see how the crew interacts with her, considering how much slower they age in comparison. This could even be the reason Neelix and Kes eventually break up . . . do they even give a reason in the original? I can’t remember. I’d also love to see a conversation between her and Tuvok about their respective ages, as he has a considerably longer life span than everyone else on the ship.

And while I’m fixing characters left and right . . .

9. Make Janeway a more consistent badass.

Now, I’m actually one of the only people out there who likes Captain Janeway, at least a lot of the time. I think Kate Mulgrew has a great flair for comedy, and when she’s irritable, I completely buy it, love it, even. When she’s playing the pissed off, I’m-the-mama-bear-of-this-ship-and-you’re-attacking-all-of-my-kids, well, I buy that too. I actually like Janeway being this kind-of maternal character . . . like I’ve said before, frequently, there is more than one way to be a female badass. I don’t want Janeway to be Starbuck. I don’t want her to be Admiral Cain. I like the fact that she doesn’t have a gigantic chip on her shoulder about being a female captain all the time.

But I do think Janeway spends way more time in the Holodeck than is necessary. I think all the Jane Eyre and da Vinci stuff is worthless. I also think that the show’s desperation to be a family friendly program doesn’t allow her character to develop in a meaningful way. All those hard choices I was talking about before? The captain’s the one to make those choices, and I really want to see Janeway actually make them and experience consequences because of them. (Again, it’s not that the hard choices don’t get addressed at all in the original show. It’s just that the writers almost always back off whenever things are in danger of becoming dark or interesting.)

Ultimately, I like Janeway. I just want more fighting for her people and dealing with her own personal losses, and less thrown-in holodeck romances that are clearly only there to make sure no one mistakes this show for being edgy.

. . . and seriously

10. No more da Vinci ever.

I love you, John Rhys-Davies, but this is an enormous waste of your talents.

. . .  how can you be so tired of someone who has been dead for almost five hundred years?

Fucking da Vinci, man. If I ever meet him in Heaven, I might punch him in the face.

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8 Responses to 10 Ways To Remake and Fix Star Trek: Voyager . . .

  1. Akrovah says:

    Oh my god I love (almost) this whole thing. Biggest thing I would also throw in that they should make the so called “Year of Hell” actually be a, you know, year of hell and not some two part lets reset it all at the end so it never happend BS. I mean seriously, if the solution to the YOH was to reset the timeline, then how were we able to get forshadowing of it with previous time jumps. And with that kind of forshadowing build up, how can you justify it only being a two episode deal instead of a whole season? And it ties in nicely with your “dealing with consequences” stuff.

    And for consequences, I think the biggest one they should have to deal with right off the first time any sort of objection about the prime directive escapes Janeway’s lips is the fact that them being stuck there in the first place was Janeway violating the prime directive. I normal process of evolution for tat section WOULD have been the Kazon using that array to take over the Ocampa. But Janeway decided she had to interfere to protect them and so doing got her crew stranded.

    And I completely agree with you about the borg queen. The borg were much more fearsome when they were a faceless, souless mass of voices. The entire ship speaking to you in unison. *shudder

    For Harry I either A) would have had him start at a higher rank, or B) wouldn’t have had him be a department head. I mean seriously, what raw accademy graduate (out side of Abram’s waken out reimagining) is a ship’s department head?

    And throw in a couple of main cast deaths. I find it unbelievable that stranded 70 years from home not a single memeber of the command crew bit it. Maybe even the captain, as promissed by the year of hell forshadowing. Wouldn’t THAT be an awesome spin for a Sci-Fi show? Plus it would give Chakotay the previously requested mroe stuff to do.

    And yes, make them bend the rules, or even break a few. I mean DS9 did it and they weren’t even stranded. Sisko bends his on more than one occasion and almost walks away from his morales at one point and even hides the fact by deleting his log. And he does this to get the job done, for the greater good one mgiht say. He stopped the Maquis advance that way, and brought the Romulans into the war, giving the Alpha Quadrant an actual fighting chance.

    I thought Species 8472 were a little over done though. And inconsistent. They annoucne themselves with a threat that we will all be purged or wahtever, but then later they claim simple self defence, and not only does the Voyager crew buy it but it is actually true? bawuh? And their power. They can destroy and entire planet in a single shot, Death Star style, and the entire Borg collective can’t figure out how to beat them back, but one only semi-sentient hologram is able to figure out how to modify the Borg nanoprobes to be effective against them? I think this whole thing needs some big re-working as well.

    And use the Borg less. I know they had to cross Borg space to get home, but The Borg is one of those species where less is more. In all of TNG we only see the borg 4 times, and they became the show’s iconic villian because everytime we see them we are ready to crap our pants. Oh, and the whole “Kes pushes them across Borg Space so no we don’t actually have to deal with the problem” was a complete cop-out almost on the level of the “Year of Hell.” Not sure how you could use the Borg less, but also not skip thier territory, but that’s why you hire good writers. Or maybe combine the Borg with YOH. Make them the Big Bad that Voyager keeps barely escaping from. Then they at least wouldn’t seem so inconsequential. And on the subject of Borg, and the craptastic finale, if the Borg have a transwarp conduit that drops you off right on Sol’s doorstep, why the hell didn’t they use it. By this point Humans have driven the borg back not once, but twice, but just barely both times and they were against a single cube. Why didn’t they just send, oh I don’t know…two?

    Anyway. I could rant about how to improve Voyager for hours but I’ve got to work tomorrow and I need to get to bed. Oh, but one thing I would DEFINITLY keep. The opening music. Absolutely gorgeous. I mean TOS’s is iconic of course, and I’ve always loved the Enterprise theme recycled for TNG, but Voyager’s opening music is just so beautiful.

    Oh, one more thing, drop the Q stuff completely. Q was always better when he was ominous. He just got tiring when they decided he should be comical and more of an annoyance to teh vrew instead of a threat. Compare his speach at the end of “Q Who?” with that silly Robin Hood episode to see what I mean. That whole Q crushes on Janeway crap was so damned tedious.

    • I don’t remember everything that happens in “Year of Hell” but the idea of stretching it out over a whole year is actually interesting. The only thing about that is that you have to be careful to mix in some levity as well, because an entire season of depression and misery and angst is, well, depressing. I definitely like when shows aren’t afraid to go dark, but I also don’t want my TV shows to drive me to drink (or to throw myself off a cliff). But if the balance was done right, I’d definitely be interested.

      Yeah, the department head thing is difficult. It’s that whole senior staff thing — they want everyone in on those meetings. I actually think it’d be nice to see more main characters who aren’t in the know-how and don’t have a lot of authority, people who want to know what’s happening in those meetings but aren’t technically important enough to be there. I definitely lean towards keeping Kim an ensign and having someone else being the department chief.

      I’m normally all for killing leaders and seeing their second in commands step up, but in this one case, I’d rather not see Janeway die early — in all honesty, mostly because she’s a woman, and I’d like to see her get her people home. (And not, you know, have a man be the one to do it.) But a character death or two wouldn’t be out of the question. It’s hard, though. Again, I really support a darker tone, and I like when shows are bold about their creative choices, but in a program like this, at best I really only seeing killing one, maybe, MAYBE two characters off over the course of the show. I’m not sure who I’d want to them to axe, either.

      Yeah, they used the Borg way too much. I think the Borg should be kept in, just not nearly as often. And I’d drop Q too, although for different reasons. I actually love comical Q. I’m not ashamed to admit I love the silly Robin Hood ep of TNG, particularly for Worf — oh Worf. I love Worf. But I like Q and Picard facing off best. They seem to make natural enemies. (Well, sort of enemies.) I wouldn’t say no to a quick Q cameo on Voyager, but I just don’t see any reason to have Q and Janeway square off . . . and the crush thing was kind of dumb, if I remember correctly.

      • Akrovah says:

        Well yes, “Captain I must protest. I am NOT a merry man.” is a classic line. Who doesn’t love flustered Worf? And no, I suppose don’t remove Q entirely. I’m sure with his particular interest in humanity the novelty of a Starfleet ship stranded alone in teh Delta Quadrant would be much to difficult to pass up. And actually one of my favorite Janeway lines is directed at Q, when she “thanks” him for introducing the Federation to the Borg.

        It’s not necessarily that I want to see Janeway die. I do think she is a good captain overall despite my snarks because when it comes down to it she has the ability to say, “Thanks for your input, I’ll take it under advisement, now get the BLEEP out of my face and do what I said” that Picard so often seemed to lack. It’s just that the death of the captain would be something very different that no show I’m aware of has ever tried to do. And Voyager simply has the perfect setup for it.

        As for the year of hell, you bring up a good point. Don’t want to drive away viewerd by depressing them so yes, you would need to find some balance. Maybe along the lines of Babylon 5’s third season. That’s when the shit realy hit the fan and the good guys were getting clobered left and right, but they still got thier victories in here and there and we had some good character building melodrama to keep things overall interesting. YOH in VOY would also be helped by the forshadowing, so we know going in that they will survive and all, we just don’t necessarily know how or what/who they might have to sacrifice along the way.

        Oh, and you had mentioned previously that you couldn’t remember why Neelix and Kes broke up. They broke up because Kes got possessed by some kind of warlord that was actually the one to break up with Neelix, and for some reason they just left it that way post-possesion. I always thought it was kind of lame.

        • It’s true — the death of a captain in Trek would be different and potentially very interesting. I’m just not sure I’d want it to be Janeway. But I get your reasoning.

          You know, I’ve never actually seen Babylon 5. I’m interested, but I’m interested in so many things. It’s frustrating.

          Oh, that’s why Kes and Neelix broke up! Thanks. I remember that episode — I thought possessed Kes was kind of fun, actually — but I didn’t realize that they just stayed broken up. That seems dumb. That would be altered in the remake.

      • Steve Cooper says:

        Well yes, “Captain I must protest. I am NOT a merry man.” is a classic line. Who doesn’t love flustered Worf? And no, I suppose don’t remove Q entirely.

        I hated that line, it seemed so cheap and easy. I would remove Q and any other superbeings entirely simply because it’s impossible to do them right. In Star Trek, strangely, they rarely ever encounter aliens that aren’t either around the same level of technology as them, or so vastly superior that they’re beyond wanting the things the Federation wants.

  2. Dave Nielsen says:

    Species 8472? They were kind of badass. The Hirogen? They’re a pretty decent example of the oft-used hunter trope. And the Vidians? The Vidians were fucking creepy.

    I liked them at the time, not having seen Aliens or Predator.

    Btw, getting rid of the Borg Kids is a good idea – you’ve got to save something for the Saturday morning cartoon.

  3. If you can find 10 ways to fix “The Original Series”, “The Next Generation”, “Deep Space Nine” and “Enterprise”, give me a call. Otherwise, this article is a waste of time.

  4. Vince says:

    In My mind I already rewrote Voyager shifting the main objective off of the senior staff they always come up with a wonder cure and so many times I wonder what the hell would happen if they didn’t find one? I have a different character one that is not tech wise, but has other qualities. I never got the Paris Torres connection, I changed it to the new character and Torres. I added a new way to add storylines and adventures that would take the crew in different directions. I think Chakotay is way to simple a character He would have more say in the direction decisions would be made. I see Harry finally falling in love and through a meeting with a devious race he and part of the crew are captured and separated from Voyager. They end up on a hostile planet fending for themselves while Voyager has to stay and fight with a civilization in conflict with the race that captures part of the crew. It would be a year long engagement in which the crew has to adapt. Tom learns the meaning of loss and a new character who is not part of the original crew but is thrown into their situation by a race of beings that saved this character’s life and are using him to experience human emotions.

    I had some reservations about making Harry a senior officer, even Tom. Why in the hell would Neelix end up in charge of any away mission he’s not Star Fleet. He’s not needed to make any decisions.

    In my mind the adventures the crew experience were always confining. I thought this is a ship out in the middle of a vast ocean with no allies, no where to repair. As many times as this ship as been damaged it seemed relatively unchanged.

    How does this crew fight off aliens. they’re star fleet trained to operate a star ship. expecting them on their own to engage aliens that are fighters and killers seemed un realistic to me. I changed this and because when you’re stranded with a limited number of crew what happens if you loose a couple of people? Who takes over their tasks, or jobs. Who else are qualified to navigate Voyager. Or who keeps the enlisted going?? In Space so far away from home there is no interaction between members other than Paris, and Torres? Is everyone celibate on this ship?

    I love Janeway, I like her being on her own the only star fleet captain in all of star fleet history in this position. I understand why Harry stays an Ensign Captain Janeway adhering to star fleet protocol there are only so many billets for Lieutenants and so many for Ensign. a few commanders and so one. with a crew without replacements who would he replace as a lieutenant???

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