I Actually Like Star Trek: Voyager (Deal With It)
I’m not here to say that Voyager was the best Star Trek (sj succeeded in convincing me once and for all that DS9 has that honor), or that it didn’t have issues, or that all of the characters were great (looking at you, Chakotay–I cringe every time they tap Native American stereotypes for him). It’s not the strongest Trek. It’s not the most well-executed. It’s got problems.
I still love it.
I did not feel that way about Voyager initially. When it first came out, it felt way too slick for me. It felt too un-Trek-like. And I think their timing was off in launching Voyager; we had just come off of TNG and DS9 was barely getting started. [Author’s note: I’m just going to dispense with the italics for the series names now, okay? It’s slowing me down. We all know that they’re TV series.] TNG movies were also popping out the whole time Voyager was going. The franchise could have used a breather, frankly. I was underwhelmed at its launch, said “Meh,” and didn’t watch it while it was new.
In 2007, I moved in with my future husband. He was a Voyager fan and insisted that I watch reruns with him. I whined. I told him that Voyager sucked. I mocked his taste in Star Trek, but he would not be moved and the show grew on me as I watched more of it.
I liked Janeway. I know she gets a bit of flak (how much of it from fanboys who won’t judge a female character fairly, I don’t know), but I don’t care. I liked how they let her be tough but they didn’t make her hyper-masculine. Star Trek series need great characters at their core, and I liked the characters on Voyager (mostly). I like Seven, Neelix, B’Elanna, Tuvok, and even Tom. I love the Doctor. He might be my favorite doctor on TV Trek (movie Bones might be my all-time fave but it’s a tough call).
Character-wise, Voyager’s crew had the strongest women of all of the series and that fucking rocks my world. B’Elanna in particular gets dumped on for being a bitch in a lot of Voyager critiques and, to be honest, that makes me like her even more. I can’t name an assertive woman who hasn’t been called a bitch and I enjoy her “take no shit” attitude. The women of Voyager are alphas and they’re still allowed to be women, and not in the “I’m mostly here to be eye candy on the bridge” way that some women have historically been on Star Trek. Even Seven of Nine, who clearly was intended to titillate the hetero male audience (oh my God her ridiculous boob-separating unitard), ended up having one of the best character arcs in the show.
I also liked in Voyager that there was an overarching goal that the crew was working toward. The long-term story arcs worked best in DS9, but I also think it lent something good to Voyager. It also raised the stakes on a lot of decisions that would have been easier for Picard’s crew to make; do you uphold Federation values to the letter, even if it means you may not get home? Janeway often chose to stick to the values of the Federation because she believed it was the right thing to do, yet she never let herself forget–could not forget even if she wanted–how badly everyone needed to get back home. It affected her decisions in a way that no other captain has had to deal with thus far.
Being lost in the Delta quadrant also gave the Voyager crew strong underdog status. I rooted for them pretty hard. I was so stoked when [spoiler] they finally made contact with the Federation again. And how fucking fitting that it was Reg Barclay that helped them! Underdog helping underdogs. Feels.
(Another character from TNG that made amazing appearances on Voyager: Q. That visit to the Q continuum in “Death Wish” was fantastic.)
I’m not going to try to convince you to love Voyager. When I even proposed that I was going to write this, I got a collective groan from my fellow booksluts. (But I wrote it anyway because I like what I want.) You may get in my comments and tell me everything you hate about Voyager, but I’m still gonna love it. Well, like it. Really like it? Anyway. Let me know what you think of Voyager in the comments.