These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Is Janeway really a tyrannical, Trigger HappyOmnicidal Maniac who abuses her crew as she carves a swath of destruction and ruination through the Delta Quadrant? (This is how she's portrayed by SF Debris) Or just suffering from manic-depression? It didn't help that the character was written poorly, making the mood swings unintentional at best. For instance one episode, "Night", has the crew suffering from a severe drop in morale, thanks in large part to Janeway having locked herself in her quarters, with the lights off, for two months and refusing to communicate with anyone but Chakotay. She's the very picture of mental health! According to Kate Mulgrew when asked during an autograph signing, she said her belief was that Janeway was in fact at best Bipolar or at worst, suffered some kind of mental instability.
Chakotay is revealed in "Shattered" to have a hidden supply of Cider in one of the cargo bays for the last 7 years. No wonder he comes across as being wooden, spouts nonsensical mysticism at the strangest times, has questionable command abilities, and for the life of him can't land a shuttle without crashing it into something! Its entirely plausible that he's been secretly drunk for the entire trip. Although to be fair, if you were in Voyager's position, would you honestly be able to handle it without either going nuts or getting drunk?
Chakotay's not the only one who might have been intoxicated. Kes constantly sees visions that no one else can see, and speaks in an oddly calm, half-there tone of voice. Kes has a little garden where she grows exotic plants. Coincidence?
One interpretation of Harry Kim is that he's a severely repressed homosexual who deliberately seeks unattainable women in order to vastly overcompensate for his unrequited love for Tom. This would explain a lot.
Consider for a moment that the Kobali from "Ashes to Ashes" simply couldn't have evolved to reproduce via necromancy and apparently had no difficulty traversing the 30,000 lightyears crossed by Voyager since Lynsday Ballard died, it makes more sense to speculate they're members of an insane cult that was driven off their homeworld and now is constantly moving, to avoid the countless alien authorities who've taken exception to them profaning their dead?! Given Janeway's rather dubious track record over the course of the series, one could even suggest they're following in her wake!
Alternatively, they were never a naturally-evolving species in the first place, but rather a Frankenstein-style artificial population that broke away from their creators and established their own civilization.
Bizarro Episode: "Threshold". Their latest go-home plan involves a drive capable of infinite speed, which when tested on a shuttlecraft prompts Tom Paris to mutate into a giant space salamander, kidnap Janeway, turn her into a salamander too, and settle down on some random planet to have space salamander babies. It's small wonder no-one ever mentioned it again.
Brain Bleach: The episode "Elogium", where Kes enters her reproductive phase and she and Neelix have to decide whether or not they're ready to have children, seems to exist primarily to establish that, yes, Kes and Neelixare having sex. At least they're never seen engaging in pillow talk...
Canon Sue & Purity Sue: Janeway has received more than a few accusations of being a Mary Sue for the show's co-creator, Jeri Taylor, mostly because the episodes written by Taylor always seemed to spend their time fawning over what a wonderful and virtuous person Janeway was, even in the face of the utterly crazy decisions she often made.
Kes fits practically all the criteria for a classic Mary Sue. She has unique mental powers to be unlocked that often come up as Deus Ex Machinas to save the day; she is physically beautiful, to the point that Tom and Neelix fight over her (though it's somewhat one-sided as Tom is respectful enough not to try and horn in on someone's girlfriend and as such is forced to defend himself from Neelix and his paranoid outbursts), and the Doctor is hinted to have the holo-hots as well; she has a super-human memory; she's kind and gentle and friendly. She has no physical flaws except a short lifespan, and no personality flaws except... "I'm too curious." The fact that her curiosity never actually got anyone into trouble probably makes this a "Mary Sue" flaw. Every other character on the show has a tragic flaw that comes up regularly (Torres' temper, Chakotay's trust in strangers, Tuvok's turbulent emotions he tries to keep buried), Kes never had one, save the dark side hinted at in "Cold Fire" and later seen in "Fury." Most "day in the limelight" episodes focus on their flaws; Kes' seemed to focus on her powers and how "mysterious" they were. Kes was eventually written off, with the excuse that the writers "couldn't think of any more stories for her." Well, it's hard to think of stories for a character who's already perfect.
Neelix enjoys a reputation similar to the WWE's Hornswoggle: kids adore him, adults want his head. The showrunners considered Ethan Phillips' G-rated storylines to be indispensable, so he clearly was a successful character from a marketing standpoint. To this day, the base is divided on whether or not to despise Neelix, with his supporters generally being Trekkies who were children when VOY first aired. Like Wesley, the person who suffered most was actor Ethan Phillips, who had to endure four hour makeup calls in the dead hours of the morning, with everybody else trickling in long after his latex prosthetics were applied. And then he spent most of his screentime standing over a blazing hot stove.
Captain Janeway herself, but only when writer Jeri Taylor is at the helm. This resulted in inconsistent characterization which annoyed Kate Mulgrew: One day she was a ruthless pragmatist, and the next the paragon of third-wave feminism and virtue. Sometimes this waffling occurred in the same episode, such as "Caretaker."
Some of Janeway's actions seem grossly immoral to some fans, to the point where they might be considered a Moral Event Horizon if Janeway wasn't The Captain and protagonist. The Status Quo Is God format of the series meant that especially questionable actions (such as separating Tuvix against his wishes) were rarely or never brought up again. She did get the occasional What the Hell, Hero? (usually from Chakotay) but again, status quo dictated that they end their disagreement by the end of the episode.
Look no further than "Scorpion", where Janeway knowingly and intentionally aids and abets a known enemy of the entire galaxy (the Borg), and in direct contravention of standing Starfleet orders (Admiral Nechayev in TNG: "Descent"), no less. And the folks she aided them against turn out to be actually fairly reasonable once somebody bothered to try talking to them a couple seasons later.
Equinox is perhaps the Most Triumphant Example of this trope in the Star Trek Franchise. We are expected to side with Janeway against Ransom because Ransom was killing innocent creatures to try and get his crew home; an act that he admits is reprehensible, but feels he has no other choice in order to safeguard his crew. Janeway insists that he has crossed the Moral Event Horizon with this one action, expecting everyone to forget her unrepentant alliance with THE BORG that served to A) make the Collective more powerful, and B) piss off a species that, in the end, turned out to be willing to broker a peace with the Federation.
Janeway gets called out for the Borg alliance in the episode "Hope And Fear" though, by an alien who has set up an elaborate scheme for the purpose of vengeance against Voyager, because Janeway solving the 8472 problem for the Borg enabled them to assimilate his entire species.
Ensemble Darkhorse: The Doctor. Not only is he considered by many fans to be their favorite character, but there's an argument to be made for him being the most prominent example in franchise history, eclipsing even Spock or Data. Nearly every single episode that is generally agreed to be "good" or better features The Doctor prominently. It does help that Robert Picardo enjoyed his character and working on the show a good deal more than any of the other major cast members, and that The Doctor was easily the most consistently-written character, and one of the few who actually evolved over the years.
Ethnic Scrappy: Chakotay is sometimes seen like this. Despite being in a role of authority and a chief officer of Voyager, he's seen as a mishmash of all the worst traits of white people writing about Native Americans, including his mystical insight powers and tracking and survival mastery.
Add the fact that this episode originally aired one week before Christmas on to that. Given that the episode takes place during a Talaxian holiday celebrating family and kinship, the air date was probably intentional.
Tattoo. The moral of the story: Native Americans were savages until advanced white beings came and gave them the ability to function as human beings.
Seven and the Captain is also vastly preferred over Seven and Chakotay. For that matter, you can probably find more fans of almost any pairing than that one, even Tuvok/Neelix.
Wouldn't that make a combined name of "Tuvix?" And didn't we already have that?
Since Naomi ages so fast, many fan-fics set when Naomi is older pair her and Icheb up.
Fanon Discontinuity: there are a number of very silly Idiot Plots, in the first two to three seasons in particular, that are written out of fan consciousness for the sake of mercy. Remember that episode where Tom Paris made it to Warp 10? The fans decided not to (Except when it is used for snark by reviewers, such as in SF Debris and his Voyager reviews.) In fact, even the series itself struck it off.
Gotta Ship Em All: Due to the fact that the crew is trapped on the other side of the galaxy with decades between them and home, the various members of the crew get shipped with everybody else on the ship (pun unavoidable). This includes Naomi Wildman, who by rights probably shouldn't be shipped.
Growing the Beard: Season 3 is commonly felt to be at least a little better than the first two seasons, with the "Future's End" two-parter in particular being considered to be where the show's overall quality started to drastically improve (in no small part due to the Doctor getting his mobile emitter). Seasons 4—7 are widely regarded as a major improvement.
In particular 4—7 showcased greater consistency in Janeway's character and decreased the Ominicidal Trigger Happy aspects of her personality a fair bit. The story plots also became less stupid, to some degree, and Seven of Nine became a regular character as well (this coincided with less screentime for characters like Chakotay which really didn't hurt at all).
In addition, those less popular characters like Chakotay, Harry Kim and Neelix had the traits that people found annoying toned down. Chakotay's Magical Native American mysticism faded away and he acted more normal; Harry became less of a "dweeb" and started to stand up to Tom more, and earned command of night shifts; and Neelix's obnoxious traits virtually vanished as he took up the kindness and responsibilities of being a morale officer (this due largely to breaking up with Kes in Season 3, and later Kes leaving the ship, so he couldn't remain so jealous of her).
Also, the Kazon stopped showing up after season 3 (except in flashbacks or as holograms) and were replaced by worthier opponents like the Hirogen and Borg.
Hilarious in Hindsight: At one point, Neelix is forced to get makeup and surgery so that he looks like the Grand Nagus of the Ferengi ("False Profit"). His actor, Ethan Philips, would later go on to be one of the Ferengi seen in the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Acquisition." He previously played a Ferengi in "Menage a Troi" in TNG, so this may have possibly be an in-joke.
One for the episode "Scientific Method." Try not to laugh at how Chakotay looks when he ages; his face is elderly, but from the neck down he's still oddly buff for such an old man. Fast-forward ten years, and watch Robert Beltran in interviews or con panels. His hair is silver, his face is wrinkled, and he still looks like he could kill you with one punch. Guess his appearance in "Scientific Method" wasn't so far-fetched after all!
Holy Shit Quotient: While "Coda" had some definite problems, the scene where the Doctor euthanizes the Phage-infected Janeway is downright chilling. Also, the scene shortly thereafter where Chakotay tries and fails to bring Janeway back with CPR; this doubles as a Tear Jerker.
Ho Yay: Depending on your interpretation, there's a lot of this between Harry and Tom.
Particularly in "Demons", where they are the first of the Silver Blood duplicates to exist, essentially making them Adam and Eve. Yeah...
Chakotay/Paris also has a sizable following. It's surprisingly easy to read their tension and Tom's protectiveness of Chakotay as the result of their being bitter ex boyfriends who still have feelings for each other.
In particular, the opening scene of "The Fight" makes it almost impossible to interpret them as heterosexual.
Additionally is the tensions between the two in "Lifesigns." Though Tom's behavior is all part of Janeway's plan to catch a traitor (and Chakotay is unaware of this), the conversion they have in the mess hall comes across as some kind of couple's quarrel. Amplifying this interpretation is Chakotay's choice of position when speaking to Tom. Rather than sitting across from him at the table, as would be expected from a superior officer having a serious discussion with a crew member under his command, Chakotay chooses to sit right next to Tom, leaving little space between them. Even SF Debris noticed and commented on that particular instance.
And why, just why, was Tom so very gun-ho about having to be the one to *personaly* fly down and save Chakotay in "Nemesis"? Almost in competition with Tuvok over who would get to rescue him?
In the two-part Episode "Year of Hell", Chakotay and Paris are taken captive aboard the Krenim time ship for months. In discussing their situation, Paris somewhat sheepishly admits that he has been spending time with handsome Krenim crewmember Obrist. The look on his face as he says it is peculiar, especially since Chakotay has also been hanging around with the ship's tyrannical commander Annorax, so it is not as if there is anything off about associating with their captors. Why be embarrassed? Obrist, for his part, seems very taken with Paris and ultimately does everything he can to help him. It becomes apparent in the end that Obrist did not need Paris or Chakotay to disable the time ship, he is able to do it entirely on his own. But his actions seem as much motivated by a desire to help Paris as to finally stop Annorax, and he makes a point to beam Chakotay and Paris to safety before lowering the time ship's defenses exposing it to attack.
Janeway/Seven, to the point where Seven was reattaching one of Janeway's rank pips while Janeway was asking if she'd ever considered trying romance.
Inferred Holocaust: Inverted with Dragon's Teeth. The bad guys escape to menace the Delta Quadrant... But yet, there were only 600 of them, many of whom obviously died in the preceding battle. Gedrin's attitude indicates there may be strife with within what little is left of them, but even failing that, their technology is so out of date that it takes 10's of their ships just to threaten ONE modern vessel. Further reinforced by the fact that some of them get trapped in a void later on.
Internet Backdraft: If anyone asks, you like (or dislike) Kes and Seven equally. Because otherwise a horde of fans will tear you limb from limb.
And don't, whatever you do, say you like the show (or like most of it minus the ridiculously stupid episodes that are Fanon Discontinuity). Just... don't.
To this day, the fandom still argues whether Janeway blowing up the Array was the right call because even a short-lived species deserves to live, or a boneheaded move that stranded her crew for no good reason?
Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Due to how close the crew wound up becoming with each other, there are multiple fics for virtually every pair imaginable, almost all of them pretty justifiable. However, honorable mention must go to Janeway, Seven, and Tom Paris, who get the most action in the fan fiction. (Janeway, because being the captain, she had a close relationship with each senior officer; Tom, by being the guy who tried to befriend everyone; and Seven, for obvious reasons.
Magnificent Bastard: Seska disguises herself as a Bajoran, infiltrates the Maquis, is communicating with and slipping tech and information to the Kazon during most of her time serving with Voyager, isn't found out for a least a year, engineers a cover up that's almost successful, when she is discovered she had already planned out and executes an escape, forges an alliance with the Kazon Nistrum, has the faction leader Culluh basically as her puppet right from the start, is directly responsible for most of the Nistrum's victories, including the successful capture of Voyager at the end of season 2, and even after she dies she possessed the forethought to set a trap in one of the holodeck programs at some point during her possession of Voyager in an attempt to kill several members of the crew in the event they retook the ship that she put in just in case. In fact, over the entirety of the Voyager Seska is one of the very few truly cunning villains in the series to last more than an episode or 2.
Moral Event Horizon: The aliens in "Scientific Method" come across as an entire civilization who crossed the Moral Event Horizon long ago and have just kept on going. They routinely do medical experiments on sentient creatures, mutilating, torturing them, and even killing them if they feel it will benefit their medical research to do so. They feel completely justified in their actions and not only do they feel no remorse or regret over their actions, they feel that what they do is noble and beneficial. Genetically deforming, maiming and killing the crew of Voyager is the Nightmare Fuel evidence of their crimes and that is only the tip of the iceberg. What is really terrifying is that their flimsy justifications allow them to murder entire societies with impunity and go on torturing and killing as many sentient creatures as they feel is necessary for their "research."
Captain Ransom easily crossed this line when he started murdering aliens as a fuel source for his ship. I Did What I Had to Do is nowhere near a sufficient excuse, but he at least seems to realize this at some level and eventually under goes a Heel-Face Turn and Heroic Sacrifice.
The part in Flesh And Blood where Janeway notes that the holodeck technology wasn't given to the Hirogen for them to get themselves killed. While she clearly wasn't suggesting that this was their actual goal, the implication was still quite funny.
Narm Charm: "Get the cheese to sickbay". What else need be said?
Paranoia Fuel: The possibility that the "loved ones" you see during an NDE are actually beings who want to devour your soul. As if this weren't horrible enough, it could also mean that many religions are essentially massive farming operations, as people conditioned to unquestioningly trust certain religious figures would be likely to follow them into the light without a second thought.
Well, we also know now that the Klingon religion is true, or at least can be manifest - although that in itself might be a cause for Paranoia Fuel - which indicates that other religions are true as well. We also have verification that spirituality and unknown planes of existence exists as well, courtesy of "Sacred Ground", and that belief and faith do in fact have an impact on the real world. Now that is both awesome and insanely confusing, and now we can be absolutely sure that someone is out there watching the confusion and laughing their head off. Not that Q wasn't doing a wonderful job already...
Although the existence of Klingon Hell seems (to some viewers) to be ambiguous, not really saying one way or another if Torres was actually in hell, or simply hallucinating due to the concussion.
Relationship Writing Fumble: The writers seemed to forget that Kes dumping Neelix in "Warlord" wasn't real, since she was being possessed. Afterwards they're presented as broken up for real, with no further explanation.
The Hirogen. Despite overwhelming development of them as a rather obvious case of Blue and Orange Morality, the fact that they hunt sentient beings at all makes them irredeemably evil to many. Never mind the fact at least most of them have some ethics about how they do it, their willingness to respect certain prey species, or the fact that at least one Hirogen was disgusted with Nazi ideals and openly belittled a holo-Nazi on repeated occasions. They're not supposed to be saints, but they can't be measured by human morality either.
Captain Janeway gets this frequently as well. While she doesn't always make the best choices, and even where she does, her reasons are sometimes poorly written (such as in Equinox where she gives her reasons for hating Ransom as federation betrayal, rather than him being a mass murderer), these 2 traits tend to be blown way out of proportion. Any time she makes a stern decision, no matter how good her reason or how justified, a good number of people will cite it as an example of her ruthless behavior. Anytime a decision of hers backfires, no matter how hard it may have been to see it coming, it gets cited as an example of recklessness. Nevermind that Kirk and Picard (especially Kirk) both had a few of these of their own without drawing such ire.
Of particular note is Janeway's decision to blow up the Caretaker Array, with many claiming she's an idiot for not using a Time Bomb in the first episode. Ignoring Tuvok's line about how it would take hours to activate without the Caretaker, that the thing killed a lot of her crew when it was being operated by a guy who knew how the thing worked and wasn't in the middle of a battle, and that a huge Kazon ship crashed into the thing, making it even less likely they'd realistically be able to use it to get back.
Another good example is the episode Memorial. People focus on her choice to restore the mindraping device, and the objections of her senior officers. However, they rarely pay credence to her reasons for this, or, more importantly, the warning system she put in place to prevent unwilling victims from being mindraped.
Species 8472, much of the fanbase apparently preferred them as villains and try to downplay the diplomacy from In The Flesh as being just a small section of them, assuming that they acknowledge the episode at all. Unlike the other examples here, most fans know they are not villains, but openly pretend that they are any time they watch Scorpion, and often consider In The Flesh to be Fanon Discontinuity.
Janeway and Seven are both subject to this in fics that pair one of them with Chakotay. For some reason, it's not enough for some writers that the girl they root for gets the tattooed stud-muffin; the other one must be a villainous romantic competitor, and suffer for the crime of coming between the perfect couple.
Neelix. (Die, hedgehog!) His sometimes overbearing cheer (especially when he's trying to get Tuvok to act less like a Vulcan), the condescending and jealous way he treated Kes during their relationship, and the fact that missions he was brought on as a local expert tended to end horribly, did not endear him to fans. Although he had an interesting and tragic backstory, it was not usually brought up.
The entire Kazon species basically constituted one of these on the first two seasons of Star Trek: Voyager; And in spite of the fact that the entire species seemed to be rock-stupid and technologically backwards, Voyager somehow managed not only to keep running into them, but to keep running into the same ones. Later in the series, the writers themselves took shots at the Kazon by revealing that the Borg took a pass on assimilating them on the grounds that doing so would undermine their perfection. Their role as a major power in the Delta quadrant seems an Ass Pull as well. On the first episode they are shown, they are depicted as a small nomadic slave-trading tribe always on the move to find vital water supplies... but the minute Neelix pisses them off, out comes the armada of Voyager-level warships always on the Voyager's tail. It's almost like refusing change to a bum on the subway only to find you pissed off Don Corleone.
They were given a minimal amount of Character Development, namely how they were once slaves of the Trabe, whom they overthrew and looted their technology. This was probably meant as a Hand Wave as to why people that rock-stupid could have functioning starships.
It doesn't help that this attempt to create "Klingons for the Delta Quadrant" came off less the Klingons' "Space Vikings" hat and more "Space Gangbangers".
And also doesn't answer the question that is such a massive fridge moment that it completely ruins all attempts to make them threatening: If the Kazon want water, and are desperate for it, and they have spaceships... why not go to a planet that has water. Now, for Battlestar Galactica, this was an honest concern, and they did give a reason for it- there weren't a lot of planets, and the closest source of water was ice... much of which was contaminated. But in Trek, where casual interstellar travel is a thing, the fact that the Kazon are so hard up for water is a massive mystery.
Worse still, Voyager, a ship constantly moving home, would be transient in location. For them to keep running into the Kazon despite this, is jarring to say the least. The Vidiians also had this problem, but they show up a few episodes later, make their last appearance a couple of episodes earlier, and were MUCH better written.
Naomi Wildman, to a lesser extent. To be fair, she usually wasn't too annoying (certainly not to the level of, say, Neelix or Wesley Crusher), but she wasn't very popular either. In part this was due to most Trek fans having traumatic memories of child-heavy episodes in previous shows, but mostly it was because whenever she appeared in an episode that wasn't explicitly about her, whatever plot-line was currently playing out would stop for minutes at a time and suddenly become all "aww, look at the cute little kiddie!"
So Bad, It's Good: "Threshold". Paris travels at infinite speed, becomes a catfish, and impregnates catfish Janeway. And he's cured by injections of antimatter.
Intentionally invoked with "The Adventures of Captain Proton".
Special Effects Failure: While this example by no means detracts from the beauty of it. Word of God states that in the last shot of the opening sequence (done in CGI), the three (incredibly tiny, almost window-like) grey patches on the bottom of the Voyager's nose before it jumps into warp were actually missing texture spaces. This is the shot in question◊
"Threshold" is generally considered as the worst episode in this series. The effects certainly don't help.
Strangled by the Red String: Seven of Nine/Chakotay. After three and a half seasons of them having only a professional relationship and almost no interaction outside of business, Seven suddenly develops an unrequited attraction to Chakotay in the second half of the final season.
Last Minute Hookup: With no forewarning, Chakotay and Seven are dating in the final episode, with Chakotay the one that is head over heels like a puppy in love.
Though stupid from a writing standpoint, behind the scenes, this was likely a means of punishing Robert Beltran by making him have to work very close to Jeri Ryan, who he had a terrible offscreen relationship with. Considering that, by this point, he had repeatedly insulted the entire writing staff (and much, if not all of his coworkers on the set), it's easy to see how this came to be.
A great many episodes have situations in which they have an opportunity to do something that would be very advantageous for the crew, only to have Captain Janeway refuse for reasons typically related to the Prime Directive. Some character inevitably complains about her decision and points out that her moral arguments for why they can't take advantage of the opportunity don't actually make any sense, but they're always portrayed as being wrong, while Janeway is right.
In the pilot episode, we're supposed to see Janeway's decision to destroy the Array that brought them to the Delta Quadrant in order to protect the Ocampa, rather than using it to get home, as a noble choice. However, Tuvok pointed out that destroying the Array would not only leave them stranded but could be considered a violation of the Prime Directive because it would affect the balance of power in that sector. He's waved off with a one sentence bit of "wisdom" from Janeway about how they're already involved so the Prime Directive no longer applies. When B'lanna also objects, she's told to shut up because Janeway is the captain. What's frustrating is that they undermined the whole dilemma by having Tuvok mention that the Array would take several hours to use without the Caretaker's help and that was before a Kazon ship crashed into it, disabling the self-destruct and God knows how many other systems, so they probably couldn't use it in the time they had.
Episode "Critical Care", an Anvilicious episode about health care, has the Doctor kidnapped and sold to a race that allocates medical treatment according to the patient's perceived value to society. Amidst all the expected swipes at real life health care (e.g. letting the cute kid die because he's exceeded his allotment of medicine) we're told the society ended up like this because of a series of natural and social disasters. While the hospital administrator is indeed a heartless ass, nothing refutes his actual point, which is that they don't have enough medical care to go around and have to make hard decisions. The medicines the aforementioned kid needed, e.g., were being used to treat a woman who ran the entire water distribution system for a subcontinent. The Doctor's would-be noble crusade to protect the downtrodden comes off as misguided sentimentality and a huge violation of the Prime Directive.
Shortly before she defects to the Kazon in the first season, Seska delivers a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Janeway. While the episode tries to make her out as being a raving lunatic, it's hard not to agree with some (if not all) of Seska's criticisms... the only problem is that she wants to barter technology with the Kazon. Forgetting all ethical arguments, these people killed themselves with a replicator. Plus, Voyager with all its technology is a force to be reckoned with. Giving away its technology (which could be sold off and/or duplicated) would dilute its strategic advantage as a highly-advanced Starfleet ship.
Cardassians with big egos like having Mooks at their disposal, and they are practitioners of slavery. In Seska's mind having a dumb, disposable, Red Shirt Army like the Kazon could be advantageous. However, given their history it would like blow up in her face years down the road even if Janeway had gone along with it, as there were nowhere near enough crew on Voyager to keep the Kazon in line if they decided to give themselves a Klingon Promotion in the alliance. So the ideas might have been more sound if they had a better race to work with. Unfortunately the Kazon were basically low rent Klingons. Ironically, it would have been far better if they could have somehow won over the Ocampa, an Innocent Prodigy race with Psychic Powers who could have definitely used some technological education (and with whom it would have actually stuck). Just because the Kazons were easy to bribe (initially) does not mean that they had much promise as allies even if Janeway were inclined to screw with the Prime Directive that early in the series.
A variation: in "Gravity" the audience is supposed to agree with Tom Paris that the human way of being in touch with our emotions and having them in our lives is the right way, in contrary opposition to the Vulcan master who taught Tuvok to suppress his emotions. Paris has a real problem with accepting that Vulcans aren't humans. Vulcan emotions are far more volatile, erratic and all-consuming than human's (whose emotions are less violent), and for a Vulcan being in love can be legitimately destructive, and not in the metaphoric sense that humans use. Not to mention that other episodes of this show have Tuvok fully justify his emotional repression by demonstrating to people what it looks like when he lets it go.
Stoic Woobie: Seven. As good as she is at keeping her emotions in check, you know when she starts getting just slightly teary-eyed or starts acting even somewhat angry, she's really feeling it.
In "The Thaw", the crew are in the middle of a difficult debate on the nature of fear, trying to find a way to deal with a Monster Clown that has taken over a Lotus-Eater Machine and is capable of physically scaring the inhabitants to death. Neelix suggests telling jokes to overcome the Monster Clown, under the reasoning that laughter overcomes fear. The rest of the crew just stare at him with a collective look of irritated disgust as he splutters out mid-sentence, realising how badly his idea is going over with everyone. Unfortunately for the audience, not only doesn't this happen every time Neelix's opens his mouth, but it's actually one of his better ideas and at least has some degree of logic to it.
In "Meld", Tuvok fears he is losing his self-control after a mind-meld with a psychopath. He decides to test the limits of his self-control by exposing himself to the circumstances that he thinks are most likely to make him snap by simulating them on the holodeck. His choice? Having to share a room with Neelix at his most obnoxious. Needless to say, he discovers what his limit is.
In "Rise," Tuvok chastises Neelix for wasting time in idle conversation when they're under serious pressure to repair an orbital tether so they can escape a disaster. The Aesop of the episode is that Tuvok needs to lighten up and be friendlier to his coworkers, but it's pretty hard to see the situation they're in and not think, "Seriously, Neelix, just shut up and do your job for once."
Seska could have been a very interesting cast member, offering morally ambiguous solutions and a point of conflict for both the Maquis and Starfleet crew if they'd let her stay—after all, she'd want to get home too—especially if/when they learned about the Dominion War and what that did to Cardassia. Instead, they made her a mustache-twirling villain (figuratively, of course) who decided to throw her lot in with a misogynistic society of rock-stupid gangbangers that couldn't even figure out how to use a replicator.
Seska is also an example of wasted potential Fanservice. Martha Hacket was stunningly beautiful in her youth, with a sultry, femme fatale look to her that would have been perfect for Seska's character, and could have been worked into Cardassian scaly make up wonderfully. Instead, they just slapped a lumpy, rubber mask over her head that made her look hideous. True, her Cardassian physiology was supposed to be gradually resurfacing... but they seemed to forget to ever make it fully resurface.
Most of Kes's episodes revolved around her latent powers. Which was cool and all, but the concept of the Ocampa species is basically an inversion of the Trill and Dax from DS9. Sure, it's wobbly science, but only a few of her episodes explored what it would be like for a person who has less than a decade to experience the universe.
On top of that, Kes had the potential to carry a few interesting flaws, that would have made her more interesting and sympathetic. Her curiosity could have gotten the crew into some trouble, if she'd been allowed to, you know, make mistakes. (She seems just like the kind of person who'd bring a deadly animal aboard because it was injured and she wanted to help it, for example which happened twice to a very similar character on a similar series designed for kids, Rosie on Space Cases.) Instead, her curiosity was used only as another trait to be praised. And then her "dark side." A few, very good episodes dealt with her powers becoming a danger, and her personality turning to a darker side. That would have been a great story arch for her. Instead, most of her episodes focused on praising how noble, innocent, and righteous she was.
This show had a horrible habit of introducing potentially interesting recurring characters and then either getting rid of them only a couple of episodes later or just never using them again. Carrey disappeared after the first season, Hogan was unceremoniously killed, Jonas was killed instead of imprisoned (where he could have made a good recurring anti-villain) and they phased out Wildman and Vorik for no reason. Interesting characters like Dalby, Chell, Suder, Lessing, Ceres, etc. were never used again after their introduction (with the exception of Chell, once, several years later, and not to the best effect).
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: According to some of Voyager's production staff (including the late Michael Piller), Voyager was a victim of Executive Meddling. UPN execs wanted TNG-type ratings, and they decided the best way to achieve that was to turn Voyager into TNG-Lite. Hence little or no character conflict, no ongoing story arcs (for example, producer Brannon Braga wanted a year-long "Year of Hell" but UPN vetoed it), and various other flaws (real and imagined) the series had. "The Void", an episode which aired a stone's throw away from the series finale, is a glimpse of what VOY might have been.
Ron D. Moore even quit for the above reasons (and more). Some cite his production of Battlestar Galactica, which has all the things the Executive Meddlers veto'd in the early seasons, as an effective Take That. Although it should be noted that Battle Star Galactica is infamous for drowning in its own melodrama and soap opera relationships on the basis of a plot which gave up on making sense after season 2, as well as having one of the worst series finales in the history of television.
A good example of how Voyager is TNG-lite? The production codes for the first few series started at 801note TNG ended after its seventh season.
Kes and Neelix had a breakup during season 3 that didn't really get so much as lip service after it started in "Warlord" (3x10); it just ended somewhere between two episodes (3x17 and 3x18). Ethan Phillips (Neelix's actor) found this a frustrating point (after all, the relationship featured prominently since the first episode)—and to make matters worse, they actually filmed a scene for "Fair Trade" (3x13) that decisively gave it finality, but it got deleted from the final cut.
The production issues even showed themselves in the episodes, with Mulgrew struggling to figure out Janeway's character, Beltran's actor revolt against the role and Garrett Wang getting direction to be constantly expressing Dull Surprise, amongst other problems.
The episode Worst Case Scenario has an excellent plot hook: Torres (a former Marquis) finds a holodeck program hidden away in the computer which depicts a Marquis revolt on Voyager. It's later revealed that it was designed by Tuvok as a way to train security to handle such a scenario. The episode completely fails to do ANYTHING interesting with this; possible because the character (by that point) didn't have the depth to make the episode interesting.
The episode "The 37's" involves the crew finding the frozen bodies of Amelia Earhart and several other humans from 20th Century Earth. After the 37's are revived, they don't do anything. One of the most famous aviators in history is a character on Star Trek, and she takes up space. There could have been an interesting story about the mysterious aliens who kidnapped people from the other side of the galaxy, but we don't get that either.
SF Debris points out in his review of "Scorpion," one of the show's best regarded episodes, that a major reason it works so well is that, with its emphasis on the incredible danger faced by a lone Starfleet ship in hostile territory and serious disagreements between the crew members, it's what the entire show was supposed to be like.
Too Cool to Live: One, from "Drone". A Borg drone comprised of technology from a few centuries in the future, and whose humanity had nurtured since his "birth". Unfortunately, that advanced technology also quickly made him a priority target for the Borg, and he allows himself to die to prevent the Borg from relentlessly pursuing Voyager just to assimilate him.
The Borg once destroyed a fleet of thirty-nine ships, but on this series, one lone starship kept escaping their grasp. While the decay arguably began with the introduction of the Borg Queen, the Collective were still an almighty force to reckon with. The decay really set in with their appearances here. Obviously, if the Collective assimilated Voyager, there wouldn't be a series. They had to keep losing, but they were also serious ratings grabbers following the strong box-office of First Contact. So they showed up a lot... and promptly lost a lot.
There is an alternate interpretation here. Voyager is one scrawny Starfleet ship with no new technology and a handful of sentient beings with no new biological attributes. Voyager isn't enough of a threat to spend resources tracking down and destroying and not enough of a draw to spend resources assimilating. Isn't that the point? The Borg has never sincerely tried to assimilate or destroy Voyager, and Voyager never encountered a full-on Borg attack. When a Borg ship comes across them it makes the routine attempt to assimilate, but when Voyager manages to narrowly escape - through luck or plot convenience - as they do, they never go after them. Why? They have nothing of value. And considering that a significantly damaged sphere could so easily destroy Voyager that Seven of Nine had to sacrifice herself to save them, it's obvious Voyager isn't a threat. In the eyes of the Borg, Voyager isn't even worth the resources to destroy. Following that logic the Borg never really lost anything - apart from a ship here or there if Voyager got really lucky. Voyager just wasn't important enough to fuss around with until the very last episode. Odds are that if the Borg had really tried to destroy Voyager, they would have succeeded. And it probably wouldn't have been that hard.
Ironically, despite whether you think the Borg were de-villified or not, this show did a remarkable job in making the Borg legitimately terrifying in person, improving upon their appearance since TNG.
Species 8472. Introduced in "Scorpion," they were Scary Dogmatic Aliens from another galaxy with the technology to take on the Borg Collective and win. Turns out the Borg picked that fight, but there was serious concern that Species 8472 would take the fight to the rest of the galaxy after finishing them off. Decay came in their final appearance: "In the Flesh," where they were more humanized and appeared to make peace with humanity.
Although, arguably, this is less Villain Decay, and more Character Development. They were never the bad guys. They were just defensive and paranoid. Kes, being their only link to the species, interpreted their paranoia as malevolence, rather than the posturing against a perceived threat that it actually was.
Q turned from a frivolous yet dangerous omniscient being who nevertheless delivered some important lessons to Captain Picard, to a lovesick puppy who goes to Captain Janeway for advice on parental relationships and conflict resolution in the Q Continuum. In fairness, Q's portrayal was almost always Depending on the Writer - varying from villain to jokester and anything in-between.
The Woobie: Most, if not all, of the characters have Woobie moments.
Harry, the young naive "dweeb," who gets killed, tortured, diseased, etc. probably more than any other character. Poor dumb Harry.
Seven gets a lot of Woobie episodes, with her traumatizing past.
The look on Chakotay's face every time he realizes that he's been back-stabbed by a woman or mind-raped by aliens AGAIN, is heartbreaking. The famously funny line "Was there anyone on that ship who was working for me?" was clearly not intended to be funny, but rather to verbalize his frustration at his own failures as a leader.
"Hunters" is a massive Woobie episode for virtually all of the major characters, as they get letters from home, some containing heartwarming news, and others heartbreaking.
Torres, when she finds out that the Maquis were all slaughtered by the Dominion. She even goes so far as to run dangerous scenarios in the holo-deck with no safety on, the 24th Century equivalent of self-harming herself (or at least risking self-harm) over the guilt she feels at surviving.