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. Plus, at episode's end they actually have a way home, and a cure for the problem it caused.
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...
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 horning 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 getting 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's single-minded pursuit of Ransom earns her a What the Hell, Hero? from Chakotay, and after the crew of the Equinox mutinies, Janeway grimly acknowledges to Chakotay that he might have had reason to stage a mutiny on Voyager.
Plus, the only reason Ransom is desperate enough to do this is that his crew has had to face real consequences from their long time away from home, with a ship that's constantly falling apart and everyone on edge from the dangers they keep facing. The idea that Janeway herself might be driven to such actions if she didn't have the show's writers protecting her from living like this is blithely brushed aside.
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.
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. Not helping the character is the background materials. All of Chakotay's backstory was Based on a Great Big Lie provided to the Voyager writers by an Native American expert, who later was revealed to be a fraud and had absolutely no Native American heritage whatsoever.
"Mortal Coil" gives us the message that there is no afterlife, you won't see your dead loved ones again and that the only way to find any meaning in all of existence is in others. The fact that the scenes used to hammer this in consist of Naomi's adorable antics make it even worse. According to Memory Alpha, Bryan Fuller's own disillusionment with Catholicism was the catalyst for the Cessation of Existence message in "Mortal Coil." 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.
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.
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.
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!
In "The Voyager Conspiracy", Seven Of Nine develops symptoms similar to paranoid schizophrenia due to information overload and starts linking several unrelated events as "proof" that Voyager is actually part of a Federation plot to capture her. In 2011, a group of neurobiologists who believe schizophrenia might be caused by a lack of information filtering in the brain have tested their theory by overloading an A.I. with information, which then proceeded to spout off pretty schizophrenic like statements, including taking responsibility for a terrorist bombing.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
The possibility that the "loved ones" you see during an Near Death Experience 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.
A scene was filmed for the episode "Fair Trade" to give some closure to the relationship, unfortunately it was cut due to time constraints.
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.
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!"
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. 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.
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.
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.
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).
Garrett Wang openly complained about Harry Kim's utter lack of character development and being constantly written as the Ensign Newbie right up to the end of the series seven years into the journey. The Star Trek: Voyager Relaunch series and Star Trek Online rapidly moved to fix this, starting with jumping him two grades to lieutenant, and ending with him in command of the USS Rhode Island in STO's Delta Rising expansion.
What strikes immediately about "Caretaker" is the amount of promise it shows. You’ve got a well-cast female Captain, a crew consisting of outlaws, misfits, refugees, a grouchy holographic Doctor, and a ship which is lost and alone in an unchartered area of space. Surely this is going to be an exciting return to the days of TOS? "Caretaker" boasts a huge budget for the time and sets up its characters and the series ethos with aplomb. But apparently the fellows in Paramount and UPN's marketing department had other ideas.... While the series had numerous moments of greatness, it was ultimately a frustrating and unsatisfying experience for nearly everyone involved.
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.
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 Untwist: "Scorpion" treats the fact that the Borg were the aggressors in the conflict with Species 8472 as a major revelation. Considering the mission statement and track record of the Borg, that should've been the default assumption.
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.