Star Trek: Voyager: Barge of the Dead   Rewatch 
February 26, 2018 6:46 AM - Season 6, Episode 3 - Subscribe

"What's the hold-up, First Mate?" "Well, captain, we seem to have run aground on... a giant clot." "What the--" "Well, it is a river of blood, sir."

Memory Alpha would have picked a less gruesome highway to hell:

- This is the second of two Voyager episodes written by TNG/DS9 writer Ronald D. Moore and the last Star Trek episode written by him. The basic plot line for this episode was originally intended to be seen in DS9: "Soldiers of the Empire". Ronald D. Moore's original idea for the episode was for Worf and the crew of the IKS Rotarran to answer a distress call from a Klingon colony. When they arrive, they find all of the inhabitants missing. Nearby is a lake surrounded in a mysterious fog, and when they approach it, a boatman appears and takes them to the entrance to Gre'thor. Once inside, they meet a friend of Martok's, who wants them to take him with them. And then they meet Worf's father, Mogh. There were a number of reasons that this particular story never made it into production. Firstly, Ira Steven Behr felt that the episode was trying to accomplish too much– showing both the realistic day-to-day operations of a Klingon Bird-of-Prey and a mythic journey to the afterlife. Behr also felt it was too late in the season to do such a philosophical show dealing with life, death and hell. As well as this, the concept proved to be too complex and expensive. After Moore transferred to the Voyager staff following the end of DS9, the basic premise was modified and made to work with Voyager, the end result being this episode.

- The death of the Klingon gods was first mentioned in DS9: "Homefront" and as part of the Klingon wedding ceremony in DS9: "You Are Cordially Invited".

- Three of the guest stars in this episode appeared on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. John Kenton Shull played K'Temang in "Return to Grace", Karen Austin played Doctor Kalandra in "Nor the Battle to the Strong", and Eric Pierpoint played Captain Sanders in "For the Uniform".

- The Klingon drinking song that The Doctor is trying to teach Seven of Nine in the mess hall is the same song sung by Worf and Huraga in DS9: "The Way of the Warrior".

"Remind me to plant a flag on behalf of the Empire."

- Torres, in regards to Chakotay pointing out the Klingon claim to being the first Alpha Quadrant power in the Delta Quadrant

"She comes to us with no valor, no glory. Nothing to celebrate in song or story."

- Captain Janeway, in Torres' hell

"What do you want?!"
"Who are you asking?"
"You! Kahless! The tooth fairy! Anybody who will tell me what I am supposed to do!"

- Torres and Miral

Poster's Log:

So, we've got an episode penned by one of DS9's better known writers, originally planned to be part of an episode on that show, and cast with actors who also appeared on DS9. Frankly, I think that they should have tried to make it fit there, if not in "Soldiers of the Empire", which already had plenty of work to do in helping Martok get his groove back, then in another one. DS9 did much better with questions of religion, especially with people finding it with varying levels of success and beneficial results. At one point, Tom sputters with frustration at B'Elanna having become a born-again Klingon, and I'm 100% with him; it just doesn't seem plausible that a woman who was not on good terms with that half of her heritage (as a number of problematic episodes, notoriously "Faces", have established) would have had her come-to-Kahless moment so quickly and easily, given that there's a completely plausible explanation--well, within the bounds of Treknobabble--for it. Compounding the disconnect is that Chakotay, Mr. A-Koo-Chee-Moya of all people, is the one who goes on about subconscious symbolism and makes some remark about his nutty old grandpa. A much more plausible episode would have gotten rid of the shuttle accident and simply had B'Elanna having dreams and starting this sort of thing as some sort of therapy, and finds out that the deeper she digs into it, the more she gets into it. The episode never really decides whether it's about her getting her own shit together or redeeming her mother. As it is, we get Flatliners IN SPAAAAACE, for what that's worth.

The main reason that I wish that they'd salvaged the episode somehow is that the set for the Barge is stunning, just the sort of butched-up ship (with that gorgeous monster of a ship's wheel that wouldn't look out of place in World of Warcraft) that you'd expect the Klingon Charon to pilot, although the gates of Gre'Thor are a bit Ghostbusters-ish. ("If someone asks you if you're a god, Neelix, you say yes!") Ron Moore specialized in Klingon episodes, and when he left DS9, someone in props made a real bat'leth for him--metal with razor-sharp blades. Whatever you think of his other work, he deserved to go out on a better episode.

Poster's Log, supplemental: The thing about the shuttle running into a tiny piece of metal from a Bird of Prey was kind of dumb and should have been B'Elanna's first clue that this wasn't real--again, the show doesn't really get how big space is--but in the final season, we'll find out that, in fact, the Klingons did make it to the DQ first.
posted by Halloween Jack (12 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I think for this concept to not come off as dopey, it really needed to stick the thematic/character-development landing, and it didn't. Had it been all about B'Elanna and her mom and the differences in their faith, that might've worked better. Yes, I'm advocating a talkier episode.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 8:30 AM on February 26, 2018 [3 favorites]


That could have worked, although I still would have wanted one with the Barge and the river of blood and those things in the river. One of the more interesting takes on the relationship might have been that B'Elanna and Miral could have been Alexander Rozhenko and Worf from a different angle, if Alexander hadn't been made out to be a butt monkey in "Sons and Daughters."
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:47 AM on February 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


This is the second of two Voyager episodes written by TNG/DS9 writer Ronald D. Moore and the last Star Trek episode written by him.

To be clear, Moore was pushed out.

Interview with Moore:
What did exactly push Moore out? Others have said that story meetings were held without Moore’s knowledge, and that things were done behind his back. Most of this he still keeps to himself and to those nearest to him. He will say, "I have very hurt feelings about Brannon. What happened between he and I is just between he and I. It was a breakdown of trust. I would have quit any show where I was not allowed to participate in the process like that. I wasn’t allowed to participate in the process, and I wasn’t part of the show. I felt like I was freelancing my own show. That was the feeling I had. I wasn’t involved in it enough. Part of me said, ‘So what? You’ve got a baby. You are making a lot of money. Shut up, enjoy it; go home early; go in late; relax. You’ve had a long ten years; take a break.’ But I couldn’t. It just ate at me. It was an integrity issue. I took a lot of pride in the work. The work matters to me. I took a lot of pride in what I did on TNG and DS9 and the movies. I just couldn’t work that way."

He adds, "It was happening with Brannon, with a writing partner. You have such a fundamental bedrock trust, that you must have between the two of you. I’ve said this for many years. You have to sit in a room with somebody, and you both have to slug away at a script and say to the other one, ‘That’s stupid; that sucks,’ without it being personal. It’s about the work. Neither one of you is trying to get your words in, and neither one of you is trying to put the other one down. It’s a very emotional thing. It’s a very intense experience, and it only works if you trust each other just completely. For many years, we trusted each other. When that trust is broken in such a fundamental way, you just can’t go back. I just couldn’t go back. You just leave. There are things you can forgive but you can’t forget. I couldn’t go there any more. I realized what was happening: ‘I’m not going to do this.’ I don’t care how much money was involved. It just wasn’t worth it. Once I made my decision I never looked back. It was going to be over, and it was over, and I walked away. I was very disappointed that my long-time friend and writing partner acted in that manner, that crossed lines to the point where I felt like I had to walk away from STAR TREK, which was something that meant a lot to me for a very long time, from my childhood right through my entire professional career. But I absolutely was not going to work like that. Coming from him, it carried even more of a weight that just forced my hand. I said, ‘Fuck this.’ I’m just not going to do it. I won’t do it, and I have no regrets about that. None whatsoever. I feel like I made the right decision. I wish it hadn’t happened. I wish that things had not turned out that way. I could have handled it a little differently myself. I don’t think it would have changed much. I think I could have, tactically, gone in and been confrontational early and said, ‘This is bullshit. Let’s clean this up.’ I think it would have turned out the way it turned out regardless of what I did. It just had to happen. It’s a Hollywood ending to a Cinderella story. I did see the entire chain of events from Hollywood. From the way I got on the show, with the kid tucking the script under the arm and going to the set, and the whole fan dream come true, to leaving with hurt feelings, because of disproportionate power in the relationships. Ira Behr [executive producer, DS9] did say that to me. He said, ‘Now your education is complete. Now you have learned all there is to know about Hollywood from your experiences at STAR TREK."
Also:
What I found on VOYAGER was suddenly it wasn’t about the work anymore. It wasn’t about making the best show that we possibly could; it was about all these other extraneous issues. It was about the politics of the show, and the strange sort of competition of egos within the writing staff and the producing staff and the management of the show. ‘Competition’ is probably a misleading term. The politics of the show were such that the egos of the people in charge of the series were threatened by the people who worked for them. To be blunt, [writers] Bryan Fuller and Mike Taylor were treated very shabbily, and it pissed me off. They took a lot of crap, and the only reason it was done was to keep the guys on the top of the pyramid feeling good about themselves. It also had the effect of keeping the writing staff from working in concert as a group. The DS9 staff by contrast was very tight.
I am convinced that this is part of the reason why Voyager had so many problems with inconsistency throughout its run. Characters and plots were not held to specific internal standards that would have prevented plot holes.

Lastly:
I don’t really care for where the franchise is now, where it’s going. It’s not about anything. It feels to me that it is a very content-free show. It’s not really speaking to the audience on any real level anymore. What’s happening is that it’s very superficial. It talks a good game. It talks about how it’s about deep social problems, and how it’s about sociological issues, and that it’s very relevant. It’s about exploration, and it’s about the unknown, and all these cute catch phrases, but scratch the surface of that and there is really not much underneath it all. VOYAGER doesn’t really believe in anything. The show doesn’t have a point of view that I can discern. It doesn’t have anything really to say. I truly believe it simply is just wandering around the galaxy. It doesn’t even really believe in its own central premise, which is to me its greatest flaw."

Moore notes, "I’ve said this to Brannon for years, because he and I would talk about the show when it was first invented. I just don’t understand why it doesn’t even believe in itself. Examine the fundamental premise of VOYAGER. A starship chases a bunch of renegades. Both ships are flung to the opposite side of the galaxy. The renegades are forced to come aboard Voyager. They all have to live together on their way home, which is going to take a century or whatever they set up in the beginning. I thought, This is a good premise. That’s interesting. Get them away from all the familiar STAR TREK aliens, throw them out into a whole new section of space where anything can happen. Lots of situations for conflict among the crew. The premise has a lot of possibilities. Before it aired, I was at a convention in Pasadena, and [scenic illustrator, technical consultant Rick] Sternbach and [scenic art supervisor, technical consultant Michael] Okuda were on stage, and they were answering questions from the audience about the new ship. It was all very technical, and they were talking about the fact that in the premise this ship was going to have problems. It wasn’t going to have unlimited sources of energy. It wasn’t going to have all the doodads of the Enterprise. It was going to be rougher, fending for themselves more, having to trade to get supplies that they want. That didn’t happen. It doesn’t happen at all, and it’s a lie to the audience. I think the audience intuitively knows when something is true and something is not true. VOYAGER is not true. If it were true, the ship would not look spick-and-span every week, after all these battles it goes through. How many times has the bridge been destroyed? How many shuttlecrafts have vanished, and another one just comes out of the oven? That kind of bullshitting the audience I think takes its toll. At some point the audience stops taking it seriously, because they know that this is not really the way this would happen. These people wouldn’t act like this."
This is common sense. Every science fiction novel that focuses on a ship or a colony stranded far from home includes plotlines about their lack of a support lifeline and making do on the supplies and resources they have on hand and can scrounge. Being on their own without backup what Voyager was all about. Voyager did in fact shine a (mostly soft) focus on the ship's supply problems repeatedly throughout its run, but crewpeople rarely died or experienced lasting injuries that weren't psychological and couldn't be ignored three episodes later. Damage to the ship rarely went beyond an episode or two, as if there were always a local shipyard at hand. This was unrealistic and a problem.

We joke here about the endless supplies of shuttlecraft and photo torpedoes that the ship seemed to possess. But it's worth noting that later shows with similar themes didn't do this. Stargate Universe, BSG and Enterprise all paid closer attention to their resources, and created crisis episodes around them. SGU's first episodes are entitled, "Air," "Darkness," "Light," "Water" -- they're based on their immediate resource needs. The ship's air quality is degraded. Their first order of business is to fix that. Then, they're low on energy to run the ship. How do they fix that? Finally, they need water. Impressively, SGU actually took the concept one step further: The crew needs water. They retrieve large chunks of ice from a planet in one episode, only to find out in a later episode that the discovered water that had saved them was already contaminated.

Enterprise, by the way, also handled this much better than Voyager. Even though they were also a Star Trek show. The Xindi arc shows the ship (stranded far from home in the Expanse) engaging in multiple battles and taking lasting damage that doesn't go away after an episode or two. There is an entire episode "Dead Stop" devoted to docking at an automated repair station. (The station voice was Roxann "B'Elanna Torres" Dawson's. She also directed the episode.)

Such careful attention to continuity is more respectful to the audience's intelligence and make for better watching. It can be the difference between one-off episodic television and a show that tries to tell a good story over time. With all of its flaws, Enterprise didn't erase each episode's effects when the credits rolled, and that made a world of difference.

Moore is extremely critical. The entire interview is really worth reading. He discusses the lack of continuity in the show in much more depth as well as many other elements we have discussed here in previous threads. We can see the seeds of BSG in his rants, too.
posted by zarq at 8:57 AM on February 26, 2018 [7 favorites]


That could have worked, although I still would have wanted one with the Barge and the river of blood and those things in the river.

Oh yes, I'm not saying lose that. I'm saying, long talky scenes on the barge, surrounded by the same vaguely fantastical elements. If their conversation is written right, it'd lend gravitas to the proceedings, and potentially make the whole barge thing scarier.

There is an entire episode "Dead Stop" devoted to docking at an automated repair station. (The station voice was Roxann "B'Elanna Torres" Dawson's. She also directed the episode.)

Hah. Can't help but wonder if that's a subtle comment.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 9:45 AM on February 26, 2018 [4 favorites]


Memory Alpha on "Dead Stop": "In the audio commentary for this episode, Mike Sussman and Phyllis Strong reveal that this episode was an attempt to diverge from previous episodes of Star Trek in which a ship is critically damaged in one episode, but miraculously repaired in the next, with no mention of repair work."

:D
posted by zarq at 9:51 AM on February 26, 2018 [2 favorites]


Particle of the Week: Whatever ions are in ion storms are clearly pretty powerful: they're also behind multiple trips to the Mirror Universe.
Pointless STO Comparison of the Week: Being an MMO, Star Trek Online features Klingon demons as opponents you may literally fight in space or on the ground. It's even possible to fly some of their retrofit starships. MMOs are very silly sometimes.

Ongoing Counts:
* Maximum Possible Photon Torpedoes: -6.
* Crew: 137.
* Credulity Straining Alpha Quadrant Contacts: 12. This is too metaphysical to count.
* Janeway's Big Red Button: 2 aborted self-destructs, 1 successful, 2 games of chicken, 1 ramming speed.

Notes:
* Lovely sets.

The main reason that I wish that they'd salvaged the episode somehow is that the set for the Barge is stunning, just the sort of butched-up ship (with that gorgeous monster of a ship's wheel that wouldn't look out of place in World of Warcraft) that you'd expect the Klingon Charon to pilot, although the gates of Gre'Thor are a bit Ghostbusters-ish.

Agreed. This episode is visually *stunning*, an absolute standout in terms of production. Very few things Voyager ever did impressed me more, mostly just Borg stuff.

* Bad story.

What’s happening is that it’s very superficial. It talks a good game. It talks about how it’s about deep social problems, and how it’s about sociological issues, and that it’s very relevant. It’s about exploration, and it’s about the unknown, and all these cute catch phrases, but scratch the surface of that and there is really not much underneath it all. VOYAGER doesn’t really believe in anything. The show doesn’t have a point of view that I can discern.

I think this is half-right. Voyager is deeply superficial, and this has been a constant drumbeat of mine since the get-go. However, no story is without beliefs and values - every narrative holds the perspective of the people who created it. Characters in the story will behave in ways that make sense to the people who wrote them. Solutions will be the kinds of things that the creators believe would work. The morality of any story will be rooted in what the author thinks about right and wrong. The - well, you get the idea. The gist is that if you pay attention to the assumptions in a narrative, you get a pretty good look at any author's assumptions about life, the universe and everything.

Part of my ongoing negative reaction to Voyager has to do with perceiving the people who created it to be pretty horrible, based on the kinds of stories they think are okay. I feel like this is born out by stuff like how Ron Moore was treated behind the scenes.

Anyway, some highlights:

- Voyager believes in race essentialism.

I've gone on about this before, and a certain amount of it is baked into Star Trek dating back to TOS because this was a very prevalent attitude at the time. Indeed, I still know people who think your race decides a lot about who you are, over and above your experience and choices - there's this idea that blood tells.

This is racist, and I find it pretty upsetting. Any story having to do with B'Ellana's Klingon nature or Chakotay's Native American roots wears me the fuck out. (I am similarly unhappy with a lot of stuff surrounding Vulcans - my frustration with Trek and racism dates back to Spock.)

Barge of the Dead continues this tradition.

This is notably a spot where DS9 made some strides: past obvious things like Far Beyond the Stars, I liked seeing things like a Klingon restaurant entrepreneur, Ferengi assassins, non-devout Bajorans, non-Starfleet humans (who were not the villains), etc.

- I hate the way everyone talks to B'Ellana.

I hate Tuvok telling her how she feels. I realize that was only a dream sequence, but it was plausible enough given real conversations they've had.

I hate the way Janeway doesn't want to permit B'Ellana to pursue her beliefs even after Janeway's risked the lives of everyone on board for her own beliefs. (See: Equinox, most recently.)

I hate the way Tom acts like one set of beliefs is interchangeable with another. (I'm aggressively non-theist, enough that I think atheists talk about gods too much, but the idea that 'just go to church' is the equivalent of 'have a time-sensitive religious quest' is very wrong.)

I hate the way Chakotay downplays his own beliefs to her.

Basically, people on that ship come across as insensitive clods, which leads me to believe it was written with significant input by insensitive clods, which tracks with Moore's treatment before he left.

Anyway, yeah. It totally has a point of view, just not a very nice one, and that's why I'm still not really happy with the show even though I've been pleasantly surprised by some things during the rewatch. This stuff is all still front and center, even though not everything was as bad as I remembered.
posted by mordax at 1:53 PM on February 26, 2018 [3 favorites]


Is it just me or do those port nacelles seem a lot more fragile than those on the starboard side of the various ships? I swear the port nacelles end up venting plasma way, way more frequently than their starboard cousins. I think someone should really look into this and maybe rotate the nacelles once in a while or something.

While I'm sure Moore is giving the dynamic as he sees it and is probably pretty much right on a lot of it, there is still a feeling of sour grapes in all these complaints from how I'm hearing it too. I mean talking down the dedication the other's have to the series, then dropping in an episode he wrote for an entirely different character? Yeah, sure, Klingons are all alike so you can swap out stuff for one and give it to another, no problem. Yet somehow this episode feels like it is dropped in from nowhere in pretty much the same way a number of other, writer's first!, choices have been made where they think of some idea and then rearrange anything needed to make it fit.

Still I'll give them credit here for at least reworking it all enough to fit into an extended arc for B'Elanna, as problematic as much of it is, since much of the "inner hallucinatory dialogue" or whatever is dealing with the same issues and attempting to show her progress with them from Extreme Risk. The concept seems to be that she and Tuvok did continue their sessions and along with her growing attachment to Janeway and the rest of the crew she's coming to some realizations about herself and wants to change. That the desire is coming from other people telling her how to Klingon better is, well, not so cool of course, but it does at least show they are keeping some track of character development long term, and they'll come back to this again, and I guess finish the story with B'Elanna dealing with her father later on.

Also of credit is the directing this episode, as its a well paced show and looks pretty solid for what it is. The actors portraying the Klingons were good, and mama B'Elanna is fine. I don't really buy the exchange from mom to Janeway, but they at least slotted the supporting characters well for how they interact with B'Elanna and what their roles would be/have been in her life in regards to her supposed struggles, so the inversions of their actions in the "afterlife" at least make sense in that regard.

I'm not really keen on how Trek deals with religion much of the time, with the nudge, nudge, wink, wink, is it real or isn't it attitude since it fits neither their universe nor really suggests anything useful about ours in any bigger sense than allowing people to believe what they want and pretending that's all for the good. It's not surprising they do this a lot since it keeps the viewers from feeling too challenged if they are believers, and feeling too alienated if they aren't. To be sure, Trek also sometimes feigns towards a agnostic/atheistic stance, but it works pretty much the same and in a universe chock-a-block with godlike beings it's all kinda bizarre.

For all the little things of credit, the episode still feels pretty flat. The dialogue itself isn't that interesting, the dilemma uninspiring and the mythic Klingonism old and tired. I suppose that last element does sorta fit a lot of religions that get stuck in some long ago never never land vibe, but with Klingons it seems even worse since that's so much of the entirety of their would be culture on the shows. How they managed to develop science and industry that would lead to space faring is beyond me, but that's true for the Kazon, Hirogen, and dozens of other species as well. Trek writers love doing the Klingon stuff, and if it was somehow completely set aside into its own thing, that might be fine, but it rubs against the main elements of the show, Starfleet and the Federation, rather crudely and often isn't a good look for the shows in any analogy to reality. So in Moore's defense, I guess, it's so much a part of Trek to make the Klingon stories so completely other that they may as well be dropped in from nowhere when they tell stories about Worf or B'Elanna. Worf centered episodes felt like they were doing their own thing in TNG and that's pretty much how it works for B'Elanna centered episodes here.
posted by gusottertrout at 11:04 PM on February 28, 2018 [1 favorite]


Seriously, while it's certainly true that individual scientists and engineers can be arrogant and unyielding asses, there has to be some level of cultural acceptance of the exchange of new ideas and the value of questioning and trial and error principles. That's something that seems, well, alien to Klingon culture as shown in the different series, where questioning is seen more as a "challenge to honor" than a valued part of growth and experience needed to facilitate scientific, or general cultural progress. They can put the magic science words in the character's mouths, but the shows often rely on the mysticism of individual genius rather than scientific method to sell their stories, even as they nod to cooperation and working together as a value.
posted by gusottertrout at 11:46 PM on February 28, 2018


So in Moore's defense, I guess, it's so much a part of Trek to make the Klingon stories so completely other that they may as well be dropped in from nowhere when they tell stories about Worf or B'Elanna. Worf centered episodes felt like they were doing their own thing in TNG and that's pretty much how it works for B'Elanna centered episodes here.

This is an apt observation. They should do a show all about Curzon Dax, to sort of ground Klingon culture in the shared reality of the quadrant. (I made it only five or six episodes through DISCO, but I sense that for all the Klingon shenanigans that show set up, it may not have done much to work against the phenomenon gus describes. Those of you who saw the whole season: is that accurate? (no spoilers please!))

BTW, the Mama B'Elanna actor, Karen Austin, was also considered for the role of Janeway.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 3:24 AM on March 1, 2018


Discovery didn't work against the trend exactly, but it did at least start to make more sense of the "otherness", in a generally interesting way, before they dropped the ball at the end and ended more with a business as usual attitude to please the fans I think.
posted by gusottertrout at 4:19 AM on March 1, 2018


While I'm sure Moore is giving the dynamic as he sees it and is probably pretty much right on a lot of it, there is still a feeling of sour grapes in all these complaints from how I'm hearing it too. I mean talking down the dedication the other's have to the series, then dropping in an episode he wrote for an entirely different character?

I don't think that that's "sour grapes" in the usual meaning of that phrase, as in someone saying that a missed opportunity wasn't all that anyway. In fact, the impression given in that interview is the exact opposite: he spends quite a lot of time talking about how great VOY could have been, with all that potential that ended up getting wasted. And it's nothing that we haven't said here.

As for recycling an episode concept, as I said, I thought that it would have been better used on DS9, but I think that it's the kind of thing that happens in the franchise pretty frequently; in fact, as I've said before, I think that one of the problems that VOY ran into is that they were no longer the only game in town--a freelancer pitching an idea could retool it to another space opera if Gene Roddenberry or Rick Berman shot it down. In fact, again as already noted, BSG is in no small part Moore's taking a lot of what he wanted to do, and thought should have been done, on VOY and working with it in a situation where Braga couldn't shoot it down and/or switch things around behind Moore's back.

As for Klingon stuff and how well it melded with the Federation, or not, well, YMMV. I think that the conflict with Federation ideals and ethics is really the whole point; since the franchise is intrinsically allegorical, the Klingons having this whole conservative and problematic culture is basically the stand-in for every culture and nation that seems to be regressive from our point of view, but that we have to deal with and tolerate for political reasons. (Another way to look at it is that, for some cultures and nations, we're the Klingons.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:40 AM on March 1, 2018


I don't think that that's "sour grapes" in the usual meaning of that phrase, as in someone saying that a missed opportunity wasn't all that anyway. In fact, the impression given in that interview is the exact opposite: he spends quite a lot of time talking about how great VOY could have been, with all that potential that ended up getting wasted.

Oh, I'm sure he feels that his Voyager would have been better, but the bitterness about the process speaks as much to his own estimation of his ideas, as if he wouldn't have run into the same problems with the studio as the others did and not had to deal with all the other writer visions and so on. He was cut out of the deal here because his ideal didn't match that of the others and/or how things worked so he sounds bitter about it. That's fine, but BSGVoyager doesn't have any episodes to compare, so it's easy to complain with nothing on the line of your own. As I've said though, I like Voyager as it is better than BSG as it was even with the added for increased continuity and other things that changed in TV practices in the years between the two shows.

As for Klingon stuff and how well it melded with the Federation, or not, well, YMMV. I think that the conflict with Federation ideals and ethics is really the whole point; since the franchise is intrinsically allegorical, the Klingons having this whole conservative and problematic culture is basically the stand-in for every culture and nation that seems to be regressive from our point of view, but that we have to deal with and tolerate for political reasons.

Yeah, the allegorical element is there as we've discussed, but it's also troubling for being there as a perspective on other groups and in the monolithicness of their vision. It really needs more to it to work effectively in my mind, but it's got them this far and people like it and these one off Klingon episodes can be enjoyable enough at times if you ignore the big picture and allegory and think of them as their own thing, like Mork and Mindy is to Happy Days.
posted by gusottertrout at 10:53 AM on March 1, 2018


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