And, after seven long seasons, it’s time for erstwhile “Voyager” chronicler Whitney Bishop to bring us home. Take it away, Whitney! –Liz
Geena Davis: “We just heard a fascinating and disturbing study, where they looked at the ratio of men and women in groups. And they found that if there’s 17 percent women, the men in the group think it’s 50-50. And if there’s 33 percent women, the men perceive that as there being more women in the room than men.”
Here, at the dawning of this last season of Voyager, I’ve got a theory for why, by the end, pretty much damn near every guest actor on the show is male — unless, of course, the character has to be a sex object, seduce someone, and/or give birth to someone, in which case that role can be filled by a lady — and that theory is basically summed up by that quote up there. The ratio hasn’t been great throughout the rest of the show, but by the end it’s just ridiculous. I think that the more time Janeway, Seven, and B’Elanna get, the more the show feels its gender quota has been filled and just defaults to male secondary characters.
I honestly think the lack of adult female roles has a lot to do with male perceptions of how women take up space. By the seventh season, Janeway still has the helm, Seven is an object of interest for many of the plots now, and B’Elanna’s pregnancy has pushed her back to frequent consideration where she once was absent from episodes entirely. Three women doing things is like having a show entirely about women, and therefore there’s no need to ensure gender diversity elsewhere.
To be clear, I’m not accusing anyone of malice or deliberate misogyny. But seeing seventeen percent and thinking it’s the same as half is just another indication of the failure of imagination that never let Voyager boldly go quite the way it should have. The show started out touting its female-led crew, but wound up not only struggling under its inability to keep up its initial promises of being Feminist Trek, but actually backsliding. That’s sort of sad.
And now, for Season 7… Read the rest of this entry
The adventure continues thanks to the wonderful Whitney Bishop, who continues her quest through the Delta Quadrant with the cleanest refugees in Starfleet. Season 6 is here — we’re almost home, you guys! –Liz
Season six of Voyager really becomes the Seven Show. On the one hand, that’s great, because Jeri Ryan is still the most talented cast member and Seven of Nine has some of the most interesting character development still left. Also, up until the end, it strayed away from the disasters that are usually her romance plots and embraced her ability to do other things, like take care of special-needs children and wear less makeup.
On the other hand, though, focusing on her means leaving a lot of good characters by the wayside. Nothing of note has happened to Chakotay in a good long while, and while Harry, Neelix, and Tuvok are present in a lot of scenes (and get to lead the plot in about an episode each), they’re generally supporting the action, not carrying it. That’s just death on a show that’s supposed to be an ensemble cast. I read that this season was a slog for Robert Beltran, and I have no problem believing that, considering how he was in every episode of the show (as was Tim Russ), but I don’t actually remember his being in most of the ones this season.
I’m also just going to point out the fact that three of the four cast members the show forgets about are three of its four cast members of color, put that down, and back away slowly. (If you’re interested in detailed-yet-spoilery statistics, Adherents.com has a list of Species / Race / Gender / Ethnicity Breakdown Among Star Trek Cast Members, which was a good read.)
SEASON SIX Read the rest of this entry
Whitney’s back, you guys, because there are seven full seasons of “Voyager” and our lord and savior Hugh Jackman knows that you need to know which ones to skip and which ones to watch. Here’s Season 5 — Seasons 6 and 7 are coming soon! –Liz
Some notes: Remember what I said all the way back in the season three guide about Tom and B’Elanna being boring? (Liz sure does!) [I sure do! We still disagree about that! –Liz]
In fact, that relationship starts to be one of Voyager‘s strengths as it goes on — once it gets past the cringe-inducing courtship stage and settles into a long-term relationship, their boring is great! They’re together, but they’re not together all the time. Each gets appropriately worried when the other is in a dangerous situation, but not to the point of completely breaking down. It’s an actual, grown-up relationship between two people who have to work together. The show gets over the painful stages of OMG WILL WE OR WON’T WE and OMG WE DID AND NOW WE MUST NOT TELL ANYONE and settles them down into, yep, we’re dating, the end. And that’s lovely.
I’m picking on romance in particular here because this season made so many attempts at it, and they all fell flat — all, that is, with the exception of Tom and B’Elanna, which remained a quiet, pleasant background constant (more or less). Read the rest of this entry
She first appeared on the show when I was sixteen years old, and I felt she was about the worst thing Voyager had going for it. One of the reasons was, I will admit now, semi-petty: she was pretty, but she wasn’t just pretty, she was Space Magic Barbie, who had been dressed not only in a tight suit, but in a tight suit specifically made to corset her as prominently possible — and made absolutely no practical sense, to boot. Like, I understand how a plain bodysuit is a reasonably unfrivolous outfit, but really if they’d rescued a boy Borg instead, do you think they would’ve put him in a silver suit so tight you could see his balls?
And there’s nothing in the universe practical about those heels. Her core design was just so obviously someone’s masturbatory fantasy put on display to attract straight male viewers that I was uncomfortable as a young person, and I’m still more than a little uncomfortable now. (See also: Enterprise‘s Sex Vulcan — and boy, is that a show I’m not doing a Skip It/Watch It for. Or wait, here we go: just skip it.) Read the rest of this entry
It seems weird now that it’s pretty much the norm, but serialization is actually something that television — and Star Trek in particular — used to hate. The syndication model meant that shows had to be airable in whatever order the local broadcasters wanted to air them in, which didn’t lend well to embedded cumulative plots. Sure, there were certain shows that demanded strict continuity (see: Twin Peaks), but Star Trek series weren’t supposed to be among them. Deep Space Nine, in fact, got on the wrong side of its production company more than once when it made plotlines that stretched over several episodes. If you go read around on Memory Alpha, you see tons of instances where Voyager‘s cast and crew
alike make mention of this, usually grumbling all the way. Good for business, bad for art.
Season three is where the show’s lack of short-term memory really starts to show. Read the rest of this entry
Hey, did you ask Santa for more advice on avoiding the worst of “Star Trek: Voyager”? Only took him six months, but he’s finally delivering — in the form of Whitney Bishop. She’s already done Season 1 — now it’s time for Season 2! Enjoy. –Liz
One of the first problems with Voyager‘s second season is that… well, parts of it weren’t intended to be in the second season at all. The first four episodes were filmed to be part of the first season, but they got moved over and that weirds a lot of the timing.
So this season is bumpy from the get-go, and it doesn’t get much smoother as it goes along. Read the rest of this entry