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Boldly going where no feminist has gone before.
July 9, 2014 5:27 AM   Subscribe

Trekkie Feminist. Feminist fans of Star Trek take a look at what Star Trek gets wrong (and gets right) about gender issues, with individual episode reviews and series Bechdel test results.
posted by Librarypt (71 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite

 
I have some rare time to myself while my 4-year-old is visiting grandparents for a bit. I had decided to watch ST:TNG, which I haven't consistently watched since it was first broadcast.

I have enjoyed that (I love Worf!), but then decided, on a bit of a whim, to watch ST:Voyager. I think my wife and I watched a few random episodes of this when it was broadcast. I had always heard negative things about it, but have been really enjoying it. I cheated by starting with season 4, watching 10 or so episodes of that while I clean house and work on projects and then I went back to watch season 1. The pilot was a bit wonky as most pilots are, but I quite liked what I saw of season 4. Janeway is my favorite ST captain now!

I suspect the reason Voyager is disliked quite a bit in some circles is because it does reliably pass the Bechdel test.
posted by Slothrop at 5:39 AM on July 9 [4 favorites]


Voyager takes until season three to really get into its stride, but once it does it's a serious contender for my favourite Trek.

(shamelessly linking my own Voyager gifs. just be thankful I'm not linking my fanfiction.)
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 5:50 AM on July 9 [6 favorites]


I searched for Yar and found no results, which is a real shame, because I think there are a ton of issues to unpack there. I mean, the head of security fled rape gangs and was expected to fight a woman of color on a sexist, racist-ass planet.
posted by palindromic at 5:53 AM on July 9 [7 favorites]


So bookmarked! I've always enjoyed the various incarnations of Trek as series that mostly usually really try, even when they get it wrong. The importance of the early presence of D.C. Fontana can't be underestimated, and Margaret Armen and Jean Lisette Aroeste also left their marks as writers on TOS, paving the way for the Jeri Taylors, Melinda Snodgrasses, and Lisa Klinks of later series.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:56 AM on July 9 [3 favorites]


This is a great post, thanks! I haven't really dug into it yet and I'm already reading about messed up 24th-century contraception.
posted by emmtee at 6:00 AM on July 9 [2 favorites]


And of course, there's the story of Roddenberry having to choose between fighting to keep either the alien science officer or the female first officer from the pilot in order to get picked up from the network, and, agonizing over wanting both, finally deciding that the message of peace between races was more important. But he said that, in his mind, the crew of the Enterprise was always gender-balanced, even if you didn't see it on screen.

The fact that the female Number one, plus Sally Kellerman as a high-ranking doctor, even appeared in the pilot in the first place, makes me tend to believe that he really did want gender balance in the crew but was convinced he couldn't get it in the climate of the day.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:04 AM on July 9 [4 favorites]


I suspect the reason Voyager is disliked quite a bit in some circles is because it does reliably pass the Bechdel test.

*spit takes*

Fuck no. Voyager is disliked because Neelix, Harry Kim, and Tuvok in that order. Setting aside the atavistic sexism of 7 of 9's here-because-eyecandy status, the female characters are practically the sole redeeming quality of the entire series.

Seriously, that's just an out-and-out misread of the fan reaction.
posted by Ryvar at 6:07 AM on July 9 [29 favorites]


I haven't really dug into it yet and I'm already reading about messed up 24th-century contraception.

Yeah, yet another one of those "DS9 gets profoundly silly by trying to be too much like 20th/21st century society in all the details instead of remembering that it's the far future" moments.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:08 AM on July 9 [1 favorite]


Ryvar: "Voyager is disliked because Neelix, Harry Kim, and Tuvok in that order. Setting aside the atavistic sexism of 7 of 9's here-because-eyecandy status, the female characters are practically the sole redeeming quality of the entire series."

Hey, I like Neelix. I can't actually explain why, I'm just strangely fond of the little space badger. That list would be like, Chakotay, Kim, Paris for me. Just no, off the ship, the lot of you. Agreed on Voyager's women being its best quality, though - Janeway, B'Elanna, Seven, Seven and Janeway's so-obvious-Reg-Barclay-can-see-it-from-the-Alpha-Quadrant flirting, Kes... maybe not Kes. But the others are great, and the one thing I'll give the writers credit for is that the women had a ton of screen time, actual development and lots to do.
posted by emmtee at 6:23 AM on July 9 [3 favorites]


On rewatch, I've actually been enjoying Tuvok a lot, but it might be because I've decided he does in fact know humans pretty well after his however many decades in Starfleet and half of his "vulcan-ness" is fully self-aware deadpan snarking.

I mean, but every show has people's favorite and less favorite characters - Voyager's certianly not unique in including a few weak ones as far as the post-TOS era is concerned. My theory for why a lot of Trekkies dislike voyager is that it more or less throws away its premise and becomes just another space anomaly of the week show pretty quick, and so any Star Trek fan is going to be coming up with how they would have done it differently and, to their eyes, better.
posted by Zalzidrax at 6:31 AM on July 9 [2 favorites]


I'm amused that Turnabout Intruder passes the Bechdel Test.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:32 AM on July 9 [2 favorites]


Different strokes, I guess - Neelix is basically Jar-Jar Binks, and easily my vote for the worst regular character in the entire franchise.

The great tragedy of Voyager in my mind is that they put a racial diversity emphasis on the male cast and then made one white dude the sole male with an actual character arc (the Doctor), and the other white dude the sole person allowed to have fun on the ship (Paris).
posted by Ryvar at 6:36 AM on July 9 [1 favorite]


I suspect the reason Voyager is disliked quite a bit in some circles is because it does reliably pass the Bechdel test.

There are probably "some circles" in fandom that dislike the Alien movies because Ripley; there are still fans of the Gor books that base their lifestyle on them, after all. But the problems with VOY were endemic throughout the series and had nothing to do with the Bechdel test. After all, you have the weirdness of one of the best characters on the series, Seven, being promoted as eye candy for the bros. (Not to mention that she has a better character arc than B'Elanna, whose character development mostly takes place in the context of her relationship to Tom.) The real problems with the show are structural, and were mirrored in Enterprise, which similarly featured a female character who, while likewise having a lot of character development, also was made to drop trou on a regular basis.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:40 AM on July 9 [2 favorites]


But he said that, in his mind, the crew of the Enterprise was always gender-balanced, even if you didn't see it on screen.

The sad thing is that we haven't really progressed much in the last fifty years and probably regressed in some ways. Science fiction has the ability to show any society the writer wants but somehow we always end up seeing the same social structures that we have now.
posted by octothorpe at 6:51 AM on July 9 [2 favorites]


I suspect the reason Voyager is disliked quite a bit in some circles is because it does reliably pass the Bechdel test.

I disliked Voyager in part because of weak characters, but mainly because it was a show that hated its own premise. It should have been dealing with the real struggles of being left in the Delta Quadrant with no hope of getting home within most people's lifetimes. How do we get resources to survive? Is it time to ask everyone to start having babies so our grandkids can see earth? Do we colonize a likely planet, or ask for shelter with a friendly alien race? Are we content to let Janeway make all decisions forever, or do we have an elected council? For crying out loud, they had a rebel faction on this ship who should have been pressing these questions! Instead, they all integrated into the normal Starfleet Way of Life, and the show became the Next Generation with weaker characters and a transmission lag when contacting Starfleet.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 6:51 AM on July 9 [23 favorites]


Voyager is the best Trek series because no other Trek has had an episode revolving around George Costanza.

they're killing independent Kurros!
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 7:06 AM on July 9 [3 favorites]


I suspect the reason Voyager is disliked quite a bit in some circles is because it does reliably pass the Bechdel test.

Maybe in some circles, sure. I dislike Voyager because it's dumbed-down Trek.
posted by mediated self at 7:09 AM on July 9 [3 favorites]


Ursula Le Guin: I used to watch Star Trek, until they went off the rails with Voyager.

She doesn't say how it went off the rails, but somehow I'm not sure it'd be because there were too many women in the crew.
posted by dng at 7:17 AM on July 9 [1 favorite]


I suspect the reason Voyager is disliked quite a bit in some circles is because it does reliably pass the Bechdel test.

Or very poor writing of the you can see what's coming at all times variety and we'll club you over the head with every point we are trying to make on this or that serious issue. This resulted in weak characters. Particularly in contrast to DS9, which was on at the same time for the first 5 of Voyager's broadcast. Very strong characters in DS9, male, female, or otherwise.
posted by juiceCake at 7:25 AM on July 9 [1 favorite]


There was Big Bang Theory episode on last night that had the line (not verbatim) "As integrated and advanced as the Star Trek was, they still had a black woman answering the phone."
posted by achrise at 7:40 AM on July 9 [2 favorites]


I searched for Yar and found no results, which is a real shame, because I think there are a ton of issues to unpack there. I mean, the head of security fled rape gangs and was expected to fight a woman of color on a sexist, racist-ass planet.

Hi there! First, was thrilled to find the site shared here. I just wanted to let you know there is a little bit on Yar, including a review of that episode, "Code of Honor". The Tumblr search function is not the best so here's the link to everything tagged about Yar: http://trekkiefeminist.tumblr.com/tagged/tasha-yar

I am going through the episodes relatively randomly though so there's definitely more to say - always open to requests for particular episodes or portrayals to discuss.
posted by jarrah at 7:41 AM on July 9 [18 favorites]


I think Voyager has too many androids. Seven, The Doctor, and Tuvok all have storylines that revolve around "becoming more human." I think all of those characters are great individually, but together it was a little much. TNG already had Data, TOS already had Spock, so this kind of storyline already feels a bit worn by the time you get to Voyager, and then they do it three times. It wouldn't have killed them to bump one or two of those episodes to develop Harry Kim a bit more.
posted by a dangerous ruin at 7:52 AM on July 9


It wouldn't have killed them to bump one or two of those episodes to develop Harry Kim a bit more.

Develop him right out the nearest airlock.
posted by murphy slaw at 7:54 AM on July 9 [2 favorites]


Is it wrong to say that Kim was my bit of eye-candy on the series?

I'd vote Neelix, Kes, and Tom for malfunctioning airlock duty well before Kim.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:12 AM on July 9 [2 favorites]


Kim also had one of my favorite ever quotes of Trek.
posted by jonmc at 8:15 AM on July 9


This seems a perfect place to leave this: Carol Burnett - Star Trek - The Estrogen Zone.
posted by dejah420 at 8:23 AM on July 9 [3 favorites]


The importance of the early presence of D.C. Fontana can't be underestimated

I have to second this. I watched the whole original series with a friend a couple of years ago, and it turned into a joke between us that any time an episode had a surprisingly subtle and balanced view of female characters, D.C. Fontana would have a plotting, writing, or editing credit.

It could make for some real whiplash -- there would be episodes with totally realistic woman characters with agency and depth, and then there would be the most awful, cliche'd and sexist ones.
posted by tavella at 8:36 AM on July 9 [4 favorites]


ArmyOfKittens: "... they're killing independent Kurros!"

And just like that, AoK, you are now my among my favorite folks. I'm gonna be giggling about this comment for the foreseeable future!
posted by barnacles at 8:57 AM on July 9 [4 favorites]




Hey, I like Neelix. I can't actually explain why, I'm just strangely fond of the little space badger.

I liked Neelix, too; he was one of my favorite non-Starfleet characters of the entire canon. I was really surprised when I got online and found out that a lot of people didn't share my opinion. I liked that he was resourceful but flawed, had a positive outlook and a strong, committed relationship (in the first seasons), and was basically different from everyone else on the ship but didn't become a ball of grimdark angst over it. I appreciated his basic creativity and friendliness, and Ethan Phillips's ability to show subtle emotions through heavy makeup. But of course, not every character can possibly be every viewer's cup of tea.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:02 AM on July 9 [6 favorites]


Setting aside the atavistic sexism of 7 of 9's here-because-eyecandy status

That's a fair comment on the costume, but not really anything else about that character. Both Jeri Ryan and the writers made 7 of 9 an outstanding character.

I disliked Voyager...mainly because it was a show that hated its own premise. It should have been dealing with the real struggles of being left in the Delta Quadrant with no hope of getting home within most people's lifetimes.


There is nothing more traditionally "Star Trek" than failing to follow through on the series premise. TOS's "five year mission" was never in any way seriously thought through, for example. Voyager was much more in the mode of TOS than DS9 was. You know--"Oh ho, let us land on the planet of convenient plot-contrivance Alpha!" It's perfectly fair not to enjoy that kind of thing or to prefer DS9's more sustained plotlines and relatively careful world-building, but I don't think it makes Voyager some kind of weird outlier in the Trek universe.
posted by yoink at 9:05 AM on July 9 [2 favorites]


Oh, and re the "why people disliked Voyager" thing. There's no doubt that Metafilter is hardly the place to look for people who hated it because HOW DARE THEY HAVE A FEMALE CAPTAIN!?! but that sentiment was definitely pretty rife out there in the general Trekkie/TV community.
posted by yoink at 9:08 AM on July 9 [2 favorites]


Female captain, and the next two in rank weren't white men either. I remember that being a big deal, and not always in a positive way.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:12 AM on July 9 [2 favorites]


I really disliked Voyager because a) way too much Paris but most especially b) the anarchist rebels appeared to all forget that they had left Starfleet. A fascinating story arc about combining the two crews with very different values was dropped like a hot potato for annoying guy mugging at the camera and hitting on anything vaguely female.

I liked Janeway a lot, Tuvok was boring (and the actor no Leonard Nimoy or Suzie Plakson - the later one of the best Vulcan guest stars, as well as Klingon), Harry Kim was bland but inoffensive and Neelix was cool - he's only character who seemed to remember that he wasn't ever in the military.
posted by jb at 9:18 AM on July 9 [1 favorite]


B'Elanna was cool - until she hooked up with Paris.

Basically, I would have just removed Paris (and possibly Chakotay) - the fan fiction world would have been thinner, but the show would have been much better.
posted by jb at 9:20 AM on July 9


I hated Voyager for one reason and one reason only. When the guy ended up going faster than warp 10 he was all excited and stuff....but the stars in the window didn't move at all. If they missed simple details like that then.... I just turned off the tv and never looked back.
posted by I-baLL at 9:23 AM on July 9


I'm eager to read a few series critiques, and I like that the Bechdel test's flaws are briefly analyzed. My problem with it is that it lumps issues of gender & sexuality into the same metric. I'm not wholly averse to that, but if sexuality bigotry is shunned while misogyny is still an issue we'll have lesbian female characters' professionalism &/or competency trivialized with relationship talk on the job and still get a Bechdel pass.

It's interesting to me that ST has such inconsistency in treatment of gender with moments of nuance squeezed between form fitting costumes & sonic showers. I gotta read the summary from the TNG episode with the fudge conversation.
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:32 AM on July 9


I really disliked Voyager because... the anarchist rebels appeared to all forget that they had left Starfleet.

That didn't bother me because it seemed natural, and not really necessary of discussion, that when the gagh hit the fan, it was clear to them all that they needed to work together under one banner with one set of rules if they were going to have a chance of accomplishing the Herculean task of getting home alive.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:35 AM on July 9


...also, the Bechdel test might provide more granular data if we had a percentage of words in female characters' conversation related to men vs not. A bechdel score instead of pass fail; epecially useful for longer conversations.
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:53 AM on July 9


I disagree. As has come up in previous discussions about the Bechdel Test, its usefulness is in its simplicity. It's such an easy test to pass, yet most movies fail. Plus with it being pass/fail I can easily grade it while I'm watching the movie, rather than getting a script and counting all the lines of dialogue and figuring out... oh, I'm getting bored just writing this comment, and I like data entry.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:56 AM on July 9 [4 favorites]


BrotherCaine: "I gotta read the summary from the TNG episode with the fudge conversation."

Read it slowly.

Make every paragraph an event.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 10:02 AM on July 9 [4 favorites]


Although didn't it suck that Troi had so little to do compared to the other main characters that they tended to give her random little Manic Pixie Dream Counsellor scenes at the beginning of episodes.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 10:04 AM on July 9 [1 favorite]


Corpse in the library, I should apply the test to more things I watch, but it bugs me a little that a long, deep conversation could get a fail because of one line, but a totally sexist movie could get a pass by including a two sentence exchange.
posted by BrotherCaine at 10:24 AM on July 9


it bugs me a little that a long, deep conversation could get a fail because of one line
Maybe I'm misunderstanding you here: Are you saying that a movie fails the Bechdel test if it includes two women talking to each other about a man?

Because that's not how I understand it at all. A movie passes if two women talk about something other than a man; whether they also talk about a man is irrelevant.
posted by Flunkie at 10:29 AM on July 9 [3 favorites]


Because that's not how I understand it at all. A movie passes if two women talk about something other than a man; whether they also talk about a man is irrelevant.

That's definitely right. If two named female characters talk, however briefly, about anything other than a man the movie passes the Bechdel test. There's no doubt that shitty sexist movies often pass and occasionally excellent non-sexist movies fail, but in the aggregate it's very telling if a large group of films/TV episodes fails to clear such an incredibly low hurdle.
posted by yoink at 10:34 AM on July 9 [1 favorite]


BrotherCaine: an in-depth feminist critique of a movie is great, but that's not what the Bechdel Test is, nor is it what it's supposed to be.

If the long, deep conversation is just about men, and that conversation is the only exchange between two female characters in the entire movie, then that movie fails.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:35 AM on July 9 [1 favorite]


Thanks, I think I got confused about it after reading the Wikipedia subheading on bechdel test criticisms. I take back that criticism, but I still contend that it conflates sexuality & gender issues. I can't propose a better easy metric though. One of the strengths and weaknesses of communication is the inherent ambiguity.
posted by BrotherCaine at 10:40 AM on July 9


I forgot to say welcome to metafilter Jarrah, and I look forward to checking out both of your blogs. You do a nice roundup on Gender-focus.com
posted by BrotherCaine at 10:43 AM on July 9 [3 favorites]


Looking forward to reading these. I'm actually watching everything except TOS for the very first time right now (I'm not sure I'll ever be ready for TOS!). The conflict between the overtly stated feminist (and anti-racist etc.) values of the in-show universe and what actually happens in terms of casting and storyline is ... a little headache-inducing sometimes. It still manages to be some of the more progressive TV that I've seen, and it's amazing to me that so many DS9 scenes are of a type that is still distressingly rare (cool, competent, respected black men discussing and doing stuff together; cool, competent, respected women discussing and doing stuff together).
posted by wintersweet at 11:00 AM on July 9 [1 favorite]


I think Voyager has too many androids. Seven, The Doctor, and Tuvok all have storylines that revolve around "becoming more human."

This is simply wrong. Let's dispose of Tuvok right away--he had no particular desire to become human in any sense of the term; he did have to get a big stick out of his ass in general, but that's less about wanting to "be human" than about Vulcans in general sometimes seeming to have difficulty getting along with any other species, something that has been an on-and-off thread throughout the franchise, and expanded on quite well in Enterprise.

The Doctor's real struggle was in getting people to both accept and treat him like a genuinely intelligent and self-aware sentient being; in part, that was because the Federation and Starfleet had no hard and fast rules with regard to when and how to decide that a holodeck program had achieved sentience, and in part because the Doctor was considered to be part of the ship and therefore having some different status from a free-standing (and non-Federation-constructed) android like Data. So, the Doctor only wanted to become "real" in the sense that he wanted the rights that accrued to any sentient being under Federation law; he was more than happy to celebrate his hologram nature (although he did enjoy being incorporated into Seven temporarily; in fact, I'd really like to see Trekkie Feminist's take on the episode "Body and Soul", in which the Doctor enjoys being in control of Seven's body a little too much, and Seven is kind of horrified by this). The Doctor has certainly done human-like things, but his character arc is ultimately about accepting his true nature and demanding acceptance from others.

Finally, Seven has always been human, but was also part of the Borg Collective for most of her life. The subtext in her arc is both that of someone who was part of an insular, all-controlling cult, and has a lot of emotional development to catch up to; "seven" refers not only to her designation within the collective but also her age when assimilated, and therefore her emotional age upon disassimilation. There's a heavy subtext of survival of childhood abuse there. Seven's character development isn't about "becoming human", it's about figuring out what being an individual means to her in the context of her personal history, including the fact that she will always have Borg implants of one sort or another.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:05 AM on July 9 [8 favorites]


Also:

I hated Voyager for one reason and one reason only. When the guy ended up going faster than warp 10 he was all excited and stuff....but the stars in the window didn't move at all. If they missed simple details like that then.... I just turned off the tv and never looked back.

The first rule of Voyager Club is that we don't talk about "Threshold."
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:06 AM on July 9 [3 favorites]


I suspect the reason Voyager is disliked quite a bit in some circles is because it does reliably pass the Bechdel test.

Holy shit this is an inflammatory thing to say, like really?

To be clear, i like voyager. But i never got a read of anyone who criticized it as "asshole who just wants more kirk/picard/sisko manbrodude stuff".

You can dislike Janeway and not be a closet(or otherwise) misogynist. You can also hate how many clunker episodes the show consistently has, some of which are among the worst ANY series of trek has to offer.

You've gotten plenty of other good responses in here that aren't fig leafs. I just don't really believe this is A Thing, but rather an attempt to tar people who don't agree with you as Objectively Bad.

Oh, and re the "why people disliked Voyager" thing. There's no doubt that Metafilter is hardly the place to look for people who hated it because HOW DARE THEY HAVE A FEMALE CAPTAIN!?! but that sentiment was definitely pretty rife out there in the general Trekkie/TV community.

Has anyone actually met this person though? I always heard about this comic book store on the simpsons type person saying this, but never actually encountered one. I've gone to star trek conventions, i hang out with tons of nerds. I've hung out with quite a few of the really ultra super neckbeardy type of nerd, and just hang out with super nerdy people in general. A lot of people don't like voyager, but i've never actually heard this criticism... just people discussing it. I'm not saying it doesn't exist, just that i feel it's a lot less common than people who go "wow, you know those assholes?" "Yep, they're assholes aren't they" make it seem.

Basically, in response to both these comments, i've heard a lot of criticism of this show. Most of it was legitimate. I've heard very very little that came from some weird misogynistic place. In fact most of the criticism i've even heard relating to the show as far as the female characters goes was about 7 of 9 being a ridiculously eye candy character.
posted by emptythought at 11:29 AM on July 9 [2 favorites]


I hated Voyager for one reason and one reason only. When the guy ended up going faster than warp 10 he was all excited and stuff....but the stars in the window didn't move at all. If they missed simple details like that then.... I just turned off the tv and never looked back.

Was Voyager the one where they had an early episode where they went inside the event horizon of a black hole or something equally dumb? I remember something like that happening in the early arc of one of the Star Trek series; it was the point at which I realized Trek had stopped being fun for me.
posted by immlass at 11:46 AM on July 9




Tuvok always got on my nerves because he never read "emotionless Vulcan" to me so much as he did "constantly angry guy."
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:24 PM on July 9


I disliked Voyager in part because of weak characters, but mainly because it was a show that hated its own premise.

THIS.

Voyager abandoned its premise so fast, it set a new warp speed record. I know it's an old argument, but there was so much they could have done with the notion of two mistrustful crews, thrown together by circumstance in a place where everything was alien and strange. Instead, the show almost immediately devolved into a crappier version of TNG/TOS, and I feel like even the writers could hardly even remember who was Federation and who was Maquis.

I couldn't stick it out after 3 seasons or so, so I never really saw 7 of 9's arc. I'm glad to hear maybe my impression from afar (that she was an absurd eye-candy addition) was wrong, but at that point it was too late for me.

I recently went and read up on how it all ended, just to find out, and I have to say, the description of the final episodes feels like a complete affirmation of the notion that the writers just never really wanted to work with the premise. Putting aside Reginald Barclay re-establishing contact so that they had contact with the federation (really?), the writers provide so many cheats that the projected 75 year journey is reduced to 23 years. Then, to add insult to injury, Janeway uses OMG TIMETRAVEL to reduce that number down to 7.

7 years? Really? That's practically a standard exploration mission at that point.

Gather round the fire, children! Let me tell you the harrowing tale of the starship that was slightly late in returning from its mission...
posted by tocts at 12:30 PM on July 9 [3 favorites]


it was a show that hated its own premise.

Indeed, a big reason Ron Moore went on to do BSG was a desire to do that show right.

Whether he succeeded is left as an exercise to the reader.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:34 PM on July 9 [3 favorites]


Wow, i have no idea why i really thought about it that way until this thread... but it's completely true that BSG is essentially a reboot of voyager. You could draw so many parallels it's completely ridiculous.

And also, bear in mind i'm a total massive hater of everything about the finales of both series. But BSG reached highs that pretty much no series of trek has except maybe some of the deepest, best TNG and DS9 episodes a little snippets here and there. So when it ate shit into a huge embarrassing explosion you couldn't even look directly at without feeling ashamed for having liked it so much, it stung a lot harder.

Basically, the difference is that there's no point at which voyager could have stopped that i would have respected it more than when it just slogged on. It's basically a nondifference. Whereas, if BSG had been cancelled before the last season i would respect it infinitely more, and probably would have a firefly like following.
posted by emptythought at 12:56 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


Just as the last time we talked about this, I blame the Doctor
posted by yeolcoatl at 3:58 PM on July 9


Tuvok always got on my nerves because he never read "emotionless Vulcan" to me so much as he did "constantly angry guy."
Vulcans are seething little tightly-wound balls of emotion who are constantly struggling to suppress it.

Almost every Vulcan that we've seen (except ones that we've only seen briefly) has been passive-aggressive, whether passive-aggressive angry (like a lot of the non-T'Pol ones from Enterprise), passive-aggressive annoyed (which I'd argue Tuvok was, not really "angry"), passive-aggressive vain and self-satisfied (like the guy who challenged the DS9 crew to a baseball game). Even the ones who "passive-aggressive" is not really a good description for still fit into some larger category shared by passive-aggression; for example T'Pol, who struggled (and sometimes failed) to keep compassion from coming to the surface. That's the way Vulcans are; they're struggling to keep it in, and most of them can't hide it completely, and it comes out in little ways.

Only a few, like Spock and perhaps pre-mindmeld T'Pol, have actually mastered it enough to keep their constant internal struggles almost completely invisible from the outside. But even they can't do it all the time - Spock, for example, often makes witty, sharp, biting and only ostensibly emotionless repartee in response to Bones's jabs.
posted by Flunkie at 4:03 PM on July 9 [3 favorites]


Oooooh, I mean "pre-trellium-D exposure T'Pol", not "pre-mindmeld T'Pol".
posted by Flunkie at 4:08 PM on July 9


This has brought to mind a quote I like from Enterprise, wherein Trip and a Vulcan commander are discussing how best to attempt the rescue of hostages (or something like that):

"You're awfully trigger-happy for someone who's repressed his emotions."
posted by Flunkie at 4:24 PM on July 9


Now y'all are making me sad about how good of a show enterprise really was, and how much they just slam dunked into the garbage can.
posted by emptythought at 4:56 PM on July 9


Well, there's a big difference between being sharp and witty, disagreeing and even putting people down, and being in a downright pissy bad mood, constantly snapping and yelling at people. You put Sarek and Tuvok in a room together and I wouldn't guess they were supposed to have come from the same Federation, let alone the same planet. It's not the content; it's the delivery.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:31 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


I don't remember Tuvok as being that way in general. Mostly only with Neelix. I'm sure he occasionally was with others too -- maybe the underperforming Maquis who he was assigned to tutor in one episode? -- but mostly Neelix.

I see from an earlier comment in this thread that you really like Neelix, so maybe that's part of why you perceive Tuvok as always being "angry" while I perceive him as merely "annoyed", and you perceiving it as constant whereas I perceive it as (mostly) limited to his interactions with Neelix.
posted by Flunkie at 5:41 PM on July 9


Whereas, if BSG had been cancelled before the last season i would respect it infinitely more ...

BSG had the problem of its first proper episode (33) being the highpoint of the entire series.

That said, if they had ended after S4.12 (Revelations--The apocalyptic earth) it would be remembered much more fondly than it is now.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:24 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


I see from an earlier comment in this thread that you really like Neelix, so maybe that's part of why you perceive Tuvok as always being "angry" while I perceive him as merely "annoyed", and you perceiving it as constant whereas I perceive it as (mostly) limited to his interactions with Neelix.

Possible, but I have distinct memories of being really confused during the first season, asking myself time and time again,"Why is Tuvok so mad at Janeway? What did she do?"
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:28 PM on July 9


And also, bear in mind i'm a total massive hater of everything about the finales of both series. But BSG reached highs that pretty much no series of trek has except maybe some of the deepest, best TNG and DS9 episodes a little snippets here and there. So when it ate shit into a huge embarrassing explosion you couldn't even look directly at without feeling ashamed for having liked it so much, it stung a lot harder.

Indeed, and the Founders in DS9 have some similarities to the Cylons in their miming ability, which was good for infiltration, though of course there are numerous differences as well. Ron Moore did a fair amount of good episodes for DS9. I'm surprised to hear he worked on Voyager.

But BSG was great for awhile and then it became so awful that I cannot recommend it to anyone, whatsoever. It's like recommending massive disappointment.
posted by juiceCake at 6:34 PM on July 9


Ron Moore did a fair amount of good episodes for DS9. I'm surprised to hear he worked on Voyager.
He quit Voyager very soon after starting there, due to dissatisfaction with the show and the way it was being run.
posted by Flunkie at 6:41 PM on July 9


My husband puts on random Trek episodes while he's working on graphics, and I'm seeing Voyager for the first time. What strikes me the most is that Seven of Nine seems to be a walking deus ex machina ... unsolvable problem, until she remembers that the Borg already have information to solve it. grr.
posted by korej at 8:11 PM on July 9


Holy shit this is an inflammatory thing to say, like really?

I went back and reread my comments. I understand that what I wrote could be understood as "if you don't like Voyager, it's because you're sexist." What I intend is that some of the people who were critical of Voyager, some of them may not have given a chance because it was more gender- and ethnically-balanced than previous Treks. This is why I wrote "in some circles." Not everyone who was critical of Voyager was because of sexism or unconscious discrimination, but certainly at the time there were sexist comments made about Janeway. I have been familiar with Trek for going on 30 years, and during all of that time my older sister has been an even bigger Trek fan. Said older sister also spent a couple of years during and after college working in a comic book store. I have a sci-fi fan wife, as well as a young daughter. I have been reading comic books since I could read. I am all too familiar with sexism in sci-fi and fantasy and comics. It's out there.

All that said, I was not trying to accuse any MetaFilterians of sexism or prejudice, nor am I going to on the basis of this thread.
posted by Slothrop at 4:56 AM on July 10 [3 favorites]


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