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UPN Marketing V.P. worried that people are confusing new UPN logo with UPS logo

(FKE)

“Art isn’t about originality, it’s about making a decisive statement.” UPN’s Vice President of Marketing David Ainsles worriedly explained. “For instance many of Shakespeare’s plays are similar to those written by Marlowe, yet generations of theatergoers have recognized Shakespeare’s plays as works of art that take their subject to a new level and become the definite standard. In the same way you might say that just because the new UPN logo uses a design somewhat similar to the UPS logo, we’ve also produced something that sets a new standard for excellence without worrying about accusation that our logo is derivative.”

Up until now UPN had been employing the familiar triangle, square and circle logo with each letter of the network name distributed on one of the shapes. But in tune with its new makeover, UPN decided it needed a new logo and David Ainsles was tapped for the job.

“I never thought much of the old logo and frankly it was a little embarrassing to work for a network that had something to silly as its representation. Every other network had its logo all on one single design, yet UPN relied on a distributed design and that was the first thing I set out to change. I put all the letters in one single circle
all black and white. Neat and professional and simple the way all the great ideas are, right? But then my nightmare began.” David continues.

The new UPN logo design was David’s biggest assignment at the network since he’d joined it in 1999. Up until then his work had generally consisted of signing off on promos for Star Trek Voyager and the WWF and making personal phone calls to affiliate managers.

“You know how sometimes you have a great idea and then you find out that somebody thought of it first and you wonder whether you actually thought of it yourself, or maybe you just subconsciously stole their idea because your own subconscious knows that you’re a complete failure and a hack. That’s what happened when I was walking down the street and saw a UPS truck and it hit me, their logo looks a little like ours. But I didn’t give it much thought until I was walking down the corridor with a box full of the new logos and one of the guys asked me, are we shipping something today?”

Early in college David had possessed an ambition to become a serious artist and then as a cartoonist even briefly drawing a cartoon series about mice who live in cubicles inside a mouse hole called Mous Inc. as a critique of corporate America. Mous Inc enjoyed a small degree of success until David was sued for plagiarism by Art Spiegelman forcing him to abandon his dream.

“I mean, My God, are we shipping something today. That was his first reaction to our network’s new logo. And I really panicked. I ran back to my office but there wasn’t much I could do except change the colors in the background of the logo to bright primary colors like red and blue. UPS’s background is brown and so I hoped that people wouldn’t continue to make the same association. But they did. Week after week. One of our affiliate managers was here and he looked at the logo and asked if we were receiving a package. This was one of our own and he didn’t recognize the logo for his own network. It was terrible. And then people began to laugh at me in the halls, asking me if I was working for UPN or UPS. It was just terrible.”

Before joining UPN in the fall of 1999, David had designed a new logo for the Red Roof Inn and overseen its customer appreciation program which involved sending postcards with a photo of a mint on them to customers and asking them to fill out a brief questionnaire about their visit.

“And the thing is that our logos aren’t even that similar. UPS has a modified box logo with gold on brown. Ours is a circle with white on bright primary colors. Our font is completely different too. So I can’t see how even laymen without any real background in graphic design could make this mistake. Let alone professionals in my own department.” David mourned.

“My story is the story of Prometheus who tried to bring fire to mortal men and instead had his liver torn out by vultures for his trouble. I’ll probably never have children of my own and this logo was my chance to put something out there. My chance to have a legacy. I mean think of the guys who created the CBS Eye or the NBC Peacock. You don’t know who they are but their work will live on in millions of TV screens long after they’re gone. And instead my legacy is the shameful one of a plagiarist. But perhaps even this is not the end of David Ainsles. Einstein too was laughed at. It took time for his ideas to really sink in. And I firmly believe that once my new UPN logo has been given a chance, that people will really learn to love and appreciate it and perhaps even its humble creator.”

How will we know for sure when Star Trek is dead?

How will we know when Star Trek is really and definitively dead ?

People often talk about Star Trek ‘dying’ but even in human beings
death can be ambiguous especially when the patient is in a comatose
state as some might argue is the state the Star Trek franchise is
currently in. There’s brain death, there’s the inability of the major
organs to operate on their own and so on and so forth.

Since with Nemesis we’ve witnessed what is likely to be the death of the film portion of the Star Trek franchise and blows to the book and various merchandising divisions of Star Trek along with the usual TV ratings decline, it does seem like a timely question to ask.

Let’s project a not entirely implausible scenario here.

Flash forwards to ‘May 2007’. Enterprise has been on the air for five years and like both of its predecessors suffered increasingly declining ratings until it was no longer the No 1 show on even UPN. UPN announces that unlike TNG, DS9 and Voyager; Enterprise will not run for 7 years but will end after its fifth season. Rick Berman tries to soften the blow by claiming that Enterprise had a five year mission and the storylines will be wrapped up after 5 years but nevertheless it can’t help but be seen as a cancellation. Berman makes some noises about another spinoff maybe on cable but a year or two go by with no action on that front. Berman meanwhile has moved on to another project as has everyone associated with Star Trek but they do promise that they will come back if another show ever happens. But that looks increasingly less and less likely.

Will Star Trek be considered dead by this point?

Optimists will argue that Star Trek didn’t die when TOS was cancelled and that it will recover. In the meantime they will point to the occasional Star Trek novel and fanfic as proof that the fan culture is still alive. Pessimists will claim that Star Trek died a long time ago. But from a practical standpoint Star Trek will be as dead as Sliders or Babylon 5 or Earth 2 which also have thriving fan cultures but no television shows still continuing on to base them around. And for the mainstream, Star Trek will be considered permanently dead. And worst of all for the large number of Star Trek fans who have never bothered watching any of the spinoffs over the last ten years, it might as well be.

The thing is of course that such a scenario is not very farfetched. Neither is the possibility that ViacomCBS will decide that the fifth network was nonviable and finally fold up the tent leaving Star Trek with its high budgets with no prospective cable home. At some future date in time a cheap ‘retooled’ version of Star Trek might be launched into syndication by Paramount to cash in on its license but considering the botch that has been made of even the existing versions of Star Trek, it’s better not to imagine what such a show might look like. (Think Andromeda or Starhunter and be very frightened.)

And as Star Trek’s death becomes a more realistic possibility, we’d have to ask what event would finally be unanimously considered Star Trek’s death? For me Star Trek was born on television and if it is gone from television, it is dead. Those fans more committed to fandom and the social life of fanfic and conventions might believe that Star Trek is alive as long as fans care about it and involve themselves with it. Other fans believe that Star Trek was only alive when it was popular and that when TNG ended, so did Star Trek. There will likely be many answers depending on the individuals and their particular relationship to Star Trek. But it would rather nice if things were such so that the question wouldn’t have to be asked at all…

UPN’s Promo Discrimination against Minorities Continues!

(This is important. Please repost, forwards and distribute to fandom in general and any and all Paramount or UPN employees who could hope to make a difference in this critical matter)

For those who thought that the UPN promo civil rights struggle began and ended with the inclusion of Sisko in the 15 second Enterprise promo, this is a wake up call.

While the Enterprise promo now features one minority among three white males and one white female, minorities remain sorely unrepresented among the whitebread list of names flashed briefly on the screen.

While this UPN promo claims to be listing Starship Captains, where is Captain Sulu? Why must asian Starship Captains continue to be discriminated against by the racist UPN marketing department. First they denied Garret Wang a chanche to direct a Star Trek episode and then they segregate the asian Captains from the white Starship captains. When will UPN learn that racism does not pay?

Furthermore I was outraged to see the exclusion of Native Americans in this aforementioned promo. It wasn’t bad enough that America stole their land but now UPN has stolen Chakotay’s inclusion from the role of Starship Captains.

True Chakotay wasn’t a Captain on Voyager but he was in command of his own ship. And while he wasn’t a member of Starfleet then but of a terrorist organization, what kind of racist logic suggests that this should exclude him? I don’t know what kind of message UPN thinks it’s sending by excluding Star Trek’s only Native American Captain but it is a very unplesant one indeed.

But even worse than these bigoted exclusions of Asians and Native Americans was UPN’s complete failure to list Captain Pike merely because of his disability. Disabled charachters are role models to many disabled individuals and UPN’s complete disregard for their feelings is truly shocking. Captain Pike was Captain of the Enterprise before Kirk and pretending that he doesn’t exist just because he’s completely paralyzed and living in a world of daydreams sends the most hatefull kind of message possible. Are we going to ignore people simply because they have a handicap or they’re the wrong skin color or size or age? Is that what Star Trek is about? Is that what the heartless monstrosity UPN has become is about?

And finally no discussion of UPN’s bigotry would be complete without condemning their Talaxian apartheid. Neelix was the Captain of his own ship and as one of Star Trek’s most popular and beloved charachters he is a role model for Talaxians everywhere. Is UPN then sending Talaxians the message that they don’t matter, that they’re not important, that they don’t deserve to exist? How can any corporation in today’s modern computerized age seriously discriminate against a fictional alien species. It’s simply outrageous. Where are the young Talaxians of tommorow going to look for a role model but to a 15 second UPN promo for leadership and guidance and they will see a great big gaping hole where Captain Neelix’s name should be. And as a result there will be a big gaping hole in their self-respect forcing these poor Talaxians to turn to drugs and a legacy of failed relationships because UPN is telling them that Talaxians can’t be Starship Captains.

Yes this may sound insane. As insane as the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and the Civil Rights Struggle itself. As insane as a man fighting for the rights of fictional charachters to appear in 15 seconds promos that be gone soon anyway. And that kind of insanity will not stop with the inclusion of Sisko or Captain Sulu or Captain Chakotay and Captain Neelix in that UPN promo. Indeed we will not rest until every single fictional Star Trek charachter who is a member of any minority group, real or fictional, regardless of rank or number of episodes appeared in or number of minutes or seconds per episode that they were actually on screen…is listed in that UPN promo.

We don’t care if as a result the UPN promo has to run for eight hours. We don’t care if as a result there will be no leftover funds to film the actual Enterprise series. This is bigger than any TV series. This is about the inclusion of fictional charachters in a disposable TV promo on a network no one watches anyway. This is about the struggle for freedom and the dream of equality for all TV charachters no matter how fictional they may be. This is why we are filing a 318 million dollar lawsuit against Viacom seeking damages under the Equal Employment Opportunity Act for discrimination against 18, 697 Star Trek charachters who were excluded from appearing in that 15 second UPN promo solely because of their race, gender, species, rank (or lack thereof), popularity (or lack thereof) or actual existance (or lack thereof.)

Should the real courts of Planet Earth reject our case, we intend to try it in the Supreme Court of Mars. We have allready contacted the Martian government which continues to be upset over their lack of representation and unfavorable portrayal in Earth Science Fiction. We have been in steady talks with their J’Afyah Pdrah and he assuares us that he doesn’t exist and that we’re all crazy. We expect his position to change as we continue sending him candy while sending positive thoughts through our tin foil hats.

God bless Mars. Home of true democracy and freedom..

Sherlock Holmes

Star Trek Enterprise episode review – Judgement

Summary: Archer experiences the unfairness of the Klingon justice system firsthand.

star trek enterprise judgementGreat heroes need great antagonists to confront and oppose. The Original Series created two great antagonist races, the Romulans and the Klingons, which every STAR TREK series has continued to use and which, arguably, none have improved upon. But even though the Klingons were key antagonists for the original Enterprise crew, ENTERPRISE until now has been stuck with a TNG-era view of the pop culture foe: somewhat troublesome allies, not ruthless conquerors and slavemasters. This is probably because the show’s producers date back only to TNG. The Klingon Empire in “Judgment,” however, is shown as a true empire complete with the enslaved races that were there in the Original Series and seemed to have been forgotten about by the 24th century. “Judgement” does not entirely upstage the TNG view of the Klingons but it comes closer to the TOS view, which is a vital necessity if ENTER{RISE is to retool itself into a better TV series.

Where during ENT’s previous Klingon encounters, the ridged-ones could mostly be talked around to the human view of things (“Unexpected,” “Sleeping Dogs”) or dismissed as rogue elements (“Marauders”), “Judgement” is the first Klingon-centered episode where they don’t do the reasonable thing by the end of the episode and instead take a decidedly hostile course of action by sentencing Archer to life in an arctic Klingon gulag. Whether this will translate into a change in how the Klingons relate to humans in future episodes, when Archer has become a fugitive from Klingon justice, depends on whether or not the producers will choose to uphold series continuity or not. “Judgement” itself, though, is certainly full of STAR TREK continuity references, from ‘Captain Duras’ suggesting a relationship to Worf’s antagonist to major elements of STAR TRE VI, including the tribunal set design and the dilithium mines of Rura Penthe complete with abusive guards and a variety of alien scum.

Captain Archer himself is also closer to Kirk in this episode than he’s ever been so far. He displays courage and determination rather than the impulsiveness and obtuseness that have so often characterized Archer. Former Martok actor J.G. Hertzler also creates a better character in the form of ‘Kolos’, an aging and disaffected gruff Klingon lawyer out of place in the new order. Of course Kolos’ speech about the warrior class having taken over Klingon society is rather dubious at best since the Klingons are not the Romulans or the Cardassians. The warrior class hasn’t taken over their society; violent confrontation is the basis of their society, culture, and biology from the times of ‘Kahless’ to the 24th century.

Even Klingons who were part human or raised by humans like ‘Worf’, ‘K’heylar’ or ‘B’Elanna’ inherited it. That speech along with Archer’s cliched homily about the human past smacks of an attempt to humanize Klingons into just another yet-to-be-civilized culture along human lines like the Cardassians or Ferengi.

These days UPN seems to bill just about every ENT episode as an ENT Event, but “Judgement” is one of the few episodes that’s worthy of the name. Everything from the direction to the actors is just right with an episode that appears to cover a lot of ground and with each character, no matter how minor, making a distinct impression. The visual effects and production design departments have outdone themselves again. Money was clearly spent on this episode and it shows in the FX of the exteriors of the Tribunal and the Klingon ship and the Tribunal interior, which does its best to reproduce the original and unique Klingon set design of STAR TREK VI, from a courtroom that’s narrow but sweeps high upwards to the Klingon judge’s alien gavel.

Overall “Judgement” is the series’s first solid Klingon episode. Where prior STAR TREK spin-offs produced filler Klingon episodes as an attempt to boost ratings with the appearance of a popular race, this episode has a decent grasp of continuity, a viewpoint and a message. It has its flaws. Archer’s rescue is more originally accomplished and plausible than a standard starship rescue might have been, but its abruptness and lack of build-up with an offhand comment by T’Pol makes the conclusion seem rushed. Had “Judgement” seen Archer captured and put on trial for any of his prior negative Klingon encounters, it would have boosted continuity and freed up more time for a heartier conclusion to the episode which, like many TREK episodes, now suffers in the reduced running time (39 vs 44 minutes) that UPN has provided.

Next week: Another ENT Event: Mayweather’s family yells at each other.

Star Trek Voyager review – Lineage

Summary: B’Elanna is infected with a parasitic lifeform, namely a baby and learns to overcome feelings of Klingon inadequacy. Nothing much else happens until next week.

There are Voyager episodes that are criticized for poor writing and weak acting, but Lineage certainly won’t be one of them. It’s a well written and finely acted episode

star trek voyager lineage

Science shows your future baby will be very creepy

that knows what it wants to say and gets it across with no problems. Dawson, Picardo and McNeil do their usual nice work and even the minor moments with Tuvok, Chakotay and Neelix are nice sentimental touches. There are major errors or gaping flaws here that need to be addressed and if you love those marriage episodes and couldn’t get enough of O’Brien’s baby problem arc on DS9, you’ll love this episode. But all in all it feels less like a Star Trek episode and more like an episode of Providence or Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman.

That is to say it’s a Voyager episode that really doesn’t involve “Voyager the Starship” or Voyager’s mission but “Voyager the close knit family” that Captain Janeway every now and then sings hymns to. And its claustrophobic focus on the relationship of two people who aren’t all that interesting of a couple to begin with, dealing with a problem that felt uninvolving and ultimately trivial. This may just be a matter of personal opinion since after all I’m the kind of person who avoids medical dramas like the plague. I’m probably the only living American who’s never watched a complete episode of ER and I just can’t summon up much interest in these emotional melodramas over medical problems.

And Lineage has little innate complexity to recommend itself. Essentially 10 minutes into the show we know that B’Elanna is wrong and Paris is right. There’s no collision of ideas or struggle over ethics as the promos suggested but a “What’s bugging B’Elanna Torres” psychological production ensues. So the rest of the time then is inevitably dedicated to Paris struggling to prove to her that she’s wrong and to understand why she’s trying to do what she’s trying to do. And the resulting answer is based around childhood neurosis making it look pretty childish and making Voyager’s chief engineer look pretty childish by extension.

Like Far Beyond the Stars or Ties of Blood and Water, Lineage plays out like a stage play but unlike these episodes there’s little drama or real darkness here or useable character development. Even tonight’s Voyager rerun of Extreme Risk, a commonly overlooked major Torres character development episode, has the genuine edge and character growth that gives us a new understanding of Torres. But ultimately what does Lineage tell us about her, that she’s afraid humans are going to leave her because she’s half Klingon? This does little for the character and is a character development worthy of Wesley Crusher and not of one of Voyager’s strongest personalities who’s actually shown a strong set of values and understanding of responsibility.

So much of this episode ultimately comes down to responsibility and the lack of any real sense of responsibility on the part of most of the players in this little melodrama. Torres drives half the crew nuts with her obsession over the welfare of her child but her real focus is predictably enough on her own problems, for which she’s willing to alter her child’s genes so she can feel better. Worse the ending combined with her last camping trip flashback can lead to the sexist and offensive interpretation that she was trying to edit her child’s genes in order to keep her man. More bizarrely she tampers with the EMH’s program, subverts Voyager’s security and violates orders and all is forgotten and forgiven. Her biology may have unhinged her mental state a bit but it’s not much of a defense. Certainly there should have been some sort of restriction to quarters, demotion or at least a note in the official file, but then responsibility is obviously not the theme of the episode. Emotional healing is. Self-validation, self-esteem and just plain feeling good about yourself, responsibility be damned.

Paris and Torres decide to start a family which is cute and heartwarming as heck but not very smart. After all Naomi Wildman was conceived aboard Deep Space Nine while Voyager was still in the Alpha Quadrant. This is the Delta Quadrant, an unpredictable place where Voyager, a starship shorthanded on crew, constantly faced danger and menace. And Paris is its chief engineer, Paris is its helmsman and chief medic. Together they comprise three crucial jobs Voyager can’t go without. Ensign Wildman’s job is pretty minor and no one would really miss her if she took plenty of time off, on the other hand what happens when the warp core is overloading, a dozen hostile alien warships are firing on Voyager and casualties are filling up the triage center in the mess hall…but the new parents are unavailable. Sure there are replacements but they’re substitutes and not as good as the people whose full time job this is supposed to be.

In the past Paris and Torres were so overworked they barely saw each other. Under this state of affairs something is going to have to give, family or work. So we either

star trek voyager lineage

To everyone's surprise, Belanna grew into a very angry adult

end up with Paris and Torres taking a leave of absence which is impossible or the baby being raised by Neelix which isn’t particularly wonderful parenting. It would made a lot more sense to wait till they were back home on earth to start a family and to take precautions until then, so they didn’t accidentally start one prematurely. It would have also demonstrated a lot more responsibility to their child and their jobs as Starfleet Officers. Furthermore it’s odd that no one in this episode from Janeway to Chakotay to Tuvok raise this simple objection. As heartless as it may seem, Voyager is a quasi-military vessel and the middle of a constant struggle to survive is a poor time and place for two of the people without whom this starship might not survive to be setting up a family circle.

But then this episode doesn’t allow anything to interfere with its theme of “Voyager, Happy Family” even it makes little realistic sense. And being a happy family, everyone must be assimilated into the happy family so it’s fitting that Lineage hinges on the linked and equally trivial and saccharine theme of having Torres learn to accept being accepted. It’s almost like a Hallmark Gold Crown store threw up on Ken Biller’s I-Mac. Consider how the far superior Jeri Taylor episode “One” handled the same material with 7 of 9 by showing the horrors and madness of isolation and the need to rely on other people for inner strength. Lineage meanwhile torments us with horrifying scenes from the family picnic that look like drunken outtakes from Lassie the Movie. And then there are the twelve minutes of Dawson looking worriedly at the camera while sitting in a darkened room. God knows its impossible to get enough of that. I can’t wait for the DVD edition for bonus footage of more staring. If only UPN could give back Voyager that extra three minutes, we could have had 180 more seconds of Dawson anxiously contemplating a wall.

As much as I usually object to irrelevant or annoying B stories, this is one episode that could have used them. A contrast with some member of an alien civilization or even more of the brief Tuvok moment we had. A relief from the claustrophobic focus of “What’s bothering B’Elanna.” Indeed some outside perspective on this whole psychological mess might have made this seem more like a Star Trek episode and less like a Lifetime movie of the week. Instead in order to produce this week’s required dose of UPN action, we have the artificial crisis scene in sickbay that completely clashes with everything the rest of the episode is doing. It’s a shame too because the concept of genetic alterations of fetuses had no shortage of potential for moral controversy and the ethical questions to be debated could have really made this a standout episode. But that would have been thinking big and using science fiction to explore ideas instead of domestic problems. That would have been Star Trek, instead we got a well written, well acted episode of Providence in Space.

Next week: Voyager does Con Air. Unfortunately it looks like John Malkovich will sit this one out.

Star Trek Voyager: The Voyager Conspiracy review

Voyager Ate Elvis’ Brain!

The displays in supermarket aisles right before you get to the cashier tend to be crowded with lots of tabloids with headlines like “Elvis’ Brain frozen on Ice attacks Donald Trump”, “New Bigfoot diet key to fighting millennial prophecies” and “Boy without face kidnapped by aliens.” Despite all the glare and hype the tabloids, much like “The Voyager Conspiracy” — the episode seemingly inspired by them — have little to offer once you get past the glare and the big red type. No matter how bright or exciting the promises made, ultimately at the end when we have slogged through the whole mess we find out that the whole thing is just a fraud. So too goes Voyager Conspiracy, going the way far too many UPN promos have gone. The thing is that despite all the abuse they get, UPN promos are more often than not, non-representative of the actual episode. But there are always exceptions and Voyager Conspiracy is just such an exception, an episode that not only fails to be more than its station promo but actually manages to be far less.

star trek voyager the voyager conspiracy

It's like... a conspiracy, man

There are critical times in the life of a TV show or any dramatic product when it stands on the border of making a really great leap or sinking  back down into mediocrity. There is a chance given to take a big risk and to really alter the face of your story or to take the safe option and go on as you have before. Taking that risk is more than just a choice. When you’re at home typing up your latest take on the great American novel, taking a bold turn really is a choice. If you haven’t topped the bestseller lists lately or at all, the direction you take is up to you. On the other hand when you’re working with product, someone else’s product, which itself is just the tip and the loss leader for a multi-billion dollar merchandising empire and the stool on which UPN is standing with the noose around its neck, then the pressure on you is far greater. Taking that risk becomes courage. Not everyone has courage.

In the past Voyager has tackled some very dark issues sometimes even going into places the supposedly superdark DS9 wouldn’t go. But the one area where Voyager has played it safe is its characters. This is understandable because the characters are what the show and the merchandising really rest on. An offensive or controversial subject matter in one episode can bring some calls or some letters but there is no lasting harm. The format remains intact and the individual episode can be ignored. The original series itself had no shortage of episodes that needed to be ignored. The core format though stayed the same. Kirk remained Kirk and Spock remained Spock and so on. The most dangerous thing you can possibly do on a show is to tamper with format. This is why writers and producers will usually put far more thought into the glacial pace of a romantic relationship than the details of an alien culture or a starship drive. It is one thing to have dark content and another to apply it to your characters. It is one thing to have your heroes hunt a maniac, it is quite another thing to reveal that the maniac was one of your heroes all along. The first puts you well into the safe realms of TV format, the second is dangerous and risky. It is courageous. The Voyager Conspiracy started off promising courage but in the end it only delivered standard TV format. At the end of the day things can go on as they have always gone on before. The format remains intact. The episode ends with virtual hugs all around and a lesson learned. Thank you June Cleaver.

The key element of the Voyager Conspiracy that serves to drive the episode and remains unexplained at the end is footage Seven recovers from the sensors. The footage shows an alien spacecraft tractoring one of the generators from the Caretaker’s array before it exploded and with it Voyager’s only way home. Meanwhile Voyager has encountered an alien with a problem similar to Voyager’s. He has devised a gateway that can transport him home and potentially transport Voyager closer to home as well. The coincidence of the two elements pushes Seven to begin hatching conspiracies indicting either Janeway and Starfleet or Chakotay and the Maquis of deliberately stranding Voyager in the Delta Quadrant.

No show has had quite as problematic a premise as Voyager. The crews of the original series and the next generation were simply out exploring space. They were exactly where they wanted to be. By contrast Voyager is not where it wants to be. By contrast the Voyager crew are not where they want to be. They are stranded in space and despite Janeway’s emphasis on exploration, their real mission is to get home; a place Star Trek crews have traditionally gotten away from. This basic reversal of the traditional Star Trek premise was a way of tampering with format and has proven far less than popular. The premise though did not have Voyager simply stranded but Janeway actually making the decision to effectively strand Voyager. This was never really properly dealt with. While “Night” came closest to having Janeway examine her behavior, Voyager Conspiracy raises the ghost and exorcises it by loading the deck from the start.

In a rather odd bit of behavior for a logically oriented Ex-Borg, Seven crafts some far out theories with no basis at all. The footage is star trek voyager the voyager conspiracyinteresting and intriguing but ultimately it proves nothing which is the lesson of the episode but it is a lesson the character Seven who was established as should have known from the start. The episode might have had some potential if B’Elanna or Tom had gotten hold of this information and jumped to all the wrong conclusions but this behavior is utterly senseless for Seven to engage in. She only acts this way in order for the episode and the lesson at the end to occur and this is an idiot plot. Namely a plot in which characters behave like idiots for the plot to work. Throughout the episode Voyager’s crew of highly trained Starfleet personnel behave like the actual readers of tabloid magazines jumping on circumstantial evidence and hatching conspiracies. If Voyager really had this much tension running through it and if Janeway and Chakotay really trusted each other so little, a mutiny would have happened long ago and Voyager might actually have a capable Captain in command now.

This is yet another example of the producers’ over-protectiveness of the characters resulting in ridiculous plots that must be tweaked to justify their behavior. Rather that taking the courageous step of writing an episode that actually might have revealed more complex intentions on the part of Janeway and made the premise a bit more palatable, Voyager once again spins out a tale in which Seven as errant and foolish daughter is taught a lesson about humanity, Janeway serves as the teacher and Janeway and Chakotay bond at the end and wonder how they could have possibly gone a millimeter apart from each other. This does finish off the story according to format but one has to ask, what the hell is the point of actually watching this episode to begin with because nothing actually happens in this episode.

While audiences were and are seemingly prepared to watch the Enterprise crew eat lunch, few are ready to provide that kind of attention to the Berman spinoffs. In the final summation Voyager Conspiracy is an episode about nothing and unlike Seinfeld it isn’t even remotely funny. Seven of Nine develops a crackpot idea and infects some of the crew with it, said problem is solved by everybody learning that they have to communicate better and really love one another. This is very sweet and all and if this were Touched by an Angel it might make a very nice episode but few Star Trek viewers go for that sort of thing in the first place. The remaining question of the alien ship is mildly interesting buy why surrond it with that god-awful pointless excuse for an episode in the first place?

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