Friday, March 23, 2012

The Best of Voyager

We arrived at the school last night to discover that they wouldn't let us in. Apparently, they sent us a psychic message that there was a drama production on (or something like that - my telepathy is somewhat rusty). Anyway, we weren't getting in. And, of course, it being such short notice, we couldn't arrange another hall either, and so band was cancelled.

On returning home, all set to work on the emergency one-shot for Saturday, I first checked my email and discovered that that game also has had to be cancelled. And so, suddenly, I had a whole lot of free time.

So, having gained a considerable amount of unexpected free time, I did something considerably unexpected.

Some weeks ago, I stumbled across a website discussing "Star Trek: Voyager", and making the argument that for one shining two-part episode, it actually live dup to its promise. That episode was "Equinox", rather than the "Year of Hell" two-parter that is usually cited as the series' best.

As it happened, back when Voyager was first on, the last episode I watched was the first part of "Equinox". The show then went on a season-break, and I missed it when it came back. Having missed an episode, I decided not to bother with the rest. As it also happened, Sky are in the midst of another repeat of all of Trek, and were just coming to the end of the fourth season. And so, when I discovered that those two episodes were repeated again on Sunday, I set them to record.

Well, I watched it, and it was awful. I suppose I should have expected nothing else.

The problems with the episode are the problems with the show as a whole - bad characters, actors who either can't act or just aren't being given to work with, idiotic plotting, and a lack of critical thought about the utility of their technology.

Was it better than "Year of Hell"? Well, probably, but not for a good reason. See, "Year of Hell" was a lot closer to what Voyager as a whole should have been - the ship and the crew seriously deteriorate over the course of their voyage, in a way that is genuinely interesting to watch. But it's a time travel episode in a show that always handles time travel incredibly poorly, the climax involved Janeway crashing the ship again, and of course it is then followed by the dreaded "reset button" ending - effectively, it was all a dream.

For all it's faults, "Equinox" avoids all of these. It features neither time travel nor the Borg (being pretty much the only Voyager episode post season 4 or so about which this is true), at no point does Janeway blow up the ship (although her captaincy is in it's traditionally awful style), and there is actually a (very minor) change at the end of the episode.

But it has all the same problems as Voyager has had from the start. It's the best, but that's the same as being the best football team in Scotland - you'd rather be that than nothing, but you'd rather not be in that league at all.

Sadly, the worst thing about this episode, and the worst thing about Voyager as a whole, just as with the Star Wars prequels, is not that it's bad (although it is), but rather that there's obviously so much potential there. And it's just wasted. Shame.

#11: "Towers of Midnight", by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

No comments: