Star Trek: Voyager is, without a doubt, my absolute favourite Star Trek series. It was a wonderful show that brought together an unlikely crew, which formed bonds of friendship and loyalty, who faced a journey home that would take the rest of their lives to accomplish. It was only a few days ago that Star Trek: Voyager celebrated its 20th anniversary. Unfortunately, I was barely a year old when it premiered back in 1995 and only discovered it in late 2013. I remember watching “The Caretaker”, the premiere episode, in bed when I was sick. I enjoyed every moment, though, most importantly, I fell in love with the various characters and the interactions between them. They were strong, individual and bounced off one another naturally.
However, in my honest opinion, the creators and the writers of Star Trek: Voyager missed an excellent opportunity. Despite being a massive fan, I am not blind to the show’s few faults. The best aspect that Star Trek: Voyager brought to the table was that a single, divided crew was stranded, alone, meaning that the show had the potential to be extremely “character.” Let me explain. It could have explored the interactions, conflicts and challenges between the Starfleet crew and the Maquis crew, such as how the Maquis struggled to become members of the one thing they despised: Starfleet. But loyal audience members were not privileged to that plot angle. Instead, it was glossed over in one episode and essentially forgotten.
When I was first searching the internet for Star Trek: Voyager‘s 20th anniversary, I discovered a list of Star Trek‘s most annoying characters. Sadly, sitting in seventh position was Commander Chakotay. However, as I read the assessment that the creator of the list had given him it made sense. Chakotay was extremely underused throughout Star Trek: Voyager, though I loved his interactions with Janeway and Torres. His storyline focused predominately on his Native American heritage, but his struggle to once again accept life as a Starfleet officer was ignored. In the beginning of the series, Chakotay was portrayed as a no-nonsense man. He didn’t trust Starfleet and he had developed deep and negative convictions towards them. But after one, and I repeat one, episode, he had happily settled in as a Starfleet Commanding Officer.
Personally, I believe that Star Trek: Voyager could have been completely different if this element had been explored. The first season should have focused on the struggle and later acceptance of the Maquis. Viewers can see this slightly with B’Elanna Torres, who continued to possess her convictions for a long time, which paralleled with Seven of Nine struggling to leave her life with the Borg behind. I am not in any way suggesting that Star Trek: Voyager was not a great show, because I deeply believe that it was a fantastic series, despite a few missed opportunities.
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