Sunday, September 30, 2012

Picard and TNG are BETTER than Janeway and Voyager

Recently on an episode of the podcast 'Nerd Hurdles' they did an episode where they discussed Star Trek: Voyager. I am fairly new to this podcast but from my understanding is that they are a married couple who do this podcast and this year they watched the complete run of 'Voyager' for the first time, and they made some pretty bold statements that I, a die hard Trek fan, did not agree with in any way. So it inspired me to write this:

- Voyager is better than TNG?:
No freaking way is Voyager even in the same league as TNG, let alone better than it. One of the problems with TNG, and I think a lot of people who did not watch TNG and the following series from the beginning don't realize this, is that TNG really was a pioneer series and very much a product of its time. In 1987 no one did a show like this, and back then it cost a lot of money to produce all aspects of that series especially when it came to special effects. TNG had very few computer generated special effects because it was still very early on for that technology to be utilized on a TV budget. So TNG relied heavily on model driven sequences which were very expensive and time consuming to produce. This is why Picard and crew were involved in very few big epic battles, and most of their conflicts were solved with diplomacy rather than weapons and battles. Digital special effects involving computer generated ships and space scenes really became more common and cost effective during the course of Voyagers run which is why they got to use them more for their stories. And I would argue it is much easier for writers to write a big battle sequence than a cool way of resolving conflict that does not involve a battle at all. TNG was very much a product of the time in which it was made, but the producers and writers did the best job they could with what they had available to them at the time. Voyager simply abused what they had and relied too heavily on gimmick storytelling than good solid storytelling. Case in point the Borg: a race created in TNG yet not used very much. Sometimes less is more and that is why 'Best Of Both Worlds' is probably the best Trek cliffhanger ever made. Voyager on the other hand over used that race, so much so they had a Borg be a part of their crew, wearing a skin tight silver body suit in a lame attempt to attract horny new viewers.

- Janeway is a better Captain than Picard?

Say WHAT? At first I thought this was a bad joke, but the Nerd Hurdles crew really believed this. Their argument was that Janeway was much more caring and more involved in the well being of her crew. That may be true, but allow me to break down why there was such a difference in that way between the two Captains:

- Janeway only commanded a crew of 150, not including all the ones who died, and since they were cut off from Starfleet they would not be getting any replacements. Picard commanded a crew of 1014, and they were constantly swapping out crew members on a regular basis as is the nature of living on a starship. Voyager never swapped out crew members because they were cut off from them. And with them being so far away from home and being a small crew stuck together for so long of course Janeway would be more involved with them and closer to them. With Picard commanding a crew of 1014, that is constantly rotating, potentially there would be tens of thousands of people passing through as ship crew members. There is no way Picard could get personal with them in the same way.

- Janeways mission for the entire run of the series was simply to get Voyager home. Picard commands the flagship of the Federation. He is constantly involved in special missions, diplomacy, scientific research, etc. Picard is a very busy guy, involved in a lot of big things, unlike Janeway, so he really does not have time to become intimate with his crew.

- Picard is a dedicated member of Starfleet, one of their finest Captains and one of the most decorated. He obviously passed up promotions to remain on the bridge, as Captain Kirk suggested to him. Janeway on the other hand couldn't wait to get that promotion and get away from being a Captain as she proved by being an 'Admiral' in the film Star Trek: Nemesis.

Is Janeway a better Captain then Picard? I don't think so.

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