RSS iconTwitter iconFacebook icon

TrekToday title image

The Trek Nation - Voyager In Flight

Voyager In Flight

By Christian Höhne Sparborth
Posted at July 11, 1999 - 5:00 AM GMT

Welcome to the second edition of the Trek Nation mailbag! The amount of mail is getting so overwhelming that I wasn't even able to include all the mails you sent in! I've been thinking about having the mailbag appear twice every week, but unfortunately I don't have enough free time left to do that. Of course, if there's anyone who would like to take over mailbag duties I'd more than love to hear from you - please send me mail at christian@trektoday.com if you'd like to be the official Trek Nation postman!

Defending Flight Academy

In the one day it's been up, Valentine Winter's Defending Flight Academy article already managed to draw in a lot of responses. Unfortunately Valentine was not interested in responding to the mails about his article himself, so you'll just have to take my comments instead.

From: BW
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: Fleet Academy

I don't know if Fleet Academy will be the next Star Trek Series, but I sure don't really want a series involving things like that. I don't think very many people will really watch it. Or I may be wrong, but I sure don't think it will be a great success if it happens, and it will corrupt Star Trek's future. That is just what I think, you can disagree if you want.

In response to this mail, I sent BW the link to Valentine Winter's article, and a few minutes later BW sent in this:

I can't really say much after what Valentine said... he did a great job on the article. All I have to say, is I agree with him! And this is after I just sent an email to Trek Nation saying I didn't think Flight Academy would be good.

LOL! This certainly is about the best compliment Valentine could ever have had :-). Of course, a lot of other people didn't seem to agree with Val:

From: James Bell
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: Flight Academy Doesn't Work

I really disagree with the comments made by Valentine Winter in his article defending the Flight Academy issue.

First of all in his statement referring to how small the Voyager audience following is, many don't seem to realize that Voyager is a victim of a bad network. UPN doesn't even reach all of the Star Trek fans in the United States so how can there be a fair measure of it's success compared to the previous series like TNG or DS9.

I think that Gene Roddenberry dream is getting totally lost with the direction that people are suggesting that Trek take. I dare say that the idea of a Flight Academy is way off base with what die hard Trekkers have come to love. I personally don't want to see the next Trek resemble anything like Beverly Hills 90210 and Winter's ideas for a plot for this Flight Academy brings that to mind.

Trek has always revolved around the premises of exploration, seeking out new life, and maintaining the Federation's existence and what it represents. Some may see this as redundant but it is what has made Trek famous and I don't think the franchise would ever die if these principles are maintained now and with any future series. If any Trekker would turn his back on the franchise for this, then maybe he was never a diehard in the first place.

The imagination is a wonderful thing and there would seem to me endless possiblities for plots in a series without getting too far away from what Trekkers are used to. This is the reason I feel that seven seasons for a series are not enough especially with TNG. I saw a certain amount of greed on the part of Paramount to junk the series in favor of the big screen. Now with all of the rumors floating around we may not even see anymore of the TNG crew.

I am loyal to the franchise and will be willing to follow it with an open mind as Winter's suggests but I think that the idea of Flight Academy is way off base and doesn't appeal to me one bit. I mean really, what will be a climax in perhaps a season ender, a group of the cadets are standing on the brink of final examinations and we are left to wonder, during haitus, which ones will pass and get in and which ones will be out. Come on! The new series has got to have some elements of the last two and the current Voyager with perhaps a mix of some of the personalities we have grown to love. Why should it be so hard to do? After all, they are all living in the same time line.

You're definitely right about the cadet thing - I myself am not so sure I want to see Star Trek episodes take place in the classroom, either. I wouldn't object to the new Trek series taking place somewhere in the heart of the Federation, though - we haven't seen very much of that yet.

From: Virogen
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: My Reaction to Flight Academy

I don't think Flight Academy would be a good show to carry the Star Trek torch. First of all, we now have 3 series in the same relative time period. We need a show that will show us something new... I would definitely prefer a show that will take place in the far future.

Also by having such a young cast on the series, the show would be targeted at the young, possibly next, generation of Trek fans. To me, the older fans could not relate to the show...

Now, talking about the next generation of Trek fans... There are very few Star Trek fans in my school. When I ask why, they say it sucks, it's stupid, it's for geeks and other things. Star Trek is being dissed so much by the media that teens won't watch it because it ain't cool. So, attracting new Trek fans at this point in time wouldn't work in my opinion. They should wait and let all the Trek jokes die off before they air the next series.

So, when the time for a new series comes, they should make a show like TNG, which appealed to all audiences, not just the young, like Flight Academy would.

I'm afraid Paramount would have to wait an extremely long time to let all the jokes die out. It would be a lot better to simply create an extremely great movie or series - people didn't think Trek was for geeks during the heyday of the Next Generation.

From: Jason Ng
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: response to the article

Flight Academy brings up images of Police Academy...

While maybe the first few movies were sort of funny, they all pretty well suck.

Academies seem to be filled with Frat Boys and Boy Scouts, as far as they are displayed on television.

It at least needs a name change, completely original characters which are very difficult to come by these days, and a movement away from a federation-centric view. Perhaps it should focus on an Alliance training facility. That is the alliance formed to fight the Dominion. Since there needs to be some developement in the relationship between the Federation, Klingons, Romulans, Cardassians and whoever else joins later (like perhaps the Ferengi and the Breen, and the forgotten Tholians and Gorn). There should be a conflict of views and approaches because not everyone thinks the same way and not everyone will want to.

And finally no more than three years should be spent at an academy, everyone needs to get somewhere in their careers and not remain as a commander for ten or more years.

Wouldn't that actually be a good side? Then the whole series could re-invent itself after being half done!

From: Paola Bracho
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: Re:Defending Star Flight Academy

"...and showed us how Bajor was rebuilt after the Occupation."

I think that the new series should show us how Cardassia was rebuilt after the war. Returning to old plots would be a mistake. We have already seen enough of Bajoran developement after the Occupation and, frankly, I wouldn`t like to see the sequel to religious plot which was by far the weakest plot of the whole season 7 and ds9 finale. The show must move on and Cardassian uncertain future after ds9 finale deserves to be thoroughly explored.

Voyager's Cancellation?

We're still getting lots of mail about the rumoured Voyager cancellation:

From: Jay Davies-Pyke
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: Voyager Cancellation

It would be BAD for the franchise loosing two shows in one year, if Voy dose get cancelled before the end of the 7th seasion then I hope the hole trek franchise "crash & Burns" cos I dont give a S*** about Star Trek, Just Voyager, I only love Voyager, thats all.

From: Mandi
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: ref Voyager

I have a short comment to make. I just recently started watching Voyager, my son is a big Star Trek fan and ask me to watch an episode with him. I really enjoyed the episode and have been try to get older episode to watch the show.

You say it is good Voyager is canceled due to bad ratings. First of all Voyager is not even shown in alot of areas, I get it on a station that is hard to tune in - in my area. Direct TV was suppose to get it and never did.

How can you critize a shows rating when in some areas people cant even watch it.

I wish there was someway we could possible let Paramount know. I enjoy coming home from a hard day at the Police station to watch an entertaining show.

One thing which a lot of mails against a possible Voyager cancellation seem to have in common is that they come from fans who either discovered Star Trek via Voyager, or who completely hate all non-Voyager Trek. Of course, Voyager's cancellation would be a bad thing for Voyager fans - being a Voyager fan myself, I wouldn't like to see the show end either. However, I'm also a Star Trek fan, and for the Star Trek franchise as a whole cancellation would probably be best, assuming we'd still get a new series.

From: Patricia Bond
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: Rumors

What is this about a possible cancellation of Star Trek Voyager? Please don't! Thank goodness for the reruns of DS9; but please don't cancel Voyager. It would be great to see more character development (Harry Kim, Tuvok, Chakotay), and more interaction on personal levels amongst the officers and Seven. And, what about them reaching the Alpha Quadrant? Ohh Nooo. It can't end before it's time. I need a paper bag. I think I'm going to hyperventilate.

I'd also love to see more character development - let's hope the sixth (and perhaps also the seventh) seasons will focus more on character episodes.

From: Dave Adamson
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: Cancelling Voyager

Okay, okay, so Voyager isn't the greatest series in the world... It has had its moment in the time it has been running, and will no doubt continue to do so in sixth season.

But, while everyone would like something "great" to replace it, the problem comes from not knowing what is great until you launch it. I hate the idea of the Flight School series that's being rumoured, but would watch it, because its Star Trek, and, it may be good, we won't know until after the first season has passed... Look at TNG, most hated the first and second seasons and there are trains of thought that said it didn't pick up until Best of Both Worlds. The first season of DS9 was also uncomfortable to some, the series only picking up in its later seasons (again, about the third season). Three years to discover if something is good or not, my god, thats a lot of money that could, possibly, be wasted.

But, what to do, scrapping the show will shut down the franchise until something else Star Trek comes along, possibly a worthwhile moratorium, though, lets hope, not as long as TOS to TNG (movies not withstanding).

In the end, fans are fickle. They want another TNG, but have their own ideas of how to achieve it, ideas that others would disagree with. But, where should we go now? I suppose, all we can say is "Let's see whats out there"

Actually, I thought the first two / three seasons of Deep Space Nine were rather good. They certainly were a lot better than the first two seasons of the Next Generation. The Original Series also had its best episodes during the beginning - maybe Series V (whatever it is) might also be able to achieve that?

From: Slugger
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: (No Subject)

I certainly hope they get the crew of voyager back to earth before they cancel the series. In Adelaide we are so far behind on television we hire once a month the latest voyager episode. Yesterday it was 5.7, the series has improved and should continue but the rumors continue and perhaps seven years is a long time. But they are great to see and worth the wait

From: Mark McCrary
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: let Voyager die

With the creative team behind Voyager and Star Trek at this time, I say let it die, and the quicker the better. When will Paramount realize what idiots Berman and Braga and and hire someone who actually likes Star Trek to save the franchise?!

I'm not sure about Brannon Braga, but I'd certainly say Rick Berman likes Star Trek. He is also the man responsible for Deep Space Nine and most of The Next Generation, after all.

Ron Moore

We also had a few reactions to our Ron & Brannon feature, and then especially to the letter from a former Paramount colleague of Moore.:

From: Richard Rafter
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: Farewell to Ron Moore

This piece is a work of art. It sums up the situation more eloquently than I could ever hope too. All discerning fans of Trek should morn Mr. Moores loss. Let this serve as a wake up call to those who love this instituion called Star Trek. The barbarians are indeed at the gate people, unite and turn them away, once and forever. Gene is no longer here to protect his vision, we who remain must carry the torch. Let TPTB at Paramount know that this is the last insult.

From: Terry Neaville
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: Farewell to Ron Moore

Concerning the article in which a former colleague gives a moving tribute and farewell to Ron Moore, I would say that whoever the author is hit it right on the mark concerning the continuing decline in fan viewership and loyalty.

I have been a Trek fan from the opening credits of the original series in the sixties. I have been a Voyager fan since "Caretaker" first aired. However, I believe that my long standing love affair with Trek is about to come to an end.

This last season of Voyager, while it had some wonderful moments, reminded me too much of Melrose Place meets Lost in Space. Characters developed in odd ways that went totally against who and what they were in the previous years, continuity went out the door, the solution of the week always seemed to be that Seven would come to the rescue, and many of the characters, especially Torres, Tuvok and Neelix, practically disappeared from the screen.

I was confused and disappointed with what I was seeing. As the season progressed, I began to realize that I was watching the show in many cases only because of my long standing loyalty to an old friend. But by the end of the season, even that sense of loyalty was strained.

Then, when I heard that Ron D. Moore was coming on board, I had high hopes that there would be a return to Trek as it should be. Now, my disillusionment with the show is complete.

I am a businesswoman. In my position as controller, I have watched many such power plays take place over the years. Good people who knew their jobs and kept the company strong were replaced or made ineffective by power hungry execs who were clueless as to how things should be, offering as their credentials only their ability to BS management and put on a dazzling show.

In every case that I have observed, the glitz finally wore off and the interloper found himself on his rear out the door. But most of the time, the damage was already done. The companies involved ended up closing their doors and hundreds of people lost their jobs. At best, the company continued to operate, but in a greatly diminished capacity and with the loss of some of its best people.

I guess it's because this current fiasco so closely resembles what I observe regularly in the real world that I am pulling away from Trek in all its incarnates. Trek was a fantasy world where I could leave behind, for a few minutes at least, the stress of day-to-day living in corporate America. It also offered some hope that there will come a time when we humans learn to stop hating and killing each other long enough to do something good. It was pure escapism. Now reality has intruded and the innocence is gone. As am I.

It's really a pity that these Paramount in-fights are driving viewers away - but I do have to wonder: do they also have an effect on your enjoyment of the actual episodes? Surely you can't see from the bare episodes alone that the people creating them are involved in disputes?.

From: Carl Finnel
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: Ron Moore

Rumours aside on why He left, the departure of ron Moore gives me the same sense of loss as the death of DeForest Kelley. It is the end of an age.

Let's choose this mail as a fitting end to the whole Ron Moore / Brannon Braga thing. Hopefully we'll never have something like this happen again.

'The Franchise's Future'

The most successful article we've published to date is Jim Wright's "The Future's Franchise" article, which might have something to do with Jim being webmaster of the very popular Delta Blues site. Of course, the article also drew in a lot of responses - below you'll find Jim's own answers:

From: Ashley Goff
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: Jim Wright's article on the future of Trek

Although Jim Wright and I share many points of view about the plagues that populate the Trek franchise of late, I have some opinions of my own. There are simply too many products available on the market today. I admit that I buy the occasional novel, but that's it. I have no desire to own Trek collector's plates, action figures or minature models. Have TBTB forgotten the "prime directive", so to speak, of economics? The demand for a product is almost entirely based on the supply of it. If someone can't have it they want it. So why don't they slow down with the promotions and concentrate on re-bulilding the Trek empire to its so called former glory? Let's face it the Trek franchise is in desperate need of a face-life. If they feel they need to add a character with an appearance like Seven of Nine's in order to boost demographics can we say dead in the water. No offense to Jeri Ryan, whom I consider a talented actress.

The differece between me and most other people that watch the show is age. I wasn't around during the TOS, and for that matter I was three when TNG premiered. Although some are obsessed with past glories I look to the future possibilites. Frankly, I found Kirk obnoxious and Picard dull. I really started watching Trek during Voyager's third season and I don't want Voyager to be the end. Wait until the show ends then start again with a new series. With all the competition in the television market today I don't believe that two Trek shows can survive at the same time.

I have a secret though, I actually LIKE Voyager. I know most consider it a technical and theatrical failure and I admit sometimes I feel that way too, but there's something strange about the show that keeps me tuning in every week. Admit it people, it has potential.

Thanks for the response, Ashley.

I agree about the glut of products. Presumably there's some market for them, but I doubt anyone became a fan of Star Trek through the collector plates.

I believe there is still a demand for Star Trek in spite of the saturation, as the debate over Series Five shows. But the demand isn't for just anything labeled Star Trek; we want more of what made us fans in the first place. I believe the bottom line--consistently compelling ideas, storytelling, and characters--will serve any current or future series well, and will struggle if those elements are missing.

Like you, I'm a Voyager fan; there's something about it that keeps me coming back, frustrations and all. I hope the sixth season brings renewed interest and improved ratings, and ultimately a seventh season.

From: Pat Bond
To:feedback@treknation.com
Subject: (No Subject)

Dear Jim,

"Amen!" I'm speechless after reading your article on the future of Star Trek, and I am a guilty fan. I believe everything you wrote is right on target. Still, I have no interest in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She leaves me cold in the water. There's nothing like a Star Trek adventure. :o)

Thanks for your words of wisdom.

Thank you very much, Pat!

Without getting into a debate about Buffy (grin), I will certainly agree that there's nothing like a Trek adventure.

From: Kathleen Chamberlain
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: "Review Boy's" Column

I used to think that Robert Picardo was the funniest man on the planet. Now I think it's Jim Wright. His recent column on the future of Trek is brilliant, witty, literary--and right! I disagree with only one of his points: I can't accept the idea of Voyager ending early. Voyager to me is like coffee to Janeway. I don't want to live without it. I want it hot, and I want it now, and I WANT IT FOR AT LEAST SEVEN SEASONS!

Seriously, I hope Paramount doesn't abandon Voyager and its fans. The show may not have the ratings of TNG or even DS9, but consider: as Jim Wright says, when TNG premiered, it more or less had the field to itself. But the 1990s in many ways has been the golden decade of TV science fiction; there's a lot of excellent competition out there now. And just as the Trek world has fragmented, so has the TV world in general. Everyone, from the big networks to the smallest cable channels, is having to accept smaller markets. Voyager viewers number in the millions, and I'm sure that if the show were more widely syndicated instead of living on UPN, its ratings would rise. I had no access to UPN for the first three and a half seasons of Voyager; I had to rely on the kindness of out-of-state relatives who would tape the show and send it to me weekly. There are a lot of people who would be glad to be loyal fans, if they only had the chance.

One final note--Jim is Wright again when he points out that we ask too much of each new episode, expecting everything to be on a par with "Inner Light" or "Visitor." Voyager has had its share of stunners--"Living Witness," "Scorpion, "Counterpoint," "Killing Game," and more. Constructive criticism is all well and good, but please, fans and reviewers, don't help kill the last Trek left. Lower the bar a little. Thank you for the reply, Kathleen!

Like you, I don't want Voyager to go away early. I did suggest I wouldn't lose sleep if that happened, but I didn't mean to suggest that I would *prefer* an early end--only that its cancellation wouldn't mean The Death of The Franchise. Whenever Voyager ends, I want it to leave the fans wanting more. You are clearly one of Voyager's more dedicated fans, getting by for so long on videotapes! I'm impressed.

You make excellent points about the current TV world; Greg Fuller's article about Star Trek's ratings over the years echoes many of your comments.

I must disagree with you on one thing, though--Robert Picardo *is* the funniest man on the planet. :) But I appreciate the compliments, and I'm glad you enjoyed my column.

From: Chris Kennedy
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: Future of the Star Trek Franchise

Jim made a lot of good points in his article, but this is how I see it -

Star Trek has come a long way in the last 15 years. I didn't get into Star Trek until I saw the episode "Time Squared" of TNG. I was curious, I watched a few episodes, and I was hooked. I started a "ST: The Next Generation" fan, and I am a "next generation fan" at 19 years of age. When "Deep Space 9" came along, I wasn't really impressed. (One of my best friends was though) I have watched it off and on over the years, and appreciated having something else with Star Trek on it when I needed it. (adding the Defiant was wise) I thought that the Voyager idea was pretty good. Although I don't come away with "memorable" episodes as I did TNG, I still enjoy watching the show.

Deep Space Nine has ended, and now Voyager is the only remaining show to carry the name on TV. (With the exception of syndicated reruns) My thoughts on the matter - I think that Star Trek shouldn't have to be an elitist show. Many people think that "X"- series contaminated the name, or that "X" episode belongs at the bottom of the trash. Some of these people also believe that throwing out Star Trek episodes is about as common nowadays as cooking a pancake at IHOP. I believe that the addition of TNG, DS9, and VGR have all been positive additions to the franchise. Why? Because each one has brought least *1* more individual into the "realm" of Star Trek. I think that letting the TV aspect of Star Trek go dormant for a while is fine. I also think that Voyager should be focused on a lot more now that there isn't an another Star Trek to watch if it goes bad. (TNG kinda handed off a torch to Voyager to keep the "two consecutive ST series" thing going on) Now that Voyager is all alone, I believe those quality episodes that everyone wants are due. Each one should be done carefully.

Voyager has it's own group of fans as well as ST fans in general. (like Jim pointed out) I think it has been a privilege to have a new Star Trek show come out almost every week of the season for the past 13 years. Continuing the TV aspect of it is fine - it'll(ST in general) only gain more fans with the differences in shows. At the same time, not having a current series will make the some of the fans appreciate it more. Either way, I don't think Star Trek is at a weak point. It's all uphill from here.

Thanks for the comments, Chris. I agree with many of your points, and share your optimism. To a point.

Your final statement is telling: it's all uphill from here. I believe that's true as well, on two levels. There's plenty of room for new growth--but it won't be easy. Voyager's challenge is to bolster its ratings in the year it stands alone. I've got my fingers crossed.

From: Gill Hoyle
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: Jim Wright - The Franchise's Future

I've just read Jim Wright's article, "The Franchise's Future".

I have to say that I agree with Jim - for all of the reasons he stated in the article, plus one major worry of my own.

Right now, Star Trek: Voyager is the only first-run Trek show and it seems to be in trouble. Whether you believe the rumours about cancellation or not, the ratings are very poor - even for re-runs. My own reason for not wanting to see a new show rushed into production, is this:

We need all hands on-deck to make 'Voyager' as excellent as it can be for it's last two seasons. It doesn't deserve to be abandoned and neither do we, the core fans who've stuck with it from the very first episode. Do we really want Voyager's executive producers/writers Brannon Braga and Rick Berman dividing their time and creativity between two projects right now? Surely it's far better to concentrate on one show and do it really well than produce two that are merely going through the motions?

We all know that it takes at least three or four seasons for a new Trek to hit it's stride - and I think the reason for that is divided energy, loyalty and creative talent within TPTB as one show ends and another is formulated.

The Franchise is a World-wide cash cow, but I think audiences have become more sophisticated and harder and harder to please. Trek is no longer the only SCI-FI program out there, so it just can't afford to rest on it's laurels or it's out-dated formula and predictable, 'no-life' characters for much longer (predictable in what they're allowed to do rather than stero-typical). I agree that Trek has to re-invent itself, but not right now - not when it still has unfinished business and unfinished characters stranded in the Delta Quadrant. We the fans - and the crew of Voyager - deserve the chance to see this epic journey through to a natural, highly emotional conclusion. We can still do that if the writers are allowed to write real characters, with real, honest, on-going responses to the things that happen to them in the DQ. Show us their struggles, build on them every single week instead of erasing them with the end credits - make us worry, make us care, make us laugh out-loud, make us cry, make us hope for these people. When that worm-hole (or whatever) to the AQ appears, I want to be a soggy mess, blubbing into my cocoa and proud as punch of Voyager's crew for making it through..... uh.... all those nasty or life-changing things that have happened to them, then been forgotten in time for the next episode. That just belittles their struggles (and mine as a viewer) don't you think?

Whether they're pulling the plug on 'Star Trek: Voyager' or not, panicking and charging full-tilt into a new show, repeating the same pattern of mistakes with the same ole' faces, same ole' writing prejudices and same ole' formula would be a death knell for the Trek franchise.

I'd really love to see them concentrate of finishing Voyager with as much heart, sense of adventure and exploration as they can, then sit back for quite a few years and recharge the creative batteries.

Thanks for the reply, Gilly. You make some great points.

I believe Voyager's challenge this year will be to justify its continuation--to convince those who have written the show off as a lost cause that there may yet be hope, without alienating its existing fans.

It won't be easy; skepticism is high, ratings are low, and Voyager's track record--even its most ardent defenders agree--has been inconsistent. The "even season curse" has me crossing my fingers. I'm optimistic, but not yet confident.

I think it would be best to wait several years before the next series airs, though I know others disagree. I wish the next series luck, whenever it airs or whatever it is about. I won't review the new series, though I do plan to watch.

Star Trek Ratings History

Greg Fuller's Ratings History article also led one reader to write in - below you'll find Greg's response to that mail:

From: Mark
To: feedback@treknation.com
Subject: Good ratings? They'd be better if people cared...

If you make a good show they will come. Trek has had thirty years to build an audience and we have to read about how disadvantaged the franchise is and how it's fighting with its hands tied behind its back? Come on don't insult out intelligence, the shows that are succeeding in the sci-fi realm do so in spite of Trek. Take off the rose colored glasses, the problem isn't the franchise its the writing... plain and simple the shows are unoriginal and do little to compel any thought. Even thirty years later the original series is more relevant to society today then any of the episodes produced today. TNG had some of that magic but not much. You can paint the picture that placement etc are what makes Star Trek weaker today then ever before but the fact is that the shows really have lost their direction and more so the originality that made the old series so great. Don't even get me started on the movies... anyone else notice how the last three all ended in the same way? Think about it.

This response essentially boils down to the author's personal opinion of Trek's current quality. Opinions from one party don't serve well as evidence to back up an explanation of Trek's current ratings.

Regarding those shows that have succeeded in the science-fiction realm, there was only one sci-fi/fantasy program that earned higher ratings than DS9 during the '98-'99 season (The X-Files). Xena, Hercules, Earth: Final Conflict, Nightman, Highlander: The Raven, Mortal Kombat, Viper, Babylon 5, and Crusade all performed far, far below DS9. There were a few network attempts in the genre (that I cannot remember the titles of at the moment) that were all cancelled midseason, posting ratings below DS9 and occasionally Voyager. DS9 ended its run as one of the highest-rated shows in the sci-fi/fantasy genre, it *is* one of the most successful shows of its kind.

Now, this response also claims that because Star Trek has been around so long, it should already have an immense amount of viewers and should be fairly immune to any problems. It just doesn't work that way. Each show is different; they exist under different circumstances with an audience that is very much in flux. TOS and TNG are nothing like DS9 except for the fact that they occur in the same universe. TOS and TNG explored the galaxy, DS9 explored what happened to people when they're put through the wringer. That appeals to different audiences -- the first two words of that "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" title be damned. You can't just assume that if a person likes one Star Trek, they have to like all of them or else it demonstrates some flaw in the ones they don't like.

TNG, as I said, was a mainstream show. People could watch it one week, skip a few, then pick it up again. That casual audience made up quite a few of TNG's viewers; now is it reasonable to expect that all those casual viewers must like DS9? No way, especially considering that watching DS9 in its later years *had* to be a weekly event or a person would get completely lost. That's not bad writing -- that's a different style.

As for insulting your intelligence by saying that Voyager has its hands tied behind its back -- I don't quite understand how you can feel insulted by that. Simple math shows Voyager reaching about 65% of the people that any other network or syndicated show reaches. That's like trying to win a fight with a stump for one leg and a broken arm, and that's not Voyager's fault. It doesn't matter how long Star Trek has been around, that's a fact brought on by the failures of UPN.

Given DS9's lack of appeal to mainstream audiences and Voyager's network from hell, Trek's current ratings are as good as could be expected.

Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Christian Höhne Sparborth is webmaster of the Trek Nation.