Your Voice Returns

By Christian Höhne Sparborth
Posted at April 16, 2000 - 8:57 PM GMT

Welcome to, finally, a new mailbag! Major apologies for the very long hiatus - with our new site manager, it should be much easier to maintain the mailbag. This week we have comments on recent Trek Nation features, as well as assorted feedback on TrekToday items. As always, be sure to send in your own feedback mail to!

A Take On Trek

Most of our mailbag mails this week dealt with two recent 'Takes on Trek' by Fred Shedian - his We The Trekkers column, dealing with the Captain Sulu and Bring Back Kirk campaigns, and his Reaching Out column, looking at the recent Series V rumours. Below you'll find Fred's own responses to these mails.

From: G. Bruce Thompson
Subject: Bring Back Kirk

You must not have looked very hard. Here is the URL:

Captain James T. Kirk would never have died falling like he did. Thanks for nothing, Rick Berman.

This is one point I believe most people agree on, and the reason many long-timeStar Trek fans feel betrayed by the franchise and it's current administration.

From: Ann Laabs
Subject: Re Bring Back Kirk Campaign

Dear Trek Nation-
I support the BBK movement not just to see the great Captain get the heroic sendoff he deserves, but mainly to see a return to Trek of all that Kirk, the Original Series, (and Sulu, for that matter) represent. A spirit of adventure and fun, of characters who had their differences but stuck together and experiences incredible adventures. When I hope for a return of Captain Kirk, I hope he brings back all those elements that made me love Trek in the first place, before the Trek formula became stuck in concrete. If Series 5 can capture this sense of wonder, of danger and adventure, then I'll watch it eagerly.
Ann Laabs

On this I think most long time fans agree. The next series needs to have the proper mix of action, adventure, courage, friendship and drama we have come to expect from TOS and TNG. Unless this happens, we will have another "pointless" series on our which probably will never be successful.

From: Kelly Starks
Subject: Birth of the Federation - new start or ultimate reset button?

I liked your April 7 post hoping that the birth of the federation may be intended to attract the old trek audience back, but I view it as more of a they-don't-get-it. I don't think DS9 and Voy failed to hold the old Trekkers interest because they longed for the older cruder ships. They wanted more heroic, optimistic stories, and BETTER WRITING!

DS9 was too cynical and hopeless, Voyager goes far out of its way to suppress any sign that these folks could be making progress or caring about ideals, much less capable of supporting them. The stories are unusually pretty much run of the mill, and not very deep or well thought out (continuity errors, plot holes, and the reset button to clean it all up). Changing the era won't fix that, and Voyagers scripts (and TPTB quoted comments) show they don't want to.

What birth of the federation struck me as is a way for Berman to do what he's long wanted, drop the whole legacy of Trek. No TOS or TNG continuity to support. No advanced enlightened people to write scripts about. Just older pre Trek tech, fractious, shallow people, like he wants to showcase. He'd finally be completely clear of everything Roddenbery did.

As you said in your previous column: "Star Trek is currently operated by a person who has publicly stated he dislikes the Original Series and all it's stands for."

Now he can literally undo it.

If you read several editions of my columns, you will find I agree with you on many points. Most folks tend to agree that Star Trek has taken a turn for the "dark side" in recent years. Deep Space Nine's writing quality was good in my opinion, with the likes of Ron Moore. However, I found their style (under the direction of Rick Berman) too dark for my tastes. What made the franchise popular was the fact it gave people hope for the future, didn't make them think we'd be in war, after war, after war, etc.For any Star Trek series to succeed and gather the fame of TOS or TNG it needs to have the proper mix of action, friendship, compassion, adventure, science and hope. Rick Berman may not like TOS, but I believe understands after the failure of Voyager that Star Trek requires this era...and more importantly, it's fans. If Mr. Berman or writers attempt to go against preset Star Trek, in a pre-era show, there will no continuity at all...making it a farce to fans..and dooming it to ratings worse than Voyager. I believe Paramount, if not Berman,understands this fact...and knows that a failure/mistake at this stage will doom the franchise to repeatthe 1970's.

From: Gill Hoyle
Subject: Feedback!

Hi, Fred!

Just finished reading your latest column and saw your request for feedback, so here we are. Excellent points, all of them - none moreso than your comments about promos spoiling eps before we even see them :( I get tapes sent over from USA (I'm in UK) and my friend Karen always includes them for me. I've just asked her to zap the tape before the promo for the next ep airs for these very reasons. I'm ashamed to admit it, but I've actually fallen asleep during a few eps :(

Also, "Star Trek : Seven Of Nine" Yep, Sheesh! You know, I was really into the Seven character in the beginning. I enjoyed her early tussles with Janeway and her rudeness to the crew - it was very refreshing in Trek to see 'Fleeters being dissed LOL!! Now, I must admit, I'm being forced to despise the character because of the over-kill. Maybe it's because if the post is slow I get 4 eps all at once (2 eps to each tape) and so, obviously, I watch them one after the other. It's just really clear that this is indeed now the Seven show. Almost every character spends almost every episode reacting to what is going on with Seven - in one way or another - or, simply not being there at all. I find myself perversly noting and counting the number of scenes she's in, that, in all honesty have no need of her. Case in point: Equinox 2, when Tuvok is reporting to Janeway in her Ready room about the Equinox's lab still being flooded with radiation? Why did Seven need to be there, too? Surely Tuvok is a senior officer and senior offices don't need the Astrometrics attendant to hold their hand while they make a formal report to the Captain? If these instances were few and far between I wouldn't have noticed, but they're happening constantly.

Tt's almost as if Seven has to be in every possible scene that she can be squeezed into. No biggie, you might say, but maybe if this didn't happen, the other actors appearances would stand out in the mind - they'd seem to be contributing something. As it is, they have to share dialogue that should be their's alone, with Seven. It just all adds up to the perception of it being the Seven show. Most of the plots seem to revolve around her in some way, Janeway seems to have time for her and her alone (and her ideas), and the moral/learning curve is definitely a Seven one (with few exceptions).

I'm hoping and praying that Season Seven will be different - although the odds are against that *g* Otherwise, I'm handing in my Trekkie badge and revisiting Babylon 5. I'll catch up with Voyager on home-video later, when I feel less angry about the waste. Frankly, if TPTB now find the other characters too 'uninteresting' to write, then whose fault is that? And, if they can't *make* them interesting again (and so, break the circle), then frankly, they're in the wrong business).

Good to hear from you again. I believe your remarks are similar to those of many long time Star Trek fans. Even people who like Voyager are now annoyed at the advertising techniques of Paramount. Recently, I am pleased to report, they do appear to have gotten a little bit better with promos. As far as Jeri Ryan is concerned, what more is there to say?

From: Heiwa
Subject: Your columns.

Well, you wanted feedback, so here ya go.

I think you're way off in regards to the future of the franchise. You're correct that a Sulu series would send younger viewers screaming away from Trek in droves. And it MIGHT bring a few older viewers back. Might.

However ...

Most networks, and definitely UPN among them, want the 18-34 demographic in their pocket, not the 40-80. Series V set in the future will keep 18-34. Series V as Jurassic Trek will not.

The campaign is not well run in that all they use are lies and spun numbers to present their campaign. Most Trek fans do NOT want a Sulu series. They have not proven that "most" fans do, yet they claim this all the time.

The fact is, "most" Trek fans can't agree to anything.

On another note, I am glad that you noticed that "Spirit Folk" was merely an exercise in writers' block. That a staff of 5 or 6 writers would not have a single worthy or innovative idea among them is clear evidence that the entire crop needs to be fired and a new group brought in.

These are the people who are gonna run Series V, Sheridan. Remember that before you push Sulu so strongly.

You are correct in your remarks. I have never said I believed that a Sulu series would be the "end all/be all" for the Star Trek franchise. Let's remember, many of the long time/hard core Star Trek fans now fall into the 34-80 range. These are the people that got the show back on the air and in the movies. In order for any future Star Trek incarnation to be successful, it must be successful with 18-80. If it isn't, then it will have ratings I fear are worse than you can only have a "sexy drone" so many times.A recent report on Sci-Fi Wire even suggested that although 38% of fans would like a Birth of the Federation show, 22% would still prefer for a Captain Sulu series. For a campaign that is not well organized, this is a pretty high number.I am not saying the EXCELSIOR campaign doesn't have it's problems, as I see many with it. However, I do applaud those running it for trying to make what they believe to be a positive impact on the Star Trek Franchise. This is far better than a groups of annoyed fans online all screaming "We hate this, we hate that" and not actually writing Paramount to try and change "this,that." First, the name is not Sheridan...but indeed Shedian. Second, who runs the series is irrelevant to me. I believe Rick Berman and Mr. Bragga have done serious damage to the Star Trek franchise. More importance is put on "doing different" than staying true to the thirty years of tradition the show has built up. A Sulu based series would be interesting...but your remarks I could say when referring to a Birth of the Federation series. These are the people who are going to run it? I find that fascinating, especially when Rick Berman has said everything to indicate he'd love to see TOS removed from history.

The Origin of Seven of Nine

Michael Hinman's recent The Origins of Seven of Nine article also attracted a pair of reader mails. Below you'll find Mike's own responses to these mails.

From: Reaper _
Subject: RE: 7of9 origins...

hey, i was reading ure article after just watching the End of DS9 and had a flash of inspiration (or was it an electric shock?)

anyway, what about section 31?

now if lily had told ppl about the 'borg' or even about the Enterprise and its visit from the future section 31 may have been set up escpecilly because of that, to gather data on the Borg, and as time went on, they dipped their hand in other areas, what if the feds had been sending ships off in the general direction of the delta quadrant for the past 300 years to gather intellegance, it would explain a) how the raven know what it did and b) why starfleet (apperently) did nothing after they encounterd Guinan th Feds seem to be willing to act on less information than they were presented with by the El Auriens

sp lets say, it was routine for section 31 to send non Star Fleet ships to the delat quadrant to listen for the borg, to keep their eyes open and the like, maybe origionally only probes, and as warp technology advanced, ships, they would fly off to the delta quadrant, spend 5 or so years gathering data, then reten to the Alpha Quad...but herein lies a paradox, what if, by these patrols to monitor the bord, the borg became aware of humanity, we see the Hansen getting to close so the Borg decide to assimilate them, and find out about the feds and all the alpha quadrant races, so in effect we have a temporal Paradox (call dulmer and Lucsy)

just my babblings, feel free to tell me what a plonker i am =)

Andy 'Reaperman' Poulastides


While I can see you have some great ideas, it does beg to question why the Borg didn't come earlier after assimilating the U.S.S. Raven ...

From: Tim Fincham
Subject: The Origin of Seven of Nine

Hi. I just read the Origin of Seven of Nine article, and I want to compliment the author. It made perfect sense, and left me wishing that the writers of Star Trek would think things out that way before they go playing around with canon and the timeline. The one question I still have, however, is about the consequences of assimilation. Even if everything about the Borg/Human interactions can be explained, I doubt that anyone will be adequately able to explain why Locutus can have all of his implants removed and become a whole Picard again; but later, in First Contact, Picard himself says that anyone merely injected with nanoprobes is better off dead (in fact, he kills a few former crewmembers himself); and then on Voyager, with Seven, the Borg from Unity and Survival Instinct, and the Borg children, drones are suddenly able to be rescued from assimilation again, but they cannot return to being fully human (or Romulan or Bajoran or whatever) because not all of their implants can be removed. And now it looks like things are going to go back to the way they were with Locutus in this season's cliffhanger because I really doubt that they will give B'Elanna a permanent chunk of metal above her eye, Tuvok a permanent prosthetic Borg limb, and Janeway a permanent tube coming out of the top of her head and reentering at the back of her neck. If anybody can reconcile this inconsistency, that would be great.

Oh, one more note of evidence I thought of to support the article's contention is the species designation given to the Vulcans (something like 197). The Borg must have encountered them fairly early for them to have such a low number considering the that Borg are supposedly eons old and recent species (8472) have much higher designation numbers.

Thanks, Tim!

One thing you need to realize as to where it Locutus, the Borg children, and Seven of Nine differ, and that is the time of assimilation.

Locutus was only Borg for a short period of time, a mere days more than anything else. He did not even come close to having all the implants that were given to Seven of Nine, who had been a Borg drone for many years.

Also, as you know, each Borg has different types of implants to conduct different types of tasks. While some drones may have some types of implants, others will have different ones for different tasks. Locutus was different from the other Borg drones ... he was assimilated to be an equal to the Borg Queen, and even received a designation other than a number.

Also, about the Vulcans. It is possible that the Borg were aware of the Vulcans, possibly in some pre-warp state. They may have simply noticed them, found no technological equipment they needed, and moved on doing nothing more than cataloging their existence.

Please note that this still remains highly speculative.

From: gregory Loveland
Subject: (No subject)

But you said that the Hansens knew of borg CUBES (when they could only possibly know of spheres) How do you explain that?

This goes back to the Star Trek: Generations and Q Who? contributions as well when the Borg attacked the Al Aurians. It is quite conceivable that cubes were used there.

Subspace Buzz

Below you'll find mails from Trek Nation readers on a variety of subjects, this week ranging from recent TrekToday polls to the Series V news to reactions to my West Wing comments.

From: Scott Allen
Subject: Series V Poll

You stated the following:

It seems clear that most of the fans at least hate the 29th Century villain idea - personally I would love to see a 'Birth of the Federation' series, but I'm also not that enthusiastic about the time travel plot.

At the risk of sounding accusatory, I would question your conclusion. Only 24.3% are known to dislike the 29th Century villain idea. Had I voted (I just missed this one), I would have voted 'Bad'. Not because I didn't like the 29th Century villain idea, but rather because I don't like the 'Birth of the Federation' idea. Of course, my opinion stems from the fact that you left out the category I would have voted for ... 'Great, if you leave out the Birth of the Federation part'. ;-)

You're right, of course. I should probably have added another option, like you suggested. I suppose I didn't think of the possibility that anyone could dislike the 'Birth of the Federation' premise, which I myself love :-).

From: Nick
Subject: Series V report

Hi Christian,

After reading your Hello World comments from yesterday, I'm glad to know someone other than me is actually positive about the idea.

Here's hoping it turns out well, assuming the report is indeed accurate.

Fortunately it would seem we're not completely alone, as a recent TrekToday poll showed 34% of all voters at least weren't completely set against the premise. Personally I'll reserve judgement until I actually see it... over the years, the producers have given us many classic moments of Trek, and I see no reason why a Series V doesn't also have the potential to be that.

From: Neal Boling
Subject: Your thoughts

Hi Christian...
I have been a loyal TrekToday reader since May of '99 (everyday). I think you do a marvelous job on the site, and really appreciate the work that you put into it. I would just like to throw a couple of comments to you...

1) I must agree with you about the setting aspect of the new rumored Trek series. There is definitely something missing with "Voyager". With "Deep Space Nine", I looked forward with eager anticipation to each new episode, and really became quite consumed with the story lines. This is not the case with "Voyager". I like the cast, the crew, and I thought I liked the premise. But I think the show desperately needs continuity in order for it to make me excited again.

2) When you mentioned your love of "The West Wing," I didn't consider to be blasphemous at all...rather a perfect indicator of exactly why modern Trek has lost its just doesn't seem that well put together any more.

3) I live in Gainesville Florida. We don't have a UPN station here...instead we have a WB station that airs select UPN programming in their 10 PM slots. "Voyager" airs on Thursday night at 10. I remember reading a ways back (on your sight, in fact) that several stations had made a similar deal. It is a shame that stations like these aren't reflected in the ratings. I know that I chat with dozens of University of Florida classmates weekly about "Voyager". Since I only know a fraction of these Trek fans, and Gainesville is a tiny TV market, one has to wonder what "Voyager's" true ratings are. Our Fox station has "Next Gen" and "Deep Space Nine" rights...they air "Next Gen" 5 days a week at 4 am (ouch!) and "Deep Space Nine" erratically (once every two weeks, roughly).

4) I was wondering what your favorite series was, favorite movie, and if you had a favorite all-time episode?

5) If you like "The West Wing", try renting "The American President." The creators are the same, and "The American President" is one of my favorite all-time movies.

Reply if and when you like. I know you are swamped with e-mail. Just keep up the good work...I have referred many friends to your site.

Neal E. Boling

Hi Neal,

First, thanks for the kind comments! On to your questions:

1) Definitely agreed. I've also noticed that over the past year or so I've become less interested in catching new 'Voyager' episodes, but I'm not sure if that's not just a by-product of running TrekToday - I already know most of the storylines, so I don't really need to watch the series for that.

2) Yeah, I was surprised by the number of people who totally agreed with me on West Wing. Maybe Voyager's producers should start looking at other successful drama series to get a few pointers.

3) Are you sure those extra showings aren't actually added to the general ratings for the show? I seem to remember them being added for the final national ratings, but I'm not really sure...

4) For Star Trek? At the moment the Original Series, 'The Voyage Home' and 'The Visitor', but that changes almost every week.

5) Thanks! I'll check it out!

From: Warren V. Wind
Subject: The West Wing


I also feel that "The West Wing" is one of the most intelligent television shows currently airing in the United States. Another show which I am very impressed with is "Sports Night". I'm not sure if it is aired in the Netherlands, but if it is you should at least give it a view. For a half hour dramedy, it is very insightful and also very intelligently written. It has the same feel that "The West Wing" has and both shows have the same creative forces behind it. If you enjoy "The West Wing" you'll also enjoy "Sports Night".

You might agree with me that "Sports Night" should be a hour show instead of a half hour.

I've heard about 'Sports Night', yeah - unfortunately I don't think it airs in the Netherlands, though.

From: John A. D. Holt
Subject: Hello West Wing World

This is probably going to sound like blasphemy to many of you, but I've decided the best show on television right now is not Voyager. The West Wing is. So far I've only seen the six episodes that have aired here in the Netherlands, but already I feel like I know these people as well as I did most of the regulars on the four Star Trek series after several seasons.

Exactly! This show's characters and actors are far above what we're seeing on Voyager.

I'm really happy I don't live in the United States, where I'd have to choose between Voyager and West Wing - Voyager probably wouldn't win.

Thankfully, in Canada "WW" airs on Tuesdays, so I don't have that problem. But come on -- I'm sure you can find other reasons that you're really happy you don't live in the United States besides TV shows! :) If you get a chance, watch for Aaron Sorkin's other TV series, now in it's second season: "Sports Night". Same pacing, writing, and great acting, only it's within a 30 min. sitcom instead of a drama. Great stuff!

Yeah, I could find more reasons, but if I'd list them on TrekToday I'm sure I'd really be lynched :-).

From: Brian Sanford
Subject: Poll idea

Ok, so it's not exactly an article, but anyway, I would like to see a TrekToday poll on how many people read/enjoy the Star Trek: New Frontier book series by Peter David. Thank you.

Your wish is our command - you can find the results here.

Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.

Christian Höhne Sparborth is webmaster of the Trek Nation.