'A Briefing with Caillan'

By Amy
October 24, 2000 - 2:02 PM

New Trek Nation columnist, Callian Davenport, has taken a look at the Voyager character we all love to hate and, in the process, discovers that maybe he's not so bad after all.

"It's a real pity that for the majority of the first and second seasons Neelix was written primarily as comic relief - a character we all loved to hate, if only for his idiocy. His jealous reactions to Paris's friendship with Kes did much to strain viewer tolerance, and his lame jokes didn't inspire much confidence either. However, an interesting dichotomy began to emerge in Neelix's character; he was simultaneously comic relief and an outlet for many of Voyager's most powerful morality tales.

"Jetrel," airing at the end of the first season, was the first attempt to turn Neelix into a 'serious' character, and for the most part it was a successful episode, even if a little heavy-handed in places. A strong Hiroshima allegory, it presented Ethan Phillips with a chance to prove that Neelix was more than just an annoyance. However, it may have proved too much for some viewers, because after all the previous episodes where Neelix was presented as a bumbling fool, his status as a serious character was a little hard to accept.

"Nevertheless, the writing staff continued to turn out the annual serious Neelix episode, and they've been some of the best Voyager stories. Episodes like "Mortal Coil," "Fair Trade," and "Riddles" show a very different side of Neelix to that presented in "Partuition" and "Rise!". The trend has shown that many of the less desirable Neelix moments took place in the first two seasons, but since then he has grown and matured as a character."

For the full copy of Caillan's debut column, click here or visit Trek Nation.

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