6 Reasons Star Trek: Voyager Never Really Worked

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Chakotay Is A Racist Character
Chakotay is Voyager’s Native American first officer. I’ve described him that way because it’s literally the only thing I know about him, even after watching all seven seasons. It’s not just that they don’t develop him as a human being. The problem here is that when the show tries, they only seem interested in playing up the Native American angle. Tune in to any one of the show’s all too rare Chakotay episodes and you’re sure to hear the beating of vaguely tribal sounding Native American drums in the background. Odds are that episode’s plot will involve some sort of vision quest, or an obsession with the beauty and majesty of some primitive alien species that’s really in touch with the land. Maybe you’re thinking that this is great, this is a fine example of Voyager including all kinds of different ethnicities and cultures in the Star Trek universe. Isn’t that what Gene Roddenberry wanted? Not really.

While the original Trek included characters based on their share of racial stereotypes, Scotty’s obsession with drinking Scotch for instance, it didn’t entirely rely on them. Scotty didn’t wear a kilt in the engine room and Chekov, despite a tendency to credit Russia with every great advancement in human history, didn’t wander around trying to convince everyone to become communists. Sulu didn’t subsist entirely on a diet of Sushi, instead he was really into the Three Musketeers and euro-style swashbuckling. And that was in the 60s. Voyager was on the air in 2001 and yet it contained a character whose only reason for existing was to wander around the ship espousing the benefits of using high-tech, electronic peyote. It’s amazing he didn’t find a way to convert one of the cargo bays into a casino, or make a uniform out of buffalo.

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