As with just about any television show, it's hard to
make any sweeping generalizations about the goals and ideology behind the images
the audience sees. So many people are involved, production demands change
things, performances add nuance to words on the script. Just talk to Brannon
Braga about third season's much-hated "Threshold," and he'll tell you intended
messages don't always come across as planned. Thus, it's hard to make any
generalizations about how the producers wish the viewers` would view religion.
Likely their viewpoints are as varied as the ideas presented throughout the
show's seven years. And those ideas are varied:
False Gods are uncovered (but only to the crew of Voyager, leaving the peoples
of the planets pleasantly oblivious-"False Profits," "The Caretaker")
characters who find comfort, peace and answers in their own and other's beliefs
and practices ("Barge of the Dead," "The Cloud," "Gravity," etc.)
In the end the general message gleaned from the show seems to be that religion
is fine, if used correctly. Don't believe because it's what everyone tells you
it's true. Don't be afraid to ask questions and to explore the truth. Don't look
at any faith or philosophy as though you have all the answers. There may be some
truth to every faith.
It's certainly a pluralistic outlook, that suggests there may be no "absolute
truths" but a different one for every person, but it's also rather tolerant and
understands that religion serves many purposes. While in some ways religion can
be used to coerce people and drive them to do some strange things, often it's
just a part of life, that isn't easily shrugged off and forgotten and, in many
cases, shouldn't be.
That's a little different than The Original Series.
P.S. The music in the intro movie is "Arcadia" by Kevin MacLeod. More of his work can be found at incompetech.com.
Well, my name is Alethea Ebb, and I'm just finishing up my undergraduate career at the
University of Southern California where I studied a combination of communication,
cinema/television, and web development. I love considering how culture influences
entertainment and vice versa. I'm also highly interested in fan cultures
and the intersection and relationship between secular entertainment and issues of religion.
So what is it that led me to focus those interests on the topic of Voyager?
Not long ago Star Trek started popping up in various places in my life. Either through
doing research for school papers or talking to people I didn't even realize were
Trekkies. Even more strange, the references always seemed to be regarding
Voyager. Now, I grew up watching Star Trek. It was a weekly tradition for my
family to bake up a frozen pizza and then chow down in front of the latest
episode of The Next Generation. And almost every afternoon my older brothers and
I would rewatch the show in second-run syndication.
When Deep Space Nine started, the viewings were less structured, and it was no
big thing if we missed an episode or two, and by the time Voyager came along,
the family had fragmented, and I finally felt free to escape the clutches of the
Trek verse. I did.
And then college started...
In an anthropology class we watched Trekkies,
and suddenly nostalgia hit me. I started catching reruns of
The Next Generation on various cable channels, and
I started reading Wil Wheaton's
But then senior year I kept hearing about Voyager. Having lost
interest in Trek mid-way through the show's run, I only
remembered a few things: at one point they meet Amelia Earhart,
after a strange experiment Tom Paris mutated into a lizard and mated with
the captain to create little lizard babies,
and I was in love with Tom Paris.
I decided to fill in the holes.
Although most of I was most familiar with TNG, the memories still flooded back.
Talk about warp core calibrations and quantum singularities, replicators,
holodecks, Klingons, Vulcans, everything.... It's when I began noticing the interesting
religious content that I decided to take it more seriously.