About Neelix, I wanna add that I do not think it was a coincidence that it was precisely the seemingly most open-minded "let's immediately embrace new people" fellow who treated Tuvok like this. Political correctness is often quite racist on the second glance
I wonder if that's part of what made him so annoying, it was a double-standard in his character. What makes it even more annoying is that he doesn't really evolve, I mean taking a character who is in some ways similar - Rom, Rom started off as bad comic relief that really wasn't funny and quite a step backwards in terms of how Ferengi were portrayed compared to Quark and Nog, but over the series he grew and became really quite likeable and rounded. Back to Neelix... they tone down the jealously a bit... he became morale officer, he sometimes pretends to be part of security... where's the real character evolution? I'm not super anti-Neelix by any means, he has a (small!) number of good episodes, but even Mortal Coil
(which is the only really attempt I know that truly came close to giving him any real depth) was still pretty bad and was forgotten by the time we got to the next episode. *Sigh*
Graham's Soval gets two thumbs up from me as well, he truly grew into that role making Soval quite likeable at the end again making him sympathetic and give off emotion without being emotional. I think I like Blalock more than you it seems Horatio, I think she certainly got the good stories, much like Ryan and Picardo before her to the detriment of most of their respective cast members, but she deserved the attention and again like Ryan it wasn't just her physcial attributes that did it. IMO bad scenes and episodes were rarely let down by her performance, the only thing that really annoyed me was the pouting!
I'm intriuged about your Shran-Spock comparison, I hadn't thought about it that way but it makes sense.
Our vision of the future in the 60's was radically different from the vision of the future in the 90's or 2000's.
On a visual level, how do we make technology look 100 years primitive compared to Kirk's time, and yet look cooler than the stuff we have present day, which looks cooler even than Kirk's tech? That was a big problem.
I actually think they did a remarkable job in that respect. I always liked the Akiraprise and the internal sets worked for me, especially when held up to the TOS sets of In a Mirror Darkly
. The big visual change I would have made would have been to shrink everything down, very very tight corridors, a tiny bridge, a hot uncomfortable engineering, very few windows.... This would have never have worked from a filming or cinematic point of view but for me would have added that realism. The computer graphics wre always going to be tough, making something look more primitive than TOS yet more modern than today is essentially impossible, aagin I think they hit a nice compromise.
What they could have changed were the trek cliches, as in NO TRANSPORTERS and as much as I liked them no anti-matter torpedoes. Even more than that and probsbly one of the more recognisable cliches was the hull plating/shields can take two hits, on the third hit we're defenseless
, this ticked me off and has been an unchanged story device used for over 40 years and that lost its dramatic effect more or less the second time it was used. What would have been effective here would have been the crew thinking the plating was going to protect them then have a crippling blow from the first shot, this could have drilled home that the ship was delicate like a crystal flower and would have opened the door to different stoytelling through ship battles.