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I've been reading the reviews of DS9 on the avclub.com, for nostalgia. It looks like it got really good the season after I gave up watching, whoops!
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Well the first half season or so literally had no antagonist. Then they introduced Vedek Winn (the *****) and got a couple of nice episodes with her, but she was still just a relatively minor recurring character at first. And Gul Dukat, I guess, but it wasn't until much later in the series that he was anything more than an annoyance. Only at the end of season 2, with the introductions of the Jem'Hadar and the Dominion was there any such thing as a Big Bad on the show, and that helps immensely.
I thought it was okay, but Voyager could have been a lot more. Neutering Chakotay right out of the gate wasn't smart. He was supposed to be a rebel leader, not constantly kissing Janeway's butt. Think of all the drama that could have been if there was real tension in the crew.
Integrating the Maquis crew after just a handful of early episodes isn't itself indefensible. But the fact that they brought it back up like clockwork once a season (no, seriously, in seasons 2 through 7, there's exactly one "Maquis episode" in each one) really stretched credulity. Also they had an opportunity for a romance between Janeway and Chakotay that could have itself been pretty compelling. It was hinted at in some of those mid season 1 episodes but never really explored. (Instead we got Seven of freaking Nine in a romance with Chakotay....um, what?)
And there's practically countless examples in the series of them running into things they just shouldn't run into anymore if they're on a course for home. Remember the episode "The Killing Game," which ends with Janeway giving the Hirogen hunters Starfleet holodeck technology. Well, a dozen episodes later, which should be thousands of light years and several sectors later in their journey towards the Alpha Quadrant, they meet Hirogen who were influenced by holodeck technology! Amazing, huh?
People kind of had a conniption fit when the last season of DS9 (arguably, the last two or three seasons) was just one giant serial, feeling it antithetic to Gene Roddenbery's initial vision. And that's really not a wrong assessment, though neither do I think it's a bad thing to have been antithetical to Roddenberry (probably my very favourite DS9 episode, "In the Pale Moonlight," is about as dark and gloomy and different from Roddenberry's "we all love each other in the future" vision as can be). But Voyager, based on its very premise, should have been serialised for its entire run. And it never really was. That's really the core reason why it just didn't work as well as it should.