Topic: What if Seven of Nine had been male?
This is something I've wanted to post for a while, and I'm just now getting to it. I've always had a soft spot for Voyager for whatever reason, and it's a bit annoying when people simply disregard it. Among the principal complaints about the show seems to be the inclusion of Seven of Nine.
On paper, Seven seems like a cool character. She's a former Borg, following up on fan favorite Hugh from TNG. She's also a valuable member of the crew, able to use knowledge from the Borg Collective in battle and to assist in technology/astrometrics.
But in translating the character from page to screen, something happened: Seven of Nine became a sexed-up supermodel in a tight catsuit. I don't really blame Jeri Ryan for any of this - I thought she did a pretty great job with the character, and I think she's an underrated actress.
But did Jeri's appearance/costume take away from her character? To the point where a (potentially?) really cool character was sorta disregarded?
So I thought about it, and I wondered if the character would've been better off written as a male. Before you say anything, I'm not suggesting that male characters are more interesting than female ones, but Voyager wasn't necessarily looking for a "cool" character as much as a "sexy" one at the time. So I'm guessing that if Seven was going to be female, she was going to be sexy.
This in mind, I came up with an alternate idea for Voyager season 4. What if Kes didn't die in season 4's second episode? Instead, what if Kes became the "sexy" character on Voyager? Jennifer Lien had already been a somewhat-sexy character on the show, and by the third season, she'd grown out her hair and was wearing tighter clothes. Kes was already one of the more interesting characters, and replacing one interesting character with another isn't necessarily a net win.
So instead, what if the show killed off a less-interesting character. Say....Harry Kim.
Harry never really did much on Voyager. He'd occasionally make some sort of ensign mistake, and he'd occasionally fall in love with some alien. Other than that, his character was "friend to Tom Paris." I don't have a lot of love for Tom Paris, but he's a more interesting character than Harry.
So what if Harry is killed in some sort of heroic sacrifice, and the crew brings on Seven of Nine, a human male Borg drone. On paper, the characters would be the same. Seven was raised human, captured by the Borg at a young age, and has lived in the Collective for most of his life. He wants to go back at first because it's all he's ever known, but he slowly becomes to like life as an individual.
There are some cool character dynamics that could come out of that. With no Harry Kim, Seven could've filled the role as the inexperienced but very knowledgeable young officer. Tom and Seven could bond, with Tom looking for someone to fill the hole Harry left in his heart and Seven looking for something he's never needed: friendship. And while Tom is showing Seven some of what it's like to be human (sports, 20th century tech, stuff from Earth, etc) then Janeway could show him about Starfleet.
And instead of a mentor relationship, Janeway and Seven could potentially enter a romantic relationship. It could've been something we hadn't really seen before - can a captain engage in a romantic relationship with someone in her crew? And if this had happened right after whatever dalliance she had with Chakotay, it could've developed into a sort of triangle and given Chakotay something to do.
Just sort of a fun thought experiment.