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.

Re: What if Seven of Nine had been male?

I have always taken issue with Seven of Nine. We all know why she was on the show back in the late Nineties. There was no way in this universe that the character was going to be masculine. Put her in that cat suit instead of a regular Star Fleet uniform and on and on.  When the show went from being a Space Opera to "the Seven of Nine" show that was when I stopped watching. 

I hate it when our favorite shows stoop to such blatant sexuality to attract 18-24 year old heterosexual males. WTF about the rest of the population? and they are all guilty of it:
Sliders in Season 3 and 4
I won't name them all now, we all know perfectly well what the hell I'm talking about.
The only show I can say never degraded or exploited its female cast was Babylon 5

Re: What if Seven of Nine had been male?

Well, I'm assuming that they were going to sexualize her if she was a female.  So I'm trying to take that out of the equation.  Make her a guy, get rid of Harry, and sexualize Kes if you have to sexualize someone (and that seemed to be in progress already in season 3).

Re: What if Seven of Nine had been male?

Years ago, I'd heard rumors that the decision to fire a cast member a bring on Seven came down to two cast members, Wang and Lien. The rumor suggested that a favorable magazine article saved Wang's job, so Lien was fired.

I was upset by that. Kes was a much more interesting character than Kim. She shouldn't have been kicked off the show.

However, in recent years, it's become clear that there may be more to the Jennifer Lien story than we knew. I'm not sure that keeping her on was an option. Besides, making her more sexy would have only worked for a season or two before we got into the old age makeup. Kes would have been on her deathbed by the time the show ended.

Making Seven a male is an interesting idea. It would have certainly added a different dynamic to the show. I don't know that it would have necessarily made the character less of a sexiness ploy, but it certainly would have changed how the character was used (Seven loses his virginity to alien sex slave! Seven doesn't understand why humans wear clothes!). Then again, it would have stepped on Data's toes a bit too much.

The only show I can say never degraded or exploited its female cast was Babylon 5

I can think of a bunch of shows that never degraded or exploited its female cast members. Voyager and Enterprise really hit low points with their skin-tight cat suits, but DS9 had strong, intelligent female characters. The only one that you can say was really exploited was Leeta, whose job was to be sexy, but who we came to realize was so much more than that job.

I think that there was a point in the 90's where the "sex sells" gimmick went way too far. But I don't think it really hit every show of the time.

Re: What if Seven of Nine had been male?

Yeah, I'm also not sure Lien would've appreciated being the sexy one.  I don't know why I think that.  Although, again, I feel like she was already moving that direction in season 3.

And I actually thought of a reason.  If she lives only a handful of years, season 4 could've been a "puberty" for her so she starts exuding more sexuality. 

The idea that she would've been old in the final season(s) is one of the reasons I'd love for her to stay aboard.  It could've put Voyager's journey in much more perspective since it only lasted 7 years but lasted "a lifetime" to her. 

Plus, I saw a video about the unusual relationship with Vulcans and Humans.  Vulcans live so much longer than humans that they might think of us like we think about dogs.  Yeah, you love your dog, but you're also sorta taught that dogs are temporary.  Humans might be like pets to Vulcans smile

And Kes would be the opposite.  How do you form a bond with someone who will only be a minor blip in your lifetime?  It's definitely a cool concept that they ended up abandoning.