Neelix wasn’t the most popular character in Star Trek: Voyager prior to season 4, but the departure of another character ended up turning his favor with fans.

Neelix’s character got off to a rocky start in popularity in Star Trek: Voyager, but season 4 marked a turning point for him, mostly due to the departure of another character from the show. Star Trek: Voyager It ran from 1995 to 2001, and it followed the crew of the USS Voyager as they traveled through the Delta Quadrant in an attempt to get home. Neelix was a Talaxian, an alien from the Delta Quadrant who joined the Voyager crew during the pilot episode along with his girlfriend, Kes. The two stayed with Voyager for most of their journey, although Kes left the ship at the beginning of season four and Neelix departed in season seven just before Voyager found a way back to Earth.

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Neelix is ‚Äč‚Äčremembered by fans for being a quirky character. Everything from his colorful outfits to his exuberant personality made it very clear. While this made him eye-catching, it didn’t necessarily get him loved by fans from the start. Over the years, Neelix has been criticized for being annoying and overzealous, especially in his duties as a Voyager cook and morale officer. In fact, many of Neelix’s stories in the first three seasons highlighted her most unsavory characteristics, especially those having to do with her relationship with Kes.

Related: Star Trek Voyager: Why Kes Actress Jennifer Lien Left The Series

From the beginning, Neelix and Kes were the odd couple in more ways than one. Kes was an Ocampan, a species that only lived for about eight or nine years, which meant that the age difference between her and Neelix was quite extreme. This resulted in an awkward dynamic between the two. Neelix often had a more paternalistic attitude towards Kes and fought with intense possessiveness and jealousy for her. This, combined with the writers apparently not knowing how to give the couple satisfying stories, resulted in a relationship that was poorly received by fans and hurt the popularity of both characters. Star Trek: Voyager’s The creative team tried to make the relationship work for the first two and a half seasons, but eventually admitted defeat and broke up Neelix and Kes midway through Season 3.

Neelix and Kes from Star Trek Voyager

In large part due to his relationship with Kes, Neelix was one of the less popular characters in Traveler for a moment. However, due to other issues with his character, the decision was made to drop Kes from the show at the beginning of Season 4. This turned out to be the right decision in all respects, not only paving the way for Seven of Nine to be joined the cast, but also finally gave Neelix a chance to shine like never before. Without Kes, Neelix’s ugliest features, like his jealousy, were softened or disappeared altogether. His departure also allowed him to become more involved in the stories with other characters, such as Tuvok and Naomi Wildman. Most of the best episodes of Neelix are in seasons 4 to 7 of TravelerThanks in large part to the fact that their stories are no longer hampered by having to involve Kes.

Of course, this new version of Neelix wasn’t able to convince everyone on his side. Many fans still consider him one of their least favorite characters, and some still think his potential as a character was wasted throughout the series. However, it cannot be denied that Neelix’s personality and story dramatically improved once he was not forced into an awkward affair with Kes. Star Trek: Voyager He did the right thing by first ending the relationship and then giving Neelix more to do with other characters once Kes left the show.

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