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Deep Space Nine: For the Fans


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#1 of 228 OFFLINE   Chris

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Posted February 05 2007 - 05:25 PM

As I've noted in the Voyager thread, I finally made it through the series and was pretty disappointed. But I asked myself: why was I disappointed? And I have to say, Deep Space Nine is pretty much why I was disappointed.

Deep Space Nine was the trek that showed me what I thought Trek could become. Often, in TNG/TOS etc. we get the broad overview. Federation comes to a planet, interacts, and leaves.

Deep Space Nine took the other approach: what really happens in the longterm on any planet? How do people really interact? This hard look at it raised all sorts of questions that I found compelling on an every week basis.

The conflict between the Bajorans and Cardassians took on a Post-WWII Eastern Europe / holocaust tone, and was fleshed out with great episodes (Waltz, Duet) which nailed the sort of holocaust denial that is still serious debate.

"In the Pale Moonlight" may be one of the best character SciFi episodes of Star Trek ever to air. In so many of the previous trek, simple answers and simple solutions prevail. Here, someone trying to do the right thing ends up with terrible consequences, but because of the results, ends up feeling as though he can live with them.

Deep Space Nine was the trek that when I watched I found the most plausible. Very rarely dealing with "abracadabra" technology, DS9 focused far more on what the technology as a given meant to the people. People on the planet, around it, etc.

Characters were not perfect. Unlike Voyager, where characters would clash and all would be well by the end, in DS9, a character could decide they hated another character.. and it stayed that way until there was reason to change. Once Sisko decided he disliked Kai Winn, we began to develop real conflict between the two.

I'll admit, I found the bajoran subplot, with all that happened on their planet, to be the most interesting. The show managed to effectively delve into a recovering economy, a semi-theocratic state and develop how it could come out of a period of oppression. The way the bajorans, and maquis were handled made me love the show.

Whereas TNG had a maquis episode which basically ended "they are wrong, too bad" DS9 had episodes where many members sympathized. Yes, they were wrong, but hey, there is something wrong with this whole situation. Commander Eddington's character, someone so spun up in the idea of being a great emancipator was sharply written and while you didn't agree with the character, his motives were well defined.

I've tried to go back and watch big swaths of TNG on Spike and elsewhere. And the stories just don't mean as much years later. Too little at stake, and while there are some great episodes, there aren't a ton of them. We often praise how good the "Best of Both Worlds" I & II are, but in part, it's because it fed into how the show worked. We learned nothing about the Borg, they were unknown killing machines, and you couldn't do anything but think of them as evil.

While the founders/dominion were evil, by the time we were in Season 5/6, the Klingons/Romulans had tried to destroy their homeworld, we'd see where the dominion from their viewpoint, and like Eddington - while you knew they were wrong, their story was told well enough that you had a feeling why they were motivated to do what they did.

I can sit and watch most DS9 episodes and feel involved in it. So, there's my opening praise of the show. Now that the series is being sold at a nice mark-down at many places, maybe more will discover it Posted Image
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#2 of 228 OFFLINE   Yee-Ming

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Posted February 05 2007 - 06:59 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris
"In the Pale Moonlight" may be one of the best character SciFi episodes of Star Trek ever to air. In so many of the previous trek, simple answers and simple solutions prevail. Here, someone trying to do the right thing ends up with terrible consequences, but because of the results, ends up feeling as though he can live with them.
Trek, and TNG in particular, always espoused that the principles they lived by were paramount, regardless of consequence, which is very nice philosophically, but the real world isn't so black-and-white. "In The Pale Moonlight" was one instance where "the ends justifies the means" took on real meaning in the Trek-verse, with all the internal debate such an attitude would generate, and hence is one of my all-time favourites. Not for DS9, the "shiny happy people" paradigm...

#3 of 228 OFFLINE   Sam Favate

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Posted February 05 2007 - 11:59 PM

I agree that this was the best show of the franchise, and for the reasons stated above. It presented the Trek universe that we came to know in the other series as a complicated place, complete with political, religious and social problems. In creating such a show, the writers were really able to examine the issues of modern times, which is what Roddenberry intended back in the 60s.

[Update] Not to mention that DS9 thoroughly developed and expanded upon the universe that TOS and TNG created. Here was all the richness and depth you ever wanted from the Trek universe.

Over the last 6 or 7 months, I have been introducing my wife to TNG, which she loves. We're very nearly finished with the series, and then it is on to DS9, which I am confident she will also love. I can't wait to see the show from the beginning again.

#4 of 228 OFFLINE   JonZ

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Posted February 06 2007 - 01:17 AM

"Often, in TNG/TOS etc. we get the broad overview. Federation comes to a planet, interacts, and leaves.......Deep Space Nine took the other approach: what really happens in the longterm on any planet? How do people really interact?"


Exactly. This is exactly what alot people didnt get back in the day. They saw a space station, not a ship and just didnt give it a chance.

I had mentioned back somewhere in the middle of TNG's run that I wished TNG had gone this route more. See what happens after establishing a colony (you know, new life forms and new civilizations) with multiple episode storylines. TNG was also much lower in drama. In TNG everyone got along so well, where in DS9 you basically had a station filled with people who didnt like or trust one another.

#5 of 228 OFFLINE   Jason Seaver

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Posted February 06 2007 - 02:00 AM

The really ironic thing is that if you read the press when DS9 first started, Berman and Piller were talking about how they intended to give it and TNG separate identities - with TNG being the more cerebral show, and DS9 being the action-oriented one. "If Star Trek was a 'Wagon Train to the stars, Deep Space Nine is like a wild west town" is the quote I remember sticking out.

Fortunately, it didn't happen that way; Ira Behr and the other writers quickly realized that what made DS9 unique was that the characters would have to live with the consequences of their actions and soon began world-building, giving the Cardassians, Bajorans, and Ferengi the same attention Ron Moore had given the Klingons on TNG, dropping hints about the Dominion for a year before finally bringing the Jem'Hadar on stage. Meanwhile, TNG was being run by the guys who would later go on to do Voyager (and Ron Moore), and in its last couple years it became the action hour that DS9 was originally envisioned as.
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#6 of 228 OFFLINE   Nicholas Martin

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Posted February 06 2007 - 04:15 AM

I must admit, in the last few posts of the Voyager thread, and reading this one, I'm a little teary-eyed with all the DS9 love.

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#7 of 228 OFFLINE   Nicholas Martin

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Posted February 06 2007 - 04:31 AM

When I look at the green tray of 7 boxes of DS9 on my shelf, which I got last year, I still cannot fully comprehend that I have the full series.

I often wonder about Avery Brooks' comments in his character profile, about 'surviving' the run of the series and wanting to leave it after a few years. He spoke about it so highly that I find his comments confusing.

Sisko and Bajoran politics were often the focus of fan criticism, as well as the tired excuse of 'it doesn't go anywhere'. For me, Sisko was my favorite character, and those political stories were important with regards to how events would evolve on the station.

Translating contemporary news events into 24th century storylines allowed us to see what the 'evolved' federation would do to endure those struggles, and made for intriguing commentary on our modern society.

#8 of 228 OFFLINE   Scott-S

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Posted February 06 2007 - 05:41 AM

I know I have disagreed with most people on Voyager, but I have to completely agree that DS9 was the best of the bunch.
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#9 of 228 OFFLINE   Jonathan_Clarke

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Posted February 06 2007 - 06:34 AM

My wife HATES Star Trek but has a soft spot for DS9. Sometimes she even admits it.

It's the characters. Star trek and TNG were so big they were icons, so they weren't allowed to change much. DS9 lived under Paramount's radar. They were allowed to do what they wanted because they couldn't hurt the franchise. And they got away with so much more than any other show. It was the darkest Trek because it was allowed to be.
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#10 of 228 OFFLINE   Sean Bryan

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Posted February 06 2007 - 06:35 AM

DS9 was just a fantastic show. I also feel it was the best of the Trek series.

The dynamic relationships between the many characters, the friendships that were formed, the political backdrop, the slow build to war, the war itself, it's resolution, and the path followed by Sisko until he fulfilled his destiny, and the partings of many who developed such close relationships over the years wove such an impressive and enjoyable tapestry that it is hard to even consider this show in the same "family" as the others (especially Voyager).

I remember back to when it first started. It had to live in the shadow of TNG for 2 years (I think), and then Voyager came along just after that with all the new press. It seemed that TNG and Voyager got all the press and "surface praise" because they were "starship shows" and DS9 always seemed to be the black sheep of the family.

The criticism that "they never went anywhere" annoyed me, and I was always a bit frustrated that it didn't seem to be as popular as TNG.

The funny thing is that, ultimately, this show had it all. Complex characters and interesting relationships that grew and evolved over time, many philosophical/ethical issues were taken head on, plus it had loads of adventure and ships and space battles too.

I remember someone (maybe it was Moore) talking about this issue (how DS9 didn't seem to get the popular praise it deserved) and stating how he felt it was very likely that years from then he could see many people discovering the show and it being better appreciated and thought of as one of the best. I absolutely love that this seems to have become the reality in the last several years and the majority of Trek fans consider this the best.

I think DS9 had more "adventure" and space battles than any of the others Trek shows (I don't even think it is close), yet it also seemed to be the most mature and dramatic.

I really enjoyed the relationship that developed between Dr. Bashir and O'Brien. Watching them go from O'Brien really being annoyed by the guy, to becoming friends, to becoming joined at the hip, to their going separate ways (when O'Brien leaves for Earth) where you really got the sense these two guys would be lost without each other and that their friendship really meant something was very enjoyable over the 7 year run of the story.

The relationship between Quark and Odo was pretty great as well.

This show still leaves me wanting more. I wish they would do some sort of follow-up mini series or something, but I know that's unlikely to ever happen (and novels just aren't the same). There were so many major events that affected the Federation by the end of the run. But since there have been no more shows set in the time after this series, we never got any further exploration of the impact of the Dominion War on the alpha quadrant.

Plus, I'd love to see Sisko return to deal with whatever the Prophets took him to prepare him for, how Cardassia has dealt with trying to rebuild itself and what role Garrak played in it all, what relations (if any) the Federation has with the Dominion and what is going on with them now that Odo has joined with them, etc.... There is just so much with all of these great characters (Sisko's wife and new child, Jake, Bashir and Dax, has Quark ever hit it big, etc...) and great stories that they followed that I would love to see further explored.

I think it really, really, stinks that it is so unlikely that we'll ever get anything (motion picture, TV movie, TV mini series, or new series) that ever further explores the legacy of this great show.
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#11 of 228 OFFLINE   JonZ

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Posted February 06 2007 - 07:38 AM

Your post basically explains why I think its a mistake to go backwards in the next film. You said it much better than I could.

#12 of 228 OFFLINE   Jason Seaver

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Posted February 06 2007 - 08:10 AM

That only applies if the next film would be taking up the DS9 plot threads. If it's just setting things fifty years (or whatever) later, I don't think there's any real benefit to that.
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#13 of 228 OFFLINE   Sean Bryan

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Posted February 06 2007 - 08:12 AM

I also wanted to add that I find it idiotic that some have criticized DS9 for not being "trek like" because it dealt with war.

Yes, the Federation is not a war mongering empire. They are peaceful, diplomatic, and ethical. But they have ALWAYS had wars.

There was a war with the Romulans, there was war with the Klingons, there was war with the Cardassians, and there have been many other conflicts referred to throughout the various shows. Episodes of TOS and TNG focused on issues that were the result of those wars, and many episodes involved events that took the Federation to the brink of war only to be fortunately avoided. And while Starfleet is an organization based on seeking out new life and civilizations, it is also still clearly a military organization.

DS9 finally dealt with war head on. And it allowed all kinds of great episodes to explore how the values of the Federation hold up not just when they are peacefully exploring but when they are faced with being conquered.

Not Trek? BS! It was the pinnacle of Trek.
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#14 of 228 OFFLINE   Nicholas Martin

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Posted February 06 2007 - 08:39 AM

And in simpler terms, having a perfect Utopian Starfleet population to follow around all the time as they happily skip from one place to the other... it gets stale very quickly. If that is all Star Trek is supposed to be, thanks but no thanks.

Besides, if those 'perfect' people can get their noses bloodied and even broken a few times, and STILL maintain that sense of peace and freedom and all that sweet good stuff the Federation is supposed to represent after the phasers are lowered, THAT is Star Trek.

#15 of 228 OFFLINE   JonZ

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Posted February 06 2007 - 09:13 AM

"That only applies if the next film would be taking up the DS9 plot threads. If it's just setting things fifty years (or whatever) later, I don't think there's any real benefit to that.."

Why? Planets were decimated, empires crumbled and planets crippled. We could still see the affects 30 years later. I dont think its pinpointed just to DS9,the war involved just about everybody. Politics and wars can affect countries/planets for decades.

#16 of 228 OFFLINE   Sam Favate

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Posted February 06 2007 - 11:24 AM

The writers made a point of Sisko telling his wife "I will be back" in the finale. I just wish they'd get the chance to do something with that idea on film, or a TV movie, or even a direct to DVD movie (hey, B5 is doing it!).

Round up Ira, Rene, Wolfe, RDM, and the others (don't call Berman, please), make the greatest Trek movie there ever was and dedicate it to the memory of Michael Piller. They could do it.

#17 of 228 OFFLINE   Hanson

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Posted February 06 2007 - 12:22 PM

I think the one odd proof that this show was great is that no one has shit on this thread yet.

I happened on STTNG fairly late in the game, and the first couple of seasons of DS9 weren't all that great mostly because they were still episodic. It was the shift to serial storytelling that made it the most engrossing of the Trek franchises. Season 6 is one of the best seasons of TV ever. I breathlessly awaited every episode.

In the Pale Moonlight is one of my favorites as well, containing my sincgle favorite line in the entire series:

"It's a FAAAAAAAKE!"

And, DS9 was one of the rare shows to integrate what appeared to be stunt casting (Worf) into a viable and integral character.

Also, DS9's Mirror Mirror universe eps were consistenly great.

#18 of 228 OFFLINE   JonZ

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Posted February 06 2007 - 01:06 PM

I recently watched X-Files from the beginning through S6(when I stopped watching).

All this DS9 talk has made me decide to do the same here. Its been awhile since Ive watched it.

#19 of 228 OFFLINE   Nicholas Martin

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Posted February 06 2007 - 02:16 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Favate
The writers made a point of Sisko telling his wife "I will be back" in the finale.

Actually no - That was Avery Brooks' choice.

Ira Behr never had any intention of having Sisko return to Kasidy. He was to become a Prophet (or wormhole alien) and that was that. Never to be seen again. Brooks objected to that because he felt that meant Kasidy would essentially be a mother left to raise a child alone without a husband/father. For Brooks, it would have also meant perpetuating a stereotype of black men being absentee fathers.

#20 of 228 OFFLINE   Nicholas Martin

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Posted February 06 2007 - 02:21 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hanson Yoo

Also, DS9's Mirror Mirror universe eps were consistenly great.

The impact of the Mirror episodes is tainted for me because seeing Odo 'explode' when hit with a phaser in the first installment makes be laugh out loud so ridiculously every time I see it.




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