Star Trek: Deep Space Nine overview

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine overview

Post  BoG on Fri Sep 10, 2010 6:54 pm

In 1987, STAR TREK-THE NEXT GENERATION premiered as the offspring to the famed STAR TREK TOS show of the sixties. In 1993, with STAR TREK TNG still airing episodes, STAR TREK:DEEP SPACE NINE premiered as the younger sibling to TNG.

STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE (1993 - 1999) 7 Years on a Station

starring AVERY BROOKS as Ben Sisko (as Commander, then Captain)
RENE AUBERJONOIS as Odo the Constable * COLM MEANEY as Chief O'Brien
ARMIN SHIMERMAN as Quark * ALEXANDER SIDDIG as Dr. Bashir
NANA VISITOR as Kira
TERRY FARRELL as Dax * MICHAEL DORN as Lt.Cmdr.Worf * CIRROC LOFTON as Jake Sisko
co-starring ARON EISENBERG as Nog * ANDREW ROBINSON as Garak * MAX GRODENCHIK as Rom
MARC ALAIMO as Gul Dukat * JEFFREY COMBS as Weyoun * J.G. HERTZLER as Martok * RANDY JAMES
ROSALIND CHAO as Keiko * CHASE MASTERSON as Leeta * PENNY JOHNSON as Kasidy & NICOLE de BOER
CASEY BIGGS as Kamar * MARK ALLEN SHEPHERD as Morn * SALOME JENS * & LOUISE FLETCHER as Kai Winn

A ramshackle space station; a collection of disparate perhaps desperate characters; intrigue and drama - Casablanca in space? Or, an odd return to one of Gene Roddenberry's older concepts - the Old West in outer space? Sisko was the new sheriff in town; Odo, a mercurial shapeshifter, was the local policeman; O'Brien was the main handyman; Quark owned the local bar and ran the gambling; Bashir was the doc - practicing frontier medicine; Dax was the sheriff's buddy, as opposed to his main squeeze; Jake was the sheriff's son; and Kira the one-woman military presence, perhaps out of place - even if she was the true local of the bunch. There are a billion stories in the Big Empty of the Galaxy - here are a few of them...

When I began to re-acquaint myself with this 4th Star Trek series, I remembered why I wasn't too thrilled with it back in '93. It wasn't the clumsily-drawn characters in the first episode, including Brooks as Sisko, who alternated between overly serious to downright silly in the pilot (he even let out a girlish yelp in one scene). Quark and especially Bashir came across as preposterously annoying and Lofton's Jake seemed like a retread of the weak Wesley character on TNG. No, none of that really bothered me because I'd already experienced similar misgivings when the TNG series began; that show also started roughly and I felt sure that DS9's characters would improve or I would warm up to  them somewhat.
BTW, I only found out recently why something seemed 'off' to me about Odo's character as the series began. As you can see above, he was originally conceived as a bigger, tougher-looking bad-ass in his role as the station's cop; Auberjonois, the actor eventually cast, was called upon to act out some rough physical action scenes in the early episodes, including the pilot, and the slim, even elderly actor just didn't seem right for this action - or so it looked to me in 1993.

Anyway, what made a bad impression on me right from the very start of this show was the realization that all the focus was going to be on the Bajor-Cardassian quarrel/struggle/conflict and, more generally, an examination of socio-political structures in the 24th century. I already knew, before the show began, that the stories would revolve around this space station (as opposed to a ship) and, unless the series evolved into some loopy Star Trek version of Space:1999, the characters would not (could not) pursue the glory of exploration as I'd been accustomed to seeing in this franchise. They (and we) were stuck with observing the cultural impact on the station and perhaps the planet Bajor, from possible visitors and so forth;  there were definite self-imposed limits set on the storyline, the episodes. One of the main things which always impressed me about the Trek shows up to this point was the unlimited potential.

Of course, if the political aspects & ramifications presented in the series were well done, this could be an absorbing sci-fi show. As hinted or stated outright by fans, one has to view the entire series as a whole to get the full impact. Does this mean that individual episodes are, by default, irreparably weak? - perhaps a philosophical question for another time. Also, I always found it strange that this series began at virtually the same time as Babylon 5; the 2 shows may have leeched some impact away from each other.
It didn't help matters that the one new theme, a theistic one, which was introduced at the start to possibly offset the self-imposed limits, struck me as just so much mumbo-jumbo. It made matters even worse for me. This was supposedly a sci-fi show and the primary new concepts introduced here revolved around mystical rhetoric - suitably vague & hazy. Now, keep in mind that I'm writing this from the vantage point of only watching the pilot and the first few episodes; I have no clue as to how all this will evolve and then end in the 7th season. So, let us begin the journey; we will learn and perhaps better appreciate the concepts introduced as time goes on. Yet, as the entities inside the wormhole might say, what is time anyway?
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