Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Seventh Season Recap
For episodes airing from 9/28/1998 to 5/31/1999
Series created by Rick Berman & Michael Piller
Executive producers: Rick Berman & Ira Steven Behr
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
Nutshell: A season with flaws? Certainly. Nevertheless, I'm willing to call it one of DS9's—and Trek's—best overall seasons. I didn't get everything I wanted, but I certainly got a lot.
Well, this is it folks—my last posting for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. As has been the case in past years, this summary takes the usual format: There are the capsule reviews in part one, followed by the season commentary in part two, and, this year, some closing thoughts in part three. What was accomplished this year? What was overlooked? I'll offer my take on the matter in this final installment of the "Jammer Review" for DS9. Feel free to agree, disagree, or punch your computer screen. Let's begin.
Part 1: Capsule Reviews
To see the rankings and 10-scale ratings for this season's episodes, click here.
Image in the Sand — Air date: 9/28/1998. Written by Ira Steven Behr & Hans Beimler. Directed by Les Landau.
And so we set the stage with the first of the last. "Image in the Sand" plays like several of the "Final Chapter" installments: It's hard to judge on its own because its story destination is unclear and rides so much on what comes afterward. As DS9 goes, this episode was nicely presented, most notably through the pacing and continuity, but nothing groundbreaking. Dax's death had lingering effects for Worf; Sisko's self-imposed exile came to the beginning of its end through some interesting Prophet plotting and imagery; and Kira had her hands full with a Romulan political snafu that drew parallels to the previous season's "A Time to Stand." There's a lot here to digest, but it all remains interesting. It's a necessary piece of the larger DS9 puzzle.
Shadows and Symbols — Air date: 10/5/1998. Written by Ira Steven Behr & Hans Beimler. Directed by Allan Kroeker.
The key word for "Shadows and Symbols" is "suspense." Much like, again, many of the "Final Chapter" installments. Allan Kroeker turns the heat up, particularly as the Kira/Romulan subplot becomes a countdown to disaster. Meanwhile, three generations of Sisko venture into a desert while Worf ensures a place for Jadzia in Stovokor, with the help of O'Brien, Bashir, and Quark. (Quark?) The self-discoveries for Sisko are far-reaching, revealing his birth was arranged by the Prophets. The execution of the hour was nearly flawless, and I particularly liked the way the writers moved the nature of Sisko's relationship with the Prophets into new Trekkian envelope-pushing territory, which sets the stage for what we would later learn is part of Sisko's destiny and existence. Some very neat stuff—sort of Star Wars-esque.
Afterimage — Air date: 10/12/1998. Written by Rene Echevarria. Directed by Les Landau.
"Afterimage" didn't do all that much to rivet me to the screen, and still doesn't. It was certainly a necessary show to acquaint us with Ezri. There was certainly nothing wrong with the hour as it unfolded. And the reactions of the other characters to the presence of this "new Dax" seemed reasonable. I suppose those reactions were just a little too reasonable and somehow lacking in punch. The Worf/Ezri dilemma made sense, I suppose, but it was still frustrating to watch, simply because it wouldn't be until the "Final Chapter" when Worf and Ezri would finally start confronting their problem instead of silently wallowing in it. I also had the sense that Ezri was a little too "goofily" confused (motormouthing away was cute but not very dramatic) when she should've been a little more darkly disturbed—but that's probably just my own opinion on botched Trill joinings. Overall, "Afterimage" is pleasant—a perfectly okay show that doesn't vie for the status of powerhouse.
Take Me Out to the Holosuite — Air date: 10/19/1998. Written by Ronald D. Moore. Directed by Chip Chalmers.
Timing can be everything, and possibly no better time could've been picked to release a baseball episode than the year when baseball fully returned from a stint of national scorn and disinterest. Other than timing, what was good about this show? Well, the fact that we have a cast that is fun to watch and a premise that is as simple as a captain wanting to beat a rival captain. Yes, it's corny, contrived, obvious, and overplayed at times. But so what? It's fun. Watching Sisko blow up, then lighten up and put the Amazingly Incompetent Rom in the game is itself worth the view. And Odo as an ump? Me likes. All I ask from a Trek comedy is good spirits and an ability for the hour to leave me with a goofy grin on my face. This episode, while not an inspired comedy on par with, say, "In the Cards," gets the job done nicely.
Chrysalis — Air date: 10/26/1998. Written by Rene Echevarria. Directed by Jonathan West.
A surprisingly forgettable show, and four surprisingly tame role reprisals for Bashir's Lovable Crazies. This show was not unpleasant, was not badly performed, was not the least bit ill-conceived. But it wasn't much of anything else, either. The key word here is "pedestrian." The by-the-numbers romance between Bashir and Sarina honestly didn't strike me as anything more than a quota fulfillment, and the idea of essentially rehashing the bulk of "Flowers for Algernon" suffers from the fact that we're seeing the story through Bashir's eyes rather than Sarina's. We learn little, if anything, about Bashir we didn't already know, and the emotional impact ultimately isn't nearly enough to sustain the interest.
Treachery, Faith, and the Great River — Air date: 11/2/1998. Teleplay by David Weddle & Bradley Thompson. Story by Philip Kim. Directed by Steve Posey.
Now we're getting somewhere. "Treachery" is the best of several worlds, supplying a meaty return to the central story arc, a stellar analysis of the relationship between the Founders and the Vorta, and containing a wonderful set of performances from Jeffrey Combs as two very different yet still very alike Weyoun clones. (Whatever projects Combs has been involved with since DS9 wrapped, the creators are lucky to have him.) The episode plants plenty of interesting seeds that would pay off down the road (the disease in the Link, Damar's growing malcontent). In the meantime we have a very nice self-contained story involving Odo and the defecting Weyoun clone. The action makes sense and the dialog remembers the themes of selfless Dominion servitude a la "Rocks and Shoals." This is an interesting plot development episode but, more than that, an empathetic analysis of two tragic characters (Weyoun-6 and Odo).
Once More Unto the Breach — Air date: 11/9/1998. Written by Ronald D. Moore. Directed by Allan Kroeker.
The best word for this episode is "classy." Somehow, you get the feeling this was written by a fan of the franchise as much as by one of its employees (which it was—one Ronald D. Moore). John Colicos' Kor is certainly worth an hour of screen time; I personally don't see how anybody could dislike this guy. The message behind the hour is one of painful obsolescence. The notion of a politically ostracized warrior now cast aside as a useless burden is powerfully drawn through Kor's humiliations and the things he has in common with the ship's yeoman, Darok. In one key scene, Kor responds to Martok's insults with a wonderful speech that makes Martok angry at himself for his own insolent mockery. Unfortunately, something about the ending and its off-screen battle just doesn't sit right, and the show sort of fizzles out. Too bad, because this would've been a classic had it provided a stronger finale. It's a very nice Klingon outing.
The Siege of AR-558 — Air date: 11/16/1998. Written by Ira Steven Behr & Hans Beimler. Directed by Winrich Kolbe.
Like "Nor the Battle to the Strong," "AR-558" is one of DS9's great visceral experiences. So much of it is conveyed through atmosphere and photography (in a virtuoso Kolbe direction); a review will only get you so far. Powerful yet simple details of human jitters set the stage for a combat encounter that looms in the all-too-immediate future, until the entire setting takes on a sort of surreal quality. Meanwhile, Quark, Nog, and Sisko form the central core of some war polemics, as Quark's observations of the war-torn Starfleet battalion point out a human capacity for violence that lurks beneath the surface. Nog is the eager soldier whose world will come apart when he is injured. Sisko is the mission commander who must not hesitate in sending his soldiers to die. The story reveals a wartime pragmatism that is necessary but hardly uplifting. And the story puts a face on the millions of Federation soldiers whose sacrifices are typically reduced to throwaway dialog. "AR-558" is probably the best Trek war movie we'll likely get.
Covenant — Air date: 11/23/1998. Written by Rene Echevarria. Directed by John Kretchmer.
There's plenty of interest in "Covenant," but there's also plenty that's suspect. Part of my job for an episode like this is to embrace contradiction and resist presumption, because we're talking about a group of cultists who are following blind faith rather than logic. But still, they're going to follow Dukat, one of the most hated men in Bajoran history? And they intend to follow him even if it's right over a cliff? With Kira's headstrong defiance during this mess, and then a Cardassian child—obviously Dukat's—being born to a Bajoran woman, one would think there'd be room for some sort of dissent within this cult. Alas, there isn't. And the cultists' 180-degree revolt at the end, as well as Kira's "Dukat is still dangerous" speech, prove far too simplistic. On the plus side, the Kira/Dukat interaction was good, and I'm of the opinion that Dukat's worship of the Paghwraiths put at least some grey back into his character (even if the finale wouldn't see it through). Intriguing but shaky.
It's Only a Paper Moon — Air date: 12/28/1998. Teleplay by Ronald D. Moore. Story by David Mack & John J. Ordover. Directed by Anson Williams.
In the year's sleeper hit, Nog is the central character in a well-played follow-up to "The Siege of AR-558." A quietly absorbing, pleasant, and believable hour, "Paper Moon" is the perfect example of how character consequences can be portrayed without requiring heavy serialization but by still acknowledging past episodes and sending a character in a specific direction (Voyager writers take note). The episode has lots of reasonable moments of post-traumatic stress featuring the ring of truth; one of Vic Fontaine's best employments; some rare-for-season-seven Jake/Nog interaction; Ezri getting some moments of clever psychology; Rom and Leeta portrayed as people rather than caricatures; and a general respect and affection for all of its characters. Pretty invigorating. If Jake had been given this sort of attention this season we'd be in great shape.
Prodigal Daughter — Air date: 1/4/1999. Written by Bradley Thompson & David Weddle. Directed by Victor Lobl.
Among the quietest episodes in recent memory, "Prodigal Daughter" documents Ezri's homecoming, as she visits the family with which she has become somewhat estranged. On the positive side, this episode is one of the more low-key and competent tales of troubled family life that Trek has done. On the negative side, we have a plot involving O'Brien, Bilby's dead widow, the Orion Syndicate, and Ezri's family in a way that features one (or three) too many coincidences and as a result feels forced together. (A quiet family drama saddled with a follow-up to "Honor Among Thieves" strikes me as a bit of a muddle by definition.) The family dynamics of the Tigan household ring true for the most part, but the episode is hard to take as something more than lightweight filler with an occasional note of melodrama. Not bad, but not particularly memorable, mostly because it feels so disconnected from the series.
The Emperor's New Cloak — Air date: 2/1/1999. Written by Ira Steven Behr & Hans Beimler. Directed by LeVar Burton.Thud went "Emperor's New Cloak," which ranks as the year's most obvious clunker. But what's most a shame here is the wasted potential of the mirror universe. It's been an unfolding mini-arc visited almost once per season since second season's "Crossover," yet here the creators don't think to tie up loose ends, especially involving the usually entertaining power struggle among Regent Worf, Intendant Kira, and Garak. Instead we get a hopelessly lame-brained plot filled with extremely unfunny Ferengi hijinks; offensively glib, wannabe-hip lesbianism; painfully stupid villains; and a lot of poorly conceived comic-book posturing that this time around fails to be even remotely fun. The result is a big, dumb bore—nothing one would've hoped or expected for DS9's final venture into the mirror universe.
Field of Fire — Air date: 2/8/1999. Written by Robert Hewitt Wolfe. Directed by Tony Dow.
It's a competent follow-up to "Rejoined," and a competent Trek murder mystery featuring an ingenious (if high on the opening-a-can-of-worms scale) tech murder weapon. And it's by far a better use of Ezri's dark side than the ineptitude of "The Emperor's New Cloak." Still, at this point it seems to be a bit of Ezri overload, and some of the show's obvious moral moments (Will Ezri give in to Joran and kill the defenseless Vulcan?) prove how much better a homicide works on a TV show that's about homicide every week. As an implementation of a police procedural with a sci-fi twist, "Field of Fire" fares okay but uncovers the murderer too swiftly. I initially defended Ezri uncovering the killer, but while I maintain that her deduction was possible, it is rather contrived. And Leigh J. McCloskey's turn as Joran was too theatrically stylized to be effective as believable psychological terror (though he conveys the smug sarcasm very well). I did like this as an Ezri-in-action installation, but it has a few too many rough spots, not enough lasting significance, and overlooks the fact that Ezri came face to face with violence just a few weeks before.
Chimera — Air date: 2/15/1999. Written by Rene Echevarria. Directed by Steve Posey.
"Chimera," to me, is one of DS9's (and Trek's) all-time greatest moments. The Odo/Kira relationship has often been one of the series' most interesting, but after sixth season's "His Way" it became somewhat more routine by TV standards ... until this gem came along. As a romance, this episode is immensely moving, making every other Trek romance look pale in comparison. As a story about Odo's identity, this is a tour de force; Laas' presence brings with it all sorts of questions that exemplify the best of what Trek has to offer. Who are we, really, and why? How do others perceive us, and why? Echevarria's script is full of brilliant dialog touches and astute character speeches that say a great deal without sounding the least bit preachy. Laas (wonderfully played by J.G. Hertzler) is a sympathetic character whose prejudices and distrust are completely understandable, and when he kills a threatening Klingon we see all the interesting nuances of the Klingons' resulting search for "justice" (including Worf silently pondering the matter while in the background of one scene). It's an unfortunate situation that brings about some truly tough questions, bringing Odo back to wondering whether he belongs with "solids." Quark gets a thoughtful dialog scene, while Odo and Kira get to discuss their feelings in sincere ways that are, really, pretty groundbreaking. All the elements—the romance, the identity issues, the scrutiny of justice—come together to form a near-flawless hour that truly means something and inspires us to reflect upon that meaning. This is a masterpiece. (Did I mention that I liked it?)
Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang — Air date: 2/22/1999. Written by Ira Steven Behr & Hans Beimler. Directed by Mike Vejar.
It was a reasonable lightweight outing, but it was also a victim of bad timing, straining the patience of those of us who at this point were anxious to get back into the series' core material. It's all about style and inconsequential fun. It's not about lasting impact or significance. On the downside: an unexpected racial argument that is brought up and then quickly dropped; scenes between Kira and Franky Eyes that are stale and clichéd; and the usual holodeck contrivances. On the upside: a clever caper plan that of course goes awry; an amiable, fourth-wall-breaking Darren/Brooks duet; and an appropriate sense of whimsy. Overall it's pretty entertaining (though not as much fun as "Take Me Out to the Holosuite"). But if you take it away, what have we lost?
Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges — Air date: 3/1/1999. Written by Ronald D. Moore. Directed by David Livingston.
"Inter Arma..." embodies what I believe is a part of DS9's larger contribution to the Trek ideology: It challenges the core values of the Federation in ways that might be unthinkable on the other Trek series, thereby encouraging a growth of the franchise's scope. This is an episode with lots of great polemical dialog, wonderfully conveyed through the performances of William Sadler and Alexander Siddig. The plot, despite being more complex than is sometimes realistically believable (Sloan comes off as the greatest manipulator of all time), is an efficient, tightly-wound series of clever deceptions. What makes this so memorable, though, is its ability to argue the moral issues until we're not sure what is truly "best" for the Federation's survival—Sloan's ice-cold pragmatism or Bashir's unwavering idealism—when we consider the threats of our enemies. Admiral Ross' involvement in the plot only further demonstrates the tricky problem—we give in to our weaknesses during desperate times. The episode is as much a moral play as any classic TOS episode (showing the virtues of Bashir's moral code), but it goes beyond typical Trekkian bounds, and shows that the Federation is not perfect and that even ideal values can be subject to scrutiny.
Deep Space Nine: The Final Chapter — Devoting 10 hours to the series' ending saga wasn't simply a good idea; it was practically a necessity. The producers' willingness to make the final stretch of the series into a huge, ambitious storyline (against the studio's general wishes) is something I'm grateful for. Not everything here was handled in the best possible way (spending so much time on Ezri/Worf and Ezri/Bashir probably wasn't completely necessary, and the ball was dropped with "Extreme Measures"), but it was nice to see DS9 go out with some thinking ahead, a great deal of sensibility regarding its characters, and a storyline that felt "epic" in scope.
Penumbra — Air date: 4/5/1999. Written by Rene Echevarria. Directed by Steve Posey.
The series' final stretch begins with this story centering on two romantic plots: Sisko proposes to Kasidy; Dax rescues Worf. Noteworthy is the internalized, low-key performance by Avery Brooks; the Sisko/Kasidy relationship has quite an impact. More predictable is the Worf/Dax angle, as their runabout is destroyed and they find themselves stranded with nothing to do but talk, argue, and have yadda-yadda sex—but at least they weren't ignoring each other anymore. Meanwhile, the Big Plot fires up: The Dominion's search for the cure to the Founders' disease shows no useful progress; the Female Shapeshifter turns up the Freon for Cold Beeyatch Mode; Damar bottoms out in pathetic status; the Breen enter the picture and kidnap Worf and Ezri; Dukat shows up with a devious plan; the Sarah-Prophet warns Sisko that marrying Kasidy will bring nothing but sorrow. [Gasp for air.] It's a lot set (or resumed) into motion, which makes for an engaging but not standout segment of the story arc.
'Til Death Do Us Part — Air date: 4/12/1999. Written by David Weddle & Bradley Thompson. Directed by Winrich Kolbe.
Strangely, it remains just as difficult to render judgment on some of these individual episodes as it was before I knew how the arc would play out. "'Til Death" is still a good setup show that skillfully conducts its suspense elements like an orchestra. Damar's realization of his level of pathetic-ness is nicely staged with a standout scene of silence. The Worf/Ezri/Breen storyline still proves too redundant (though reaching their understanding of each other slowly, through great difficulty, was probably a good thing). Dukat's wandering is interesting. Sisko's marriage is nice, and the promised consequences fearsome (though the wording of him knowing nothing but sorrow seems misleading in retrospect). Nothing is the primary storyline here; they're all important, and, as such, more pieces to a puzzle. The verdict: Good entertainment, little payoff.
Strange Bedfellows — Air date: 4/19/1999. Written by Ronald D. Moore. Directed by Rene Auberjonois.
And "Strange Bedfellows" did it again. I find myself almost automatically wanting to discuss plot for an episode like this, because plot is where the show is most involving. This time it was primarily Dukat/Winn venturing into new territory, although Worf/Ezri finally finds some pleasant resolution, and Damar busting them out of their cell plays as a microcosm for Cardassia's imminent uprising against the Dominion (who probably see the Cardassians as useless given their new alliance with the Breen). The show's standout scene is probably the Kira/Winn discussion, which shows Winn as genuinely and understandably lost but still so power hungry that she can't help but follow the Paghwraiths. The show is hurt somewhat by some truly excessive Evil Dialog at the end. Nevertheless, the theme for "Strange Bedfellows": an episode that reveals to the audience which way characters are heading for their final chapters.
The Changing Face of Evil — Air date: 4/26/1999. Written by Ira Steven Behr & Hans Beimler. Directed by Mike Vejar.
Knockout punch number one. After three weeks of intense plotting sans payoff, "Changing Face" explodes, providing a roller-coaster ride of characters committing themselves to new paths. Starfleet mounts a large battle, but before we get into that, we get some well-played comedy that reminds us these people are human beings. We get Weyoun duped by Damar in one of the most deliciously played ironic scenes in recent memory. By the time the battle is over, we have witnessed the destruction of the Defiant in a painfully vivid sequence. And shortly thereafter, we have Damar asking the Cardassian people to turn against the Dominion (in a scene that still makes me want to cheer). And, oh yeah—two words: Mike Vejar. This is simply a wonderfully entertaining thrill ride, done DS9 style, and packed with little character touches that make all the difference in the world. Not for one moment are the characters lost in the mayhem.
When it Rains... — Air date: 5/3/1999. Teleplay by Rene Echevarria. Story by Rene Echevarria & Spike Steingasser. Directed by Michael Dorn.
There's plenty of good material, particularly surrounding the great irony of the Cardassians in almost the exact situation the Bajorans were in during the Occupation. Kira allies with the Cardassian resistance movement, which is a brilliant signpost of change and characters coming full circle. As with other installments in the arc, there's tons going on and this is a middle segment with almost no internal resolution. "When it Rains..." is less effective than some of the other parts because it's one of the least satisfying on its own and comes off as a bit wooden in execution. And it comes screeching to a halt in a way that's almost jarring. But it offers a lot of ideas that are very much worth the time.
Tacking into the Wind — Air date: 5/10/1999. Written by Ronald D. Moore. Directed by Mike Vejar.
Knockout punch number two, which proves even better than knockout punch number one. The final arc's best episode, "Tacking" not only continues to move the plot along at breakneck speed, it's an episode that embodies much of the DS9 mythos. We see societies and movements facing internal problems that could bring down the whole war effort, and Ron Moore's script draws brilliantly conceived lines back through the histories of these individuals and societies. Kira's encounters with Rosot reveal an old-school Cardassian hard-liner whose attitudes are obsolete. Kira's encounters with Damar reveal a man with the courage to accept change; a quietly executed key Kira/Damar scene vividly exacerbates old wounds along with new. Meanwhile, Gowron's political foolishness leads Sisko to tell Worf to do "whatever it takes," in a scene that demonstrates just how much Starfleet has changed. And an Ezri/Worf conversation challenges the viability of the Klingon Empire given its willingness to tolerate its own kleptocracy. All of this is put in terms of the current conflict with the Dominion, making the stakes extremely high—but grounding the lasting significance in the terms of fictional societies that have solid, compelling histories, and futures we're inspired to imagine. (And, oh yeah—two words: Mike Vejar.) It's absolutely fascinating to watch play out, and provides one of the best representations of what DS9 is all about. Call it a tie with "Chimera" for best of the season.
Extreme Measures — Air date: 5/17/1999. Written by Bradley Thompson & David Weddle. Directed by Steve Posey.
Unfortunately, if there's an episode that most hurts the larger scheme of things, it's "Extreme Measures." Here's an episode that by definition should've been the writers' last word in answering many of the moral questions that the Dominion War and Section 31 have provided for this series. All the ingredients are here: Sloan, Bashir, and the titular "extreme measures" involving illegal Romulan mind probes. But many of the most important issues are never discussed. Instead, for reasons I can barely fathom, the writers turned this into a routine Virtual-Reality Adventure™ replete with all the VR clichés. And there's a lot of wasted time, like extended scenes of Bashir and O'Brien in a falling turbolift or lying wounded in a corridor. The banter is first-rate Bashir/O'Brien stuff (the "I like you a bit more" routine is classic), but it's simply inappropriate under these circumstances. And, unfortunately, the Section 31 moral dilemma feels like it never received the closing chapter it clearly deserved. Overall, not a complete loser, but clearly the season's biggest disappointment.
The Dogs of War — Air date: 5/24/1999. Teleplay by Ronald D. Moore & Rene Echevarria. Story by Peter Allan Fields. Directed by Avery Brooks.
Present here is more backdrop for the finale involving the destruction of the organized Cardassian resistance and Damar/Kira/Garak taking the struggle to the streets, which is necessary and intriguing. And there's talk of the war's upcoming final assault on Cardassia Prime. However, on its own, this episode might be more easily remembered as the closing of the book on Quark and the Ferengi. As such, it's surprisingly tolerable, underlining the fact that Ferenginar has changed while Quark—who will continue to cling to yesterday's values, today rendered obsolete—has not. It doesn't make up for years of lame Ferengi episodes and a Ferengi society whose drastic change in the past two years is scarcely believable ... but it does send Quark and the Ferengi out with some dignity, and for that I'm pleased.
What You Leave Behind — Air date: 5/31/1999. Written by Ira Steven Behr & Hans Beimler. Directed by Allan Kroeker.
It's possible that your opinion of this season was largely decided by how effective you found the final episode, simply because the final episode had to resolve so much of what was set up in the preceding eight shows (and before). It's certainly true there are plenty of things that I might've liked to see in this last episode that weren't present. But it's also true that a great deal of what needed to be said was said. As a final "event" episode to tie up the threads, this episode worked and worked well. All the characters got appropriate final moments and goodbyes, and Kroeker's direction over this huge project was incredibly well paced. The one true weakness—the unsatisfying conclusion to the Sisko/Dukat/Winn showdown—hurts, but certainly not enough to bring down the show. The bottom line: undeniably flawed ... but still a riveting, satisfying ride. We'll look at all the consequences below in the season analysis.
Part 2: Season Analysis
So, Deep Space Nine is over and done with. And there are still stories that could be told. Stories that, if I were expecting another season, I would say should be told. Of course, they won't be told. (If you're holding out for a DS9 movie, whether in theatrical release or on TV, my advice is not to hold your breath.) Did this season cover as much ground as it possibly could've? Probably not. Cover as much ground as it should've? I dunno—possibly not. There are a couple big things that at season's outset I would've said were "mandatory" to cover but now must accept as unfinished. And, of course, there were other moments this season that happened which I wouldn't have minded had they been omitted.
But in looking back at this season, I think DS9 was about as ambitious as it's ever been—and certainly as solid in terms of quality. Despite the missteps, despite the fact some things went undone, despite the fact some ideas weren't taken quite as far as they could've been, DS9's seventh season goes down as one of Trek's most engaging and well-thought-out seasons—in my book, anyway.
Is DS9 the same series it was when in premiered in 1993? I would say yes and no. (Is that the lame, easy way out of the question? Maybe, but I also happen to think it's true.) Some elements from those first two seasons were retained. Some evolved. Some were thrown out or forgotten. The focus of the show shifted from time to time, sometimes jarringly. (Season three's premiere, "The Search," and season four's premiere, "The Way of the Warrior," both attempted to reinvent the series with great suddenness.) But through all the plot changes, we still had the most important aspect of DS9—watchable, believable characters. These were people whom we could care about. Despite the fact we're talking about a sci-fi/fantasy genre cast, there's always been something about Sisko and his crew that had a ring of truth to them. It's sometimes hard to put my finger on what exactly that is. It's a feeling that I don't nearly as often get the with some other series, like Voyager, for instance.
Anyway, even the best characters need to populate good stories to be useful, and the question for season seven was what stories we would get. This is a series that specialized in setting up dozens of storylines and elements—sometimes too many—and those elements would at times go unresolved. Season seven was a season that covered a lot of ground, particularly in its final 11 hours.
Now, I'll talk about the oversights in a moment, but first I'd like to discuss the major themes for this season. Unlike the stand-alone attitudes of a Voyager season, most episodes of DS9 seem to be coming from somewhere and heading somewhere. Yes, ongoing stories grew out of multi-part episodes. But they also grew out of previous seasons and a general care for maintaining a bigger picture—one that was sometimes most rewarding to those of us in for the long haul.
To be specific, I point for starters to the two big winners of the season: "Chimera" and "Tacking into the Wind." Both of these stories took characters whose histories we knew so well and seamlessly melded those histories into the storyline. "Chimera" took advantage of a long-standing relationship (Odo/Kira) and a long-standing crisis of the self (Odo feeling the call to the Link). "Tacking" played with the societal histories of almost every power involved in the war, but the real standout were the characters of Kira and Damar and the acknowledged parallels of Cardassia's plight and the past-but-never-forgotten Bajoran Occupation. Both episodes are Trekkian masterpieces, albeit for different reasons. "Chimera" was inspired more by the classic Trek sense of storytelling, deeply exploring a few characters upon the appearance of a guest character who harbors a unique perspective. "Tacking," on the other hand, qualifies as quintessential DS9 following the themes laid out by DS9. I guess you could say it's more a DS9 episode than it is a Star Trek episode, showing how DS9 exists as a Trek product with its own identity and unique set of themes.
It's the ability for DS9 to have its own identity that I believe makes it so worthwhile in terms of the Star Trek franchise. I've mentioned this before in other articles and reviews, but over the past two years, particularly with the war storylines and the introduction of Section 31, DS9 has put its own spin on the idea of the Star Trek moral play. "In the Pale Moonlight" was the best example, but this year we had one nearly as good in terms of underlying, growing implications—"Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges"—which had lingering moral consequences that would echo through the season. I'd argue that the sense of storytelling involving Trekkian morality was even more well-thought-out this season than ever before. For the first time, I got the sense that the writers were taking some risks and heading into uncharted waters—which, given Voyager's problems, is exactly what this franchise needs. Do I think DS9 abandoned the revered Trekkian morality? Not at all. What DS9 did was ask whether those values could survive a war, and showed that the Federation is both flawed and fallible. Season seven is where a lot of such arguments were presented.
Of course, like in season six, with the war and more focus on Federation morality, there was less focus on Bajoran society. The Bajoran political situation, a reliable element from the series' roots, was again absent this season. On the other hand, the subject of a Cardassia left in ruins proved beyond any doubt that the writers still remembered where the series had originated. Seeing the series come full circle in at least this regard is among the best things about this season. "What You Leave Behind" may have been missing some important elements, but it certainly didn't forget where the series began.
Like most other seasons, DS9 did not spend all its time on its "core material." There were, of course, stand-alone episodes that didn't greatly affect the larger picture. One of the more pervasive arguments I've seen against the past two seasons has been that the war is too frequently missing from the storylines. Personally, I won't be jumping onto that critical bandwagon. I would certainly say there were moments this season that tried my patience. (Like with season six, there was that period of fluff and temporary aimlessness that characterized some patches after New Year's.) But I wouldn't at all say that a lack of war-based storylines or dialog was the problem. As much as the war was important to this season, I had few qualms with DS9 breaking away for a stand-alone non-war-based episode. Besides, I personally don't think anyone would be happy with a Trek series that featured constant warfare. I like that DS9 would tell a variety of stories without forgetting about what was important. No, I wasn't always happy with the weird momentum shifts, but the variety was fine, and generally wasn't to the detriment of the whole.
As most people have probably figured out by now (if not long ago), I consider DS9 to be the best of the Trek series. It has told the most stories that are in line with what I want to see on Trek, maintaining optimism but also factoring in sobering doses of skepticism and caution. Where does season seven rank in the DS9 scheme? I can't say I found any of the seasons to fall into the minus column overall (although third season's unevenness would probably be the closest). I'm not exactly sure how to quantify such things, but my favorite overall seasons are two, five, and seven (not necessarily in that order). Season two had a lot of very strong stories and a good emphasis on the Bajoran political aspects. Season five provided the development for what arguably would form DS9's longest-lasting elements. And season seven was a further exploration of the series' more challenging themes and convoluted plots.DS9 featured many different characters and a wide variety of material, so perhaps the easiest way to look at the season's most important aspects would be in shorter snippets. Here's a listing of the most significant successes and shortcomings of this season.
Major aspects DS9 got right this year
1. Damar and the Cardassian rebellion — Few big plots could work this well, not only in being foreshadowed so far in advance (nearly two years, one could argue), but growing logically out of a character's trajectory and attitudes. Damar went from a relatively minor thug to an important piece of the series. (DS9's focus on all its guest characters is one of the things I really enjoyed.) I think Damar's death might not have been the best way to use him in the finale (he might've been more useful as a symbol for Cardassia's future), but the writers' use of Damar as a symbol of Cardassian change was brilliant. The Cardassian resistance was a plot element that I've been anticipating since the beginning of season six—and when something seems that inevitable, I think that's a clear indication the creators are doing something very right.
2. Kira goes to Cardassia — An extension of item #1, but from perhaps the most important perspective. By dropping a character into the action who had previously been in a similar situation—only at the hands of those whom she must now help—we could see the parallels and debates fast arising. (Go back and watch "Tacking into the Wind" and you'll know what I mean.) Kira is a character who has truly grown since "Emissary," from justifiably hating the Cardassians to fighting alongside them for a greater good. This plot displays her as a true heroine, in action and in attitude.3. The Cardassian fall — Yet another extension of item #1 (which shows just how right the final Cardassian arc was), and a nice finish to a great idea. It seemed pretty clear that the Federation could not fall, but through the focus on the Cardassians' role in the turn of the war we also could see and feel the side of some major losses. Garak became the Cardassian patriot who, ironically, ended his exile by returning to a world now destroyed and unlikely to ever again be the Cardassia he knew and loved.
4. Wartime moral issues — I've already discussed these at length, so I won't do it again, but such issues are one of the main things for which DS9 will be remembered, and the seventh season featured them perhaps the most pervasively.
5. Kira/Odo — Whodathunkit? What prompted many a viewer's trepidation back in "His Way" turned out to be one of the most believable bonds imaginable, because (1) they were well written full with deep mutual understanding, and (2) Nana Visitor and Rene Auberjonois sell their material so well. I doubt I was the only one fighting back tears when Odo walked off into the Great Link—and, hell, I'm a guy! (Heh.)
6. Long-term thinking — It's the glue that held together the season, if not the series. There were lapses in credibility here and there, but the series was well served by the writers simply thinking about what they wanted to do, and planting seeds ahead of time so that major events—like Damar's defection—would make sense down the road. (To the creators of Voyager: This should be your pattern for telling some stories.)
7. Riskier stories — I must give credit to DS9 for trying things, even though such things didn't always work. For a late-in-series example, I liked the idea of the Prophets and Paghwraiths being brought into the core of the story. I didn't like that they were utilized as magical entities that would sometimes substitute for common sense, but like I said, the writers tried. Other risks, like the idea of Section 31 manufacturing genocide, were somewhat edgier by Trek standards.
8. Tasteful sendoffs — "What You Leave Behind" had shortcomings, but it sent the characters off in directions that basically made sense and closed the book in ways that were satisfying. Some characters stayed on the station while others did not, which strikes me as a realistic change in times. Strangely, the writers walked a dangerous line in some cases and got away with it working anyway: A huge example is Sisko's "change in existence." This is something that leaves me baffled as whether to accept the character as "killed off" or as suspended in limbo until the writers change their minds. The weird thing is finding that I'm again reminding myself that there are no minds to change, because what we've seen is all we get. It's over. It makes a nice dramatic end, yet I'm still half hoping there's more to it. It's frustrating yet satisfying and bittersweet all at once. Are we all being cleverly manipulated? If so, it's working.
Major aspects where DS9 fell short or featured a glaring omission
1. Bajor's entry into the Federation — Far and away, this was the thing that seemed to me as the most obvious long-term aspect of the series that did not get the resolution it deserved. Sisko's original mission in "Emissary" was to ensure the Bajorans were ready for Federation approval. While he was successful in that mission and Bajor was approved in fifth season's "Rapture," Bajor's actual entry was something I expected would be re-addressed this season—and it wasn't. Even if Bajor didn't join the Federation, it would've been nice to have some dialog devoted to the matter. Instead, what we have is Kira running the station, which is fine and good. But where is Bajor now that the music has stopped?
2. Internal Bajoran political situations — Similar to item #1. While we had plenty of stuff involving Winn, Dukat, and the Paghwraiths, all of this had zero impact (as far as we were shown, anyway) on Bajor as a world. Whereas we could see the people of Cardassia taking action in attacking their problem, we saw nothing of Bajor, and that feels like an oversimplistic cheat. Bajoran politics used to be important on this series, and it's a shame that we couldn't get something more than a single line about the next possible Kai in "What You Leave Behind." I have to agree with what I read in another review a few months back: It seemed like Bajor had about three people living on it, and that hasn't always been the case in the past. Just one or two supporting characters (like the vedek in "Rocks and Shoals") with something interesting to say could've made a big difference.
3. The final Sisko/Dukat/Winn collision — Of the things we did see on the screen, this was one of the important things that I thought was disappointing. This was something that could've answered a great many questions about Dukat and his relationship with Sisko and Bajor. Back in "Waltz" Dukat was a guy who wanted Bajoran acceptance so badly it hurt. Why couldn't we get more dialog arising from that, and tie it back in with the Paghwraiths? I genuinely think this was possible, and in a way that would've revealed many more interesting psychological aspects of Dukat's problems. This in turn might've given Sisko a more interesting ultimate role as the Emissary than his heroic dive into the fires of hell. And what about Kai Winn? She's killed and we don't get much payoff in terms of larger consequences (see item #2). Everything leading up to this payoff made sense, but having "What You Leave Behind" turn this into an archetypal struggle of good versus evil is not even close to the best way of exploiting the key strengths of these characters and their relationships. Also, the Paghwraiths themselves became a little too concrete, and their motives seemed on par with comic-book villains.
4. Jake Sisko — Quite simply, he wasn't given enough to do. Who is this guy anymore, aside from being Sisko's son? The issue of Jake being a writer was ignored even more than it was during season six. Part of the problem may be that Cirroc Lofton wasn't in a lot of the episodes, but a bigger part of the problem is that the writers didn't set any goals or directions for him. He simply reacted to situations (mostly relating to his father), and that seems like a waste of a character. (And no goodbye to his father? What a shame.) Even one good episode like "Nor the Battle to the Strong" or "In the Cards" would've made a big difference. Ideally, the writers should've given him a mini-arc like they gave Nog. The producers even admitted at one point that they had "dropped the ball" with Jake and had run out of time. At least they were aware of the problem, but that's still cold comfort. Jake most resembles your average Voyager character—a well-established personality not put to much use.
5. "Extreme Measures" — Read the capsule review above (or even my original review) for the full story. This is worth special mention because it was so high in potential for being classic DS9, but was instead an extreme letdown. I don't think it takes away from "Inter Arma" but it could've made the Section 31/Dominion War saga even more powerful.
6. The Breen — Just who are these guys, anyway? The series introduced them into the game so very late, and none of them could be called characters (all they did was stand around and expel electronic noises). The optimist in me realizes the Breen ultimately aren't that important—they were just a catalyst for the Cardassian insurgence—but in and by themselves they're plot pieces plain and simple, given no motivation by the writers for their alliance with the Dominion. They served their primary purpose, but it's still a bit shoddy.
7. The Wish List — Some minor stuff that probably wasn't crucial: It would've been really nice to see the follow-up to Kai Opaka's promise in "Battle Lines." It would've been nice to have Sisko go into the mirror universe one last time (rather than having that travesty called "Emperor's New Cloak"). O'Brien could've had a meatier show as the central character (Meaney was game as always, but O'Brien was a supporting character that had little new to do).
8. Miscellaneous plotting details — It would've also been nice to see the little things gained throughout the war actually pay off in more tangible ways from time to time. For example, holding off the Jem'Hadar and maintaining control of the communications array in "The Siege of AR-558" was supposedly a major victory. Why not actually show that in some way down the road, or at least again mention this all-important communications array in dialog? There are other similar details along these lines that could've been fleshed out a little better, but the writers generally chose to press on and not look back. I guess that while some puzzle pieces are huge and important, others were simply intended to be forgotten afterward.
All in all, I have my complaints, but I don't have serious problems with this season, which offered plenty to be a satisfying final ride for a generally very solid series. Looking at the numbers, I find that this season had only one out-and-out loser ("Emperor's New Cloak"), one major disappointment ("Extreme Measures"), and one forgettable mediocre show ("Chrysalis"). Everything else was okay at worst ("Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang" would be the next-lowest, but is still probably worth a view), or classic at best. There were five that I rank in the four-star, absolutely-must-see position ("Tacking, "Chimera," "Changing Face," "Inter Arma," and "AR-558"), the first two of which harbor some of the series' greatest moments. The week-to-week quality was consistently high.
The bottom line is that I enjoyed this season plenty. And in looking at what it had to accomplish in a limited amount of time in ways that would satisfy the most viewers, I think the creators pulled off quite a job. I didn't expect perfection and I certainly wouldn't say we got it. But a stellar season and a good end to DS9—yes, without a doubt.
Part 3: Closing Comments
So, I guess it's about time for the Inevitably Gratuitous Personal Farewell Look-Back Statement™. Of course I can't resist.
I've been at this awhile. Certainly not as long as some people online, but a good while spanning some important years in my life. When I started writing these things I hadn't quite graduated from high school, and now as I finish up this last DS9 posting, I'm a college grad working a full-time job (though still undecided where I intend to go in life). The first DS9 review I wrote was in the spring of 1994. I had been the movie reviewer for my high school paper, and for more practice I wanted to take a shot at something that wouldn't cost me $6 a view. I'd seen some TV reviews of TNG and other shows in some sci-fi magazines, and with DS9 nearing the end of its second season, I decided to give it a try myself. I launched the word processor and typed away, writing reviews that were shorter (and much, much rougher) than my typical capsules are today. At the time, I hadn't logged onto the Internet even once, and wouldn't for several months. For completion's sake, those second-season reviews would later be completely rethought and rewritten in 1997; if I have my way, the originals will never, ever again see the light of day.
Since I started posting these reviews, I've found a sort of interesting niche on the Internet. When I first logged on in the fall of 1994, I found the Trek newsgroups had opinions of the various shows spanning all the series, with comments ranging from "it's the greatest ever" to "it absolutely sucks." Never had I seen so many virtual voices on such an interesting medium discussing such a specific topic. Naturally, I wanted in. Now there's no way out. Not that I want out—not yet. This is probably the best hobby I've ever had—and the first hobby I had that at times felt like a job.
In early 1995, I put what few reviews I had on the Web. I had no idea how to build a decent Web site, but I certainly was going to try. Now when I get up to go to work in the morning, I go to work with Web sites all day. Funny how the dominoes are placed; you can't tell where they're leading until they've started to fall.
Sure, I enjoy the Web design and administration aspects of this endeavor, and I've learned quite a bit over the years. But the writing is why I do these reviews, no doubt about it. It's fun to take a position and argue it. With DS9 I felt the reviews were particularly worthwhile, because there were often issues to discuss that required me to think about the episode a little more thoroughly than I might've had I not been writing about it. It was nice to eventually find an audience interested in this sort of thing, but I must confess I never expected to get e-mail from overseas telling me the reviews were useful in making videotape purchase decisions. I never thought I'd see the reviews used proactively.DS9 had a great run. It wasn't always great (what show is?), but for seven seasons its writers kept me constantly interested in the where the stories and characters would travel and, finally, end up. DS9 strikes me as a show with a cast, crew, and writers who enjoyed what they were doing and were good at it. And it has been fun writing about the show for the past few years—even the really bad shows. My thanks go out to everyone involved in producing the show for bringing us an entertaining incarnation of Trek that tried to be different.
And thanks, everyone, for reading and offering feedback, comments, debate, and support. Through work and my education, I learned a lot about writing over the past five years. But, strange as it might sound, I'd say writing these reviews was possibly the most important part of the process. It was the one source of constant work that kept me on a quasi-deadline and was still fun to do.
But what am I blathering on about? I'm not going anywhere. After all, Voyager starts up again in a little over a week. I hope to see you then. Maybe you aren't a Voyager viewer. I understand. After all, Voyager is certainly no DS9. The point is, for me, a lot of things started with this series. Now it's over and goodbye. Yeah, it's just a TV show. But I've invested countless hours writing about it, and I've gotten more out of it than I ever had imagined when I started. So maybe for me it's more than just a TV show after all.
If you won't be joining me on the Voyager side, take care. It's been fun having your ear, and even more fun trying to be an earful.
Over and out. May our paghs meet again.
Previous: Season 6
167 comments on this post
Wed, Mar 26, 2008, 2:10am (UTC -5)
turning into a starship and who knows what else they would have been unstoppable without help from the Organians
Sat, Apr 4, 2009, 1:55am (UTC -5)
Rich: Perhaps the changeling from "Chimera" was their species' equivalent of a genius or super-athlete? If humanity consisted solely of Albert Einsteins, I bet we could conquer the universe pretty quickly, too.
Fri, Nov 20, 2009, 2:19pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Apr 5, 2010, 5:38pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Apr 6, 2010, 2:49pm (UTC -5)
And in the end what was the point of bringing in the Breen? The Cardassian had ample reason to turn against the Dominion regardless and nobody was going to be fooled on what the outcome of the war ultimately would be. All it did was to add yet another thread to an already cramped story, leaving less time to develop the rest more deeply.
I have to think of the series Band of Brothers here, in which the major action had already finished a few episodes before the end and the last 2-3 episodes contained a lot of reflection and contemplation. Perhaps it would have been better if the Breen would have been left out of it so that the invasion of Cardassia and convincing the Founder could have been played out over several episodes. Maybe less exciting, but again, nobody was going to get fooled on how it was going to end.
The Dukat/Winn substory surely also could have been handled more subtly.
Wed, May 26, 2010, 11:25am (UTC -5)
Mon, Aug 30, 2010, 6:01pm (UTC -5)
1) Sisko goes back to earth at the end of Season 6 for NO reason. Dax dies at the end of Season6 BECAUSE THE PLOT DEMANDS IT. The death was contrived and unnecessary.
2) The whole thing with the Prophets and Pah-Wraiths was STUPID. There is no such thing as an opposite religion. Satanism is not a real religion, it's an urban legend. And just because the Wormhole was closed doesn't mean the Prophets are GONE unless the Bajorans are ICONOCLASTS. There is no reason to turn to the Pah-Wraiths since the Prophets AREN'T GONE! Dukat's plot MAKES NO SENSE EITHER. HOW DOES IT MAKE THINGS BETTER FOR THE DOMINION?
3) Like it or not, "Far Beyond the Stars" is a terrible episode and Benny Russell is one of the worst characters ever created. Why would you reuse him in "Shadows and Symbols" FOR NO REASON?
4) Ezri Dax was TERRIBLE. Granted, Jadzia was a terrible character anyway, but Ezri was even worse. She was just annoying. She went around saying she was confused all the time. WHY WON'T SHE SHUT UP!?
5) WHAT WAS THAT THING WITH WORF AND EZRI? Who CARES about Worf. The romance between him and Jadzia didn't work anyway, but this was just ASANINE!
6) The Kai Winn subplot MAKES NO SENSE EITHER! It made no sense with Kai Winn's character, she wouldn't turn to the Pah-Wraiths. It is contrived and STUPID. She wouldn't turn to the Pah-Wraiths! GOD!
7) The Section 31 subplot was BORING.
8) Don't even get me started on Vic Fontaine.
9) The Breen joining the Dominion was POINTLESS. We don't know anything about them. Joining the Dominion is UNNECESSARY. And not being able to understand what they say is SILLY.
10) They added MAGIC. WHY?
11) The Vorta cloning facilities are all in the ALPHA QUADRANT? People who come from the GAMMA QUADRANT RELY ON THE ALPHA QUADRANT FOR THEIR RESURRECTION?
12) WHY WOULD the female shapeshifter surrender AFTER ODO made her well again? It doesn't CHANGE ANYTHING! They could easily have carried on the attack!
13) What is the Pah-Wraith's plan? Why are they going to burn the universe for all eternity? WHY?
14) You criticized "The Reckoning" because it had a stupid magic fight in it. What? You mean like the one in the FINAL EPISODE. THIS IS WHAT WE GET? A LAME MAGIC FIGHT? Why don't the Prophets give him power to defenf himself when Dukat freezes him?
15) Sisko just disappears. Great. What a great ending.
16) Who the hell was that Monk in "Image in the Sand"? WHO WAS HE? WE NEED TO KNOW!
All in all, this was a terrible season and it had the third wort finale. How can you have praised this season as much as you did? Oh well, that's just the way the wind blows.
Wed, Sep 15, 2010, 4:20pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Feb 21, 2011, 6:13pm (UTC -5)
Most of your "points", however, are just expressions of your personal feelings. While your personal feelings are valid within the scope of your own mind, they do not pertain to the quality of the show. While these points are worded in such a way as to seem like statements about the show, they're really just statements about you - more specifically, about your feelings.
Thu, Feb 24, 2011, 9:27pm (UTC -5)
Despite the awful comic-book-ness of the Dukat/Pah-wraith arc, this season as a whole was probably as good as it could have been. For now, I would say it is my favorite season, but that may be premature as I just finished watching it yesterday. A part of me can't accept that it's all over... I could never have expected how attached I would have become to all of these characters. To paraphrase Brahms, "if I had known it was possible to write something this good, I would have done it myself!"
Thu, Jun 9, 2011, 12:36pm (UTC -5)
The problem with DS9 generally was that it was too epic and too small. Every time I watched a scene in the Dominion's headquarters on Cardassia Prime, I cringed. There was a great looking set for a similar room in 'Defiant' a few years earlier. But, for some reason, they had Weyoun, the Founder et. al in a coat closet.
Why do I bring this up? DS9, as it got bigger in scope, still tried to focus on too few characters. A good example was the episode where Kira, Damar, Odo, Garak and that other Cardassian tried to capture a Jem Hadar ship. There is just no way that the (recognizable) head of the rebellion and so many other high-profile people would ALL go on such a mission together. Instances like this happened throughout the sixth and seventh seasons. This kind of casting worked when DS9 was on the frontier in the first few seasons.
All that said, DS9 is my favorite Star Trek series because it took more chances than the others. TNG was good from seasons 3-6, terrible for seasons 1-2 and 7. Voyager was an abomination and Enterprise just never had any steam (though I liked the end of Season 3).
Last point: While I thought the acting on DS9 generally was better than the other series -- especially when you count the guest stars -- there are two actors who really were inconsistent. Avery Brooks and Terry Farrell.
Brooks had his moments, but his Benny Russell breakdown was just awful. Farrell was OK in lighter moments, but lines like "Who says there's never a Klingon around when you need one?" were terrible. Her line to Sisko about line officers in season 6 was awful, too.
Mon, Aug 8, 2011, 11:24am (UTC -5)
What elevated DS9 in seasons 5-7 was one thing: the Dominion War. Neither TOS or TNG possessed anything like the epic, sweeping scope of this fascinating plot arc. Yes, DS9 strayed from it a few times. But overall, it added a depth lacking in the other shows.
Tell you what I mean. When I was a little kid watching TOS, I quickly figured out that none of the main characters could ever die. Unlike a 2-hour film, this puts a serious damper on drama. I used to call it Scooby Doo Syndrome. Where's the dramatic impact if I know no major characters can die? If I know they'll always escape at the end? It takes inspired storytelling to bridge that gap and convince me to care what happens on a weekly show. The Dominion War, as a long-term story arc, achieved this objective. Instead of 26 four-act plays told in an hour apiece, we had 26-hour stories with a continuous plot arc (plus diversions). Form me, THAT is what made DS9 rise above the other series.
WYLB was a satisfying and moving finale for DS9. I miss it still.
Sat, Dec 31, 2011, 5:09am (UTC -5)
I do have some unanswered questions similar to others here. But that won't stop me from recommending this show :). Thank goodness for Netflix and DVDs. I'm moving on to Voyager now and eagerly awaiting the blu-ray version of TNG.
Wed, Jan 11, 2012, 4:42pm (UTC -5)
The writing was excellent and very imaginative. I really enjoyed the characters as well, especially the recurring characters such as Dukat and Garak.
I really hated a couple of things about the series, however.
First is the dreaded Ferengi episodes. I don't think I need to go into detail.
The second is the concept of the Prophets (and pah wraiths), which was absolutely not necessary to the show. DS9 would have worked fine as a show about a space station next to a wormhole in the middle of an intergalactic war. I didn't need to hear the endless babbling from the Bajorans about the Prophets...it grated on me so much that at times I found myself hoping that the Cardassians would re-invade Bajor just to shut them the hell up. The Prophets were absolutely unnecessary. The wormhole itself, which connected distant parts of the galaxy, was interesting enough by itself.
But the writers truly went off the deep end by introducing the pah wraith concept. Why is it necessary to have some unexplained "evil" to serve as an antagonist when you already have an enemy (the Dominion) that has been developed over 3 seasons?
The writers plunged into insanity, however, with Gul Dukat. Dukat was perhaps the most brilliant villain (or tragic hero, depending on how you see him) in the entire Trek franchise. He commanded the occupation of Bajor, could be a real bastard at times, and yet he was a loving father, and a helpful ally to the Federation. He really established a relationship with Sisko and even got Kira to thaw out a little. I actually liked him and saw him as one of the "good guys," although perhaps misguided at times.
And then, the writers turned him into a one-dimensional fanatic, and finally into a supernatural comic book villain with red eyes. Gone was the complexity. Gone was the painstaking character development. He was just the bad guy now. The scene with him fighting Sisko in the fire pit was so dumb that I was laughing at the screen.
Then, they make Sisko one of the Prophets? That's really nice. Just abandon your job AND YOUR SON!!!
I don't want to point fingers, but I think that writer-producer Ira Behr is the one responsible for all of this religious crap. He said in an interview that he wanted to make Sisko into a god. Gene Roddenberry is rolling over in his grave.
Mon, Jan 30, 2012, 9:13am (UTC -5)
DS9 really challenged not just the ideals of the utopian Federation, but also of Star Trek. It examined the human condition in more diverse ways than just boldly going. DS9 deepened what Star Trek is and can do, not only in its world-building and political intrigue - but in its vast array of creative storytelling.
It was also a show that took risks - just like challenging TV is supposed to do. All the other Trek shows either side of DS9 were just safe and bland.
Like you, I wished there was more Bajoran stuff in Season 7. I also wished the Dominion war had finished slightly earlier, so we could’ve seen more of the aftermath, on personal and political fronts.
However, I remember reading somewhere, years ago, that studio interference is what reduced the Bajoran-focused stories. Apparently the studio didn’t like those stories, because the ratings were never high on them. Hence the awkward shifts to Season 3. Sad, but true.
Thu, Apr 26, 2012, 5:58pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Apr 29, 2012, 8:48am (UTC -5)
Sat, May 5, 2012, 2:49pm (UTC -5)
Fri, May 18, 2012, 12:22pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Jun 16, 2012, 1:23pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Jun 17, 2012, 9:49am (UTC -5)
Fri, Jun 22, 2012, 4:01pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Jun 23, 2012, 8:18pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Jul 25, 2012, 11:36am (UTC -5)
Mon, Apr 22, 2013, 12:12am (UTC -5)
I must say, however, that I think this entire series on the whole is overrated. I have always wondered about the viewer demographics of DS9. I say that because I always hear people say how "in-depth" this show is compared to the other Star Treks. I do not see this at all, and I strongly disagree. Long story arcs are not necessarily synonymous with "depth." Even though TNG was "episodic" in nature, it's concepts were far more "in-depth" than DS9 - especially in the areas of cosmological possibilities and far-reaching philosophical paradigms. If "mirroring" everyday human issues like wars, civil rights, etc. qualifies as being "in-depth" to someone, who am I to say otherwise? But that is ho-hum sci-fi "small talk" to me. However, an anomaly that has "anti-time" properties - and contemplating the ramifications and possibilities of such a concept? Now that is what I call "in-depth" and what "SCIENCE" fiction SHOULD be all about..... IMO. I like a little "science" with my Science Fiction. I get enough of the "issues" on the News.
Out of the five series installments - for me DS9 sits precisely in the middle - with TNG and Voyager being above - and TOS and Enterprise below. The acting in TOS is just ridiculous and almost unwatchable half of the time. And as far as Enterprise? I don't know if I'm watching Sci-Fi or Days of Our Lives. Soaps just don't do it for me. Voyager isn't as good as TNG, but it's still pure Sci-Fi, and gives us some very thought provoking scientific concepts frequently (i.e. 'Blink Of An Eye' - 'Distant Origin' - 'Living Witness' etc.). DS9 is good - but doesn't quite knock it out of the park. Still very enjoyable and highly recommended.
Mon, Apr 22, 2013, 12:14pm (UTC -5)
You note some excellent VOY episodes, but "Distant Origin" came in the same season as "Favourite Son", "Rise", and "The Disease". That's not to say that DS9 was lacking for more purely "scifi" episodes, e.g. "The Visitor", "Hard Time", "Children of Time", but the difference lies in the character work. We didn't watch "Relics" for the Dyson Sphere; we watched it for Scotty.
Anyway, Star Trek was about social allegory long before TNG pioneered the anomaly-of-the-week premise. It could even be argued that science fiction dating back to HG Wells was always much more about the present than the future, even in the year 802,701.
(As an aside, Henry Woronicz played both Gegen in "Distant Origin" and Quarren in "Living Witness". Voyager had a LOT of really terrible guest stars (see "Ex Post Facto", "Rise", "Virtuoso"), but he was a happy exception. It is worth noting also that "Distant Origin" more or less rips off the Quintaglio Ascension series by Robert J. Sawyer.)
Mon, Apr 22, 2013, 12:50pm (UTC -5)
Wed, May 1, 2013, 6:50pm (UTC -5)
Sorry, I completely disagree. The richness and nuance of DS9 characters is unmatched in any Trek series, especially Voyager, which had 7 years of completely static and unchanging people having no lives at all, save some honourable exceptions.
As for DS9, just compare Season 1 Bashir to Season 7 Bashir. Same applies to Kira, Odo and others. Not to mention the fantastic supporting cast of recurring characters, basically the only Trek series that even had those in any significant number.
Wed, May 1, 2013, 9:43pm (UTC -5)
It's true that Voyager did have Picardo...
Thu, May 2, 2013, 10:25am (UTC -5)
The only poor actor on the cast in my view was Wang, and even he was better than the 2 Daxes or Cirroc Lofton. Middle-range acting came from Lien and MacNiel--I would put Shimerman and Phillips on a par acting-wise.
All of VOY's strong actors--Mulgrew, Picardo, Dawson, Ryan--sit far above any of DS9's main cast except Auberjonios, who was their strongest. Meaney and Siddig were quite decent.
Two of DS9's biggest main rôles were occupied by some of its lamest actors, Brooks and Visitor, who weren't always "bad" but never transcended being adequate at their parts.
Now, I will happily grant you DS9's guest cast (Alaimo, Robinson and Coombs especially).
For TNG's part, Stewart is such a head above any of the other series' actors that he takes up a lot of the slack for the rest of its cast. Spiner is also excellent, Frakes was quite good, and there were those notable guest appearances by John de Lancie. Middling around the "decent" range were McFadden, Burton and Wheaton with Sirtis and Crosby sagging at the bottom.
The anomaly is Michael Dorn (in both series) who was exceptional at being a Klingon but very flat at most everything else.
I believe Pete's original post referred to the "main cast", in which case, there is no contest that DS9's was the weakest (well, unless you count Enterprise).
Wed, May 29, 2013, 12:04am (UTC -5)
"When the "lesser" characters from TNG become some of the major characters in DS9"
Sorry, that's just wrong. The producers shifted Colm Meany to DS9 because he was GOOD. They admitted he was too good for the transporter room and wanted to give him more to do. Same with Worf/Michael Dorn. The producers wanted to give DS9 a boost and chose one of the more popular characters. There were also plans to make Michelle Forbes' Ensign Ro a major DS9 character, again because Michelle Forbes was one of the better guest actresses.
This discussion is interesting only because I never thought I'd ever hear anybody say Voyager was better than DS9. That's like saying hamburger is better than filet mignon! DS9 had an in-depth story about war and ethics set in a sci-fi setting. It had some spatial anomalies and those things as well, but the show went beyond just random sci-fi event of the week to actually develop characters.
I could imagine somebody saying TNG is better than DS9, but just don't see the case for Voyager...
Tue, Jul 2, 2013, 12:47am (UTC -5)
It seems like fans of DS9 just don't know what any of the terms they claim their show is mean. TNG had far more intellectual and intricate concepts in its best episodes. It explored the complexities of war and conflict, of interfering with other civilizations, of religion, or paranoia, etc, and it did it with a lot more depth to boot. Sure, it didn't have as many action scenes, but again, ACTION does not equal Intellectualism.
And these characters are so damn flat and BORING! Sisko is a horrible actor, and anyone who says he is the best clearly doesn't understand character or acting, and only likes him because he's a "badass" mfer who punches people.
Does that really make the show "smart" and "in depth"??? Or is DS9 merely a soap opera catered to adolescent boys who want to FEEL smart?
Tue, Jul 2, 2013, 8:54am (UTC -5)
If you look at the Star Trek series in order, TOS, TNG and DS9 make a logically progression. TOS was the origin, TNG was the sequel and DS9 was the new concept sequel. DS9 HAD to be something different than TNG, so it focused on life on a space station, the surrounding region and ongoing story threads.
As a result, it was the best Star Trek series at acknowledging the consequences of past episodes. It was about building -- about a saga. It wasn't always perfect (frankly, the fact that the creators felt two Ferengi episodes a year made sense is baffling). But it's the best SERIES.
"Force of Nature" is a prime example of why TNG never lived up to its potential as a series, even if it was better episodically. Other than a few throwaway lines in the final season, the warp-is-bad stuff never really had an impact on Star Trek, and yet, the TNG creators greenlit the release of the episode. An episode like that of DS9 would have been felt for years.
TNG is much better for casual viewing. DS9 was best for long story arcs. It's interesting that the next two series struggled so much to find a balance between DS9 and TNG.
DS9 was not perfect. There were a few too many episodes where the senior staff played baseball against a bunch of Vulcans or tried to save Vic Fontaine or built ancient Bajoran ships. Avery Brooks was inconsistent as an actor and Terry Farrell was not good. Oh, and the Ferengi stuff was awful almost every time.
But it's just ridiculous to argue that DS9 didn't have depth. TNG might have addressed some high-concept themes, but DS9 addressed them in a less episodic nature. It didn't parachute in one week and make Picard live 70 years as a different man only to have him be seemingly unaffected and fighting time-traveling aliens a week later. It didn't introduce Riker's clone as a love interest for Troi only to have her hook up with Worf (Worf!) a few months later.
I grew up on TNG and DS9. If DS9 had been better cast and free of Ferengi, it would have been an amazing series. If TNG hadn't had two weak seasons to start with and an AWFUL final season -- and if Marina Sirtis hadn't been the worst actor in Star Trek history -- it would have been an amazing series. For the sake of reference, I'd say something like "The Wire" or "Breaking Bad" are amazing.
TNG and DS9 had flaws but they are very good series.
Tue, Jul 2, 2013, 8:20pm (UTC -5)
"There were a few too many episodes where the senior staff played baseball against a bunch of Vulcans or tried to save Vic Fontaine or built ancient Bajoran ships."
No, DS9 was not perfect, but building your argument around exactly three episodes is pretty unconvincing. I'm not exactly sure why any of those episodes should be singled out either. I like each of them.
Wed, Jul 3, 2013, 2:21pm (UTC -5)
Anyway, my whole argument wasn't close to being built around those three episodes.
Fri, Jul 5, 2013, 6:01am (UTC -5)
Personally, I think there's something worthwhile in every Trek series. As a result, my Star Trek universe is bigger than yours. So nyah nyah. ;)
Sun, Aug 11, 2013, 3:37pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Aug 22, 2013, 1:47am (UTC -5)
@ Above Debaters:
I think that Paul hit the issue on the head, ignoring the extra bias. Someone way up there said comparing these shows was like comparing meat to fillet mignon.
I think it would be better to say comparing one Star Trek series to another is like comparing pork bacon to turkey bacon. They're both bacon; the underlying concept is the same; but each is unique and distinct from the other.
I personally enjoy all series, more or less. I believe all have flaws.
TOS: Too much bravado; too idealistic; too episodic.
TNG: Some shaky direction; inconsistent writing; anomalies of the week.
DS9: Sometimes dull and boring; overburdened convoluted plot; seemingly anti-Roddenberry Trek.
VOY: Anomaly of the week; reset button; inconsistent writing leading to bi-polar Janeway.
ENT: Re-writing of established Trek history; building up technology to TNG era and bypassing TOS as a series; overacting; too many sex-appeal attempts.
But they all have good aspects as well. Each is it's own unique kind of bacon. My favourite kind is turkey bacon, and for me that means DS9. I prefer it's semi-serialized, story-arc driven manner. Is it superior to other shows? In some ways yes, in some no, and many others are subjective.
So really, you just need to answer for yourself. Which one is your turkey bacon?
Mon, Aug 26, 2013, 1:48pm (UTC -5)
I liked Chrysalis, but that's because I love music, and the do re mi scene was simply incredible.
It is true that Dukat and Sisko ended up being less dimensional in their characters. This is because they made choices to be that way. In the end, if you decide to be evil, you are evil. In the end you have to know how to defeat evil.
I loved Odo-Kira.
As for Covenant, I find it all too plausible. I see many people following false prophets, people who are obviously lying to them - such as the poor suckers who signed up for Trump University.
As for the religious aspects, at least in DS9 those being worshipped as deities are real. The Prophets exist. The shapeshifters exist. And so in a sense I think DS9 side-stepped the religious issue, because many question whether or not gods adored by others actually exist. You may question whether they are worthy of devotion or not, but you don't need the existential faith.
Tue, Oct 15, 2013, 4:30am (UTC -5)
Ezri was far more interesting, in spite of the questionable relationship with Bashir. She was very convincing, in my opinion, in the visit to her family, and with Worf. I felt like we knew her better after one season than we did in six seasons with Jadzia.
In case there's anybody reading these comments who's confused, I posted on a couple of other reviews with the name Patrick, but I'm not the same as the Patrick who's posted on here before today.
Tue, Jun 24, 2014, 12:22am (UTC -5)
I've never been that interested in the "which was better" controversy, but again, I was interested in both worlds. And yet ... I couldn't really commit myself to watching every DS9 episode. Your site has helped me filter out some mini-arcs which were skipable, while making sure I at least caught all of the classic episodes. I ended up watching more than I've skipped, and I have enjoyed reading your reviews of both the episodes I've watched as well as those I've skipped.
Anyway, thank you again for all of your time and passion...
Mon, Jul 21, 2014, 9:12am (UTC -5)
Mon, Jul 21, 2014, 9:25am (UTC -5)
But the rest was great stuff in the main.
I did shed a tear at the montage.
Well Eliot I hope you are a happy man.
Mon, Jul 21, 2014, 11:05am (UTC -5)
What I hate (and what tends to rile me up) is all the mutual masturbating that goes on on the fan pages; ooo continuity [sploosh]; it was dark and cynical [wank]; it was dystopian and "gritty"...you get the idea.
Very often, the writing style of DS9 was disrespectful to the franchise and overly homogenised to fit a pragmatic 90s ethos. But there were plenty of good things in the show too--a well-developed auxiliary cast, interesting enemies, some good characterisation, special effects--and plenty bad--some weak performances, preechy and unnatural dialogue, wasted opportunities (mostly the Bajoran religious angle, which you noted).
I find the notion that DS9's willingness to diverge from Trekkian philosophy to be instrinsically positive very dubious. It's no more special or praise-worthy than casting a black captain or a woman captain. It's just a choice. What matters is how it was handled. In DS9's case I think the former (divergence) was poorly handled, whereas the latter was mostly well-handled (with the exception of Badda-Bing and the Siskos' monochromatic love interests). To be fair, Voyager handled it's choice to have a woman captain pretty poorly at first (it got better in the 3rd season).
If my comments seem hateful to you, it might be because the typical comment so unfairly gushes over the silliest things, mine tend to stick out.
Yes I'm a happy man. I'm a Trekkie--we're jolly folk.
Mon, Jul 21, 2014, 11:10am (UTC -5)
I know you're a busy man, Jammer, but editable comments would be fantastic.
Mon, Jul 21, 2014, 1:32pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Jul 21, 2014, 1:47pm (UTC -5)
Lol--Maybe the reactionary parties in France never went away?
I think you know the real answer--what if all of Harry Kim's love interests had been played by Asian women? Or Bashir's by Middle-Eastern women? Hell, all four of Worf's love interests were mixed-species--one of the Siskos' wives could have been a different race.
Mon, Jul 21, 2014, 2:57pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Jul 21, 2014, 5:40pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Jul 21, 2014, 5:59pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Jul 21, 2014, 9:48pm (UTC -5)
Jake dated a (much older) white-Bajoran Dabo girl, and he was pretty infatuated with the weird (also white) mind vampire in The Muse.
Jake liked all kinds of ladies, just saying.
Tue, Jul 22, 2014, 3:17am (UTC -5)
For an out-of-universe answer, I'd hope there are enough "minorities" in Hollywood to allow a white guy to have a black girl every now and then. If we're finding Sisko's choice of dates odd, I posit that it's no less odd than Picard's or Riker's choice of girlfriends. Or Beverly's choice of men, for that matter.
I'm feeling a bit uneasy with this line of thought.
Tue, Jul 22, 2014, 9:17am (UTC -5)
I wasn't counting the vampire as a love interest, but I guess you could!
I don't care that Jake dated black Bajorans, I just found it jarring that I don't think there were ANY black Bajorans on the show EVER EXCEPT the ones he dated. Someone please point out if I'm wrong though!!
Tue, Jul 22, 2014, 9:26am (UTC -5)
Of course there are, it's just less jarring when it doesn't happen (although that doesn't make it less wrong). If 9/10 characters we meet are played by white people, it doesn't feel deliberate that Picard didn't date the 1/10. When Sisko manages to ignore the 9/10 EVERY TIME and always land on that 1/10, it feels deliberate.
Again, doesn't make it less wrong but it IS more jarring!
Although TNG did do a better job than you might think mixing races. Geordi had Aquiel and Leah (one black, one white). Worf's love interests are all played by white people (which means of course that Deanna's love interest was played by a black man). O'Brien married Keiko.
Sure, Picard's 3 or 4 love interests are all white, as are Beverly's. Riker hit on anything with a pulse so there must be something in there that's not white... anyone remember anything right now?
Tue, Jul 22, 2014, 9:27am (UTC -5)
Tue, Jul 22, 2014, 11:23am (UTC -5)
Tue, Jul 22, 2014, 11:34am (UTC -5)
Tue, Jul 22, 2014, 11:52am (UTC -5)
Tue, Jul 22, 2014, 4:11pm (UTC -5)
Otherwise, I'm pretty sure Harry is supposed to be of Korean descent (certainly Kim would be an extremely atypical Cantonese name), though according to Memory Alpha he's from South Carolina. So I figure he'd be speaking English too.
(And, generally, I prefer to avoid the translation issue! Too thorny.)
Wed, Jul 23, 2014, 9:26am (UTC -5)
Wed, Jul 23, 2014, 10:15am (UTC -5)
Because that is the substance of this claim, isn't it?
Wed, Jul 23, 2014, 10:33am (UTC -5)
Let's go at this from a different point of view. We'll play a game where you have 100 color swatches. The object of the game is to pair each swatch with 1 other swatch, creating 50 different set of stripes.
There are 6 swatches that are shades of brown, 4 that are shades of yellow and 90 that are shades of pink. We'll play the game for 5 rounds.
If EVERY round the pink swatch you're watching is paired with another pink swatch... your brain won't notice anything odd.
If EVERY round the brown swatch you're watching is being paired with another brown swatch.... your brain will notice.
That's what I mean by jarring. Given the amount of brown guest stars vs white ones, to always give the brown ones to the brown main characters in noticeable.
I will not make a value judgement here (in the sense of good/bad/otherwise), but I highly doubt that you could come up with an argument that would hold water where you could say that this was an accident (ie not intentional).
So if mandate/jarring are too strong for you... how do you feel about noticeable and intentional?
Wed, Jul 23, 2014, 10:40am (UTC -5)
I'm just trying to point out that given the lack of brown guest stars, the fact that Avery and Cirroc manage to get them as love interests so frequently points to intentional behavior.
Jake's mom probably should be black to reflect Cirroc's heritage properly. As to Fenna/Kassidy? Or the 2 black bajorans? COULD be a lot of coincidence, but seems intentional on SOMEBODY'S part.
And I'm not even saying it's jarring because Jake is black that he dated half the black Bajorans we've ever seen. Maybe if half the Bajorans on the station were black I wouldn't have found it so noticeable....
Wed, Jul 23, 2014, 5:08pm (UTC -5)
In that vein, Enterprise credits are the worst offender. They purport to depict humanity's progress towards the Space Age only to omit every single non-American achievement. Where's Gagarin or Sputnik, for instance? They fail to show the first human in space and the first Earth spacecraft? How about the first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova in Vostok 6? Or Leonov's first spacewalk?
For a franchise that depicts a future history of our world, this comes dangerously close to rewriting history. Star Trek deserves better than that.
Thu, Jul 24, 2014, 8:18am (UTC -5)
As to what should be done to make it less jarring? Ya, I'd be in favor of more minority actors. You either should not have black Bajorans/Vulcans or you should make them common. I swear that Tuvok literally married the only other black Vulcan on the entire planet. Why couldn't Solok's baseball team be half black (it would have made the Tuvok thing feel so much less weird if there were a lot of black Vulcans). Did they ever have any on Enterprise (I haven't finished it yet).
"In that vein, Enterprise credits are the worst offender. They purport to depict humanity's progress towards the Space Age only to omit every single non-American achievement. Where's Gagarin or Sputnik, for instance? They fail to show the first human in space and the first Earth spacecraft? How about the first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova in Vostok 6? Or Leonov's first spacewalk? "
Totally agree! Wasn't Chekov included on the bridge as Rodenberry's nod to Russian space progress? Back when we were enemies! That's the spirit of Star Trek.
Brown people are clearly the minorities on every planet somehow, even though by the time Star Trek rolls around America won't be very white anymore. Mind boggling.
Fri, Jul 25, 2014, 9:52am (UTC -5)
Wed, Aug 27, 2014, 7:54am (UTC -5)
I think I have more 4.0 episodes this year than even Season 5, but it was either hit or miss it seems this year. WAY too much filler and of course blowing it with Sisko at the end didn't set well with me.
Episode Name/ Rating
Take Me Out To The Holosuite 4.00
Treachery, Faith And The Great River 4.00
Once More Unto The Breach 4.00
The Siege Of AR558 4.00
It's Only A Paper Moon 4.00
Tacking Into The Wind 4.00
The Changing Face Of Evil 3.50
Badda Bing Badda Bang 3.00
Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges 3.00
When It Rains... 3.00
Extreme Measures 3.00
What You Leave Behind 3.00
Image In The Sand 2.50
Prodigal Daughter 2.50
Till Death Us Do Part 2.50
Strange Bedfellows 2.50
The Dogs Of War 2.50
Shadows And Symbols 1.50
The Emperor's New Cloak 0.00
Field Of Fire 0.00
Wed, Aug 27, 2014, 8:53am (UTC -5)
Ranked from best to worst based on episode average.
Season / # Episodes / Total Score / Average
5 / 26 / 75 / 2.88
4 / 25 / 70.5 / 2.82
2 / 26 / 70.5 / 2.71
3 / 26 / 70.5 / 2.71
7 / 25 / 67.5 / 2.70
6 / 26 / 63 / 2.42
1 / 19 / 39.5 / 2.08
Totals: 173 / 456.5 / 2.64
I'm happy with how the seasons ranked out. Obviously I found Season 5 to be the best. It will be interesting as I finish all of Trek where this pans out. I'm thinking it will be one of the best seasons in all of Trek.
Here are my DS9 standout (4.0 episodes)
Listed in season order. I don't know that I could rank all of them :-) What a chore that would be.
The Search, part one
Heart of Stone
The Die Is Cast
The Way of the Warrior
Trials and Tribble-ations
In Purgatory's Shadow
By Inferno's Light
A Time To Stand
Rocks And Shoals
In The Pale Moonlight
Take Me Out To The Holosuite
Treachery, Faith And The Great River
Once More Unto The Breach
The Siege Of AR558
It's Only A Paper Moon
Tacking Into The Wind
Some fantastic memories in that list, eh? Goodness, when DS9 was great, boy was it great!
Twenty Three 4.0 episodes over 7 years for a 13% clip.
While Season 5 is my favorite, Season 7 had the most 4.0 episodes. Season 1 had none.
I'm sure my grading scale shifted some during this process. I think I've become more consistent and a little more forgiving.
I know I've read all Jammer's reviews and for the most part I've read all the comments under all the different episodes. It's been fun chatting with some of you that are still participating.
I think DS9 was outstanding trek and I think Gene would have approved right up until Sisko was "made a God". This series started very slowly but consistently improved through season 5, then dropped off significantly in my view.
Not sure what series is next, I have Enterprise on my mind, but I haven't seen TNG in quite a few years so I might just so that one.
Thanks Jammer for providing this medium so amateurs like me can have a little fun.
I have a gripe about the functionality of the site if I may. There is there is no means to go back and correct errors in your posts. I'm a horrible speller and many times I've rushed my reviews because of my work or no time at home. It would be nice to be able to correct/change ones' posts here.
Tue, Oct 28, 2014, 11:28am (UTC -5)
I'm replying to a years old comment here, from Matthew, but... this is just wrong. The world of spirituality and metaphysics has a dark side as well as a light side, and both sides have their followers. You don't have to look hard to verify this. Have you never heard of the right-hand path and the left-hand path? Theistic satanism? The occult philosophies of various secret socieities? Do some more research before you act so dismissive of something you are apparently not well-informed about.
And I also just want to speak, in general, to how much anti-spiritual sentiment I see in the comments for reviews on this site... and others. Folks, many times you are just showing your cultural biases and materialist/reductionist indoctrination. There's nothing inherently 'silly' or 'nonsensical' about visions, expanded consciousness, experiences of gnosis, etc - in fact we are talking about centuries upon centuries of human mystical experience, understanding and knowledge when these topics are addressed. I'm quite glad shows like DS9 don't take the simpled-minded "oh its all bullshit" view and spend time exploring these topics that do indeed represent very real phenomena. That's not to say DS9 always did a great job of it, but I'm happy for the attempt.
Tue, Oct 28, 2014, 12:31pm (UTC -5)
While I can't speak for all, in my case at least, please do not conflate "anti-spiritual" sentiments with anti-religious sentiments. One cannot dismiss or diminish the internal psycho-experience of an individual by logical arguments, but one can (and should, in my view) deny such intimate and inexplicable experiences from bearing upon the sciences, laws or other social spheres whose purview is *exclusively* materialistic, phenomenal (ie, non-metaphysical). Religions, including the Bajorans' faith, do not make this necessary distinction, and should therefore be opposed.
Regarding the quasi-Satanism of the Pagh Wraiths, it is true that such dichotomies are a part of religious history in human cultures, but they manifest primarily in a religion's superstitious period of development (The Middle Ages is Christianity's period). The Bajoran faith is shown very clearly to be in a post-Enlightenment stage of development and thus, the existence of this kind of anti-faith in any serious degree is comic-book-level silliness and best, ignorance-based exploitation (by the writers of religious tropes) at worst.
Sun, Jan 4, 2015, 6:31pm (UTC -5)
How else can you be with this bomb site of a final season? The only final season I have seen that's worse is BSG. I haven't seen Lost, but I'm told that's a catastrophe too.
What happened here is fairly simple... the writers met their match in themselves. They wrote themselves into a corner and all their illogical storytelling mounted up like a badly stacked deck of cards with only one final conclusion: collapse.
I am presuming the Matthew above is "Confused Matthew". In any case, what he says there is 100% true, as is his season review on his website. The whole season was a disaster. Yes, parts were entertaining, but overall, it fell flat on its face.
I thought the strongest seasons were ironically the first few, before the nonsense war (and before the "prophet" farce came full bloom). But even after that I cared about the characters enough to want to see a decent, well written ending. What I (we) got instead was what Matthew calls "Fire Marshall Dukhat", Kai Winn turning her back on a life-long faith to worship some sort of devil, a war that ends in a massive contrivance and whimper, and Sisko becoming a religious icon that saves everyone, like Space Jesus. It was absolutely the worst pile of hokum ever.
It all started because the writers got in above their heads with religion and mysticism, trying to tie it into the Sci-fi, which any idiot could have told them, would not work. The reason these themes were present in the first place is largely down to the plagiarization of Babylon 5. So I take great delight in at least something - that the end result of that deceitful act went punished. And my, did they go punished.
But as a standalone show, it's also sad that it came to this. Nothing really worked here. Everything had that Voyager air of "Damn. We are coming to an end. What do we do?" about it.
Wed, Jan 7, 2015, 10:29am (UTC -5)
I do agree with you about how some of DS9's stronger seasons were earlier on. I didn't think it really needed the Worf influx at the start of Season 4 for example, as I thought the show was just fine as it was.
I'm in the "Why couldn't Terry Farrell stay for the final season??" camp. Over the past half year I've been rewatching DS9 from the beginning (currently just finished the 6 part arc in season 6) and they really fell off on giving Jadzia much too actually DO. I guess you can't really blame the actress for wanting to.. 'Leave it all Behind'. Yes, I said it XD
Wed, Jan 7, 2015, 11:25am (UTC -5)
She needs to do a proper 9-5 job and then she'll enter the real world.
Sat, Aug 1, 2015, 9:47pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Aug 3, 2015, 10:49am (UTC -5)
I've recently purchased a book called "Twist of Fate" which is (I believe) a combined 5 or 6 books written as the official Season 8 of DS9. I'm almost through with Avatar Book 1 and I gotta' say I'm finding this to be really compelling in a lot of ways. And apparently there's even more books after these waiting in the wings.
That's the best thing we're ever going to get to the continuing stories of this particular crew I'm afraid.
Wed, Aug 5, 2015, 11:06am (UTC -5)
I actually thought Ezri's character would have been so much more interesting as a different gender or race - she was essentially a shorter, chirpy, less-confident Jadzia.
Kira, Bashir and O'Brien REALLY grew as characters - Quark too in some ways. In this respect, DS9 definitely outdid Voyager and TNG for me. I also absolutely loved the Bashir/O'Brien bromantic scenes, and the way they framed the whole 'I like you more' stuff. Nothing replaced the Jadzia/Kira friendship so we had a lack of female-female bonding of any kind after that - in fact I think Season 7 would score especially low on the Bechdel Test. I can think of maybe 2 instances when two women were talking to each other in the entire season. (Barring that Romulin / Kira episode where the whole 'friendship' turns out to be a cover/betrayal anyway.)
Other than that, a bit too much heterosexuality as usual with the completely unnecessary last-minute Julian/Ezri pairing (it was funny actually because all through the series Julian has been the typical 'fit young white male' who SHOULD have a girlfriend, and doesn't and it felt like the characters just COULDN'T leave him without the 'normal' happy ending. Odo-Kira were just SO good as close friends, the hetero-love stuff wasn't even needed to show the kind of solidarity they had, though the scene where Odo vaporises around her is PRETTY cool (although I had assumed all their nightly affairs must have been very interesting with his shapeshifting abilities, but the scene made it look like they never tried anything like that before).
Quark and the sexism stuff - whatever happened to that really competent female Ferengi? Why did such a great character, so in love with Quark, just vanish? Instead we had all the sexualized human female scenes (and people complain about the 0.0001% screen space referencing lesbianism!)
Tue, Aug 18, 2015, 7:26pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Aug 19, 2015, 10:13am (UTC -5)
I find it really hard to rate/rank/compare one version of trek to another (although we always seem to try :-) ). Probably the closest two of the spin-offs would be TNG and Voyager. To compare VOY and DS9 doesn't hold much water or make much sense. One could easily say that VOY provided many things that DS9 didn't or couldn't as well.
Funny you mention that VOY will always hold a special place in your heart. I've watched the different series with my kids over the years and all of them say their favorite trek is the first one they watched.
Glad you are enjoying DS9 as well, but I'm afraid it's far from perfect. :-)
Thu, Feb 4, 2016, 6:04pm (UTC -5)
As for the Bsg comment above, the first 11 episodes of season 4 of bsg was the best run in the series imo, especially if you add the 4 before it. Jammer agrees.
Thu, Feb 25, 2016, 9:27am (UTC -5)
Having read through all of these reviews and comments, I also have to reference two commenters who have kept me constantly amused. Elliott of course, for sheer persistence and absolute force of will that DS9 was shit and it was just the rest of the world that couldn't see it - but could be persuaded if only enough words were written on the subject. And Kotas, whose one line reviews lasted the whole series right up to the penultimate episode - but then never posted on the finale. I can't help thinking it would have read something like "Decent episode, lots happened." And if that's not a fitting epitaph for the series as a whole, I don't know what is.
Mon, May 30, 2016, 4:42pm (UTC -5)
Image in the Sand: 2.5 (-.5)
Shadows and Symbols: 2.5 (-1)
Afterimage: 2 (-.5)
Take Me Out to the Holosuite: 1.5 (-1.5)
Chrysalis: 1.5 (-.5)
Treachery, Faith and the Great River: 3.5 (=)
Once More Unto the Breach: 3 (=)
The Siege of AR-558: 3.5 (-.5)
Covenant: 2 (-.5)
It's Only a Paper Moon: 3.5 (=)
Prodigal Daughter: 1.5 (-1)
The Emperor's New Cloak: .5 (-.5)
Field of Fire: 1.5 (-1)
Chimera: 4 (=)
Badda-Bing Badda-Bang: 2 (-.5)
Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges: 3.5 (-.5)
Penumbra: 2 (-1)
Til Death Do Us Part: 2.5 (-.5)
Strange Bedfellows: 3 (=)
The Changing Face of Evil: 3.5 (-.5)
When It Rains: 3 (=)
Tacking Into the Wind: 4 (=)
Extreme Measures: 2 (=)
The Dogs of War: 2.5 (-.5)
What You Leave Behind: 3 (-.5)
I know that my ratings are on the low side for the "fluff" episodes, and I will think about whether that's fair or not; the ratings are based on my enjoyment combined with some analysis, and in the fluffier episodes my enjoyment level is the biggest barometer, and that's going to be even more subjective than usual. The main place I went up in rating is "Extreme Measures." I...still don't like the way the episode played things, but having thought about what the episode did manage to accomplish with Bashir/Sloan (and Bashir/O'Brien) makes me think that it's ultimately not a failure per se, even though it's still a disappointment to me.
In any case, I'm overall pretty happy with this series, despite having some problems with it. I'd say that the biggest problem I have is that I still feel alienated from Sisko pretty consistently, with a few exceptions. The episodes where I felt most interested in him are probably "Homefront"/"Paradise Lost," "Far Beyond the Stars," and "In the Pale Moonlight." I don't quite know why this is the case. It's ultimately a bit of a weird show, going in many different directions at once, with a lot of threads which don't quite come together and many that do and quite successfully, with many great, memorable characters in its huge extended cast and fantastic episodes. I am sad that this rewatch is over. I might still write some more on some episodes, just as I might go back and write some more on some TOS/TNG episodes.
My girlfriend has expressed some interest in watching Voyager, so I will probably leave a few comments there, depending on how far we go. I did not enjoy Voyager as much as TOS, TNG and DS9 when I was younger, but I will try to keep an open mind; we'll see whether it becomes a full rewatch or just dipping my toe back into the Voyager world.
Wed, Jun 22, 2016, 3:05pm (UTC -5)
The final 10 episode arc was great to watch I was honestly more interested in the Dominion war than the Pa'wraith storyline which seemed a bit more rushed.
The Breen:I like the mystery of these people we heard them referenced in Tng and in early ds9. There was a Breen prisoner with Bashir and Martok so I find it believable that the founders infiltrated them and convinced them to go to war. And I like that theres a Race that can't speak through the universal translator.
Plus I find it believable that the dominion would look for allies wherever they can find them, I'm just surprised the founders never tried contacting pre warp societies and doing the whole pretend to be god thing and offer them paradise to fight for them as say cannon fodder when invading a planet.
I like the farewell to all the characters at the end, I think the saddest is Garaks last scene with Bashir where he states that Cardassia will never be the same again centuries of art and culture and their greatest minds gone forever.
Overall even though TNG has my favorite episodes in the franchise DS9 certainly had the most Good episodes thanks in no small part to great guest actors and character development.
Thu, Jul 7, 2016, 3:30pm (UTC -5)
9. "Waltz" - DS9 - While not a court episode per se, but Sisko has an informal discussion with Dukat which leads to him admitting his guilt. Kind of wish they actually had a tribunal, but there's some good character moments for a two-man show stuck in the middle of nowhere. 2.5 of 4 stars.
8. "Author Author" - VOY - This is really about holo-shenanigans with quickly cobbled legal scene at the end. The shenanigans were funny, the legal stuff was nonsense. 2 of 4 stars.
7. "Rules of Engagement" - DS9 - An interesting look into how Klingons handle law and political intrigue during war. The ending is a little flat, as Odo finds the almighty secret evidence that both vindicates Worf while simultaneously incriminating the Klingons. 2.5 of 4 stars.
6. "The Drumhead" - TNG - This has some great character moments for Worf, and I think the message of the episode should be applauded, especially given to how we look at possible terrorist suspects today. Yet Admiral Satie switches from dogged prosecutor to evil witchburner in the blink of an eye, taking some of the credibility of this story away. 3 of 4 stars.
5. "The First Duty" - TNG - Great character episode, great *Wesley* episode. Most of the real fun comes off screen with conversation from Bilby and Picard ripping Wesley a new one, convincing him to do the right thing. This one deserves heaps of praise for not coloring anyone "the bad guy" in a black and white sense, but really showing how difficult it can be to face harsh consequences. 4 of 4 stars.
4. "Dax" - DS9 - Another great investigation episode, and this time it's much more plausible how Odo finds the truth. Arbiter Renora comes off as a competent and even-handed jurist, and her questions push Odo's investigation and Dax into a very difficult decision. 3.5 of 4 stars.
3. "Devil's Due" - TNG - Putting the nonsense of the episode aside, it's interesting to see how other planets handle law, and how Data can be a strict arbiter. It's also fun to see Data quash Picard on issues in court, when Picard is so used to winning with his arguments. And let's face it, it's also fun to see a flim-flam PT Barnum-type huckster get hoisted on her own petard. 3.5 of 4 stars.
2. "Tribunal" - "DS9" - This episode not only fleshes out the unfairness of the Cardassian legal system, it also shows how good Odo is as acting as a defender when we're so used to him chasing down criminals. Many of the questions Odo raises are perfectly fine arguments, and it's telling, if not frustrating, how the Cardassian judge throws everything out. The reversal of the Defense attorney just wanting to put on a good show is also a fun alien concept. And of course, it's fun to see a bad system crumble when exposed to the truth. 4 of 4 stars.
1. "The Measure of a Man" - TNG - Top notch. Not just good legal drama, but great character interactions; Picard and Luvois, Data and Picard, Data and Riker, Data and Maddox, even a very telling Poker introduction. This not only a good court episode, but it sets the gold standard for a balanced Star Trek episode. 4 of 4 stars.
Fri, Jul 8, 2016, 7:58am (UTC -5)
You didn't watch Death Wish - VOY?
Fri, Jul 8, 2016, 9:53am (UTC -5)
I wanted to love "Drumhead", I really did, but I think it's a mixed bag. Jean Simmons is great, I love the story, the ending scene, and the issues about Betazoid mental investigation are interesting.
Two problems I have, one being that Satie becomes way too evil (by contrast, I could actually sympathize with Maddox). I think it would've been more powerful if the writers let you sympathize with Satie more, which leads me to problem two. So, there's been a sabotage of WARP CORE, and instead of like, you know, towing the Enterprise to a Starbase or sending a repair crew, they send a prosecutor? And they have a hearing while the Enterprise is dead in space? What if the Romulans decided to stir up trouble?
Then, the Enterprise is fixed because instead of sabotage, it turned out to be a system malfunction. So, why does there need to be a criminal investigation? Satie's fear of a conspiracy is totally unfounded halfway through the show. I think that takes away a lot of dramatic impact the ending was intended to have.
As for "Death Wish", I'll need to watch that one again. It would give me an even 10!
Fri, Jul 8, 2016, 10:59am (UTC -5)
Picard's speech makes up for any plot problems :-)
Fri, Jul 8, 2016, 11:05am (UTC -5)
Fri, Jul 8, 2016, 1:06pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Jul 8, 2016, 1:23pm (UTC -5)
But like I said, I like the ending, including Picard's speech, I just don't think the build-up was done as well as other shows.
Tue, Aug 30, 2016, 10:25pm (UTC -5)
I found the first 2 episodes to be solid, although (as I've said before), making Sisko's mother one of the wormhole aliens (or a human possessed by a wormhole alien), was a mistake. It didn't add anything to the series, while removing some of the moral differences between the 'prophets' & the paghwraiths.
While her episodes weren't the strongest, i did like the character of Ezri, and I did like how she progressed through the season. Sorry haters (or is it one hater, with lots of usernames?). I don't think she & Bashir are destined to be together forever, and if they ever show up in Star Trek again, I hope they aren't a couple.
Among the stand alone episodes, "The Emperor's New Cloak" is the only one I would call truly bad, although there are several, like "Prodigal Daughter" and "Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang" that I would say are just passable. "Take Me Out to the Holosuite", "Treachery, Faith, and the Great River", "It's Only a Paper Moon", and "Chimera" are all classics for me.
Some people (including Jammer) have pointed to Bajor not being admitted to the Federation as something that was missing from this season. I disagree. We already saw Bajor get admitted, which they turned down at Sisko's urging. I think it is understood they will again be offered admission soon after the peace is firmly established. If there would have been a season 8, it would have made a good storyline. The war would have made some Bajorans more sure of the fact that Bajor should try to be neutral, even as other Bajorans would be more convinced than ever that Bajor needed to be firmly integrated into the Federation. I think it was appropriate that season 7 end with the war without trying to tack this on. If we ever see a Star Trek series set post-DS9, I expect we'll see Bajor mentioned as full Federation members.
That said, I agree that it would have been good to see more stuff happening on Bajor these past few seasons.
On the subject of the final serialized episodes:
-I wish Ezri had more to do aside from resolving her romantic life. I think the writers were using her relationships with Worf & Bashir as an excuse to introduce some romantic comedy "fun" into the dark episodes while communicating the general idea that "life goes on". Sometimes it worked, but it dragged out too long (both parts: ending her realtionship with Worf & starting her relationship with Bashir). Of course, she did get the great speech on the nature of the Klingon Empire in "Tacking into the Wind".
-Speaking of that speech, the changing of the leadership of the Klingon empire was well done. A climax of Klingon political stories going back to...what, the 3rd season of TNG? Which would be 10 years of Klingon stories. The political changes on Ferenginar, however, don't make much sense. Which, I suppose, is consistent with how Ferengi society has worked throughout the series. Still, the characters were good there.
-Yes "Extreme Measures" doesn't address the moral questions posed by section 31, and yes, it does rely on "VR cliches" (as Jammer puts it), but I enjoy the episode for what it is: not a classic, but OK as the last Bashir/O'Brien buddy pairing.
-I agree with most everyone that the Cardassian material was the strongest of the final run. I disagree with a lot of people in that I believe it's appropriate that Damar gets killed before seeing Cardassia freed. First of all, he has done a lot of evil in his time, so it's not like he's an innocent. More importantly, however, the series is ending by removing the people who can command unthinking allegiance. Sisko (the chosen of the 'prophets'), Winn (the head of the religious hierarchy), Dukat (the charismatic leader), & Damar (the revolutionary hero) are all gone. Cardassia & Bajor are going to have to move forward by coming together without any obvious leaders who can command blind obedience. If there was an 8th season, it would have been interesting to see to what extent Kira & Garak could influence their planets. Neither one would have commanded blind loyalty, and Garak in particular would have been treated with suspicion.
-On the Winn/Dukat/Sisko prophet/paghwraith material. Some of the Winn/Dukat stuff was entertaining. Dukat becoming a Bajoran for a while is interesting, seducing Winn is both icky and interesting, losing his eyesight & being exiled is interesting, but we don't see him suffer (or learn) anything from that. Still, reducing Dukat to a one-dimensional 'bad-guy' was dull and a let down. Winn's characterization seemed to change from episode to episode in the final episodes (which I wrote a little about in a few comment sections). Like Sisko's 'prophet parentage', adding the paghwraiths to the series was a mistake.
-However, I do think Sisko ending up in the wormhole, out of time, is an appropriate ending for the character. Time has been a recurring theme with the character throughout the series, even before they decided to make him part-prophet, and the victory of "Sacrifice of Angels" required him not to find a straight-forward hero's ending. One of the earlier commenters above complained that DS9 didn't use a lot of science fiction ideas. Well, the hero of the series having been in the wormhole the whole time (guiding himself?) is an interesting science fiction idea.
I think every episode of the final run was worthwhile, but the unevenness of the material always leaves me with a bit of a feeling that this season wasn't quite as strong as it really was. Oh well, DS9 is still my favorite version of Star Trek & one of my favorite shows of any genre.
Wed, Aug 31, 2016, 5:59pm (UTC -5)
I just finished watching the entire series run on Netflix. I dedicated the entire summer to re-watch this hidden gem. TOS had the legendary triumvirate in Kirk, Spock, and Bones and balls to launch a series that no one had ever seen before. TNG had the master thespian in Patrick Stewart. Oh man, was that guy awesome. He carried TNG even when several episodes careened off of the rails. I still get chills watching scenes from the Inner Light, The Measure of a Man, Sarek, and Chain of Command. I digress. VOY and ENT certainly had their moments, but with DS9, it can be argued that pound for pound, it was the best ST series.
The show started out with a slow burn, trying to find its footing. The ingredients were there, but it didn't quite find its calling until Duet at the end of season 1. I remember watching the 1st season in college. Back then, you had to set your VCR if you couldn't watch the show live. I was far to busy. I would record 3-4 episodes at a time. I'd binge watch before the term was even invented. I remember thinking, man, this show isn't going to make it. It's so different yet, it wants to be Star Trek. It couldn't make up its mind. I loved the pilot and thought it was a great start, but the subsequent episodes were mediocre. That first season, the two saving graces were the cast and the introductions of these new, wonderful characters. From the start, I felt the characters were interesting and had all the makings to be something special. The cast may not have had a "Patrick Steward" but, they were not slouches by any means. After Duet, I thought to myself, it's on now baby.
Season 2 had its ups and downs, but it wasn't until Necessary Evil were I started to see some brilliance again. Then, the season ended with a succession of episodes that were among the best in the entire run.
I stop watching DS9 from seasons 3-5 for various reasons. It wasn't until season 6 that got back on board. I had to play catch up in syndication. Boy, I didn't know what I was missing. The Way of the Warrior was flat out brilliant and took the show in a whole new direction. At any rate, I had long since forgotten about the show after 1998. It wasn't until I caught In the Pale Moonlight in syndication around 2009. I had to re-watch the series again.
Then finally, again, this summer, I decided to re-watch the series from a different perspective since so many had proclaimed DS9 to be one of the forerunner shows to provide continuity to a series. The X-Files certainly provided it's own mythology. I have to give props to that show. With DS9, it had its own stand alone episodes, but in order to appreciate the show as a whole, you needed to invest in every episode. Even the sub-par ones. There I was, night after night, taking it all in from a different point of view. I learned to appreciate the series in a whole new light. Mad Men is the one show that comes to mind where you have to watch in its entirely to understand all of the nuances. That's how I feel about DS9. It was different from TOS and TNG. It was darker and grittier. The characters didn't always see eye to eye. They fought and quarreled, but at the end of the day, they were family. They learned to appreciate one another. The relationships grew and evolved for better or for worse. Bashir and O'Brien, Sisko and Kira, Odo and Kira, Kira and Dax, O'Brien and Sisko and my favorite of them all, Odo and Quark. The series had at least 5 solid story lines that ran across the series, from the Bajoran religious angles, the Maquis, the crossover universe, to the Dominion war. Say what you will, but I loved the Ferengi episodes. Wallace Shawn kills me. Plus, those episode broke the monotony and provided comedy relief. I would make the argument that DS9 had the superior story lines.
I am an avid Star Trek fan. I have been since my older brother took me to see Wrath of Khan as a kid. I can't wait for the new series to start up. As a whole, I believe DS9 is the richest, most fulfilling, and entertaining series of the lot. That's just one guy's opinion.
Sun, Sep 18, 2016, 7:29pm (UTC -5)
Speaking of plot elements that should have been dealt with in the series, there was really no satisfactory wrap up of the nature of the wormhole aliens. Yes, they got more involved in the plot, but in terms of revealing what they really are, what their civilization is like, what their goals are, etc., no progress was made.
It would have been nice if the Starfleet scientists made a breakthrough in understanding the wormhole environment and sociology of the civilization that exists in it over the course of the show, and make a proper first contact towards the end. In stead, the 'prophets' remained as divine beings til the end.
It struck me odd that even enough evidences have piled up during the show to clearly indicate that the prophets are not just myths, they exist, and they can have tangible impact on the physical world, yet no attempt has been made to communicate with them. It is very unlikely that the Starfleet would have no interest in seeking out this powerful and influential civilization. A successful communication between the Starfleet and the wormhole civilization would be totally in the spirit of Star Trek (seeking out new aliens and finding rational explanations to myths), and would have made wormhole alien intervention in the Dominion War a lot more convincing (more so than Sisko yelling at them during a daydream).
Sun, Jan 1, 2017, 4:48pm (UTC -5)
1. "Image in the Sand"-3
2. "Shadows and Symbols"-3.5
4. "Take Me Out to the Holosuite"-3
6. "Treachery, Faith, and the Great River"-3.5
7. "Once More, Unto the Breach"-3.5
8. "The Siege of AR-558"-4
10. "It's Only a Paper Moon"-3.5
11. "Prodigal Daughter"-2.5
12. "The Emperor's New Cloak"-1
13. "Field of Fire"-3
15. "Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang"-3
16. "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges"-4
18. "Til' Death Do Us Part"-3
19. "Strange Bedfellows"-3
20. "The Changing Face of Evil"-4
21. "When it Rains...."-3
22. "Tacking Into the Wind"-4
23. "Extreme Measures"-2.5
24. "The Dogs of War"-3
25. "What You Leave Behind"-3.5
Sun, Jan 1, 2017, 4:52pm (UTC -5)
"The Die is Cast"
"The Way of the Warrior"
"...Nor the Battle to the Strong"
"In Purgatory's Shadow"
"Children of Time"
"In the Cards"
"Call to Arms"
"A Time to Stand"
"Rocks and Shoals"
"Sacrifice of Angels"
"Far Beyond the Stars"
"In the Pale Moonlight"
"The Siege of AR-558"
"Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges"
"The Changing Face of Evil"
"Tacking Into the Wind"
Tue, Jan 3, 2017, 10:22am (UTC -5)
I also personally love "His Way" and "Paper Moon"... but YMMV based on your feelings about Vic.
Tue, Jan 3, 2017, 8:34pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Feb 13, 2017, 2:33am (UTC -5)
One of the cool things about this season was that, even though it had to wrap up all sorts of plot-lines, for several episodes, it ignored all that and instead made the Comic (Joe Piscopo) from TNG into a regular character that constantly sang 60's standards and called everyone "Pallie." And the actor was one of my all-time faves from the Time Tunnel! And if it wasn't doing that, it was exploring chirpy little Ezri's character (whoever that was) in excruciating detail (although I was left hanging as to what happened to Norvo - unfortunately, his key character wasn't even included in the soapy montage!). But the way it addressed the all-time moral conundrum of "whether genocide is a good thing" was just path-breaking and the innovative brain science it explored when the bros went into Sloane's mind (that amazingly looked just like the interior of DS9) was one of the best depictions of real science I've ever seen on TV!
One strategic military mistake by the Federation, I think, was not only playing baseball in a holosuite against the Vulcans but taking weeks off to practice for it, despite (presumably) more pressing matters. Another was executing a Las Vegas heist against holocharacters. But that paled in comparison to the Dominion constructing their only Weyoun cloning facility in the Alpha Quadrant. But even that was nothing compared to the Federation planning and executing the public murder of the leader of their Klingon allies (who was installed by none other than Picard himself) just a week or two prior to their final assault. And leaving the Romulans out of the final assault seemed a bit of an oversight, especially given all the difficulty it took to get them as allies in the first place.
In most ST series', I believe, the Federation might have tried a little diplomacy - it seems that Odo could have been useful for that before the deaths of untold millions rather than after; especially given that he had (thanks to Our Man Bashir) the cure to the Founders' disease and merely had to do one meld with one Founder and all would have been well. Too bad they didn't think about that beforehand. Also, it seems that learning the Founders' motivation would have been helpful (both for the Federation and we viewers).
The amount of gay characters (zero) was also stunningly done! Kudos to the writers!
Jammer is right - this was the best of all Star Trek series!
Mon, Feb 20, 2017, 10:35am (UTC -5)
I believe the most glaring shortcoming of DS9 (and this is coming from someone who also sees DS9 as his favorite Trek series) was Avery Brooks's acting and he played the leading role unfortunately. I would say this is one area where Voyager and TNG had a leg up on DS9. He behaved for the most part as a stage actir thrown in the big screen. For example, "Waltz" happens to be one of my favorite episodes (your episode review is a reference as to why) and yet, Sisko's frenetic lines kept it from being my all-time favorite.
Otherwise, your season and series reviews pretty much sum everything up nicely. Once again, thanks a lot for your effort and wisdom.
I will soon begin a re-run of Voyager from beginning to end (my second go-round after watching it when it aired) and will make sure to read your reviews after each episode. In fact, I am looking forward to reading them.
Sat, Apr 15, 2017, 7:31pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Jul 10, 2017, 5:30pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Jul 16, 2017, 3:17am (UTC -5)
This just reinforces my dislike of Bajorans.. They always felt to me to be whiny, self-centered, and hugely opinionated on everything (the latter point actually made by Bajorans themselves on more than one occasion). Yes, they were occupied by Cardassians, but considering how Akorem Laan behaved (S4:E17), they were like that before they were occupied!
Sat, Jan 6, 2018, 12:21am (UTC -5)
"In the Hands of the Prophets"
"The House of Quark"
"The Die is Cast"
"The Way of the Warrior"
"Little Green Men"
"Our Man Bashir"
"...Nor the Battle to the Strong"
"Trials and Tribble-ations"
"For the Uniform"
"In Purgatory's Shadow"
"By Inferno's Light"
"Children of Time"
"Blaze of Glory"
"In the Cards"
"Call to Arms"
"A Time to Stand"
"Rocks and Shoals"
"Behind the Lines"
"Favor the Bold"
"Sacrifice of Angels"
"The Magnificent Ferengi"
"Far Beyond the Stars"
"In the Pale Moonlight"
"Treachery, Faith, and the Great River"
"Once More, Unto the Breach"
"The Siege of AR-558"
"It's Only a Paper Moon"
"Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges"
"The Changing Face of Evil"
"Tacking Into the Wind"
57/176 Great episodes is a fine batting average if you ask me.
Fri, Jul 6, 2018, 11:07am (UTC -5)
I will miss Deep Space Nine. Farewell my faithful friend! It's been emotional!
Now onto Voyager...
Wed, Aug 29, 2018, 11:15pm (UTC -5)
As far as making things less rushed and the writers saying if only we had five more episodes? I echo some of the previous sentiment. You had plenty of other episodes that you chose to waste on fluff and silliness. It's your story. Tell it how you want, but don't later complain that someone didn't give you a chance to tell it better.
A really good series and I wish we could one day have a modern Trek series in a similar model. Dark, intelligent, realistic.
Thu, Feb 14, 2019, 1:19pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Feb 25, 2019, 8:43pm (UTC -5)
Things I liked (in no particular order):
ACTING: Garak/Robinson, Quark/Shimerman, Dukat/Alaimo, Winn/Fletcher, O'Brien/Meany, Vic/Darren, Combs/Weyoun
CHARACTERS: Garak, Damar, Odo, Nog, Vic, the Jem Hadar, Weyoun, Morn
RELATIONSHIPS: Odo and Quark, Miles and Keiko, Odo and Kira (friendship), Odo and Lwaxana
FAVORITE EPS (10, not in order): Necessary Evil, Far Beyond the Stars, It's Only A Paper Moon, Tacking into the Wind, In The Cards, Trials and Tribilations, Indiscretions, The Jem Hadar, Whispers, Duet
GENERAL PLUSES: The war arc, excellent secondary character development, sense of humor, fun with a changeling, Worf's return to ST, seeing Ferenghinar, paralleling Cardassia and Bajor at the end.
Things I didn't like (also in no particular order):
ACTING: Brooks/Sisko, Anglim/Bareil, Brooks/Sisko. And Brooks/Sisko
CHARACTERS: Rom, the Jack Pack, Kasidy, Jake, the Nagus
RELATIONSHIPS: Rom and Leeta, Odo and Kira (romance)
WORST EPS (10, not in order): Move Along Home, Meridian, Second Sight, Resurrection, Distant Voices, Prophet Motive, If Wishes Were Horses, Let He Who is Without Sin, Field of Fire, Prodigal Daughter
GENERAL MINUSES: Mirror Universe, Magic/prophets-wraiths-Emissary, Dukat's ending, secondary character (portrayal and development) significantly better than primary, vague nature and motives of the Dominion
Generally enjoyed it and am glad I watched it. I'm not among those who believe DS9 is far superior to the other Treks, but neither am I with those who demonize it for its supposed religiosity or anti-Trek darkness. I don't think it was either religious or particularly dark.
ENT was almost another kind of animal, so I'm not going to include it here, but when it comes to TNG, DS9, and VOY, my thought is that how one ranks them has more to do with individual preferences and sensitivities than obvious or objective quality differences. Not that it can't be legitimately said that one series is better at A and one at B and one at C or D or E. Just that how important A or B or C or D or E is, is subjective.
My ranking is TNG, VOY, DS9, though they are all three pretty close in my estimation.
I got more attached to the VOY characters than any of the other series characters, and that was the only finale that actually brought tears to my eyes. That's how I know I got more attached. Why did I get more attached? Well . . . I'd say that has to do with what I personally relate to and identify with, along with well acted and written characterizations.
You know what DS9 ep made me cry? The Muse, when Odo "married" Lwaxana. The ep was not outstanding, but their relationship was very touching, to me. Lwaxana also made me cry in TNG's Dark Page, which was, IMO, a very good ep. Another touching ep was The Ascent with Odo and Quark.
Anyhow, overall, many memorable moments in DS9, and I'm glad I finally watched it. If I had to say the one thing I liked best about it, I'd say the secondary character development. Really good and an outstanding aspect. If I had to say the one thing I liked least . . . tie between Brooks' acting and the heavily magical aspects of the Prophets and Wraiths and Emissary storyline (deadly when combined).
Thanks to Jammer for all his efforts and to everyone who responded to my posts or thoughtfully shared their insights and opinions. It really added to my enjoyment.
Now I have to decide what's next on the watch list.
Tue, Feb 26, 2019, 8:31am (UTC -5)
Thanks for your comments. Always nice to get a first timer's perspective. Also, nice top ten. Glad to see I am not the only one to have "Paper Moon" in the top ten.
"Secondary character (portrayal and development) significantly better than primary"
Heh. I'm sure Elliott is smiling right now. I still don't really agree (I think the portrayals of Odo, Quark, Bashir, O'Brien, and Kira were excellent and they had some nice development too), but I will certainly not argue with the notion that the secondary cast was one of DS9's strongest assets.
Tue, Feb 26, 2019, 8:59am (UTC -5)
Glad you enjoyed it and glad you came here to share your experience/views.
We see this great series in a very simliar light. The DS9 finale' made me more angry than sad.
Looking forward to reading your next series' reviews.
Wed, Feb 27, 2019, 9:05am (UTC -5)
I was glad to read your comments and insights on DS9, and I'm glad that it seems you largely enjoyed it.
I agree approximately with your pros and cons. Garak/Robinson is, I think, my favourite supporting character in Trek. And in general DS9 does wonderfully with its secondary cast.
Of the other series (not including Ent, which I only know a bit of, and Discovery, which I haven't watched), I'd say TNG is second to DS9 for me for supporting characters (both writing and performance) -- Guinan/Goldberg, Q/De Lancie, Ro/Forbes, Barclay/Shultz (admittedly also on Voyager), O'Brien/Meaney (it's not for nothing he got an expanded role!), plus people who appeared in only one or two episodes but knocked it out of the park like K'Ehleyr/Plackson, Madred/Warner. But DS9 really is something else in terms of the depth and breadth of the supporting players. Garak as I said, but also (as you mention in either favourite characters or favourite performances) Weyoun/Combs, Nog/Eisenberg, Dukat/Alaimo, Winn/Fletcher, Vic/Darren (I'm kind of mixed on Vic episodes -- I don't like His Way or Budda-Bing, but I really like It's Only a Paper Moon), Damar/Biggs. Even with Brunt and Grand Nagus Zek, I think that the performers are very strong (Combs again, and Wallace Shawn) and it's more that the writing lets them down. I go back and forth on Rom but he's sometimes well done too IMO. I think Martok/Hertzler is also great (though there's a certain diminishing returns of Klingon stories by the end of the series), and Tain, and Salome Jens really sells the Founder despite being a difficult role.
An interesting thing to note is that in addition to having a strong supporting cast, I think it's the series where the focus really is off the humans the most, and the humans are overall the most disappointing players. I think it's interesting that you listed Brooks, Jake, Kasidy and the Jack Pack as problem characters and only listed O'Brien/Meaney and the O'Brien/Keiko relationship in the pluses for humans. I think Bashir has an interesting if not always entirely successful arc, Brock Peters is also great, as is (IMO) the actor playing Sloan. However the supporting cast's humans are relatively unsuccessful; I also think Ross, while not terrible (and it's good to see a halfway competent admiral) is one of the duller supporting characters in the show, and I don't think they really got Eddington to where they wanted to. Besides Kira herself, who is largely well done, I think the Bajorans, despite being the initial focus of the series, are also kind of a problem -- of course there's Fletcher/Winn, but I agree personally that Bareil and Leeta are weak links and other important Bajoran figures like Li Nalas and Shakaar didn't really grab me. Ziyal as a half-Bajoran maybe also goes there too.
Anyway I agree with Iceman that there is a lot to recommend about the primary characters as well. I would maybe specify that I think that Shimerman is terrific and Quark is always a joy, but Quark episodes and development are often a slog because of larger problems with Ferengi episodes; Meaney is fantastic and O'Brien is a great character, but he doesn't have that much development, which is fine since he's a more stable person whose life is more in order (and he's somewhat older than most of the cast). Bashir has IMO an interesting development but there are a lot of times where the writers and Siddig seem to be a bit uncertain how to play or deploy him. Kira is a great character, though I think there are some periods of time where they don't do quite enough with her (e.g. in season 4 the main Kira material is on the Kira-Dukat side) or somewhat gloss over her story for Odo's. Odo is the character who has the best overall combination of development and performance, IMO, which is why I think he's the biggest shiningest star of the main cast.
In addition to those Iceman mentioned, I generally like and find Jadzia entertaining but I think her character development runs into a fair number of dead ends (possibly partly due to limitations in Farrell's range). I like having Worf back and I like the eventual type of relationship that Worf and Jadzia eventually had, as well as the Worf/Martok bond, and both give us something we didn't really get in Worf's story on TNG. But a lot of the road to integrate Worf into the series was IMO very bumpy. I don't dislike Brooks' performance as much as you and there are some great Sisko eps, especially late in the series (Far Beyond the Stars obviously, and In the Pale Moonlight, and also Homefront/Paradise Lost earlier in the series) but I had trouble getting into Sisko's head, which is tough for an apparent series lead. Peter's suggested it's because I was maybe expecting him to be a more Picard-like figure to be admired rather than an ordinary guy doing a difficult job, but I don't think that's *quite* the problem I have (though it's hard to say; I can't quite identify what it is about Sisko that I have trouble with). Jake has some good moments, especially with Nog (In the Cards). Ezri is -- Ezri; I don't think it's really Nicole de Boer's fault but the show really didn't have an effective way of integrating her into the show at that late stage. Vic and Damar are two other characters who were given a huge amount of material near the very end of the show after having either been minor (Damar) or not existing (Vic) but the writing and performances were generally better, and Damar's importance in the final leg of the story was very organic (I'm not so sure Vic's importance was always organic, except in It's Only a Paper Moon, but the performance is good).
Wed, Feb 27, 2019, 12:25pm (UTC -5)
By saying that the secondary characters were better than primary, I didn't mean to suggest the primary were terrible, not at all. I thought Odo, Kira, and O'Brien were quite good and developed well, especially.
I just noticed that my favorite character list consisted of ALL secondary characters, and my favorite actors list consisted mostly of secondary character actors (I have Meany and Shimerman on it.)
And I thought how odd that was, and how it was both a weird and amazing Plus, while also being a weird and amazing Minus, for me.
Wed, Feb 27, 2019, 12:39pm (UTC -5)
I wasn't really disagreeing with you about primary -- I was sharing some thoughts with Iceman. I mainly meant, I think that the primary character who is at the sweet spot of best portrayed and best developed is Odo, followed by Kira (well portrayed and especially good development) and O'Brien (well developed and especially good portrayal), and then Quark is well portrayed but not as well developed and Bashir is pretty well developed but not always well portrayed.
Wed, Feb 27, 2019, 12:45pm (UTC -5)
And to clarify, Quark was well developed in many ways -- just that some Quark material and development is hampered by some overall problems with the Ferengi stories on the show. (FWIW I also generally like Siddig despite my somewhat negative comments, just that he sometimes can't quite make the material work (in Distant Voices or Chrysalis for instance), though often it's a writing problem foremost.)
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 9:50am (UTC -5)
I think Season 4 was the best year for Bashir. He got "Hippocratic Oath", "Our Man Bashir", and "The Quickening". All 3 of which are very good episodes that do a superb job of defining who just Bashir is on DS9. At their best, the writers used Bashir to balance the optimism of TNG with the cynicism that DS9 sometimes had. He can save the Jem´Hadar, but he can try. He *can* save everyone in his James Bond scenario, regardless of what Garak says. He can not find a cure instantly, but he can save the next generation. That is what Bashir brings to the show and why I like his character so much, even if the crew really struggled with him from time to time.
I am in complete agreement with you on Odo-one of the best actors in the franchise playing a very well written character on all fronts-conception and execution. Making him a Founder was also a stroke of brilliance that made complete sense with his character and enhanced it going forward. He is certainly my favorite of the regulars.
Same with Kira-terrific concept and mostly good acting. Unfortunately, they did not always know what to do with her. Her arc was mostly completed by the end of the first season. By In the Hands of the Prophets, she has come a long way since Emissary. But where to next? There was not really an answer.
Armin Shimerman did his absolute best, but the Ferengi episodes had serious, serious problems. Episodes that focused on Quark usually turned out okay though (specifically thinking of episodes such as Business as Usual, Body Parts, and Bar Association), and occasionally very well (Magnificent Ferengi).
Thu, Feb 28, 2019, 12:09pm (UTC -5)
And agreed on the others. Kira does have development in s2-7 but it's a little sedate relative to how much explosive material she has in season 1 (especially in Duet, and Progress which is very good for her character if not as much of a Series Classic as Duet).
Sat, Mar 2, 2019, 4:16pm (UTC -5)
By the end of Season 1, Kira had gone a long way toward accepting the Federation and even lessening (seemingly justified, to the degree that prejudice ever is, which is one of the main points of "Duet" really) prejudice towards Cardassians. It comes up again in "Rapture", but it wasn't really sufficiently explored between the two episodes. And it seems that she has to re-learn the lesson of "Duet" a few times as well. I do love how they bring her full circle in "When It Rains..." though. It really ties into the cyclical nature of Cardassia's story throughout the series exceptionally well. Cardassia goes from the oppressor to a world lying in ruins; Kira goes from a freedom fighter rebelling against the Cardassians to a freedom fighter teaching the Cardassians the methods that she learned in the Shakaar resistance cell.
Tue, Mar 5, 2019, 10:17am (UTC -5)
Yeah I should be more forgiving of Melora. Elliott in particular raised a number of good points in its favour. And I think for the most part the problems with that episode are more structural than specific to Bashir's character. It's a flaw of sorts that Bashir falls for his patient so hard but it's not an unreasonable one for the character to have at that stage in the series. Distant Voices really does show a sense that they are at a dead end with the character. I think Siddig really struggles in that ep but it's not his fault. I don't like Life Support but I don't think that Bashir's characterization is a big problem in it -- but then, it's not really strong enough to buoy the episode.
But yeah, Chrysalis they absolutely should have known better, and more importantly Bashir should have known better. If they did want to write a Bashir/Genetically Engineered Genius romance, they should have just brought in a new character to avoid sending him through Melora 2.0 with a far more vulnerable patient/girlfriend when he's much older.
I should say, I think there are a lot of (presumably unintentional) hints in season seven that suggest a really dark reading of Ezri's story in s7. I talked in comments about how the triple-whammy of Prodigal Daughter/The Emperor's New Cloak/Field of Fire seems to be implying Ezri's one or two steps away from being a murderer, and in particular being forced near the breaking point by a weak sense of self and unreasonable demands from family (PD), potential lovers (TENC), her other hosts/memories (FoF). It's very possible to read Sisko's behaviour toward her in Afterimage as overt emotional manipulation. Worf obviously registers her as a continuation of Jadzia Dax in the Penumbra/TDDUP/Strange Bedfellows mini-arc, though at least he eventually gets knocked out of it. Anyway, while (again) this is I'm positive unintended, the positioning of Chrysalis, where Julian goes all in on a romantic relationship with a miracle-woman, a "reborn" Sabrina with all of her genius and talents but none of the ostensible barriers to their relationship, right after Ezri's arrival and the establishment of her extreme vulnerability, in a season where he ends up with her, underlies the creepy inappropriate wish fulfillment of Julian ending up with the newest Dax model. I think that the actual story is meant to be that Julian and Ezri realize that they are attracted to each other for reasons unrelated to Jadzia, and for Ezri's "arc" over the season to have her getting over her vulnerabilities and hang-ups enough to be her own person (and to have a relationship as Ezri rather than purely as Dax), but the alternate (presumably unintended) read is pretty coherent. Anyway to be clear, even in this alternate read Julian is unaware of the dark side of what he's doing, just as he's non-malicious in Chryaslis.
I agree about Kira. Kira has a lot of good stories over the series, but I think the most notable *development* is, as you say, in season 1 and season 7 (in addition to the Cardassia material in season seven, s7 really devotes a lot of time and energy to her and Odo) and at times it feels like they don't have a big direction for her over the intervening episodes. This isn't by itself bad. As I said, I don't think it's a problem that a lot of O'Brien stories are one-offs rather than furthering an arc, because not everyone has to go through wild changes and more subtle ones or a sense of stability are also totally worthwhile. Still it feels like Kira, especially as our Bajor representative, should have more of an arc in the whole bulk of the mid-series, especially since they do keep giving her mini-arcs (like the opening trilogy of season 2, aspects of her Bareil story, her apparent surrogate parenthood of Ziyal which largely disappears in episodes without Dukat in them, her pregnancy), the Occupation in early s6, many of which fizzle out a bit. The show invests a lot in her evolving relationships with enemies Dukat and Winn, but in the end saves both of them for Sisko. Her closeness to the O'Briens due to the pregnancy gets a lot of attention and then fades into the background. She's backgrounded in Life Support around Bareil's death and is backgrounded in her relationship with Shakaar. Anyway this maybe sounds more negative than I mean it! I do think Life Support should have been better on Kira's feelings about Bareil, but I don't think we needed to have a Kira/Miles buddy episode after season 5, and I can see how it would have been tough to integrate Kira into the Last Word on Dukat or Winn. I think it's more just interesting that while I think Kira is well written and performed and has many strong episodes, I find her story less satisfying as an arc in the bulk of the story than I do at the beginning and end, and why in some ways I feel like the way in which the mini-arcs Kira has don't seem to connect to each other that strongly.
(To elaborate further: Kira carrying the O'Briens' baby could have really been tied in with Rapture and Kira's increasing confidence in the Federation. It's a pretty physical, direct link between Kira and humans -- Earth, even -- by having her be part of a human family, rather than primarily associating the Federation with Sisko who is conflated with his Emissary status. Her slowly finding herself swallowed by the second Occupation, and her watching Odo be seduced by the Founder and then turn around and save them, could have allowed her not just to continue to have some forgiveness for Cardassians as a people, but for Bajoran collaborators as well. And I think it's certainly possible to argue these are somewhat true, even if not made explicit. Kira is much more open to the Federation at the end of the series, and certainly her friendship with the O'Briens (and Jadzia, and to a lesser extent Bashir and Worf) plays into that. She does have a different attitude at the end of Wrongs Darker Than Death or Night and in Covenant to Bajorans who get lulled into following Dukat than she would have at the series' beginning and we can see her going through a period of finding herself too comfortable with her position in a Dominion/Cardassian regime as being one of the factors. I feel that the show could have made Kira's arc stronger if they had played up the connections between the various things Kira went through more, though. I can understand some reasons. With Bareil and Ziyal, there were maybe acting/chemistry limitations on how far Kira's relationships with them could be explored, which is less true for the stronger actors Odo, Dukat, Winn, O'Brien etc. Again, I'm not really *complaining*. Kira has a lot of interesting material, and I wouldn't want to force her various subplots together in an on-the-nose way. I still feel like there could have been more...flow, maybe?...to how Kira develops over the middle seasons.)
Tue, Mar 5, 2019, 10:54am (UTC -5)
Thank you for your comments and I see you've moved on to TOS. Just curious, did you mind at all that this series doesn't end with Bajor joining the Federation? I suppose since you didn't bring it up, you thought it was safe to assume they entered the Federation a little while after that. I know "Rapture" addresses they issue of Bajor entering the Federation, then we get follow up b plots like "In The Cards" where Bajor is encouraged to remain neutral so it won't become a casualty of war.
In season 7, Kira does don a Federation uniform and carries out what you might call a Federation assignment, so I suppose there just might be some sort symbolic value in that. Though, I don't know, was it best to leave this plot thread up to symbolism and not actually finalized? Would Bajor entering the Federation just be too happy an ending for DS9? Or - is there a future for Star Trek where Bajor remains sovereign that we might see a glimpse of in the Picard show?
Tue, Mar 5, 2019, 3:26pm (UTC -5)
On the issue of Bajor entering the Federation, my feeling is that the issue fell by the wayside long before the finale, so I didn't really miss it.
I try to write my comments before I read Jammer or other comments. And I confess I didn't even notice the lack of mention of Bajoran membership, until it was brought up by others. At that point, I thought, "hmm yes, that was a tiny bit of an oversight."
To me, it just wasn't that important. It was no more a dangling, unfinished plot point, than not knowing how Kai Opaka is doing. I know it was more central to the series than that, but the issue of Bajoran membership became mostly background noise to me.
If a set-in-the-future Trek, like Stewart's show, comes along, I'd expect Bajor to be part of the Federation. I wouldn't really need an explanation there, because it's pretty well set up in DS9. They were ready to go, then put it off, but with the war over, it would seem a no-brainer to join. If Bajor was not a member, I would hope for an explanation.
I loved seeing Kira in the SF uniform. It felt long overdue, though I can't say why. And now that you mention it, I do think it suggests all will be well for Bajor and the Federation.
Too happy an ending . . . eh. Maybe too distracting. Too small an issue to spend precious time addressing, but maybe too big an issue to address with just one "oh, by the way" line, without sending the scene (and ep), and the viewer's focus, off course.
So lots of blather to realize, yes, I think it was best to have left direct mention out of the ep.
Tue, Mar 5, 2019, 4:50pm (UTC -5)
The whole point of the series, if it can be said to have one, is that it takes a long time to heal from pain and loss, and that this must be done with others, not just alone. The Kira/Sisko relationship shows that two sides need to work together and that it can't come by force; the Odo/Quark relationship shows that no matter how different you are, you need to recognize the mutual respect before you can be called friends (and even then it can be hard); the Kira/Dukat angle can show that even the best efforts at a rapport can be fruitless if both sides don't honestly mean it; and the Bajor/Sisko angle, perhaps the most important, shows that you need a leader to point the way, but it's the people that need to change to bring about a new era. Leadership alone can't "make a society great", it's the quality of the population that does it. The Federation (accord to TOS and TNG) is all about the general public having developed an ethic of improving themselves, a far cry from our current world of accumulation and finding the advantage over one's neighbor.
We've talked a bit about how perhaps Sisko had to be taken out of the picture in order for Bajor to have the chance to grow up. And this bleeds into the Federation/Bajor relationship too. With a Federation Emissary in play the Bajorans were always going to be tempted to go his way simply because he was the Emissary, and being in the Federation would muddy that. They needed, as a people, to get over their pains enough to determine *for themselves* how to govern and whether joining the Federation was for them. Sisko could help point the way, but they needed to be the ones to walk in that direction, and this process could only *begin* once Sisko was gone. It should be 'ordinary' people like Kira, donning the Federation uniform, who usher the way into the Federation, not the general public following their Emissary's lead. So for this reason I think it's best that the Bajorans had the time following the war to discover for themselves why they wanted Federation membership. It's one thing for the Federation to prime them for it, but quite another for them to genuinely want it as a collective.
All of the character relationship arcs in DS9 (including those mentioned above) seem to have the common theme of finding kinship in pain and recovery, and becoming stronger through recognizing those same traits in another. The station is on the fringes of Federation space, just as the characters exist on the fringes of normal life; in the parts that are darker and that we don't like to visit but are with us and require our care: our suffering, our vanity, our naive lack of self-examination at times that makes us stupid; our failures, and all those other parts that need recognition. In order to be a great Federation person one needs to be able to get there from whatever state of imperfection, and that to me is what DS9 is about. So the recovering Bajorans also need their time to find out that others have things in common with them, that they're not the only people suffering - indeed, by the finale they and the Cardassians might well find more in common than ever before. And maybe that should figure into their future relationship, and into Bajor's reasons for wanting Federation membership. It ought to involve more than just 'the Federation can give us blankets and replicators', and should almost certainly involve the cosmopolitan sense of 'there are others like us, and we want to join them'. That is, after the Trek message!
Wed, Mar 6, 2019, 10:38am (UTC -5)
Tue, Mar 5, 2019, 4:50pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: Seventh Season Recap
"I didn't miss Bajor not joining either. In fact I'd call it a feature, not a bug. Putting aside the fact that it would have had to be tossed in as a brief mention, which wouldn't do it justice, there are series-based reasons why I think it would have been bad to have them join on the end of a war."
For some reason, I have in the back of my head that the reason Bajor wasn't in the Federation was their "cast system"
Can anyone else elaborate? .... disprove?
Wed, Mar 6, 2019, 1:06pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 12:36pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Sep 3, 2019, 8:16am (UTC -5)
Tue, Mar 5, 2019, 4:50pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: Seventh Season Recap
"I didn't miss Bajor not joining either. In fact I'd call it a feature, not a bug. Putting aside the fact that it would have had to be tossed in as a brief mention, which wouldn't do it justice, there are series-based reasons why I think it would have been bad to have them join on the end of a war."
For some reason, I have in the back of my head that the reason Bajor wasn't in the Federation was their "cast system"
Can anyone else elaborate? .... disprove?"
You are correct that the return to the caste system, implemented by the other "Emissary" was dropped by the end of that episode, when they consulted to the prophets and found out that Sisko was the true Emissary.
The reason Bajor did not join the Federation was that Sisko new that Bajor would be the first target of the Dominion invasion, and likely be destoryed, if they were Federation members.
Remaining independent allowed Bajor to sign the non-aggression pact with the Dominion, keeping it relatively safe while the Federation fought the Dominion.
Fri, Sep 13, 2019, 8:54am (UTC -5)
Thank you for the amazing times and see you on the Voyager section!
Tue, Dec 31, 2019, 1:29pm (UTC -5)
Over the last seven or eight months I have watched every episode of the seven seasons of Deep Space 9 and my overall summary is that when it is a science fiction show, it is a very, very good, in fact one of the best examples of the genre. Of course over 176 episodes quality is variable, and much of this comes when it isn’t being a sci fi show, of which more later.
The set up is that the Cardassian Empire is withdrawing from the planet Bajor after a long occupation and bloody guerrilla war. The Federation has arrived to help Bajor rebuild in the hope of eventual admission to the Federation. Heading the mission is Commander Benjamin Sisko who takes over a Cardassian mining station, renamed Deep Space Nine. This immediately gives DS9 a different feel from other manifestations. The static location allows a move away from the “monster of the week” style of the endlessly moving spaceship and allows for a deeper development of a wider range of supporting characters, and for politics to pay a much greater (and fascinating) part. That said, the development of long term story threads only really happens as the series progresses, season 1 is much more classically episodic.
In the very first episode a wormhole opens near the station,giving access to a distant part of the galaxy, the gamma quadrant. The wormhole itself is inhabited by a race of aliens who live outside the constraints of linear time, and who are known to the Bajorans as the Prophets, around whom they have established a religion. Sisko, in encountering and speaking with the aliens becomes a figure of religious importance, the Emissary. This is one of the three main problems I had with the series, and the reason for the title of this review. My taste is for hard sci-fi, and there was the possibility of exploring the relationship between the religious Bajorans and the secular federation. There is also an argument for saying that any sufficiently advanced technology will look like magic to outsiders and that the worm hole aliens fall into such a category. However, Sisko himself, and and indeed the series, move from distance to embracing the religion. In possibly the most significant event in the whole series, in season 6, the aliens become a literal deus ex machina. This lends air of what Robin Ince and Brian Cox in their excellent podcast, “The Infinite Monkey Cage” describe as Woo, as as wooooo ghostly spirity things woooooo. The nadir, the tipping point for this step over the line from sci-fi into fantasy is an episode called Rapture in season 5, which I have seen praised elsewhere but which for me was an exercise in shark jumping. Sisko receives visions from the prophets, goes bat-manure crazy, ends up directly frustrating the purpose of his Star fleet mission but still keeps his job rather than being withdrawn from the front line and put into therapy.
Returning to season 1, the best episode is probably Duet which involves one of the leading characters, Major Kira Nerys, Sisko’s Bajoran deputy, interrogating a Cardassian war criminal. As well as being a superb standalone episode, this brings together three of the strongest elements of the show. Firstly Major Kira, played by Nana Visitor, is fierce, tigerish, but also deeply wounded by her past as a Freedom Fighter, in which she was virtually a child soldier. The tables are turned on her during the interrogation and she is forced to confront the morality of her own actions. This is one of the most enduring themes of DS9, possibly the defining one - the balance between morality and necessity in time of war. The third great element of the episode is an entire race - the Cardassians. They are magnificent, haughty, arrogant, domineering. There are undoubtedly an enemy from a Starfleet perspective, but they are allowed develop far beyond moustache-twirling villains, with a rich and ancient culture. Two of the best characters in the whole series are Cardassians. Garak, played by the superb Andrew Robinson is exiled from his home world and works as a tailor on DS9. However, right from his first appearance it is clear that he is a devious operator, constantly enveloping himself in a fog of equivocation, hiding a mysterious past which may or may not involve the Cardassian secret service,the Obsidian order. The other is Gul Dukat, governor of the enslaved Bajor, who becomes the series’ Swiss Army villain, fitting into a number of different roles, some of them verging on the sympathetic. Actor Mark Alaimo brings real depth to the character at least until the final season when the writing lets him down by making him pantomimic and loses him in a fog of metaphysical woooooo. We see the best of Dukat in his evolving interaction with Kira which deepens through the series.
Season one introduces us to the other major characters, most notable of whom are Constable Odo and Chief O’Brien. The former is a changeling, able to change shape at will. At the start of the series he is unsure of his origins. Played by Rene Auberjonois (who was memorably the priest in M*A*S*H) he plays the role taken by Spock or Data in other incarnations, the outsider observing humanity, albeit in this case a rather snarky, sardonic one. Colm Meaney is everyman O’Brien, in a wonderfully naturalistic performance, despite having at least one deeply harrowing episode thrown at him in every season. Jadzia Dax (Terry Farrell) is a young woman carrying a three hundred year old symbiote, previously carried by Sisko’s mentor Curzon Dax. She is a sort of ladette, drinking, gambling, and going off on crazy missions with Klingons. She is the early aspirational love interest for Dr Bashir (Alexander Siddig). His is a character which grows and develops through the series, starting as hopelessly naive and gauche, but eventually, through the trials of the war and an unlikely friendship with O’Brien becoming much more rounded and mature. And then there is Quark. On his own, Quark is fine. He is the bar tender on DS9 and a member of the unrelentingly acquisitive, mercantile, capitalistic Ferengi, who could be seen as representing 20th century humanity in contrast to the idealistic federation. The problem is the rest of the Ferengi, Quark’s brother, his nephew, his mother and the leader, the Grand Nagus played by Wallace Shaun. He is an actor of whom I could forgive a great deal for the Princess Bride, but not this. There are frequent episodes which focus on the Ferengi, and these are intended to be humourous, are universally awful, and could easily be dropped from the series at no cost to the whole. The problem is the spectacularly bad acting, which seems to consist of shouting, cackling and bad scenery chewing. Armin Shimmerman who plays Quark is at his best in one of the most enjoyable episodes of season 6, Far Beyond the Stars, when Sisko dreams himself as a struggling SF writer in the 50s, with the rest of the crew populating the publishers office.
The first two seasons are primarily concerned with Bajoran politics, the ongoing relationship between Bajor and Cardassia, and the armed truce between Cardassias and the Federation. This truce is threatened by the Maquis, rogue humans settling in the buffer zone between the two powers and who feature across a number of seasons. Season 2 ends with the first contact withthe Dominion, an aggressive Delta Quadrant power who eventual provide the major protagonist for the Federation. Season 3 sees a gradual change of focus from Cardassia and Bajor to the Dominion and introduces the final major character, Klingon Starfleet officer Worf, following O’Brien from The Next Generation. The role of the Klingons is almost emblematic of a lot if what happens in DS9. At times they are hopelessly two dimensional. Take an actor, make him/her wear a wig and some prosthetics, and endlessly repeat the words “warrior”, “honour”, “victory”, “blood wine” and generally stomp around like an adolescent heavy metal fan. However, bring in a quality actor, in this case J G Hertzler, and something much more interesting and intelligent starts to happen.
Seasons 4 to 7 while remaining to a degree episodic are primarily concerned with what eventually becomes a war with the Dominion and include a number of multi-part story arcs. Amongst the standalone episodes,mention must go to Season 5’s Trials and Tribble-ations, which, in a tribute to the 30th anniversary of the Original Series, inserts the DS9 crew into the original classic episode. This is probably the only time a humourous episode really works, and the moment the DS9 crew first encounter the original Enterprise is memorable.
Meanwhile, the Dominion story thread introduces the second great villain, Weyoun, a member of the Vorta, the Dominion officer class. Like all of the other stand out characters, his prominence is primarily a result of the actor’s skills. Here Jeffrey Coombs is notable for playing the least objectionable Ferengi, financial enforcer, Brunt, at least once playing both characters in the same episode.
And so I must come to my third major problem with the series. It gives me no pleasure to say this, as the actor’s heart is so clearly in the right place, but I was never really convinced by Avery Brooks as Sisko. In the early times his acting is sadly simply wooden. He improves but he is often often guilty of being actorly, overly stagey, using bizarre intonation. Now while strange delivery of lines brings us right back to Kirk, Shatner probably got away with it by playing a straightforward larger thanlife action hero. Brooks tries to play a more nuanced, sometimes morally compromised character (particularly in the excellent Season 6 episode In the Pale Moonlight), which makes his lack of natural speech patterns stand out more.
And so, in summary, I really enjoyed DS9, and would agree with those who rate it the best Star Trek series. It isn’t perfect, but that would be impossible in a series so long. It is at its best when it is both hard sci-fi, and is using sci-fi as a vehicle for exploring the nature of the human condition. Also, a series this long has no hiding place for poor acting, and the characters who shine do so primarily as a result if the skills of those portraying them. In contrast, the series doesn’t work where the Ferengi take front stage, and where things move into the realm of fantasy and low budget mysticism. A case in point would be the Season 7 episode Tacking into the Wind. This is an absolutely terrific story, and is totally devoid of any of the elements of wooooooo which form part of the wider terminal storyline.
Sun, Jan 19, 2020, 9:56pm (UTC -5)
Season 7 remains polarizing. The highs were high and man, were the lows low. Season 1 was mostly shades of lukewarm oatmeal, nothing too deplorable but definitely not spectacular, but Season 7 showed some of the drawbacks of serialization. When there's a crap plot-line, it doesn't go away when there's the reset to status quo at the end of the runtime, but it continues until the writers see fit to put it and us out of its misery. That horrific -- horrific! -- Dukat/Winn plot mess was emblematic of Season 7 digging its heels into some questionable story decisions and its tendency to try to include everybody.
Don't get me wrong. The depth given to the secondary and tertiary characters was a brilliant decision that more than not, added to the story, but there was no harm in sending a character like Dukat off onto the good ship No Longer Needed. Dukat was deservedly a fan favorite, but by jove, quality > quantity every time. See Garak. Reflecting, the development that Garak received happened in precise spurts and added something to him that wasn't already there. Contrast that with Dukat who with his whole Pah Wraith storyline was around for no reason. We got it a while ago that Dukat is a selfish power-hungry maniac. Great, so what's next? That again? Eh. That's what you do with your limited remaining air time?
While there were several moments throughout the season where I rubbed my temple in disagreement over how the writers were choosing to allocate the time they had to finish off DS9, there were fortunately more where I was relieved that, as I remembered, characters had their stories progress in satisfying, logical ways. Kira's story, for instance. She suffered from a case of the writers realizing that they had good ideas for her but they would've fit sooner in her character arc throughout the series, but in Season 7, they seemed to restrain themselves in order to let circa Season 7 Kira and her accumulated development proceed as natural. I am still not overly convinced about the romantic angle of her and Odo's relationship, but it thankfully didn't encumber her. That scene where she, Damar, Garak, and other Cardassian rebels are laughing about the impenetrable door felt like dessert for her character arc.
If only they'd spared some of that decision-making for the Sisko arc. The Prophets ascending to divine status to him and the cloying spirituality surrounding that (even now thinking about that scene where he walks through the promenade like Christian Jesus... Zack Snyder must've learned from the DS9 writer's subtle allusions to Christian imagery) is the landmark of where Cpt. Benjamin Sisko's Possibility for Satisfying Character Development goes off-road. The baby was a pointless decision for the last season and the last few episodes. The writers phoned in it from the Gamma Quadrant with that "fight" with Flandarized Dukat (who was already a puffed up, cartoonish villain in the beginning!) It's no wonder that Avery Brooks has barricaded himself in his jazz career and only occasionally can be dragged out to crouch down in shame in a chair at a con over what the promising character he played became.
There is a lot that Season 7 left to be desired you realize once you've finished it. However, when taken as a part of the whole of DS9, it can't be begrudged too hard. It was very much a product of its time. What I think people often forget is that prestige television is very much so a post-2000 phenomenon. It's easy to go back with an electron microscope to comb over its flaws, but when taken in relationship the environment it was aired in, things become more excusable. And don't get me started on the Star Trek purists' enduring dislike for DS9 over its "non Star Trek-ness." The only real Star Trek purist is Roddenberry and well, unfortunately, the man's gone. Trekkies should take notes from comic book fans. You can disagree with a canonical entry without dismissing its validity.
Having been a spectator through the comments, I must point out @DLPB's sneering about Terry Farrell being ungrateful to be on Trek when it was the place she experienced sexual harassment on is a corollary to his repeated dribbling about the evils of leftism. Right-leaning folks' enjoyment of Star Trek for all of its leftist daisy-chain utopianism reminds me a lot of 2012 US Vice-Presidential Republican Candidate Paul Ryan's love of Rage Against the Machine. It's interesting the way people can manage the herculean task of unweaving messages from such politically charged media. I suppose when you think of the ideals as fictional and fantastical, it's not so hard after all.
Mon, Jan 20, 2020, 12:59pm (UTC -5)
How profoundly shallow is your view of art! But then again, many artists are probably oblivious enough to voice the same view (my art is all about my message! And it gets people to believe in it!), even though they actually like a large amount of art that contains ideals they don't believe in.
There are millions (billions?) of non-Christians who enjoy at least some Christian art, whether it's Gospel music, Gothic Cathedrals, the better-written parts of the bible, or renaissance paintings celebrating biblical scenes. You can say the same thing about Islamic art, Buddhist art, and any other religious art you can think of.
There is a lot of art made by people who were/are fascists, communists, militarists, racists, sexists, etc., that are enjoyed by people who don't share these views, even though if you dissect these works of art, their views are present.
And Star Trek isn't really about a lot of "left leaning" stuff...at least not in any coherent way. If Star Trek has an intrinsic message it has successfully communicated throughout the various series, it is that people of different backgrounds can come to work together. But, despite what people who call themselves "left thinking" might say, many people believe this who don't identify with the "left". Furthermore, believing in that ideal does not imply you believe in "leftist" race politics (for example, you can believe that all people can work together and still believe that racial quotas are not good for society).
The other main "leftist" idea attributed to Star Trek, socialism, isn't really supported by the shows themselves. Yes, there are random comments throughout the series (not so much TOS, but the ones that follow): "How awful it is to use money," "Aren't you glad we're not greedy Capitalists like them?" "Hey, do you know Capitalists are greedy?" etc., along with individual episodes, characters, and even most of a whole race (Ferengi) where the writers say "Capitalism is bad." But they never successfully justify this opinion; the shows never really show the supposedly non-capitalist system of the future working (indeed, writers have admitted they don't really know how it would work). And they certainly don't show a sincere capitalist society failing (no, the massively corrupt, bureaucratic Ferengi society is not really capitalist).
If you take all the Star Trek shows and movies made before Discovery (which I haven't seen) they have provided more proof that baseball is an interesting sport than they have proof that socialism works. And I know there are a lot of fans of Star Trek who don't think baseball is an interesting sport.
There are a lot of passionate fans of Voyager who will say "Threshold" is a bad episode. So you don't have to be a fan of every Star Trek episode ever produced to be a fan of the franchise.
So, yeah, it's quite possible to not identify yourself with the "left" and be a fan of Star Trek.
Finally, note that I tried to keep "left" and "right" in quotes throughout this post. These "ideologies" are really an inconsistent mix of different philosophies. If you take many of the policies supported by supposedly "right wing" Trump, you will find many of them would have been attributed to the "left wing" not too long ago. A franchise can't run as long as Star Trek has while being consistent with the inconsistent, ever-changing "ideologies" that supposedly characterize "left" or "right".
Mon, Jan 20, 2020, 2:37pm (UTC -5)
And I've never understood why some people insist on equating messages of cooperation and compassion and tolerance with a certain political view. These core values should be beyond the petty bickering of politicians.
Mon, Jan 20, 2020, 3:23pm (UTC -5)
Sounds pretty communistic to me.
Tue, Jan 21, 2020, 8:47am (UTC -5)
Sounds pretty communistic to me."
Well except there's no evidence that anyone works for the state except maybe in Starfleet and in a few other instances.
Incidentally, I agree with Omicron that a true post-scarcity society renders ideologies like communism and capitalism obsolete. If a replicator can manufacture anything from food to tools and machines (including other replicators!) the state can't (and doesn't) control the means of production - pretty much everyone does.
Not suggesting that individuals are making everything themselves but then again, we have to infer from some episodes that money isn't completely gone either.
Tue, Jan 21, 2020, 9:01am (UTC -5)
But yeah, they zigzag like crazy on a lot of this. Take this exchange in "The Cloud" about Paris's experience in non-holographic France:
PARIS: I found this place just after my pocket was picked walking by the harbour.
KIM: Somebody picked your pocket? On Earth?
PARIS: Oh, they just do it for tourists. They give it back. Most of the time.
Pocket picked of what?
Tue, Jan 21, 2020, 12:12pm (UTC -5)
I always thought that most people in some way or another work for the Federation. As far as I understand it the Federation provides you with the stuff you need like replicators. Also Picard mentions that there is no more money and you definitely don't get payed working for the Feds. I agree to a certain degree about the post scarcity argument I just wanted to point out that it looks more like communism than capitalism.
@ Top hat
There is no private enterprise. At least not in the sense that people have big companies. Sure Sisko's dad has a restaurant and Picard has his vinyard but does he own that and who gets it when Picard dies? Who repairs his stuff or provides him with machines? That is all done by the Federation.
At least that is how I understood it.
Tue, Jan 21, 2020, 12:24pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Jan 21, 2020, 9:36pm (UTC -5)
From what we actually see of the economy:
-The Federation can build military/scientific ships and bases
-People have family vineyards and personal restaurants, works of art and historical artifacts (we don't see people buying and selling in the Federation after TOS, but people definitely give objects as presents)
-In addition to scientists, engineers, and artists, there are people who have mundane jobs, like working at bars and restaurants.
-Great diseases that wipe out planets can generally be eradicated in a week by one doctor with a good computer and lab
-There seems to be a never ending supply of planets to move to after relatively easy terraforming (think of the American West or Australia in the 19th century with unlimited land without pesky natives to bother you).
If you take the current US economy, make medicine insanely cheap (not because the government pays for it, but because technology and knowledge have developed to make cures cheap) and make land insanely cheap, you can have the above economy without any economic transformation. Depending on how much everything costs in our utopian future, our future government could have far lower taxes that the US currently charges.
Anyone "poor" can find a spot in an idyllic community on some new planet. They wouldn't be wealthy, which in this future would probably be equated with owning unique items: a historical artifact, a great work of art, a house in the Latin Quarter in Paris. But even the "poor" could have replicas of these things (well, they couldn't replicate the "neighbors" in the Latin Quarter, but they could build an identical house).
So, yes, the writers can have the characters talk about the Federation being "socialist" all they like, but if you watch the series they haven't actually shown that the economy is different. They certainly provide no argument that socialism is more likely than capitalism to lead to the technological breakthroughs could produce the Star Trek economy.
I said Star Trek had an intrinsic message: people from different background can work together. Going over this again, I should add a 2nd intrinsic message: technological advancement is great! Despite some characters occasionally praising the old ways (Sisko, McCoy), the whole future is shown to be powered by technological advancement.
Socialism isn't intrinsic to the Star Trek universe. It's just not shown onscreen as something real or necessary to their future.
Tue, Jan 21, 2020, 11:54pm (UTC -5)
It is quite clear that the Federation is a society where every person does pretty much whatever they want with their lives. You can open a restaurant like Sisko Sr., or spend your entire life doing mostly nothing like Bashir Sr.
The problem is that people take certain aspects of this vision out of context ("no money", "some sort of central planning") and misunderstand it as an example of socialism. This claim doesn't make any more sense then saying that Trek's general message of compassion and diversity is "leftist".
If you want Trek that actually spouts political propaganda, you have Discovery ("Make the Empire Great Again!"). And from the recent things that Patrick Stewart said about Trump and Brexit, it looks like ST:Picard is going that route as well.
Tue, Jan 21, 2020, 11:58pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Jan 22, 2020, 12:05am (UTC -5)
"If you take the current US economy, make medicine insanely cheap (not because the government pays for it, but because technology and knowledge have developed to make cures cheap) and make land insanely cheap, you can have the above economy without any economic transformation. Depending on how much everything costs in our utopian future, our future government could have far lower taxes that the US currently charges."
medicine in star trek is not cheap, it is free. land in star trek is not cheap, it is also free (and given out by the state). The Federation has no taxes.
I also said that it resembles more a communist utopia than a capitalist one which it clearly does. (Socialism is not communism)
"The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in our lives. We work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity." (So yeah probably not capitalism)
Jean Luc Picard.
And with this subtle viral marketing for the new Picard series I'm out. :)
Wed, Jan 22, 2020, 2:49am (UTC -5)
(1) Energy is dirt cheap (in terms of resources)
(2) Replicators are also dirt cheap, and they can use this energy to create anything you want
(3) Individual freedom and protecting individual rights are both a social norm and the law
Given the above, what would be the difference between a capitalistic post-scarcity society and a communist one?
Not much, I gather.
By the way, it was never actually established that there is "no monetary system" in the Federation. We only know that if some form of Federation currency exists, it plays a minor role in the everyday lives of the average citizen. We know that people are no longer obsessed with wealth... and why would they be? If you can do 99.9% of the things you want to do for free, and if society in general frowns at people stabbing each other in the back in order to gain the other 0.1%, there is no incentive to be greedy.
Wed, Jan 22, 2020, 3:27am (UTC -5)
The difference would be that it could be a communist post scarcity society but not a capitalist one.
"By the way, it was never actually established that there is "no monetary system" in the Federation."
To give you a few quotes:
- Kirk answering the question "Don't tell me they don't use money in the 23rd century,...?" Kirk: "Well, we don't."
- Picard: "The economics of the future is somewhat different. You see, money doesn't exist in the 24th century."
- Nog commented, "It's not my fault that your species decided to abandon currency-based economics in favor of some philosophy of self-enhancement."
That is pretty clear.
I get it Omicron it is maybe an emotional conflict for you? You are a baby boomer, yes? So your entire life politicians, the media and so on told you that socialism is bad/evil but at the same time you like or even love something that promotes societal goals that socialists promote. The post scarcity thing is just a way to present a society that is in many ways a communist utopia(one could call it liberal socialism with a very anti capitalistic edge).
But let's stop this here. Talking with Americans about socialism is like talking with religious people about faith.
You are, of course, welcome to give your final thoughts. But I hope it is alright with you that I'm not going to answer and please don't take that as a sign of disrespect. I'm just very conflict averse right now and these arguments have a tendency to become very heated. Live long and prosper :)
Wed, Jan 22, 2020, 3:38am (UTC -5)
Ronald D. Moore commented: "By the time I joined TNG, Gene had decreed that money most emphatically did NOT exist in the Federation, nor did 'credits' and that was that. Personally, I've always felt this was a bunch of hooey, but it was one of the rules and that's that."
Wed, Jan 22, 2020, 6:42am (UTC -5)
I think the post scarcity thing is the issue here. A communist society in which the means and ends of production are limitless is akin to a capitalist society where every individual can print infinite money in his basement.
It's not to say that such a society couldn't meet the literal definition of communism; only that to call it communist would be practically meaningless.
Or to put it another way - what good is "collective" ownership of the means of production if every individual in said collective has a magic factory in his living room that can produce literally anything? The "collective" becomes redundant.
Wed, Jan 22, 2020, 6:44am (UTC -5)
Wed, Jan 22, 2020, 10:35am (UTC -5)
"That is pretty clear."
Yes, it is clear that they aren't using money as we know it. But this doesn't tell us what they *are* using. Gene Roddenberry notwithstanding, you cannot base an economy on absolutely nothing.
We'll probably never know for sure how Trek economics really work.
But we *do* know that it does not resemble any present day system. Calling the Federation "communist" is just a ridiculous as calling it "capitalistic". Federation citizens clearly own their houses and their stuff. The government can't just stroll into Picard's vineyard and pick his grapes. Just because the raw resources are unlimited, doesn't mean that the concept of personal ownership ceases to apply.
The interesting question is: What happens in those few cases where resources *are* limited? Who decides which person gets that house with the perfect view of the Eiffel Tower? Does the government decide? If so, on what basis? Can people barter for this position, or otherwise influence their chances?
The answer, of-course, is that we don't know these details. And it is in these details, that the Federation might show a somewhat communist or capitalist bent. But either way, it won't be a direct correspondence to any system that exists to day. That's about the only thing we can be certain about.
"I get it Omicron it is maybe an emotional conflict for you? ..."
Oh, gimme a break.
For one thing, I'm neither a Boomer nor an American nor a person who swallows all the hate mongering cr*p that politicians and the media tries to sell us.
For another thing, I don't see how these 20th century issues (which are already on their way to becoming obsolete in 2020) have any relevance to discussing the world of Star Trek.
So let's stay focused on the actual discussion, alright?
Wed, Jan 22, 2020, 10:52am (UTC -5)
Sorry, I must have confused you with somebody else, then. My bad.
Wed, Jan 22, 2020, 11:29am (UTC -5)
I gotta say, though, that saying stuff like that in people's faces would hardly be a good way to "avoid conflict" even if your statements were true.
Wed, Jan 22, 2020, 12:02pm (UTC -5)
And again I just wanted to say that if you ask a capitalist how his utopia would look like and then a communist how a communist utopia would look like then the version of the communist would probably be far closer to what we are presented with in Star Trek. Not that it is the United Federation of Soviets. :)
Fri, Jul 31, 2020, 10:59pm (UTC -5)
Alexander Siddig has a YouTube channel and they just started what amounts to DS9 season 8 with the original actors ... kind of like a Covid-19 radio play (I found the visuals distracting so I just look away and listen).
As soon as I heard Bashir and Garak (Andrew Robinson!!!) begin that old school witty repartee with the double meanings, I knew you guys would want to know about this ASAP!
Sat, Aug 1, 2020, 8:39am (UTC -5)
Sat, Aug 1, 2020, 9:01am (UTC -5)
Thanks for the link -- will check it out.
Would be uber-cool if DS9 Season 8 got the kind of treatment Star Trek Continues provided TOS, though DS9 did already end very nicely.
Sat, Aug 1, 2020, 7:39pm (UTC -5)
Man, I missed these two actors sparring.
Sun, Aug 2, 2020, 5:53pm (UTC -5)
DS9 is obviously quite unique in the Trek franchise and I truly think it is very special for how it departed from the sanitized world of TOS and mainly TNG to focus on the darker side of morality, more realpolitik albeit doing it in a way that is definitely classic Trek. I’d say DSC, PIC could learn a thing or two about that, but that’s another topic...
It ultimately comes down to writing and having capable actors. The long-form story telling was superbly done and how the characters evolved, interacted, responded was a joy to watch. DS9 took risks and they paid off and for the most part it was logical and not overly forced. That is a credit to the writers. I find that as I’ve gone through TNG, DS9, and VOY a number of times, DS9 has the most episodes I’d watch in their entireties for the 4th, 5th, 6th times.
What’s great about DS9 is not just its main cast but the recurring actors/characters, which is something it benefits from over TNG, VOY being a serialized show. This is one reason I prefer the Dominion War arc over the 1st 2 seasons — having characters like Weyoun, Damar and even the female founder was a true credit to the show and its world-building. The final 11 hours of Season 7 (aside from "Extreme Measures") is so compelling and it's always nice to re-watch the final 1/2 hour or so of "What You Leave Behind" -- great to get a bit of an epilogue.
My sense of that if I conducted a random poll of people on this forum, DS9 would be most people’s favourite Trek series. It’s my 2nd favourite after TOS. Also, critically and objectively speaking, I’d rank it 2nd after TOS.
What was also much appreciated with DS9 is the remarkable consistency in quality of the seasons. I would say that after a below-average first season (which I understand turned some folks off) and after a small dip with Season 3, seasons 4-7 were terrific. Season 2 was also terrific. As I prefer the Dominion War arc over the Alpha Quadrant geopolitics of seasons 1 and 2 (if I could broadly categorize as such), I think the best DS9 seasons are 6 and 7. It’s interesting that after TNG and VOY came out with strong fifth seasons, they really petered out in seasons 6 and 7 for me, while DS9 went from strength to strength.
The Dominion War arc was outstanding in how it affected the characters and the plots themselves. How Kira went from fighting Cardassians to help liberate Bajor to then helping Cardassians liberate themselves of the Dominion is just fantastic. Visitor is a wonderful actor and was given great material to work with and she never let us down. Could say the same for Auberjonois and Meaney. But one strike against the main cast for me will always be Avery Brooks — have said it before that I don’t like his style of acting in a few key situations where he overacts or huffs and puffs. But the character and story the writers created for Ben Sisko is nothing short of exceptional and in a couple of key Sisko episodes, Brooks did deliver (“In the Pale Moonlight” and “Far Beyond the Stars”).
DS9 didn’t really put an emphasis on sci-fi as much as it did a political action/drama, and that’s fine with me. I liked the way the series tried to show grit and the palpable effects of ground combat. I don’t think Trek should shy away from that, when it is needed. But what still bothers me are the many scenes of starship battles with hundreds or thousands of ships just firing at each other — I know it should be chaotic but it just didn’t work for me in terms of how it was represented. That’s never been so much an attraction of Trek to me.
For 7 seasons of 25-ish episodes a season, there will be some misses of course and I think DS9 could have been a much tighter product had it omitted the Ferengi arc (some of the worst episodes in all of Trek) and the Mirror Universe arc (just dumb and meaningless).
My top 5 and bottom 5 DS9 episodes:
1. In the Pale Moonlight 10/10
2. Duet 10/10
3. Tacking Into the Wind 10/10
4. Far Beyond the Stars 9.5/10
5. The Visitor 9.5/10
1. Profit and Lace 0/10 (worst episode in the entire Trek franchise)
2. Ferengi Love Songs 0.5/10
3. Fascination 1/10
4. The Emperor’s New Cloak 1.5/10
4. Prophet Motive 1.5/10
Wed, Aug 5, 2020, 7:06am (UTC -5)
10. Past Tense
9. The Jem'Hadar
8. Call To Arms
7. Rocks And Shoals
6. Image In The Sand/Shadows And Symbols
5. The Siege Of AR-558/It's Only A Paper Moon
4. The Way Of The Warrior
3. The Visitor
2. Far Beyond The Stars
1. The Darkness And The Light
Least favorite DS9 episodes:
10. Children Of Time
8. The Emperor's New Cloak
7. Battle Lines
6. Dramatis Personae
5. Profit And Lace
4. Field Of Fire
2. A Simple Investigation
1. Extreme Measures
Wed, Aug 5, 2020, 9:28am (UTC -5)
It really can't be summed up any better.
Wed, Aug 5, 2020, 10:10am (UTC -5)
Honestly it is a very bad argument. It is full of mistakes. The authors are clearly biased. It shows a lack of imagination.
This one really made me laugh because it is so obviously wrong.
"Firstly, it is already visible now that Western industrial (secondary) societies are turning into service (tertiary) economies and ultimately into financial (quaternary) economies."
When was this written? 1947? Hahaha.
Anybody with a vague understanding of economics knows that this is just nonsense.
And that the text praises Star Trek Picard at the end and states that what we saw in TNG was just the shiny side of the coin really takes cake. Did CBS hire somebody for this?!
Tue, Dec 15, 2020, 3:26pm (UTC -5)
I understand trying to flesh her out some, but they went so drastically beyond that. I liked her well enough, and she was an interesting Dax, but sheesh. There were a whole lot of bigger stories and arcs going on and coming to conclusions. Why spend so much time on a new character in the final season?
Vic as well. He did have a great story here, but there was way too much Vic.
Sun, Feb 20, 2022, 5:36pm (UTC -5)
1. Ira Behr is far too infatuated with Vic Fontaine, Ferrengi hi-jinks and other silly tangents. DS9 carefully builds its momentum for 5 seasons, peaks with its "minefield arc" in season 6, and then goes off on wild tangents, few of which have anything to do with science fiction, few of which have anything to do with the Dominion War, and few of which work.
2. The show systematically character assassinates most of its characters. Sisko, for example, is revealed to be a divinely conceived Space Jesus. This is far too big a last-minute revelation, and one with massive implications (everything in the show is suddenly pre-ordained) which the writers have no interest in delving into.
Meanwhile Dukat is turned into a cross-dressing clown, Kai Winn into a cartoonish villain, Dax gets screwed over by Ezri, Kira's turned into a saccharine lover, Odo a high school boyfriend (their romance doesn't work at all IMO), Bashir's suddenly a genetically engineered genius, and Worf and Dax rarely gel as a couple (there's something very parochial about the way the show attempts to shoe-horn everyone into a relationship).
3. In its first six seasons, DS9 gave Sisko a handful of "prophet episodes" which typically revolved around orbs, religious prophecies and the wormhole aliens. Most of these episodes were excellent. Sisko was a disbeliever slowly nudged toward being a Moses or Kazantzakisian Christ. But from season 6 onwards all these little arcs get totally stupid. The eventual payoff – Jedi battles on the promenade, PahWraiths, demon possessions and Sisko's out-of-the-blue desire to live on Bajor – are so bad they kill the entire show. Sisko's final scenes are themselves some of the worst stuff in all of Trek.
What this show really needed was at least a dozen episodes of Sisko going insane, turning into a mad Moses, being ostracized from his friends and family, being kicked out of Starfleet, begrudgingly allowed to command a Fleet because the Admiralty realizes he has God on his shoulders, and becoming a crazy-eyed True Believer. It is not Dukat who should've become a deranged mad man, it is Sisko.
The show sets the foundations of a path it is too scared to commit to. It wants to retain Sisko the father, the Starfleet officer, the reasonable Federation suit, when these personas should have been utterly destroyed by early season 6. Sisko should be a deranged, bearded mad man by season 7. He should be Christ talking to burning bushes and having insane visions. He should be flagellated and killed to save the Temple. Not playing baseball or hanging out at Quarks. Indeed, Sisko should provoke a schism in the Federation itself, with some thinking he's a nut, while others bend over backwards to exploit this guy's pseudo-divinity for military purposes; Sisko as Mohammed, Warrior Prophet.
If you're going to commit to religious allegories, commit to them properly, and interrogate the tropes properly; don't squeeze this big stuff into a couple half-assed episodes. Janeway gets bashed for being “inconsistent”, but Sisko is much worse. This guy is at least six different characters who have nothing to do with one another.
4. In the first six seasons, DS9 hinted at strange relationships between the Wormhole Aliens, Bajor and the Federation. What's the payoff? Where does this go? Again, nowhere good. The Wormhole Aliens are revealed to be sociopathic Abrahamic Gods who toy with billions of lives. Which is fine. Human Gods are sadists as well. But at no point does the show convincingly challenge these Wormhole Aliens, investigate them, question their lives or morality (as the show does with the Dominion Gods), or delve into their abusive relationship with Bajor. There are hundreds of interesting stories that could be milked from these aliens, but we get nothing. Behr wastes dozens and dozens of episodes on silly tales instead.
5. The show never interrogates its worst religious tropes. Earth religion, for example, is rife with weird, rapey stuff. Consider the way Greek Gods were always raping humans (Zeus impregnated mortals, Minos and Hercules were the product of God rape etc), which echoes that of the Hindu Gods (Kali was perpetually horny and Shiva had sex with human prostitutes). This morphed into Christianity, with Jesus and the New Testament God being hebephiles, rapists and down with incest (God has non-consensual sex with Mary – who most historians put at 9 to 14 years old – who is his own mother etc).
6. DS9 lifts tropes from the New Testament wholesale. Instead of Joseph and Mary giving birth to Rabbi Yeshua Ben Yosef (Jesus), we have Joseph Sisko and Sarah giving birth to Ben Sisko, both sons of purported Gods. And like Earth religions distract you away from their mumbo jumbo, DS9 distracts you from the fact that Sarah, Sisko's mom, is raped by a Prophet, possessed, made to have sex with Joseph, all to give birth to the Emissary. During this time, Sarah lacked any agency or control. Confused or traumatized by the events, she then bails on the family. Nobody in the show bats an eyelid at this, or even acknowledges it. A better Trek show would challenge these tropes. A better show would have Federation scientists knee-deep in the wormhole alien's business. Picard would probably refuse to play by their rules entirely. TOS' Kirk would certainly call them out on their psychopathy. DS9, meanwhile, does precisely what religions do; dangle nonsense about to obfuscate, distract and get you looking elsewhere.
Distract from what? That the Wormhole Gods make no sense. If you can possess other beings, you do not need to “breed a prophet”. Simply posses some high ranking aliens (pick a race!) for a day, and get them to do what you want. Want to stop the Pah Wraiths? Possess Dax and get her to drop some chronitons on that cave.
And how can you be a race of aliens who “don't experience linear time” yet “believe yourself to be in a battle with Pah Wraiths”; being in battle supposes a certain temporality. Similarly, why don't the aliens recognize Sisko, when they're the ones who created him? And how can they recognize the need for someone to teach them linear time, when recognizing this need is itself a recognition of linear time? And why don't the Dominion make chroniton attacks on the wormhole? The Dominion should recognise that killing these Wormhole Gods are important to their endeavors. They should be having all kinds of existential crises (Why is that God stronger than our God?), and be launching all kinds of demented terrorist attacks on the infidels in the wormhole. Everyone in the show spends far too much time ignoring the wormhole and the aliens.
7. What's the point, anyway, of the wormhole aliens? Other than throwing mud in the eye of TNG/TOS (their heroes regularly bested pretender Gods), what's the point? Reversing a Trek cliché is still just a countercliche. “Deconstruction” is not intrinsically interesting or truthful. So what's the point of these alien Gods?
Here's professor of literature Hugh Ruppersberg writing on the Alien Messiah trope in science fiction: “The alien messiah has been a pervasive figure in science fiction films..[...] Its modern origins extend at least back to the 1951 film The Day the Earth Stood Still, where an alien visitor warns the inhabitants of Earth to eschew war and violence or suffer destruction. This film followed by seven years the explosion of the first atomic bomb and appeared during the early days of 1950s Cold War nuclear paranoia. It reflected a general public concern over the same historical circumstances that have influenced more recent science fiction films: the fear that civilization has run amok and is about to destroy itself, the individual’s consequent despair and sense of unimportance, the inability to find coherent meaning in the modern world.”
Ruppersberg then touches on the reactionary nature of these tales: “The alien messiah’s frequent presence in recent science fiction films propels us toward certain conclusions. The first is that contemporary movie audiences and film writers suffer from a terminal sense of inadequacy and insecurity and a parallel fatalistic certainty that the problems of our contemporary world are insurmountable, incapable of solution. The second is that these films suggest that the only satisfactory way of addressing the world’s problems is imaginative appeal to super-human agencies, that is, highly advanced aliens, or the deities of traditional religion. Humanity itself is impotent, incompetent. The third is that many science fiction films serve the same function as the biblical epics of the 1950s and 1960s. What exactly is the difference between King of Kings and Close Encounters, between The Robe and E.T.? […] The earlier films were more honest, or perhaps less subtle, in their illumination of religious doctrine. […] Paradoxically, they invoke the messiah, that overtly or covertly religious personage who renders irrelevant the technological marvels that all the special effects highlight and which science fiction itself in some sense is supposed to concern. Ultimately, they reflect reactionary, defeatist attitudes in their makers and their audiences. If they do not reject science and technology, they at least ignore it. If they regard the future with hope and wonder, they simultaneously discourage the hope that humankind will be more capable in the future of handling the problems that confront it today. Entertaining as they are, these films are escapist fantasies grounded in the patterns of the past instead of the possibilities of the future.”
I've always felt DS9 promotes a kind of stupidity, and Ruppersberg articulates why. Faced with evil villains, DS9 solution is to make a personal appeal to God. God henceforth destroys a massive Dominion fleet. Why does God destroy the fleet? Because God needs you; you're the handpicked chosen one, chosen to banish evil into the fiery cave, and lead the battle of Cardassia.
What, you say? The Federation has poisoned the entire Dominion leadership caste with a genocide virus YEARS BEFORE the war's even begun? Don't think too hard! We're the good guys! God's on our side! Stop looking over there. Look over here. See. See. You're the chosen one.
Ruppersberg is right; these kinds of messianic tropes, come part and parcel with goofiness. And so DS9 eventually degenerates into superpowers, Star Wars-like force battles, cave battles, warring Gods, all space combat and military tactics filtered through the George Lucas prism, complete with the show's own Millennium Falcon (Defiant), a style which stops working after “Sacrifice of Angels”.
8. The Federation's tactics in this show make no sense. Why's the Federation repeatedly breaking a sovereign power's territorial space? Why's it using a genocide virus years BEFORE the Dominion has even crossed the wormhole? Why's the wormhole not secured? Why's the Federation so clueless, that it falls on Rom to think up making self-replicating mines? Why does the Federation stand by while the Romulans try to wipe out the Dominion homeworld with Federation intel? Why when the Romulans try to destroy the wormhole 3 to 4 years before siding with the Dominion, does the Federation not see the writing on the wall? Obviously if the Romulans are this scared of the Dominion, you have only two choices: forge an immediate Alliance with the Romulans, or shut the wormhole down yourself to prevent the Romulans siding with the Dominion. Why's the Federation so incompetent?
9. A better writer would have the Federation handle the Dominion with competency, assembling massive first contact teams, investigative teams, Betazeds, Vulcan strategists, social scientists, historians, ambassadors tasked with forging a super alliance with the Romulans, envoys sent to the Organians, all backed up by all the Federation's technological might (superweapons ready to be deployed if finally needed, gravity well generators that pull invading ships out of warp etc).
When Behr takes over, however, the show increasingly becomes World War 2 in space, with the Federation taking the place of early 20th century Allies, and contemporary western powers. There's little gained from any of this, other than a repackaging of common views and attitudes. Indeed, DS9's stance has aged worse than that of Voyager, TNG and TOS, which still feel counter-cultural; DS9 in contrast strikes a pose typical of most contemporary art; a kind of designer cynicism, masquerading as profundity.
Bernard Shaw famously said 'The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
DS9 refuses to be unreasonable, and you sense that it doesn't even believe in progress. All its decision trees and avenues are designed to be as hemmed in as possible. It does not want you thinking out of a very 19th, early 20th century box. To make its WW2 allusions work, DS9 thus has to both continually dumb down the Federation – this is, after all, a Federation that leaves the invention of a crucial minefield to Rom – and distract from how the Federation both spurs and botches the war every step of the way.
9. People say DS9 is about the Federation “facing an existential threat” and “so being forced to test or break its values”. But is it really? DS9's Federation breaks its purported values way back in season 3 and 4. The War hasn't even started, and the Federation are breaking a sovereign power's territorial space, using genocide viruses, and sitting back while the Romulans mosey by in an ethnic-cleansing fleet. The Federation isn't “tested in hard times”, it acts like a dick before the hard times begin.
Is Federation science or secularism tested? The Wormhole Gods are largely ignored. Dax has a few lines, but everyone but Sisko just sort of ignores the whole issue. Is Federation diplomacy tested? In episodes with the Maquis and Bajorans TNG-styled diplomacy is beautifully skewered, but we don't get any of that stuff with the Dominion. We don't really see any diplomatic efforts in that direction.
10. I would say the show's most successful arc is actually its little Maquis/Federation/Cardassian arc. I feel this little arc nailed its ending better than the show's other arcs. I'd say my favorite seasons are 1 and 2 - I liked their Cassablanca/John Le Carre approach to war - though 5 and 6 are probably "objectively" better.
Sun, Feb 20, 2022, 6:16pm (UTC -5)
So they're almost identical in terms of consistency. My gut tells me DS9 has more great episodes, but that TNG's good, mediocre and bad episodes tend to be better. That's just a hunch, though.
Sun, Feb 20, 2022, 6:28pm (UTC -5)
Just a couple of reasons why I think DS9 S7 is the best season of the series and one of the best in all of Trek:
The final 10-hour resolution is simply fantastic in terms of the series' major arc (and various mini-arcs) being wrapped up. Not to mention the Worf character arc that started with "Sins of the Father" (or even "The Emissary"). For Trek to achieve this level of layered serialized story telling in the late 90s must have been somewhat pioneering (B5 comes to mind as doing something similar as well).
When I think of what makes a season great, it has to have a number of standout episodes. DS9 S7 has 3 in my list of top-50 Trek episodes ("Tacking...", "Chimera", "Inter Arma...") -- that's pretty damn good. Honorable mentions go to "The Siege of AR-558" and "Treachery, Faith...". This season is loaded with strong episodes. So when I rewatch DS9 S7, there are far fewer episodes that I skip over.
From Jammer: "DS9's seventh season goes down as one of Trek's most engaging and well-thought-out seasons—in my book, anyway." In my book too.
Sun, Feb 20, 2022, 7:41pm (UTC -5)
DS9 S7 is quite phenomenal.
Sun, Feb 20, 2022, 8:12pm (UTC -5)
It's a weird year for a number of reasons. I go back and forth on aspects of it.
I think Damar's arc is overall pretty strong. The Garak and Bashir scene in WYLB is one of my favourites (of the series), but I think that maybe Damar shouldn't have been killed off, because actually figuring out where Damar would have landed -- whether he could have kept the honourable rebellion up or would have simply reinstituted the Old Cardassia at the first opportunity -- would have been interesting, and while there wasn't time for a full arc of that sort I think that the show could have played with the ambiguity of where Damar would go next, which might have been satisfying.
What worked about Damar was largely the fact of his being such a minor character credibly pushed to centre stage -- which also highlights the torch-passing elements of the season, not all of which are very successful.
Avery Brooks was, I understand, somewhat checked out. While the space messiah stuff is, uh, one way to go, I would have liked it better if it had gone a slightly different direction: there are hints of it, but that Sisko needed to actively sacrifice himself not just to defeat Dukat, but to free the Bajorans from the need to have a Sisko-figure, could have been highlighted, and tied in with Kira's arc of taking command, more. Along similar lines, I wasn't big on the baseball ep or the Vic Fontaine caper ep -- or really most of Sisko's material this season. But the writers knew that the show was actually heading toward Sisko leaving to go be a prophet-ghost. And it *began* with Sisko having already left. So I think one way to make the season feel more cohesive would be to have Sisko actually start to know, earlier, that he is not long for this linear world, whether from the weight of his actions last season or whatever, and have the baseball/caper stuff be more specifically framed in the story as Sisko having one last adventure and "passing the baseball" to Kira, which would fit given that the "one last fun adventure" is the actual meta reasons for those episodes.
Backseat writing decades later, I know. Take it with a grain of salt.
Tue, Feb 22, 2022, 1:45pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Mar 3, 2022, 11:15am (UTC -5)
And I'd say it has 7 interesting ones: Interface, Gambit, Attached, Homeward, Thine Own Self, Masks and Genesis.
For me, season 7 of DS9 only has 2 great episodes: Once More Unto the Breach and Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges.
Fan favorites like It's Only a Paper Moon, Treachery, Faith and the Great River, or The Siege of AR-558, did nothing for me. I found the "serialized final ten episodes" to be pretty bad, constantly interrupted by odd stuff (Worf and Ezri's bickering, cult boy Dukat, the hokey looking Breen etc). I didn't like the direction any arc took, other than the subplot in which Kira - poetically ironic - defended Cardassia and helped Damar.
Fri, Mar 25, 2022, 1:14am (UTC -5)
The only major mistake here was the resolution of the Emissary plot thread. Which had always been something of a problem for the show--by Season 3, the writers essentially abandoned Bajor as a source of long-form storytelling. And "The Reckoning" certainly didn't help matters by the Prophets about as uninteresting and generic as could be. But yeah--it's a mess, and it's a shame Dukat and Winn got pulled down with it. There are some other notable weaknesses, such as the bungling of Section 31 in "Extreme Measures" and the somewhat contrived nature of the Breen. But as a whole, despite not hitting as many high points as S6, and being less consistent than Seasons 4 and 5, to me--still a remarkable accomplishment.
Fri, Mar 25, 2022, 1:16am (UTC -5)
Fri, May 6, 2022, 10:18am (UTC -5)
Sun, Oct 9, 2022, 12:26pm (UTC -5)
This was now--20-30 years after is first aired--the first viewing of the show. I didn't bother watching it back then and I never had much of an inclination to watch it at all. I did it because I had a slow summer and nothing else to do. I don't regret it but I'm pretty sure this first viewing will almost certainly also be my last.
There are some excellent episodes. There are some abominably bad ones. There are some mediocre ones. Usually, the mediocre ones constitute the bulk of a show. Here, it was the poor-to-very-poor that composed a relative majority, around 40%, with the mediocre and very-good-to-excellent installments making up, say, 35% and 25%.
As far as the characters, nothing to write home about either. They were all "just so" and predictable. There was little nuance. For me, Battlestar Galactica is the gold standard; it's the yardstick I measure other shows by. On that show, I felt truly connected to the characters. They felt real because they were human; they were human because they performed acts of tremendous, yet plausible, heroism as well as did typically-human stupid shit. Of course, the MONUMENTAL advantage B.S.G. had over D.S.9 (and Star Trek in general) is that it wasn't an discrete-episode-based show; story arcs spanned across much of a season or even several seasons. It is THAT that enables the vaunted "character development," rather than individual installments with the almighty reset button at the end.
Be that as it may, here's my take on the chars--
* Garak: A comparatively minor character but my top favorite. Funny, witty, resourceful, suave, intriguing.
* Quark: My second favorite. He uttered some pearls of wisdom along the way and at times provided perspective for the main "heroes" to check themselves against (which they never did, because Quark was the butt of jokes and abuse, which the viewers, too, sadly all-too-happily partook in).
* Nogg: Cool kid who became a stand-up crewman. Liked him a lot.
* The Ferengi in general, and their episodes: Enjoyable. I don't understand why so many love to hate them.
* Worf: Good old Worf... - still reliable and still and officer and a...gentleman (on a good day).
* The Klingons in general: Frustrating. Super backward. I doubt such creatures would ever have had the patience and presence of mind to invent the wheel, much less survive without exterminating each other to become a warp-capable civilization.
* The Romulans and the Cardassians: Always a pleasure to see them, mostly because they never dominated a season.
* Keera: Okay. The Bajoux religious crap she's into gets too much at times.
* Smiley (O'Brien): Passable when in his work environment; an insufferable yenta and a bore otherwise.
* His wife: UNBEARABLY boring.
* Bashir: A man-child. An idealist with his head high up in the clouds, but a rank hypocrite, too. Needs to get laid...bad.
* Jake: Adorable as a kid, especially his friendship with Nogg - so wholesome. Turned into an elephant-tranquilizer-level bore.
* The Cisco: Jake must have gotten the boring gene from him because this guy is just quadruple-facepalm-worthy, in every regard. I remarked many times about how he is totally devoid of charisma or zeal of any kind. His voice has the range of within a third of an octave and 4, maybe 5, decibels. If he was my commander, the only thing he'd be capable of inspiring me to do was go kamikaze on someone--anyone!--just to put myself out of the misery of being around him.
* Dodo: Possibly THE most lackadaisical and frustrating character. He was cool in a couple episodes here and there, but what he did mostly was bust Quark's hump over some stupid smuggling shit, thump his chest about maintaining law and order, break his own rules a number of times, and prolonging the brutal war with the Dominion because he just had to bust a nut at a critical juncture. Bonus points for annoyance: He got away with it scot-free AND went on to pontificate about ethics and justice.
* Jadzia: Nice hiney. Also, ... Nah, that's it: nice hiney.
* Ezri: Who?
Anyone else? Must be too forgettable so 'nuff said.
Altogether, I don't regret watching D.S.9 but it'll take for my life to take a drastic turn for the worse (knock on wood!) for me to come back to it for another viewing.
Fri, Nov 4, 2022, 8:52am (UTC -5)
Submit a comment
◄ Season Index