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first impressions of Deep Space Nine

KelisThePoet

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POSTS: 636

Report this May. 23 2013, 2:29 pm

I've never had the chance to watch Deep Space Nine because when TNG-era Star Trek was on the air I did not watch any of it.  I discovered Voyager, The Next Generation and most of Enterprise only through syndicated reruns and sales on DVDs, but Deep Space Nine has been impossible for me to find that way.  But now that full episodes of the show are available on this web site.  I am going to give it a try.


Unfortunately, I was forced to start with the second episode, "Past Prologue," because the second part of the series pilot is not on the site, and I don't want to watch the first part without the second part.  So here are my initial reactions to the series based on watching "Past Prologue":


1) Acting and production values: above average


I've never thought that any of the TNG-era series fully excelled in this area.  To me, only the original Star Trek looked like a professional show and consistently delivered quality acting from everyone.  But the level of acting and production values in The Next Generation is surprisingly poor to me, especially in the early seasons.  This episode of Deep Space Nine, by contrast, was solid.


Case in point: in terms of the writing and dialogue, the Bajoran Major (Kira?) was similar to The Next Generation's Tasha Yar.  Both characters are presented as tough, fiery tomboys in an over-the-top, stereotypical manner.  But the actress playing the Major does a more nuanced job of delivering her unnuanced lines, and as a result, by the end of the episode, the Major had become a character I liked.


2) Story: average


The way things played out was a little too obvious a little too early.  And it became a little preachy by the end.  But the premise was interesting enough, and throughout the story was well told, if not terribly exciting.


3) Characters, world, backstory: below average


I felt like the show was trying too hard to generate too much conflict and intrigue--Starfleet, Bajorans, Cardassians, Klingons all at each others' throats.  Clearly this is a response to Roddenberry's attempt to purge character conflict from The Next Generation, and generally I think it's a good thing to promote character conflict on a show, but in this case, it felt exaggerated and overplayed.  Worse, too much of the conflict seemed based on what the characters are (species, rank, affiliation, etc.), which is an artificial substitute for conflict that grows out of who the characters are (personality differences).


But new series almost always start out with rough overdrawn characters and grow more subtle, so I'll hope for the best in this case.


Overall, I'm excited to have a new show to watch.


Falor was a prosperous merchant who went on a journey to gain greater awareness: Through storms he crossed the Voroth Sea/ To reach the clouded shores of Raal/ Where old T’Para offered truth./ He traveled through the windswept hills/ And crossed the barren Fire Plains/ To find the silent monks of Kir./ Still unfulfilled, he journeyed home/ Told stories of the lessons learned/ And gained true wisdom by the giving. – Falor’s Journey, “Innocence”

starfan97

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Report this May. 23 2013, 2:47 pm

I am also watching DS9 for the first time and have made similiar conclusions.I must say that DS9 lacked a captivating pilot, IMO. The next episodes were better, but I think far from Star trek's best. I also really didnt like how they showed a very emotional side of the commanding officer so early in a show. That should be something people find out over time, something that they find out after they discover who the character really was. I know it was something he struggled with, but it should have been a little more subtle. 


I like Major Kira though. Shes firey and not afraid to voice her opinion.I think adding her in was kind of a different idea, and a good one, because we get to hear things from the other side of the equation, like how the Bajorans struggle with this alliance, growing up hating the Cardassians.


The other characters have not really stood out to me so far, although I think that I will end up liking some of them.I think that the actors are terrific and I have no quibbles with the casting choices.


I think that before I make a solid conclusion I should watch mre of the series first, but these are my first impressions.

OtakuJo

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Report this May. 24 2013, 2:11 am

Wow if that's the impression you got from Past Prologue, wait till you get to the good stuff!


"Worse, too much of the conflict seemed based on what the characters are (species, rank, affiliation, etc.), which is an artificial substitute for conflict that grows out of who the characters are (personality differences)."


An interesting point. Here's my take on it:


(Aside from this being based on a very early episode), I believe you'll find that a lot of the continued story of DS9 is about people finding common ground as they get to know a lot more about each other. At this stage, the characters have only just met and don't know much about their co-workers except for these superficial things such as rank/species & affiliations. i think what you're seeing at the moment are characters reacting to first impressions and misconceptions -- a natural reaction of people coming into unfamiliar territory, both politically and physically. Many of them are naturally wary and don't really know what to expect. As the series goes on, and they learn about each other in greater detail, you will find that they relate on more of a personal level.


Actually having realised this from your review makes me appreciate DS9 even more.


And as an afterthought, if you look at something like Past Prologue, a lot of the story is based around the concept of loyalty & affiliation, so of course there is going to be some emphasis on that element of interplay between the characters. Other episodes look into more personal interaction in greater detail. You certainly get some personality clashes in other stories as well. (I think of O'Brien and Bashir before they are friends -- and their personality differences still remain strong even when they are two of the closest friends on the show. Hopefully that wasn't a spoiler, but hey it's been mentioned often enough.)


Have you ever danced with a Tribble in the pale moonlight?

Kdbtrekkin

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Report this May. 24 2013, 5:22 pm

If you have access to Netflix you can watch all of Deep Space Nine or you can go to Hulu.com to watch all of Deep Space Nine, as this website seems to have some missing episodes(at least for TOS, I haven't checked the other's).


"Seek freedom and become captive of your desires, seek discipline and find your liberty." Frank Herbert(Dune)

willowtree

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Report this May. 28 2013, 7:40 am

I'm currently rewatching the series. As far as the characters go I've always loved Quark. I never cared for Jadzia much, mainly because she was too perfect I think. She was good at everything, everyone was in love with her, just too perfect imo.


 


 


*Spoiler for first time watchers*


 


 


 


I always felt that Ezri was unfairly hated. Yes she replaced a very popular character and people resented her for that. But Ezri on her own I think didn't get enough credit. Especially when  you look at her situation. She was given the Dax symbiot without ever preparing for joinging, without ever wanting to be joined. Jadzia had made it pretty clear through previous episodes that it takes an incredibly long time to prepare to be joined, to learn how to integrate the past memories with your own. But poor Ezri had no training at all. She was constantly confused with the memories of her past hosts. Plus imagine from her point of view coming back to DS9 where as far as she was concerned these people were all her friends, people she's known for years, even her husband. But to them she's a complete stranger, and a constant reminder that their friend Jadzia is dead.

wissa

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Report this May. 28 2013, 8:28 am

I watched the whole series a couple years ago and loved it.  The first season is a bit uneven though.  I was struck too by how good the production value was.  It stands up well.


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bunkey

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Report this May. 30 2013, 7:24 am

I remember arranging my work schedule so I could watch the premiere.  I loved Kira on first sight.  Sisko took me a bit to warm up to because he was (understandably) hostile to Picard.  


The rest grew on me over time. 

mrsbenevolent

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Report this Jun. 01 2013, 11:34 pm

When I first started, I had just finished TNG. So, naturally, I was still hypped up on the amazing that is TNG. It's hard to move on from one trek series to the other, at least at first. It took me forever to watch TNG after TOS! ANYWAY, that was one of the main reasons I didn't get into DS9 right away. 


The fact it's on a station gave me the impression it wouldn't be as entertaining or exciting. 


So, I moved on to Voyager. During that, you'd hear tidbits about this "Dominion War." 


By then, I was a HUGE trekkie and had to know everything about the Federation and the politics and such. So, I forced myself to watch DS9 BEACUSE IT'S STAR TREK.


Once I passed season 2, I found that the show had really begun to kick off and some huge stuff was about to happen. The characters really started developing and growing in to people with a lot of depth and subtle actions that only one who had seen them since the start would understand.


I finished DS9 within that month.


I was someone who said TNG would ALWAYS be my favorite, but DS9 TRULY stole my heart. It's realistic, its true to Trek, and it's FAR from boring. The station I once thought I wouldn't care for has become my favorite place in the Star Trek universe, as well as my desktop background. 


 


For those of you who are iffy about DS9, maybe do VOY first, then give it another go. The federation isn't all about happy new life forms. This show really reminds you that even the good guys aren't flawless and the universe is beyond what you'd expect. 


Why in the "fav species" section did they put "shapeshifter" instead of their ACTUAL species- CHANGELING. (Such a tiny detail that shouldn't bother me but does omg i'm such a nerd..."

Kilrahi

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Report this Jun. 02 2013, 9:26 am

I had a similar experience to you mrsbenevolent.


I was just 13 when DS9 started.  I loved TNG, but DS9 was clearly a deeper show to try and jump into (though I didn't recognize that at the time).  Not only that, but the station that showed it where I lived constantly bumped the time slot around and so it was VERY hard to keep up.


I watched all seven seasons and when it was over I thought, "that was good, but not amazing like TNG."  I rapidly lost interest in Voyager, and Enterprise blew.


Years later in 2004, and now 24 years old, my wife wanted to see TNG with me as her guide.  When it was over, I remembered there were some DS9 episodes I'd really loved ("In the Pale Moonlight" being the biggest).  The plan was to show her a few of the first season DS9 episodes so she'd know the characters and then when we got bored show her the faves.


Well, the boredom never came.  It was so odd because even though I remembered 99% of the episodes it was like I was seeing the alternate universe versions.  By season four I knew it was my fave Star Trek of all time.  By the final episode I was feeling chills and in tears it was over. 


It was truly a great experience to have a "new" Trek series in the last decade, and not only new, but the best one ever by a longshot.

KelisThePoet

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POSTS: 636

Report this Jun. 05 2013, 1:25 pm

So, I've finished the first season of Deep Space Nine, and I still feel basically the same way I did when I wrote my initial post--though, if anything, I am more excited about and impressed with the show than I initially was.


The characters are all at least fairly likable and the acting ranges from good to at least competent.  One of the things I am missing so far in Deep Space Nine is the rich, warm character interaction I love in some of the other series (though these characters already have more chemistry than the Next Generation characters).  Surprisingly, right now my favorites are Odo and Quark.  Perhaps that's not so surprising on the first count, because I already like the actor who plays Odo based on his subseqent work in my favorite TV show, Boston Legal.  But the main reason I like Odo and Quark is because I think they have the most interesting and fun character relationship so far.  I like that it has some prehistory behind it, from before the series, and that it's not a straightforward antagonism or friendship.  It's not as subtly fun as the Spock-Bones relationship, but it has that kind of potential.


The writers have laid the groundwork for a good friendship with some prehistory between Sisko and Dax, and Dax's symbiotic "identity" interestingly complicates that relationship.  I like that he calls her "Old Man."  But I hope the writers develop that relationship in the later seasons, because so far, I don't think they've done much with it.  I'm hoping for something great like the relationship between Kirk and Spock, or at the very least like the relationship between Archer and Trip, but I fear it might end up a missed opportunity like Janeway and Tuvok.


I've really enjoyed the storytelling in the episodes.  The pacing feels a bit sluggish at times, but the themes and plots are the kind I've come to expect from Star Trek, the kind I enjoy, involving exploration and alien variations on more familiar situations.  Season 1's stories have a good deal of the Trekkish silliness I enjoy (clones grown in bathtubs, powerful aliens playing childish games, telepathic devices making everyone act irrationally, etc.); as well as a bit too much of the TNG-era Star Trek clumsiness I could do without (lots of technobabble, Q showing up with no reason or consequence, and a story about Odo and Troi's mom trapped in an elevator--really?)


But I've liked that season 1's stories have been episodic, and I know from discussions with other Trekkies, etc., that it's going to change and become soap operatic, so I'm not looking forward to that.  I think long, continuing stories tend to be melodramatic and less tightly written.  In the case of Deep Space Nine, I sort of braced myself for that kind of storytelling because I knew it was coming and prepared myself to enjoy the show in spite of it, because it's Star Trek, but now season 1 has spoiled me.  Already, the first three episodes I've watched from season 2 seem to be taking the show in a more soap operatic direction.


Falor was a prosperous merchant who went on a journey to gain greater awareness: Through storms he crossed the Voroth Sea/ To reach the clouded shores of Raal/ Where old T’Para offered truth./ He traveled through the windswept hills/ And crossed the barren Fire Plains/ To find the silent monks of Kir./ Still unfulfilled, he journeyed home/ Told stories of the lessons learned/ And gained true wisdom by the giving. – Falor’s Journey, “Innocence”

chator56

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Report this Jun. 05 2013, 3:18 pm

The whole purpose with DS9 was to go darker, with more character conflict, and to play up the differences between species and cultures, a stark contrast with the everyone is one big happy family approach of TNG. Of course, we didn't get much diversity species-wise with TNG among the regular cast with the exception of Worf, and later Ro Laren. In DS9 exploration takes a bit of a backseat to politics, and the peace era that characterizes the exploration of space in TOS and TNG, is disrupted in DS9 with the Dominion war. DS9 is the most different of the Trek TV series-gaining it comparisons to Babylon 5, and Battlestar Galactica, it really stretches the boundaries of what could be presented as Trek.

KelisThePoet

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POSTS: 636

Report this Jul. 19 2013, 1:59 pm

I have now completed watching the first three seasons of Deep Space Nine (and I just watched Season Four's opener last night).


At this point, I am hugely impressed.  I am still bracing myself for the dreaded soap-operatic so-called "serialization" of this show, but so far it hasn't really come.  By the time it does, I think I'll be so taken with the characters and the style and the previous plots of the show that I might just forgive this series for any melodramatic extended soap-opera plots.


I'm also (pleasantly) surprised by how much I love this show because I'm a huge Voyager fan, and there seem to be a sizable contingent of Deep Space Nine fans on the internet who don't like Voyager.  So before seeing Deep Space Nine, I always assumed it would be antithetical to Voyager and to my tastes.  But of all the TNG-era Star Trek spinoffs, Deep Space Nine is the one that (so far) reminds me the most of Voyager.  It has all the cleverness and wit and character warmth and excitement (not to mention the good production values and acting) that Voyager also has in abundance and that The Next Generation and Enterprise so often lack.


Falor was a prosperous merchant who went on a journey to gain greater awareness: Through storms he crossed the Voroth Sea/ To reach the clouded shores of Raal/ Where old T’Para offered truth./ He traveled through the windswept hills/ And crossed the barren Fire Plains/ To find the silent monks of Kir./ Still unfulfilled, he journeyed home/ Told stories of the lessons learned/ And gained true wisdom by the giving. – Falor’s Journey, “Innocence”

tony.starks.7524

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Report this Jul. 21 2013, 1:13 am

Kelis the Poet-


 


Go read my latest post on a similar thread just above this one. I'm now up to Season 6. And trust me, you will be HOOKED!


We have very similar stories me and you, experiences with Trek and stuff. DS9 only gets better over time. Unlike the other Trek shows, DS9's last couple of seasons are the best.

tony.starks.7524

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Report this Jul. 21 2013, 1:20 am

And BTW, yeah, DS9 and Voyager characters are more charismatic overall, but that doesn't mean they are deeper than a character like Data, or Spock.

rob39874

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Report this Jul. 21 2013, 3:19 am

Quote: KelisThePoet @ May. 23 2013, 2:29 pm

>

>Case in point: in terms of the writing and dialogue, the Bajoran Major (Kira?) was similar to The Next Generation's Tasha Yar.  Both characters are presented as tough, fiery tomboys in an over-the-top, stereotypical manner.  But the actress playing the Major does a more nuanced job of delivering her unnuanced lines, and as a result, by the end of the episode, the Major had become a character I liked.

>


Count yourself lucky as originally Major Kira was going to be Ro Laren 

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