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Old April 11 2009, 02:11 AM   #2
Sykonee
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Re: DS9 Versus: A viewing experient

Week 0: Before DS9

Well, the only show on at this point was TNG, well into its 6th season. For some, this was about where the show had truly peaked out, and who can blame them. You had the James Doohan guest-staring Relics, the creepy X-Files-esque alien abduction Schisms, another Q episode with True Q, the light-hearted Western romp A Fistful Of Datas, and the dark two-parter Chain Of Command.

It's actually been a while since I last watched Chain Of Command, and viewing it here, with the foreknowledge that DS9 was to premier in a couple weeks, I'm quite struck by just how much this two-parter seems to be as much about setting the Star Trek viewership up for the new show as it is about the TNG cast. Gander:

-Change and conflicts in command: the audience had grown quite accustomed to the TNG command structure operating smooth as silk -there seldom was any conflict. Then, Jellico replaces Picard, and immediately begins butting heads with Riker. A prelude to the sort of conflict we'd be seeing from Sisko and Kira, perhaps?

-Cardassians as a serious threat: they'd proven themselves to be worthy re-occurring opponents up to this point, though seen sporadically and still well down the 'food-chain' when it came to TNG heavies. These episodes, however, legitimized the Cardassians as an undeniable threat, a race that was bold and malicious enough to compete with the Feds when the opportunity presented itself. This definitely helped make them come across as a prime threat in DS9 without the show having to fall back on TNG's heavies (Borg, Romulans).

-Darker tone: Some have said Chain Of Command: Part 2 is TNG's darkest hour, a fair assessment considering half the episode is of Picard being tortured. If the producers were hoping to prepare the audience for DS9's darker tone here, they certainly succeeded.

One other interesting factoid. Rascals was Colm Meany's last TNG episode before DS9 started, where O'Brien has to deal with his wife now being a young teenager. Yep, it was a prelude to the 'Torture O'Brien' episodes!

Next: Week 1 - DS9 debuts
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