I'm through the old threads from the time I wasn't even on the forum, and I hope it's OK to resurrect this one which I find quite interesting.
The Cardassians never left.
Star Trek: Terok Nor
Marc Alaimo as Gul Dukat
Rene Auberjonois as Odo
Andrew J. Robinson as Garak
Armin Shimerman as Quark
Casey Biggs as Damar
Katherine Moffat as Vaatrik
Harris Yulin as Gul Darhe'el
With Nana Visitor, Duncan Regehr Camille Saviola, Louise Fletcher, Philip Anglim as recurring Bajorans in their normal DS9 roles.
I'd watch that! It has most of my favorite DS9 characters.
Seriously though - that would've been a great idea for a on-off AR episode.
On second thought - while such a series would be unthinkable in the Star Trek franchise, I can really imagine a hypothetical SF series based on this kind of concept and exactly the same characters! Of course, it would have to be produced in a parallel universe in which Star Trek: DS9 did not exist, or there was some other reasons that the creators and producers of that show would not be sued for ripping off Star Trek.
But let's pretend for a moment that there was no DS9... I can see "Terok Nor" as a successful and critically acclaimed 21st century SciFi series - airing on HBO (or, alternatively, Showtime or FX). Think about it: after having successfully tackled many different genres, HBO decides show the SyFy channel how to do a darker, grittier, edgier, more morally ambiguous SF show, with more explicit sex (granted, there might be a bit of problem with Cardassian nudity, due to the amount of makeup required
), and a lot more violence. Lots and lots of violence.
TV shows of this kind these days often centre around a 'do we love him, do we hate him, do we root for him or against him' Villain-Protagonist
which would make Dukat the perfect lead, of the Tony Soprano/Vic Mackay kind. (Come to think of it, I can see quite a few similarities between him and Tony.) The show would oscillate between Grey and Gray Morality
and occasional Black and Gray Morality
. Gul Dar'heel would no doubt be completely frightening and chilling - scaring the heck out of the audience, and providing the Ralph Ciffaretto/Richie Aprile type of character, i.e. a collegue/rival who is also a Complete Monster
, a total psycho who sets the bar for evil, and makes the lead character look good by comparison and helps the fans forget, at least for a certain amount of time, that the lead is also an utter bastard (fans: "hey, he is not such a bad guy...OK, he does [insert bad deeds] and he is [...] but he has good sides, he's smart and charming, and he loves his children!... and, he may be bad, but he is not as bad as that other guy!
") The show would, of course, constantly manipulate the audience back and forth, by showing the lead in sympathetic light one moment, and then pushing the envelope more by showing him do worse and worse things, as if to ask 'so, you still think he's not such a bad guy?', but never slipping entirely into one or the other direction.
The rest of the main characters would also be morally gray. Odo would be only really sympathetic and relatable character - fulfilling the Claudette, or rather Claudette+Dutch role - but this would also make him a controversial character, as fans could alternately see him as the noble, unbiased, and just, or as an indifferent person just going along with everything and not really giving a damn what happens outside of him doing his job. Quark - well, it's Quark, 'nuff said. No need to explain what the show could do with him; obviously, not lighthearted Ferengi comedy episodes. Damar's portrayal might oscillate between a lackey, a basically honest but misguided guy, and a loser with no self-esteem, but in this story, he probably wouldn't get a chance to become a hero, and more likely he'd just end up being Christopher Moltisanti, at best, or Ronnie Gardocki, at worst. And then of course there's Garak, who would still be the scene-stealing fascinating mysterious guy with great lines, only he'd be in every episode; but he writers would try to keep mysterious and ambiguous for the longest time possible, without turning him eventually into a good guy. His backstory (which could be the same one from 'A Stitch in Time') would be eventually revealed, but it would happen sparingly, in small does throughout the series, in order not to ruin the mystery.
Kira, Shakaar and the other members of Bajorans resistance would be important recurring characters who'd get progressively more screentime; they would be somewhat like Heroic Antagonists; the show would make the audience empathize with them, by focusing on their plight, but would not avoid making them too sympathetic, by showing their hatred of Cardassians in general and their acts of terrorism, including those against Cardassian civilians (as seen in "The Darkness and the Light"). As I said, the theme of the show (and the fact that, in my scenario, it would be on cable) would allow opporunities for lots of explicit violence: the show would not shy away from graphically showing atrocities of Cardassians against the Bajorans, but also the Bajoran terrorist acts.
People like Bareil, Opaka, Tekeny Ghemor or Natima Lang and others who represent some goodness in the mostly morally 'gray and grey' or 'black and gray' world of the show, would appear as recurring or one-time guest stars (maybe we'd get to see how Natima got involved with Quark). The other characters would consist of Bajoran slave-workers and victims; Bajoran collaborators - some of them ambiguous and with more or less understandable motivations, some of them downright despicable; Cardassian soldiers, other personnel and civilians, ranging from basically decent but going with the flow, to completly indifferent, to very prejudiced to Bajorans due to their upbringing, to cruel, despicable jerks. Among the important regular characters would also be Tora Naprem and Ziyal, as well as Dukat's wife and other children (and probably also Damar's wife and children). In order to have more female regular characters, there would be at least one prominent female character in the Cardassian station personnel.
Basically, all the characters would be similar to what they were in DS9; the main difference is that there would be no noble Federation good guys anywhere in the main cast. When the Federation people do appear - ambassadors, negotiators, etc. - they are only minor characters, seen only in their interactions with the regulars. They are treated in a subtly ironic way, and tend to come off as ineffectual, or even hypocritical when they start to preach (particularly one of them who gives a lot of Picard-like speeches).
In a word - it would be Anwar's worst nightmare, i.e. exctly what he mistakenly thinks DS9 already was, taken to a 10th degree.