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Old November 21 2011, 01:29 AM   #300
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Location: Ireland
Re: TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

Season 1 Review

Yay, it's over! Okay, that's not fair, season one isn't awful, as you can see from this graph.

I picked the colour to look kind of like a Cardassian ship as the station is Cardassian. I know you were all wondering about that.

The average score for this season is 5.211, slightly above average. It's not a great score, but when it comes to first seasons that I've reviewed, this one only comes second to Voyager. The trendline indicates a slight increase in quality as the season progressed, in part because of the strong finish, but also because of a weak patch of episodes between Q-less and The Nagus.

Here's the season's histogram (I'm really hoping I used the right word there). As you can see, it's rather flat. In fact, it's the flattest histogram of all the seasons I've reviewed. What that basically means is that the quality of episodes this season was all over the place, it wasn't predominantly average, like Voyager tended to be, even though the season scored roughly average. This isn't a distribution curve, it's a distribution plateau. If this were a waveform, it wouldn't be a sine wave it would be a square wave. (The mathematicians reading this are laughing their asses off right now, I assure you.)

I rated nine episodes this season below average, two were average, and eight were above average.
Best episode: Duet
Worst episode: The Storyteller

The Writers

Yes, it's the return of everyone's favourite graph-based staff-writer judgement game! After taking a break from my B5 thread owing to that fact that JMS was almost the only writer on that show, this completely unfair and shallow assessment of the Trek writers returns! These scores are only awarded for either "written by" or "teleplay by" credits, not "story by", because that's how I roll. A writer must have a minimum of 5 episodes over the whole show to qualify, which leaves us with these four:

Peter Allan Fields, wins this season by quite some margin, which isn't unexpected for the guy credited with Duet. Out of the three episodes he was involved with writing this season, Fields scored 7.333, which is pretty damned good. The rest of the staff didn't do so well. Michael Piller's six episodes earned him a score of 4.833, which I'd argue is low because he helped shepherd some TNG scripts over to DS9, which didn't work out so good. Robert Hewitt Wolfe's three episodes scored him 4.333, but In the Hands of the Prophets may just be a sign of good things to come from him. Surprisingly, taking up the rear is Ira Steven Behr, whose two episodes scored only 2.5. This is largely because of how much I disliked The Storyteller, but it's still a weak start for the guy that I and many other fans credit for making DS9 the epic show it was.

On the off-chance that any of the writers are reading this (it's more likely than you'd expect), please don't hurt me.


Runabouts Lost: 1
Form of... : 6
Wormhole in Peril: 1
Sykonee's Counter: 9

Season 1 Average: 5.211

Voyager Average After 1 Season: 5.866
Enterprise Average After 1 Season: 5.16
Babylon 5 Average After 1 Season: 5.043

In Summation

Season 1 of DS9 is a tale of two seasons. One of those seasons is pretty good, it's focuses on Bajor, the Gamma Quadrant, the characters and their stories. The other season isn't so good, it focuses on recooked TNG stories that just don't work. Some people say that the first season of DS9 is about par with one of the good seasons of TNG and the only reason it's maligned is because what came later was so much better. I disagree, what's wrong with this season isn't that it contained TNG-style episodes, it's that it contained bad TNG-style episodes, episodes that seemed to be scraping the bottom of the TNG fan-script barrel. The Storyteller is the biggest example of this, it was originally rejected back in TNG's first season, how bad must an episode be to be rejected from the stinking pile of waste that was TNG season 1?

But when this show focused on Bajor properly, it turned out some pretty strong material. Past Prologue, Progress, and Duet are all examples of the kind of storytelling that DS9 should have been doing all season, but instead we get episodes like Q-less so that casual TNG fans wont immediately switch over while channel-surfing (although most probably switched over after five minutes once they realised how poor the episode was). It was a waste, but at least it was something that the writers learned from. Next season will be better, and later seasons better still. The writers will make more mistakes along the way, but the mistakes of season 1 have been mostly learned.

The characters are doing okay, they're interacting much better than any of the other shows in their first seasons, and their scenes can sometimes save an episode from being completely worthless. Sisko is more lively in the first season than I remember him, the difference between early Sisko and badass Sisko from later in the show isn't as noticeable as I thought it would be. The most notable character this season was Kira, episodes centred around her tended to be winners, how some fans of the show don't like her I'll never understand.

The Experiment

Okay, here's something new, and I'm not entirely sure yet if I'm going to do it for each season, but I put together a little video tribute to season 1. (By which I mean the good episodes of season 1. )

See, I made one for BSG back when that show was ending and I thought it came out quite well, and I kind of wanted to do one for DS9 too but it never managed to make it onto my agenda. But I'd hear songs and get ideas, which made the concept ever more remote as I could never settle on which song to use. So I eventually came upon the idea of doing one video for each season, and I could use this thread as the basis for it. So that's what I've done.

I'm still unsure about the concept, the choice of music for this season was a struggle because large parts of season 1 would be better suited to Yakkity Sax. In fact, this isn't even one song, it's two versions of the same song, a quiet version and a loud one, because neither worked on their own. So let me know what you think so that I can know if this is worth doing for future seasons.

Oh, sorry German people, you can't see it. Are you guys even allowed to listen to music there at all?
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"No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away." - The immortal Terry Pratchett
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