Hi, all. I've long been a fan of DS9 and consider the series to be the best iteration in the Star Trek franchise. However, it's been years since I sat down and watched the series in its entirety, and so I decided to change that. Instead of watching every episode of the series, however, I sat down and figured out how to condense the show's 2nd through 7th seasons to 20 episodes each and will be using this 'streamlined' approach as I rewatch the series.
I' 'll be using this thread to post reviews and observations as I go, starting with a review of the pilot episode, Emissary.
There are a lot of things that a TV pilot has to do in terms of balancing setup and storytelling, and it can sometimes be a difficult task to strike that balance.
Emissary strikes that balance perfectly, particularly since it has the added pressure of needing to not only introduce the characters and basic premise of DS9 but also establish that, while there are going to be a lot of things that are recognizably Star Trekkian about DS9, there are also going to be a lot of new elements added on top of the familiar formula that Gene Roddenberry established.
All TV series - regardless of genre - are driven by their cast of characters, and DS9 boasts a stellar group. There' s not a single weak link amongst the series' cast of characters, both primary and secondary, and this includes Jake Sisko. Unlike Wesley Crusher, Jake genuinely feels like he belongs as part of the series and there's no struggle when it comes to figuring out what his role is.
When you've got a cast of characters that are as diverse and multifaceted as DS9's, you need the right group of actors to bring them to life, and DS9 excels in that regard as well, with Nana Visitor being a particular standout. Her objection to and 'dressing down' of Doctor Bashir's attitude towards Starfleet's presence in the Bajoran Sector and his assignment to DS9 is brilliantly played and immediately establishes Major Kira as a force to be reckoned with.
Emissary is by far the strongest pilot episode in the Star Trek franchise and the perfect way to kick start the expansion of Gene Roddenberry' s episodic magnum opus beyond the formula he'd personally established while simultaneously honoring that formula and remaining true to it.
Edit: Mods, can someone change the title to Watching DS9 (Streamlined)? I posted this before I realized that I'd given it the wrong title.