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Old February 9 2013, 09:05 PM   #25
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Re: 10 Reason ST:DS9 Misjudged

Before I respond to individual points I need to point out that while there has been some talk about revisionism on the part of those talking up DS9, there has also been plenty of revisionism by those defending TNG over the years. This has come about in the wake of more adult sci fi TV like the new BSG, Firefly, Lost, etc. Those doing the defending make claims that TNG was gritty in its own way, that it did tackle the big issues of the day in sophisticated ways, that it also took chances, that it wouldn't shy away from some of the darker qualities of mankind, etc, etc, etc.

Look I love TNG. What it did it did very well, better than anyone else. No other family sci fi show that was almost strictly episodic provided consistent and smart entertaining hours like TNG. Not Stargate and not even the original Trek. In fact TNG may have been better at what it did (providing great episodic television) than DS9 was at what it did (providing a hybrid semi-episodic/semi-serialized TV). Nonetheless Roddenberry's intent was to make TNG a more idealized and a more progressive vehicle than his previous Trek. He did not want conflict, he did not want human failing and immorality, he wanted quick and progressive solutions administered to any conflicts. He had no room for intolerance or religious beliefs when it came to his main (and mostly human) lead characters for this new Enterprise. And while the writers and producers, especially after Roddenberry's death, did their best to maneur around these guidelines, for the most part they kept those guidelines firmly in place.

As a Star Trek nut at the time DS9 came around, I got my hands on every article, every behind-the scenes book, and every magazine that dealt with the Trek franchise. And I would check out the relatively new phenom known as the internet in the immediate following years to get even more of a feedback of what people were saying about Trek. I recall clearly all the criticism thrown by many towards DS9. The criticism would come from professional critics, sci fi novelists being interviewed or the quotes from Trekkers in convention halls. The problem they had with DS9 were : (1)the characters fought too much and therefore not likable; (2) the first season was boring; (3) too much stuff about Bajor and religion and politics which was also boring; (4) the infighting amongs the crew was too different from the smooth sailing of TNG and not what Roddenberry would have wanted for a modern Trek show; (5) they never went anywhere/how could it be a Star Trek show without a ship taking them to different planets; (6)they really liked Quark (the non Starfleet characters were initially the most popular) but could not stomach Ferengi-centered episodes; (7) they wanted more action and were waiting on something bigger to happen; and they didn't care for Sisko and liked Avery Brooks even less.

Also there were quite a number of people who were huge fans of TNG but decided to attach their wagons to Babylon 5 instead of DS9. TNG was like some huge empire whose demise eventually led to multiple factions diving up the old bloc into different territories, including one for Stargate which popped up first on Showtime. People DID Take sides. When VOY came along that was another faction. Yes, there were millions out there who would watch both DS9 and VOY and millions who would watch those shows as well as B5, SG-1 and any other sci fi show they came across (Andromeda). But there were also millions out there who picked only one as worthy as their post-TNG loyalty. That included those who used to watch TNG but then "grew up" by moving on to the new fan fave "The X-Files". Hell, some simply stuck with the TNG movies and/or old eps of TOS and TNG and gave up on all new sci fi TV series in general.

As for the argument over whether DS9 was "darker" the most important point to keep in mind was that was how it was initially sold to the public and mainstream media. You can see such descriptions in those countless TV Guide articles that mag used to do for Trek. Only when there were signs that DS9 wasn't generating the excitement, loyalty and devotion of TNG did TPTB tried to walk back from that description by claiming it was not really any darker than other Trek shows. Whether they were right or wrong they had their motives in defusing that whole "dark" description. By the time VOY arrived on the scene the producers and writers had gotten the message. All those attached to VOY emphasized that the show was going to be more like TNG than DS9, that it was going to go back to the TNG method in which there weren't conflicts (which is why the Maquis was so quickly folded into the Starfleet community on the ship) and that the show was going to follow TNG's approach of planet-hopping every week. They couldn't come out and directly slam DS9 but they indirectly made it clear VOY was to be the anti-DS9 and would not experiment with that show's more darker elements. They kept emphasizing Roddenbery's vision of the future as what they were trying to follow.

Yes, this all happened and most of this is actually mentioned or hinted at in this "10 Reason STS9 was Misjudged" article. I was there to witness this stuff. I had friends and family members who did some of the very things I mentioned above. I had contact to the new message forums on the internet to read remarks by people who didn't care for DS9 and those remarks were similar to the ones covered in this article. So for some of you to claim that the writer is off track with his assessment is a bit much. There were maybe a couple of things he included that didn't belong as well as a couple of examples that he failed to use. But for the most part he got it right. Now if you disagree with those facts I tossed out based upon my own experience and argue that this position of mine is simply my opinion then so be it. But your counters, which I find lacking in evidence, is also merely an opinion. So what makes yours more legit than mine or vice versa?

Halftime is over. I'll come back later to respond to individual posts once I'm done with my game watching.
You will be missed, Richard Biggs
1961 - too soon
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