Honestly, the Magicks of Megas-tu is one of DS9's better episodes, but I am not sure how you can call it better than These Are The Voyages. The interaction between Riker and Benny Russell simply elevates that one to the highest heights, really.
is good, and the sex scene has some of the best special effects in Star Trek, but The Magicks of Megas-tu
is just better. Not only does it contain the revelation that matter is created at the centre of our galaxy, originating from a magic-based universe, it also contains the commendable act of Kirk saving Satan's life. That's much more in line with Roddenberry's vision than blowing Satan up with a Klingon bird of prey.
R. Star wrote:
Duet's somehow one of the best and worst episodes simotaniously?! Improbable Cause is good but The Die is Cast is bad?! DS9 must be awesome to cater to both ends of the suck gauge!
Hmm, looking over the review again, I feel there may be something wrong with the numbers. Let me try again:
Star Trek Deep Space Nine Review
I chose to rewatch DS9 for two main reasons. 1) I really wanted to rewatch the show, and 2) I wanted to compare it with Babylon 5. Perhaps a part of the reason why I put off watching Babylon 5 for so long is that I feared it would be so much better than DS9 that I wouldn't be able to rewatch it without noticing its inferiority. My Voyager review thread made me realise that that show wasn't as bad as I once thought it was, so what if my DS9 review thread caused me to reevaluate DS9 and realise it's not as good as I thought it was? That might lead to depression, and fear, and anger, and hate, and eventually to the Dark Side. I might become an internet troll that relentlessly bashed DS9 fans, and nobody likes people that do that.
So, what does DS9 look like in graph form?
From a total of 173 episodes, my average score for Deep Space Nine is 6.312. That is the highest average score for any series I've reviewed thus far, beating Babylon 5's selected average score (excluding Crusade and some of the movies) of 6.121. It's a slight lead, but it comes with the caveat that no single season of DS9 managed to beat B5 season 4. As for the graph, there aren't many revelations there. The first season of DS9 was pretty average overall, from late season 2 the quality increased drastically, reaching a high in season 5.
This graph is quite similar to Babylon 5's version in that 7 is the most popular score with all other scores deviating from that. This is in contrast to Enterprise which had spikes for poor and good scores and a lull of average scores.
I rated 34 episodes below average, 24 episodes average, and 115 episodes above average.
Top and Bottom 10 Episodes
173. Let He Who Is Without Sin...
172. Second Sight
171. The Storyteller
170. Profit and Lace
168. Ferengi Love Songs
167. The Emperor's New Cloak
166. If Wishes Were Horses
165. The Muse
164. The Passenger
10. Trials and Tribble-ations
9. Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges
8. Nor the Battle to the Strong
7. The Visitor
6. Tacking Into the Wind
5. Rocks and Shoals
3. Call to Arms
2. Improbable Cause
1. In the Pale Moonlight
Ron Moore wins the race with a mightily impressive score of 7.413, and for that I'm willing to forgive what happened with Starbuck. Peter Allan Fields is next with an average of 7.25, who I'm sure is kicking himself right now for not making Duet
a 2-parter. Next up is René Echevarria with an average of 6.696, which beats the series average. Robert Hewitt Wolfe is next with a score of 6.152, with Hans Beimler on 6.12. Ira Behr's score is 6.021 because, while he may be a great showrunner, he's also responsible for Grand Nagus Zek. Bradley Thompson and David Weddle have an average score of 5.545, which may be low for DS9 but which is still above average, and they went on to write some of the best episodes of nuBSG. Sadly, Michael Piller comes in last place with a score of 5.5.
I'm writing this just after explaining my feelings about Sisko to a new viewer in a different thread, so I feel a little like I'm repeating myself here, but Sisko is something of an acquired taste. Avery Brooks has an unusual delivery, and there's no questioning that he hams things up on occasion. But for whatever reason, I like his style, and as such I really like Sisko. Sisko's the most rounded Star Trek captain because he's not just a captain, we've seen various facets of his life over the course of seven years and that helps us viewers to see him differently than the other captains. I don't always agree with the decisions Sisko made, and I think that Picard is more to my liking as a captain, but as a character and a person I think that Sisko beats the rest of Star Trek's captains.
Some may find her whiny, but I am strongly of the opinion that Kira is the best female character in Star Trek, and one of the best overall characters in the whole franchise. Her background in the resistance provided many of the show's finest episodes, especially in the first two seasons. Her character arc was that of a terrorist that develops into a part of the establishment, and then back into a terrorist at the end, all the while learning to overcome her old hatreds and how to live a "normal" life without losing her edge. It was extremely well done.
Bringing Worf over from TNG may have been a ratings stunt, but I think it worked out really well for both the show and the character. Worf had some great moments on TNG, but I feel that it was on DS9 where he truly matured as a character and learned what it means to be a Klingon. You can watch TNG and be satisfied with Worf's journey, but DS9 provides much more for the character and finishes his arc in a satisfying way in Tacking Into the Wind
. The character was much better served by DS9 than the TNG movies, I think everyone can agree with that.
I like Jadzia as a character, although I do feel that she signifies the failure of the Trill species. When she was introduced to the show, the writers just seemed to assume that the Trill's joined nature was inherently interesting, but it wasn't, and a lot of Trill episodes were kinda boring. Jadzia had to be retooled to give her more personality, and that more or less worked. I don't think she was essential to the show, which is why they were able to replace her in the final season, but she added some flavour to the cast.
I've said it before, but I think Ezri was necessary to complete Jadzia's arc as it allowed the writers to explore the joining process in an impactful way for the viewer. She's a more successful take on the Trill concept than Jadzia, but some missteps with her episodes mean the Trill concept still isn't as interesting as it probably should be. It's disappointing that she only had one season to establish herself and that the focus on her took time away from the established arcs and characters in the show's final year.
The show got a lot of mileage out of Odo. He could have been a gimmick character, the mysterious shape-shifting alien that solves crimes, but he had such a strong personality that his gimmick didn't define him. His backstory became a key element of the overarching plot, which allowed his character to develop in new ways. His romance with Kira may have been a bit predicable and physiologically questionable, but it had some really strong moments and I feel it was worthwhile overall.
Bashir had one of the most fun character arcs on the show, going from an insufferable git to a strangely lovable git. Like Jadzia, Bashir changed considerably in the second and third seasons, but it somehow felt more natural for Bashir, like it was maturity gently kicking in. The retcon about his genetically engineered background is a point of contention as it pretty much came from nowhere, but it did lead to some good episodes later so it wasn't the disaster it could have been.
As the everyman character, O'Brien is pretty much perfect. He has no special powers or abilities, he doesn't even play a big role in the show's main arcs. He's just good at his job, he has a normal family life, and he enjoys relaxing at the bar. His yearly torture episodes are a little exploitative of his role as everyman, but Colm Meaney is so damn good at them that I enjoy them all the same. As a bonus for me, he's one of the best portrayals of an Irish character in an American TV show, with no hint of Irish stereotyping.
Quark is a good character that was often poorly used, especially in the later seasons. When interacting with the rest of the crew, his banter and unique perspective could be the highlight of an episode. But as the series developed and the cast fragmented into their own groups, Quark was often left interacting with other Ferengi in lame comedy episodes. when Quark is on form then he's one of the best things about the show, and when he's off form he's one of the worst.
As the anti-Wesley, Jake was a success. He was a normal kid that transitions into an adult, and he rarely made you want to punch him in the face. Sadly, this didn't leave much of a role for him in the show, especially once the decision was made for Jake to stay out of Starfleet, and his career as a writer/reporter just wasn't enough to give the character a purpose of his own. As the captain's son, Jake played an important role in humanising his father, but by the final season he was overshadowed by his boyhood friend, Nog.
I could go on and detail my opinions on the recurring characters, but this series review has been delayed enough.
Runabouts Lost: 9
Form of... : 38
Wormhole in Peril: 10
Sykonee's Counter: 36
Stupid French Things: 7
Season 1 Average: 5.211
Season 2 Average: 6.231
Season 3 Average: 6.192
Season 4 Average: 6.4
Season 5 Average: 6.808
Season 6 Average: 6.423
Season 7 Average: 6.64
Overall Average: 6.312
Voyager Overall Average: 4.875
Enterprise Overall Average: 5.206
Babylon 5 Selected Average: 6.121
Rankings: DS9 > B5 > ENT > VOY
So, has my impression of Deep Space Nine changed over the course of this rewatch? Not really, no. If anything, it was watching Babylon 5 that changed some of my opinions about DS9. I had it in my head that DS9 was an epic series with multi-season arcs that were unrivalled, but the truth is that Babylon 5 was just better at that stuff. This is largely because Babylon 5 was planned out in advance while DS9 wasn't, so Babylon 5 had better foreshadowing and better pacing across seasons. DS9's arcs are good, and they're several steps above what was tried on any other Trek series, but their utilisation was uneven and some arcs relied on retcons. If you're looking for an epic sci-fi multi-season arc, Deep Space Nine is good, but Babylon 5 is better.
So why does DS9 have a slightly higher average score? Because while DS9's arcs were part of its strength, so were its episodic tales. They may not have always been up to the standard of TNG in its prime, but DS9 could still knock out some fantastic episodic stories, so much so that at least four episodes from my top ten are standalone adventures. More than that, DS9 used these standlone episodes to focus in on specific characters and develop them without mucking about too much with other characters. Think of the way Kira's character grew in Duet
, or how we saw a new side of Jake in Nor the Battle to the Strong
. The balance between standalone episodes and arc-based episodes could sometimes be frustrating, but it could also be a strength.
So there we go, after criticising Voyager repeatedly for its episodic nature, I end my DS9 reviews with a tribute to standalone adventures. I guess there is a double standard after all.