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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > Deep Space Nine

Deep Space Nine What We Left Behind, we will always have here.

View Poll Results: Did you like the 'Bashir was genetically modified' retcon?
Yes, I think it was a good plot and it worked 35 47.30%
It was an interesting storyline, but I didn't completely buy it 25 33.78%
No, it made no sense 11 14.86%
I'm not sure 3 4.05%
Voters: 74. You may not vote on this poll

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Old May 7 2010, 05:00 PM   #1
DevilEyes
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Bashir's genetic modification: yes or no?

In this Trek Today article, Alexander Siddig reveals just how much he hated the 'Bashir was genetically engineered' plot:

“…on Thursday the script arrived,” explained Siddig. “We started shooting on Friday. I was so shocked. You know you get the impression that maybe the producers sit down and talk about strategies and character arcs with actors but this thing came out of the blue and pissed me off so royally. It was a reaction to the fact that the character was genuinely unpopular in the early days. Because he was not fancy; I mean this is a time where 90210 was at the top of the charts in American TV and this guy was so not the hunk, he was the anti-hunk. “He was a man of science; he was like half good looking, rubbish at pulling girls. I mean it was all the wrong kind of archetypes. And so they kept trying to do things to make it happen. Eventually they did the Bond thing (Our Man Bashir) – they did the Bond thing before that actually. And that kicked it off. I have to say that I’m still pretty angry. Well, not angry…”
Siddig turned his anger to action. “I did it the only way that an actor can,” he said. “I completely destroyed the lines that they gave me regarding the situation. Every time something came up that was to do with being kind of Data-esque – I mean, I couldn’t get away from the fact – I thought I was being a Data, which is what they wanted to do, they wanted to switch the characters from all the shows, which they ended up doing with Voyager.
“Well, it was a bit cynical at the end of the day. But I just fluffed the lines; well I didn’t fluff them completely I literally pinned the lines on the back of someone’s shoulder once, reading them. I wasn’t bothered even to learn them. I just pinned them around the office as if they were lines needed for daily modification. And they got the message and dropped it kind of.”
Which prompted me to start this poll and ask: did you like the storyline, and did you think that this storyline was convincing ?

I'm a bit torn about this. I remember that, the first time I watched Doctor Bashir, I Presume?, I thought "Well, that came out of the blue". It seemed sudden and far-fetched. But now I'm all right with it - for a 5th season retcon, it kinda sorta works, or at least is not too improbable, and it gave us some interesting insight into 24th century attitudes to genetic engineering - and lead to the appearance of Jack Pack and Statistical Probabilities, one of my favorite season 6 episodes.
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Last edited by DevilEyes; May 7 2010 at 06:20 PM. Reason: typo
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Old May 7 2010, 05:23 PM   #2
ares93
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Re: Bashir's genetic modification: yes or no?

i liked it but i dont think it ended up the way they wanted though. however in the other series the doctors had minor role. bashir was the first "hardcore" doc.
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Old May 7 2010, 06:08 PM   #3
flemm
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Re: Bashir's genetic modification: yes or no?

It's interesting to read that quote because it confirms a number of my impressions concerning how Bashir was written over the years. Basically, the writers couldn't figure out how to make the character work and just kept throwing different ideas at him in the hopes that something would strike a chord.

The espionage angle actually ended up being the most successful because of some good scenes with Garak and eventually Section 31 and Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges, the best Bashir episode imo, by a wide margin.

As for the genetic enchancement idea, no, I don't think it works at all. For one thing, it turns the character into a hypocrite who has been lying to everyone from the beginning, including his best friend Miles. It turns out that Bashir's naiveté was just an act. Meh. This type of revelation would absolutely destroy his comrades' trust in him, or at least force everyone to re-evaluate their relationships with him, from Sisko as his commanding officer to Miles as his friend.

If the writers had really explored that aspect of the revelation concerning his enchancements, then that might have been interesting, but they never ended up doing that, largely because the retcon was motivated by the desire to give DS9 a superhumanly brilliant character like Spock and Data. In other words, it was pointless, because that Trek trope had no place on DS9: it didn't work with Dax in the early seasons, and it didn't work with Bashir. So, after a line or two of Data-esque calculations early in the sixth season, the writers just let it drop, until Extreme Measures anyway (another mistake).

The only other way Bashir's enhancements are addressed, as I recall, is in the "Jack Pack" episodes, and there Bashir is being presented as a paragon of how a genetically altered individual can integrate into society, i.e. the enhancements haven't really impacted his life at all despite years of dissimulation and deception.

Bad idea. The only thing that really could have saved it in my view is if it had really disrupted Bashir's existence and changed how everyone interracted with him, which the writers were understandably never prepared to do. I'm not surprised Alexander Siddig hated the change, since it undermined everything he had done with the character up until that point, basically like saying to him: nobody likes what you've done up until now, so we're going to see if we can Data-fy you! OK?!?!
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Old May 7 2010, 06:11 PM   #4
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Re: Bashir's genetic modification: yes or no?

I don't know what to think, because while it was a good storyline, especially since it resulted in showing Section 31, Siddig is a good actor and deserved to be happy with his character. Ares is right that he was the first Star Trek doctor to have a major part in the storyline, besides the occasional McCoy story.
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Old May 7 2010, 06:13 PM   #5
Navaros
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Re: Bashir's genetic modification: yes or no?

I found the genetic Bashir storyline to be convincing.

However, the Bashir changeling storyline was ludicrously unconvincing because it was ad hoc nonsense, and can in no way be rationally retconned into previous episodes that the writers didn't write with it in mind.

I think the genetic Bashir story is decent, neither terrible nor superb. Likewise for the "Doctor Bashir, I Presume?" episode.

Although, Statistical Probabilities is one of DS9's very best episodes, so I'm grateful they made genetic Bashir for that reason alone.


DevilEyes wrote: View Post
And they got the message and dropped it kind of.”
Does this mean that in the quotation in the OP, Siddig is complaining mostly about lines/content that never actually made it into the show?
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Old May 7 2010, 06:23 PM   #6
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Re: Bashir's genetic modification: yes or no?

Navaros wrote: View Post
DevilEyes wrote: View Post
And they got the message and dropped it kind of.”
Does this mean that in the quotation in the OP, Siddig is complaining mostly about lines/content that never actually made it into the show?
I got the impression that he's saying that they dropped the "Data" super-human aspect in later episodes.
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Old May 7 2010, 06:24 PM   #7
Seventh White Boomer
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Re: Bashir's genetic modification: yes or no?

It was an interesting idea but they didn't take it far enough and the revelation and its consequences shouldn't have been so neatly wrapped up in 42 mins.
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Old May 7 2010, 06:31 PM   #8
milo bloom
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Re: Bashir's genetic modification: yes or no?

Jono wrote: View Post
It was an interesting idea but they didn't take it far enough and the revelation and its consequences shouldn't have been so neatly wrapped up in 42 mins.
Aye, that's it there. It's not a bad idea, really, it's just how it was shoehorned in, and never really explored.

Also, it sounds kinda immature of Siddig to act like that. Most viewers are not going to be aware of behind-the-scenes goings-on, so if they see an actor's performance suddenly drop off, most are going to think "those wacky Hollywood types and their nose-candy binges".

Kinda reminds me of how nuBSG did their secret Cylons. As much as I love the show, it still bothers me that they didn't even attempt to create backstories of how every character could be revealed as a cylon and still make some modicum of sense.
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Old May 7 2010, 06:53 PM   #9
Praxius
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Re: Bashir's genetic modification: yes or no?

I was first surprised about the genetic thing as he was apparently, but I didn't think it was horrible, in fact, it finally gave us a bit of Bashir's past history, which was pretty well nothing right up until that point.

And what was given about his past in previous episodes seem to line up with the genetic modification concept anyways..... from all the various research he worked on, all the discoveries, all the things he could cure and fix that others couldn't, or not as fast.... to screwing up a simple question on his final exam that left him in second place of his class (which now sounds deliberate due to his genetic modifications).... and it also explains why we never saw his parents until that episode and why he didn't talk about them much.

Also, through all the previous episodes, he seemed to continually make up a different story as to why he became a doctor each time he was asked, sorta like Garak and his multiple stories for one situation..... lies..... which his lies told truths

IMO, every character in the show had some personal problem or conflict they were continually working on through the series.... this was Bashir's.

Sure he seemed gullible and immature at the start of the show, but he was in his early 20's and he was still a human being trying to figure out himself, his place, and how to land the right lady in his life.

But also, let's not forget that earlier episodes, even as far back as season one, Bashir continually boasted and bragged about his accomplishments, his abilities, etc.... I always thought he was just full of himself.... then when it came out he was modified, it all started to make sense.... he wasn't just full of himself.... he literally was that good, and this is why.

I think Siddig is being too hard on himself, his character and the concept..... it worked imo..... and it helped make his character more interesting.
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Old May 7 2010, 07:04 PM   #10
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Re: Bashir's genetic modification: yes or no?

My first reaction was "Wow, that is so unprofessional, my opinion of the man just dropped etc.," but then I realized the only reason I responded that way is because I disagree with his position, and I've lauded actors in the past (Nimoy, for example) who thought they knew their characters better than the writers, and who were proven right. Turns out it's a fact-specific inquiry, although here Siddig's just pure wrong. It was a good, good idea. Beyond the fact that it was good for Bashir's character, it was also a very interesting piece of world-building, giving rise to some serious questions about the Federation's morality in this regard.

But, granted that it's a good idea, did they execute it flawlessly? Of course not. Even if any fiction were going to be perfect, television is going to be the last medium where perfection's going to be attained. Still, when you lay the revelation of Bashir's Augment-ness beside the subsequent treatment of some of the other game-changing plot twists they laid on the characters (Sisko as Space Jesus, Dukat's turn to Bajoran Satanism, or O'Brien's twenty years imprisonment, for God's sakes), it's comparatively genius.

Probably the only other life-shattering event that wound up working better than Bashir's biological engineering is the reintroduction of the Dax symbiont in Ezri, and I'm not even sure that counts.

flemm wrote:
For one thing, it turns the character into a hypocrite who has been lying to everyone from the beginning, including his best friend Miles. It turns out that Bashir's naiveté was just an act.
There's no internal contradiction between being a super-genius and a social retard. I can be--I mean, Bashir could be both.
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Old May 7 2010, 07:18 PM   #11
flemm
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Re: Bashir's genetic modification: yes or no?

Myasishchev wrote: View Post
There's no internal contradiction between being a super-genius and a social retard. I can be--I mean, Bashir could be both.
That's true, but Bashir wasn't just actively being both. He was systematically deceiving everyone around him. Example: he and Miles played darts competitively. It turns out he was only pretending to play darts competitively. Early in season 6, he's shown making calculations faster than a computer. There had to have been countless situations where he had to hide these abilities while on duty, potentially risking the lives of his crewmates.

What's difficult to believe is that he was genuinely naive and awkward, yet a master of deceit and deception.
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Old May 7 2010, 08:05 PM   #12
Tharsis
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Re: Bashir's genetic modification: yes or no?

I posted on here that I didn't like this story line some time ago and was quickly trashed by follow up posters. To me, it ruined some of the very interesting character development story-lines that occurred up to this point and made it difficult for me to like the Bashir character. It's vindicating to see that the actor himself felt this way, although I still found his relationship with O'Brien to be very enjoyable, regardless.
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Old May 7 2010, 11:02 PM   #13
toughlittleship
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Re: Bashir's genetic modification: yes or no?

I liked it. It gave a different side to Bashir that was lacking.
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Old May 8 2010, 02:15 AM   #14
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Re: Bashir's genetic modification: yes or no?

unbelievable that no one ever figured out that bashir was modified, a scan with a tricorder reveals a single neuron out of line. don't they have medical check-ups before joining starfleet? the exploration of engineered humans in star trek was a great story arc, but tos and enterprise did it better. while 'statistical probabilities' was a fine episode, 'chrysalis' was not, and pairing up bashir in 'doctor bashir, i presume?' with a greater genius who didn't have the benefits of genetic tinkering did not really work.
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Old May 8 2010, 03:19 AM   #15
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: Bashir's genetic modification: yes or no?

It was good idea, and I was OK with it until they brought in the Jack Pack. God, how I hated that entire plotline! I much preferred the tone it brought to his interactions with Section 31, and would rather have watched more of a duel back and forth between Bashir and a S31 that wants him in their pocket, or maybe decides he IS a threat to the Federation and continues to go after him
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