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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.

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Old August 26 2010, 12:36 AM   #1
star
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Alright, I want to know what the hype is about...

I'm a trekkie. Big Time. Not so crazy that I've gone to conventions dressed as a character -- well not yet anyway...

But I don't get the "DS9 is the Best Trek EVAH!" thing.

Don't worry, I'm not here to troll.

I watched the show, but I'll admit that when VOY came out, my viewing of DS9 stopped. It didn't do much for me. I guess I had a hard time watching a show that took place on a space station rather than flitting about the galaxy with warp nacelles like my other beloved Trek shows.

I didn't even know people liked DS9 until I discovered online fandom (years after DS9 hung up its hat). And not just liked, but full on worshiping it as the best Trek series ever ardore.

My experience is that people either don't like it at all or love it. Much the same with Enterprise (one of my favorites).

So, I put season 1 DS9 at the top of my netflix queue and within a couple days will be giving the show another pass. I'm setting aside my expectations.

In the meantime, how about you ardent fans tell me what you love best about the show. Tell me what I'm in for.
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Old August 26 2010, 01:12 AM   #2
Temis the Vorta
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Re: Alright, I want to know what the hype is about...

It won't become apparent till S2, and really not fully till S3, but DS9 was the first Trek series to really jump into plot and character arcs, and emotional and thematic complexity. It makes much of TOS look trivial and TNG look very stiff and conservative by comparison.

After watching DS9, I found it difficult to tolerate VOY and ENT. Their deficiencies in terms of plot & character arcs, consistent writing, themes of any importance, and the willingness of writers to transcend the tired Trek formula and do truly daring things were too glaring once you understood what DS9 had accomplished. It's not very impressive to see characters going boldly when the writing is cowardly and conservative.

If you find S1 is boring, all you really need to watch is the premiere Emissary, Duet, In the Hands of the Prophets. Battle Lines is interesting but not vital.

Last edited by Temis the Vorta; August 26 2010 at 01:22 AM.
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Old August 26 2010, 02:04 AM   #3
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Re: Alright, I want to know what the hype is about...

Oh I'm going to watch all 7 seasons before I form an opinion.
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Old August 26 2010, 02:06 AM   #4
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Re: Alright, I want to know what the hype is about...

^^I agree, and I really should have watched DS9 before VOY or ENT. I find things I like in all the series, but I find the most in DS9. It's like what I've said many times about Stargate SG-1, the perfect blend of episodes serving as standalone entertainment in the backdrop of a much larger universe that begs to be explored in depth.
DS9 also has some of my favorite characters of all time. Garak is just awesome, and Worf actually becomes a great character in the later seasons. Sisko (while I understand how his 'animated' personality can grate on others) is also on my list of favorite characters.
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Old August 26 2010, 02:13 AM   #5
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Re: Alright, I want to know what the hype is about...

I watched DS9 when it came out. It starts off slowly but please keep at it. It's an amazing show.

The marker from mediocre to awesome is surely about the same time of Captain Sisko's image change. The show took off when he shaved his head.

Much like when TNG became awesome when the Picard Maneuver came along
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Old August 26 2010, 02:27 AM   #6
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Re: Alright, I want to know what the hype is about...

Why do I love DS9? I could go into the usual reasons such as the characters and story arcs, but this time I think I'll try something a little different.

I love DS9 because there hasn't been a Star Trek show before or since that made me care more about this universe. I grew up watching TNG and I loved it, I still do, but DS9 took the Star Trek universe that TOS and TNG had built up and made it into a character in its own right. In TOS and TNG, they normally fly from planet to planet having adventures and a couple of times each season they might meet the Klingons or Romulans, and that would be it. But in DS9, when a character says something like "The Romulans have signed a treaty with whoever", it's not just a plot-point to drive that episode, it's a big thing that makes you think "Oh, wow". DS9 is a Star Trek show for Star Trek fans by Star Trek fans that revel in the fact that they get to tell stories not only in this amazing universe, but about it.

It also has great characters, great actors, great dialogue, great special effects and many other great things, but I imagine others will cover those in greater depth.
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Old August 26 2010, 02:28 AM   #7
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Re: Alright, I want to know what the hype is about...

star wrote: View Post
I'm a trekkie. Big Time. Not so crazy that I've gone to conventions dressed as a character -- well not yet anyway...

But I don't get the "DS9 is the Best Trek EVAH!" thing.

Depends on who you talk to and what they like.

I like the D-war, the Jem'Hadar, the action...
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Old August 26 2010, 02:31 AM   #8
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Re: Alright, I want to know what the hype is about...

star wrote: View Post
My experience is that people either don't like it at all or love it.
I don't think the reality is as sharply divided as you suggest. I run into quite a few fans who readily admit that DS9 has a lot of excellent episodes and exciting storylines, but who just don't like the overall tone of the show as much as other Treks, or who are more attached to the Voyager characters, or the ENT characters, or whatever.

For my part, I do think DS9 is the best Trek show, certainly it is my favorite, but I don't worship it. In fact I am often quite critical of it, as are many Niners. DS9 can take the criticism, though, because (in spite of a handful of truly putrid episodes) the show gets better the more you analyse it. The more I think about DS9, and the more I go back to rewatch episodes over time, the more I like the show.

To summarize, I would say that DS9 is the best Trek because, paradoxically, it does more actual exploration than any other Trek show. Some of it is exploration of space, but much of it is inner exploration (of the self), deconstruction and analysis of the Trek universe, delving deeper into alien cultures, exploring different storytelling styles and themes that are not generally associated with Trek.

Aliens and anomalies of the week have never been a very effective means of depicting exploration, at least not by themselves. Trek has always been as much about the inner journey as the outer one (which is why it often works despite all the forehead alien silliness). On the other hand, DS9 mostly abandons the outer conceit of space travel in order to focus primarily on the inner exploration that has always been the heart of the matter in any event.

Alongside the exploration of character, there is a lot of experimentation with darker themes, serial storytelling, moral ambiguity, political and religious ideas, wartime, etc. All of this together means the show actually accomplishes a lot of exploration on a number of levels, rather than ostensibly being about exploring the unknown while in reality simply recycling a lot of tired tropes and stale ideas, as I would argue is the case for most of Voyager and at least the first two seasons of ENT.

DS9 could have been mediocre or worse. There are quite a few episodes in season 1 that attest to this, as they are essentially weak TNG scripts, reworked so the anamoly or alien or whatever either shows up at the station or is located just beyond the wormhole.

DS9 could have also been a very good show that dealt with character development and the political, social and religious questions surrounding the Cardassian occupation of Bajor and its aftermath. This is basically season 2, which has a more narrow appeal than the later seasons, due to the absence of a strong sci-fi adventure element, but which is very successful on its own terms.

By the time you get to the later seasons, though, at least seasons 4-7 (with season 3 being a bit of an uneven transition period), DS9 has built itself into a layered, epic piece of awesomeness that I don't think has any equal in Trek. The character development, political and religious themes remain a central focus, but they have been melded with a thrilling sci-fi adventure storyline involving one of the genre's coolest adversaries and most of the Trek universe: Cardassians and Bajorans, but also the Klingons, Romulans and others.

There are not many shows out there that evolve as much over time as DS9, while at the same time creating coherent characters and an epic storyline.

Now, there is some dreck on DS9, but that is occasional, mostly involves easily skipped Ferengi episodes, and is totally overshadowed by all the great characters, interesting ideas, and epic plotlines. There, I've said my peace

Last edited by flemm; August 26 2010 at 03:43 AM.
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Old August 26 2010, 02:39 AM   #9
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Re: Alright, I want to know what the hype is about...

People say DS9 is the best evah because... IT IS THE BEST EVAH!!!

Seriously, watch it.
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Old August 26 2010, 03:58 AM   #10
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Re: Alright, I want to know what the hype is about...

I am thoroughly enjoying your answers. I'm looking forward to seeing if I come to the same conclusions.

And I will warn that should you all convert me to being a Niner, you will have to get used to my tongue-in-cheek posts. I certainly didn't mean to come off as insulting in any way.

Like I said, I will plow through all 7 seasons worth of episodes before I bang my gavel and proclaim my final judgment. And no, I will not be skipping any episode even if it is drekitude. I want the complete experience. I gave all the other series this chance. I shall not deny DS9 the same opportunity to earn my love.

Now I just have to wait for Netflix to ship the first three dvds...
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Old August 26 2010, 05:02 AM   #11
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Re: Alright, I want to know what the hype is about...

DS9 excelled at character development and long-term story arcs. No other Trek can match it for that. Ironically enough, that might have been what held it back from getting better ratings. DS9 was great but it was not as accessible to the casual viewer. Although they did some story arcs, most of the other Treks were composed largely of self-contained episodes, so if you happened to miss one, no biggie. Whereas DS9, you really had to pay attention to every little nuance and plot point. I think that's why the fan base for DS9 is so "greatest Trek ever," because they were engaged in the show. DS9 wasn't as accessible to the casual viewer, but once you got hooked on it ... it's like Ketracel-white, baby!
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Old August 26 2010, 05:04 AM   #12
Admiral Shran
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Re: Alright, I want to know what the hype is about...

flemm wrote: View Post
DS9 mostly abandons the outer conceit of space travel in order to focus primarily on the inner exploration that has always been the heart of the matter in any event.
That's the appeal of DS9 boiled down to it's bare bone essentials right there.
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Old August 26 2010, 06:50 AM   #13
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Re: Alright, I want to know what the hype is about...

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
It won't become apparent till S2, and really not fully till S3, but DS9 was the first Trek series to really jump into plot and character arcs, and emotional and thematic complexity.
This sums it up for me. A good example was the Dominion, introduced in Season 2 as an afterthought in a Ferengi episode and look what happened.

In other Trek's, it seemed like characters were secondary to the story, some to their detriment.
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Old August 26 2010, 08:12 AM   #14
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Re: Alright, I want to know what the hype is about...

I think these quotes from some of sfdebris' reviews say it best....

(I've modified the quotes to remove DS9 spoilers, but I'm assuming you've seen VOY, so I'll leave the VOY spoilers in.)

[In the episode Death Wish, when Q offers Janeway a way home to Earth in exchange for her allowing Q to re-imprison Quinn] we're apparently to understand that Janeway will never, ever compromise her principles no matter what the situation, no matter how many might die because of it. It's not even worth thinking about.

In fact, it really just reinforces the position she took with Hogan just a few episodes prior [in Alliances] which is that.... "My principles are worth more than your lives! That as of this moment, your life is worth less to me than a replicator because that's what the Federation principles tell me and it's a Starfleet officer's duty to question everything, except what the Federation says is right!"

This is what I mean when I said the Federation's ideals are dogmatic, because that's how the characters treat them, as inviolate. Now I'm not saying Janeway must compromise her principles or she's a bad captain. Or that she's a bad person for not compromising her principles. No, what I'm saying is that this issue is deemed completely unworthy of discussion by the characters. That compromising your principles is so wrong it's not even worth thinking about. That's an issue just as large, if not larger, than the main dilemma [in Death Wish].

For those who say that DS9 didn't really get what Star Trek was, just remember that they were willing over there to question even Federation principles. After all, anyone can ask hard questions about beliefs they don't hold. But not so many are willing to think, or even entertain, such questions about their own.
What is Star Trek about, philosophically speaking. Generally speaking, this is about optimism about the future. In TOS, it was the fact that would have so grown in our enlightenment and ability to see all people as equals no matter what.

....

True tolerance and open-mindedness are shown when you are open to the other ideas people have, even when they don't agree with your own. Otherwise, they're just words you're using.

....

The point is the idea of true tolerance in the future is still a dream we're striving towards and a sign of the optimism of Star Trek. On that, I believe it is essential to recognize that DS9 had a firm handle on that compared to, say, VOY.

....

[On VOY] the creators of the show thought the audience wouldn't be able to accept a woman captain unless all possible questioning of her authority was hunted down and shot. But, on DS9, the fact was that Sisko was always written to be the commander, not the black commander.

....

So in that respect, DS9 was a rousing success when it comes to tolerance.

The other side, though, is the issue of human values and that's where things are more murky.

....

If we are to be truly as open-minded and free-thinking as we're supposed to be than it even comes down to being willing to question whether or not Gene [Roddenberry] himself was right. Anything else, and the whole mess collaspes in on itself. You have merely traded one form of dogmaticism for another.

....

If you're going to have free-thinking, you're going to have to accept that other people may hold opinions that don't agree with yours, not because they're evil or selfish or stupid, but just because they don't agree.

....

The idea that everyone in Star Trek would all share the same opinions on everything is a freightening statement about the future of mankind. Because when you have a group where everybody thinks the same, will not question their beliefs, or are willing to go unto death to defend them, well it starts to sound freightenly close to a cult, doesn't it?

....

If there is going to be an optimistic, united future for humanity, it's not going to be one of rigid conformism. And it will not be one of driving those who disagree with you into silence.
Those are some of the main reasons why I love DS9.
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Old August 26 2010, 10:49 AM   #15
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Re: Alright, I want to know what the hype is about...

I think DS9 (eventually) gave some viewers what they had always wanted to see-more action, especially with the Dominion war.

With others, it was just about being different, as far as the cast, and episode matter.

DS9 was less afraid to "go there"- tackle topics or issue that had a controversial ring to it.

So the dialog tend to be more different than with the other treks, perhaps more gritty or insightful.

However I think Voyager too, also had those qualities, thanks to timing.
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