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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 July 21 2014, 04:33 PM   #1
NavisPacifica
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NavisPacifica revisits DS9: S1

So, earlier this month I opened a present from my girlfriend and, lo and behold, it's DS9 S1 on DVD...finally, she submitted to my petulant requests that I take her through a corridor of 90s nostalgia, my favorite Trek series, from the very beginning...

So I thought I'd start a little episode-by-episode review thread and give everyone a chance to post their impressions, dear memories, and moments of nausea from Season 1, starting with the Emissary (next post).

But first, a few general remarks. DS9 is my favorite Trek of all time, mostly because it's set in the 'third world' of space, and though there are preppy Federation types at the helm, far more colorful figures not only abound but often take center stage. The first few years I find far less satisfactory than, say, seasons 4-7, since the early years are more or less Sisko and the crew presiding over a TNG-style episodic series, whereas the latter seasons thrust everyone into a war that allows them to grow impressively.

S1 catches most of the characters in a state from at their most interesting; Sisko is a responsible and clear-headed leader, certainly not unsurprising for Trek, but, having come from 5 years of TNG, and having been acquainted with Picard's flaws and nuances, I tend to be disappointed, especially after his wonderfully vulnerable performance in Emissary; Bashir is far, far from the near-tragic figure he is later revealed to be (though if you look for it there are trickles of it in some of his reactions, not to mention his mysterious need for constant company); the episode centering on Dax assumes we need to be eased into the concept of a joined Trill over the course of an hour; Kira's past is something we endlessly hear about, though never see, leaving us with her sour attitude (Duet gives a great taste of the future complexity of her interactions with Cardassians, though); Odo is a curmudgeon without a much chance to be more ( though again, The Forsaken offers a taste of things to come); the only character who arrives fully alive, as I see it, is Quark: lusty, vivacious, and never to be bullied by human morality. Actually, the interaction between Quark and Odo is often surprisingly as interesting as in later years--the actors must have focused on their preexisting relationship, and they strike me as truly having known each other for years.

All in all, there are plenty of appetizers for those who know what is to come, but hardly enough to convince a newcomer.
I'm thinking a jump to S4 might be the trick.
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Old July 21 2014, 05:07 PM   #2
NavisPacifica
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Re: NavisPacifica revisits DS9: S1

The Emissary

This is all-around a strong episode. We get Sisko at his most interesting for quite awhile (his brief but ballsy berating of Vedic Win on the promenade in the season finale also comes close, however). Quark's set up is perfect, in hindsight: his glance at Sisko from across the promenade as he packs up the bar says it all. As for the other characters, there are glimpses...again, it's very difficult to convey the unbelievable narcissism of Gul Dukat from his limited role early on...

Flow of Consciousness Run-Through:

Oddly, Ro Laren is on board as Sisko's first officer, but for some reason she insists her name is Kira Nerys....but wait, there's that Irish engineer who was part of the Enterprise Crew from the very beginning but barely had an episode in that series (except for that Data-vehicle episode where he got married)...impressions over the overall Western setup...yeah, got it...the sheriff can metamorphose--that's cool...

As for the big reveal of the wormhole aliens/prophets, it's very much a TNG-style kind of thing, not the strongest aspect of the show in retrospect, but sufficiently thought-provoking, and Sisko's dialogue with the Prophets climaxes in his marvelous admission of grief just as the sequence approaches boring (if a Prophet had asked one more "What is love?" type of question, I may have ended up dismissing DS9 at the very beginning). I could have used more political maneuvering with the Cardassians and specifically Gul Dukat; the audience could really have used an introduction to the Cardies as formidable foes, not just the greedy lizards who get outsmarted by Federation goodies.

I always have a makeshift anthology of a few episodes to suggest to anyone new to the series. The Emissary makes it in not just because it's an obligatory pilot; it's the strongest episode of S1, except for Duet. In fact, I'd rate the top 3 S1 episodes in the following order:

1.Duet
2.Emissary
3.In the Hands of the Prophets

...with The Nagus as a personal favorite as well.
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Old July 21 2014, 05:08 PM   #3
dub
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Re: NavisPacifica revisits DS9: S1

My wife agreed to watch it with me if I watched an entire series of her choosing. She watched it from the beginning because I told her even though many of the stories might not be edge-of-your-seat, there is important character and relationship and general story arc developments in the early seasons that make them required viewing.

Looking forward to your reviews!

(and she loved the series as well)
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Old July 21 2014, 08:45 PM   #4
JirinPanthosa
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Re: NavisPacifica revisits DS9: S1

I like the way the Prophets are introduced in The Emissary. In fact I think the Emissary arc would have been stronger if they kept this method of communication instead of turning them into more classical deity archetypes.
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Old July 22 2014, 02:39 AM   #5
dub
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Re: NavisPacifica revisits DS9: S1

Though I think what we got throughout was pretty darn good, I agree that Bajoran religion as written in early DS9 was intriguing.

I really liked Opaka. I wish they brought her back more often in orb (and non-orb) visions. I also kind of wish they waited a little longer before they killed her off. But boy, I sure did love to hate Winn!
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Old July 22 2014, 11:35 PM   #6
JirinPanthosa
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Re: NavisPacifica revisits DS9: S1

That's another thing, I don't know why there wasn't a team of top Bajoran scientists working round the clock to discover a way to live without the nanites.
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