DS9 Versus: A viewing experient

Discussion in 'Deep Space Nine' started by Sykonee, Apr 9, 2009.

  1. Pemmer Harge

    Pemmer Harge Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Meditations on the Abyss is an episode that I like, but there's not that much to it really. It starts this arc off quite nicely, but it's fairly thin compared to what comes after.

    That said, it's pretty much all enjoyable and with Mike Vejar at the helm it's very well directed. This is Vejar's last episode of B5 - a pity he didn't get any really meaty episodes this season.
     
  2. Sykonee

    Sykonee Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Week 37: (Ending 06.06.98)
    B5 - Darkness Ascending (Airdate 06.03.98)

    Last episode, it felt like there was something missing, but I couldn't put my finger on it. After watching the teaser for this one, however, I figured it out: there was no blood on Garibaldi. Fortunately, the show's resident Bruce Willis look-a-like gets a good amount of blood on him to start this one out. Hm, and a whole lot of others, it would seem. In a dream anyway.

    Meanwhile, Lennier finds the evidence the Alliance needs to start moving the plot along. Looks like we're finally revving things up for this season now, and just in time to see what DS9 might have to compete with. Hm, judging how that show's been doing so far this spring, it won't be much competition. Man, it sure feels a long time ago since that ace Occupation Arc...

    Of interesting note is how things on B5 seem to be a reflection of S2 right now, with the Centauri and specifically Londo becoming more and more isolated from everyone else. Yet before, it was by Londo's own doing, thus casting him as the villain in the process. Here, however, he seems to be a helpless victim of events out of his control. Before, he at least had a choice to make the poor decisions; now, nothing is in his control, and this despite the fact he is to be Emperor, the most powerful position amongst his people. My, but what a tragic tale he's become.

    Weekly Winner
    B5

    Next:
    DS9 - The Sound Of Her Voice
    B5 - And All My Dreams, Torn Asunder
     
  3. Pemmer Harge

    Pemmer Harge Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Darkness Ascending: ah, here we go. Though there's been some good material in Season 5, so far it's often felt a bit inconsequential compared to what we got in previous years. That stops here. Starting with that creepy opening (hello Scary Lyta!), this one's all good, with the Garibaldi story (one of the best he's ever had) complementing the stuff with Lennier perfectly. I also really like what they're doing with Lyta from now on - now that Byron's out of the way she's become really cool. Anyway, it feels like the show's shifted up a gear.
     
  4. Sykonee

    Sykonee Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Week 38: (Ending 06.13.98)
    DS9 - The Sound Of Her Voice (Airdate 06.10.98)
    B5 - And All My Dreams, Torn Asunder (Airdate 06.10.98)

    This could have been yet another classic, a sobering reflection on the past season, which have seen the DS9 crew go through dizzying highs and crushing lows. Unfortunately, we only get a glimpse of that, most notably with O'Brien's confessional. Why o' why couldn't we have had some more probing psychoanalysis of the crew instead of an extended shuttle sequence (though looking quite spiffy, I must say - must have had some left over SFX money from the season finale)? In the end, I found I liked the Quark b-story more, as it'd been a while since we got a Scheming Quark story. I'm surprised I missed them.

    Yeah, with B5 ramping up its Major Story Arc this week, DS9 couldn't really compare. Once again, it's Centauri vs Everyone Else. Poor Sheriden's going to have an ulcer before his twenty years is up if he keeps blowing a gasket like that. The odd thing about this episode though, is for as many big things going on (blockades, council arguments, the search for Lochley since she's been absent for god know how long), there's also many quiet, introspective moments as well. Delenn and G'Kar have a moment, Garibaldi and Zack have a moment, and even Franklin has a moment to relieve some unresolved tension over everything that's happened. Why are you all looking at me like that?

    So B5 takes this week, but does it have the chops to tackle yet another DS9 Season Finale? Well, so long as it's not a full-episode of just seeing Londo and G'Kar tortured, it just might!

    Weekly Winner
    B5

    Next:
    DS9 - Tears Of The Prophets
    B5 - Movements Of Fire And Shadow
     
  5. Pemmer Harge

    Pemmer Harge Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The Sound of Her Voice is OK, but it feels kind of forced. There's not really been enough build-up to the characters feeling like this, nor will there be a lot of follow-up. It's entertaining enough, but, like a lot of episodes at the back end of Season 6, it's slight.

    And All My Dreams, Torn Asunder is an easy winner here. The drama of the build-up to war is nicely handled (even if dear old Bruce goes rather over the top at one point!) and I like how it's anchored around Sheridan and Delenn (trivia - this episode was directed by Mira Furlan's husband). It's one of B5's most depressing episodes, but that's as it should be.
     
  6. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I like The Sound of Her Voice, perhaps more for what it was trying to be than for what it was. But, yeah, B5 wins this one.
     
  7. Sykonee

    Sykonee Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Man, I've been so slack on this lately, you'd think I really was watching these every week. Darn summer. :p

    Week 39: (Ending 06.20.98)
    DS9 - Tears Of The Prophets (06.17.98)
    B5 - Movements Of Fire And Shadow (06.17.98)

    Talk about a contrast of final scenes heading into Summer Reruns, eh? Planetary bombardment vs cleanin' clams. Obviously B5's gotta win this one, right? Not so fast...

    True, there's a lot of great stuff about B5 this week. Much of the mystery surrounding the Centauri attacks is finally solved, though very little of the "why". However, seeing as how there are "Agents Of The Shadows" clearly hiding out on Centauri Prime, we can make a reasonable assumption that they're out for revenge, using the Centauri as their puppets. Along the way, we get to see the Drazi homeworld again, Lyta gets to be bad-ass again, Lochley shows up long enough to get her command on again, and Sheriden even gets to sit in a White Star chair again. Mmm, what else... Oh, and Centauri Prime apparently gets blowed up real good, just as we head into the final credits. Oh... shite!

    DS9, on the other hand, really took its sweet time coming together. There's just so much plot to set up here and, unlike B5 lately or even DS9 the previous season, there hasn't been much lead-up to these events. That long stretch of stand-alones hasn't done the series many favors, turning the war effort into something you just hear about in throw-away dialog. And the prophet stuff? Well, there was The Reckoning, but that was such an anti-climatic episode that any follow-up would have to do something truly epic-yet-clever to get us to care about it again, and sadly a possessed Dukat just wasn't it. The scenes with him, Damar, and Weyoun were fun to watch though.

    Okay, the Chin'toka Battle was a beauty to behold, but wasn't anywhere near as epic as Sacrifice Of Angels or even Call To Arms. Again, it all comes down to stakes and, since there hasn't been any build-up to the Allied Fleet launching an decisive offensive, we aren't terribly invested in this new development yet. And of course there's Jadzia's death, another anti-climatic moment that unfortunately feels tagged on because Farrell was leaving the show, so they had to do something with the character.

    Then, something strange happens. Jadzia dies, Worf howls in grief, and Sisko's confidence is shattered. Watching him lay out all his confusion and self-doubt on her coffin... everything that's happened in this episode suddenly becomes incredibly poignant, and you realize something significant is going to come of this. And it does. He leaves the station, for the first time a broken man, unable to help others as they look up to him for guidance, as he has no answers to all that has occurred. In short, he runs, and doesn't look back. This, from the guy who's fearlessly lead the charge in so many trying situations.

    DS9 ends on a very quiet note; yes, even more quiet than In The Hands Of The Prophets. Yet, watching Sisko clean clams in solitude, it's perhaps one of the most unsettling scenes the show's ever done.

    Is this enough to beat out B5 this week? Yes, I say it is. While B5 left us off with one doozy of a cliff-hanger, it seems as though Centauri Prime's fate is sealed, and now it's a matter of waiting to find out what the aftermath will entail. DS9... like Sisko, I have no answer, no guesses. What will it take to unrattle a man that has never been so rattled before? We'll only find out after the long summer break. For now though, DS9 wins this week, though with quite a squeaker of a victory.

    Weekly Winner
    DS9

    Next:
    Season 6 Recap
     
  8. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    I need to see "Tears of the Prophets" again. The very end of it, as you indicate, is terrific, but I'm not so sure about much of the episode.
     
  9. Pemmer Harge

    Pemmer Harge Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Interesting to have Movements of Fire and Shadow go up against Tears of the Prophets, because to my mind, there are some similarities.

    They're both exciting event episodes, but I also think both suffer somewhat from some rather contrived elements - things happen like they do because they have to to get the characters where they need to be. Now, this happens all the time, but it's perhaps a bit too obvious here e.g. Jadzia staying on the station even though one would expect her to go on the Defiant with the others or Sheridan sending Delenn off to Minbar.

    Then, there are a few things I'm not sure make sense. It's been a while since I saw MsoFaS, but how does Vir know about the Centauri bodies? As for DS9, pretty much all of Dukat's actions fall into this category.

    I'm going to pick B5 as the winner this week. It might be a close contest, except that Dukat's role in DS9 this week really bugs me. I also think the end of MsoFaS is pretty much unbeatable - with the Regent telling Londo what he's done, Londo running out and the bombardment starting - that's unforgettable stuff.
     
  10. Damask

    Damask Commander Red Shirt

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    Fairly sure that after "Change of Heart" Jadzia and Worf werent supposed to go on missions together?

    Part that bugs me kinda is when Kira takes command of the Defiant over Worf.
     
  11. Sykonee

    Sykonee Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Season 6 Tally

    I think we're all familiar with how this works by now. So let's get to it:

    Versus:

    Solo
    DS9 - 1
    VOY - 5
    B5 - 7

    Trek Versus
    DS9 - 5
    VOY - 6

    B5 Versus
    DS9 - 2
    VOY - 1
    B5 - 4

    Triple Versus
    DS9 - 5
    VOY - 2
    B5 - 1

    Well, that solves little. VOY seemed to be bolder this time, mixing things up with DS9 more often than before, though they were fairly evenly matched head-to-head. B5 held its own whenever it went against either VOY or DS9, but DS9 got the jump on the others during Sweeps months. It was TNT's screwing scheduling that gave B5 so many solo weeks though, deciding to air new episodes during March rather than April and May due to NBA Playoffs. So, with no clear winner here, let's see how these shows fared on an individual basis.

    Yay/Nay Tally

    DS9
    17:8 - 2.1

    VOY
    17:7 - 2.4

    B5
    16:6 - 2.7

    Wait, huh? DS9 was actually worse than BOTH VOY and B5? How is that even possible with a season that had The Occupation Arc, Far Beyond The Stars, and In The Pale Moonlight!? Even if you didn't like The Killing Game (of which I included as one episode, since it originally aired as such), it'd only bring VOY and DS9 into a tie, B5 still in the lead. Isn't this where B5 started to suck though, what with all that Byron stuff and plodding Lochley backstory mystery? Ah, but don't forget this also includes the conclusion to the Earth Civil War, as well as In The Beginning and the new Centauri War - two good arcs with a bland one wedged in between.

    On the other hand, most of DS9 and VOY's best stuff was taken care of in the first half of their seasons, leading to a crummy dredge of episodes in the latter half, despite a few standouts along the way.

    Here's an interesting thing to note: from a consistently creative standpoint, it could be argued that all three shows hit their peaks at the same time, in the year 1997. In fact, that could said for sci-fi in the 90s in general! This was, after all, the year that saw the re-release of the original Star Wars Trilogy in theaters (say what you will about the 'enhancements', this was still a big deal to see them on the big screens again!), The Lost World, Men In Black, The Fifth Element (all Top 10 gross earners), Contact, Starship Troopers, Event Horizon, and, erm, Alien Resurrection. Damn, what a year to be a fan of sci-fi! Then there's the inroad fantasy was making with Hercules and Xena; heck, even video games were getting into the act, what with Final Fantasy 7 being a sensation!

    Yeah. 1997 was definitely where 90s sci-fi crested, with perhaps the one-two punch of Sacrifice Of Angels/Year Of Hell where TV Trek peaked.

    1998, though... things started to get sketchy. Sci-fi quality dipped in general, and it seemed that affected TV as well. None of the shows managed to recapture the mojo they had the year before, with DS9 perhaps suffering the most as it floundered for too long.

    So overall, I'm giving B5 the nod on this season. Its highs were just as high as DS9's, but its lows weren't anywhere near as low, plus had a lower ratio of them. Meanwhile, VOY finally managed to stand toe-to-toe with the others, though whether that's due to DS9's and B5's quality dipping or VOY's quality getting better is open for debate (I side with a little of both).

    Season Winner
    B5

    Next:
    DS9 - Image In The Sand
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2010
  12. happydave

    happydave Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    You've mentioned 1997 in Scifi Film but in regards to Scifi TV it might be also worth noting 1997 was the year both Stargate and Buffy started airing. Sliders (1995) had just peaked and Third Rock From The Sun (1996) was going along well.
     
  13. Pemmer Harge

    Pemmer Harge Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Trouble is, I guess, that people remember Season 6 like that because that's how Season 6 was - the highs are obvious and a lot of the rest is kind of bland. It's probably the first season since Season 1 where the best episodes are so easy to pick. The last couple of seasons of DS9 remind me a bit of the last two years of Battlestar Galactica (2003) - starts out great, then kind of loses direction and consistency before recovering momentum in the final year in spite of some questionable story choices.


    With B5, I think that in many ways its main problem is the fact that most of the main story arcs are now over. It almost feels like a spin-off at some points, especially in the first half of the season. The absence of Ivanova and Marcus also contributes to a rather different feel than what fans were used to. Pound for pound, though, Season 5 really isn't so bad, especially since the second half is pretty consistently good. Could even be better than Season 1 in terms of episode quality if not vibe.
     
  14. Sykonee

    Sykonee Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Now that I recall, The X-Files was also around its peak as well, with the movie set to debut the following year. Hmm... what else...

    Oh, geez, Lexx debuted too! Er, not to mention the Space Channel here in Canada (our version of the Sci-Fi Network).
     
  15. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    1997 was the year of Red Dwarf VII. Perhaps that's the exception that proves the rule? :p
     
  16. Sykonee

    Sykonee Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    That was the year Rimmer left and was replaced by that chick? Yeah... definite exception.:shifty:
     
  17. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    Bah, that's my favorite series of Red Dwarf. Ace Rimmer was never better.
     
  18. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The Ace Rimmer episode was a classic, it's the rest of that series that was disappointing. :(
     
  19. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    I like the JFK episode, too. Moreover, the season also has the Arnold Rimmer song, "Duct Soup," and brings back the male Holly in the final episode. I don't think it's as uneven as the final series, not by a long shot.
     
  20. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Series VII definitely had its moments (the Rimmer song being one) but overall it had three big problems:

    1) Losing Rob Grant had an impact on the writing. Doug Naylor is good, but he was better writing with Grant.
    2) Serious lack of Rimmer. Rimmer is a great character, and while I don't have a problem with Kochanski, she's just not Rimmer.
    3) Losing the studio audience had an impact on the actors, without the feedback they had trouble determining whether to dial things up or down.

    Series VIII was far from perfect, and bringing back the crew undercut the point of Lister being the last living human, but by bringing back the studio audience and Rimmer (and Holly), I feel it was an improvement on VII.
     

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