Discussion in 'Deep Space Nine' started by Sykonee, Apr 9, 2009.
Not that you're biased, or anything, right?
Week 27: (Ending 05.01.94)
TNG - Firstborn (Airdate 04.25.94)
B5 - Believers (Airdate 04.27.94)
DS9 - The Maquis, Part II (Airdate 05.01.94)
Hey, look at us! We're B5, and we're totally not Trek. See how we do a Trek-like episode that discusses the line between religion and science, but end on a total downer? That's so un-Trek, right?
Okay, that's a bit unfair. If anything, you have to give credit to B5 for even daring to take the route they did. The interesting thing, however, is it still leaves the message completely ambiguous. This basically is a Franklin character episode, using the religion/science debate as a vehicle to explore what makes our good doctor tick. Credit must be given Biggs for his performance, as he does wonders to establish the type of person Franklin is: highly passionate about his profession and beliefs, to the point of near arrogance and obsession. It's a real tragedy that it takes the death of a child for him to get a slap in the face to bring him down to earth somewhat.
Still, DS9 presented us with more of an Event Episode, so it gets the nod this week. Again, not as much character study or Big Ideas going on here, but it still raises a few tough questions on the nature of the Federation, which was something still seen as incredibly taboo (but, oh, we can always count on Evil Admirals). Alaimo steals nearly every scene he's in, and we get to see more nuance to the character Dukat, such to the point you could almost see him being, er, 'on our side'; sort of like how Garak has been so far.
Oh, TNG? Um, some stuff involving Worf and Alexander; character episode. Not unwatchable, but seems like we've been down this road before. Can you tell the series is starting to wind down?
TNG - Bloodlines
DS9 - The Wire
B5 - Survivors
Week 28: (Ending 05.08.94)
TNG - Bloodlines (Airdate 05.02.94)
B5 - Survivors (Airdate 05.04.94)
DS9 - The Wire (Airdate 05.08.94)
TNG's ending is a cop-out. B5's editing was sloppy. DS9, despite being a mere bottle show featuring a character few really liked at this point (Bashir) and one that we've only seen three times before (Garak), wins handily.
I mean, what's the point of teasing the audience with a son for Picard and giving us some good character moments for Picard in such a situation if you're not going make it matter in the end anyway? You're almost at the end of the series, why not make the bold move and give Picard a son? You went ahead and gave Riker a twin the season before, plus Data a 'mother' earlier this season. The truly unfortuante thing is that Picard hasn't had much of anything to do this season, so when he finally gets a solo-show, they flub it in the end, reverting back to status-quo. Meh.
And poor Garibaldi. Eleven episodes in and he finally gets his solo show. But the editing on this episode was wildely wonky. Lots of scenes of him running around, fighting random thugs, running around again, some scene-stealing with Londo/G'Kar again, running around, gets drunk... And what the hell was with the music in this episode? B5 has been solid on the scores thus far, but for some reason they gave Garibaldi a superhero theme for... running around?
Yeah, DS9 had no compitition this week. Garak telling lies was far more compelling than watching Picard/Jason bonding go to waste and Garibaldi running around getting beat up.
TNG - Emergence
DS9 - Crossover
B5 - By Any Means Necessary
Week 29: (Ending 05.15.94)
TNG - Emergence (Airdate 05.09.94)
B5 - By Any Means Necessary (Airdate 05.11.94)
DS9 - Crossover (Airdate 05.15.94)
In a battle of the opening credits, I'm finding I prefer B5's the most. It's the one I'm least hesitant to skip through. Anyhow...
A curious week, this. We go from the happy positivity of TNG, to the contemporary problems in B5, to the utterly depressing DS9. Yet, there seems to be a running theme of how, despite things being good, it can easily descend into chaos. Allow me to clarify.
Emergence, for all its wacky plausibility and goofy holodeck shenanigans, at least ends on a nice denouement: that we should have the faith that the sum of our humanistic parts will lead to something benign. Er, and that's about it really. This episode sure took a roundabout way of relaying that message.
By Any Means doesn't really have much of a message, rather showing the viewpoint of what life in space would be like if we haven't 'evolved' to a 'nobler' pursuit, that we've brought all of our regular current human foibles along with us. This sort of runs parallel with TNG's theory, except in this case the sum of our parts will be what we currently see all around us today; nothing changes (or maybe I'm reading too deeply into this?). Eh, you have to admit that seeing a union dispute in a sci-fi show certainly is unique, especially when most television sci-fi kept things on a Trekkian outlook of future labor. Okay, and the Londo/G'Kar stuff is mint as always.
Crossover shows how everything could have turned out horribly wrong for humanity, compelling sci-fi in its own right and made better since we've gotten to know several of these characters -seeing them in a different position is always fun, espcially if they manage to do something incredibly dramatic in the process (which, er, unfortunately doesn't happen very often in Trek). Here, the sum of our parts means squat if we allow ourselves to be trampled underneath by cruel overlords, the cynical outcome of what happens in By Any Means.
Alright, so there really isn't any kind of unifying theme to this week. I told you it's a weird one. Oh, and DS9 wins too.
TNG - Preemptive Strike
DS9 - The Collaborator
B5 - Signs And Portents
TNG really had a terrible run into the final episode. Just one nothing episode after another. Thankfully this is where DS9 really started to figure out what it should be doing.
Crossover was great, but I must speak up for By Any Means Necessary here! Labour disputes in space? Sexy trade unionists? Sinclair getting the better of Earth Alliance in order to give the common man a fairer shake? This episode is awesome!
Week 30: (Ending 05.22.94)
TNG - Preemptive Strike (Airdate 05.16.94)
B5 - Signs And Portents (Airdate 05.18.94)
DS9 - The Collaborator (Airdate 05.22.94)
There's a biggie TNG episode on the horizon, so B5 realized now's it's best chance to unleash its Major Event Episode while it has the opportunity. And hoo, what an episode it is, eh? Okay, so some of the scenes are rather over-dramatic, but major plot points are handled well, with plenty of intriguing foreshadow of events to come. Here's the most effective thing about this episode: the mysterious B-story involving Morden meeting all the ambassadors unexpectedly ties into the A-story involving the raiders in a move that quite literally comes out of leftfield (er, or rightscreen). And although some may have been able to see that twist coming, I can't imagine anyone would have predicted their means being so utterly... effecient.
So, B5 beats both Treks, but what did the Treks have on offer this time out anyway? TNG appears to have had some left-over special-effects money, as they managed to give us quite the dandy of a space battle in the opening scene of their episode. Of course, the meat of Preemptive Strike is all about Ro Laren's mission, and although it isn't the resolution I'm sure many would have liked, it is a fitting resolution to the character's arc. Her betrayal wasn't all that hard to see coming but it went a long way in establishing the Maquis as a far more serious problem for Starfleet than we could have imagined.
DS9 had more Bajoran stuff. Yawn. Heh, no, not really, though it wouldn't surprise me if that was the impression many initially had of the first few scenes of The Collaborator. It's pretty much about wrapping up the whole Kai business, and we get a little well-played drama in the process -some wonderful scenes in this episode (Kubus in prison, nearly everything Winn was in, Kira & Odo). In some ways, it was even a better episode than Signs & Portents; however, it lacks B5's thrills-n-spills action and foreshadow intrigue.
And so, TNG comes to an end next week. DS9 decides to graciously let the veteran take the spotlight and sits it out. B5, on the other hand...
TNG - All Good Things
B5 - TKO
This weeks's TNG and DS9 episodes were both very good. Signs and Portans, IMO, was pretty bad however.
This was a really interesting time for all three of these shows. TNG was winding down and mixing great episodes with some lousy ones, B5 was finding its feet and DS9 was establishing more of a separate identity for itself after season 1. All three were somewhat inconsistent at this point, but I'd give the edge to B5 season 1 over TNG season 7 or DS9 season 2 because of the run of excellent episodes leading up to the end of the season (all of these seasons had great finales).
I agree that Signs and Portents was excellent, and a real turning point for B5, but Preemptive Strike is probably my favourite of these three episodes. I believe some people don't, but I love how they finished Ro's character arc here, and I'm rather impressed that TNG pulled such a powerful and morally complex episode out of the bag so close to the end. By contrast, I thought The Collaborator was a bit of a disappointment. It had such huge potential, but for me it fell a bit flat.
I think all three of those episodes are pretty strong, actually. Star Trek The Next Generation wraps up Ro Laren's arc rather nicely (and with a betrayal that is surprising for the series), Star Trek Deep Space Nine gives us a nice episode about Bajoran politics (which I always enjoyed, unlike some) that positions Winn for future trouble, and Babylon 5 gives us the first hints of the Shadows and the conflict to come. A good week all around.
As much as I like the episode (another solid outing from the all-too-often overlooked second season), I think The Collaborator underscored how much a window should have been left opened for Kai Opaka to return and take on Winn at some point.
I think Preemptive Strike is probably the strongest out of the three though and is particularly notable for having a rather ballsy ending (for TNG anyway).
What a great thread! It has been such a long time since I've seen TNG that I have only vague memories of the episodes in question, if at all. I'm re-watching DS9 thanks to the magic of Netflix and will eventually move into uncharted territory with it starting in Season 5. I've watched B5 several times, and it's currently the only one of the three I own on DVD. (Trek is just so expensive!)
However, of the three, DS9 and B5 both edge out TNG overall in my opinion. They have also stood the test of time much better. If anything, I'd say both DS9 and B5 were way ahead of their time politically. It's very interesting seeing an episode by episode head to head. Voyager never did anything for me at all, but I'll still enjoy seeing comparative reviews.
I've just realised that All Good Things features guest appearances from regular cast members on both B5 and DS9! "So Captain, how long shall we stare at each other across the Neutral Zone?"
Week 31: (Ending 05.29.94)
TNG - All Good Things... (Airdate 05.23.94)
B5 - TKO (Airdate 05.25.94)
No competition, really. In fact, you wonder why B5 would air a new episode this week anyway. TNG, after 7 successful years of bringing television sci-fi to the mainstream, deserves going out in the solo-spotlight. Besides, B5 still had representation, what with G'Kar having disappeared into some sort of spacial anomaly and taking the body of a Romulan (seriously, Katsulus seems to still be in G'Kar mode playing Tomalak here). Maybe they were feeling a bit of the same cocky swagger as Walker Smith?
Here's the thing that's quite unfortunate for B5, however. TNG's series finale creates a floodgate of television sci-fi interest for the general public, and you've managed to catch some of the wash of that interest as folks hear about "that other new sci-fi show"; smartly, you air Signs & Portents before All Good Things airs, an episode that helped solidify yourself as a show worth keeping an eye on. Then, you follow it up with TKO. Oh dear.
TKO isn't a bad episode, but if you don't care about:
then chances are you won't care about this episode -especially so if you were hoping for a quick follow-up to Signs & Portents. Not only that, but now you're going to have to wait until JULY for a new episode. Wait, huh?
TNG bows out awesomely. B5 goes into re-runs. Looks like DS9's going to have a clear run for its season finale.
DS9 - Tribunal
All the better! I genuinely enjoyed TKO a lot, but it's pretty much the definition of filler, whereas All Good Things is a fantastic finale. All the different time periods, Yar, O'Brien, Q, ships exploding, Worf/Troi becoming official, Picard joining the poker game. All in all it was a very fitting send-off and very much in keeping with the spirit of this show. Some excellent performances too, especially from McFadden, I thought. The end of an era.
The episode does receive a fair bit of flak, but I think it's mostly from those who watched S1 after watching S2-4. Folks just aren't used to B5 having filler episodes right after Event Episodes, if at all.
Week 32: (Ending 06.05.94)
DS9 - Tribunal (Airdate 06.05.94)
Hey, what's this? I thought Star Trek was done. Didn't they just have a series finale a couple weeks ago? And where's Picard? They mentioned the Enterprise, but we didn't even see it. Oh well, it was nice seeing O'Brien again. Where did he go after Chain Of Command anyway?
Joking aside, you can tell the writers had a lot of fun with this episode. Oh, maybe not so much the actual plot (most of those scenes were incredibly exposition heavy), but in letting their creativity go wild in fleshing out the Cardassians even more. It must be heaven for TV sci-fi writers to have multiple shows to create whole alien cultures instead of getting stuck with Alien-Of-The-Weeks. (yes, this is foreshadow)
DS9 - The Jem'Hadar
I like O'Brien and the Cardassians, but for some reason Tribunal didn't really do it for me. The next episode however...
I actually have started watching DS9 again, since it was first on, what with the dvds finally dropping down in price. I'm realizing I haven't seen much beyond the second season, except for isolated episodes here and there. I also am watching Enterprise.
Wow, what a relief DS9 won this week.
I was on the edge of my seat waiting for how the voting would turn out.
Hmm, I could have sworn I posted the final week, and now it's disappeared. Heat must be getting to me...
Week 33: (Ending 06.05.94)
DS9 - The Jem'Hadar (Airdate 06.05.94)
I'm trying to think of a previous episode of Trek that pulled this big of a 'bait-and-switch' storytelling device, and the only one that comes to mind is Q Who, and even then you still had some element of suspense in the early goings of that TNG episode; The Jem'Hadar leads you down a completely false road in starting out like another Shadowplay-type of show before revealing what we're really up against. And while both end on an effective Ominous Omen, you have to wonder which New Enemy made the better impression. Well, the Borg were incredibly frightening -and the only way the Enterprise was able to escape them was with a literal deus ex machina. On the other hand, the Jem'Hadar inflicted far heavier casualties in their attack, plus they let Sisko go, in order to infiltrate Starfleet no less! Suddenly those quirky Cardassians don't seem like such a big deal anymore...
So, I guess this means the Dominion are Serious Business. Does this officially make DS9 the Trek show for all Major Trek Events now that TNG on TV is done? How will that new Trek show on the horizon -Voyager- play into this? Might the TNG movie have a prominent role as well? Intrigue, intrigue... oh such Summer of '94 intrigue...
That's a wrap for S2. Next up is seeing how had the strongest show between our three competitors -TNG, DS9, and B5- during the Fall '93 - Spring '94 run.
Separate names with a comma.