DS9's growing popularity

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' started by timtonruben359, Aug 17, 2012.

  1. timtonruben359

    timtonruben359 Commander Red Shirt

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    DS9 is now and was during its original run my favorite of the Star Trek spinoffs. I remember during the show's original run, most of my 'Star Trek friends' either didn't like the show or had stopped watching it after its first season (which granted the first two years were pretty awful). Many of them would comment that it was too dark, or too boring, or not really star trek. Even Paramount treated the show a bit like the ugly middle child rarely promoting it. Rick Berman's daily involvement in the show pretty much stopped after the first season as he focused on Voyager (which is probably why it was so good). Even today it's easy to find TOS, TNG and VOY reruns but DS9 doesn't rerun very often.

    I recently went to a convention (my first one in about a decade) and was surprised that when I would mention DS9 was my favorite Trek the response would be "I hated it when it was first on the air, but now I've been re-watching it and I love it." I had an interesting conversation with a man who loathed the show originally because he felt it was not real Star Trek because the show was set on a space station and they didn't go anywhere exploring. Now he feels the show is more in tune with TOS and Roddenberry's original vision of taking the major social issues of the day and giving them a sci-fi twist. DS9 dealt with war, terrorism, religion and politics which in a post 9/11 world are pretty much the major issues of our times.

    My question is, had DS9 come on the air a decade or more later than it did, do you think it would have achieved a higher degree of success? And do you think more Star Trek fans are embracing DS9 now?
     
  2. indolover

    indolover Fleet Captain

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    DS9 is considered widely amongst the pre-eminent Trek series.

    However, in pop culture terms nobody really cares about it.
     
  3. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    I think Trekkies are the only ones who even remember DS9 at this point. IMO, it was really overshadowed by TNG at the beginning and VOY at the end as far as mainstream audiences were concerned. There may be some people who are late in discovering it, but that's true for many TV shows that are no longer in production.
     
  4. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It's late air time certainly didn't help it's "mainstream" appeal either.
     
  5. Snowlilly

    Snowlilly Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I actually liked it right from the start when it came out, but also am rewatching it currently as it has been a while :)
     
  6. Hober Mallow

    Hober Mallow Commodore Commodore

    DS9 was heavily promoted by Paramount during its first season and the ratings were stellar. The problem came in season two, when all the focus was on TNG's run ending and the last episode. Then after TNG ended, the focus shifted to "Generations." And then Voyager and UPN premiered right afterwards. DS9 got lost in all that.
     
  7. tomalak301

    tomalak301 Admiral Premium Member

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    I'm not sure if DS9 is growing in popularity. I think at the time when I first joined, I thought it was because I was finally able to talk with other trek fans and found out that DS9 was indeed widely liked, and the DVDs were coming out. I'm sure when the Blu-Rays come out (If they come out), some of that popularity will come back. I know because of this forum and the DVDs (finally being able to see the series again) DS9 became tied with TNG as my favorite series. We just won't see Star Trek like what we had in the 90s again and that's unfortunate. :(
     
  8. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The first couple of seasons weren't stellar but there were pointers to a real potential, which was later realised.

    DS9 works brilliantly as Trek and as a serious ongoing drama. None of the other shows do. It will never have the profile of TNG (which I love) but for many of us will always be far and away the best of Trek...
     
  9. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    Depending on where you lived, DS9 more often than not aired in the same timeslot that TNG did.
     
  10. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    "Growing" and "Popularity" don't relate to any Trek where I live.

    DS9 deserves to grow in popularity.. but so does Bab5 and that sure isn't about to happen.
     
  11. flemm

    flemm Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Well, I think basically what it boils down to is that DS9 is a bit of a transition between the TNG/Voyager style (episodic and basically sort of "wholesome" overall), which tends to feel really dated now, and the grittier, somewhat edgier sensibility that tends to be the norm these days.

    It still revisits a lot of Star Trek clich├ęs shared by the other shows of its era, and it's probably derivative of B5 as a concept, but it also had a lot of really good writers and actors working on it.

    So it has aged much better than the other shows of its era and can be really rewarding when people revisit it, or pick it up for the first time on DVD or Netflix or whatever.

    I'm not sure that equates to gaining in "popularity" at all in the standard sense, since the number of people we are talking about must be pretty small compared to the number of people who originally watched the show when it was on the air (ratings were always good or not bad for a show of its type, just not amazing like TNG's).

    What it probably means is moreso that it is simply a good enough show that it will retain a bit of a cult following and always be worth watching.

    Personally I haven't been watching it at all lately, but I look forward to revisiting it again at some point. It's one of my favorite shows.

    On this particular point, it's hard to really talk about a hypothetical.

    On the other hand, one thing I enjoy about DS9 is that it was a bit ahead of its time. As far as the issues addressed, it *feels* like a show made in the post-9/11 world, when actually it predates that. You can also see that it was a bit of a creative crucible for certain things that some of the writers did later, especially Ron Moore's take on BSG.

    So, I don't know... sometimes it's ok for a show to just be a bit of an under-appreciated gem. One reason DS9 is so good at times is that it was flying a bit under the radar and the studio cared about it less. I'm pretty happy it is what it is, and it doesn't really bother me that it probably never got the attention it deserved.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2012
  12. DS9 Gal AZ

    DS9 Gal AZ Captain Captain

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    The thing is, if DS9 had been more popular in its time, they probably wouldn't gotten away with making it as different from mainstream Trek as it was. I seem to remember TV Guide praising it with words like "harsh" "gritty" and "realistic." Critically, it was praised, but it wasn't being watched as much as TNG or VOY at the time. If studio execs had taken more notice of it, they probably would've tried to dumb it down and made it another "TNG lite" a la Voyager - because execs seem to think viewers want more of them rather than something different that actually takes risks. Which is not to bash TNG or VOY, but there is something to be said for arc storytelling vs. stand-alone episodes.
     
  13. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    And sometimes it aired on Saturday afternoons. And then it was pre-empted by baseball games. Yay!
     
  14. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    In some respects shows like DSN and B5 came out a few years too earlier, in so much as they had a story arc to them. Whilst that style of programme had been for a while it wasn't until a few years after DSN and B5 aired that there was a shift in what the audiance wanted from the shows they watched.

    DSN has been for many years regarded as one of the more popular shows amongest fans, and regularly appears in the Top 2 shows in ST polls.

    As for why people like it now, rather than when it was first on, a person age could play a role in what type of shows they like.
     
  15. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I think DS9 (and to a slightly lesser effect B5) may well have been responsible for the shift in audience preferences.
     
  16. M'rk son of Mogh

    M'rk son of Mogh Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    DS9 and B5 weren't even blips on the pop culture radar.

    The late night soaps like Dallas, Dynasty, Twin Peaks, etc were responsible for slowly shifting things over. As for sci fi, X-Files had much more influence than DS9 I'd imagine as well.
     
  17. Ancient Mariner

    Ancient Mariner Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Either way, DS9 was waaay ahead of its time, in terms of both content and format. To whatever extent DS9's popularity might be growing, it's due to the fact that viewers are beginning to understand DS9's place in the evolution of serialized TV.

    On a personal note, I was so turned off by DS9's first few episodes that, at the time, I completely dismissed it as a series (I was still in college when it debuted). Only years later (oh, say, fifteen years later), did I give the show a chance. That's when I realized just how good it was.
     
  18. Diogenes5

    Diogenes5 Ensign Newbie

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    DS9 was so badly treated as a show in its later years. I have always been a trekkie but could never catch it as it switched timeslots every season and I was in elementary/middle school when it aired. I remember catching the series finale one day and going to myself, "Holy crap it's over!" and "Wow, this show must've been awesome with all the parts they are wrapping up."

    Sadly reruns did not play things in order so I was never ever able to really catch up with the show.

    It was only with Netflix and the release of the DVD's that I was finally able to watch the whole show straight through around 2006 and what a ride it was. The finale had whole new meaning for me as it left a yawning pit in my stomach as I had to said goodbye to the characters I had come to love.

    I think the main reason DS9 has so much legs is that it really maximizes television as a format and develops it's characters over its 7 year run. Nog becomes a starfleet officer, the wet-behind-the-ears doctor is not a mature veteran of war, and so on.

    Even better are the numerous relationships which we get to see develop over the years. My favorite was the friendship of Garak and Bashir. At first bashir is a naive young doctor that has no idea what to expect of the mysterious Mr. Garak. By the end of the show, Bashir and Garak's friendship is on a whole other level. There were so many characters and so many relationships intertwined with each other that DS9 felt like a living, breathing world with characters I really cared about.

    Many trekkies are right that DS9 is not quite Star Trek. It didn'
    explore as many grand big-picture sci-fi plots as TNG did; it focused on relationships and characters and was closer to a drama than science fiction; at least by Trek standards.

    Many of the things that make DS9 loved by the few who got to see it in its entirety are also those things which hurt it in terms of ratings and popularity. There were no DVD's, no netflix, no online way to catch up if you missed an episode. Nowadays, we kind of expect it in serious dramas. Studio heads are no longer scornful of serialization with true character and plot development; in fact they encourage it because serialized shows have the best DVD sales (For example the CSI shows have great live ratings but mediocre dvd sales). In this way DS9 was ahead of its time.

    However, I would have to disagree saying that DS9 is growing in popularity. The show has been off the air for 13 years now and it is no longer seen on US airwaves even on cable. It's a great show and I'm grateful that the star trek name allowed us to get 176 great episodes. Think about it, that's about 9 20-episode seasons today, and about 13 13-episode seasons of a Cable TV show (like mad men).

    I think people are appreciating it more now though because sensibilities and expectations about serialization and character development in TV have changed for the better.
     
  19. Use of Time

    Use of Time Commodore Commodore

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    I don't know about growing popularity but I have found that it is easier to turn non Trek fans onto this series than any other I have tried.
     
  20. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    You want bad treatment of a show from memory when channel 4 aired S4 of B5 in the UK, there was something like 21 timeslot/day changes. Which might not have been so bad except that it was only a 22 episode season. So it basically moved slot every week. Try keeping track of that.