Discussion in 'Deep Space Nine' started by villain, Nov 7, 2013.
It just is
Heh. Reminds me of when I was frustrated with calculus in college and invented the "I Say So" theorem for situations where I knew what I was doing was right but couldn't remember exactly why it was right.
Of course I'm being subjective.
But there are a small percentage of DS9 fans who swear that darkness is the same as depth, cynicism is the same as profundity, and that Roddenberry's belief that mankind can improve itself is idiotic and naive. And they use those arguments to dismiss all other Treks, and that can be a little bit obnoxious.
It's not liking DS9 the best that bothers me, but some Niners' attitude about it.
I love both TNG and DS9.
I don't consider DS9 especially dark or cynical. It has moments of both to be sure, perhaps moreso than the other series (OTOH, ENT threatened to literally blow up the Earth, so...), but it could have been a lot moreso. Roddenberry's belief system may or may not have been naive (I fail to see how hoping humanity can change for the better is idiotic in any case), but whether or not a series hewed to that ideal is irrelevant; more pertinent is what it does with that belief. I like DS9 better than TNG overall, but TNG certainly had episodes that were superior to episodes of DS9, and vice-versa.
Let's not confuse "offers stories that are more to my liking overall" with "better".
The thing is though, the whole "DS9=darker" is a little disingenuous. DS9 indeed went to some dark places, but it was also a much more confidently humorous Trek. (IMO) Maybe not hugely more than TOS, but certainly more than TNG.
For me, DS9 isn't darker or funnier or grittier (ugh) ...it's just that all those things (plus the serialization that TOS and TNG never got a chance to really do, and also the large cast of recurring characters) make for a Trek of more depth overall. I don't present any of those as some kind of proof that DS9 is the best Trek, it's just my reasons for liking it most.
Instead of answering every single one individually, I grouped most of the posts that have a similar theme.
I'm up to the first episode of Season 4 (Way of the Warrior?).
I can tell you can DS9 is definitely different than TNG, but IMO not necessarily better.
TNG was great at what it did, which was present us with an awesome universe where humanity had improved themselves, and could concentrate its efforts on the exploration of the universe. To me, the best TNG episodes were the ones that were primarily exploratory in nature, like "Where no one has gone before", or "We'll always have Paris". I could list more really. I'll say TNG really did have some stinker episodes, but each Season to me had at least 10 watchable episodes, and at least 2 spectacular ones.
When TNG hit a high note, holy shit did it hit a high note!
DS9 has a couple of things going better for it: It has a couple of great characters that have been carrying the show since the beginning:
Now I can see why people love these characters. The actors were great to begin with, and they were given great material. However, fundamentally when most of your great characters are all, in one way or another, bad guys, that really leaves to be desired.
I can't really find anyone in DS9 that I look up to. Odo almost does it for me, but the whole "I'm siding against my people because I love Kira" angle is soooo damn grating!!
I think it's awesome how they developed the Ferengi, even if just to turn them into caricatures. I still genuinely laugh at most Ferengi antics, and I love the Grand Nagus Zek.
Unfortunately the other characters are weak, and really it's the fault of the actors. Kira never made me believe for a second that she's been in this huge struggle with Cardassians all her life. I roll my eyes every time there's some reference to it. Sisko just looks creepy most of the time, like a ticking time bomb. Again, a fault of the actor.
Jadzia? What's the point of her character? To fill the screen with smug? Her episodes so far, have been the worst ones.
I am enjoying the series, and I think it benefitted great from two things:
1. Being able to do more serialized story telling. Simply because it was allowed by TPTB. If TNG would have had this option, it would have had huge potential. Even so, TNG did try to keep continuity, even if it was just in passing moments.
2. The budget. Man, DS9 has the level of ship battles that TNG sorely lacked. We never got to see a decent Klingon/Federation skirmish in TNG, but we get to see some decent ones in DS9. Same with the Romulans. I never faulted TNG for it. It was simply the time it was made.
Those two things together give DS9 a huge unfair advantage over TNG.
However, I still prefer TNG because I prefer the exploration angle to Trek than I do the "kewl xploshins" and "funny characters". I'm still enjoying DS9, but I'd have to say, so far, for me it's on the level of TOS, a tie if you will, right below TNG.
If you're only up to WotW than you still haven't seen most of what I think makes a number of people prefer DS9 to TNG.
But yes, if you're looking for an exploration-based show, then DS9 isn't going to be your cup of tea. That's (frequently, at least) not what the show is about.
You are, however, demeaning DS9 unfairly IMO by suggesting in your final paragraph that it's about "kewl xploshins" and "funny characters". While many of the best episodes may involve such things to some degree, that's hardly what the show's aiming for, and you're doing it a disservice, or misinterpreting it, if you think that's its angle.
I have watched the whole series before, but this is the first time I actually watch it while giving it a chance. I was too close-minded about it before and watching it from a more mature perspective?
I'll say one of the reasons for my original close-mindedness was this near god like reverence Niners have for the series. Even most TOS guys don't do that shit. I suppose that wasn't a particularly good reason to hate the series, but like religion, you put down my favorite show to make yours look better? Hmm, what kind of response did they expect?
DS9 was more than serialized Star Trek. Obviously, it was the most serialized, involving storylines and character developments that spanned seasons. And the other series had elements of continuity that, with more dedication and planning, could have been spun into longer narratives: the Year of Hell, the Xindi, the making of the Earth-Vulcan-Andoria-Tellar alliance. However, there are major differences by which all those things were developed and unfolded. In Voyager and Enterprise, the arcs could have been described as extended episodes, with (nearly) definitive beginnings and endings. The arcs in DS9 evolved organically as the writers took a critical look at their own work and what they could accomplish within individual episodes. The war which would become DS9's hallmark would have been concluded in Season 4. The writers, however, felt that it was irresponsible to make hasty conclusions, and that wars were more complex things than what could be resolved in three or four episodes. The collaboration of the writers did a lot to hold it together. Consider that the Braga's Temporal Cold War fizzled out, in part, because he wasn't good at that kind of long term planning.
I'm fine with there being less exploration in DS9. This series spent more time exploring the internal workings of the Roddenberry's philosophy, and consequentially, did more than the other series to make it believable. Furthermore, it was about living with people and their problems, making it more relevant to today's world than the others. It didn't trivialize politics and social dynamics. And with importance put on psychology, beliefs, and relationships (particularly within families), it makes it seem that people are the center of the story, not superheroes.
ETA: before I look too much like the fanboy, I can appreciate your preference for TNG. It was once my favorite series too. However, the spin-offs needed their own identities, their own raisons d'etre, and DS9 did more to build on TNG's legacy than the others.
I consider them (at least so far) apples and oranges. I don't want DS9 to have been about exploration. Frankly there aren't that many good exploration stories, and TNG burnt them all out (which is why Enterprise, and to an extent, Voyager fizzled out creatively).
DS9 is perfectly fine doing its own take on the Star Trek universe, and so far it's been faithful in it.
But I still do prefer TNG because its storytelling appeals more to what I like. No need to worship one series higher than the other, both did great things with their perspective premises.
TNG is in honesty my most liked Trek series, because it's the Trek I grew up on. But DS9 was in some way I'd admit better to TNG, at least in terms of continuity.
I only also got into DS9 once Worf joined the cast, but then I've seen all seasons now and whilst season 1 was pretty shitty by and large, season 2 and 3 were improvements, once the Dominion was established as the enemy. And the Dominion IMO are the best ever Trek enemy, bar TNG Borg perhaps.
I don't get why people hate the Roddenberry vision for being unrealistic. it's art, why must any artistic work be realistic? And today's problems? Well one reason why art exists is that it's a mental and emotional escape. I'd say ALL series had points some could relate to. Picard's assimilation and trauma. Janeway being isolated from home. Sisko losing his wife. Even Data's episodes in TNG had some real life aspect to them (betrayal by Tasha's sister, forgiveness in Brothers, prejudice in Redemption, love/dating in In Theory, etc.)
I respect people's opinions in saying DS9 was more realistic, but then I personally see little wrong in the Roddenberry vision, or how DS9 was better for discarding it. I think people miss the point of artistic works if they believe that.
Yes, and art can never be wishful, speculative or whimsical.
So these guys won't see the Hobbit, or the next Star Wars film or the next Superman film. Yeah, an alien from a far away planet who is the last of his species and has superpowers from the Sun's rays and gravity. Best not watch that film, because it's not realistic...
I think some season 6/7 eps HAD to be non-war. Think about it, was DS9 under constant attack? After Op. Return apparently not. So from an in universe standpoint, Sisko and co. had time to play baseball against an old Academy rival, or show how Odo and Kira start an intimate relationship.
The Klingons are one of the AQ's principal powers, and have been long before the Federation existed. It makes sense for them to be included in DS9, given that IMO. I guess it also made a good setting to include Worf to boost ratings, and for the Dominion to further undermine the AQ.
Indeed....My own opinion on the matter is that TNG and DS9 each built upon what its respective predecessors had established and improved upon those predecessors in many ways. VGR and ENT, by comparison, rehashed TNG rather than improving upon it.
I'm also of the opinion that DS9 is the only Trek show that consistently improved upon itself right up to the end, whereas TOS and TNG both peaked somewhere in the middle and went downhill a bit before ending. We'll see if that 14-year-old opinion holds up as I revisit the series.
I'm currently very early in a long-term rewatch of DS9, so I'll probably be hanging in this neck of the BBS a bit more often.
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