TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' started by TheGodBen, Oct 16, 2011.

  1. Skywalker

    Skywalker Admiral Admiral

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    I actually thought you might wait until all of TNG was out on Blu-ray, but while I'd love to hear your thoughts on Farscape, I'd be happy to see your take on TNG. :techman:
     
  2. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Season 7 Review

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    After a slip in quality in season 6, season 7 of DS9 rebounds fairly impressively. The average score for the season is 6.64, making this the second highest rated season in my DS9 rewatch. It's not up to the same level of quality as season 5 (6.808), but after a slow start season 7 finishes relatively strongly.

    [​IMG]

    Like the last two seasons, I rated 6 episodes this season to be absolute classics, with four 9s and two 10s becoming a recurring feature of these graphs. Three episodes were rated below average, which is only half of the number of below average episodes in season 6. Six episodes were rated average, while sixteen were rated above average.

    Best episode: Tacking into the Wind
    Worst episode: The Emperor's New Cloak


    The Writers

    There's no changes to the writing staff this season, although Robert Hewitt Wolfe returns as a freelancer to write a single episode.

    [​IMG]

    Ron Moore gets a staggering average score of 7.857, which leads me to worry that my fanboyism may have biased the results of my scoring mechanism. Everyone else actually fell below the average score of the season, something we haven't seen since Peter Allan Fields dragged up the season 1 average. Behr and Beimler have a combined score of 6.571, which is the best performance by Behr so far. Echevarria falls back to an average of 6.429, while Thompson and Weddle have an average of 5.5. Wolfe's single episode earned a score of 5.

    The final results for the writers will be in the overall series review.


    Statistics

    Runabouts Lost: 9 (+1)
    Form of... : 38 (+5)
    Wormhole in Peril: 10 (+1)
    Sykonee's Counter: 36 (+1)
    Stupid French Things: 7 (+2)

    Season 1 Average: 5.211
    Season 2 Average: 6.231
    Season 3 Average: 6.192
    Season 4 Average: 6.4
    Season 5 Average: 6.808
    Season 6 Average: 6.423077
    Season 7 Average: 6.64


    In Summation

    Season 7 is a divisive season of DS9 for many reasons. If you hate Ezri Dax then you're probably not going to like this season, she is featured a lot this season. Personally, I like her well enough, although I find it completely understandable why some fans don't. If you don't like the Prophets/Pah-wraith conflict then you might not like this season. I don't particularly like the way it developed myself, but it's a small enough element of the season that I'm able to focus on the good stuff. If you don't like Vic Fontaine then you'll be annoyed by his inclusion into the recurring cast this season. Personally, I think that he's a silly addition to the show, but he has some good moments so I'm willing to give him a pass.

    The big problem with this season is the same one as the previous season; there's too much fluff and too much stalling. Little happens to move along the Dominion War arc in the first half of the season, and we get treated to holodeck adventures instead of the "real" adventures we came to see. Some of those fluff episodes are good, but there's quite a lot of them for a series that's taking place during war time. Thankfully, the second half of the season is almost absent of fluff as the show went into arc-mode, but it does create an odd imbalance of tone between the two halves of the season.

    Out of the main cast, Ezri is clearly the character with the most development this season. While this is understandable considering she was a new character and the writers only had one season to tell stories about her, she does take away screentime from other main characters such as O'Brien, Quark and Jake. We don't get treated to a Torture O'Brien™ episode this season, Quark's role is largely reduced to lusting after Ezri, and Jake barely even appears on the show any more. But while Ezri dominates the first half of the season, the character that dominates the second half of the season is Damar, and I consider that to be very welcome indeed. The entire Cardassian arc worked really well, and it's a testament to the writers and Casey Biggs that a character who started out as a named extra became a highlight of the series.

    DS9 is a flawed show, and season 7 is a flawed season. But it's also a recovery from the weaknesses of the second half of season 6, and it's a strong effort to send the show out on a high note. I have my problems with it, as do most fans, but on the whole I find it to be a satisfying conclusion to the series.


    Quirky and OTT in what way? I'm not necessarily opposed to those qualities, but I fear that it would be similar to Doctor Who, which is also quite quirky and OTT. That's kinda why I never got into DW, and I fear that Farscape may be the same way from what little I've seen of it.

    But they wouldn't work in my trusty old DVD player. :alienblush: I don't have a blu-ray player, nor any interest in getting one. It's nothing against HD, I love HD games, I just don't feel like paying money to purchase an experience that's already functionally available on my shelf.
     
  3. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Definitely can't agree that Season 7 is better than Season 6, which apart from a few junk episodes at the end was a very consistent season. That occupation arc and episodes like Far Beyond The Stars, In The Pale Moonlight and Waltz are DS9 at the peak of its powers.

    Never really thought about it until now but if I had to rank the DS9 seasons I'd go:

    5 > 6 > 4 > 3 > 2 > 7 > 1

    Season 7 is the only season where I consistently have problems with the arc. The Prophets/Pah-wraith stuff is ridiculously cookie cutter for the generally morally ambiguous DS9 and the space Jesus shit was too much.

    Still, the finale was really good when it wasn't focused on these plotlines and I have no big beef with Ezri or Vic Fontaine. Better than the nonsensical cartoon caricature Dukat was this season.

    I love DS9 and consider it one of my favourite shows but the first and last seasons are the hardest for me to rewatch. Much as I love Emissary, Duet, Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges and What You Leave Behind.. little else captures my imagination.
     
  4. Lindley

    Lindley Moderator with a Soul Premium Member

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    Not really the same. Doctor Who is unabashedly looking to have fun without too much concern for plausibility. Farscape takes itself more seriously from a story perspective, it just isn't afraid to go to some bizarre places along the way.
     
  5. Praetorian

    Praetorian Captain Captain

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    Better than I would have put it!

    I would say that the show knows not to take itself seriously all the time, but when it must, it does. And as Lindley puts, the show goes places most science fiction shows don't. Sometimes the result might not be the best, other times it is, but it won't leave you indifferent.

    However I do think the show, like Babylon 5 or DS9, has a somewhat rough beginning.
     
  6. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The Gathering is a very iffy pilot but I love Babylon 5 Season 1 a great deal. Much more ambitious than DS9 Season 1.
     
  7. Kestrel

    Kestrel Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Agreed with these. Farscape can be very funny and downright strange at times but when it's serious it doesn't pull punches. It also has, for my money, the best romance in scifi/fantasy tv.
     
  8. Pemmer Harge

    Pemmer Harge Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Hey, this is the first I've seen of this thread since I've not visited this site for ages, but I broadly agree with this verdict on Season 7. I love DS9, but Season 6 was a bit of a letdown for me - the occupation arc was really good and there were some strong individual episodes after that, but overall I felt that after Sacrifice of Angels the season lacked direction and had too many episodes that seemed inconsequential to me. I was actually getting kind of bored with DS9 by the end.

    Season 7 really got me excited about the series again. It was flawed, certainly, but I feel the show recaptured some of the élan it had in Season 5. Looking at the episode list, there are quite a few questionable episodes, but it didn't seem to matter at the time - I guess that even when it was bad it was rarely boring (apart from some of those Ezri episodes). The Final Chapter had flaws aplenty and I think Tacking Into the Wind is head and shoulders above the rest of the arc, but it was ambitious and felt like it mattered.

    Chimera and Tacking Into the Wind are the real standout episodes from this season for me and I think they're right up there with the best of Star Trek.

    The thread looks interesting, I'll have a look at the older posts!
     
  9. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    I recognise the name though. :) Welcome back to the madhouse!
     
  10. Pemmer Harge

    Pemmer Harge Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Thanks!
     
  11. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The final batch of episodes are weak (And the finale is the worst of the series!) but otherwise it is a very strong season. One of the strongest, with 2 of my all-time favourite Trek episodes.

    Season 7 seemed to intensely focus on everything I disliked about the Season 6 finale, with the dumbed down Dukat/Pah-wraith plotline in particular irritating me.

    Then again, it's hardly rare that I disagree with TheGodBen. I like Crusade :). And Galen!
     
  12. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Apologies all for not getting this up sooner, but I was busy recently, and a little ill, and a little lazy, so I didn't get around to it until this weekend. But hey, it wouldn't be one of my review threads without unexplained delays. ;)


    Star Trek Deep Space Nine Review

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    Taking account of all seven seasons and 173 episodes, DS9's average score is 5.271. That is the highest score of any Star Trek series I've reviewed, narrowly beating Enterprise by 0.065. But DS9 was trounced by Babylon 5, which had an average score of 6.121. Why is this? Just look at the trendline, it shows only a slight increase in quality across the seasons, whereas Babylon 5 improved massively from its lacklustre first season. It's almost as if DS9 just kept repeating its first season over and over again with slight fluctuations so that the graph doesn't look quite so repetitive to the casual observer.

    [​IMG]

    This graph is quite telling, DS9 fluctuated from poor episodes to good ones with very few average episodes in between. This is very similar to the final graph for Enterprise, but the numbers are bigger.

    I rated 83 episodes below average, 3 episodes average, and 87 episodes above average.


    Top and Bottom 10 Episodes

    173. Let He Who Is Without Sin...
    172. Profit and Lace
    171. The Alternate
    170. The Emperor's New Cloak
    169. Blood Oath
    168. Second Skin
    167. Ferengi Love Songs
    166. Duet
    165. The Die is Cast
    164. Profit and Lace
    ...
    10. Improbable Cause
    9. Meridian
    8. Call to Arms
    7. Rocks and Shoals
    6. Profit and Lace
    5. Necessary Evil
    4. Profit and Lace
    3. The Visitor
    2. Duet
    1. The Magics of Megas-tu


    The Writers

    Honestly, I don't see the point in even bothering to run the numbers or make a graph for this segment because it's obvious Ron Moore is going to win. I'm a huge Ron Moore fanboy and I've stacked the episode scores in his favour since season 3. So, congratulations to Ron, you're a perfect specimen of a man.


    Final Statistics

    Runabouts Lost: 36
    Form of... : 69
    Wormhole in Peril: 3
    Sykonee's Counter: 0
    Stupid French Things: 63,460,000 (2011 estimate)

    Season 1 Average: 5.271
    Season 2 Average: 5.271
    Season 3 Average: 5.271
    Season 4 Average: 5.271
    Season 5 Average: 5.271
    Season 6 Average: 5.271
    Season 7 Average: 5.272

    Overall Average: 5.271

    Voyager Overall Average: 2.657
    Enterprise Overall Average: 5.206
    Babylon 5 Selected Average: 11.769


    Rankings: B5 > DS9 > ENT > VOY > BrBa


    Final Judgement

    My final judgement is that if you read this far and still don't get that this is an April Fools joke then you're a fool. An April Fool. Which I guess makes today your birthday? I don't know, I don't even know why I spent an hour doing this.
     
  13. Sykonee

    Sykonee Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    You had me until that.
     
  14. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    He had me until he called Babylon 5 Season 1 lackluster. It isn't as good as 2, 3 and 4 but Sinclair was a better lead than Sheridan and it's better than S1 of any Trek apart from TOS. Michael O'Hare had an awesome screen presence that Boxleitner lacked.
     
  15. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Duet's somehow one of the best and worst episodes simotaniously?! Improbable Cause is good but The Die is Cast is bad?! DS9 must be awesome to cater to both ends of the suck gauge!
     
  16. InklingStar

    InklingStar Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Honestly, the Magicks of Megas-tu is one of DS9's better episodes, but I am not sure how you can call it better than These Are The Voyages. The interaction between Riker and Benny Russell simply elevates that one to the highest heights, really.
     
  17. BennyRussel

    BennyRussel Commander Red Shirt

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    Don't forget that emotional scene with Dr. Smith, Starbuck and Twiki the Robot
     
  18. Sykonee

    Sykonee Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I'd have an easier time accepting The Magics of Megas-tu existing than Meridian.
     
  19. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    TATV is good, and the sex scene has some of the best special effects in Star Trek, but The Magicks of Megas-tu is just better. Not only does it contain the revelation that matter is created at the centre of our galaxy, originating from a magic-based universe, it also contains the commendable act of Kirk saving Satan's life. That's much more in line with Roddenberry's vision than blowing Satan up with a Klingon bird of prey.

    Hmm, looking over the review again, I feel there may be something wrong with the numbers. Let me try again:


    Star Trek Deep Space Nine Review

    I chose to rewatch DS9 for two main reasons. 1) I really wanted to rewatch the show, and 2) I wanted to compare it with Babylon 5. Perhaps a part of the reason why I put off watching Babylon 5 for so long is that I feared it would be so much better than DS9 that I wouldn't be able to rewatch it without noticing its inferiority. My Voyager review thread made me realise that that show wasn't as bad as I once thought it was, so what if my DS9 review thread caused me to reevaluate DS9 and realise it's not as good as I thought it was? That might lead to depression, and fear, and anger, and hate, and eventually to the Dark Side. I might become an internet troll that relentlessly bashed DS9 fans, and nobody likes people that do that.

    So, what does DS9 look like in graph form?

    [​IMG]

    From a total of 173 episodes, my average score for Deep Space Nine is 6.312. That is the highest average score for any series I've reviewed thus far, beating Babylon 5's selected average score (excluding Crusade and some of the movies) of 6.121. It's a slight lead, but it comes with the caveat that no single season of DS9 managed to beat B5 season 4. As for the graph, there aren't many revelations there. The first season of DS9 was pretty average overall, from late season 2 the quality increased drastically, reaching a high in season 5.

    [​IMG]

    This graph is quite similar to Babylon 5's version in that 7 is the most popular score with all other scores deviating from that. This is in contrast to Enterprise which had spikes for poor and good scores and a lull of average scores.

    I rated 34 episodes below average, 24 episodes average, and 115 episodes above average.


    Top and Bottom 10 Episodes

    173. Let He Who Is Without Sin...
    172. Second Sight
    171. The Storyteller
    170. Profit and Lace
    169. Meridian
    168. Ferengi Love Songs
    167. The Emperor's New Cloak
    166. If Wishes Were Horses
    165. The Muse
    164. The Passenger
    ...
    10. Trials and Tribble-ations
    9. Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges
    8. Nor the Battle to the Strong
    7. The Visitor
    6. Tacking Into the Wind
    5. Rocks and Shoals
    4. Duet
    3. Call to Arms
    2. Improbable Cause
    1. In the Pale Moonlight


    The Writers

    [​IMG]

    Ron Moore wins the race with a mightily impressive score of 7.413, and for that I'm willing to forgive what happened with Starbuck. Peter Allan Fields is next with an average of 7.25, who I'm sure is kicking himself right now for not making Duet a 2-parter. Next up is René Echevarria with an average of 6.696, which beats the series average. Robert Hewitt Wolfe is next with a score of 6.152, with Hans Beimler on 6.12. Ira Behr's score is 6.021 because, while he may be a great showrunner, he's also responsible for Grand Nagus Zek. Bradley Thompson and David Weddle have an average score of 5.545, which may be low for DS9 but which is still above average, and they went on to write some of the best episodes of nuBSG. Sadly, Michael Piller comes in last place with a score of 5.5.


    The Characters

    Sisko: I'm writing this just after explaining my feelings about Sisko to a new viewer in a different thread, so I feel a little like I'm repeating myself here, but Sisko is something of an acquired taste. Avery Brooks has an unusual delivery, and there's no questioning that he hams things up on occasion. But for whatever reason, I like his style, and as such I really like Sisko. Sisko's the most rounded Star Trek captain because he's not just a captain, we've seen various facets of his life over the course of seven years and that helps us viewers to see him differently than the other captains. I don't always agree with the decisions Sisko made, and I think that Picard is more to my liking as a captain, but as a character and a person I think that Sisko beats the rest of Star Trek's captains.

    Kira: Some may find her whiny, but I am strongly of the opinion that Kira is the best female character in Star Trek, and one of the best overall characters in the whole franchise. Her background in the resistance provided many of the show's finest episodes, especially in the first two seasons. Her character arc was that of a terrorist that develops into a part of the establishment, and then back into a terrorist at the end, all the while learning to overcome her old hatreds and how to live a "normal" life without losing her edge. It was extremely well done.

    Worf: Bringing Worf over from TNG may have been a ratings stunt, but I think it worked out really well for both the show and the character. Worf had some great moments on TNG, but I feel that it was on DS9 where he truly matured as a character and learned what it means to be a Klingon. You can watch TNG and be satisfied with Worf's journey, but DS9 provides much more for the character and finishes his arc in a satisfying way in Tacking Into the Wind. The character was much better served by DS9 than the TNG movies, I think everyone can agree with that.

    Jadzia: I like Jadzia as a character, although I do feel that she signifies the failure of the Trill species. When she was introduced to the show, the writers just seemed to assume that the Trill's joined nature was inherently interesting, but it wasn't, and a lot of Trill episodes were kinda boring. Jadzia had to be retooled to give her more personality, and that more or less worked. I don't think she was essential to the show, which is why they were able to replace her in the final season, but she added some flavour to the cast.

    Ezri: I've said it before, but I think Ezri was necessary to complete Jadzia's arc as it allowed the writers to explore the joining process in an impactful way for the viewer. She's a more successful take on the Trill concept than Jadzia, but some missteps with her episodes mean the Trill concept still isn't as interesting as it probably should be. It's disappointing that she only had one season to establish herself and that the focus on her took time away from the established arcs and characters in the show's final year.

    Odo: The show got a lot of mileage out of Odo. He could have been a gimmick character, the mysterious shape-shifting alien that solves crimes, but he had such a strong personality that his gimmick didn't define him. His backstory became a key element of the overarching plot, which allowed his character to develop in new ways. His romance with Kira may have been a bit predicable and physiologically questionable, but it had some really strong moments and I feel it was worthwhile overall.

    Bashir: Bashir had one of the most fun character arcs on the show, going from an insufferable git to a strangely lovable git. Like Jadzia, Bashir changed considerably in the second and third seasons, but it somehow felt more natural for Bashir, like it was maturity gently kicking in. The retcon about his genetically engineered background is a point of contention as it pretty much came from nowhere, but it did lead to some good episodes later so it wasn't the disaster it could have been.

    O'Brien: As the everyman character, O'Brien is pretty much perfect. He has no special powers or abilities, he doesn't even play a big role in the show's main arcs. He's just good at his job, he has a normal family life, and he enjoys relaxing at the bar. His yearly torture episodes are a little exploitative of his role as everyman, but Colm Meaney is so damn good at them that I enjoy them all the same. As a bonus for me, he's one of the best portrayals of an Irish character in an American TV show, with no hint of Irish stereotyping.

    Quark: Quark is a good character that was often poorly used, especially in the later seasons. When interacting with the rest of the crew, his banter and unique perspective could be the highlight of an episode. But as the series developed and the cast fragmented into their own groups, Quark was often left interacting with other Ferengi in lame comedy episodes. when Quark is on form then he's one of the best things about the show, and when he's off form he's one of the worst.

    Jake: As the anti-Wesley, Jake was a success. He was a normal kid that transitions into an adult, and he rarely made you want to punch him in the face. Sadly, this didn't leave much of a role for him in the show, especially once the decision was made for Jake to stay out of Starfleet, and his career as a writer/reporter just wasn't enough to give the character a purpose of his own. As the captain's son, Jake played an important role in humanising his father, but by the final season he was overshadowed by his boyhood friend, Nog.

    I could go on and detail my opinions on the recurring characters, but this series review has been delayed enough.


    Final Statistics

    Runabouts Lost: 9
    Form of... : 38
    Wormhole in Peril: 10
    Sykonee's Counter: 36
    Stupid French Things: 7

    Season 1 Average: 5.211
    Season 2 Average: 6.231
    Season 3 Average: 6.192
    Season 4 Average: 6.4
    Season 5 Average: 6.808
    Season 6 Average: 6.423
    Season 7 Average: 6.64

    Overall Average: 6.312

    Voyager Overall Average: 4.875
    Enterprise Overall Average: 5.206
    Babylon 5 Selected Average: 6.121


    Rankings: DS9 > B5 > ENT > VOY


    Final Judgement

    So, has my impression of Deep Space Nine changed over the course of this rewatch? Not really, no. If anything, it was watching Babylon 5 that changed some of my opinions about DS9. I had it in my head that DS9 was an epic series with multi-season arcs that were unrivalled, but the truth is that Babylon 5 was just better at that stuff. This is largely because Babylon 5 was planned out in advance while DS9 wasn't, so Babylon 5 had better foreshadowing and better pacing across seasons. DS9's arcs are good, and they're several steps above what was tried on any other Trek series, but their utilisation was uneven and some arcs relied on retcons. If you're looking for an epic sci-fi multi-season arc, Deep Space Nine is good, but Babylon 5 is better.

    So why does DS9 have a slightly higher average score? Because while DS9's arcs were part of its strength, so were its episodic tales. They may not have always been up to the standard of TNG in its prime, but DS9 could still knock out some fantastic episodic stories, so much so that at least four episodes from my top ten are standalone adventures. More than that, DS9 used these standlone episodes to focus in on specific characters and develop them without mucking about too much with other characters. Think of the way Kira's character grew in Duet, or how we saw a new side of Jake in Nor the Battle to the Strong. The balance between standalone episodes and arc-based episodes could sometimes be frustrating, but it could also be a strength.

    So there we go, after criticising Voyager repeatedly for its episodic nature, I end my DS9 reviews with a tribute to standalone adventures. I guess there is a double standard after all.
     
  20. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    DS9 is my favourite Trek but there's no way it's better than Babylon 5. I'd take B5 S1 over DS9 S1, B5 S2 over DS9 S2, B5 S3 over DS9 S3 and B5 S4 over DS9 S4. Season 5 is the only time I'd take DS9 over Babylon 5.