TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

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

  1. DonIago

    DonIago Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Thank you for the rewatch TGB. I generally agree with the points you made, so I'm left with little else to say.

    If B5 had had, IMO of course, a stronger first season and hadn't fumbled the ball at the beginning of the fifth (JMS has some interesting thoughts on that), it might have made for a more challenging comparison. As-is...let's leave it at the fact that I own all of DS9 while I've never felt especially tempted to pick up S1 of B5 even knowing there are some (at least a few) quite good episodes to be found there.
     
  2. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I like both but B5 S1 was trying to change the presentation of science-fiction on television, as well as showing how TV narrative could be drastically different to the current norm. DS9 S1 was just.... TNG on a spacestation and while I really like Emissary and Duet, there's nothing as good as Signs and Portents or Chrysalis. You could skip DS9 S1 and miss pretty much nothing whereas B5 S1 is way too vital to the overall show. Soul Hunter isn't amazing but contains solid backstory and foreshadowing, whereas something like Q-less is just an utterly pointless watch.

    DS9 is one of my favourite shows but B5 is one of my favourite stories. There's just a lot more to it. For instance, the war between the Vorlons and Shadows comes down to an interesting philisophical conflict whereas the Prophets vs Pah-Wraiths conflict comes down to 2-dimensional, cookie cutter Good vs Evil.
     
  3. DonIago

    DonIago Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Your opinion. Mine is that while certain episodes of B5 S1 contain things that are helpful to understanding the series, a significant number of them add nothing you "need" to know to enjoy the show. And more than one S1 episode ranks right up there with the questionable heights of Q-less IMO.

    As to how B5 was trying to change the presentation of sci-fi, etc., I'm afraid I'm not sure where you're coming from on that one, unless you're referring to JMS developing the overarching story in advance. Of course, it's a given that not all of JMS's productions lived up to their potential.

    Anyway, since both shows consist of multiple seasons, and differing numbers of them at that, it seems a bit silly to me to try literally comparing one season to another. If we're going to do that perhaps we should take it further and compare things on a per-episode basis? Doesn't seem sensible.

    In any case, I think you've made your point: you prefer B5. More power to you.
     
  4. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Just wanted to say I enjoy reading these Ben! Will you be doing TNG next?
     
  5. lurok

    lurok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Overall, can't disagree. Pretty much share OP assessment of DS9.
     
  6. Sykonee

    Sykonee Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I already did that.:p
     
  7. DonIago

    DonIago Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm afraid to ask how that turned out. :p
     
  8. Paper Moon

    Paper Moon Commander Red Shirt

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    I agree with all of your assessments except this one, mainly because I'm less harsh on Ferengi comedies than you are. But I also think, even in bad episodes like, say, "Profit and Lace," Quark himself isn't a bad character. But I guess that's a subjective thing. And I definitely agree that he could've been taken in better directions.

    Umm, now that the series review is done... could you go back and do this? Your analyses are extremely well-done, and I'd love to see your views on, hmm, all of them. (But especially Garak, Dukat, Damar, Weyoun, Winn, Bareil, Ross, Nog, Rom… um, yeah, all of them.) Pretty please? :D
     
  9. Sykonee

    Sykonee Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Click here if you're curious. It was only a two year project. :evil:
     
  10. DonIago

    DonIago Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You know those are non-refundable, right? :p
     
  11. neozeks

    neozeks Captain Captain

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    I'm a bit more critical of B5 than you (mainly because I think DS9 was generally a lot better on the simple "craft" side of things, from writing dialogue to acting) but I pretty much completely agree with your conclusions and rankings. I think you've hit the nail on the head with the arc-vs-standalone balance being the true strength of the show. Also, the characters. Just reading your short summary of the main cast has reminded me how much I loved these people and how nicely they were written.

    And while I agree the arcs could have benefited a lot from some more planning and structuring, I feel like the improvisational nature of the arc writing - the ability of the writers to spin out new unplanned story strands from often unconnected exisiting stuff in a surprising but logical way - was very much a quality in itself and added a certain natural feel to the world of the show. I don't think any show before or since DS9 has had as many successful "WTF? Oh, wait, that makes perfect sense" arc-related moments for me. In the light of some disappointing stuff that came after it (which is to say, BSG :p), I'd say DS9 is one of the best proofs you definitely can write a good arc on-the-fly.
     
  12. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm leaning towards doing TNG next, for nostalgia's sake and because I want to see how it stacks up next to the other Trek series. But Farscape is still a possibility.

    But first, I plan to go back over my old review threads and save the reviews on my own computer. Knowing me, that could take me anywhere from a few days to three months.

    Quark was usually good even in crappy episodes. But what I meant by that is that he attracted crappy Ferengi characters and stories onto the show like a magnet. If Quark had been somehow better integrated into the main cast then there wouldn't have been the need for the Ferengi side-show that dragged the whole show down on several occasions.

    No promises, but maybe. Just don't expect anything any time soon. :p

    But that thread is the reason why Sykonee gets a counter in each of my threads. What more could a guy possibly ask for out of life?

    I had actually written about two paragraphs saying that, but I didn't want to focus too much on the contrasts between DS9 and B5, so I deleted them and focused on what was good about DS9. When I say that DS9's standalone episodes are the reason why it has a higher average score, what I'm really getting at is that (in my opinion) DS9 was better than B5 in most areas. The result is that DS9's best episodic stories were able to overcome what I perceive to be the shortcomings of that form of storytelling and compete with B5's epic arc-heavy episodes.

    I love B5, but when it wasn't focusing on story arcs or its best characters, the show struggled to be anything special. DS9 could tell a standalone story about the weakest member of the main cast (Jake) and get it into my top ten. Twice.
     
  13. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    You might have a point there as a fair chunk of my favourite DS9 episodes are standalones whereas none of my favourite B5 episodes are. However, B5 was also a much more serialised show, with S3 and S4 being much, much more serialised than DS9 ever was. B5 was actively trying to show how television could be transformed in to something more literary, whereas DS9 was just a very awesome Star Trek show.

    I also think B5 explored its themes in a much deeper, more meaningful way. Sinclair's spiritual journey from broken war hero to Minbari messiah, or Sheridan's experiences with Lorien and Za'hadum touched me more deeply and were more evocative concepts, than Sisko tackling a demon-posessed Dukat in order to destroy a magic book.
     
  14. DonIago

    DonIago Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    What we may have, then, is a case where, for the general public at least, the series that provides a better story isn't the same thing as the series that provides a better television viewing experience.

    Come to that it might be interesting to compare B5 and DS9 on the level of story/character/production values/what-have-you...though I'm sure it's been done and will likely be done again, and may be such a matter of opinion that there's no consensus.

    Personally I don't generally care to compare the two, as I feel the difference in approaches to storytelling make them ill-suited for comparison. B5 deserves a lot of credit for executing a story that was in many ways laid-out before the show even aired. Conversely DS9 was in many cases writing a lot more on-the-fly...however, I maintain that in some ways that means DS9 deserves more credit for situations where the story arcs worked well.

    Besides: in the end, I enjoyed both of them, so why should I willingly seek to laud one to the detriment of the other?
     
  15. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    DS9 and B5 are two of my absolute favourite TV shows, I just find it fun to compare them as it helps me narrow down what elements in storytelling I prioritise. I love The Gathering and Emissary about equally, for different reasons. The Gathering has the better world-building, atmosphere and intrigue but Emissary has the better plot and character development.
     
  16. DonIago

    DonIago Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I appreciate what The Gathering sets out to do, and in some cases does, but I have to admit for the most part I find it a bit painful to revisit.

    Emissary also has its slow points of course, but, while I guess I'm being lowest-common-denominator here, the opening is still, for my money, one of the best moments of Trek. Sure it doesn't quite hold up to what came later, but at the time we'd never seen anything like that.
     
  17. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The opening battle was a good hook for new viewers and forgivable because the show never had the Borg appear in a stunt like that again. Also, by having the Borg kill Sisko's wife it meant they had more impact in their DS9 cameo than in the entirety of their run on Voyager.

    My favourite parts in Emissary are Sisko's meeting with the Prophets. It's a plotline I dislike in the final season but it's perfectly handled at the beginning. Very smart science-fiction.
     
  18. Seven of Five

    Seven of Five Commodore Commodore

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    DS9 and B5 are both very good series, which is the easy way out of that argument. ;)

    And you posted your final series-spanning review on my birthday, so that was nice. It's been a fun read all the way.
     
  19. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I tried watching a few season 1 B5 eps a few months back and... it just failed to hook me. I dunno why... the station was interesting and more... rough... so to say, but the cast just fell flat.

    I know, everyone says it's better later on and to be fair season 1 of both tng and ds9 fell fairly flat too. Just one of those things, I haven't really gotten into yet.
     
  20. apenpaap

    apenpaap Commodore Commodore

    I did the same a few months back but gave it the benefit of the doubt and continued watching... And it's really worth it. The characters get much better later on (especially Londo and G'Kar, but the humans too) and especially the story gets better. It's worth grinding through season 1.