Was there a seven year plan?

Discussion in 'Deep Space Nine' started by MikeS, Nov 12, 2013.

  1. MikeS

    MikeS Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I've been thinking recently about how the whole arc of DS9 fits together so well. From the big things like Bajor, Cardassia and the Dominion to the subtler things like Nog's character growth or Julian & Miles friendship.

    That must have been planned from the start right? Or were they just making it up as they went along?
     
  2. Tosk

    Tosk Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    There were small plans along the way, but no...no big plan to cover the whole run.
     
  3. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    They were making it up as they went. The Defiant was created when the original idea of the majority of the action being on the space station was discovered to be too limiting.


    :)
     
  4. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Commodore Commodore

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    No, the writers simply collaborated well as they went along. Indeed, the Dominion War was supposed to be a smaller affair, wrapped up in 2-3 episodes at the beginning of season 5 (I believe), but other things got in the way. First, introducing Worf and the Klingon conflict pushed the war back. Second, the writers, individually, wanted to accomplish more with their individual episodes, requiring more and more time (luckily, they kept talking with one another, so that the next episode was influenced by what happened previously). Third, the Dominon War became the framework within which all the other narratives were explored: the Emissary, the Cardassians, the Klingons, etc. With the increasingly complexity of the Dominion War, it couldn't be wrapped up as quickly as anticipated, eventually consuming the rest of the series. If you want details, you should find the DS9 Companion.
     
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Actually I seem to recall some interviews published before or during the first season where they hinted that there were plans to eventually add a larger starship. But I think they were talking in terms of using it as a vehicle to do more exploration-based stories in the classic Trek vein, so I doubt they were thinking of something like the Defiant at that stage.

    But no, there was no master plan from the beginning. The original showrunner, the guy in charge of the creative process, was Michael Piller, but after season 2 he shifted his attention to Voyager, and then Ira Steven Behr took over as showrunner for the rest of the series. Also, after season 2, Ron Moore and Rene Echevarria moved over from TNG to join the staff. So a lot of the key decision-makers in the final 5 years of the series weren't in those same roles for the first 2.

    Plus there were decisions that came from the studio, like adding Worf to the cast in order to boost ratings, and shifting the focus to a Klingon arc and away from the Dominion stuff for a while. The studio was also constantly pressuring them to avoid the Bajoran religion stuff, though evidently that pressure relented over time.
     
  6. dub

    dub Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    from Memory Alpha:

     
  7. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    I have one of the earliest background books published, The Making of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1994), which only covers how the series was originally developed, and production during the first two seasons. There was no multi-season arc laid out in the beginning. One major theme they did want to pursue was how Sisko starts out as a man haunted by personal tragedy, and has his life changed due to his relationship with Bajor and the Prophets. But there's no indication that they knew what would finally happen to him.

    They weren't even sure a Star Trek show on a space station was going to work with audiences.
     
  8. Ensign_Redshirt

    Ensign_Redshirt Commodore Commodore

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    AFAIK, the only sci-fi show with a pre-planned multi-year arc was Babylon 5 and even in that case there were heavy modifications to the original outline made along the way.

    That being said, DS9's arcs turned out reasonably well. That's not a given, considering that other show's arcs became a complete mess sometimes.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, it was the first one with a pre-planned multi-year arc, but that's become a lot more common since then. Still, any such plan needs to be flexible and open to change. Like the saying goes, no plan survives an encounter with the enemy. (In fact, I first came across that saying in J. Michael Straczynski's book on screenwriting.) Lots of series have general plans for the character arcs, but they're not mapped out episode-by-episode for years in advance; they're more just loosely defined goals and key events that need to happen somewhere along the way, with plenty of flexibility about the when and the how, and with room to revise plans if the story starts to veer in an unexpected but interesting direction.


    Personally, I think DS9 made a mistake by letting the Dominion War drag out all the way to the end of the series. They should've wrapped it up sooner and dealt with the aftermath.
     
  10. dub

    dub Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    That's certainly the truth. It's amazing how well the show turned out considering it had so many arcs and serial elements, but not very much pre-series planning for those arcs. I think the stars all aligned wonderfully for this show. The cast, extended cast, the writers, the producers, the designers. Together they created something very special. It may not have been a ratings rock star, but it's a series that they could all be proud of. DS9 holds up amazingly well and comes off as a saga that was planned out from the beginning even though it really wasn't.
     
  11. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    The DS9 master plan was as follows:

    Copy Babylon 5.
     
  12. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    No, no seven-year plan. It was even more remarkable. They ended up making it appear there was a plan! Not intentionally, of course. The writers would be inspired to write new episodes from seemingly insignificant throw-away lines from previous episodes. That's creativity, building off of what they had established before, and running with it.
     
  13. Marten

    Marten Captain Captain

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    Sort of like BSG. But smarter.
     
  14. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yeah... I guess TOS copied every other sci-fi series too because it was about a ship in space. Nevermind small details like DS9 airing before B5... by over a year if you take away that one shot pilot.
     
  15. Dream

    Dream Admiral Admiral

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    Bashir being genetically engineered pretty much came out of nowhere.
     
  16. Hober Mallow

    Hober Mallow Commodore Commodore

    I liked DS9, but I don't think it could be more crystal clear that there wasn't any kind of long-term planning.

    There are a lot of similarities beyond the superficial between DS9 and B5, but I think that has to do simply with beginning with similar premises and coincidence than with conspiracies.
     
  17. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Well Hollywood is notorious for competing films coming out at roughly the same time with similar themes.

    Armageddon vs Deep Impact
    Olympus Has Fallen vs White House Down

    A space station based ST was the next logical step for the franchise. Besides in many respects B5 owes it's existance to ST esp. TNG. Had that not been a success I doubt B5 would have seen the light of day.

    But I enjoyed both B5 and DSN.
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    The only reason anyone thought DS9 and B5 were similar is because nobody else had ever really done a space-station show before. If two police procedurals or hospital dramas or school-based sitcoms are similar to each other, nobody bats an eye, but heaven forbid that two different science fiction shows should have similar settings! The whole thing was ridiculous from the first accusation.
     
  19. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Commodore Commodore

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    ^And to be fair, Michael Straczynski never accused Berman or Pillar of pilfering Babylon 5. Indeed, the evidence seems to support the notion that they were unaware of a competing show proposal based on a space
    station. If anything, Straczynski blames Paramount for "suggesting" Berman and Pillar make changes based upon what the studio liked about B5.
     
  20. GameOn

    GameOn Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I didn't start watching B5 until after DS9 had finished and I never paid much attention to the rivalry between them. Apart from some superficial similarities the two shows are separate and distinct in my mind. I actually find it amusing how similar the Mass Effect series is to B5.
     

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