Avery Brooks's really weird acting

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' started by david g, Mar 22, 2010.

  1. david g

    david g Commodore Commodore

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    First, let me say that Sisko as played by Brooks is an infinitely more interesting character than Archer as played by the miscast Scott Bakula (a good actor stymied by his miscasting).

    But Brooks is so odd as Sisko. I am rewatching the series (as a non-fan who wants to give the series another chance), and am at early season 3. Brooks is usually either fulminatingly angry or weirdly, almost hysterically enthusiastic. In the Dax episode "Equilibrium," however, Brooks looks and sounds, frankly, bored.

    I have heard Brooks speak scoffingly about Star Trek, and dont know if these attitudes affected his performance. I dont know if people feel that his performance improved over time. But while he is undeniably a strong presence, Brooks is also a maddeningly erratic and uneven one.
     
  2. Withers

    Withers Captain

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    The writing of the character saved Sisko from what might be viewed as "erratic" and "uneven" acting by the actor to me. There were times, especially early on, where I thought to myself "Whoa... take it easy..." but they're generally forgivable. In the episode where he played a former host of the Dax symbiont, for example, they had to re-shoot it because he came off as too creepy. I think there are certainly moments like that, where his diction and annunciation and emphasis were off, that made it into the finished product.

    But, in spite of that, the writing of the character and Sisko's actual actions make up for that in my case. It's the polar opposite of Kate Mulgrew, whose acting remained pretty consistent, but was stymied by woefully uneven writing.


    -Withers-​
     
  3. Pemmer Harge

    Pemmer Harge Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Brooks does have a pretty idiosyncratic acting style and occasionally he can look a bit silly, but most of the time his performances work well for me. I think you've got to the stage of the show where the writers began to do more good stuff with Sisko.
     
  4. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Brooks is very candid about the fact that he wanted to leave the show early on, and I can't blame him because the characterisation of Sisko was very poor for the first two and a half seasons. He stayed because he was on a six year contract and he felt it would be a bad example to his young children to walk out so early into that contract, so the truth is that he probably was bored with the show at that time.

    However, around the time of Past Tense the writers began to get a handle of Sisko as a man and started giving him meatier material, and the producers also allowed him to shave his head and grow a beard. (Something they wouldn't let him do at the beginning because they feared he would be mistaken for Patrick Stewart. No, that doesn't make any sense.) Because of this Brooks became more comfortable with the role and his performances improved, although his theatrical style remained until the end, particularly noticeable during his breakdown in Far Beyond the Stars. Presumably, he was happy enough with the role by season 6 because he signed on for the final season even though his six-year contract was up, and the actors weren't given significant pay increases to stay (which was part of the convoluted reason behind why Terry Farrell walked).
     
  5. RobertScorpio

    RobertScorpio Pariah

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    Well.. I see it this way. He created a character, as Shatner did. They both have that strange 'sticcato' form of acting, and in my opinion, created the two best captains of the franchise.

    I think Patrick is over-rated as an actor, and at times, he comes off as either bored, or, too "stage play"ish for me. As for Kate? I like her at times, but then, other times, I find her to be too stilted. She suffered from bad writing though, to be sure.

    Shatner/Brooks are my two favorite actors, in terms of the captains, because they didn't just come in and read lines and create boring actors who hit their marks and move on. They were off at times? Sure...but I'll take Shatner/Brooks over Stewart/Mulgrew...

    Now..having said that? The best acting performance on any of the series is Patrick's job in "SAREK" when Sarek takes over Picard's mind. Best acting job ever on TREK, IMO.

    Rob
     
  6. exodus

    exodus Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Sisko was written to be a "man on the verge" due to overwhelming stress. Everything Sisko endures is stressful piled on top of more stress.

    Dealing with racists assholes like Cardassians
    Raising a son on a booby trapped space station
    His son is best friends w/ the local thief's nephew and is dating a Dabo girl.(A.k.A. Space Ho's)
    He's got a First Officer that isn't Starfleet and doesn't know shit about diplomacy and resents Starfleet for being there.
    A Doctor who very aloof and chasing skirts instead on healing the sick.
    A possable Cardassian spy/sabatour who might be pretending to be a taylor.
    A Chief of security that doesn't follow Starfleet regulations always.
    Quark
    Crazy Bajorians thinking you Jesus and can make all their wishes come true.
    Wormhole aliens with a direct link to your brain and tapping in any time they please, yet not doing much in the way of helping you.
    Kai Winn doing every thing in her power to usurp your standing with the Bajorian people and blew up a school, yet you must be nice too her to also sway the Bajorian people


    ......and this is all is before the coming of the Dominion.

    I'd like to see anyone not run the gambit of emotions dealing with what Sisko had to. I'd be on the verge too in his shoes. When you get all that, it's even clearier why Sisko lost his faith in "Far Beyond the Stars" and why the alternate version of him (Benny Russell) has a nervous breakdown.
     
  7. Too Much Fun

    Too Much Fun Commodore Commodore

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    I agree that Brooks is often horribly over-the-top and hammy (particularly in "Far Beyond the Stars", "In the Pale Moonlight" and "What You Leave Behind"), but I find your example of one of his weaker, less inspired performances surprising because my favourite Brooks performance ever was when he played being possessed in "Equilibrium".

    I think sometimes when he tries to act intense and dramatic he comes across as too forced, but I love when he cuts loose and plays a crazy villain. That's why I love his performances in "Equilibrium" and "Our Man Bashir". As a dramatic actor, he's very limited, but I think he's an underrated comedic actor. He's hilarious in the movie "The Big Hit" as a scenery-chewing villain.
     
  8. RobertScorpio

    RobertScorpio Pariah

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    ^^ well put.

    Sisko couldn't move from planet to planet like Kirk/Picard and the others..he had to stay, and deal with problems that might arise from his decisons. This would stress anyone out.

    Kirk could screw up a planet, then go on to the next planet and score with a babe.

    Picard could mess something up, then go blow on his "Inner Light flute", or some other person's flute, and not worry about what he did.

    Not Sisko..he had to stay and deal with what would come...that would stress anyone.

    Rob
     
  9. Sykonee

    Sykonee Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    To be fair, Equilibrium is a bit of a boring episode as well. It's alright, just very subdued with lots of exposition talk. Hard to get dramatic with that.

    Yeah, Brooks can be wildly erratic in tone and mood, especially from S3 on, but I think that helped give Sisko more character in the long run. It gave him passion and, by S4, he'd finally gotten a perfect handle on what makes Sisko tick; what can set his temper off, when to switch between full command mode or personable co-worker, etc. Of course, it certainly helps the writers did also. ;)

    One thing he got right out of the gate, however, is how to be a father figure. :techman:
     
  10. Deckerd

    Deckerd Fleet Arse Premium Member

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    I struggled with Sisko for a long time and to be honest, it was the other characters in DS9 that kept me watching. He did get better as the seasons went on but even quite late on he could still make me cringe on occasion.
     
  11. TheInsideMan

    TheInsideMan Commodore Commodore

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    God yes. :techman:

    "Lower the forcefield, Jadzia. Lower it. And you won't have to feel scared, ever again."

    Brrr.
     
  12. Eyes

    Eyes Commodore Commodore

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    Wasn't the one where he was possessed in Facets? That was one of his best early performances. Equilibrium, however was pre-Past Tense, where we had the early Sisko who mainly read mission reports and delivered most of his lines in the same tone.

    I never really noticed Sisko much for the first few seasons. He had few major roles, and the few he had weren't great (Second Sight nearly sent me to sleep until the end), but after Past Tense Brook's acting quality really improved, he may have got a little bit hammy while declaring 'It's real', but he became a much better captain over all, and to be honest, I never noticed many other over-the-top performances.
     
  13. TheInsideMan

    TheInsideMan Commodore Commodore

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    I stand corrected. :)
     
  14. Ward Fowler

    Ward Fowler Commodore Commodore

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    Sisko was bipolar. :) Actually, I'm only half-kidding. A case could certainly be made. That being said, outside of Shatner Brooks is my favorite Trek actor. My wife thinks he's the best Captain in all of Star Trek.
     
  15. Danny99

    Danny99 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    He seemed to fluctuate between boredom, decent acting, and over-hammy "It's REEEALLL!" acting.
     
  16. Nightdiamond

    Nightdiamond Commodore Commodore

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    I think some of the style of dialog changed, which may have it easier for the characters to break through.

    I think in the first few episodes and seasons, Sisko's character was a little typical and cookie cutter- particularly with the dialog..

    Then you can see the changes in episodes like "For the Uniform", where Sisko does a serious about-face, and loudly orders Worf to poison a Maqui planet if they don't surrender Eddington, after they called his bluff...

    Up until then, except for a few examples, I've hardly seen any behavior that extreme from the other captains...


    ......Effective.


    A good way to judge how effective someone's acting is to see how and if it affected a lot of people, if it got their attention, and "episodes like "Far beyond the Stars" got people's attention...
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2010
  17. RobertScorpio

    RobertScorpio Pariah

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    just like Patrick's.."he'll never learn to ...looooooveeeeeeee" acting.

    Rob
     
  18. Bad Atom

    Bad Atom Commodore Commodore

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    Brooks' acting quirks could be distracting sometimes, but he made Sisko seem like a real person to me. His idiosyncrasies and mannerisms made him a more three-dimensional character, and as a result he was more interesting to watch.
     
  19. CaptainStoner

    CaptainStoner Knuckle-dragging TNZ Denizen Admiral

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    I wonder what the acting experience of either of you happens to be. Or what you consider to be "good".
    Star Trek is a show in which very weird, eccentric, and dramatic shit happens on a regular basis. It involves morality plays in a space setting, and its characters were supposed to have such a range. Shatner, Stewart, and Brooks (I haven't seen the other 2 shows) are all powerhouses of actors who could bring the kind of intensity such material requires.
    KKKKKHHHHHAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!
     
  20. Danny99

    Danny99 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I have spent my life around theatre and while I might not have the acting experience that you think qualifies yourself to tell me opinion is wrong, I am allowed to said opinion. I have two examples of what I consider to be good acting.

    My exhibit A is Lost's Terry O'Quinn and Josh Holloway. These two actors have constantly put in good performances in recent seasons, where very weird, eccentric, and dramatic shit has happened on a regular basis.

    My exhibit B is DS9's Rene Auberjonois and Andrew Robinson. Rene's Odo was convincing as a gruff police officer as they were in the scenes where he is wondering about his origins. Robinson's Garak, also covered by pounds of make-up, managed to be shrouded in mystery and keep the humorous edge.

    Brooks' acting style, while I appreciate his emotional delivery, is nowhere near that of those four actors.