Dividing DS9 into Mini-Seasons

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' started by Desert Kris, May 9, 2020.

  1. Desert Kris

    Desert Kris Captain Captain

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    Hello all, I've been making my way through DS9, which is partly a re-watch for the first two and a half seasons, and (if all goes well) a first time viewing for the latter half of season three and the rest of the show. It's a little daunting approaching seven seasons of a show that is about 26 episodes per season. So to make it less daunting, and have a little fun reconceptualizing it a little, I sub-divided the first couple seasons up into mini-seasons that resemble what a modern streaming series episode looks like. Much easier to approach a huge show like this and watch 10-13 episodes, take a break for a couple days or a week, and then pick up with the next mini-season.

    So, for example, the first mini-season I did was from Emissary to Battle Lines. Since the fate of Kai Opaka had ramifications for Bajor's spiritual organization, it seemed like an interesting episode to bookend a kind of mini-series.

    The next mini-season ran from The Storyteller (probably dubious for a season opener) through the three-part story that opens the real season two (Homecoming/The Circle/The Siege). That was a fun sequence to end with and take a break. The current mini-season I'm running through goes from Invasive Procedures to either Whispers or Paradise. The rationale for this is that Whispers and Paradise are near the maximum length that I want to construct a mini-season; and Whispers was so memorable from when I watched it decades ago, that I was looking forward to seeing it again. On the other hand, Paradise was rated very highly on the Tor.com DS9 re-watch, so for this occasion, I thought I would go one more episode. The next mini-season that I have planned will run from Shadowplay to end with The Search two-parter that opens the real season three. And the next mini-season as a 10-episode run ending with the Past Tense two-parter.

    After this, I will be in really unfamiliar territory. The latter half of season three is very vague for me, and seasons 4-7 are completely unknown (I know some major stuff, like there's a Dominion war, Worf joins the show, marries Jadzia, something happens to Jadzia and a new character called Ezri joins the show, ect). So I thought I would ask for some help from fans who are more familiar with the show; how would you sub-divide the seasons into mini-seasons? My own parameters have been to end a mini-season with a strong, well regarded episode, or a mild game changer that isn't a cliffhanger (like Battle Lines). Two and three parters kept together, and if it's a strong run of episodes, have those end the mini-season (I gather there's a six-parter in one of the last two seasons). I'm not too worried if an episode isn't going to be a great season opener, but I enjoy leaving off for a break with a quality episode that isn't a cliffhanger, but makes me feel good about returning after a week or two of rest.

    I'm glad for feedback for the latter seasons, as I'm flying completely blind with them.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2020
  2. Boris Skrbic

    Boris Skrbic Commodore Commodore

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    I’d suggest:

    1) Guesstimating the point where you stopped in season three, then continuing from there. Watching is more important than rewatching, the show gets better later on and it isn’t so serialized that you’d miss a lot that way. Don’t look at it as a project with subtasks, you can finish in ten years if necessary.

    2) Preferably not (re)watching DS9 at all because you don’t know that it won’t be remastered in a couple of years? The last time I rewatched DS9 was years and years ago on DVD, most of it in English for the first time as opposed to German, with two episodes I’d never seen before, but to rewatch it one more time in standard definition, and then obviously again in HD? There is so much better TV out there I could watch in (U)HD in the meantime, so it’s just not worth it.
     
  3. Sakonna

    Sakonna Commodore Commodore

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    Oh, I love this question, I once had a friend who had given up on DS9 during season 2 when it was originally airing, and years later I interested her in the show and we rewatched the entire series together, and I loved figuring out what the programing "blocks" would be each time (though we would only do 3 - 6 episodes at a stretch).

    I would actually tweak your current blocks and end with "Whispers" instead of "Paradise" (because I personally hate "Paradise", so you may wish to ignore me :bolian:). I'd then let the mini-season after that be "Paradise" through "Tribunal"... the reason being that I think the finale of season two and the first 3 episodes of season three play really well together, so they'd be better kept in the same block.

    And it's at your maximum length, but a block of "The Jem'Hadar" through "Past Tense, Part II" would work.

    Though personally I'd do that one a little shorter and have it be "The Jem'Hadar" through "Defiant", because if the block following that one is "Fascination" through "The Die Is Cast", that's PERFECT.

    Though I also think DS9's greatest consecutive run of episodes is the first 9 of season four, so it would be fun if those could be kept together...

    Though you could also maybe do...

    "Explorers" through "Rejoined", followed by...
    "Starship Down" through "Accession",
    "Rules Of Engagement" through "The Ship",
    "Looking For Par'Mach In All The Wrong Places" through "By Inferno's Light",
    "Doctor Bashir, I Presume" through "In The Cards",
    "Call To Arms" through "Waltz"... and... hmm... I'm getting stumped and I must go deal with family stuff. I'm sure I'll be back in a day or two with additional thoughts... :bolian:
     
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  4. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Commodore Commodore

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    With Season 7, “Penumbra” starts the final 12 (13 if you count the final as 2) part story arc. But with Seasons 2-7, you have so many cross connecting stories, it’s best to watch the series as it was designed and take the downbeat episodes as they were meant to be. Since in Season 2 DS9 picks up the Cardassian/Maquis storyline that was started on TNG with “The Wounded”, “Journey’s End” and “Preemptive Strike”, (and was partially picked up on Voyager, but DS9 got the lion’s share, and it ran to Season 6) and then the Dominion War storyline also starts in Season 2. (Oh and watch the show on DVD—-you’ll get the BEST quality from DVD, not Netflix.
    https://www.trekbbs.com/threads/voyager-on-netflix-vs-dvd-quality.303873/)
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2020
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  5. Desert Kris

    Desert Kris Captain Captain

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    I hoped it would be a fun thought experiment for fans of the show, but something that could also guide me in my run through. :)

    Your instincts are good on this one. By no fault of your own, I already completed that block with Paradise last night. Whispers was much more fun, even though it doesn't play the same way when you know the twist, and the episode is so memorable I remembered it after all this time. Paradise was kind of a glum affair, but still quality...but now I'm past it. I'm on my rest for a week or so, and then I'll be back at it.

    For my next block I planned to end it with The Search two-parter. Do you recommend I include House of Quark as well...?

    My current plan would be to have my upcoming block run from Shadowplay to The Search two-parter. This block is actually going to be a little different, because I thought I would include TNG episodes into the mix, just for this stretch: Journey's End before The Maquis two-parter, bookended by Preemptive Strike. And maybe All Good Things... after The Collaborator. For the fun of seeing the context of DS9 side-by-side with the outgoing TNG. It is my plan to watch the Generations movie, between DS9 episodes Meridian and Defiant, as the research I have done places the movie between those episodes. And then watch a handful of the first Voyager episodes, again just for a little bit of context, up to say The Cloud. After that small handful for contextual anchoring, I intend to watch the rest of DS9 exclusively, so that it can breath and stand on it's own.

    Huh, I had it in mind to finish off that block with the Past Tense two-parter, because that one was so memorable as a really great time-travel story. I was actually disappointed that it didn't get included in one of the anthology DVD collections that were release a while ago.

    I'll keep that in mind for my planning of blocking season four, thank you!

    Though you could also maybe do...

    I really appreciate these initial suggestions, and will be glad to hear any further thoughts you might have. This gives me a lot to work with, surveying the lay of the land ahead. One of my own ideas is to have one block end with the last episode featuring the earlier uniforms (I think The Ascent?) and start the next new block with the changeover to the newer First Contact uniforms (I think Rapture?) It's probably a superficial dividing point, but I feel attached to the idea.

    Thank you for your suggestions, hope everything is going well with your family.

    I think I've read a couple times that the last chunk of episodes is pretty serialized, so I appreciate that guidance and will make that the final mini-season. As far as DVD is concerned, I'm already watching through the series, but if I like it enough for it to be a must-buy, I'll definitely go for it for a potential future next time I might watch through DS9 again. I never finished Voyager and Enterprise, we'll have to see how far I get in terms of catching up.
     
  6. Sakonna

    Sakonna Commodore Commodore

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    Dec 15, 2015
    "The House Of Quark" is very much about the aftermath of "The Search" two-parter, so that's why I initially thought you'd want to keep them together -- I think of "House Of" as an epilogue to "Search." BUT it's also true the stories are not directly connected, and they stand independently.

    And looking again at your parameters, that you'd ideally like to end your mini-seasons on game changers that aren't cliffhangers, "The Search" fits that bill better than "The House Of Quark."

    It is between "The Ascent" and "Rapture" that they swap the uniforms. If you put a break between them, here's how I'd do the rest of the series. I think it hits every qualification... all these "finales" are generally well-regarded, game changing to varying degree, it doesn't break up any of the tightly serialized arcs or multi-part stories, and every block is in that 10 - 13 ep range.

    "Rapture" through "Ties Of Blood And Water" - 10 eps

    "Ferengi Love Songs" through "Sacrifice Of Angels" - 13 eps

    "You Are Cordially Invited" through "In The Pale Moonlight" - 13 eps

    "His Way" through "Treachery, Faith, And The Great River" - 13 eps

    "Once More Unto The Breach" through "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges" - 10 eps

    "Penumbra" through "What You Leave Behind" - 9 eps (but one is a 2 hour double ep, and this is all of the Final Arc as one piece)

    I'm not sure what I'd suggest to get you from where you are now up to "Rapture", since I'm not sure where the break will be with those TNG and VOY eps mixed in.

    (Though for at least the two blocks preceding it, I do think a season starting with either "Homefront" or "Crossfire" and running through "To The Death", and then another season "The Quickening" through "The Ascent", would work well and also check all the other boxes)
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2020
  7. Desert Kris

    Desert Kris Captain Captain

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    Your instincts were right for the choice between making Whispers or Paradise a rest point. And I'm willing to be flexible beyond the scope of just game changers or a highly rated episode just to be outbound on a high note. Paradise was rated highly, but it was kind of a downer. I like your idea of an episode operating as kind of an epilogue, too; the fourth season of Buffy the Vampire slayer ended with a two-part finale with an additional episode as an epilogue and it was awesome. In fact my criterion of not doing cliffhanger episodes as a pause point comes from Buffy's pattern of structuring seasons, it always felt more respectful of television audiences than other shows that ended seasons with cliffhangers, constantly risking the end of a show without resolution.

    Thank you very much for your ideas, and the breakdown of episode lengths, I really appreciate it. I will make use of your blocking suggestions. :)

    The extra TNG and Voyager episodes are not going to be extensive. It amounts to three or four of the last TNG episodes, the Generations movie, and maybe the first five Voyager episodes. It hasn't effected the overall count of DS9 episodes I've strung into a block so far: I've already been slotting a couple TOS and TNG episodes in between DS9 blocks. I wanted to watch Errand of Mercy, The Trouble With Tribbles, and Day of the Dove as a lead in prep for DS9's Blood Oath, but I've been spacing those episodes out, in between DS9 blocks. Same with TNG: after my first DS9 block I watched TNG's The Emissary, and during my current break I'll watch Sins of the Father, and maybe Reunion, to track Worf's progress through TNG as a prelude/reminder before he transitions into joining DS9 in the fourth season. The TNG and Voyager episodes don't count in the tally of DS9 episodes blocked, they are brief breaks, or palate cleansers, if that makes sense. Small anchors for DS9's place in the overall picture of Trek, but as I mention above, I'm mainly going to let DS9 stand on it's own, and watch through Voyager at a different time, separate from DS9.
     
  8. Desert Kris

    Desert Kris Captain Captain

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    I wanted to check in on this thread, even though it doesn't have a lot of posts.

    I want to say thanks again to Sakonna for the information and suggestions provided, it's such phenomenal material that I copied it out and printed it up. My print out has a lot of notes and TNG/Movies/VOY stories written in, for context.

    Things went well with some integration of the final TNG episodes to show where that series ends, where the Generations movie fits in between DS9 episodes, and the first three Voyager episodes. I decided to limit the Voyager episodes and keep the focus more strictly on DS9.

    I can see how "The Die is Cast" makes one great potential stopping point, but I decided to push ahead and finish the third season, in the interest of making the first 9 episodes of season four into one of my viewing blocks.

    I got the integration of Maquis episodes right, going between TNG and DS9. Very satisfying to see that play out, with some light crossover between the series. It was cool to see consistent use of one particular Cardassian Gul, who bridges TNG/DS9 and VOY Maquis episodes, as well as the consistent presence of Admiral Nachayev.

    One small regret that I have now came from watching Worf-centric TNG episodes to suppliment DS9's first three seasons. In the last gap between DS9 viewing blocks I watched TNG's Birthright two-parter, which was great for having a preview of seeing Worf on the DS9 set. I loved Julian Bashir's role, too, in a more season one eager characterization. It made me regret that I didn't include more of the TNG episodes that did feature expansive roles and cameos from DS9 characters and situations outside of just the Maquis and Worf.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2020