DS9 vs the purist in me

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(I understand the subject of my post has probably been discussed ad nauseam for years but I'm a new member who has never used social media before.)

My Trek has always been TOS and TNG. I've adored these shows for over 30 (my God!) years. Around a dozen years ago I watched DS9. I was floored. What a show! I couldn't believe it had taken me so long to get to it. So much so that I considered it my favorite. That station was a second home!

Then I went through a very intense period in which TNG and TOS basically began to inform my life to an insane degree. It became nothing short of a religion or a philosophy to live by. Without really realizing it, I was becoming a Star Trek purist.

When I've returned to DS9, I see a show that deviated from what Trek is. I see a show that deals with themes like terrorism, war, and religion. I get it: Trek can take many different forms. It's underlying message can still come through in episodes like "Duet" or "In The Pale Moonlight". But I can't help thinking that Roddenberry would have disapproved. Sisko lies and deceives. He was unhonest. Then the war with the Dominion. I love TNG for its optimism and peaceful nature. It's a comfort. And DS9 remains a comfort as well but differently. It's hard to explain and I must sound a bit crazy. I'm really not.

What do people think? How does DS9 fit into Roddenberrys vision?

Are my feelings relatable?
 
What do people think? How does DS9 fit into Roddenberrys vision?
Are my feelings relatable?

I essentially see DS9 as a deconstruction of TNG tropes. Not a bad deconstruction though.

The 'deconstruction' being that you cannot always win by playing according to your own principles. In DS9 they encounter an enemy they simply cannot beat by any conventional means, like Kirk and Picard could. Not by force, not by outsmarting them, not by reasoning with them, not by exploiting some conspicuous weak spot, and not by some clever tactical maneuver or conceit. They literally needed 'divine intervention' at some point to not be outright defeated.

I don't see it as a 'betrayal' of Federation principles because they loathe themselves for doing it (at least Sisko does), even if there was no other way. They still want to do the right thing, but survival has to come first.

In DS9's own words 'it's easy to be a saint in paradise'.

In a way, I think it's even more true to the original TOS spirit, before the ('perfected humans of TNG'): 'We're killers but we're not going to kill today', except that DS9 shows a day where they very much had to kill, just to survive themselves.

Roddenberry might not have liked it though, though I can't really say.
 
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It doesn't really matter to me. DS9 was in the Star Trek universe, but it didn't have to be. Brandon Tartakoff proposed The Rifleman in space, not a spinoff of Star Trek, so the show need not have reflected "Gene's vision." More importantly, I feel each series, in spite of being part of the same universe, deserves to have its own identity, its own character. DS9 can be a more rational, perhaps more cynical, perspective on the same challenges experienced in TOS and TNG. Indeed, DS9 is closer to TOS's second season than TNG was. That freedom allows Lower Decks to be a comedic outlook.
 
I think TOS Roddenberry might liked some of it. I don't think TNG Roddenberry would have praised it alongside his great works such as TNG Season 1 or The Motion Picture though, alas. I think both might have balked at the scale of the Dominion War and "In The Pale Moonlight."
I think DS9 works great as a companion piece or second chapter to TNG and even a lot of ideas that you see in DS9 are things they wanted to do in TNG but were either pushed aside or reformatted into something else. Even just "Conspiracy" being originally like proto-version of "Homefront/Paradise Lost/Into Darkness." I think these "darker" elements were just things a lot of people wanted to try or expected TNG to get into. "Blood and Fire" has this undercurrent of danger and darkness to the universe and that's from the guy who wrote "The Trouble with Tribbles"
 
Trek was always the work of many. And most of the best stuff came from people other than Roddenberry, almost from day one. That is to say, I'm sure GR would have complained about DS9.
But it also doesn't matter.

Short answer, I voted for "Trek was better after Roddenberry" in the other thread. :)
 
While I'm not a big fan of some of the moments where it semi-endorses those war on terror type tactics, I think DS9 did more exploration than any preceding series in its own way: by showing a deeper look at alien civilizations
 
First o f all, I think that Roddenberry should be much more disappointed with all that hve been made after Voyager than what he would be with DS9.

As for TOS, TNG, DS9 and Voyager, I like them for different reasons but DS9 had the best storytelling and the best character development.
 
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As for TOS, TNG, DS9 and Voyager, I like them for different reasons but DS9 had the best storytelling and the best character development.

I agree there. the previous and following treks never balanced the ensemble well enough, or fully developed the recurring alien species
 
I respect and admire Rodenberry for being the one who got TOS on the air and TNG started. But that doesn't mean his vision of what the Federation should be is always the only way, or that it was always good storytelling.

The first few seasons of TNG are probably when he had the most freedom. The network wouldn't let him tell any story he wanted on TOS. But while season 1 of TNG had some good episodes the average was not that great.
 
I respect and admire Rodenberry for being the one who got TOS on the air and TNG started. But that doesn't mean his vision of what the Federation should be is always the only way, or that it was always good storytelling.

The first few seasons of TNG are probably when he had the most freedom. The network wouldn't let him tell any story he wanted on TOS. But while season 1 of TNG had some good episodes the average was not that great.

Just look at what he did with the Ferengi. And he forced Troi onto us! I'm sensing...bad ideas
 
Just look at what he did with the Ferengi. And he forced Troi onto us! I'm sensing...bad ideas
Troi wasn't a bad character. But she could have been better developed.
The Ferengi were OK in TNG but became much better in DS9.
 
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Even though she appeared on DS9, Roddenberry's widow was apparently not a fan of the Dominion War because she thought her husband wouldn't have approved of the storyline.

Majel Barrett criticized the [Dominion War] arc in a letter published in Star Trek Communicator, claiming that Gene Roddenberry would have never approved of a continuing war in a Star Trek series. Berman has espoused similar sentiments, noting that his opposition “was all based purely on the fact that Gene had been very specific to me about not wanting to be a show about intergalactic wars, interspecies wars. He didn’t want it to be about humans fighting wars against other species.”​

Responding to the former, [Executive Producer Ronald D.] Moore admitted, “She’s probably right. It would’ve been very hard to argue Gene into going this way and maybe he’d have never gone for it. However, I would’ve still argued for doing the Dominion War with him and if he’d rejected it, I would’ve thought he was wrong. I respect Gene and his work, but I don’t think he was always right and I’m not going to pretend that I do. The Dominion War has been one of the better storylines we’ve come up with whether Gene would’ve agreed or not.”​

With all respect to the late Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, I think she was wrong and her husband would have been wrong if she's right about what his reaction would have been to the idea.

If one takes the series as a whole, the central theme at the heart of Deep Space Nine is an examination of how “good” the Federation actually is. Ideals and principles are great, but they only mean anything when they are tested and held to when made inconvenient.

The Dominion War pushes Starfleet and the Federation to the breaking point, and the stories are really about how well the characters, and the institutions Gene Roddenberry had set up as a quasi-Utopian paradise, either do or don’t hold to the established Trek morality.

The fact the series is willing to go there, and show us that sometimes the characters can’t live up to the ideal, always felt honest to me. In that way, I always take DS9 as reaffirming Roddenberry’s values. When Ross and Sisko refuse to share Martok’s bloodwine over the dead Cardassian bodies at the end of the war, there is a human decency in spite of the darkness they've endured which I think gets to what Roddenberry wanted.

Even with the Federation, the ideals bend and break at points but at the end of the series I never get the feeling they’ve crossed a line from which they’ve accepted those hard choices as the new normal. They regret some of those choices and still want to be better than them. If that doesn't speak to how humanity has changed, I don't know what does.
 
The only reason Roddenberry would disapprove is it's so war heavy, Majel Barret Roddenberry frequently said so in interviews.

Also, welcome to the board!
 
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"You all look at me as if I'm some saint or visionary or something. I didn't create this show so I could usher in some new era of humanity; I created this show so I could retire to some tropical island filled with naked women. That's Gene Roddenberry. That's his vision."

Joking aside, there was a deeper philosophy at work with Trek, but he didn't create what TOS and TNG became single-handedly; people like Gene Coon, D.C. Fontana, David Gerrold, Michael Piller et al deserve a lot of credit too. There's a bit of a Cult of Roddenberry among fans, and a view of DS9 as being something akin to blasphemy at times, but at the end of the day it's a great TV show that knowingly deconstructs "Gene's Vision™" rather than casually disregarding it.

If we look at it from a Watsonian POV, the Federation's utopia was often depicted as fragile even in Gene's day; how many times was war narrowly averted in the earlier Treks? "Yesterday's Enterprise" depicts an interstellar war in a dark timeline that's only one step to the right of the regular one, being created by a single change 22 years earlier.
 
Troi wasn't a bad character. But she could have been better developed.
The Ferengi were OK in TNG but became much better in DS9.

I thought Troi was terrible. I like the idea of a telepathic/empathic counselor, and I think it would work even better nowadays. I just think she poorly executed it and I find the Betazoids boring as a whole species despite their interesting abilities

Remember, one of Roddenberry's original ideas for the Ferengi was they were going to wear "enormous gold codpieces" as part of their costume.

So, yeeeeeah.

ya, and he had them hop around like Christmas goblins or something

ironically, Sneed in Picard season 3 looks like what the TNG Ferengi should've been like as antagonists. Only took them 36 years
 
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I thought Troi was terrible. I like the idea of a telepathic/empathic counselor, and I think it would work even better nowadays. I just think she poorly executed it and I find the Betazoids boring as a whole species despite their interesting abilities



ya, and he had them hop around like Christmas goblins or something

ironically, Sneed in Picard season 3 looks like what the TNG Ferengi should've been like as antagonists. Only took them 36 years
I agree that Troi could have been made better but she wasn't that bad. The same for the Betazoids.

And the Ferengi were great in DS9, just look at Quark! One of the best characters ever in Star Trek.
And don't forget Brunt!
As for TNG, Daimon Bok was a great antagonist.
 
If one takes the series as a whole, the central theme at the heart of Deep Space Nine is an examination of how “good” the Federation actually is. Ideals and principles are great, but they only mean anything when they are tested and held to when made inconvenient.
Indeed, yes. This whole idea that Starfleet is good and that's it really is frustrating to me. They get to look down on past humanity and judge from afar, but there is no demonstration of the goodness of the Federation beyond "Because..." To quote the ever quotable Heinlein: "Our system of government is preferred for a simple reason-it works."

I thought Troi was terrible. I like the idea of a telepathic/empathic counselor, and I think it would work even better nowadays. I just think she poorly executed it and I find the Betazoids boring as a whole species despite their interesting abilities
Agreed, for sure. A distraction in many stories.
 
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