TheGodBen Revisits Deep Space Nine

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

  1. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 30, 2008
    Official Niner reporting in, here are my credentials:

    Some of you may know that over the last few years I had review threads for Voyager, Enterprise and Babylon 5, and those threads proved to be quite popular. Now it is time for me to take on my favourite sci-fi series, Deep Space Nine. Why? Because I really want to rewatch the show. ;)

    If pushed on the issue, I would say that DS9 is my favourite television series, but that opinion is based on sentimentality. It has been five years since I last watched DS9 and in that time I have not only watched Battlestar Galactica and Babylon 5, two of the most acclaimed sci-fi shows around, I've also watched The Sopranos, The Wire and Breaking Bad, three of the most acclaimed shows of all time. I'm curious to see whether sentiment is enough to protect DS9's place as my favourite show or whether being exposed to those shows will reveal more of the cracks in DS9.

    Background on me

    I've been a Trekkie for as long as I can remember, TNG was my favourite show as a kid and it remains a show that I love to this day. My first memory of DS9 was seeing an ad for the show at my grandmother's house aged 7. The ad showed Kai Opaka and some spiritual stuff, and I remember thinking that it looked boring. At that point I didn't even realise it was a new show, I thought it might be a tele-movie or something like that. I have faint memories of watching some season 1 episodes during their first airing (on this side of the Atlantic) on Sunday nights, but I never set out to watch it, I'd only watch it if someone else had it on.

    It may sound trite to say this now, but the episode that made me a big DS9 fan was The Way of The Warrior. And it wasn't just for the action, it was because I loved the grand scale of the story, how the characters interacted, and the use of humour. From that point on it had surpassed TNG as my favourite show and it remains there to this day. I watched the rest of the show
    semi-religiously right up to the final episode.

    The review format

    Some of you may be asking yourself why you should bother to read this thread when there have been so many DS9 rewatch threads already, and that's a good question. What sets mine apart from all the others? The answer is simple: Graphs! I assign a score to each episode between 0 and 5 stars (including half stars) and at the end of each season I produce graphs with averages and trendlines. Isn't that exciting? :D (I also produce crappy pictures that I make in MS paint, and make weird jokes about Mike Sussmann and Scott Bakula.)

    One important thing to note, I don't inflate scores. The other day I was checking out B5's The Lost Tales on IMDb and saw a review saying that the first half was crap and the second half was was average (which I agreed with), so they gave the movie a score of 7/10. That's not me, I don't don't understand how anyone can find such a score logical. That was a 3/10 review and that's exactly the way I scored it. Some have claimed that this makes my scoring system overly harsh, I just think that I'm being honest.

    This is a scale I once wrote up to explain my scoring mechanism:

    0: Not worthy of my ridicule
    ½: Awful
    *: Bad
    *½: Poor
    **: Meh
    **½: Average
    ***: Enjoyable
    ***½: Good
    ****: Very good
    ****½: Great
    *****: Exceptional

    For readers of my previous review threads, I'll point out that my TNG-lite rule is back in play. For new readers, that rule means that I deduct half a star from any episode which could have been easily adapted to work on TNG. That rule was controversial in the past, but I feel that each series after TNG should have strived to be different by focusing on the show's unique setting or one of the show's characters. I'm curious to see what sort of impact this will have on DS9. Also returning will be the feature where I grade the staff writers based on the average score of the episodes they're credited with. It's just a little fun and adds a horse-race element to the graphs that I find exciting. (Yes, I'm a dull person.)

    Finally, my great-grandfather was a purple vampire, so I've inherited a love of counting things. One of the things I'll be counting is the number of destroyed runabouts over the course of the series, because there were quite a lot of them. If you can think of anything else then please mention it because I'm stumped for ideas.

    If all goes as planned then I'll be watching Emissary tonight and will have a review for it up tomorrow. Thanks for reading all this and I hope you'll stick around. :)
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2011
  2. sidious618

    sidious618 Admiral Admiral

    Feb 21, 2005
    I'm definitely looking forward to this.
  3. Skywalker

    Skywalker Admiral Admiral

    Feb 24, 2005
    Back to the lower decks
    At last, the long wait is over! :D

    I'm actually going through DS9 (mostly for the first time) right now, too, though I'm almost through Season Two. Looking forward to hearing your take on the show!
  4. aelius

    aelius Commander Red Shirt

    Oct 13, 2004
    Magna Roma
    I am also looking forward to your reviews. DS9 is my favorite Star Trek series and your reviews are always... colorful ;)
  5. Distorted Humor

    Distorted Humor Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Apr 18, 2011
    Looking forward to this...
  6. Canadave

    Canadave Vice Admiral Admiral

    Dec 29, 2002
    Saint Catharines, ON
    I think I speak for most of us when I say "it's about damn time."
  7. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    I think the others have said it all, so I'll just say "same". :)
  8. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 30, 2008
    And by that I assume you mean foul-mouthed. :p
  9. RyuRoots

    RyuRoots Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Apr 23, 2009
    Nothing wrong with a few "colorful metaphors".
  10. Gary7

    Gary7 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 28, 2007
    ★•* The Paper Men *•★
    Out of curiosity, something I've wanted to know for some time--what exactly is a "GodBen"? Your avatar looks like something out of a video game... is it related to your chosen nickname? Thanks.
  11. Sykonee

    Sykonee Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Apr 11, 2003
    West Coast of Canada
    Seeing as how Shatnertage brought it up but refused to implement a counter for it, I demand a "'What The Hell!?' Hair" counter!
  12. JustKate

    JustKate Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Aug 18, 2008
    Indiana, USA
    Well, this will be fun. For those of you who have never experienced a GodBen thread ("who is this GodBen person, anyway?"), you're in for a treat.

    As for things to about threats to the wormhole? There were a whoppin' wad of those, if I am remembering correctly. Or - ooh, this is better! - how about things that Odo can perfectly mimic even though a lifelike Bajoran isn't one of them? That might be kind of fun.
  13. Biffette

    Biffette Captain Captain

    Mar 3, 2005
    Will you use the "TNG-lite rule" when you decide to re-watch TNG?
  14. Admiral Shran

    Admiral Shran Admiral Admiral

    Oct 30, 2009
    In the Before Time - the Long, Long Ago
    Hey, I thought we agreed that you'd review Stargate SG-1 first.

    Oh well....

    I'm also really looking forward to this! :) Have been for quite a while.

    For those of you not familiar with TheGodBen's reviews, prepare yourselves for things like pictures of Avery Brooks in his underware (most likely involving bras and panties :eek:), obscure references to actors who don't appear on the show and wonderful, multi-colored graphs, graphs, graphs!

    Last edited: Oct 17, 2011
  15. flemm

    flemm Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    May 8, 2009
    TheGodBen revisits DS9?!?!? Truly a momentous occasion...

    Looking forward to it :techman:
  16. Seven of Five

    Seven of Five Make it so! Premium Member

    May 1, 2001
    Hooray! *Gets coffee and gets comfy* :D

    Looking foward to this one.
  17. Thor Damar

    Thor Damar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jan 27, 2009
    Thor Damar, God of thunder and monologue..
    I to would like to express my gratitude at the tireless efforts of the esteemed Niner The GodBen and his noble endeavor to express the one true glory that is that most wonderful of space operas; Deep Space Nine. Who else could capture the subtle elegance of this piece of science fiction in art form, the sheer talent of the actors and the joy that we, as proud upstanding Niners get every time that our eyes alight upon the majestic station and the powerful theme rings thought our blessed souls. Truly this is an event for the ages.

    Consider the children and...

    (Loki Entak strides off, monologuing furiously.)
  18. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 1, 2011
    The great gig in the sky
    Definitely looking forward to this! You should check out Red Letter Media and Plinket's Reviews, as they have some colourful language!
  19. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 30, 2008
    It's Irish for "sexy beast". Sadly, in Irish the word "beast" is the same as "cow" (gód), and there's no word for "sexy" as we're a repressed Catholic nation, so that directly translates into "attractive" (ben). So my name pretty much reads "The attractive cow".

    The name is a projection of my teenage self's ego that eventually became a sort of branding that I use across every site I join. As for the avatar, it's just an alien I made in Spore, and I use it as my avatar because it's unique.

    I'm not good at judging hair, and if you knew me as a teenager you'd agree. Besides, any time I see Avery Brooks with hair I think it's weird. :wtf:

    Okay, those makes sense, I guess I could do something with them.

    No, and here's my strained reasoning for that: TNG was about exploring the galaxy and meeting all kinds of weird aliens and having random adventures. DS9, Voyager and Enterprise should be been about different things in order to justify their existence as separate shows. That doesn't mean that they can't do adventure-of-the-week episodes, just that those episodes should have some sort of grounding in the setting or the characters that are unique to that show.

    Why did I make that picture again? :confused: I remember that the body is actually Daniel Craig, because I couldn't find any pictures of a black man wearing a bra and it was easier to adjust the colours of a picture I found of Daniel Craig wearing a bra to make him look black than to actually 'shop a bra onto Avery's body... but I can't remember why I made it.


    Emissary (****)

    The moment I saw that blue comet, I knew I was home.

    Emissary probably isn't a great introductory episode if you're a first-timer, the first half is a little chaotic and the second half gets quite weird. But when you know of all the directions the show will take, the paths these characters will go down over the next seven years, this episode acquires a whole new level of appreciation. Sisko's relationship with the Prophets, the Cardassian threat, the looming civil war on Bajor, Odo's origin... All of these seeds, and more, are planted in this episode to be expanded upon later. It has been said it before but it bears repeating, DS9's strength wasn't in that the writers planned things out in advance, but that they were very good at taking threads from previous episodes and tying them into future plots.

    But I'm getting ahead of myself, so let's go back to the beginning. As I said, the first half of the episode is a bit chaotic as it consists almost entirely of Sisko going from place to place meeting new people. It may be disorienting for new viewers, but I like the feeling as it matches the state of the station, which is a complete mess. All of these characters come from completely different backgrounds and have taken different roads, some against their will, to live and work in the place. This isn't the flagship of the fleet, a place where every officer would be proud to serve, this is a wreck in space that only fools would want to serve on. (I'm not naming names, but you all know who I'm talking about.)

    It surprised me how early into the episode Sisko's relationship with the Prophets is introduced, it's right there in the first scene after the teaser. It's a short scene but it's absolutely dripping with subtext that probably wasn't even intended to be there. The Prophets, removing all their religious elements, are one of the most interesting aliens in all of Star Trek because they are truly alien. They're not humans with weird foreheads and anger issues, or giant space amoebas, they're beings that barely even fit within our comprehension. They're a fascinating sci-fi concept and the way that they use their unique perception of reality to help Sisko finally come to terms with the loss of Jennifer was a masterstroke.

    There are some problems with the episode, my main one being the portrayal of the Cardassians. I know the Cardassians are a nuanced race but, other than Dukat, the Cardassians in this episode almost seem like Klingons. They're somewhat brutish and quick to attack the station without looking at the evidence. Some of this can be explained as the Cardassians bullying the Bajorans because that's what they're used to, but openly attacking a station commanded by Starfleet officers seems like a stretch for them. Another issue with the episode is the technobabble. There's not too much of it, but there was probably as much in this one episode as there was in the entire B5 canon, so I'm not used to hearing it. It didn't help that Colm Meaney sounded bored each time he had to say something technical.

    For my money, this is the best opening episode of any Trek series. Caretaker is probably a better self-contained story, but the fact that Emissary feels like the true start to a saga helps it edge just slightly ahead. It's a bit rough around the edges, some of the sets, costumes and prosthetics are noticeably different from the way they look in the rest of the show, but it sets up the show nicely. It's a pity that the rest of the season largely ignores the possibilities presented by this episode, instead opting to run around like a chicken with half a brain.

    Form of... a satchel: 1
  20. Skywalker

    Skywalker Admiral Admiral

    Feb 24, 2005
    Back to the lower decks
    I fully agree that "Emissary" is probably the best of all the Trek pilots. I thought Sisko's interaction with the Prophets was brilliant, and as a baseball fan I enjoyed the way he used that game to explain the concept of linear time to the Prophets. There were definitely a lot of promising seeds planted in this episode, but like you I was a little annoyed that Season One kind of ignored a lot of them and went on a "TNG in a space station" track instead.

    As for counters, what about some sort of "O'Brien Abuse" counter? I'm going through the show right now and I've noticed the writers seemed to love making O'Brien's life suck at every possible opportunity. :lol: