Why is Sisko not more prominent...

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' started by toughlittleship, Dec 10, 2011.

  1. toughlittleship

    toughlittleship Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    ... as a leading African-American character in television? When it comes to Star Trek, people seem to mention Uhura, Guinan or LaForge as better known characters, none of whom had the same excellent character development Sisko received. It's strange and a little sad.
     
  2. Skywalker

    Skywalker Admiral Admiral

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    Because DS9 doesn't have the same stature in the public consciousness that TOS and TNG have, unfortunately.
     
  3. DS9forever

    DS9forever Commodore Commodore

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    I would dispute that LaForge is better known than Sisko.
     
  4. Photon

    Photon Commodore Commodore

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    Well Uhura was a trailblazer for AA's, and Guinan was Whoopi (I hate her uber-left politics) and I like her as an actress. LaForge.....bleh...
     
  5. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    because DS9 premiered in 1993. There were already tons of prominent Blacks who were on TV at that time and had been for a while at that point. DS9 was no trailblazer on that.
     
  6. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I'd say the general public knows Uhura and that's it. Guinan and LaForge happened to be played by actors who were well-known before their Trek roles.

    DS9 is simply not known generally. I do my part to try to rectify this. :D
     
  7. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    DS9, with it's long wandering story arc, simply wasn't accessible to the occasional drop in viewer. TOS and TNG were episodic and so more people in the general public were aware of the show, and it's actors.

    I've found that far more Black people know of Avery Brooks (if at all) as the character of Hawk, than as the character of Sisko.

    Apparently Hawk is considered more "Black."

    :)
     
  8. Photon

    Photon Commodore Commodore

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    Good point. Blacks (in general, sans a few exceptions) in America don't watch sci-fi. Ask about Hawk, The Jeffersons, Blackula, Shaft and they're all over it. A black colleague of mine were talking about shows that we watch and had no idea Avery Brooks (whom he admired) was in Star Trek. Said he can't stand shows outside of reality....:cardie:
     
  9. DS9forever

    DS9forever Commodore Commodore

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    In comedic television or dramatic television?
     
  10. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    both. Guys, this was 1993, not 1963. It was only eighteen years ago, not ancient history.

    Even looking strictly at sci-fi, you had Richard Biggs on "Babylon 5," you'd have Don Franklin on "SeaQuest" later that year,... there are probably examples I'm missing. Cleavant Derricks on "Sliders," which was only two years later.
     
  11. Smellincoffee

    Smellincoffee Commodore Commodore

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    I never think of Guinan and Geordi as black characters. I would think LaForge was known for being blind, but not black. Sisko is different, I think in part because Avery Brooks emphasized his character's background -- through his casual wardrobe and room decor, and by being obnoxious about it in "Badda Bing, Badda Bang". I liked the subtle wardrobe touches enormously more than the explicit whining-like stance Sisko took in that episode.
     
  12. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't think DS9 "emphasized" it at all, other than in the episode you cite and in "Far Beyond the Stars."

    I mean, Picard's French heritage was brought up more than Brooks' being Black was.
     
  13. Cyke101

    Cyke101 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    LaForge also had the fact that LeVar Burton, aka the iconic Kunta Kinte, played him. These days whenever LeVar pops up or is mentioned, I feel like either his Kunta Kinte role is referenced more than or as much as LaForge, but never LaForge more than Kunta.
     
  14. toughlittleship

    toughlittleship Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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  15. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Admiral

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    I'd say he's way more well-known for hosting "Reading Rainbow" than either of those other roles.
     
  16. tafkats

    tafkats Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think Uhura's really the only one who's viewed as a socially groundbreaking character. What was almost subversive in 1966 was far less notable in the '80s and '90s.
     
  17. Worf'sParmach

    Worf'sParmach Commander Red Shirt

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    I have to agree (though I myself am an exception ;)) Goldberg and Guinan are known in our community for other things, Star Trek roles being the least of them.

    In the same light, no one mentions Michael Dorn in conversations about prominent African American TV actors, and he has had more Star Trek appearances than anyone, black, white or whatever.
     
  18. Zeppster

    Zeppster Commodore Commodore

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    Never mind the fact that Patrick Stewart wasn't even close to French. And didn't even try and make his accent more French. I mean he spoke the occasional French but those were only to reference his character was French.
     
  19. Gotham Central

    Gotham Central Vice Admiral Admiral

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    THIS!!!!

    To me this is the biggest difference between DS9 and Voyager. On DS9, Sisko was written and treated as a commander that happened to be black (never mind the fact that he was also the only person with the distinction of having to earn that rank on screen). Janeway, right from the jump was treated and hailed as the "First female captain" TM. To this day some of her most ardent fans are women who defend both her and the show simply because she was a woman (so in that respect their marketing worked).

    The differences in approach resulted in more nuanced characterizations. The writers on Voyager have admitted that they took the fact that Janeway was a woman into consideration whenever they made decisions about the character's actions. She could never look weak or for that matter be wrong or be treated as anything less than the highest authority...especially by any of the male characters. Sisko was never given that baggage. He had more crap thrown at him and was forced to roll with the punches. More importantly he was allowed to be wrong and a flawed human being (being flawed was actually a theme of the show...an attempt to get say from TNG's silly notion of human perfection).
     
  20. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The first part of your paragraph is utterly irrelevant. The fact that Patrick Stewart is English has nothing to do with what the character he played is. I suppose Chakotay's not really an Indian because the actor Robert Beltran is not? I suppose Dr. Gregory House is actually English as well because Hugh Laurie is?

    Secondly, did you even watch TNG? There were all kinds of references to Picard being French. "Family" comes to mind, "Chain of Command" does as well, as well as many others that I'm missing.