So I finally (finally!) got to the end of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. I started my ‘rewatch DS9' project back in June last year but I had to take a few breaks along the way so I just got around to wrapping it up now. (I admit I skipped a few of the episodes towards the end, just the ones I knew that I had not liked when I watched it before.) I've written a bit about the series as I went through it, so all of my posts about DS9 are here in chronological order if you want to read them. I’ve been trying to write a good post to wrap it up here, but I’ve been having trouble summing up what I think about the show.
Firstly, I think it is probably the best of the various Star Trek series, as well as one of the best SF shows on television in general. Beyond that it had always meant a lot of me on a personal level. I’ve mentioned a few times how much of a Star Trek nerd I was as a kid, but I think that describing it like that doesn’t really do justice to the huge impact that the show had on me. DS9 in particular as it was always my favourite. Rewatching it has brought a lot of that back. There were some episodes I didn’t know very well from back before I got really into the show, but then there were also episodes that I knew word-for-word and which really took me back to when I was a kid and basically Star Trek meant everything to me.
Thinking just about the last couple of seasons which I’ve just been watching recently, one thing that occurred to me was that the show really changed in its later years, with the focus on those long story arcs with the Dominion War. Looking back at it, I had always thought that it was at that point that the show was at its best. I think I’ve also argued that the shift in style there was important in shaping future SF shows such as Battlestar Galactica.
While I don’t deny that there are some fantastic episodes from that period, nonetheless rewatching it now I was rather surprised that I actually did not like it as much as I thought I had before. I actually preferred some of the more traditionally-Star Trek episodes from the middle seasons. There were also some surprisingly great episodes from the earlier seasons too. Those are the ones I’ll probably rewatch in the future when I just want to see some DS9, whereas I doubt I’d sit down just to watch any of the episodes from the later big story arc.
Anyway, returning to consider the show overall, I thought I’d finish things with a link to this blog post about the show. It is a wonderful summary of the show written by another person who decided to rewatch DS9 years after being a fan of the series. It was actually reading that blog post way back last year that prompted me to watch the show again myself, and I think that writer does a much better job than I ever could of explaining why it is so great. I don’t agree with everything she says about it, but it is well worth a read for any fans of the show who want a better take on it than my rambling here.
Overall, I am incredibly glad that I decided to rewatch it, it definitely rekindled my love of the show and brought back a lot of good memories, as well as being an incredibly good, interesting and enjoyable experience. If you’ve never seen it before, or if like me it has just been ages since you last watched it, I would highly recommend it.
So remember when I was rewatching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine last year? (Here are all my DS9 posts in chronological order.) I got up to the end of season five and then took a break for a bit because I was so busy after starting my university course. I planned to catch up with it over the Christmas holidays but I never got around to it then either. Now it has been almost six months since I last watched any of it, and I’ve decided that it is about time I got around to finishing it off. Not least because I just bought a Stargate SG-1 boxset and realized that I should probably finish the last massive science fiction television show I started watching before committing to another one! So even though I still don’t have much time, I am going to slowly get through the last two seasons. I just watched the first few episodes and I am already getting hooked back in and regretting the long break away. Expect some more DS9 posts in the near future…
Obsessive readers (okay, just me then) may have noticed a lack of Deep Space Nine content lately. I had been watching through the whole series and posting about it - here are my DS9 posts in chronological order. But I haven’t seen any of it since early in September when I finished season five. I finished that just before I moved, and since then I’ve been swamped with university work (who would have thought a master’s degree would be such hard work!). The time that I do have for watching television I’ve generally reserved for comedy shows, which have the advantage of being shorter, and cheering me up when I’m stressed. The last two seasons of DS9 I recall as being great but brutally grim, like Battlestar Galactica levels of depressing, and I’ve really not been in the mood for that at the moment. So while I do really want to finish off the show, I’m going to leave it until the Christmas holidays when I can spend a few days binging on it. So that explains why I haven’t posted anything about it recently, but I do intend to watch the last two seasons and write more about it later in the year.
Continuing the great Deep Space Nine rewatch of 2011… I took a bit of a break a few episodes into season four, to watch some other shows and catch up on some reading, but last week I picked up the boxset again and ended up going through twenty episodes in about three days! I’m now a almost finished season five and thought that was about time for another post.
So far over seasons four and five there have been some really good episodes, but also some rubbish ones too, but I think the ratio of good:bad is definitely now increasing. I’m now up to the point where they get their new uniforms, as pictured, and I have always associated this with the point where the show gets much more grim and dark, but in a very good way. Looking ahead at the list of upcoming episodes, there are some that I am really looking forward to, episodes that I remember as being excellent.
Following my earlier request for some questions to answer, Michael asked: favourite Star Trek character (from any series) and why? Well, frankly, how could I resist a question like that?! I’m afraid, however, that I will again not be able to restrict myself to just one. But for the short answer, I think the above pictures pretty much sum it up.
From the Original Series, I think Spock and Bones are easily the best and most interesting characters, and that carries on all the way through the movies (including the new reboot). I know everyone is all about Kirk, but for me he is most interesting when he is interacting with one or both of those two.
From the Next Generation it has to be Captain Picard, who is in my opinion the best of all the captains across the series. Data and Worf are my other two favourites from that show, in fact they are really the only other characters who are particularly developed at all. Worf of course then joins the cast of Deep Space Nine, where he is also awesome.
Deep Space Nine is my favourite of all the series, and I am also a bit biased because I am watching it again at the moment, but I do think it has the best group of characters, both the series regulars and supporting cast. To be honest I could have just put up a picture of the whole cast, but I think that would have been cheating a bit! Kira and Odo are two characters that I always thought were great, especially because they are not Starfleet officers, so we get a different perspective with them (same too for Quark). Bashir is an interesting addition, because I didn’t particularly like him all that much back when I was originally watching the show. Watching again this time though, he is actually a really good character and I like him a lot more than I did. Apart from the main cast, I also really like Garak, who is such a fun and fascinating figure.
Nothing for Voyager and Enteprise though, I’m afraid. I did watch all of Voyager but I never liked it as much as the other series and no one in particular stands out, except perhaps the Emergency Medical Hologram. I didn’t make it past season two of Enterprise though, and I don’t even remember half of the characters!
So there you go, a long answer, but I really don’t think I could pick just one. In fact I’m going to have to post it now, just to stop myself from adding another character to the list!
I have been searching for this book ever since I started my DS9 rewatch and I finally found it stashed in a box in the attic. It is comes from a massive collection of Star Trek stuff that I had as a kid, but it is one of the few pieces that I kept. It is The Nitpicker’s Guide for Deep Space Nine Trekkers, which is basically an episode-by-episode guide to the series, with a brief plot synopsis, then a list of observations, from continuity errors to technical errors to plot holes. Extremely nerdy obsessive stuff basically. I had two other books that covered The Next Generation, but this only only goes up to the end of season four of DS9; I remember being very disappointed that they didn’t publish a second volume! I really loved this book as a kid though. You can see from the photo that it is rather worn out! I got it one Christmas and spent ages lying on the sofa reading it, and annoying my family by reading out excerpts, then being puzzled that they didn’t find it as funny as I did (the book has a wonderfully sarcastic tone). Every time I watched an episode that the book covered I would reread the relevant section to see if I spotted any of the goofs and the check if I could answer the trivia question. I did mention that I used to be an extremely nerdy, Star Trek-obsessed child, right?! Anyway, I was so pleased when I found it again as I was sure that I had not thrown it out, and I’ve been reading bits and pieces of it as I watch through the show again. While it is still pedantic nerdy stuff, it is also still funny.
I am now onto season four, which seems like a good point for another post about Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Season four means that we lose Sisko’s hair but gain Worf, which seems like a good trade!
For some reason I had it in my mind that season four was where the show starts to get really good, but I think that does disservice to the early seasons, as there have been some really excellent episodes so far. What it does mark, I suppose, is the shift in the style and focus of the show. So far season three has already introduced the Dominion, who came to dominate the later years of the show, and season four leads towards the more ongoing plot arcs and the bigger themes that emerge from that.
I’ve really loved watching the show again so far. I did not remember some of the early episodes very well, but I realise that with seasons three and four I’ve started to reach the episodes that I watched much more when I was younger. Season four starts with the feature-length episode The Way of the Warrior, which was the first one I ever had on VHS (a proper VHS, not just taped from television). Watching it again, after quite a few years since my last viewing, I could still remember some scenes exactly, line for line!
I have a few other DS9-related posts that I will write up and publish over the next few weeks, but for now I will just say that this show is still brilliant, I am very happy that it lives up to my fond memories of it, and really I just love it and love rewatching it like this.
I have been watching through Star Trek: Deep Space Nine recently, as I explained back in this post. I’ve now seen the first two seasons and have started on season three. Since it will likely be some time before I have finished the whole show, I thought I would post some of my preliminary thoughts on what I’ve seen so far.
Firstly, I guess I was a bit shocked when I realised that the show first aired back in 1993. I probably started watching it on television at around season three, but I’m not sure what year that was as there was always a delay between the American release dates and when the BBC would show it. But I guess I was about eight years old (so 1995) - I was definitely a fan from an early age!
I mention the year because that was one of the first things that struck me - how, in a lot of ways, the show feels quite dated. The special effects are really quite bad. The fashions may be from the 24th century, but there is also something very early-90s about them. And more than that, the show has a very traditional feel to it. In these early seasons, it is very much episodic in structure, without those long story arcs that came to define the show it is later seasons. Most good SF on television these days has moved away from that format, and it could be argued that DS9 had an influence on that. These first two seasons feel very much more the product of the 80s and early 90s.
That is not however intended as a criticism. In fact I have very much enjoyed the show so far, and there have been some very good episodes. Because I saw a lot more of the later years of the show, there were some here that I wasn’t hugely familiar with. I had seen them all before, but not multiple times, unlike some of the episodes from season four/five onwards, where I had the VHS tapes! There are some really outstanding episodes, that can be ranked amongst the best of the whole series (Duet and Necessary Evil were particularly great).
One of the nice things about watching a show that you have previously seen is that you have a general idea of what it it like, and you get to see how it develops. These early seasons of DS9 are obviously very different from later ones, as I discussed above in relation to the style and tone of the episodes. But the characters are also different too, and it really struck me how some of them changed. Jake Sisko growing up is an obvious example, but Dax too seems to be a very different character in these early episodes, only gradually becoming more recognizable. Bashir and O’Brien were positively antagonistic to begin with, a far cry from their close relationship of later years. Some characters like Sisko and Kira are more familiar, but there is still a lot of character development that goes on.
In general all of the characters on this show are excellent, not just the brilliant main characters like Kira (I will have a long post dedicated to the greatness of Kira appearing at some point in the future!) but also recurring characters like Garak, Jake and Nog. I know that even the characters that are a bit less developed at this point will become more rounded later on.
I was a bit apprehensive about starting this project to rewatch DS9 - the show meant so much to me as a kid, and I was afraid that it just would not live up to my memories of it. But in fact it has almost exceeded my expectations, and it has proved to be a wonderful show and one which I still very much enjoy. What is so good about this is that I know just how much more it has to offer, just how much better it is going to get. I am very excited to continue on with the show.
Following on from this post, I gave in and purchased the first season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine on DVD (oddly the box seems to use art that could only date from season four onwards). I did agonize a bit over whether I should watch TNG first, but in the end I went for DS9 because it was always my favourite, and if it is not a major disappointment then I will probably get TNG at some point too. Obviously it will take me a while to get through this (I only have the first boxset so far but there were seven seasons of the show) but there will very likely be some Star Trek posts coming up over the course of the next few weeks/months. I am really rather excited about this.