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Deep Space Nine - Season One
If one didn't immediately link with Benjamin Sisko, if one was indifferent, the first episode would be slightly more interesting than the commercials which intersected it.
The supernatural moments in the wormhole were an unpleasant cross of sci-fi and fantasy, It was the kind of presentation that splits the sci-fi enthusiast from the fantasy fanatic.
It was almost offensive.
When DS9 first aired, as it was Trek, I had looked forward to it.
My first sneer moment came with Jake in the Holosuite; fishing.
My second sneer became bodywide in the Worm Hole.
What made it even more offensive is that it ends without impact.
It was pointless.
Had this epi been followed by Bajoran politics, Sisko being hailed as the Emissary, which would have endowed him with the authority to control the station for Bajor, it would have had a purpose.
It was followed by two epis which have nothing to do with anything. This made it just another episodic Trek without a Kirk or a Spock, a Riker or a Worf.
DS 9 didn't work.
Getting Thru the Season
At the end of the First Season Quark
was the most engaging character. He
was the one whose scenes were the
must sees. Always clever with that
kind of sarcasm; even his
expressions under all that makeup
He was the bartender, supposedly to
have a similar role as Whoopie
Goldberg did in Star Trek; The Next Generation.
Not to be the 'hub' around which the action flowed.
It was clear no one in production had a clue what they were doing with the plots, the scripts, the characterisations, even what story they were telling.
First Season vs Second
The transitions from what and how the characters appeared in the First season are glaring.
Odo's appearance changed. Rom began as a clone of Quark, not the idiot we know him as. Bashir was quite boyish proving the idea of 'genetic enhancement' did not arise in the writer's minds until much later. Jadzia Dax was 'Spock' like which is in sharp contrast to who she became by the second season; almost a regression.
It is not until 'Babel' that the characters take shape, Quark, Odo, and their relationship which continues to the last episode, Kira's resourcefulness, and Sisko's love of his son are the only 'givens'.
The disconnect between the First Season epis is such they could be viewed in almost any order is the major fault of Deep Space Nine.
The Kai, Opaka, introduced in the First epi is the most important person
on Bajor, the Spiritual leader.
She is not seen again; until the 13th epi.
There is not a reference to what Sisko experienced in the Wormhole.
One would have thought there would be some significant exchange
concerning that most crucial encounter, but there wasn't. It left the viewer with a ponder as
whether the Wormhole incident happened or only happened in Sisko's mind.
Taking the Kai on a fly out, crashing on a prison colony, Opaka dies,.
She dies, is reanimated and abandoned.
It would be expected there would have be some reaction of this great tragedy from
Bajor; but there is none. It is as if nothing happened.
No mention of what would have been a major tragedy on Bajor as the next
tumble by, each complete in itself.
Episodic vs Story Arc
The problem with Star Trek,
the original series (TOS),
(which has been argued
ad infinitum), is that the
different writers used the
characters as mere vehicles to tell their story.
A few lines here and there;
'He's dead, Jim',
'Beam me down, Scotty',
are virtually all that connects one episode of Star Trek with another.
The disconnect so destablised 'canon' that the universe had to be rebanged,
because there is no way to tell a cogent story when there were so many
discrepancies that could not be aligned.
The writers of STNG put extra effort into being consistent, and the fan base was
there, the viewers willing to fill in gaps and demand cohesion.
Unless there was an announced two part production, one epi would not connect
with the other although the characters were expected to be consistent.
DS-9 was more of the same. However, STNG was the story of a ship flying
virtually aimlessly in space so one didn't know where they were going to be
next week, while DS-9 was a Space Station.
Episodic couldn't work.
How it Should have been
The series ought have begun with the ending of the Bajorian/Cardassian conflict.
The request for the Federation to take control of the station and offer protection
to Bajor would get the Enterprise crew on spot and not just explain what Terrans
were doing there but introduce the culture of DS9.
Ben Sisko would have been one of a number of Federation officers. He'd be
somewhere in the back, just there.
By the second epi the Enterprise cast gets less camera time.
He gets more. This would ease the transition.
Odo and Quark would be introduced early as would Garrick, but the Station
would be the central character.
More focus would be on Sisko; possibly his handling of the situation with Odo as
happened in the third epi. The medical/science officers of the Enterprise used
where necessary to ease the transition from STNG to DS9.
The departure of the Enterprise crew would happen in the third epi as Sisko is put
in charge of the Station. This would be followed by the arrival of Bashir and Dax in
the fourth episode.
Hence instead of flinging a bunch of new faces, new environment and new ideas
at the audience, instead of singular epis, the first five epis would be one story.
The Worm Hole incident would occur in the sixth episode and be followed up.
This is crucial to the main DS9 story. What the Wormhole is, its importance,
who the Prophets are, the Gamma quadrant, etc.
That is how it should of been in the First Season.
The Trek Problem
No one expected Star Trek, (The Original Series) to become a major part of the culture. That it did was rather unexpected, but by STNG (Next Generation) everyone knew how beloved Star Trek was, and have developed a 'book.' That is an actual story line so that every episode connects in a continual drama, i.e Scandal, Empire, The Good Wife, etc.
Had STNG had an idea of what story it was going to tell, then it would have been more entertaining.
DS-9 began as had the previous series of Trek, but somehow, someone realised the importance of a story arc. This was belated, and fortunately it had enough Trekkers to keep it alive long enough to get its act together.