Was I wrong about Deep Space Nine?
Ask a Trekkie what their favourite Trek show is, and they’ll probably either say The Original Series or The Next Generation. Fair enough, those two are the biggest and most well-known iterations. But there will usually be one person lurking in the dark shadows of the room who will say, “Deep Space Nine is the best.”
Although Voyager and Enterprise certainly have their fans (I am a big Voyager fan), Deep Space Nine is often regarded as the unsung hero of Trek — a dark horse in the Trek canon. A bigger cast, more character development, a darker tone, and a semi-serialised storyline all add up to a different kind of viewing experience.
And I have never been a fan.
However, I have decided to give Benjamin Sisko and Co another go. Perhaps, like Voyager, I can learn to love DS9, warts and all.
I won’t rehash the storyline other than to say the pilot sets up a lot of plot threads that will eventually unravel. Two things that tended to bug me about DS9 is that both Avery Brooks (as Ben Sisko) and Nana Visitor (as Major Kira) really overact. Like, it’s almost a Nic Cage level of over-acting. But this time, I tried to look past it.
Religion and spirituality are a big part of DS9, and this was never something I particularly warmed to. I won’t harp on about my thoughts on religion and spirituality, other than to say it’s difficult to believe that any civilisation capable of faster-than-light travel would be stuck in the quagmire of religious ambiguity. I refer to the planet Bajor, who worships a bunch of crystals in jars — but they have been through a brutal 60-year occupation by the Cardassians (AKA the bad guys) and therefore finding solace and unity in religion maybe isn’t such a crazy notion.
Jean-Luc Picard makes a guest appearance and, well, it’s not exactly a highlight. It would seem that when Picard temporarily became Locutus of Borg, he inadvertently killed Sisko’s wife, Jennifer. Sisko is standoff-ish (to say the least), but they part with a handshake by the end of the episode. Sisko has learned that, to some extent, he must let go of his grief and move on.
Another aspect of DS9 I never liked was the Quark v Odo frenemies thing. To be honest, I never particularly liked either character, much less cared for the many scenes in which one character tries to get one up on the other. However, this time, I’m prepared to be a bit more easy-going on them and remember it’s just a show, and I should watch it for fun.
Despite some clunky moments (E.g. Picard saying goodbye to Miles O’Brien was a truly awkward scene), the pilot was a little better than I remembered. There’s plenty at stake, the characters all have a certain edge, and maybe I can open my heart and mind to this very unique flavour of Berman era Trek.
The theme of this episode? Memory can be a form of time-impermanence, and our linear existence of action-consequence might be a little murkier than we are led to believe.