Film, TV, and Popular Culture

Deep into Deep Space Nine

Warning: contains minor spoilers

I always feel sad when I’ve reached the end of a show and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is the latest show I’ve finished watching. When you watch every episode, starting right at the beginning, you become invested in the universe the show is set in, and the characters and their lives. Reaching the end is like saying goodbye to old friends.

I had previously watched quite a few episodes but I don’t think I’ve ever watched Deep Space Nine from beginning to end so after I had finished re-watching Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine became my latest viewing obsession.

I found it took a little while to get into, and I that Avery Brooks’ (Capt. Benjamin Sisko) stilted way of delivering his lines a little hard to get used to. It is, however, a show with great acting. On rare occasions when we see the likes of Armin Shimerman (Quark), Rene Auberjonois (Odo), and Michael Dorn (Lt. Cmdr. Worf) out of makeup, it is a reminder of how good they are as it is shocking to remember that they are actually human (or hyoo-mahn as Quark would say). It is honestly easy to forget that they are actors playing alien characters which is a testament to the good acting and makeup.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine does share some obvious similarities with Babylon 5, they’re both set on a space station deep in space for one. The whole ‘captain of the space station has some spiritual connection with the “Gods” of an alien race’ is another. I’m a fan of both shows and whilst some fans have apparently been unable to let go of the controversy that this caused, I think it’s best to just enjoy each show for what they are. You can read more about this on Plagiarism Today.

Setting Star Trek: Deep Space Nine on a space station instead of a spaceship gave this show a different feel to other Star Trek shows. The Federation shares the running of the station with the Bajoran people, with Major (later Colonel) Kira (Nana Visitor), a former Bajoran resistance fighter, reporting to Sisko. The Bajoran people worship the Prophets, aptly named ‘Wormhole Aliens’ by Lt. Cmdr. Jadzia Dax (Terry Farrell), who ‘live’ inside the wormhole where Deep Space Nine is situated. The Prophets are part of the long-running plot along with the war with the Dominion in later seasons. There are quite a few standalone episodes that don’t contribute to the main plot and there’s a nice mix of episodes that focus on different characters.

Though Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is set in the Star Trek universe, I think it’s quite different from the likes of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Voyager. That is possibly partly down to the fact that the station is not entirely Federation run and involves more alien main characters than the two mentioned. I’d say that you could watch Star Trek: Deep Space Nine without knowing anything about the Star Trek universe though it does, of course, make references to it and features some characters that viewers of Star Trek: The Next Generation will recognise.

The special effects are good and there are certain battle scenes set in space with a multitude of ships that are pretty spectacular. The writing and direction are generally really good and a lot of themes are covered with plenty of moral dilemmas for the characters to work out. Then there’s also a holosuite which allows the writers to get creative with some episodes and also introduces the suave hologram swing singer character, Vic Fontaine (James Darren). I do have to question how the crew is able to play a baseball game in the holosuite when technically the room only seemed to be about 20ft x 20ft and yet the characters were spaced out around the pitch. I guess the technology is that good that it just gives that illusion (really wish holosuites were an actual reality – how cool would that be?).

Overall, I think Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is a very good show with some great characters and it’s something you can watch many times over. It’s certainly one that I’ll rewatch at some point in the future.

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