So a minor confession to make: I don’t think I’ve ever watched a Star Trek series in its entirety before until this year.
Okay, so it’s a major confession. I’m a Trekkie. I grew up on Next Generation. And I liked Deep Space Nine and Voyager when it came out. I never did get very far into Enterprise though, and the Original Series, I’ve probably seen an episode here or there, but nothing all the way through. But I’ve never watched every episode though, which is what one should do if they really like a show.
Some things should be corrected.
Back at Christmas last year I got a Kindle. With the Kindle you automatically get a free month of Amazon Prime, which I’ve never had before. After the free month it’s $80 for a year. I didn’t know what was available – Core has one, but never got Prime since she didn’t find much she liked – but upon finding out that all of Star Trek was available for free, from TOS to Enterprise and all of the movies prior to the reboot, I was sold. Eighty bucks for twenty-eight seasons of awesome ? Sold!
So I went through all of Voyager first, in about three and a half months. And I recalled a lot of it, almost all of it in fact. I didn’t realize that I had watched most of the series when it originally aired, but I did. I just had to fill in the missing pieces. And it’s like any other serialized show: some good, some bad, all worthwhile. The first two seasons meandered forever in Kazon space (just how much space did they cover anyway?), and the Borg, the biggest threat ever, were practically neutered by the end of the series. There were some great episodes though, and some pretty good characters as well: Janeway was a pretty boss captain and had some tough decisions to make at times, Chekotay made for an interesting commander, and the rest of the crew were fun as well (though it kinda sucked that Kim never got promoted beyond ensign while Paris got busted out of jail, promoted, demoted, and promoted again in seven seasons). That was probably when the show was at its best though, when it came to the characters. Some of the plots, especially towards the end of the series were… lacking. But all in all, it was a good series.
But enough about that. I wasn’t sure what series I wanted to watch next, but then I came across this, and then I was sold: I was going to watch Deep Space Nine. I tried to remember why I didn’t remember this series fondly (more on that shortly), and I even mentioned at least once or twice on Facebook that I wasn’t looking forward to tackling this. One of my friends made mention that it gets really good from season five on (that was probably around when I stopped watching the series) while that article mentions that it gets really good from season four on, when the show really found its legs and just took off.
So I decided, “Sure, I’ll take this on next.”
And I figure, I’ll write about each season too as I get to them. So after this long preamble, let’s begin the looking back of Deep Space Nine, season one.
This… this was a curious first season of Deep Space Nine. The idea was interesting: put a crew on a station on the edge of Federation space, then have them find a wormhole that leads to the other side of the galaxy, before letting shenanigans ensue.
It wasn’t entirely successful. All of the episodes were one-offs, which is fine (the first episode/pilot went for 91 minutes), but it didn’t get very far in terms of an overall plot. The wormhole – such a big thing in the first episode – doesn’t get much action this season. “Vortex” was the only episode that hinted at anything beyond just the one episode – the possibility of others like Odo – while others that dealt with the Gamma Quadrant were brief excursions and random anomalies that threatened the crew and station (telepathic beings, a hunting game, a board game, imagination beings, etc). There were some interesting characters that did show up though: “Move Along Home” had the board game, with the visiting aliens being an interesting treat.
There were some recurring characters in TNG that showed up too: Picard was in the first episode, and Sisko was none too happy to deal with him, Q made an appearance (oh, add that episode to the “things that threaten the station” list), and Lwaxana Troi had a turn as well. Out of the three, hers was the best appearance, as it expanded on her character exponentially beyond what she had, or from what I can recall, on TNG (I’ll get there eventually, don’t worry). Odo had a great turn that episode as well – probably the best he was involved in during the first season. Odo is a rather complex character in general too, having served both the Cardassians and the Federation as chief security officer on the station. The moral ambiguities are amazing.
And the rest of the new characters? Well… they were mostly okay. Some people didn’t break beyond their first introductions. Doctor Bashir, for example, was hitting on every woman that walked by him. He was young and naive, probably fresh out of medical school or the academy and didn’t know much of anything in regular life, so his antics were amusing, at least for a while. They did take an interesting twist in “If Wishes Were Horses” (the imagination beings one), but he didn’t get much beyond that.
Dax is kinda bland right now, mainly because she really hasn’t done that much so far. She has one episode, the trailer of which I’ll post below, but other than that, she’s more or less working in ops the entire time. The Trill species does make for some interesting stories though, since the symbiote can inhabit both male and female trills. The episode “Dax” (that trailer next) hints at some of the former lives of Dax. It’s not exactly transgendered, but this was probably as close as any character got to being non-binary in any sci-fi series I can think of (though if people think of others, then by all means, comment away).
Major Kira was… I’m not sure, really. She has a huge history to her before even showing up, as a freedom fighter on Bajor (much of the season revolved around how the Federation was protecting Bajor and trying to get it to join them). As such, she spends a lot of time angry at a lot of things – mainly Cardassians – and not much else. She does end up in the best episode of the season though, “Duets”, which, despite one or two too many twists, has some truly great moments between Kira and the arrested Cardassian, and the final scene is truly heartbreaking, and shows well how some things may never change between people.
Actually, here’s a mirrored clip of the final six minutes of the episode:
The Bajorans themselves… meh. It’s what probably hurts the first season the most, because they’re just not very interesting. I’m not sure if it’ll improve in the second season, but I’ll find out when I get to it.
Who else is here… O’Brien is much the same from his TNG days – grumbling about everything and everyone – though his responsibility has expanded since he has to make sure the entire station works, and a lot of times it doesn’t. “The Forsaken”, for instance, has him yelling at the computer a lot, and it’s rather fun at times. He’s a likable character, and fits well with the cast.
The Ferengis are a curious bunch. I’m not a big fan of them – it’s essentially “we like females (without clothes)” and “greed is good” – but this set seem to break the mold on that a bit. Quark is actually interesting at times, though the season spends far too much time on his shenanigans. His nephew, Nog, is by far a most interesting character. He doesn’t start that way – he takes on too much of the Ferengi personality – but pairing him with Jake Sisko and making him likable has made him a pretty good supporting character in the first season.
Speaking of the Siskos, the first episode pretty much set up what has to be the best relationship dynamic in the series so far, between Benjamin and Jake. The Borg (under Locutus, hence Sisko’s dislike for Picard) killed Ben’s wife, and it could just as easily been Jake going “I hate station life why did you drag me here?”, but some of the things that do happen along the way (the station school, Jake and Nog’s friendship) help to solidify their relationship. There’s a genuine love between father and son here, which doesn’t get explored often in a serious way in a sci-fi drama.
Benjamin Sisko is pretty much a badass the entire time though. I find in every episode that he is one guy I don’t want to cross. Case in point:
So, yes, a curious first season of Deep Space 9. It doesn’t go anywhere, but there are a few nuggets to enjoy.
 Okay that’s a lie. Not all of it was awesome.
 Other side of the galaxy being the Gamma Quadrant. Voyager took place in the Delta Quadrant and were another tens of thousands of light years away from that wormhole.
 I never recalled Picard looking so disturbed by one man before either.
 The episode “Babel” is one really good example of their relationship.
 Episodes to recommend: “Duet”, “The Forsaken”, “Move Along Home” (just for the sheer, wacky fun of it all), “Babel”, “Dax”