David on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Deep Space Nine has the distinction of being one of the first in the Trek franchise series to escape one of Roddenberry's mandates, one that all but starved the shows he controlled of a sorely needed dramatic element: internal conflict. He decreed that all Federation denizens would always coexist peacefully. Consequently, his stranglehold on TNG forced writers to externalize all conflict, which arguably hobbled them.

Roddenberry's death freed writers from this constraint, and the first expression of their relief was Deep Space Nine. Unfortunately, this freedom was cancelled out by locating the series on a space station, which limited their storytelling ability, reducing it to little more than a space soap opera with TNG's funny forehead aliens of the week.

It's kind of sad, because a space soap opera might have had more potential than what we ultimately got; even soap operas can be engrossing if the writing is good and the characters click. Sadly, we got to watch the series struggle though some all-too-obvious re-tooling across a bafflingly long run of seven seasons. Among their desperate attempts at retaining Trek fans, they eventually added a spaceship to get the main characters off the station, imported characters from TNG, and featured crossover guest villains.

Working against DS9 was yet another sadly anemic music score, plus yet another child as a main character, this time Jake Sisco (and occasionally his cringe-worthy Ferengi buddy) replacing Wesley of TNG. And speaking of the Ferengi, they alternately provided mildly amusing comic relief and embarrassingly awful idiocy; I honestly can't say if "It's a female!" is either a high point or a low point...


The show was relatively well-liked by Trek fans. Sorry, I didn't drink the Kool-Aid.

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