Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Star Trek Deep Space Nine (Season 1a)

STNG   Season 1b -->

My entire experience with “Deep Space Nine” thus far has been to partially catch a couple of episodes that first season it aired. I have never been a good TV viewer, keeping “appointments” even with the shows I enjoy, and at that time I was busy with university life, so I was especially bad about keeping up with any program.

I have long wanted to check this show out as it is often hailed as the version of Trek that is most concerned with issues like religion and faith. However, the first half of the first season—among them the few episodes I had seen before—may go a long way to explaining why it has taken me so long to take the plunge. This is a slow start:

Episode 1,2: “Emissary”

We get the newness of this Trek right away. This is a darker, less optimistic side that Roddenberry never allowed while he was running the show. We have a damaged commanding figure in a thankless assignment. This will not be a show of exploration, but rather of politics, conflicts and competing self-interests. And, tacked on to all of that but not explored much for a while, is the religious prophecy that Commander Sisko will supposedly fulfill.

Much of the rest of these first episodes are used to help us get to know the main characters:

Episode 3: “Past Prologue”

First Officer Nerys represents the Bajoran interests, she may have had terrorist ties at one point, but she is now trying to make a difference as a part of the system.

Episode 4: “A Man Alone”

Chief of Security Odo is a shape shifter and as far as anyone knows he is the only one of his kind. Any bets that that will not change in the course of the series? He is to ethics what Spock was to logic.

Episode 8: “Dax”

Counselor Dax is a Trill, a symbiotic life-form that was introduced in STNG. A long living alien that resides in a series of hosts, hits current form is a young woman, but Sisko has a long history with Dax when it was an older man. This episode presents some mildly compelling “what ifs” and ethical dilemmas.

The rest of the episodes that round out the first half of the season (“Babel”; “Captive Pursuit”; “Q-Less”; “The Passenger”; “Move Along Home”) are entertaining, but lesser Trek.

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