Deep Space Nine, Season Nine (and Eight)

I don’t even need to caption this. You can live with it. You can live with it?

Let’s do Deep Space Nine again.

Okay, context. The first thing you need to know is Canadian Netflix is pretty bad, and we didn’t get on demand access to Deep Space Nine for years. Our SF/fantasy/interminable reality show channel Space started playing Voyager instead. Finally, Netflix got DS9 last year. My friends and I all started binging it. We didn’t mean to do it together. It became a spontaneous thing, where we all live-posted our reactions to each episode.

Avery Brooks was so good. 20 years ago, I didn’t understand how good. I wasn’t a parent then, and couldn’t see the care he put into portraying a father (and later, an adult son!). Sisko anchored the only real family in Star Trek: one with customs, turmoil and a sense of genuine love. He also walked a thin line, struggling with the show’s Utopian ideals without denigrating them. Deep Space Nine admitted it was an incomplete vision, and didn’t have all the answers, but that you didn’t need them all to make the world – well a couple of galactic quadrants – better.

(I like Avery Brooks as Sisko so much I had to re-edit this post. Originally the shtick was me begging him to come back and make DS9 happen again, but I didn’t want to annoy him on the infinitesimal chance he would ever read this! There was even a joke about how even though I know executives make shows, I was sure he could make it happen through a Sisko-eque speech. Gone now. Too much respect.)

This post’s other trigger comes from the X-Files revival. Here’s what got me: They used the same opening credits as usual. Sure, Fox Mulder had his bearded, shack-dwelling moment but after that they got right back into that show, as if this wasn’t a revival, but just a long hiatus. This show was welcoming me back, rested and ready. So, I thought of this and watching DS9 and thinking, “If Deep Space Nine did this, I’d be there. Immediately.”

I know, I know. Sisko ascended to the Prophets. People come back out of that weird wormhole all the time. Yes, there’s another Star Trek show coming. I’ll watch them both.

I’m not saying a new DS9 needs to cling to all the hoary late Trek conventions.  Post-TNG Start Trek always felt a bit too much like stage acting. When you took someone to jail you’d lead them politely by the elbow because that was enough to symbolize that they’d been caught. That fight choreography could’ve been better. There’s room for more naturalism and a bit of grit. The rebooted Battlestar Galactica paved the way for that, but let’s not go that far, because I don’t want to the show’s conflicted but ultimately triumphant idealism that eventually finds a way through.

Eight episodes? Maybe a three night, six-hour television “event.”

I haven’t been keeping up with most of the cast. Alexander Siddig recently got killed on Game of Thrones despite being so handsome and interesting to watch. I last saw Avery Brooks in The Captains, where he demonstrated a sort of casual remarkableness. Michael Dorn reportedly wanted to do Worf again. I feel self-conscious at not being as aware of what’s up with Nana Visitor and my fellow ex-Torontonian, Nicole DeBoer.

Anyway, I guess my point is: We’ve got so many reboots coming from risk-averse producers, but they’re always asking the wrong questions, like “How can we make this more relevant for this generation?” and “How can we put a new spin on this old thing?” They should be looking at what worked, and asking what they could have improved if they got a second chance, because second changes abound, these days. (Note that diversity counts as an improvement, not innovation. It’s not innovation to recognize that people who exist in the real world exist in space.) The X-Files renewal got the message. They realized the mythology was choking them and shook it up, but also stuck to the show’s strengths. If you listen to all the very vocal folks who worked on Deep Space Nine, they’ll tell you what they could’ve done better. Hell, I can hit Memory Alpha and get episode by episode quotes about it!

I do want genuinely new series, but if we’re in the Reboot Era, don’t work too hard and give yourself British Khans and motorcycle flip-tricks and lens flares. Just fix it. Little thing by little thing. For example, we now know Alexander Siddig looks amazing with facial hair, therefore Bashir gets his five ‘o-clock shadow on. Easy. Maybe we can torture O’Brien less.

Actually, no. He Must Suffer.

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