(image courtesy DS9 encyclopedia)
Sarah was away camping all weekend, so I was left to entertain myself. Normally I catch up on the DVR on these kinds of weekends, but there is slim pickings this summer. So I fired up Netflix, started flipping through my queue, and remembered that I had wanted to rewatch “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine“. I expected to spend a few hours catching up on the first season and reminiscing about my insanely geeky childhood. Instead, I have rediscovered a show that is surprisingly current, despite being almost 20 years old!
The premise of DS9 is radically different than the traditional “Star Trek” series. Instead of a ship, it is set on a space station, Deep Space Nine, that orbits Bajor, a planet that recently overthrew their tyrannical overlords, an alien species called the Cardassians (disturbingly close to Kardashian, isn’t it?) The Bajoran government asks the Federation to come in and help manage the space station as a way to keep the Kardashians Cardassians from returning. In the first episode, the crew discovers a wormhole, a shortcut through space, and this new resource takes a tiny space station on a struggling planet and turns them into a desirable resource.
Pick an area of the world that has seen upheaval and change: the Middle East, parts of Africa, even the old USSR countries, and you can see where there are parallels and similarities. The people of Bajor struggle between wishing to be left alone, and wanting the assistance of the larger galactic community. They also have a strong religion, and how the Federation works to respect and include the Bajorans, as well as clashes within the religion and culture, all shape the story.
I am very early in the rewatch, but a few things have already jumped out at me. One, they did not shy away from facing the issue of terrorism early on. Second, while it has been a very long time since I watched more than bits and pieces of this series, there are definitely storylines laid out in the first few episodes that follow throughout the seasons, which is unusual for Star Trek. Third, the special effects did not age well, especially some of the blue screen effects. However, the storylines and acting are good enough that the minor “ooh, that’s a bad special effect” moments are muted.
Honestly, I had forgotten how different this show was than any other Star Trek series. In many ways it feels a bit similar to “Battlestar Galactica”, but on a lighter, less cripplingly sad level. But like BSG there is a strong arc and theme over the whole show, and the focus is as much on the “issue of the week” as it is on watching the characters develop and change.
I am five or six episodes in, and I can’t wait to keep going! Were you a DS9 fan? Let us know in the comments! And for those who want to reminisce, rewatch the opening credits…if that doesn’t make you want to fire up Netflix I don’t know what will!