Thursday, August 29, 2019

Discovering What We Left Behind

I found Star Trek: Deep Space Nine about a month too late. 

By the time I became a fan, the initial backing period for the retrospective documentary What We Left Behind already ended and I missed out on the cool shirts, pins and other swag offered to backers.

I was still able to pre order the “backers’ version” with an earlier delivery date and more extras, and then share in the extended wait as it changed directors, amount of HD content and distributors.

It finally came out, and boy-howdy does it deliver above and beyond expectations.

Given how many people were involved and how into it they've been in the promotional material and convention appearances I knew there would be a huge amount of information about the making of the show, and the friendships and connections formed behind the scenes.

The lead up material mentioned the writers’ room getting back together to talk about what Season Eight could be. I expected it to be a general conversation about where they thought the show would have gone, but it was far more awesome than that.

It was handled as a working writers' room coming up with outlines and story beats for a first episode of a season as if it was going to take place now, all these years later.  It came with animated storyboards and not just vague generalities but considerations for it being part of a fully developed season.  Example: one writer mentioned bringing Odo back in the story and head writer Ira Stephen Behr pointed out that they didn’t want to give the viewer EVERYTHING in the first episode.

They drafted a compelling story true to both the time skips, the tone of the show and the characters, with enough plot threads to easily make an entire season. 

Here's hoping.

Of course, since this was the series featuring Vic Fontane’s night club, there’s music included.  It’s a shame they never worked out an in story reason to have Damar, Weyoun, Quark and Rom sing in an episode.  There is a lot of talent and fun there.

Seeing this reminded me how much I enjoyed the series, and since it has been two years since my first viewing, and having watched the Original Series a near infinite number of times shows I have no limits for good Star Trek, I started watching it again.

The last time I wrote about DS9 was looking at the entire series as a whole.  There are some interesting things I noticed in the first three episodes, now that I know where it all goes, that I didn’t catch before.

Kira and O'Brien pull off a Corbomite Maneuver Level Bluff, coupled by a Scotty level engineering feat in the first episode letting us know that while the setting is unusal, this is real Star Trek.

Julian is goofy as hell, but with hints of the brilliance he displays regularly later.  His book learning compared to O'Brien's practical knowledge make the Chief obviously dislike the Doctor at the start.  Organically growing the two of them to be best friends was an achievement in storytelling.

Rom is in the background of the first episode tending bar, with no lines.  He speaks in the second episode dealing with the formation of Keiko’s school sounding different than the voice he’ll use later.

One of the first things Commander Sisko does in the pilot is to arrest Nog for stealing and use him to blackmail Quark into not leaving the station.  This has bonus cool points since one of the very last things Captain Sisko does in the series is promote Nog, now the first Ferengi in Starfleet, to lieutenant.

Sisko is clearly a "father to his men" type commander, but his delivery of "Go over my head again and I'll have your's on a platter" shows he's also one of he toughest leaders we've seen in the franchise.

Jake is so teeny!  It’s adorable!

From Dukat’s first appearance in the first episode, while Major Kira is talking about how evil and heartless he is, he appears as if he thinks he’s the hero of the story.

Quark and Odo’s rivalry and dislike of each other is there from the start, but in the second episode where the security chief is being framed, Quark defends Odo’s character to the Bajoran mob, and provides information to Odo that helps clear him. The respect is also there too.

Odo’s original form looks kinda weird.

The insanely strong bond, which blossoms into romance much later, between Odo and Kira is visible from the beginning as well.

Damar is the Cardassian captain with only a handful of lines Sisko first delays and then works with in the third episode.  Not a bad start for the future leader of the planet's rebellion against the Dominion.

And “Plain and simple” Garak’s first appearance in the third episode is just as enigmatic, fun surprise filled, and awesome as he turns out to be for the rest of the series.

If you’re a “Niner” check out the documentary that was released full scale on August 6th.  You’ll probably go back to the series too.

My overall two line review:

“Watched it , loved it, and have only one question:
When does the crowdfunding to get the whole series in an HD blu ray release start?”

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