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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Facets (Review)

This September and October, we’re taking a look at the jam-packed 1994 to 1995 season of Star Trek, including Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. Check back daily for the latest review.

Facets in more than a little muddled. It’s an episode that is all over the place. It’s a script that doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be, leaning in one direction and then another. The episode’s big plot point isn’t dropped until half-way through, and there are any number of points where the script offers a feint towards a plot that never quite develops. As befitting a story called Facets, this is an episode with quite a few different (and often conflicting) sides.

It’s a disjointed little story, and perhaps an effective demonstration of just how much trouble the producers were having with Dax as a character. And yet, despite all this, Facets works surprisingly well. This is likely down to the fact that – like Playing God and arguably Blood Oath before it – it feels like a Dax story that is as interested in the character as it is in the concept.

A little piece of herself...

A little piece of herself…

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – The 34th Rule by Armin Shimerman & David R. George III (Review)

This September and October, we’re taking a look at the jam-packed 1994 to 1995 season of Star Trek, including Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. Check back daily for the latest review.

The 34th Rule is a particularly notable piece of Star Trek fiction. It is the first Star Trek novel credited to a main cast member while their show was still on the air. Armin Shimerman, Eric A. Sitwell and David R. George III had pitched the idea for The 34th Rule as an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. When the producers were not interested in developing the idea, Shimerman and George decided to expand the idea out into a full-length novel. The 34th Rule was released during the seventh season of Deep Space Nine.

Shimerman was not the first actor to be credited on a Star Trek novel. William Shatner had already launched his own “Shatner-verse” series of novels following the “resurrection” of James Tiberius Kirk after his death in Star Trek: Generations. However, Shatner was pretty much done with the franchise at this point – having officially passed the torch to his successors as part of Generations. However, Shimerman was the first to publish a novel while the show was on the air.

The 34th Rule is a decidedly ambitious piece of work. It is clumsy in places, perhaps a little heavy-handed and on the nose. Nevertheless, it is a well-constructed and thoughtful Star Trek epic – one the feels in keeping with the mood of Deep Space Nine, even if it occasionally veers a little too far.

the34thrule

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – A Stitch in Time by Andrew J. Robinson (Review)

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is twenty years old this year. To celebrate, I’m taking a look at the first and second seasons. Check back daily for the latest review or retrospective.

We’ll be supplementing our coverage of the episodes with some additional materials – mainly novels and comics and films. This is one such entry.

A Stitch in Time remains a fascinating read. Sure, Star Trek actors had written novels before. William Shatner had turned his Captain Kirk novels into something of a cottage industry, even turning in a Starfleet Academy novel to cash-in in the success of JJ Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek reboot. However, Andrew J. Robinson’s A Stitch in Time is the first tie-in novel written by a cast member without a ghost writer or a collaborator. A Stitch in Time is entirely about Robinson’s relationship with Garak, the character he played for seven years on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

It’s a very thoughtful, eloquent and beautiful piece of work – providing the reader a great deal of insight into how Robinson sees Garak as a character, stripping away a lot of the mystery and intrigue that surrounded the character during his appearances. It feels like an attempt by Robinson to offer Garak some measure of closure, to put the character to rest.

ds9-astitchintime

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – The Nagus (Review)

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is twenty years old this year. To celebrate, I’m taking a look at the first season. Check back daily for the latest review or retrospective.

The Nagus starts what turns out to be an annual tradition for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. It introduces the concept of a “Ferengi” episode, where once (or twice) a year, the show would take time out from other on-going concerns to focus on the state of affairs in the Ferengi Alliance. In a way, it’s quite like what Star Trek: The Next Generation did for the Klingons, taking an episode every once in a while to delve into the alien culture and offer a bit of exploration of a species originally created as a two-dimensional cardboard stand-in for a philosophy the franchise found unappealing.

Starting with Heart of Glory, The Next Generation developed Klingons from “those bad guys with the ridges” into a fully functioning and multi-faceted culture, largely driven by writer Ronald D. Moore from the third season. Deep Space Nine did largely the same thing with the Ferengi, largely spearheaded by producer Ira Steven Behr. Although, given the fact that the episodes concerned amoral capitalists instead of imposing warriors, Deep Space Nine opted for comedy as the genre of choice when developing the Ferengi.

He's got the lobes for business...

He’s got the lobes for business…

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Q-Less (Review)

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is twenty years old this year. To celebrate, I’m taking a look at the first season. Check back daily for the latest review or retrospective.

And the first season of Deep Space Nine continues its trend towards mediocrity. I feel I should qualify that. The first season of Deep Space Nine is never truly terrible. Even the (very) dodgy Move Along Home is superior to any number of episodes from the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, like Code of Honour or Angel One. The first season of Deep Space Nine just winds up feeling like it’s treading water, as if it is trying too hard to emulate The Next Generation, instead of exploring the unique storytelling opportunities offered by the show’s setting.

Q-Less is arguably the most obvious example of these attempts at imitation. While episodes like Babel and The Passenger could have been reworked as episodes of The Next Generation with a minimum of fuss, Q-Less rather cynically takes two recurring guest stars from The Next Generation and allows them to steal focus from an ensemble that is still finding its feet. It feels not only a little ill-judged, but also a bit rude.

Guess Q...

Guess Q…

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