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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Rules of Acquisition (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 was a surprising high-point of the first season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. It represented a conscious effort to rehabilitate and reappraise the Ferengi, the aliens introduced as potentially major adversaries in the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, only to wind up as mostly unfunny comic relief. The Nagus dared to suggest that the Ferengi might not be the monsters the Federation considers them to be, suggesting that their culture – while different – was no less worthy of respect or consideration than that of the Klingons.

Rules of Acquisition is a clear follow-up, right down to the way that it includes Grand Nagus Zek. However, it’s nowhere near as charming and successful as The Nagus, because it feels like it’s just treading water. It teases potential developments down the line, but the story seems locked in a familiar holding pattern – right down to the rather convenient ending that inevitably sees Quark snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

It’s not quite a bad episode, certainly not on the scale of the colossal misfire that was Melora, but it’s also not a particularly good one.

Nothing to see here...

Nothing to see here…

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Dramatis Personae (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.

Dramatis Personae tends to get lost in the shuffle at the end of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine‘s first season. Sitting between two of the season’s most generic Star Trek stories (If Wishes Were Horses… and The Forsaken) and two distinctly Deep Space Nine classics (Duet and In the Hands of the Prophets), it’s easy to see why Joe Menosky’s tale of repeated history tends to get overlooked. It manages to sit quite neatly in both camps, as a generic Star Trek tale and as something more specific to Deep Space Nine.

After all, possession stories are scattered throughout the Star Trek mythos. Star Trek: The Next Generation was quite fond of have various members of the crew impersonated or doubled or controlled by a variety of alien influences. Dramatis Personae also feels like a very Joe Menosky script, linked by various thematic connections to the writer’s work on both The Next Generation and later on Star Trek: Voyager.

And yet, despite all those links, Dramatis Personae feels quite anchored to Deep Space Nine. It’s hard to imagine the dynamic working with any other Star Trek cast, even Voyager‘s Maquis and Starfleet ensemble. There’s also the sense that the episode’s pattern of repeated history feels more in keeping with Deep Space Nine‘s perception of history than any other Star Trek show’s.

The man with the plan...

The man with the plan…

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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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