• Following Us

  • Categories

  • Check out the Archives









  • Awards & Nominations

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Melora (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.

It’s hard to believe, based on what we’ve witnessed so far, but one day viewers will be able to think “oh, a Bashir episode!” without an involuntary shudder. There will come a time when the writing staff figure out how to write a Bashir-centric episode. In fact, they’ll even revisit this central premise in the show’s final season, in a way that is much less creepy because at least it acknowledges the creepiness. However, we’re a long way from that.

It’s not that Bashir is a bad character. In fact, I’m very fond of him. I think that this version of the character works very well as part of an ensemble, or even teamed up with another major character to carry a story. However, I don’t think that the show has quite figured out how to tell a Bashir-centric story yet. Most notably because – like The Passenger before it – Melora isn’t really about Bashir. At least not in a way that isn’t creepy and disturbing and unnerving.

Instead, Bashir is mostly a vehicle for the guest character of the week, who lends the episode her name and serves as the focal point of some incredibly condescending and patronising writing which doesn’t make the optimistic future of Star Trek look particularly bright.

Floating in a most peculiar way...

Floating in a most peculiar way…

Continue reading

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Invasive Procedures (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.

Invasive Procedures is an interesting episode. It has a great high concept, some nice character beats, and offers an inside glimpse at an astonishingly interesting alien culture. Verad is a compelling guest character and Sisko gets to be pretty badass, continuing the presentation of the character as some weird composite of James T. Kirk and Jean-Luc Picard.

There are however, a number of very sizeable flaws. The most obvious being that – despite this is nominally a “Dax” story – Dax winds up feeling more like a plot point than a character in her own right.

Slugging it out...

Slugging it out…

Continue reading

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – The Lives of Dax: Reflections (Jadzia) by L.A. Graf

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.

The Trill are an absolutely fascinating species, arguably much more so on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine than they were on Star Trek: The Next Generation. They were introduced in The Host as a race that was relatively straightforward – a bunch of symbionts living inside humanoid bodies. There was no indication that the host was anything but a blank slate for the organism inside to overwrite and control.

On Deep Space Nine, they became much more complex. The show’s first Trill-centric episode, Dax, pondered if it was possible to divorce the actions of the host from those of the symbiont, or vice versa. Though the episode in question wimped on giving a definitive answer one way or the other, the implication is that each Trill is a fusion of host and symbiont, rather than one dominating the other. Because of that, it seemed like the show always had trouble defining Jadzia (the character on the show) relative to Dax (the sum of lifetimes of experience).

As such, it’s hard not to pity veteran writers Julia Ecklar and Karen Rose Cercone (writing as “L.A. Graf”) for drawing the short straw and winding up writing the story from the anthology The Lives of Dax focusing on Jadzia.

ds9-thelivesofdax1

Continue reading

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Progress (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.

Progress is the best episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine‘s first season to date. Of course, there are better episodes ahead – two of them clustered at the end of the show’s truncated first year – but Progress still represents a considerable improvement over anything that has come before. It isn’t quite perfect, but it does have a nice character focus and takes advantage of the show’s unique perspective and position. It’s evidence that the writing staff were at least engaging with the show’s status quo and trying to work with it to tell interesting stories, with Progress offering an early pure example of what Deep Space Nine story should probably look like.

While the first season has been quite bumpy (although notably less bumpy than any of the opening seasons of the other three Star Trek spin-offs), Progress offers a demonstration that we are getting somewhere. The title might apply as much to the status of the show itself as to the themes of the episode.

Burning down the house...

Burning down the house…

Continue reading

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Dax (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.

Dax is a very weird episode. It is the first episode centred around Jadzia Dax, but it also demonstrates the problems that will affect Dax-centric episodes throughout Terry Farrell’s time on the show. Due to the nature of the character, the stories about Dax tend to treat her as a plot point or a macguffin rather than a character in and of herself. Here, for example, Dax finds herself on trial for the actions of her direct predecessor, Curzon Dax. It’s a fascinating moral and philosophical dilemma (can you hold somebody accountable for their actions in a past life?), but it’s a story about Dax that isn’t about the character as she currently exists. It’s fascinating and frustrating in equal measure, but at least it’s a sign that Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is content to do more than merely imitate Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Touching...

Touching…

Continue reading

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Past Prologue (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.

Past Prologue is a pretty decent second episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. It does what it needs to do, serving primarily to build the world of Deep Space Nine just a little bit. After all, a story like this was inevitable with a character like Kira in the main cast, so it’s probably for the best that the show deals with it so early. It’s not a classic episode by any means, feeling as if the show was obligated to tell this particular story. Then again, I suppose that’s what the first season of any television show is for. Set up and development.

Past Prologue continues to hint at the strengths of Deep Space Nine, investing considerable effort in crafting a tangible setting for the series. However, there’s also a hint of the weaknesses of the first season to be found here. Like just about any of the Star Trek spin-offs, Deep Space Nine is going to spend its first year searching for its identity. While Past Prologue indicates the series is looking the right direction, it hasn’t quite found its footing.

Los cannon...

Los cannon…

Continue reading

Star Trek: The Next Generation – Skin of Evil (Review)

To celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and also next year’s release of Star Trek: Into Darkness, I’m taking a look at the recent blu ray release of the first season, episode-by-episode. Check back daily for the latest review.

Skin of Evil is a mess of an episode. It’s a whole bunch of concepts thrown together, and executed in the most ridiculous and banal manner possible. There’s a lot of the disparate elements of Skin of Evil that could easily work if handled properly. Most notably, the idea of a character dying in the line of duty rather than as a hero is a fascinating one, and the eponymous monster could be an interesting twist on the “god-like beings” we seem to stumble across once every couple of weeks in the Star Trek universe. However, Skin of Evil winds up feeling the one thing it should be impossible for an episode like this to be. Despite all the different stuff happening involving all the different characters: it’s boring.

A slick operator...

A slick operator…

Continue reading