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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Paradise (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.

In a really weird way, this second half of the second season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine really has its finger on the pulse of the nineties. Whispers tapped into pre-millennial anxiety, the sort of paranoia that fed into shows like The X-Files and would play itself out through the show’s admittedly underdeveloped “Changeling” arc. In a few episodes, The Maquis will play with the old “freedom fighter/terrorist” debate in a way that was only really possible in an America completely at peace, post-Cold War but pre-9/11.

Paradise taps into some other anxieties. According to The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, writer Jim Trombetta was heavily influenced by the anti-technology philosophy of the Khmer Rouge, the infamous regime where even the stereotypical signs of learning and education (for example, wearing glasses) were justification for execution. However, whatever the inspiration, Paradise seems to tap into something decidedly more contemporary.

"This is my boom stick!"

“This is my boom stick!”

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Whispers (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.

You could make a credible argument that each of the first three Star Trek shows beautifully encapsulated their time and place. The original show was the very embodiment of the sixties zeitgeist, providing a channel for commentary and insight into counter-culture and the Vietnam War, and an outlet for various fixations and phobias. Star Trek: The Next Generation was a show that spoke to a version of America which was emerging from the Cold War, a clean and sterile morning for a new America.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was positioned somewhat strangely, as the idealism and enthusiasm of the early nineties gave way to paranoia and insecurity. If the hyperreal technicolour production values of the original Star Trek spoke to the energy and enthusiasm sixties, then the drab grey Orwellian design of Deep Space Nine was a reflection of the late nineties.

Whispers is really the first time that the show has pushed its sense of paranoia to the fore, and it confirms that Deep Space Nine will be a show of its time, anchored in the nineties.

It's all a bit askew...

It’s all a bit askew…

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