That makes Babylon 5 21 or 22 then...
I’ve always been strangely fascinated by Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Now celebrating its 20th anniversary - amazing how time flies, even when you’re not an agent of the Federation Department of Temporal Investigations - it’s the densest and most mythology-rich of all the Star Trek TV shows. Often ambitious and audacious, it won …
The pilot for Babylon 5 aired in February 1993, the series in 1994.
Depending on who you believe, the similarities between the two shows are not a coincidence. Obviously, both shows are set on space stations, but the development of the DS9 plot (where it got darker and more militaristic) does closely follow the development of similar plotlines in B5. Of course, B5 in turn was heavily influenced by ST:TNG.. although sometimes it was in what NOT to do (B5 doesn't feature a "particle of the week", for example).
Both shows suffered from a weak opening series, B5 suffered from a weak-ish ending series because it was always under threat of cancellation, and a lot of the plot from Series 5 was shoe-horned into Series 4 instead. DS9 had less of a problem with that, and the last two series of that are quite awesome.
Foundation Imaging did a lot of the CGI effects for both series, some of the same team went off to do work for Battlestar Galactica too. Big (sometimes REALLY big!) space battles were a feature of all three series. Pure geek porn :)
I was wondering if anyone was going to mention how this "defiantly different" show was actually a rip-off. The article didn't bother, after all.
I did like DS9 when I watched it, but I later watched B5 and it's far superior. The budget may be lower, and the acting on some of the cast is pretty bad, especially early on, but the compelling story arc and character development blows every other sci-fi series I've watched out of the sky.
I really admired the Babylon 5 thing. They managed to have a beginning, a middle, and an end, rather like a novel, and still spawn stand-alone stories. OK, the silly-alien-hairstyle method of speciation must be something they came to regret very quickly, but the characters under those nightmare prostehtics were complex and layerd, and that was unusual in the land of goodies and badies.
I'm glad someone brought up Babylon 5 - the first major genre TV series to extensively use the "Plot Arc" concept, which has since become commonplace and has subsequently considerably improved such TV shows.
ST:TNG is now an almost unwatchable tugid mess. Every week there was yet another technobabble solution to a spatial/temporal/incomprehensible paradox that inevitably required the deflector shield to be reconfigured. This very quickly got very tiresome. DN9 suffered from the same for the first few series until someone in the production office started watching Babylon 5 and suddenly DS9 discovered the Plot Arc!!!
Babylon 5 Ruled! Pity none of the subsequent spin offs rose to the same levels.
It will be a tough job to do better than Peter Jurassik and Andreas Katsulas as Mollari and G'Kar!
I remember watching almost all of TNG on Spike TV (about 8 years ago) and I thought from my memories of DS9 that the early TNG stuff that had too much influence from Roddenberry would be awful, but somehow despite the men in mini-dresses and some awful acting/direction they weren't awful. Ridiculous perhaps, but not something to ridicule.
Likewise Virgin1 (now much missed) used to show Voyager (sadly they mangled the ordering but I'll take what I can get) and again, I remember thinking it would be terrible because it went on too long and DS9 had had such great characters, but individual episodes were nearly always gripping and the overall level of quality kept going up. I even began to notice Jeri Ryan's acting more than her outfits.
Anyway, back to DS9. Sadly the plots over-reached the budget in the later seasons. The dominion war was a fine story, but trying to tell the macro-story of the resistance of Cardassia just showed up how small the sets were. Legate Damar turned into a superb character, but he needed to be because it seemed there were only about 5 Cardassians on the planet. I never quite 'got' the relationship between Worf and Jadzia. Esri's actor was good, but her arrival coincided with what I saw as a slight decline in production values.
I read an interview StarTrek.com did with Michael Dorn and he said he felt the show didn't have the behind the scenes camaraderie of TNG and he decided to change that. Maybe that's why the show didn't seem to have the same mojo before he came along.
The alternate universe was an interesting diversion (and evil Kira was too much for a teenage boy), but I think it was unnecessary. They should have made more of it, with more crossover to the main universe.
DS9's demise was because it LOST the influence of Roddenberry.
In his book "The making of Star Trek", Roddenberry describes how he did not want Star Trek to turn into Space Wars. There was a cold war between The Federation and the Klingon Empire, and for good reason. Roddenberry wrote that once you turn a series into space wars, the only way to secure ratings was to have later episodes feature bigger and bigger wars.
You eventually reach a point where no matter how big the war on the screen, the viewers are now "Ho hum" about the plot. Roddenberry understood this. So did Lucas. Rick Berman didn't. which is why DS9 lost ratings.
Ah, finally! A person who TRULY understands Trek and its history!!
Roddenberry never EVER wanted Star Trek to be about wars. From the intentional choice of making the Enterprise a heavy cruiser - NOT a battleship - to the Neuttal Zone and beyond, Roddenberry was very vocal about why he made all these decisions when he created the series.
Berman and Braga threw that all out...and the rest was history. The eventual end, cancellation, of Star Trek.
People with no Trek background look towards Star Wars motifs as a reflection of what Trek should and could be....which is nothing further from the truth of what Trek was meant to be.
True, but that was a double-edged sword.
Part of why the original series worked was because Roddenberry pushed that angle, while the studio pushed back. When they started Next Gen the studios bowed down to the exalted high priest -- and the episodes were pretty much crap. Without serious conflict drama loses its impact. Yes DS9 took it farther than Roddenberry would have allowed, and yes the franchise suffered for it. But less so than it did with Voyager and Enterprises lack of a timeline editor. I understand why the latest Star Trek movie was required to reboot the series - they boxed themselves into so many corners they needed a clean break. But I still didn't like it, and you're right: I don't trust the new writers to stay true to what the original Star Trek was, Roddenberry's vision tempered by the network moguls.
I started out as a fan during season 1..but then the writing started to fall apart, like they were desperate for new ideas and were just making things up as they went along - either that or the show's writers' 5 year old kids were the one coming up with the premises.
That episode when Delenn was going through some transcendental transformation..the transformation? She grew hair. Probably the most anti-climactic episode of any series I had the misfortune to see. Last episode of B5 I ever watched.
That episode when Delenn was going through some transcendental transformation..the transformation? She grew hair.
What exactly were you expecting a Human/Minbari hybrid to look like? A lizard?
Last episode of B5 I ever watched.
Sooooo....you watched the very first part of season 2? Off the top of my head, you missed:
* The Clark conspiracy
* The return of the Shadows and their influence on the Centauri
* The invasion and later liberation of Narn
* The imposition of martial law
* G'Kar mind-raping Mollari
* B5 breaking away from Earth
* The return of Lyta Alexander
* The entire frigging shadow war!
* The First Ones
* The theft of Babylon 4 and the reveal of Valen
* Sheridan divebombing a ship full of nukes onto a planet!
* The assassination of Emperor Cartagia
* Garibaldi being manipulated by the Psi-corps
* The Mars rebellion
* Psi-corps trying to take over the government
* William Edgars attempting to kill every telepath on Earth
* The breaking of the grey council and the Minbari civil war
* The Earth Alliance civil war
* "Scorched Earth" (fans will get that)
* G'Kar becoming a holy man
* The beginning of the telepath war
* The fall of Centauri Prime
* Llondo ascending the throne
* Babylon 5 getting blown up
And how could I forget:
* Lennir beats the shit out of an entire bar full of people because Llondo was cheating at cards.
Yeah..... I'll grant that Season 1 was the weakest, but running out of ideas? The whole thing was written in advance; that's how Paramount were able to rip it off, after all. Episodes, characters, etc are referenced across seasons, and character arcs span years at a time. I would recommend giving it another shot - you quit right before everything kicks off!
More yes than no, but still both. The story was plotted well in advance. JMS had been thinking about it for years. But the shows themselves were written at the time, edited and adapted as needed. Sometimes it shows, most of the time they pulled it off incredibly well.
JMS also probably did more than anybody else in the industry to meld the web to the broadcast work. Checking his blog was almost as important a part of watching the show as watching the show was. And there was never any question about who was leading whom on story arc. JMS led, DS9 followed. Don't get me wrong, I like many of the DS9 shows and actually started watching it again on Netflix. But I have no doubt that B5 was the far better show, even season 1. Although I do agree Turner really screwed the pooch when they wouldn't fund season 5, and that in some way Sci-Fi screwed it even more when they did fund it after JMS edited 4 & 5 into the final season for Turner.
You missed out. The Earth Civil War had me absolutely captivated, and pretty much made the series for me. The Shadow Wars seemed a little played out, but still somewhat enjoyable. Then with the Centauri return to power via an unholy alliance with the Shadows and Molari's seeming self-sacrifice. The first season was horrid, IMO, and things picked up with the second season. Even under what's been mentioned as a constant threat of cancellation, it was pretty bold and I would have loved to have seen it go further than it did before the decommissioning, and I believe JMS had it in him to go another decade. I have such a deep place in my heart for B5 that I was genuinely saddened to hear of the passing of Richard Biggs (Dr. Franklin) and Jeff Conaway (Zack Allan, also Kenickie in "Grease,) both incredible actors playing compelling characters. Andreas Katsulas as G'Kar was another which caught my imagination. And I'll round it off with my never-ending crush on Patricia Tallman (she's STILL a looker at 55!)
Anyway, DS9 came out around the time I was distracted by a number of other offerings in my life, so it found little room in my television repertoire. Having been able to view a number of episodes later in life, I find two things: first that I'm not certain I would have been able to appreciate DS9's real-Earth grittiness at the time, and at the same time I certainly missed out on the ground-floor of an excellent show. I think the little bit I caught of it at the time made me feel as though it was the inferior competitor to B5, but looking back I have to say they both clearly stand apart and strong on their own merits.
A shame you stopped b5 on season 2 - before it got going! 1 and 2 are admittedly slow.
The really impressive stuff in b5 was in series 3 and 4. I loved the fact they had 1 , yes 1 time travel story done properly and told over 4 series - whereas on stng and voyager and ds9 there were temporal fluctuations pretty much every episode.
I never could get my head around series 5 of b5; by then they had lost the plot so still consider the end of series 4 as "the end"...
Agree with you here.
The death of Trek was the minute they canned Voyager and replaced it with Enterprise. Going from "Next Generation" to "Ye Olde Generation" holds little in the way of appeal to me.
I'd be much more interested in them following on from where DS9 and Voyager left off having a new series and introducing interesting new threats, (much like the Dominion and the much neglected Borg Busting species 8472)
Oh and with DS9 being 20 I now feel very old.
Probably a consequence of my teenage years, but whilst I kept up with the few few series of TNG, I was losing interest by the time DS9 and Voyager turned up. Thank you to the article for making the case for DS9.
I liked the visuals of Babylon 5 more, and approved of the way they had life-forms that were neither humanoid or gas clouds, but still I didn't really keep up with it for some reason. Maybe it because of of the cast fell into the 'uncanny valley' of looking like Bruce Willis (similarly, I don't do FireFly because that bloke is just trying too hard to be Han Solo. He isn't. He can't be). I do remember an episode that featured the magicians Penn and Teller, though!
I wouldn't engage with a Sci-Fi TV show again until Battlestar Gallactica, whose submarine movie-like visual style answered my unease with the clean, well-lit look of TNG. Even on some alien ship, TNG actors were too well lit.
I wouldn't mind watching a series that looked like The Fifth Element, a colourful sprawling mass of humanity, mutants and aliens, akin to Megacity One in 2000AD. Dredd might not make it back for a second movie, but there is a possibility he will return for a TV series, though I can't see them having the budget to do MegaCity One with proper anarchic abandon.
I watched both and I was struck by how DS9 changed its story tack by massively expanding on the Dominion as the series story arc interwoven with "normal" episodes, much the same as Babylon 5 had done from the start with the Shadows / Vorlon story arc.
Agree that DS9 was much less shiny than TNG but that made it good viewing (to me). I really enjoyed DS9.
Whereas the story arc in Enterprise just didn't work at all - they went too far the other way and didn't have enough "non-arc" episodes, especially in Season 2 - man that dragged on and on.
It's more than just "influence". JMS had pitched his idea to Paramount, and provided them with his "series bible".
DS9 was announced AFTER B5, but did come out a few weeks before, but the role of Sisko mirrors Sheridan (it would have mirrored Sinclair if Michael O'Hear hadn't left), you have not only plot and characterisation "similarities" but even character names (Shakaar/G'Kar, Lyta/Leeta)
Off topic, I know, but....
I much preferred Michael O'Hare as the commanding officer of B5. With Sinclair being the re-incarnation of Valen, and being involved with a part human Delenn (as would probably have been the case), it would have led to an interesting dynamic. Having 'The Scarecrow' dropped in at the beginning of Series 2, even if he was introduced as the 'Starkiller', lost some of the world-weary ordinariness (quite remarkable for a SF series set in the future) that Series 1 had.
Series 1 did not really start the main story arc, (although throughout there were plenty of forward references that only became important later on, such as B2), it set the back-story for the way Babylon5 operated that was necessary in the later stories. None of the ST franchises managed to achieve the same level of detail, although DS9 probably came closest.
I really would like to have seen how Series 4 would have turned out if JMS had not had to shoehorn in the Shadow Wars conclusion and compress the Earth liberation storyline into the same series. The Telepath Wars storyline for Series 5 was too weak (especially after seeing what happened in 'Endgame' in Series 4), and the loss of Commander Ivanova and Marcus, together with the changed role for Michael Garibaldi meant that there was too little continuation in the last series.
I must admit that I was a bit tearful the first time I saw the final episode "Sleeping in Light", especially seeing B5 finally destroyed, and again when doing a frame-by-frame on the easter-egg cast and crew video at the end of the closing credits. Makes me a bit of a sad geek really.
One last question. Whatever happened to Lennier (I know, I've read what the Lurkers Guide and Wikipedia has to say) but I'm sure there is an interesting story in there somewhere.
Not off topic at all.
The two are inextricably linked in time and network infighting and their influences on each other. B5 was kicking DS9's ass, and Majel Barrett didn't like it. One particular instance of this is DS9 grabbing an actor JMS had signed on for a couple of parts in two seasons. As a result, JMS decided to kill the character (Sheridan's conspiracy contact) off screen and bring in a replacement. DS9 did adopt the story arcs JMS pioneered in tv. (Weird part is, JMS didn't really think of it as pioneering, because his source material for the show draws most heavily on Greek and Roman mythology. It's even one of the things he commented on in his blogs at the time, noting he sought out a new translation of either the Iliad or the Odyssey in his teen years. He couldn't understand why people weren't using staggered arcs across a series instead of only within an episode.) And JMS said some nice things about DS9 and probably even consulted with them on some things. He certainly turned the tenor of the series to the more upbeat than the foreboding one season 1 had. (Personally I loved season 1 and it took me a while to warm up to the new guy.)
B5 was far more heavily influenced by LOTR than DS9 by B5, so JMS really can't be too churlish about any filching B5 wouldn't have existed without Tolkein.
Both were excellent series, and just as I'd like to see DS9 revisited on the screen, I'd love to JMS given the chance to reboot B5 - especially as his writing has improved massively since then. You could always tell the entire plot of a JMS B5 ep before the titles rolled, 'Passing through Gethsemane' being a particularly egregious example.
His impressive loyalty to the diminishing cast will likely foil that reboot ever happening however :(
B5 was far more heavily influenced by LOTR than DS9 by B5
I'm sure that's been commented on elsewhere, but I honestly don't see it. OK, other races teaming up against the Big Bad, but beyond that, the themes are quite different. Even the Big Bad in B5 is actually just a different philosophy.
You could always tell the entire plot of a JMS B5 ep before the titles rolled, 'Passing through Gethsemane' being a particularly egregious example.
Was "Falling Toward Apotheosis" one of his, by any chance? ;-)
I loathed DS9 when it first came out, as the whole "immobile spacestation" concept struck me as very much not Star Trek. The first series was a bit ropey (Dr. Bashir was just unlikable (probably suffering in comparison to the fantastic Garak!), and watching Avery Brooks chew up the scenery was at once hilarious and tragic) but, once it hit it's stride, it really was an excellent show. Shame I never saw the conclusion (think I stopped watching after it was alleged that Gowron had been replaced by a shapeshifter*), but I think it really was the equal of TNG, afterall (unlike Voyager, which was pants, and we can all pretend that Enterprise never happened).
*nothing wrong with the storyline but, as I was 15 when it started, I assume that I must have moved on to other pursuits by this point!
Andrew Robinson (Scorpio from Dirty Harry) has a daughter who featured in a pretty turgid episode where Jake ends up witnessing some accident on the Defiant where his father disappears before his eyes, and lives his entire life missing his father just that bit too much.
She was a right hottie! Oh and I suppose she acted in it pretty well too...
Having grown up with Star Trek (I remember watching the first runs of the original series in the UK), and having been massively influenced by it and TNG, DS9 is far and away my favourite. It was the first ST series to acknowledge that there are lasting consequences to what has happened previously - something that had started to grate with the episodic format of TNG, where noone ever seemed to learn anything, or relate back to what had happened in previous episodes.
Also, the cast were one of the finest put together for a sci-fi series to that point (Babylon 5 running a close second, especially once the hugely wooden Michael O'Hare had been replaced by Bruce Boxleitner).
Some DS9 was great, classic ST. For me there were too many plodding Kira/Prophets/Kai Winn episodes and far too many 'hilarious' Ferengi scripts with the Grand Nagus and (argh!) Quark's mother. What nearly killed it for me though was all the 'Vic Fontaine' stuff on the holodeck. Always loved Voyager personally...feel free to call me a heretic, say my mother had a smooth forehead, etc.
DS9 was a top Sci-Fi, started off feeling like it's not really the trek that I loved at the beginning, but got me thru Uni. in the end!
Yep, agreed. Vic was a holodeck character with too great a part in the last few seasons, but it went utterly ridiculous when he turned up in flesh and blood in the alternate universe! The writers needed shooting for that one.
Vedek/Kai Winn totally pissed me off because of her incessant corrupt power-hungry twisting nature, with her whiney little voice, it made me feel ill inside.
On forethough I suppose the actress pulled it off pretty well then to piss me off so much!
Aside from that, and the somewhat annoying squeaky Ferengi voices of the Grand Nagis, the dumb put on voice of Quarks brother, that and all the Ferengi heavy episodes, DS9 was fantastic.
Voyager sucked in relation to DS9, it started off pretty well, with a well constructed initial series, I loved the pilot two-parter, but then seemed to suffer a bit from the Y2K transition in TV drama in general.
Okay, it may have lifted shedloads from Bab5, but, compared to the preceding two Treks, the scriptwriters had far greater freedoms to explore the darker aspects of characters, and to allow conflicts amongst the core characters, which made it far more watchable for me.
Brooks made Sisko a far more believable /military/ commander than either Kirk or Picard - which suited the scenario nicely - his oft-repeated comment "I do not believe that I invited discussion on this issue" always reminds me of the officers in my cadet corps.
20 years - my word. It's the only US series I've managed to watch from start to finish - I normally get bored around season 5.
Absolute Rubbish. The single greatest episode of Star Trek ever is "The Void," Voyager 7x15. It defines the "why" behind the Federation, and explains the underlying ethics that came to mean so much to trekkies everywhere.
In The Pale Moonlight is a great example of cynicism and "the need of the many." The Void reminds us that some principles are worth sacrificing everything for. It is for this reason that I prefer Star Trek to Babylon 5 and other such "dark" shows. Even DS9 – dark and gritty by Trek standards – maintained the core values and ethics of the Federation. Call me a dreamer if you must, but I believe in those ideals. "The Void" is, to me, an illustration of why.
John Michael Straczynski (JMS) who created B5 actually pitched the idea to Paramount. Key ingredients like a politically neutral Space Station with a wormhole/jumpgate were pitched in detail as well as plotlines and arcs.
Paramount politely declined and then shortly after DS9 appeared.
JMS confirmed at the time that this happened and that the similarities were in no way co-incidental.
While we're on the subject of B5.. one peculiar thing is that so many of the actors who played major characters are now dead. Michael O'Hare (Jeffrey Sinclair) died in 2012, Richard Biggs (Dr Stephen Franklin) in 2004, Andreas Katsulas (G'Kar) in 2006 and Jeff Conaway (Zack Allan) in 2011. You could make a pretty decent episode with that lot.. perhaps someone is planning something.
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>Don't forget the "The graphics for Babylon 5 were done on an Amiga!!!!!!" frothing-mouthed tedium
I never realised that TNG's Wes Crusher (Wil Wheaton) worked for the makers of Video Toaster.
I had cause to remember another Video Toaster project, SeaQuest DSV the other day- I went to the cinema and ASUS have an advertisment in which Megan Fox talks to a dolphin (IT angle?!). Maybe it was on heroin like its fellow cetacean in Gibson's "Johnny Mnemonic"
Agreed - I always thought the comparisons between them were a bit pointless in that while similar (ignoring whether one was a ripoff of the other, as each side used that argument,) the universes they were set in were different. Trek was a universe where humanity had learned from its mistakes - granted DS9 was more 'dirty' than the other series - whereas B5's basis was pretty much that we hadn't learned.
One thing DS9 was not was "politically neutral". The station was embroiled in more political and politico-religious themes than all other ST TV series combined. A shaky alliance between the Federation and Bajor; Bajor nearly joining the Federation - and then not; the Circle; Kira's continual fights with the Provisional Government; the attempt at a religious takeover of the Bajoran Government; Bajor's temporary alliance with the Dominion, a terrorist bombing of a school on the station, assassinations - attempted and successful ; and even Kira's acceptance of a Starfleet commission as a Commander all have complex political overtones. With JMS' ideas about a station being "politically neutral", that's the whole difference right there. Most good science-fiction is political commentary in disguise - sometimes not so disguised; two TOS situations that stand out are the somewhat ridiculous episode "The Omega Glory", and Kirk's conversation with Scotty in "A Private Little War":
"Spock, ask Scotty how long it would take him to reproduce a hundred flintlocks."
"A hundred what?"
"A hundred ... serpents. Serpents for the Garden of Eden."
And don't forget a suicide.... the scene where a Vedek throws herself off he promenade and hangs herself is the single most shocking thing I'd ever seen in any Star Trek series - a clear sign that this was a show willing to take Gene's vision to the absolute limits, and then some.
I didn't like some of the actors, notably Cisco - the way he spoke just pissed me off.
Same goes for the one with the wierd nose, she was shite.
I think the entire show would have been better if they just killed that planet of moaners with the noses.
Basically the entire show was shite - although I did watch all the seasons...
Loved the Ferengi and Odo all the same.
THEY'RE IN MY HEAD!!!!! THEY'RE IN MY HEAD!!!!
(and the last season was only poor because the plot over-reached the budget. They couldn't afford enough Cardassians and outdoor shots, so the thing in the Cardassian government offices and the resistance seemed very claustrophic. Legate Damar was superb, though.)
I enjoyed the show. Especially the Ferengi Quark, Rom, Nog were fun to watch, Odo brilliant, I only wish we had more episodes with Quark and Odo trying to out do each other.
An DS9 did great at combining light hearted episodes and serious and fairly dark episodes.
Elim Garak was a brilliant character.
Julian Bashire was annoying a lot of the time.
An yes it did rip of Babylon 5 a little but I think it also had a lot of things that Babylon 5 didn't.
I seriously need to rewatch both series.
Yeah, Star Trek never fully uses their tech for hedonism like the citizens of the Culture... using the transporter to exchange gasses in your lungs whilst you bath in a zero-G sphere of oil, for example. Although both Star Trek and Bank's feature tech-enhanced extreme sports (orbital sky-diving and lava-flow rafting, for example).
A habitat's AI's appeal to a party guest "Please tell the ambassador that he is talking into a broach" (Look to Windward) seems a gentle dig at TNG's communicator.
Exactly. DS9 fans don't wish to hear it but DS9 started the death knell of Star Trek. Check the Neilsen ratings if you don't wish to believe - DS9's dark tone did not sit well with classic Star Trek viewers (like myself, for example) and we left in droves. B&B, and their [new ST] fan supporters always gave it some type of spin to avoid the reality - blaming the crowded airwaves, excessive sci-go competition, etc., but the fact is that classic ST fans didn't want a dystopian future on their screens.
I got very into B5 at that time. Great storytelling and even better acting from Katsulas and Jurasik. Avery Brooks'
turn so freaking annoying that after a while I simply couldn't stand watching. scene where he appeared. Brooks had two modes of acting - staccato or angry - and both got too annoying to watch.
Although I must say, the DS9 episode "Duet" is probably one of the very best dramas ever broadcast on SD television.
I actually like Brooks and some of the episodes in the series. I'd say the truth of the matter is it started going downhill with season 1 of Next Gen, but managed to recover after they booted Roddenberry far enough upstairs that he didn't really affect the show. But they over corrected in DS9, jumped the shark in Voyager, and went Rod Serling with Enterprise. Enterprise was probably the most disappointing because Bakula is a good actor and I loved him in Quantum Leap. But even a great actor can only do so much to save a show where none of the writers or producers actually care about the original on which it is based.
Always considered DS9 as Star Trek meets Little House on the Prairie.
Far too much considering the thoughts of others and Voyager continued the politically correct business.
There where some decent episodes and plot lines but not quite enough.
Babylon 5 managed to have the plots which attracted me.
"Always considered DS9 as Star Trek meets Little House on the Prairie."
Yup, DS9 was a cross between a panto and Eastenders. Every time i caught it on its origional run it was an utter soapy snoozefest. It was like all the shit episodes of TNG (Worfs son troubles, Troi`s mothers romances etc) bought together in a boring soap opera, with a few spaceships and a neon Queen Vic thrown in.
Take away the spaceships and the stupid looking aliens and it could be a whimsical drama set in the Cotswalds or any generic soap type thing.
Voyager was much better, more action, less soap (although still too much).
Babylon 5 might have been the best thing ever, but I couldnt get past the wooden acting and sub-par special effects.
Firefly,Serenity,Lexx,Andromeda and all the other low budget American scifi miniseries are also pretty crap.
The Battlestar reboot was ok, although the space battles looked more like a game cutscene than proper footage (compare the solidness of the models in the 70`s version to the rendered ones in the reboot). Also, having human looking cylons is a budget saving cop out.
I never could really get into the swing of things. The 'suspension of disbelief' never worked for me. I could sort of go for the 'we have a big fleet of spaceships but we're going to build one that's apable of going a bit farther out' premise of the regular Start Trek series (although some of the plotlines did contribute to a possible receding hairline and some grey hairs), but oh well, it kinda worked.
But anyone who has an inkling on what happens if the military take over a former enemy base couldn't buy this one.
There would've envoys, negotiators, a general officer trying to placate the civilians, a couple of hard-ass colonels, at least one company of nail-hard ODST's or Rangers (or SAS), a couple of companies of something like marines, battle hardened non-coms and a steady trickle of new recruites.
There would've been the ripping out of anything that smelt remotely like enemy hardware, the reinforcement of perimeters, patrols, heavy hardware coming in, and so on.
It was all just a bit softly softly for me. After a few seasons of enemy incursions they got 1 (ONE!) battle capable vessel.
Nope, I just never bought into this one.
I think you're approaching things from the wrong angle here, Starfleet isn't meant to be comparable to a modern military/navy, it's more of an exploration/diplomatic service with ships capable of defending themselves - this is also why the Defiant stands out, it was purely meant for military use (against the Borg), so no space/power wastage on room for scientists/civillian support/etc.
Especially on the suspension of disbelief thing...
In the pilot, ds9 is a backwater posting for a burt out captain. It was a way of avoiding the embarrassment of firing him. It's overseeing the recovery of a relatively primitive ( I can't recall it ever being made clear if Bajor was actually warp capable on their own) civilisation after a brutal occupation. It wasn't exactly a military outpost to start with, it was essentially a refinery... The station was a wreck and had relatively little value, but it doesn't seem to improve very quickly once it's moved to the wormhole.
Finding the wormhole turned it into a pivotal strategic military and political asset, but it was never treated as such, it was left with the burnout captain (he gets better) and supplied very little aid and support. It should definitely have had some better defences right off the bat, at least with a couple of real starships permanently stationed there, although it did finally get properly upgraded when the dominion became a threat, able to defend itself against an entire fleet.
Even in original Trek, you had to have not a suspension of disbelief but an eager suppression of it.
- Would no scientists ever return to portal through time that would show you the history of the Universe?
- Would anyone not copy the archives from "The World is Hollow and I have Touched the Sky"? Or the planet for the acknowledged schlock episode "Spock's Brain"
Granted Next Gen was even worse, but original Trek was bad enough on that front to begin with.
And yet I love the show.
How could you write a DS9 retrospective without a mention of Ron Moore?
DS9's first and second seasons were pretty dull and often by-the-numbers TNG-era Trek under Bermann, but when Ron Moore took over as showrunner on season three it transformed into something dark and exciting, but often fun, and so inventive. The characters became three-dimensional people you could care about, he took Worf to a new level, and the final season space battles were stunningly choreographed.
Moore went on to create possibly the best TV sci-fi ever with the BSG reboot, and if you look back at DS9 it's like a trial run for some of the themes he explored so well in BSG.
B5 had great spaceship designs, some promising themes and great characters like Londo and G-kar, but it was often pompous, JMS couldn't write dialogue for love nor money ("Get the hell out of my galaxy" has to be one of the worst lines ever televised), and it never delivered on the promise of the first two seasons. He might blame Paramount for nicking the premise, but DS9 delivered the goods under Moore's leadership.
Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning is a pretty good parody of the B5 and Star Trek universes. They do mercilessly take the mickey out of Sheridan's overly pompous speeches, plus several other piss-takes.. for example, the simply stupid design of the Excalibur (from Crusade and Babylon 5: A Call to Arms) and it attempts to answer the crucial question of who's ships would win in a firefight..
Loved DS9, its actually the only StarTrek TV series I can still watch without cringing constantly at how perfect the Federation are. I loved the other Treks too back in the day (except the Original *cue scathing attacks*) . Also much enjoyed B5, never really thought of them as that similar. Thought DS9 got better with age where B5 for me peaked and then was on life support for the last couple of series. Also love Blakes 7, the original Dr Whos, FireFly and more recently Battlestar and A Town called Eureka
Basically - Up the SciFi!!!
We need more of it.
Meh. Started well, but the writers didn't know what to do with it, sort of like an Alan Moore comic book arc.
By the second season it's all about frelling in space coupled with yet another version of a war to end all wars. Recovered somewhat in 3rd season, but by then it was too late. I like Ben and Claudia, and the muppets were cool. And I really, really wanted it to succeed, but Hollywood can't seem to handle that.
that the end of B5 would have been better if all the first ones got pissed off at the young'uns and went on a rampage destroying them all for being so insolent...
loved all the star treks, there were time continuity issues but what do expect the 1960's idea of tech was laughable, and even seeing TNG stuff it seemed so bulky however as entertainment goes it was fun...
and unless it was a 2 parter like every other good US drama they always fixed it in the space between the final 5 minutes of commercials!.
I had model kits of all the major ships/stations in ST all customized with lighting before it became trendy... only had a couple of B5 though, and they were pretty aweful quality (though I did have most of the good meshes in Lightwave, however the week long rendering for a decent 20 second clip was horrid.
There just does not seem to be any awesome scifi anymore, maybe they could make a few of the current scifi books into some decent series, it all seems to be mystical and non spacey now,
I watched a few TNG series but never got into it. Voyager was just boring, even after the desparate addition of Jerri Ryan in a catsuit, probably due to the fact that almost every character was the same, except minor differences. Paris is strong, loyal, but a hot-headed pilot, that Klingon engineer is storng, loyal, but too short a temper etc etc. There was no meat to the characters or the stories.
DS9 was by far the best, from my POV (not a ST devotee, but generally clued up on what's going on). It had decent comic relief with the Ferengis, it had tension, back-stabbing, long story archs that were interesting.
Still I wouldn't call it defiantly different. For that I'd go with Farscape, or better still Lexx.
This is my favourite show of all time. I watch it over and over again. I leave it a few months or even a couple of years then start at Season 1 again.
Garak was my favourite, but all the main characters (bar possible Julian) were fantastically acted. The attention to detail on the production side made it immersive, and the plot lines were the best in Trek by a long, long margin.
I am currently having a second attempt at watching Enterprise through and I think I might give up in Season 2 again. Everything about it is wrong casting: A Vulcan permanently in a cat suit with bulging cologen lips who is overly emotional, a hound dog captain who's character is totally contradictory, a man in make-up who likes guns but with an actor straight out of a school play etc. The characters are 2d, the plots are terrible, contradictory and boring, and it seems like 7 of them run the ship. I don't know why I am still watching it, but it helps me sleep!
The problem is, like many American shows, it had great potential, but the network stepped in and canned it just as it was reaching that potential. I would imagine the problems in the initial series were network related as well.
And god only knows what happened with the finale, shafting the whole premiss and even royally p-ing off all the cast
Having the lead character hating, not admiring, previous Enterprise captains.
The defining moment of the series? Where Q shows up and challenges Sisko to one of his little "games". They're in a virtual old school "smoker" (boxing match) and Q uses his typical goads and challenges to try to get a reaction, like he did with Picard. Sisko throws a punch and lays the demigod out on the canvas.
Q: "You hit me! Picard never hit me!"
Sisko: "I'm not Picard."
Seems to me that TNG started about 20 years of classic Sci-Fi with some good shows (DS9, Voyager, SG1, Atlantis) coming along in that period, others were canned just as they seemed to get going (Enterprise, SG:Universe, Terra Nova). It seems we don't have anything now worth watching, how I wish for a new weekly scf-fi fix of DS9 quality.
Thanks for the memories and hopefully it will get the HD makeover that TNG is currently getting.
I got into continuum which was entertaining - not really real sci fi; but in this world of budget cuts and series cancellations, I don't suppose many companies are prepared to pay the upfront costs for the sets - so sci fi in a modern setting (continuum, fringe etc) is probably what we are stuck with!
Pah, all ST and B5 is bobbins, the best sci fi in last 30 years has to have been the amazing Andromeda. Only kidding.
@Carl Williams: There is a bit of a dearth of "future" sci-fi at the moment, the tendency has been for more dramatic "near now" sci-fi, and for making it with very high production values. Shows have either had to be brilliant (BSG reboot) or long running (Dr Who reboot) to survive. We're missing a current show that has the appeal of an SG-1 though. Here are some current shows to look out for:
Alphas: Sci fi? It's 'Heroes' on the SyFy channel, with a little pseudo science thrown in. Bit too much magic, I wouldn't disagree with anyone who classes this as "fantasy" rather than "sci fi"
Continuum: Canadian time travel, eh? What's that aboot? It's not bad actually, but it's from cable, so only ten episodes a season, but not at the whim of Fox or NBC. I can't quite work out if it is paradoxical that the "good guys" in the future are actually right wing nutters, or if it is designed to appeal to Fox viewers. Hoping the former. Season 2 will be interesting as they delve into some of the paradoxes.
Falling Skies: Americans are loving these end of days kind of shows. This time, aliens invade, and for some reason want our kids to hook up their machines. Crazy.
Fringe: Coming to the end, definitely sci fi, but less believable as the series roll by. JJ Abrams designs shows that grab me for 5 years, I get to the end and the dénouement and think "WTF? What a crock." (see Alias, Lost). He's an evil evil fucker, and I love him for it.
Haven: Another SyFy show that has me asking "is this SF or fantasy?". Precious little science in the show.
Person of Interest: Is this Sci Fi? A computer that can track people around the world and predict if they are going to come to harm, and rings up a team of people to protect them. They don't go into the SF angle much until it's a plot device. JC is a badass.
Revolution: Ridiculous SF that I still watch. In the future, somehow electrons no longer flow, cue fall of civilisation. Some people have amulets that sometimes allow electricity to work. Add to that the dialogue is ropey and the acting (especially the lead character) is awful. I've not heard this getting cancelled yet, but it would not surprise me.
Red dwarf: Hah, still going. Don't like the new episodes though, give me "White Hole" any day.
Walking Dead: SF? Another near now apocalypse show, this time with zombies.
Warehouse 13: zomg, SyFy make some bad shows. I'll watch anything with Saul Rubinek in though.
Having said that, here's the recent sci-fi cancelled list:
Alcatraz - Interesting premise, too slow, cancelled. Could have gone somewhere, but got no viewers.
Dark Angel - I still can't forgive this being cancelled
Defying Gravity - liked it, it had promise, too slow (hence cancelled)
Dollhouse - Whedon lets another one get away
Eleventh Hour (US and UK versions) - both deserved to get canned
Eureka - ran it's course really, tea time SF
Firefly - Cap'n? Shiny.
Flashforward - cool show, but once you've done the flash forward once, what happens next season? Another flash? Please! (hence cancelled).
No Ordinary Family - Modern Family cross X-Men. Huge promise, ratings died on it, so it died.
Terminator: TSC - Good, but bleak. Could have had a third series if they'd tried.
Terra Nova - Can't spend that much per episode for that few viewers, hence cancelled
The Event - Aliens invade! I liked it, I think they were running out of ideas..
V - Hah. The first time I saw one of the lizard men pop out of a human skin, I almost wet myself laughing it was so ridiculous. I'm impressed this got a second series before being cancelled tbh.
Excellent list. I have to agree on "The Sarah Connor Chronicles"; I think it could have developed into something much better, especially considering how it looked like it was set to work its way toward "Salvation," which I think was also a bit under-rated.
As for the new "V," I found it interesting enough to keep watching. I think one of its biggest failings was ABC yanking it from Hulu.
Paris, I don't have anything useful for her.
I like Doctor Who. But it must be your British slant not to see how horrible Babylon 5 actually was in the budget and acting department. And the stories..talk about sheit. I'm not going to waste time 50 posts down defending DS9 if you don't get it. But no one. absolutely no one agrees with you. Cuddle up with your Lexx (similarly sheit) DVD and pretend the bad man who insulted your indefensible position does not exist . GOD DAMN! B5? Are you kidding me?
Earth: Final Conflict
Another Roddenbury creation although produced posthumously.
Androgenous aliens land on earth and provide all sorts of new tech but what are they up to really?
Great premise. Fantastic aliens. Plot fell apart in later seasons unfortunately.
Oh, also wonderful title music.
Earth:Final Conflict was one of those shows that was just starting to get interesting, then they changed direction and it was all downhill after season 4.
Lexx was one of those series you had to be in the mood for, seasons 1 and 2 were good, 3 was rubbish and was the point at which I stopped watching the show, and from the wikipedia description, season 4 might be worth a look.
DS9 was a welcome diversion from the Star Trek of old, and the Dominion War was a fantastic story arc and really made the series. Without that, DS9 would just be remembered as the odd-series out-okay but nothing special, but the Dominion arc created the opportunity for so many character piece episodes and really showcased the best and worst of the ST universe.
In The Pale Moonlight
Way of the Warrior
The Changing Face of Evil
The Dogs of War/What You Leave Behind (personally I count this a 3-parter so am only counting it as one.
So many other fantastic episodes.
DS9 may have (allegedly) started as a B5 ripoff but, and this is coming from someone who was also a massive B5 fan, it far surpassed that series.
Now if only I could cleanse the memory of Voyager from my mind...
Yes definitely, Boys From The Dwarf, imagine the paroies,and parodoxes if you put Rimmer up against the cardassians, or Shadows. Mr Morden and his Associates, being screwed over by the twisted hologram, and the Shadows being rendered visible by Lister vomiting curry all over them. Meanwhile Kryten gets into the Vorlon computer systems, and sends a planet killer to Mars or someplace
Good article. :-)
I didn't enjoy DS9 when it was on the first time round but re-watching it recently am now convinced it provides some of the best storylines (not to mention epic space battles) ever seen on Star Trek. The writing and characterisation are consistently richer than TNG or Voyager, and the length of the various story arcs, and arcs within arcs, while making it more of a commitment, also result in much better pay-offs for regular viewers. Definitely a series that has improved with time, and well worth revisiting as an older viewer.
Happy Birthday DS9, you will always be high up in my sci fi loving list.
Cant believe no one has mentioned Stargate Universe, yes it started off slow and was just getting to the good part before the pulled the plug and then the months of baited breath will it be saved, wont it, will we get a feature film conclusion. It got axed ahead of its time in much in the same way Outcasts (also not mentioned yet) and Terra Nova did.
Personally I liked Terra Nova and was sad to see it go, but i can see why to a point, outcasts was ok, but being just ok isnt enough.
And the Dwarf boys coming back has been the fantastic, yes it never going to be the same as the old days, but by joe it close enough for me to enjoy with smoked kippers.
Coming full circle back to Star Trek, Im looking forward to the new Star Trek film :) Although I do have to agree with this guy a little when when it comes to the Abramsverse part of the last film:
What did other people make of it ?
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