Apr 22 2013 3:30pm

Introducing the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch!

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine rewatch on

Greetings everyone, and welcome to the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch. Having recently completed a similar rewatch for The Next Generation, it seemed only fitting to keep the line moving, as it were, and look at TNG’s spinoff, DS9. While never as popular as TNG in the ratings department, and with less focus from the higher-ups at Paramount who were concentrating on their new network (UPN, launched in 1995 with another Trek spinoff, Voyager), DS9 occupies an odd niche in the Trek landscape. It’s also the only one of the Trek shows that didn’t take place on a ship (though they did have runabouts and, starting in the third season, their own starship, the Defiant), had the largest number of non-Starfleet officers among the main cast (Kira, Odo, Jake, and Quark), the largest supporting cast of any of the shows, was the first to have a non-white captain and a female first officer, and was the most serialized of the Trek shows.

But it also had a lot of Star Trek at its best, as we’ll discuss over the next couple of years....

This rewatch will follow the same format as the TNG one (which was inspired by that used by Keith Topping, Martin Day, and Paul Cornell in varioius unauthorized guides they wrote in the 1990s), with some categories carried over, and a mess of new ones.

Station log: This will cover the plot of the episode.

Can’t we just reverse the polarity?: As with TNG, any technobabble we’re subjected to gets looked at here.

The Sisko is of Bajor: The theme of Bajoran religion in general and Benjamin Sisko’s role as the Emissary in particular is a common one throughout the show.

Don’t ask my opinion next time: That was one of Kira Nerys’s first lines, and it sums her up nicely. This section will follow that character’s many ups and downs.

The slug in your belly: Revelations about the past lives of Dax will be discussed here.

Rules of Acquisition: A category for Ferengi stuff, including whatever Rules might be quoted in the episode.

For Cardassia!: A category for Cardassian stuff.

There is no honor in being pummeled: Another carryover from TNG, this will start in the fourth season when Worf joins the cast.

Plain, simple: Revelations about Garak will be discussed here.

Preservation of mass and energy is for wimps: A look at the incredibly detailed (and many-shaped) things Odo can change himself into, yet he can’t manage an ear...

Tough little ship: Starting in the third season, how the Defiant is used in the episode.

Victory is life: One that will start in the second season, when we start hearing about the Dominion.

No sex, please, we’re Starfleet: Another holdover, this will cover romantic and sexual relationships on the station.

What happens on the holosuite stays on the holosuite: DS9’s variant on a TNG category, as adventures involving Quark’s holosuites will go here.

Keep your ears open: For a particularly good quote in the episode.

Welcome aboard: As with TNG, this will look at the guest stars in the episode.

Trivial matters: As with TNG, this will address various and sundry odd factoids regarding this episode, ranging from continuity, to tie-in fiction that relates to it, to behind-the-scenes stuff, to whatever other nonsense I’m able to dig up.

Walk with the Prophets: The review of the episode.

Warp factor rating: Or, as I like to call it, “the least important part of the rewatch,” this is my out-of-10 rating, where 0 is embarrassingly bad (TNG only hit that low once), 1 is awful, 5 is mediocre, 8-9 is top of the line, and 10 is Trek at its best.

We’ll start tomorrow with “Emissary,” the two-hour premiere....

Keith R.A. DeCandido is the author of a great many books, and you should go buy all of them. His Star Trek fiction is legion, among them some DS9 fiction (Demons of Air and Darkness, the Ferengi portion of Worlds of DS9 Volume 3, a short story in Prophecy and Change, the second half of The Brave and the Bold Book 1). His fantasy/police procedural series is particularly excellent (if he does say so himself), and the latest book in that series, the short story collection Tales from Dragon Precinct, is now available for preorder.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: index | next ›
Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: ‹ previous | index
Jean Hall
1. schmat22
I have been following your rewatches & am looking forward to DS9. It is my favorite of the Treks!
Michael Burstein
2. mabfan
Very much looking forward to these and to seeing what you put in your bio each time.

-- Michael A. Burstein
Joseph Newton
4. crzydroid
Good luck, Keith! Not sure if we'll be able to keep up with this rewatch right away, but maybe we'll get them from the library or something.
Christopher Bennett
5. ChristopherLBennett
I wonder if the "No sex, please, we're Starfleet" title really works here, seeing as how DS9 was the sexually friskiest of Trek shows other than TOS.
David Stumme
6. grenadier
Following you through the Celestial Temple. ;-)
David Stumme
7. grenadier
Re: Post 5

Yes, maybe something more along the lines of "Looking for par'Mach in All the Right Places" :-)
Benji Cat
8. benjicat
No special categories for O'Brien or Bashir?
David Levinson
9. DemetriosX
Might I suggest adding Luck of the Irish for all the crap that flows down onto O'Brien over the years? It got to the point where dislocating his shoulder kayaking in the holosuites was a good day.
Rowan Blaze
10. rowanblaze
For Bashir, how about "Second in my class . . ."?
Jeff R.
11. Jeff R.
That's already a lot of categories, isn't it? I can see why there's not room for "O'Brien must suffer" or "The Boys" (Jake and/or Nog), as much as I might want them...
Jeff R.
12. Stephica
Very excited about this, as DS9 is my favorite Star Trek series.
Margot Virzana
13. LuvURphleb
@11 there can never be too many categories.
I am very excited even though KRAD and i rarely see eye to eye on episodes i love the background info he gives along with book tie ins to help me with my still growing Star Trek library.
Jeff R.
14. Andy F-A
This is the one I've been waiting for. :)
Keith DeCandido
15. krad
Christopher: I debated changing it for that very reason, but I ultimately went with the same title out of sheer laziness.

benjicat, DemetriosX, & rowanblaze: Everyone on TNG didn't get their own category, either. :-p

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Juan Avila
16. Cumadrin
I look forward to the rewatch, even though, like the TNG rewatch, I probably won't comment much. But at least I won't be catching up from the beginning to season 6 this time.
Jake Di Toro
17. karrde
Is there no way to subscribe to just the rewatch via RSS?
Jeff R.
18. Hammerlock
I think you need an entire cateogory for a certain lounge singer that appears later in the series.
"Ain't that a kick in the head" ?
"Great to have you here tonight" ?
"DS9 in the Land of the Lounge Lizards" ?
Jeff R.
19. slybrarian
I have to agree, there really does need to be an "O'Brien Must Suffer" category, given how much suffering the poor guy goes through, starting with that time in TNG he gets body-jacked.
Rob Rater
20. Quasarmodo
For Bashir, I recommend the category "I WILL annoy you!"
Jeff R.
21. lisafan
I'm so excited for this! I ablsolutely loved the TNG rewatch and it helped get my best friend obsessed with Star Trek as much as I am! Thanks for that! DS9 has a special place in my heart, and I'm so excited to relive some of these episodes with you. Going back in time where Jadzia hits on Kirk!? Priceless! Quark, Nog and Rom as the aliens from Roswell!? Oh, and that great performance from Sisko when he's the SF writer imagining up Ds9. So much good stuff! And plenty to critcise, I'm sure...but that's what we love about Trek. Cheers, Keith!
Jeff R.
22. Argle Bargle
Why is it when the The AV Club takes on a TV show for re-watch, Tor does it a few weeks later? Farscape, TNG, Buffy, X-Files etc etc. It's hard to get excited about your content when it's the same thing someone else is doing concurrently.
Sara H
23. LadyBelaine
Very excited!!!! I was an avid DS9 viewer when it first came out, but it sorta tapered off when Ezri showed up (vaguely coinciding with when my father threatened to make me come home unless my grades came up ;).
Keith DeCandido
24. krad
Argle Bargle: Actually, started the Star Trek Rewatch in April of 2009. The subsequent rewatches have followed in sequence -- when that was done in March 2011, I then kicked in with the TNG Rewatch, and now that I've finished that, I'm doing DS9. It has absolutely nothing to do with the AV Club whatsoever.

---Keith R.A. DeCandido, who doesn't like being accused of such things
Keith DeCandido
25. krad
Hammerlock: Vic Fontaine fits under the rubric of "What happens on the holosuite stays in the holosuite."

And for those of you calling for an O'Brien-abuse category... *shrug* I dunno, it's just too obvious? Anyhow, it's my rewatch, and I don't wanna. So there, nyah, nyah.

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Other Alias
26. ghostcrab311
Things that made DS9 my favorite Trek:

less focus from the higher-ups at Paramount
didn’t take place on a ship
largest number of non-Starfleet officers among the main cast
largest supporting cast of any of the shows
first to have a non-white captain and a female first officer
the most serialized of the Trek shows
(to steal shamelessly ! :D)
dealt indepth with religion and faith issues (the only Trek to really do so)

I really, really, really love DS9 and I am super excited for this rewatch. I will be able to watch seasons 1 and 2 (I own them) with you at least.
Joseph Newton
27. crzydroid
@21: Jadzia never hit on Kirk. She had a thing for Spock, but she never directly interacted with him.
Keith DeCandido
28. krad
In the "Keith is a Big Honking Doofus" Department, I totally forgot to include a "quote of the week" category, which has been added: Keep your ears open (which is the 7th Rule of Acquisition).

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Jeff R.
29. Mea

By far my favorite, for all the reasons you listed! And I strongly suspect the "ignored by the upper echelons at paramount" factored into much that I like. As they were focused on Janeway's hair, we got complexity and grown up characters and issues.

And I love the suggestion made above re renaming the sex bits to "Looking for par'Mach in All the Right Places" -- but i also understand why it isn't being followed - takes the introduction of Worf to get the phrase used as an episode title, and that is a lot of episodes before anyone watching along for the first time gets the in joke. And the star fleet characters (except Judzia, natch) are all way more uptight than the non-star fleet folks.

one premature comment on Odo: i find it utterly unconvincing that he can do a feather but really has trouble with human forms. I am firmly convinced that "i am bad with faces" is a social lubricant story he tells everyone (including possibly himself) to make "solids" less nervious around him.

And I so LOVE that there are kick-ass strong women characters without one who is relegated to wearing the designated sex kitten outfit.

(ahm. Stopping now).
Jeff R.
30. Mea
No, I have one more reason to list for why I love this show best of all the trek's: it does the best job by far in showing individual variation within cultural norms. ferengi as a culture with cultural norms versus the individual ferengi we get to meet, many of whom are (as we would expect in a distant outpost) misfits in some ways from the cultural norms of Ferengi. And the layers of Worf and the way other Klingons interact with him - love the nuanced understanding of how culture is actively acquired and displayed rather than being some type of innate species thing.

Ok, one final squee and I'm done.
Christopher Bennett
31. ChristopherLBennett
@29: I always figured that Odo had to trade off between accuracy and mobility, since he had to make a conscious effort to take on a form. The more attention he had to devote to something's movement, the less attention he could devote to the fine detail of its appearance. And a feather is relatively static while a face is much more dynamic and expressive.
Megan Hungerford
32. marchingbando
Really excited for this, DS9 is my favorite of the Star Trek series. I still remember watching DS9 as it was airing and I was in elementary school. I didn't start watching it then until the later seasons, but I did a whole series watch/rewatch a few summers ago. I probably won't be able to rewatch along with this, but I will definitely be reading along.
Jeff R.
33. Mea
@31 ah, we all have to come up with something to explain it, because the series just puts it out there without adequate explanation.

The gap between Odo and other shape shifters is so huge, that for an in-universe explanation I am inclined to cling to my theory because Odo choosing to be square-jawed makes much the most sense to me. It appeals to my sense of his character, and his desire to be seen as an honest broker. being reliably square-jawed is just brilliant as a response to suspicion - but I grant you that it works better if he started reading detective novels BEFORE making that choice rather than after. Although his dislike of " doing the cardassian neck trick" could hint as to why he declares himself bad at faces.

but most fundamentally, I am fond of my theory because DS9 itself is structured in such a way that it actively encourages the viewer to think "but wait! Just because a character says so, that doesn't make it true!"
Jeff R.
34. Hammy
This is gonna be great. I came in to the TNG rewatch when it was in season 4 so I didn't get to do it with you guys from the beginning. This is fitting since DS9 is my favorite Trek ever. It explored so many good themes, both dark and light (and had some stinkers, I will admit) almost right off the bat. There are so many episodes I can't wait for you to get to but, I'll enjoy whatever it is that you put out and then we can all debate here. Sorry, I'm excited, I get to start this with everyone. I'm yet to get to any of your DS9 writings, KRAD, other than the Tales of the Dominion War (which I thought was great. Lots of cool stories there) so I'll be interested to see what you're gonna say about a lot of these eps. HAVE A BLAST EVERYONE! And thanks, Keith, for writing these.
Jeff R.
35. Gilbetron
I've been along for the ride since the end of the TOS rewatch, and this is what I've been most looking forward to. I'm not sure how much I'll weigh in, since I also weighed in only infrequently on TNG, but I'll be reading.
Mani A
36. sn0wcrash
Yay! Another Niner reporting for duty! Looking forward to this.
Jeff R.
37. Athers
1) Horray!
2) The best things about Tuesdays and Fridays are KRad's rewatches
3) I can actually contribute to this one (as opposed to mainly lurking and reading and enjoying)

Very much looking forward to this!!!
38. soupytwist
I am really excited for this! Yaaaay, DS9. I adored TNG but never felt like I had much to add to the discussion, but DS9 has SO MUCH ongoing stuff to talk about. Yaaay. Kira! Jadzia! Odo! Siskos! Quark!

(Although dear god I cannot stand Vic Fontaine at ALL. Every minute with him in it makes me long for the relative excellence of the baseball episode.)
Jeff R.
39. Electone
I never liked DS9, but I think I will tune in for the re-watch and read the reviews. I've become used to reading these every Tuesday and Friday anyways...
Jeff R.
40. Erik Dercf
My first impression of DS9 was that its a show were adventure comes to the crew instead of the crew goes to adventure. Over the years DS9 has climbed against the other Trek spinoffs in my opinion. I find the themes and character relationships with story archs make it a better spinoff overall than Voyager in my opinion yet I enjoyed Voyager more. When all the rewatches are done it with be very exciting reading to compare and constrast episodes, archs, and characters indeed. The D in DS9 stands firmly for depth.
alastair chadwin
41. a-j
Looking forward to this as DS9 is my favourite incarnation of modern Trek and the only one where I own all the DVDs.
Odo - I ran with the idea that he deliberately maintained an unfinished look so as to reduce fear and hostility towards him from the solids who would be leery of someone who could look just like them.
I suspect the reason I like DS9 over and above the others is that it has the most in common with the original series which I grew up with. Flawed heroes, star fleet officers not being perfect (save for the occasional admiral) and a grubbier less morally simple universe.
And my thanks and admiration to Krad for starting off so soon after finishing TNG. I assumed he'd want a longer rest!
Finally, as the BBC refused to show DS9 until TNG was over (it may have been Paramount who insisted to maximise VHS sales), does anyone know of somewhere I can find out which TNG episodes and DS9 episodes were show in the same week? Probably of no significance but I'd be interested.
Christopher Bennett
42. ChristopherLBennett
@33: Another thought I had is that Odo's bird form probably looks as fake to a bird as his humanoid form does to us -- we just can't tell because we're not birds.
Jack Flynn
43. JackofMidworld
(rubs hands together with glee)

Also - @42: that is so simply stated and spot-on that I am about to pound my head against my desk for not having thought of it that way until just now.
Rich Bennett
44. Neuralnet
Thanks Keith, I am really looking forward to this and loved TNG rewatch
Jeff R.
45. Hammerlock
@ krad - yeah, I suppose it does. Still, once Vic appears he pretty much subsumes the category (and entire episodes!).
Jeff R.
46. Mea
@42 : brilliant. thank you for starting my day with a smile. And probably another little laugh on the train.
Nick Hlavacek
47. Nick31
DS9 is far and away my favorite of the ST series, so I'm thrilled to see this rewatch kick off. The seemingly simple fact that the stories weren't just limited to one single episode but could be spread out over an entire season (or more) gave the writers the freedom to explore the ST universe in a way that TNG never quite managed to do. I enjoyed TNG for the simple fact that it brought Star Trek back to television, but it never managed more than three or four episodes in a season that I would call out as really good. DS9 was the opposite, with usually only one or two episodes each season that didn't live up to expectations. I'm disappointed that DS9 never did manage to make it to the big screen, but I'll definitely enjoy the good discussion that this rewatch will provide!
Jeff R.
48. ChrisC
@10 For Dr Bashir moments how about: 'Thank you, Doctor Obvious'.
A variant on the TNG category for fellow blue-shirt (when she wears it) Deanna Troi. Alexander Siddig was stuck with a lot of needless humanities-centric exposition lines in the early seasons and like Marina remained the emotive 'you can't be/should be, thinking/considering/adressing '; 'that's horrible/wrong/not right/etc' advocate throughout - albeit after being sullied by section 31, passing a sprig of the naivety torch on for Ezri Dax to run with.
Sean Dowell
49. qbe_64
SpaceTv up here in Canada plays episodes of the Original series, TNG and Voyager every day, but no DS9! I haven't seen it in years and I don't have the DVDs. This is going to be frustrating to follow.
Jeff R.
50. Jon Johnson (Sir)
I am intensely curious about this "Rewatch" as I feel this is where Trek lost me nearly for good. There are some high points and some incredible performances, of which I'm eager to see you're reaction, but man, did it hit some lowest of the low. Onward!
Jeff R.
51. tigeraid
yessss, YESSSSSS, the rewatch I've REALLY been waiting for.

Can we just skip every episode of Season 1 except Duet, though? :(
Jeff R.
52. SSteve
Lots of stuff to love about DS9. Great depth of character for the most part and nicely nuanced story arcs.

One thing that has always struck me about DS9 is the casting of Cirroc Lofton as Jake Sisko. It was either pure brilliance or a brilliant stroke of luck. Watching Jake grow from a little kid to a young man was a joy. Some of my favorite episodes revolve around Jake. The chemistry between Avery Brooks and Cirroc Lofton is fabulous and heartwarming.
Phil Parsons
53. Yakko

Not only that but I always thought his resemblance to Felecia Bell (who portrayed his mother Jennifer) was especially striking.
Jeff R.
54. NullNix
a-j@41, Memory Alpha has the original air dates of everything in the Trek TV canon on the pages for each episode, and prev/next buttons: open the TNG and DS9 ones in adjacent browser tabs and it's easy to track them in sequence. (I think the air dates are all US, though.)
alastair chadwin
55. a-j
Thanks. And it's the US ones I want.
Tasha Johnson
56. Odonata28
Hi! I'm a bit behind, and I'm going to put off my personal rewatch of Voyager to join in here. I'm a big personal fan of DS9, as I met Rene once in NY when I was 14 (before DS9, but already a Trekker). It was an amazing experience! Excited to join! So glad someone just happened to mention it to me today because I was wearing my DS9 T-shirt!
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
57. Lisamarie
We just got it from the library, excited to have more posts to read!
Keith DeCandido
58. krad
tigeraid: No, because season 1 also had "Past Prologue," "Captive Pursuit," "Progress," and "In the Hands of the Prophets." And possibly some other good ones. (I honestly had forgotten how good an episode "Past Prologue" was...)

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Heather Dunham
59. tankgirl73
@42 I'm going to chime in with the chorus of "that's brilliant, that's perfect, I have no more complaints about this issue anymore. Thank you."

I recall when DS9 started I was a skeptic. It was too different... would it actually be Trek? And the theme music was so slow and plodding...

But once it got its feet, and once I had given it a chance, it indeed grew to be my favourite Trek. And when they changed the theme music to make it more rhythmic, I was appalled that they would dare to tamper with the perfection of the original. It had a breadth to it that really exemplified the hugeness of space, the sensation of being a station just hanging there.

Unfortunately, Netflix in Canada does not currently have DS9, whereas it did have the entire TNG series and all the movies, so I'll no longer be able to watch along with the rewatch. I'll be curious to see how much I remember from the recaps... unlike TNG, I also haven't caught DS9 often in reruns, either... most of the series, I've really only ever seen just the once.
Jeff R.
60. Ginomo
My vote for Bashir's tagline: "Is that pre ganglionic fiber or a post ganglionic nerve?"

I like the idea of replacing "No sex please," with "Looking for par'mach"

And the science teacher in me feels compelled to point out that its conservation of mass not preservation. I have always thought the same thing about Odo.
Jeff R.
61. scinatfilm
Just finishing up my own TNG rewatch, so I'm excited that I'll have some DS9 rewatches ready to go. I didn't really watch DS9 in its original airing, but I've caught most of the episodes in reruns, so I'm looking forward to watching it from the beginning. Also, I heartily agree - O'Brien needs his own category.

But thanks for the rewatches.

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