10 Things From Star Trek: Deep Space Nine That Haven't Aged Well
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was a monumental show for all the right reasons. The characters were well drawn out, a willingness to go against the grain of what made Star Trek special and were arguably the alternative for Star Trek fans. It also marked the first time that the lead was an African-American with a far more diverse cast than previous iterations.
Despite the accolades the show received for its story arc, there will still some glaring things that have not stood the test of time. This might be nitpicking but it still has to be brought up in the conversation. Here are 10 things from the Star Trek: DSN that haven't aged well.
10 THE SPECIAL EFFECTS
Is this a fair call? In all honesty, it is. The effects were pretty good for the 1990s but pales in comparison to the effects of Star Trek films and even Star Trek: Discovery. Perhaps, the best effects were the character of Odo whose shapeshifting abilities were a highlight of the show. Due to their TV budgets, there was also so much that they could do. Thus, the focus was more on character and storytelling.
Were the effects better than the original TV show? By a huge margin. But like much of the special effects of the era, it was bound to not age well over time.
9 THE UNIFORM
This was another example of what limited budgets can do to a television show. Sure, it makes sense in a military outfit to have the same uniforms every day. But the distracting grey on the inside shirt, with the uniform on the outside just felt lazy. Possibly, this was done to make it seem different from Star Trek: TNG but it didn't go far enough.
By today's standards, the uniform feels like another bad example of 90's fashion trends. Towards the end of the show, the grey became the standard color for all of the whole fleet with the corresponding rank colors on the inside. If anything, this just confused viewers further.
8 CORNY FILLER STORIES
One of the issues with having a show that is 26 episodes per season is that writers run out of ideas. The show stood as a testament to other Star Trek shows due to its serious storylines and willingness to go deep into drama. But there were moments when Star Trek made poor choices with certain episodes. A big culprit of this trope was the Season seven episode, "Take Me Out to the Holosuite."
This took place after Sisko had returned to the space station dramatically and the federation was in the midst of a war. Going from that to silly comedy on the holosuite just didn't seem right in the grand scheme of things.
7 RELIGIOUS THEMES
When Gene Roddenberry envisioned Star Trek, it was meant to be an era that was devoid of religion. While religion could be used as a plot point, Star Trek DSN took it further with a willingness to explore supernatural concepts and using the Bajorans as a conduit for expressing issues with religions. They even made Sisko "an emissary" who eventually joined "the prophets" inside the wormhole.
This went against the grain of Star Trek. It's fair to say that while not all of the religious arc didn't make for good drama, it just doesn't hold up against current television shows exploring the same concepts.
Yes, the make-up doesn't hold up to today's standards. A character that is the best example of this is Odo. His face resembles a Mr. Potato Head, who forgot his nose in the toy rack. Some didn't have much going for it. Lt. Jadzia Dax just had spots across her temples and her neck.
Sure, at the time, it was fine. But it doesn't come close to the sheer amazing work and detail viewers are treated in shows like Game of Thrones or The Umbrella Academy. It may have been praised but like everything else, they have become relics over the years.
5 THE SETTING
If anything about the show that didn't feel right, it was the setting. Most of Star Trek DSN was set on a space station and was the main plot of the show. But that made for a dreary landscape. There were episodes that the writers which forced Sisko and his crew to go on secret missions that broke the monotony of the background. But that just means that the writers knew they were handicapped by having the main setting be a space station.
Other Star Trek shows had the advantage of traveling to other worlds but this show was set on a space station. It's revealing that some of the better episodes of DSN took place off the space station.
4 A VAUDEVILLE VILLAIN
Like Batman and Robin, this show had too many villains. Who was the main baddie of the show? Gul Dukat, The Dominion, The Founders, etc. It's hard to figure out who the actual main villain of the show was. The show played fast and loose with the concept as The Founders who were Changelings became the official main villains.
Gul Dukat, who becomes the champion of the Pah-wraiths might as well been twirling his mustache at the end of all of it. Perhaps, the writers thought they were creating a layered three-dimensional villain but it came across as a character who would have better success in a silent film.
3 STEREOTYPICAL KLINGONS
Other than Worf, every Klingon who came on the show came across as one-note, brutish and non-existent. Granted, these were characters who were brought in for an episode but seemed to have only one mode of acting. Worf had the privilege of being a Star Trek: TNG original character and had years of writers contributing significantly to his character, allowing him to be more.
On the other hand, guest characters like Gowron seemed to be stuck in an angry and conniving mode the whole time. Even Martok seemed to suffer from not being to emote anything beyond brutish anger. Perhaps, this was the issue of writers devoting more time to central characters than the guest cast.
2 STANDALONE EPISODES IN PLACE OF STORY ARC
One of the hallmarks of Star Trek DSN was that it was telling an evolving serialized storyline over many seasons and episodes. This was very different from its sister TNG which had a static episodic format. But the problem was having an episode in the middle of an overarching story takes the viewer out.
For example, take the episode "Little Green Men." While the episode is hilarious with Ferengi being thrown back in time to clash with 1947 Roswell, it still takes away from the DSN structure that was established. It didn't move any character forward but was a sideshow. It lacks the ability to tell isolated stories within the framework of a larger storyline. A show that did this well was Breaking Bad, which moved the characters forward in a story that seemed separate from the rest of the show.
1 THE BABYLON 5 COMPARISON
This is the big elephant in the room. Science fiction fans have argued for many years that Deep Space Nine was a ripoff of Babylon 5. Both shows had the space station as the main backdrop to the story and it had a similar overarching storyline that developed over many episodes and seasons.
It's very possible that the idea for the original premise may have been taken from Babylon 5, the story structures, characters, and situations are still vastly different. But fans will never let this go. And it is this glaring fact that hasn't served the show well in subsequent years.