Star Trek Guide

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Paramount almost got rid of Dr. Julian Bashir

Dr. Julian Bashir wasn’t as popular as Paramount had hoped in the first season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Paramount wanted to capitalize on the popularity of hunky doctors brought about the medical series ER. So Alexander Siddig (then known as Siddig El Fadil) was hired for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The network hoped fans would latch on to Siddig like they had to George Clooney’s Dr. Doug Ross on ER. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, and Siddig faced termination at the end of the first season.

Fans found Siddig’s character to be irritating (though this fan didn’t) and a romance intended between him and Terry Farrell (Jadzia) didn’t work. Siddig admits that his character wasn’t very popular, and Rick Berman kept him from getting jettisoned from the show.

Siddig credits Ira Steven Behr, who took over as showrunner in season four,  with turning his situation around with one episode: Our Man Bashir, the James Bond parody that was released only a couple of weeks after the James Bond movie, Goldeneye.

Losing Dr. Bashir would have been a true loss to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. His friendship with Chief O’Brien added a lightheartedness to the show even in the darkest of episodes. In fact, some of his best interactions were with O’Brien, especially in the Season Four episode, Hard Time, where Bashir saves O’Brien from making a tragic mistake. And even before Our Man Bashir, the doctor played an instrumental role aboard the Space Station. Though Paramount might have been considering replacing Siddig with a different doctor, I can’t imagine anyone could have taken Dr. Bashir’s place.