The past few months, I have been gradually revisiting Star Trek: Deep Space Nine for the first time since my teenage years, when it was in first-run. It’s very interesting to go back to something like that, which made a huge impression on me and which I never saw again.
For one thing, it’s a smaller show than I remember. There were space battles that I recall taking whole series of episodes, whole seasons it seems, and they’re actually smaller pieces over the course of one or two episodes. And mostly, the gigantic epic space battles I recall are entirely in my head. They are implied, but never shown on the screen.
I think that’s funny, and says something about my busybusy teenage brain, filling in stories with only the tiniest suggestion. It was a more hyperactive brain back then. These days, it’s muddier and a lot more work to get geared up, but never mind.
The interesting thing is that despite being a smaller show, I’ve found DS9 to be significantly smarter than I remember. Sharper and angrier and more fierce. This is because I’m an adult now and equipped to notice when they’re going on about something. It’s a big science fiction space show with a war in the background, sure, but it also has one of the best and more interesting families on TV (Benjamin Sisko, his son Jake, his father Joseph, and his girlfriend Kasidy). It ranges on issues from sexual politics to issues of race, war, violence, patriotism (or not), fear…and also friendship, family, religion, and other topics besides. Best of all, it always plays fair to all its characters, whether they’re on the main cast or not. This isn’t something that previous Star Treks managed that well. (one day, I shall get up me courage and write about why I dislike The Original Series so thoroughly and then the internet shall hate me).
So that’s what I’ve been watching. It’s nice to have the art of one’s youth hold up when one comes back to it in adulthood. It doesn’t always happen. Babylon 5, for example, has fallen by the wayside, despite having the same gigantic impact on me at the same time as DS9.
Right. Off to chip away at the massive writing pile on my desk.
(Addendum: I forgot the interesting detail I had in mind when I sat down to start writing this post which was: we moved between season 6 and 7, intentionally timing our move between TV shows. When we arrived, we discovered that the new area didn’t get the station Deep Space 9 was on. I never saw Season 7. I started it yesterday, which means I’m now watching brand new Star Trek. And typing this sentence, I just realized I had the same thing happen with Voyager. What’s up with me and unwatched Star Trek? Huh…)