Ossus Library Index Star Trek Index


By Terry J. Erdman, with Paula M. Block (2000, Pocket Books)

An episode guide, which also describes behind-the-scenes events for each episode.



4 stars

Read September 2000 to May 2001  

A very nice read, extremely detailed in both summaries and in commentary and interviews, but also frustrating, as it often didn't deal with the questions I wanted answered.   

I have just finished watching Deep Space Nine reruns.  they started a long time ago, probably in spring 2000, but I'm not really sure.  I suddenly came across this book just when I started watching Season 5.  I have similar books for the Original Series, and The Next Generation, but this is the first time I've seen one for DS9. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the episodes, and as I went along, I read the internet reviews written by my favorite reviewers, Jamal Epsicokhan (at ST Hypertext), Timothy Lynch (archived at PsiPhi), and, in the sixth and seventh seasons, the Cynic (see Links page for hyperlinks to those sites).  But this is a beautiful companion to those reviews, because it essentially reviews it from the point of view of the producers, the actors, and the rest of the behind-the-scenes people. 

The episodes were airing twice a week, which was a fine pace, because I don't want to watch five or seven episodes in a row, and get nothing else done in life.  It also lets the episodes sink in.  So this book took a long time to finish, but was better for it, I think.

The book gives a fresh perspective to many episodes, indicating why the producers and writers decided to do things, why they stayed away from other things, and what really embarrasses them about certain episodes (or whole episodes, like "Let He Who is Without Sin..." which has to be the second-worst Star Trek episode ever made (the worst being Voyager's "Threshold").

So many of those details were very interesting.  But many, especially towards the end, became very frustrating.  I always believed that without writer turnover, the stories become too personal, with so many inside jokes and things that only devoted followers could catch.  The same thing happened with the end of Babylon 5, and though I didn't notice it as much here, much the same thing happened.  

And sometimes the author seemed to be rushed.  After spending so much time telling us how a certain effect was done, he would tantalize us with a single statement and not follow up on it.  This got worse as we moved towards the end. Just before the series finale, he quotes one of the producers as saying that they blew it on the finale.  But he doesn't describe how (of course we know, but it would be nice to see what they actually wanted to do).  Then, almost at the very end, he mentions that they couldn't use Terry Farell's video clips in the montage sequence.  But they used her picture earlier on, and at the beginning of the season, they even used her in the "previously on Deep Space Nine..."  section of the teaser.  It would be nice to know the difference here.

Not to sound too negative, but I would have liked more input on why Vic Fontaine got so much filler time.  Science Fiction viewers, especially Trek, shouldn't have to sit through all that.  And I declared Ezri Dax a worthless character by Prodigal Daughter the first time around.  On second viewing, I made that declaration much earlier.  I wish they would have let Dax die!  I almost couldn't sit through her scenes with Worf and Bashir in the final arc.

To end on a high note, the summaries are extremely detailed.  The author give much more information than is available in the other companions I own.  And he actually gets to interview key actors, showing how much they cherished their characters, even protesting what happened in some episodes so that the writers changed their minds.  

It was a very interesting read, and an excellent guide book.  If I ever watch a particular episode for a third time, this book will definitely be by my side.


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