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
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.
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.
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