I have just started the seventh and last season of Deep Space Nine as my time-and-motion entertainment while running on the treadmill. My runs fell off a bit the past couple weeks after a mild case of tendinosis, but I hope to be back up to thirty miles next week.
That said, I am glad to have taken the time to watch the show, which I basically eschewed while it was on, largely due to the inclusion of religious themes but also because the increasing use of multi-episode serialization made it hard to follow if you only caught a few episodes here and there.
I genuinely came to enjoy it by maybe a quarter into the sixth season, and there are a couple of truly outstanding episodes. But by the end of the sixth season, I found myself scoffing at plot events and yelling “bullshit!” at the screen at least once an episode, at character actions, at large-scale set-piece effects wankery, and at incredibly self-indulgent new elements introduced to the show.
The seventh season’s initial episodes have done nothing to assuage my growing skepticism about the show. Instead of the well-developed A-B plot mechanism introduced and perfected in American television by TNG, we appear to be in for the first stumbling gestures toward the current GoT-style merry-go-round of separate narrative threads, up to four per episode, parceled out in tiny snippets of plot simulacrum. These short clips of dialog and posturing are occasionally leadened by entire three minute Las Vegas standards performed by an actual member of the Rat Pack whose addition to the show exceeds my desire to appreciate his work in this context.
The contrast between the smug self satisfaction that underlies the introduction of this character and the delusional lack of dramatic acuity that led the production team to kill off the single most effective female lead in any Star Trek property does not fill me with a desire to justify the team’s further creative endeavors over the final season. I fully expect them to be bloated, indulgent, and nonsensical, and that’s a darn shame. I suppose I’ll have to review the production gossip to make sense of it. You would think that if the producers of the show would have preferred to make a show about Las Vegas, they should have made a show about Las Vegas and let us fucking nerds have our FTL and particle weapons and cashless utopias in peace. But no, they have to introduce religion and gambling and shit.
I have to wonder if I’m gonna stick to my plan of giving Voyager another shake. When that show aired I nearly immediately HATED it because the writing was so cynical and stupid and lazy and disrespectful of itself. I mean, those are for sure legitimate themes in nerd culture. But Voyager always felt like it was being written by people who couldn’t WAIT to get off the show and go write something they cared about. Right now, in my seventh season of DS9, it feels to me like the show is being written primarily to please the people that run the show and who like Las Vegas better than the stars. I suppose that’s a creative orientation, just not one I’m interested in.