We shall now return to our regular fannish programming...
Inspired in part by a local friend's decision to watch Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
— aka DS9 for those "in the in-crowd" — for the first time ever, and inspired in part by several
FLister's who are watching Babylon 5
for the first time ever, I've decided to go on my own private DS9 re-watch.
Let me make one thing clear: I love Babylon 5
. I've re-watched the series from beginning to end 4 times: 1 time first run, 1 time on TNT reruns, 1 time on SciFi reruns, and 1 time on DVD.
DS9? I've seen only twice. Once first run, although I missed a significant chunk of the first and second seasons. And once on TNT reruns, although I often missed at least one episode a week.
So needless to say, there are quite a few DS9 episodes I've only seen once *waves vaguely* years and years ago. Yet, oddly enough, there are quite a few episodes that have stayed with me over the years, despite the fact that I have seen them only once or twice.
Weirdly enough, I loved both B5 and DS9 when they were running concurrently. Those of you who were online during that time period can attest just how big of an unpopular opinion that was. In fact, there's a whooooooooole
history of wank that runs about as long as War and Peace
between not just the two fandoms, but between the production teams at the highest levels of both shows
in a grudge-wank that has never been matched before or since.
Ahhhh, Usenet. Back in the days when even series creators would cheerfully engage in flamewars with trolls. (Have I ever mentioned that JMS was spectacular at the art of the flamewar? No? Well, he was. Trust this first-hand eyewitness. It was a thing of pure beauty.)
Not to delve into the tip-of-the-tip-of-the-iceberg wanker-y between B5 and DS9, but...Were the shows similar? Well, yeah
. And it's more than just the surface issue of both B5 and DS9 taking place on space stations. There are some surprisingly similar thematic issues that crop up in both DS9 and B5 (and even a couple of secondary and tertiary character names look...ahem...similar). This despite the fact that the universes, worlds, races, and political intrigue (yes, there is at least one Star Trek
show that actually had
political intrigue) were very different between shows.( The Dirty, Dirty Secret of DS9 )
Okay, yeah. Definitely singing the praises there, hunh?
Anyway, while I've been undergoing my great DS9 re-watch, I was disconcerted by the fact that the first season of DS9 has aged better than the first season of B5. Part of it is because the budget for DS9 was
huge in comparison to B5. So the interiors and exteriors and the special effects shots have a solid, professional look that are sometimes *ahem* lacking
in B5. The other part is that the acting from the DS9 cast, while somewhat shaky as the show works out the kinks, is slightly better than the acting we saw out of most of the B5 cast. Certainly the guest stars on DS9 where head-and-shoulders better than the guest stars on B5.
The other thing that helps put first season DS9 slightly ahead of first season B5 is that DS9 came with baggage. That baggage helped DS9 as much as hurt it over the show's run, but when it comes to the traditional first season liftoff, DS9 was definitely helped. The most DS9 had to do that first season was introduce the characters and paint the situational background in broad brushstrokes (and, unlike just about every single Star Trek
show that came before and after, plant the seeds for most of the story arcs that came over the next seven years). B5 had to build an entire freaking universe
that first season. End result? First season B5 got stuck with lots and lots of awkward exposition to not only introduce the characters and the B5 universe, but to also "move around the furniture" (as JMS calls it) to set up the action for the remaining four years.
Although I admit that DS9 had solid advantages over B5 — especially when it comes to the traditional first-season set-up — I found myself warming almost immediately to the first season DS9 when I started re-watching. This is in contrast to B5 which — much as I love it — takes me until at least until 'The Parliament of Dreams' (7 hours' worth of watching time) before I can fully immerse myself in the B5 universe.
Oh, dear. It may turn out that in the long run, I prefer DS9 over B5 after all.
Quick episode reactions under LJ-Cuts to preserve innocent eyes...( Episode 01: Emissary )
Overall, I think this re-watch started off with a bang. I can't wait to move on to the rest of Season 1.