Ira Steven Behr On Being “Trapped” On Star Trek TNG & Making Changes With DS9 | TrekMovie.com
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Ira Steven Behr On Being “Trapped” On Star Trek TNG & Making Changes With DS9 July 6, 2011

by TrekMovie.com Staff , Filed under: Celebrity,DS9,TNG , trackback

Ira Steven Behr left Star Trek: The Next Generation after one season only to return as executive producer and showrunner for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. In an interview promoting his new show Alphas (premiering on Syfy next week) Behr talks about what worked and didn’t work on DS9, and if he would return to Trek.

 

Ira Steven Behr on being "trapped" at TNG + what worked/didnt on DS9

Ira Steven Behr began working as a producer on Star Trek: The Next Generation during the third season, but left the show. In a new interview with the official Star Trek site, Behr explains his issues with Next Gen:

I called TNG, perhaps unfairly, the Connecticut of Star Trek, and I still kind of feel that way. Maybe if I’d come on in the fourth season or stayed through the fourth season, things would have gotten better, but creatively I just felt trapped. That’s not to say I didn’t have a great time with Ron and Rene (Echevarria) and the gang, and (Hans) Beimler and (Richard) Manning.


Behr was one of the writers on TNG S3 episode "Yesterday’s Enterprise" – a darker episode more up his alley

Behr eventually returned after Michael Piller convinced him that things would be different with Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and that it would be "grittier, darker and with humor" and more suited for him. Behr stayed for all seven seasons of Deep Space Nine and was even able to convince Star Trek overlord Rick Berman to do a multi-season arc with the Dominion War. Behr explains:

One of the things we wanted to do was experiment with serialization and with the kind of space-opera war that spoke to a lot of the mythologies the show had built up. I thought we could do it. I knew we could do it. And then it became horse trading. I don’t even remember how many episodes we did, but I know we wanted more. Rick (Berman) and I went back and forth. Nothing terrible. No fights or anything like that. But we horse traded a bit and we came up with whatever it was.

Behr went on to say that more serialized nature of DS9 is what he feels worked best on the series, noting:

The thing that worked best for me was that it told a story over seven years. There was a beginning, there was a middle and there was an ending.


Battle from "Sacrifice of Angels" – Behr fought to get Dominion War arc and more serialization into Star Trek Deep Space Nine

As for what didn’t work, Behr points to how they tried too often to do comedy/Ferengi episodes:

[O]nce we realized that Armin (Shimerman) wasn’t really connecting to a lot of the humor we were trying to do, we should have probably cut back on some of the attempts at doing humorous episodes, or at least gotten directors who were more comfortable with comedy…But every now and then we’d get a show like “Little Green Men” or “The Magnificent Ferengi,” which I thought did work. So every now and then you’d see a glimmer of hope, but we probably should have admitted defeat.

Behr remains proud of his work on Deep Space Nine, and even though he is now busy working on Alphas for Syfy, he would return to DS9 if the opportunity arose, saying

[T]here is a big part of me that would love to go back to that world and those characters. I miss a lot of those characters. I miss the people, too, but I miss those characters. So, would I say no? I don’t think I’d say no.


Cross-dressing Armin Shimerman in "Profit and Lace" – Behr admits that all attempts at humor with the Ferengi episodes didn’t work

For more from Behr read the full interview: Part 1 & Part 2.

 

Comments

1. SoonerDave - July 6, 2011

Still don’t get what he meant by the Connecticut Trek reference…??

2. Miles R. Seppelt - July 6, 2011

First!

Great job over all – I though DS9 was great – especailly the more serialized sections of it! Congratulations and well done!

3. pilotfred - July 6, 2011

i so would love to see more ds9 even if just a tv movie

4. Battle-scarred Sciatica - July 6, 2011

Nice Behrd!

5. 4 8 15 16 23 42 - July 6, 2011

“Behr admits that all attempts at humor with the Ferengi episodes didn’t work”

That’s for damn sure.

6. I. Montoya - July 6, 2011

I thought I was the only one that didn’t get those Ferengi episodes. They really do drag and bore me.

7. jkimgant - July 6, 2011

#1. SonnerDave-”Nice”, “bland” and “Quaint” I think that’s what he meant by the Connecticut of Trek.

8. Anthony Pascale - July 6, 2011

I think he is saying Connecticut in relation to New York City. As in gritty urban Manhattan vs. clean (bland) suburbs of Connecticut

9. 4 8 15 16 23 42 - July 6, 2011

Uh Oh, Ira Behr is the modern Bluebeard… someone save his wife from him!

Actually, I think it’s kind of cool (the beard, not murder)

10. 4 8 15 16 23 42 - July 6, 2011

Some of TNG may have been tame, but at least it had some cerebral episodes. The trouble with DS9 for me was that they tended toward more the prosaic, and dwelt in the melodramatic more often. Even the Dominion War arc, for all its attempts to paint on a grander scale, seemed for the most part a bit of a tempest in a teapot.

Yesterday’s Enterprise, however, was a stellar episode.

11. T'Cal - July 6, 2011

Like Neelix was for VOY, I could’ve done without the Ferengi. The attempts at humor with them failed most of the time and the were simply annoying. DS9 as a whole, though, is Trek at its best especially the DW arc. I say that as a huge TNG fan. TNG had great characters and writing most of the time but DS9 handled the relationships between the characters much better.

12. DavidJ - July 6, 2011

I loved the two Ferengi episodes he named, but there were just FAR too many others that didn’t.

And you could tell Shimmerman was constantly trying to make Quark a bit darker and more real than the writers probably wanted.

13. DavidJ - July 6, 2011

Quark was best when he was making snyde comments or interacting with the other crew in some way. Putting him in a bunch of slapstick comedy with other Ferengi just didn’t work nearly as well.

14. Pooter - July 6, 2011

The dominion wars are what bored me about DS9 and I stopped watching.

15. D-Rock - July 6, 2011

I’m surprised the human race made it at all to the 24th century in TNG. Not because of war or anything like that, but by then the hottest thing you could do was to hold hands and wait for the stork.

16. Jeyl - July 6, 2011

I like how DS9 wasn’t afraid to make episodes dedicated to the alien characters without having human characters to tagging along.

17. SoonerDave - July 6, 2011

Oh, okay, duh on me…Now the Connecticut reference makes sense.

@10 – “Yesterday’s Enterprise” absolutely rocked the house for TNG in my book. Absolutely awesome episode. Easily my TNG favorite.

18. the Dogfaced Boy - July 6, 2011

You can’t go wrong putting Trek characters into 20th Century earth situations. Even Ferengi comedy works.

19. Shunnabunich - July 6, 2011

@15: LOL! So, so true. Sometimes I think Riker must’ve been saddled with the sole responsibility for perpetuating the species (except he kept getting it on with aliens instead).

20. Katie G. - July 6, 2011

I thought it was fine, myself. Don’t know why he would say it wasn’t. So… how do I say this without sounding… you know.

Maybe it’s not that the comedy didn’t work with the Ferengi. Maybe they needed…

…here we go…

…better writers?

Maybe if they had different writers someone else could have made it work. I mean, look at the sitcom “Frasier”. The writers for that show must have done something right. It was on the air forever.

Just sayin…

ktg

21. Joe - July 6, 2011

I think that Star Trek at times tended to over do things anyway. TNG and VOY ran holodeck episodes to death and DS9 ran Ferengi episodes and mirror universe episodes to death but overall I love all Star Trek (yes, even ENT) and VOY I tolerated.

22. Trekboi - July 6, 2011

Deep Space Nine is a good series but I don’t count it as Star trek its dismisses so many of Gene Roddenberys higher concepts just to bitch slap with the tired Klingons.
They should have produced it as a non star trek sci-fi show where they would have been totally free to tell a story like Babylon 5

23. Red Dead Ryan - July 6, 2011

The Ferengi episodes were hit and miss. “The Dogs of War”it featured Quark barking out his version of Captain Picard’s “The line must be drawn here” line.

“The Magnificant Ferengi” and “Little Green Men” were fun.

As a whole, “Deep Space Nine” is the best of the six series, in my opinion. It had it all. It was also a nice blend of “The Original Series” (Odo and Quark’s love/hate relationship echoing Spock/McCoy, a Captain willing to risk his own life on the front lines, and get his hands dirty, just like Kirk) and “The Next Generation” (Bringing in TNG characters Miles O’Brien and Worf, while picking up and further developing the Bajoran and Cardassian storylines first established in several TNG episodes).
But “Deep Space Nine” also explored issues like war, religion and politics much more deeper than any of the other series.

The show was ahead of it’s time. It also had a nice mix of standalone and multipart episodes.

24. Red Dead Ryan - July 6, 2011

Oops, I meant to say….”I liked the episode “The Dogs Of War” as it featured…”

DAMN ACCIDENTAL OMISSIONS!!!

25. Vultan - July 6, 2011

I don’t think DS9 dismissed Roddenberry’s philosophies at all. Quite the contrary. It acknowledged and then TESTED them. Because, for all the great ideas old Gene had, they just wouldn’t mean all that much if no one challenged them. And there’s nothing that challenges a society’s ideals more than a total war with a power such as the Dominion.

As for the Connecticut comment, I seem to recall an episode where Quark compared the Federation to root beer. Another Behr critique, you think?

26. Charlie in Colorado - July 6, 2011

As hard as I tried, I simply could not get into DS9 when it first went on the air. It wasn’t until well after the series ended that I stumbled across a re-run on some TV channel and thought, “Hmm, this is better than I remembered.” That led to me to start renting individual DS9 DVD’s from Netflix, which then led to me buying all seven seasons on DVD. Yep – DS9 became my all-time favorite Trek.

Ira Steven Behr is a total badass dude who I’d love to have a couple of beers with him in some bar with a little Sinatra on the jukebox in the background. And I’d also love to find out how Benjamin is getting along these days with the Prophets…

27. Trekboi - July 6, 2011

Vultan do your research- Ira has said in the past he hated the star trek formula particuarly the Next generation’s bland generic “Conneticuit” style & wanted to destroy it & do his own style of show- well if that was the case he should have gone & made his own show & left star trek alone.
This was obvious even when viewing it back in the day but it was a validation for me to read he admitted it years later.

28. Cygnus-X1 - July 6, 2011

The Connecticut of Star Trek!?!

Whoa, whoa, whoa…Let’s ease up a bit on the vulgar language there, Ira. There are youngsters reading what you say.

29. V'Ger23 - July 6, 2011

Trek in its original form was never bland and boring. TNG was a SPIN-OFF of the orignial, and it was riddled with issues because, at that phase of the game, Gene was more concerned with being a “visionary” than he was with entertaining people. So, the characters were much flatter and the show was essentially risk (and drama) free because his vision of an “eveloved humanity” did not produce good, dramatic, exciting televison on a consistent basis.

DS9, in my humble opinion, returned to the character-driven, gritty, dramatic elements that made TOS so great and it moved the franchise forward by doing something different and unique. It tested the characters, created conflict and drama, but still had the moral and ethical center that made you believe that humans truly could persevere and thrive in the future.

VOY then came along and purposefully tried to re-capture the more sterile, safe havens of the TNG formula, and that was the beginning of the gradual end for Trek’s success on televison.

TOS and DS9 are the absolute best of what Trek has to offer, at least in this one fan’s opinion. The “evolved nature of humanity” means nothing if you don’t belive in and care about the characters. Characters need to be flawed and realistic for us to care about them. It needs to be a dramatic struggle for them to win and/or do the right thing. When everyone is prefect and morally superior, there’s no tension because we all know that the boyscouts are going to do the right thing and save the day.

A new Trek series, if there ever is one (I won’t be heartbroken if there isn’t one, by the way) needs to have more drama, conflict, and tension in it if it’s going to survive. Nobody wants to watch the boyscouts and girlscouts exploring the galaxy, acting morally superior, and passing judgement on everyone who isn’t. Drama and excitement is in watching people overcome there weaknesses and struggling to do the right thing. There’s no drama when it’s a given.

30. workinit - July 6, 2011

I LOVED the ferengi human episodes in DS9 :-D, and the DRAG Quark was HELLA FIERCE!

31. Rocket Scientist - July 6, 2011

I just saw some TNG episodes on SyFy. As much as they are sentimental favorites, yeah…the characters are a bit bland. DS9′s crew provided a much-needed contrast to the evolved 24th Century humans of TNG. That’s why it was such a refreshing show that is very much deserving of its place in the Star Trek universe. It’s my favorite along with TOS.

32. Peter N - July 6, 2011

September 9 is International Talk Like A Pirate Day – he’s ready a little early. :)

33. DJT - July 6, 2011

“On Earth, there is no poverty, no crime, no war. You look out the window of Starfleet Headquarters and you see paradise. Well, it’s easy to be a saint in paradise, but the Maquis do not live in paradise. Out there in the Demilitarized Zone, all the problems haven’t been solved yet. Out there, there are no saints — just people. Angry, scared, determined people who are going to do whatever it takes to survive, whether it meets with Federation approval or not!”

– Sisko, on Nechayev’s suggestion that he “establish a dialogue” with the Maquis in DS9: “The Maquis, Part II”

34. nate - July 6, 2011

I first enjoyed Behr’s work when he was on the staff of FAME (the GLEE of the 80′s)…more humor, fuller stories with a point. I’ll check out anything he’s involved in!

35. Vultan - July 6, 2011

#27

Maybe you should actually try reading the above article. It’s obvious Berman wasn’t going to allow Behr to make his own fully realized version of Trek. No matter how much “horse-trading” was made, the basic core of what Star Trek is was still there. Try watching the show. You’ll see… maybe…

Anyway, I’m pretty sure IDIC is not about one—and only one—man’s “vision.” There’s a darker side to life, one that’s full of messy topics like war, religion, xenophobia, and genocide, and I’m fairly certain, barring some sudden human evolutionary leap to God-like status, that they’re still going to be around a few hundred years from now. Deal with it.

36. Bill Peters - July 6, 2011

DS9 was what Trek Needed at the time, it did live up to Gene’s Ideas but also Departed from them in places to show, that the Final Frontier was isn’t Perfect and that Humans though further along are still Humans and Also had a Chance to show Religion working in Trek in a way we hadn’t seen before.

37. Reliana - July 6, 2011

Although I’m no fan of seasons 1 & 2, there were episodes from seasons 3-7 that were just brilliant. And I love how the relationships were hinted or built over several episodes instead of established in one episode without any backstory to support it. (w/one exception).

I love how the characters were distinct, multi-layered personalities that you couldn’t help but love or hate… either way, you felt something for them.

And I loved that the show was primarily about their personal lives. Everything they did had some kind of history, a backstory, to give it more depth.

Storylines I cherished:
-Dukat’s daughter on DS9 under the watchful eye of Kira (look at the rich history there from all sides)
-Everything Odo
-the O’Brien Bashir bromance
-Worf and Dax
-The subtle differences in Weyouns (w/the help of Jeffrey Combs’s talent)
-Committed relationships weren’t the death of character growth.

Just a few off the top of my head

38. Canon Schmanon - July 6, 2011

I totally agree with Behr on the comedy/Ferengi episodes. I hated those. TNG, & VOY had their own annoying recurring themes as well. The holodeck was overused, and on VOY, the Borg came by so often it was like they were the crazy neighbors next door. They were stripped of their menace, made into the giant cube geldings of space. Voyager killed my interest in watching a Star Trek series regularly. Such a letdown after DS9.

So, yes, it had its low points, but when DS9 was at its best, it was better than any of the other Trek series, IN MY OPINION! And it was good more often than it wasn’t.

39. Duane - July 6, 2011

TNG as the “The Connecticut of Star Trek.” I never thought about it that way but in many ways it is very, very true.

40. Anthony Thompson - July 6, 2011

A purple beard? How Hollywood! LOL!

The serial aspect of DS9 worked against it because folks unable to watch every ep couldn’t keep up and dropped it. Better to stay with stand-alone eps (with occasional refernces to earlier episodes).

41. Jack - July 6, 2011

i think DS9 was rhe Trekkiest of the Treks.

42. Christopher Roberts - July 7, 2011

Deep Space Nine Seasons 3-7 definitely the pinnacle of quality Star Trek as far as I’m concerned. There’s a consistency where below average episodes are the exception to the rule.

Somewhere approaching that level Enterprise Seasons 3 and especially 4.

Next Generation Seasons 3 (in particular) and 4 where that show suddenly became must see TV.

Then were looking at half a dozen or so, episodes every year from seasons right across the franchise.

I don’t necessary think the soap opera factor was the main factor in success, TNG did its fair share of those especially with Worf. It was often blatent. Worf gets hit with a barrel, becomes disabled and needs a spine transplant. That sort of thing, which was very Daytime stories, for the unemployed type material. The political intrique stuff, in a sci fi setting was generally where Star Trek exceled… whatever the series. Which is where VOY was at a disadvantage, being so far away from the important races of the universe.

In an important way, “Journey to Babel” from The Original Series kicked all this off…

43. Christopher Roberts - July 7, 2011

Correction = we’re NOT were – - WE ARE

44. Aussie Ian - July 7, 2011

It’s interesting to note how, for the longest time, fans held the view that the even numbered movies were superior to the odd numbered ones ……. that always grated me as I loved Star Trek III and saw nothing wrong with it, but because it so happened to be an odd numbered film, no one ever gave it its due.

What has this got to do with SIB’s comments above? Well it seems that the series fans are also divided into the odds and evens judging by above posts.

It seems that if you love the Original Series (and for those who don’t – shame on you, just kidding!) then you love DS9 and even see the worth of Enterprise – Series 1, 3 and 5, the odd numbered series.

If you loved Voyager, but not DS9 so much, and Enterprise less so, then it’s a good chance that your first introduction to the world of Trek was Next Gen, making you a fan of even series 2 and 4.

I have not counted the Animated series separately because it is the same characters as TOS and my comments are live action Trek specific.

For more examples of this cross series love I refer to DS9′s “Trials and tribble-ations” episode which was a loving reference to how the TOS characters were in the timeline of the series and how Enterprise was nostalgic of TOS with “Into a Mirror Darkly” episodes.

By contrast, when TOS characters guest appeared in TNG episodes like “Unification” and “Relics”, they were less TOS-like in their range and flattened out to the TNG style of no drama. The only exception was Deforest Kelley in “Farpoint”, who still brought the rain with his performance.

Comments from others?

45. Jai - July 7, 2011

DJT, re: #33

That was an interesting monologue by Sisko. Especially when you remember his later obsessive vendetta against his fellow Starfleet officer Eddington, who had joined the Maquis. Eddington eventually ranted the following monologue at Sisko (even mentioning “Paradise”), in the superb DS9 episode ‘For the Cause’:

“I know you. I was like you once. But then I opened my eyes. Open your eyes, Captain. Why is the Federation so obsessed with the Maquis? We’ve never harmed you. And yet we’re constantly arrested and charged with terrorism. Starships chase us through the Badlands, and our supporters are harassed and ridiculed. Why? Because we’ve left the Federation, and that’s the one thing you can’t accept. Nobody leaves Paradise, everyone should want to be in the Federation! Hell, you even want the Cardassians to join. You’re only sending them replicators because one day, they can take their rightful place on the Federation Council. You know, in some ways, you’re even worse than the Borg. At least they tell you about their plans for assimilation. You’re more insidious, you assimilate people…and they don’t even know it.”

I’ve previously mentioned brilliant monologues by Sisko and Martok, but that subversive, thought-provoking quote is another example of the way that the intelligent writing on DS9 was often truly outstanding, especially during the later seasons.

46. Jai - July 7, 2011

Vultan, re: #25

“As for the Connecticut comment, I seem to recall an episode where Quark compared the Federation to root beer.”

It’s from the episode ‘The Way of the Warrior’, and it’s another brilliant (and very subversive) quote about the Federation. Quark was talking to Garak in the DS9 bar on the eve of the battle against the invading Klingons, both of them worried about the outcome and both of them realising that their only hope for salvation rested with the Federation, despite their very mixed feelings about the Federation itself.

Quark suddenly offered Garak some root beer to make his point. After some initial reluctance (Garak had never drunk it before), Garak took a sip and promptly recoiled from the taste.

“Quark: What do you think ?
Elim Garak: It’s vile !
Quark: I know. It’s so bubbly and cloying and happy.
Elim Garak: Just like the Federation.
Quark: And you know what’s really frightening? If you drink enough of it, you begin to like it.
Elim Garak: It’s insidious.
Quark: Just like the Federation.”

Once again, it’s very clever writing.

47. Jim - July 7, 2011

Biggest plus of DS9 for me – Garek has to be my favourite Star Trek character of all time.

For me, DS9 and TNG re-runs as of seasons 3 onwards (for each) are great. I can’t really go back to the first 2 seasons, because I know the characters too well now and those early seasons don’t really reflect what the characters became and a strength of characterisation anyway.
As for Ferengi’s, I loved their evolution in DS9. In TNG they are simply 1 dimensional.
Quark was a sorely underused Ferengi, and the darker he was, the more I loved him. It’s true though that they tried to lighten him up far too much, and his ‘criminal’ tendencies eventually became nothing more slapstick :-(
Rom’s relationship with Quark could’ve been more rounded but generally he grew as a character. The early Nog episodes I found dull, but his character evolution by season 7 was fantastic.
It’s difficult to pin down any ‘token’ characters in DS9, cos while some may have seen so early on, they all grew somehow. Plus, you can’t seriously call Morn a token character :-)

One character I didn’t ever take to was Kira Nerys, and if I’m honest, the whole Bajoran spirituality theme. Tome it never seemed to be one thing or another, as if it were an arc that was a good idea when concieved but ran dry very soon.

And hey, any series that has Iggy Pop as a guest appearance, can’t be all that bad :-)

p.s. I’ve never liked any Mirror Universe episodes across all the series.

48. Damian - July 7, 2011

Deep Space Nine was a great show because it was different. I disagree with Behr about The Next Generation though. I loved TNG. It was a sort of continuation of the original series themes, but as a huge fan of Star Trek, I was ok with that. I also did not have a problem with the positive view of humanity TNG portrayed. Gene Roddenberry wanted to show a future where we had actually become the best we could be (as opposed to most futuristic sci-fi shows and movies where we either destroyed ourselves with war, greed or corporate take overs). That is what attracted me to Star Trek in the first place.

That being said, Deep Space Nine being different was essential. There was no point in doing it if it was just going to continue from TNG. It was grittier and riskier. It showed that human beings (and the Federation), while trying to do what’s right, still was not perfect. The Dominion War was a great story overall. It gave us an opportunity to see how the Federation deals with war, as opposed to just hearing about it after the fact. I also think Deep Space Nine worked much better because there seemed to me more people with varying ideas involved. You had Rick Berman and Michael Piller who tried to keep Roddenberry’s vision intact. And you had Ronald Moore and Ira Steven Behr who brought in a fresh, new approach. The result was a great show that had new themes and stories we haven’t seen before within the Star Trek universe we enjoyed up to that point. It proved to be a good combination. You also had a much larger crop of writers which added variety.

I do agree with some posters that the Ferengi episodes in general were not my favorite. But I tend to look at those as no one is perfect. No matter how good the show, there are going to be some clunkers.

49. Victor Hugo - July 7, 2011

46. Jai:

loved those dialogues too. Well, you can replace the word “Federation” for “Star Trek” in the entire episode and see what they mean.

“Way of the Warrior” was meant to revamp the series, inviting new viewers several times, in short, it was saying “Star Trek bubbly and cloying and happy, but you watch it too much, you´ll begin to like it”.

Earlier in the same episode, Dax was celebrating the joys of “imagination” and “make believe”.

It was a big recruitment episode, and it worked.

50. Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire - July 7, 2011

To me what they tried to do with DS9 was what was done with Babylon 5. B5 was a 5 year serial and they tried to make DS9 a bit like that. It did work to a point and DS9 was a great series.

51. Jeff O'Connor - July 7, 2011

It’d never happen, but you can bet your bottom dollar I’d mop up anything and everything DS9-related in the future.

52. SoonerDave - July 7, 2011

I, for one, (now that I “get” the Connecticut reference) think Behr was spot-on. TNG’s critical flaw was too literal an exposition of Roddenberry’s “we’re all the same, we never fight, we have no conflict” ideology. It turned the Enterprise into the Flying Marriott. The simultaneous conflict and friendship between Kirk, Spock, and McCoy was arguably one of TOS’ core strengths; the absence of any such conflict was one of TNG’s core weaknesses that made it often seem sterile and sophomoric. The one season that gave TNG some grit – the one with Dr. Pulaski – was a tribute to what might have been, but Roddenberry killed her off *specifically* because she brought conflict to the table. What a shame.

53. JohnChicago - July 7, 2011

@44 – I happen to have been introduced to Trek thru Next Gen, and I am a huge DS9 fan. I agree that it is somehow more like TOS than any of the other series, possibly because the characters are a bit more brash. For all the talk about how Roddenberry didn’t allow conflict among his main bridge crew, there’s a heck of a lot of it on TOS. TNG really clamped down on it, and I think that’s one of the things SIB is getting at when he refers to the Connecticut of Trek. But DS9 brought back that swashbuckling edge, tho it was lost on many people who were too impatient to see beyond the space station setting.

The main reason I love DS9 is that it builds on the geo-political world that had to painstakingly been constructed over decades. When that show emerged, we finally got to LIVE in that world, not just fly thru it from planet to planet, new alien to new alien. This is one of the reasons I lost interest in Voyager. I felt the concept had already been done to death. (That, and I was not a fan of most of the performances – see Garrett Wang’s recent comments.)

I love the new movie series, and it’s a ver strong commercial idea. Plus we get to see origin stories we’ve never seen before. Fine. But…

If we’re to see Trek back on TV, I think what I’d like to see most is something close to Bryan Singer’s idea of a Trek hundreds of years beyond the end of Voyager. Let’s build on this beautiful and complex world created by Roddenberry, Berman, Pillar, Behr and others. Let’s find out what happens next!

54. Sebastian S. - July 7, 2011

DS9 was easily my favorite of the post TOS Star Treks. And Behr is right; it’s certainly NOT Connetticut (personally, I prefer the ‘Manhattan’ style of DS9′s Star Trek to the safe ‘whitebread’ Trek some fans seem to favor).

I can’t understand why fans who embrace “Yesterday’s Enterprise” on TNG have such a hard time embracing the DS9 Dominion War arc. IMO, they are very similar (both saw the Federation on the brink of collapse/surrender to an unyielding enemy). But DS9 explored this option without the ‘safety valve’ of the infamous Star Trekkian time-travel ‘reset button’ at the end of the hour. You saw people on DS9 die, and (at times) they became feral, savage. Yet, strangely enough, it did not seem fully out of keeping with the traditional Trek optimism (and it seems especially resonant in a post-9/11 world). There was always hope… after all, it IS Star Trek, not BSG (which I also enjoy very much).

To fans that prefer ‘whitebread’ Trek? It’s still there for you. But to quote McCoy in STIII: “I choose the danger….”
;-)

55. The Unknown Poster - July 7, 2011

Quark worked best in the same way that Worf worked – he had elements of stereotypical Ferengi but in a subtle way had so much more depth as a character. I hated the Ferengi but I liked Quark.

56. BaronByng - July 7, 2011

28. Belgium, man, Belgium!

57. Nick - July 7, 2011

DS9 became my favorite series since Worf was added to the crew. His relationship with Jadzia was amazing and add more depth to his character. seasons 4-6 were the best. I loved Quark and his humor but the many ferengi episodes soon became boring. I also never understood Behr’s obsesion with Vic fontain’s character especially in season 7 when there was a war going on and they kept wasting episodes in the holoshuite. The episode ‘His Way’ was great and Vic’s character there was great but keep comming back to that was un-nessecery.
May TNG is my first love and will always be but DS9 is close behind

58. P Technobabble - July 7, 2011

I thought DS9 was an above average tv show that had some great character development and some intricate storytelling. I’ve said many times I don’t think it really related to Star Trek other than that’s how it was presented to us. And it had as many thought-provoking or touching moments as any other Trek show.
But I do think it’s interesting to see something of a pattern: a number of people who worked on Trek shows from TNG on have made comments about a lack of freedom, or a lack of developing certain ideas or characters, or a lack of taking chances. While DS9 was certainly a risky departure from the Roddenberry premise, but we have Behr saying how he felt creatively trapped on TNG, and how he had to haggle with Berman about the direction of a show he obviously loved.
Was there a pattern of “mild conflict,” or just my imagination?

59. Red Dead Ryan - July 7, 2011

My only regret about “Deep Space Nine” was that they couldn’t/didn’t shoot the show in widescreen hi-def. Those space battles deserve to be seen in the 16:9 format.

60. captain_neill - July 7, 2011

DS9 was a great show, I don’t think it abandoned the Roddenberry ideals, I think it showed them from the other side of the fence through characters suchs Odo, Quark and Kira.

Some great drama was produced and I am still proud to call myself a fan of this show.
I felt the Ferengi worked better on DS9 than they did on TNG.

61. Greystoke - July 7, 2011

So many good posts here that have beat me to the punch of things I’ve been saying for years about these shows. So I won’t repeat them. I happen to like both of them, I think DS9 a touch more. But I happen to like the religio-/political arena as a place to draw stories from. And I felt that the overt analogy to the middle east was well in keeping with classic Star Trek.

My biggest problems with TNG were the-cruise-ship-in-space-with-civilian- families-on-the-ship (ok I guess I’m reprising the “flying Marriott” comment) — and given the amount of stories that actually used that element of the premise, I wasn’t the only one, and the total lack of tension (by Roddenberry’s design) between the crew. But even with those limitations, they did some damn fine work (after the first season, anyway).

DS9 — I always had a problem with the Promenade and the silliness it seemed to generate. And the Ferengi. Quark could be good when they let him have an edge and a brain, but overall, I hated the Ferengi on TNG AND DS9.

My biggest problem on both shows was the stiffness of the acting, which we now have evidence was by design (see the Garret Wang piece). I always hated that. The scenes between Avery Brooks and Bernie Casey in the Maquis 1 & 2 are a perfect example. Look at these guys’ other work (Brooks’ Hawk in Spencer for Hire especially) and you see human beings, not robots. Personally, in my ridiculously humble opinion, I think keeping things so stiff hurt the overall appeal of these shows. The only actor who was able to pull off a somewhat subtle, convincing performance was Patrick Stewart.

Voyager and Enterprise lost me after 2 episodes each. Though after a friend of mine twisted my arm, I did watch and like season 4 of Enterprise.

In conclusion, the final episodes of TNG, DS9 and ENT all sucked big, hairy tribbles.

62. Smoking Robot - July 7, 2011

The Ferengi – the ‘Jar Jar Binks’ of the Star Trek Universe.

63. LCDR T'Pau - July 7, 2011

Behr, as far as I am concerned, did not do DS9 any favors by convincing Berman to do a story arc with the Dominion War. Just as I felt that the whole war arc for ENT was a mistake — there was so much else that could have been explored. Granted, DS9 was not itself a vessel of exploration — BUT it was sitting next to a wormhole — and there was a lot more that could have been done with that situation — instead episodes were wasted on the Dominion War. Just as epsidoes were wasted on the war arc on ENT when there was so much more to learn about the creation of the Federation etc. Behr should stick to writing for genre movies and shows that need his kind of dark vision — his influence did not improve Star Trek.

64. OLLEY OLLEY OLLEY - July 7, 2011

The start out as cannibals and then end up as clowns !
The Ferengi, what was the point of them?

65. Vultan - July 7, 2011

#64

“Yankee traders.”

The Ferengi were originally meant to be a genuine threat to the Enterprise on TNG (yeah, I know it’s laughable) while also being a heavy-handed commentary on super-charged capitalism, something that was apparently a big issue in the late ’80s—you know, the Gordon Gecko generation of Wall Street raiders and the like.

Anyway, thank goodness the Romulans, Borg, and later the Cardassians were brought in to fill the “bad guy” gap. TNG was sinking fast with those big, heavy ears of burden. ;)

66. SoonerDave - July 7, 2011

As it became apparent the Ferengi were a hopeless cause as a true villain, I think the creative souls with TNG pulled off a masterstroke with the Cardassians. I thought they were *awesome* villains. Slathering evil and not the least bit apologetic about it. They’d gladly kick you in the groin and send you a bill for the smudge on their shoes.

One of Stewart’s best performances was the episode (name escapes me) in which he was snagged by the Cardassians and tortured by a big, bad Cardassian leader played fabulously by David Warner. It epitomized Cardassian evil and showed how great Trek TNG conflict could be.

67. Vultan - July 7, 2011

#66

Agreed! The “Cardies” were a great villain species for TNG, and became even greater on DS9 with Gul Dukat and his cronies. It was also nice they changed those weird helmets and clunky uniforms they had in their first appearance in “The Wounded.” They looked like something a baddie from the Ninja Turtles universe would wear!

Oh, and the episode you’re thinking about is “Chain of Command, Part 2.” It’s also the two-partner featuring the greatest of the jerk-in-charge actors, Ronny Cox (from Robocop fame) as Captain Edward Jellico.

68. ML31 - July 7, 2011

Lots of good comments. I will say that of all the spin off shows DS9 was easily the best of the lot. I appreciate TNG as it brought Trek back and made DS9 possible. But those characters never resonated with me. The terms “boring” and “dull” work for me. Only the charisma of Patrick Steward (Easily the best actor in any Trek series) made crappy TNG episodes watchable. By contrast, even the worst DS9 eps weren’t TOO bad…

PS: Never got on board with the Vic Fontaine character either.

69. Vultan - July 7, 2011

Edit: two-parter, not partner.

70. Bruce Banner - July 7, 2011

@66 TNG brought back the Romulans when the Ferengi bombed. The Cardi’s came a little later. Remember the Romulan commander’s line when the warbird decloaked in front of the Enterprise? “We’re Back”.

71. Of Bajor - July 7, 2011

DS9 is far and away the best Trek. Such an amazing episodes like “In the Pale Moonlight”

Garak could teach Machiavelli a thing or two. The first time I saw the twist, where Garak planted a bomb on the Romulan Senator’s shuttle to blame the Dominion I got chills. He never does anything without hedging his bet, does he?

And Sisko’s slow but sure descent into “hell” by good intentions, first agreeing to forge the evidence, then bribing Quark to let Graython Toler go so he could create the holo-program, to the “tweaking” of the final product, and letting Garak on the shuttle when he knows he shouldn’t is so well done.

And then, when he realizes the ends does justify the means, you start to see Sisko in a whole new light. He doesn’t live in Paradise, does he? So he cannot be a saint.

And he’s okay with that.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-YyL7X4CWw&feature=player_embedded

72. OLLEY OLLEY OLLEY - July 7, 2011

@ 65. Vultan

Thanks for the explanation :-)
I forgot the 80′s influence of TNG lol.

73. OLLEY OLLEY OLLEY - July 7, 2011

I can see my father in my dreams but I can’t get him back.

DS9 the Visitor was very moving, My father had died 2 years before it aired but the great acting by Cirroc Lofton and Tony Todd echoed my own pain and loss.
Thank you Michael Taylor (-:

74. sean - July 7, 2011

Most of the Ferengi episodes worked, but when they bombed, they really bombed. I think the quality on DS9 was so high that when they faltered it was more noticeable. But I’d put up 90% of the stuff they produced as some of the best stuff Star Trek ever did.

75. OLLEY OLLEY OLLEY - July 7, 2011

I wonder how nu-Trek would portray Hedge fund managers, Speculators and Bankers?

76. Sebastian S. - July 7, 2011

# 73.
Re: DS9′s “The Visitor”

I also lost my father very close to when that episode aired (maybe a year or so before) and it is VERY powerful to me; both personally and as an exceptional piece of television. It is DS9′s answer to “City on the Edge of Forever.”

And yes, I still see (and talk to) my dad in my dreams all the time (where it feels perfectly normal and natural to do so). Time doesn’t heal all wounds, it can only make them hurt a little less. : )

77. Canon Schmanon - July 7, 2011

73. OLLEY OLLEY OLLEY – The Visitor is my favorite DS9 episode, maybe my favorite Trek episode. It was easily the most emotional and moving of any Trek episode, but “emotional and moving” was not something Trek did often or very easily.

Lofton, Todd and Brooks were brilliant. It is the only Star Trek episode that has made me cry. How Berman and co. let that one slip by them, I’ll never know, but I’m so glad they did.

78. Crash - July 7, 2011

Yesterday’s Enterprise was a superb TNG episode and that’s saying a lot.

I’ll admit that the Dominion War was probably necessary to give DS9 focus because it was starting to lose its course, fighting the Klingons and messing on with the mirror universe.
There were lots of dreadful character-centric episodes too. I remember that “Muse” among others particularly stank.

Problem was that the Star Trek people have no idea how to do a war. You had Starfleet people fighting the Dominion in their uniforms with no body-armour or anything. You coulda had them with personal shield gadgets on their uniforms but nope. Shuttlecrafts fighting capital ships and the Defiant that was too small to do any realistic good.

Babylon5, which was clearly the inspiration for DS9 had a better idea of how to do a military sci-fi drama.

79. Amorican - July 7, 2011

I’m not sure if eveybody has this prespective, but being born in 1981, TNG and DS9 hit me in very specific ways, and have colored the way I view them now:

TNG was a show for kids.
DS9 was a show for grownups.

I was 6 years old, starting 1st grade when TNG came on the air. It was absolutely perfect for me. The morality lessons were fairly obvious in a way that a kid like myself could pick up on. I was 6, so the flaws of the first season didn’t matter to me. The show aged as I did and became a bit more complex, but still stayed in a simple formula which was easy for me to digest as a kid. There was enough there for the grownups so that my parents would watch with me, but I really felt like the target audience for the show, at least in my household, was me.

Fast forward to 6th grade, and DS9 came on the air. Those two years where TNG and DS9 overlapped were very much a time of transition for myself as well. I was finishing elementary school and beginning junior high. Childhood was still important to me, and I clung to the familiar characters of TNG. Riker and Picard were like the teachers who taught me basic grammar and math skills. It geared me up for the deeper lessons that DS9 would try to teach. I resisted, and didn’t like DS9 at first. I think I didn’t like that the show was trapped in a space station and didn’t move around and didn’t seem as exciting. I also hated in 6th grade was the first year we didn’t have recess at school. By 7th grade, I was realizing my childhood changing drastically. And my favorite childhood television show was coming to an end. It was sad and scary. But I looked forward to the challenges of finishing junior high and entering high school. And I started paying closer attention to DS9.

DS9 aired as the only Star Trek series starting when I entered 8th grade (until it overlapped with Voyager.) Real life was becoming far more complicated, and this show seemed to fit right in. It was more complicated, dealing with themes I may not have understood in previous years. I was making a transition into adulthood just as Star Trek was making the same transition. It challenged the way I thought about life and humanity and our place in the world. Just as my high school years did for me in the real world.

Deep Space Nine aired it’s final episode about a month before I graduated. It seemed like a fitting end.

Then I went to college, drank a lot, partied, tried to bang every lady in sight, and forgot everything I learned in high school. These are the years the Voyager was on the air all by itself. Coincidence? I watched that show when I could, but never made a real connection with it.

When I look back at these series, I look to TNG for nostalgia. I look for my childhood, and it’s all there. It’s deeper than I realized at the time, but how the hell else were my parents going to sit through it with me?

I look to DS9 for good television that makes me think.

TOS is like a history lesson to me. The way things were before I was born, and imagining how cool it must have been to see that when it was new.

I don’t look at Voyager and Enterprise at all.

80. Canon Schmanon - July 7, 2011

79. Amorican – Fabulously well stated! DS9 IS a more mature show, more realistic about human(oid) behavior. I related to many of the characters and their stories. Not so much with TNG.

81. TBW - July 7, 2011

10…you really thought DS9 lacked cerebral episodes?

82. Khan was Framed! - July 7, 2011

Behr is your typical Hollywood D-bag who likes to take credit when ideas work, but pass the blame onto anyone else when they fail.

Blaming Armin Shimerman for not being able to sell bad jokes in the middle of an action-drama series?
Seriously?
I saw Shimerman as Richard III & let me tell you, the fault is not in his acting. He can do anything you hand him.

Behr contributed to some great Trek, but he also wrote some of the worst crap ever to appear in any Trek series.

If he was half the writer he claims to be, we would have met the Dominion in the second episode of season one. This would have led to DS9 being a full war story, properly plotted from day one, instead of wasting 3 years trying to figure it out.

The man dyes his goatee blue, what more do I need to say.

83. Canon Schmanon - July 7, 2011

82. Khan was Framed! – Shimerman was indeed quite good in his role. I never liked the Ferengi-centered stories, but I thought Quark was a great character. Too bad they wrote so much crap for him.

84. Commodore Lurker - July 7, 2011

Decloaking . . .

How many of us would have loved to be “Trapped” writing for Trek, count me in.

Man there was a lot of whining behind the scenes from people who many of us would have loved to take a stab at their jobs.

Loved DS9. “Little Green Men” was sheer genious.

Much respect for Ira’s Trek contributions.

Recloaking. }:-D>

85. Victor Hugo - July 8, 2011

Amorican: That´s a beautiful story! *snif* :)

86. Jan. - July 8, 2011

@82 Totally agree

87. VZX - July 8, 2011

The awesomeness that was DS9 was not due to just one guy, but to many.

Still, DS9 is the best TV show ever, imo.

88. moauvian waoul- aka: seymour hiney - July 8, 2011

Utopia is a worthy concept, but makes for poor drama.

89. Son of Captain Garth - July 9, 2011

Honestly, I never caught on to DS9; the whole “bus stop in space” concept of the first season bored me. I was in grad school at the time and didn’t have a whole lot of spare time for TV, so what I watched had to count. I tried to catch it again when the Dominion War came up, but I found it dreary and dragged-out. I didn’t want to commit my time to something so protracted. I also thought it depeneded upon too many war cliches from 1950s war movies.

Incidentally, I felt the same about season 3 of ENT, which also was burdened with some bad writing and plot holes the size of the Expanse. Furthermore, if I want a gritty, never-ending narrative about war, I’ll watch the news–there are plenty of opportunities.

90. Son of Captain Garth - July 9, 2011

@#66

I’m sorry, but I think if anyone has to clean their shoes after kicking someone in the nuts, the victim must have some cleanliness issues. Just sayin’.

91. DS9 Forever - July 9, 2011

In response to poster #82, Behr wasn’t the showrunner until season three. Michael Piller was in charge of the first two seasons. Don’t make statements like that unless you know all the facts.

92. Crash - July 10, 2011

@ 82: I totally agree with you about Shimerman. There was no way in which some of those episodes could possibly have worked, irrespective of the actor.
@ 84: “How many of us would have loved to be “Trapped” writing for Trek, count me in.”
That was my sentiment as well. I just didn’t like to come out and say it.

But I disagree with 79 about TNG being for kids and DS9 being for adults.
DS9 has a lot more action episodes whereas TNG is a lot dryer.
I remember people saying how much more ‘grown up’ TNG was when it came out compared to the original series. You’ve got to take into account when the shows were made.
TNG certainly has a slightly sterile feel that puts off a lot of people until they really get into it. You need quite an attention span to get to the goods. Whereas DS9 is a little more sugar-coated.
TNG probably had to fit with the original show’s format to prove itself as the first spinoff. The fact that it succeeded was what allowed DS9 to branch out into great long story arcs.
Originally, I hated TNG (when I was 5 or 6) having already seen the original series and a lot of people felt the same way but now I see it as the best TV sci-fi.
Roddenberry was at the helm in TNG, giving it the positive feel that makes it different to every other dark, murky, negative Bladerunner/Aliens/S:AaB sci-fi. I don’t think that makes it childish. I think that’s what Star Trek is and they completely forgot that in later spinoffs.

93. ME!! - July 10, 2011

DS9 was the second best Trek series after the Original Series, in my opinion. It got off to a rocky start with the first and maybe second seasons, but took off with the third after the writers and producers started concentrating on the Dominion (which I believe was a necessary element to give them focus) and really became exciting and fun with the fourth season. While I don’t believe the success at that point was due solely to Worf being written in, I do believe it helped. He meshed incredibly well with those characters and seemed more “at home” on DS9 than he did on TNG. I don’t think Worf ever was able to live up to his potential on TNG, but grew tremendously on DS9. Unlike the other shows (Enterprise, TNG & especially Voyager) The characters on DS9 seem like old friends whenever I revisit that series just as the characters on the Original Series do.

94. Trekker - July 12, 2011

I never liked him, he’s just another arrogant writer with huge ego. Did he really blamed Armin Shimerman about the awful writing in some ferengi episodes? Really? Armin Shimerman is one of the finest DS9 actors and the only reason the ferengi episodes were remotely tolerable

95. DS9 IN PRIME TIME - July 12, 2011

Best DS9 Eppisode “In the Pale Moon Light” Like John W. Creasy did in Man on fire, Captain Sisko did in DS9. He did what he had to do!!

96. Crash - July 24, 2011

Worf was totally insular in TNG because everyone just ignored him and dismissed his suggestions to ‘shoot first and ask questions later’ the whole time.
There was one scene in a replicator room with Data where they seemed to gel momentarily because they were both ‘outsiders’ to the humans but aside from that, even Data had practically nothing to do with him.

Worf actually had interpersonal relations in DS9 beyond: “Captain, can we fire the phasers now?”

Voyager’s characters were impossible to love because they hated eachother. It was like the most awful office to work in, whereas TNG was the best.

97. Lost guy - November 11, 2011

DS9 was good until season’s six finale. They dropped the ball after that.

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