Sole Of Sci-Fi endures some trials and Tribble-ations, as the Department of Temporal Investigations investigates a time travel infringement…
Apparently the Deep Space Nine episode “Trials And Tribble-ations” – the one in which the DS9 crew are placed into the original series episode “The Trouble With Tribbles” via time travel/special effects – cost $3 million to produce. I spent considerably less doing a similar thing for Sole Of Sci-Fi.
Deep Space Nine is by far my favourite Trek series. Recently I had to compile three Top 30 episodes lists for Next Gen, Deep Space Nine and Voyager (it was for a Syfy vote), and while some fillers were creeping into the lower positions of the Next Gen and Voyager lists, with Deep Space Nine the problem was deciding which great episodes to leave out.
That’s despite the fact that I was never massively keen on the Promenade set. Despite some redressing over the years, always looked horrendously studio bound and plasticky. Most of the other station sets were fine (I loved the operations centre); it was only the promenade that irritated me. The show also had to endure the occasional Ferengi comedy episode, but they were preferable to Next Gen’s regular visits from Troi’s mum. In fact, Lwaxana did show up on Deep Space Nine once, in an execrable season one episode. The show’s first season also had a poor Q episode. It was almost like DS9 was ticking off contractual obligations to feature Next Gen mainstays as quickly as possible so that it could get on with doing its own thing. Notably, the quality if the show improved exponentially from season two onwards.
But what a cast of characters! Grumpy old Captain Sisko. Feisty Major Kira. Cocky, wide-eyed Doctor Bashir. The great comedy double act, Odo and Quark. However, DS9’s support characters were even stronger: Cardassian bad Gul Dukat; former Cardassian spy and “simple tailor” Garak; the manipulative Bajoran religious leader Kai Winn; each of them now enshrined in the Sci-Fi TV hall of fame. Okay, DS9 was also foisted with sulky-faced whinger Keiko O’Brien, but she was easy to ignore.
DS9 was also Trek’s most extensive flirtation with serial storytelling, with the build up to and the fall-out from the Dominion war forming the backbone of the series’ seven seasons, with a string Bajoran religious politics subplot to back things up; occasionally the two even dovetailed ingeniously. This serial storytelling also lead the show into some of the darkest storytelling Trek has ever attempted, with Sisko taking some decisions that were distinctly un-Star Fleet, the station being taken by the Dominion for half a season and one character being replaced by a shapeshifter spy for a number of episodes (even the audience didn’t realise this until the reveal).
“Trials And Tribble-ations” was made to mark the franchise’s 30th anniversary, and it was an absolute triumph; a funny, charming, visually stunning slice of nostalgia. And it featured Dax in an original series uniform, which was worth making the episode for alone.
In fact, the whole costumes shtick is in-joke gold. If you’ve never seem the episode then, surely this following exchange can’t fail to make you want to watch it immediately. To put it in context you need to know that the DS9 characters are now all dressed in original series clobber; Sisko is wearing gold, O’Brien is in red and Bashir is in blue.
Doctor Bashir: “Wait a minute. Aren’t you two wearing the wrong colour?”
O’Brien: “Don’t you know anything about this period in time?”
Doctor Bashir: “I’m a doctor, not an historian.”
Sisko: “In the old days, operations officers wore red, command officers wore gold…”
Dax appears behind them, dressed in a revealing TOS miniskirt-style uniform.
Lt Commander Jadzia Dax: “…And women wore less.”
Doctor Bashir: “I think I’m going to like history.”
That’s enough Deep Space Nine love. I know I said I was going to do a big “half way through the challenge” thing this weekend, but I forgot I’ve got to travel to my parents’ home in Farnborough this weekend for my mum’s birthday party (will there be jelly and ice cream?). I’m not even sure what I’m going to do for Sole Of Sci-Fi tomorrow as their internet connection doesn’t always like talking to my laptop. But I’ll try my best!
Have a good weekend!
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