Nov 25, 2010

[TV] Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Season 2

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Season 2The second season tends to be a make-or-break season for any show, perhaps more so than the first. The first season generally gets you out there and most make it to the end. It's not a noble move - it's more because studios tend to at least give a show that long to prove themselves, hence the reason first seasons tend to be a bit shorter. But once you've survived this initial hurdle, the second season acts as a much taller one.

And for a science fiction show, it's probably one of the highest possible hurdles of all. We've seen many shows in the science fiction and fantasy genres die in their second seasons despite strong support for their initial runs. Joss Whedon's Dollhouse ended in this manner. So did the ever charming Pushing Daisies.

Thankfully, this show survived it's second season challenge, although whether or not it was really a strong enough season is hard to say. This one didn't particularly enamor me in any significant way, but it was still a good addition to the growing mythos of this particular chapter in Star Trek history.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Season 2 marks our continued adventures in the frontier world of Bajor. The planet was pretty much the gateway to the first ever stable wormhole in existence and one that led all the way to the Gamma Quadrant. Of course the Bajorans' former masters, the Cardassians, continued to exert their influence with the region while the Bajorans were forced to lean on the Federation for support and additional protection.

One of the best and worst aspects about the show definitely had to be the Bajorans. Sure, they were central to the dynamic of of the series and they defined almost all of the stories to some extent. But at the same time, they often felt like a caricature of a race to me. They were either overly angry about the many injustices brought upon them. Or they were extremely somber in their sense of religious self-assuredness. Or they were devious and sneaky and always conspiring to take control of the provisional government.

So yeah, they were very real characters in that regard. Not necessarily likable, but definitely very real.

Elim GarakImage via WikipediaThis season did have some major gems in it. I tend to favor episodes that featured Garak (Andrew J. Robinson) a lot since he was always such a fascinating character. And this was despite the fact that Garak episodes inevitably featured a lot of Dr. Julian Bashir (Alexander Siddig), a character that I could barely tolerate. Still, major points for the episodes "Cardassians", that showed off Garak's other skills very well, and of course "The Wire" that revealed the amazing layers of secrecy around Garak's past while letting Bashir act in a really hammy manner almost the entire episode.

I also liked the episode, "Sanctuary", which presented a most interesting moral dilemma of whether or not Bajor should take in an entire race that believed Bajor was their promised land. I even enjoyed the quirky episode, "Whispers", where Chief Miles O'Brien (Colm Meaney) had the feeling that the entire crew was conspiring against him, and surprisingly they were.

Bum episodes for me included the entire story arc involving the Bajoran fringe group The Circle, the even angrier short-lived character of Ensign Melora, the part action adventure that was "The Maquis". Let's face it - this show was not initially built for combat and there's very little satisfaction in watching Federation runabouts duke it out with faster, better armed craft.

And of course the show ends with the somewhat big finish of "The Jem'Hadar", the writers' obvious attempt to up the ante in terms of the show's tension and an effort to justify other major changes that come along by season 3.

Despite the Trill-focused episode "Invasive Procedures", I felt the character of Jadzia Dax (Terry Farrell) saw the least about of character development in the course of this season. Sure, they tried to make up for it with her little Klingon adventure in "Blood Oath", but there wasn't all that much beyond that. Hell, at least with Kira Nerys (Nana Visitor) saw a heck of a lot more growth as they tried to make her softer given her relationship with Vedek Bareil (while still pushing her hard-edged nature in the Mirror Universe episode "Crossover"), which totally trumped anything Dax got. Oh well.

The second season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was really a staging ground for the next season and I felt it was decent but in no ways essential to your viewing. It gets 3.5 now-revealed Ferengi Rules of Acquisition out of a possible (28)5.
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