During his time as DS9 writer and executive producer, Ira Steven Behr had been in contact with fans via AOL postings. An archive of these postings has been hosted on a Geocities page, which is about to be closed before the end of the year.
Because of this, Memory Alpha is hosting these postings, which were originally provided as .txt files, as-is. Below is the introductory paragraph of the archive page, followed by links to the individual postings. Please note that the posting pages are protected, and should not be edited.
Star Trek: Continuum Chat With Ira Steven Behr – Sept. 30, 1997
STC: Ted Nichols asks, What is your most embarrassing moment, since you’ve been involved with DS9?
Ira Behr: I guess the most embarrassing moment which has now lasted about six years would have to be the ever-shrinking ratings. At least this used to bother me quite a bit. Actually, now I’ve become perversely attuned to it. I find that DS9 is a cult within a cult… or perhaps “cult” is a bad word in today’s environment… oh well, you know what I mean. Everyone wants to be loved by as many people as possible and it took me a long time to realize that DS9 was not going to be everyone’s taste.
I think TNG proved confusing to all of us. Star Trek suddenly became a mainstream entity where the original series was a fringe show, TNG was much more viewer friendly. It was a very safe, very clean show.
There was no real threat that its characters could not handle. It was, indeed, an easy show to embrace. DS9 has always been quirkier. It doesn’t necessarily make you feel that all is right with the world… it is not Connecticut
STC: Trey asks, I would like to say that I respect and appreciate how you have made DS9 a unique part of the Star Trek Universe. In fact, DS9 was what rekindled my interested in Star Trek. There are many out there, a few of whom I know personally that don’t like the direction that you, the producers have taken this show? Do these kind of opinions discourage you in any way, or do you take it in stride like I do? Thanks for the enjoyable past 5 years!
Ira Behr: I know in the past I’ve said things that have made it sound like I have a contentious relationship with the fans…
I don’t think that’s accurate but I do believe that trying to please the many diverse types of fans that make up the DS9 audience would be a futile task. There are fans that only like the action shows… there are fans that like the Bajoran shows… Fans that like the Klingons shows… Fans that only like the Lesbian Shows
Fans that only like the shows that feature SPAM… There is no way we can please them all. Again this is not like TNG which basically did the same kind of show (i.e.. exploration, exploring strange, new whatevers) each week. So basically, we have to make the decision that we (meaning the writers/producers) are going to guide the show. It doesn’t mean that we don’t want to please the fans, or we don’t hear the fans…
But it does mean that we can’t let the fans unduly influence us because if we did, we run the risk of only doing Lesbian shows and then stations might cancel us
Oh, Ira and His Sense of Humor!!!
STC: WSHart asks, Do you ever get a chance or even care to watch the “competition” like B5 or X-Files or even Voyager — or Herc & Xena?
Ira Behr: The fact is I’d rather read a book or watch a laser disc than watch television. This sounds pretentious, I know but it’s the truth. But if I did watch a TV show, it definitely would not be any of those mentioned above. I spend my life thinking about DS9, science fiction, space opera, whatever you want to call it and watching Herc or Xena is not my idea of relaxing.
STC: Alan Cooper says, I’ve noticed, as you said, that all of the characters on DS9 have gone through massive changes character-wise. Bashir went from somewhat annoying glory hound to a great character and Rom went from being a nobody to being a major character. Were these transitions at all planned or did you feel your way along as you go?
Ira Behr: I don’t know if you can say they were planned… but I do think that from the very beginning of the series, the writers have been very interested in exploring the characters. So, I guess you could say that we do feel our way as we go along but at least we know we’re on a road we want to travel.
STC: Keinbert asks, Do you like Villains more than heroes?
Ira Behr: That’s a little simple. I think I like characters who surprise me and I think DS9 is full of those. The one thing I will say about the Villains of DS9, they’re much more verbal than the heroes which makes them a lot of fun to write. They can spew words with great elan and I sure as hell don’t look like Paul Schaffer… get your eyes checked!
STC: Keinbert asks, How many episodes do you write a year?
Ira Behr: Usually I’ll co-write about eight a year and rewrite a bunch of others without taking credit. This year has been especially busy and I think I’ve written or rewritten six out of the first ten episodes. Of course, I would’ve written more if I didn’t have that Letterman gig.
STC: Chris Fisher asks, You have written many episodes, which are you’re favorite and will you be doing more?
Ira Behr: It’s a tough question… Among those that I have a special fondness for “The Nagus”, “Past Tense”, “Call to Arms” and “Duet”. “Duet” was a rewrite that I did with Peter Allan Fields… it still ranks up there as one of my favorite Star Trek moments.
STC: Alan Cooper asks, Are there any episodes in particular that you wish you could go back and refine further?
Ira Behr: Obviously my first response is: ALL OF THEM
On a TV schedule there’s always room for improvement but if I had to choose one, it would have to be “Let He Who Is Without Sin”, it was supposed to be a show that looked at 24th Century morals and sexuality. We pretty much failed on both counts.
STC: Trey asks, With the Dominion war going on and the crew being separated, does it make it difficult at times to give all the characters enough “Screen Time”?
Ira Behr: Doing the sex episode arc was VERY difficult. Keeping all the characters serviced was a tap dance that seemed to go on forever. But I think the end result is worthwhile. Ultimately it will be the fans that will let us know if it is or not.
STC: Tedd Nichols asks, What is your favorite Motto or Quote?
Ira Behr: It’s from the Beckett novel “The Unnameable”, I can’t go on. You must go on. I’ll go on.
STC: Scott S asks, What are the chances of Rom and Leeta having a child?
Ira Behr: As of two weeks ago, Max Grodenchick and Chase Masterson are still arguing. Whether or not Rom and Leeta have had sex yet. So I think a child is a bit premature. Personally, I’m leaning toward Max’s point of view. Rom may be an idiot but he’s not that big of an idiot
STC: Dax asks, All I have to say is the season premiere was amazing and I hope you have a big wedding planned for Worf and Dax
Ira Behr: Thank you. And indeed we do
STC: Kes asks, Have you ever, or would you ever consider doing a cameo appearance on the show?
Ira Behr: Actually, I play Morn.
Marc Shephard is just an actor I’ve hired to confuse the fans at conventions… but don’t tell anyone… it’s a secret…
STC: LarryN asks, Have you ever dallied with the idea of having Q or even Vash, back on the station? Or any other “old” guest roles?
Ira Behr: I don’t foresee Q being back on the show. To me, his relationship with Picard was gold and I don’t think we can top it. As for Vash, I’d like to see her back but so far inspiration has not struck.
STC: Starfleet7 asks, What is your new book about?
Ira Behr: “Legends of the Ferengi” is a compendium of stories, folklore, songs, articles, obituaries and outright lies that explain and define various Rules of Acquisitions.
Read this book and you may not increase your profit margin (or mine for that matter) but you will smile. And after all, what could be better than a smile!
TRUE, SO TRUE IRA
If you don’t believe me, ask Red Skelton… Oh, you can’t… He’s dead
So I guess you’ll just have to take my word for it
STC: Loctus asks, I just wanted to say that I started watching DS9 in its fourth season and I have been in love ever since. I think you guys are doing a wonderful job and especially you Ira. I personally think that DS9 is better than TNG. Let the insults fly but really you guys do a superb job and I wish you good luck on many more seasons of wonderful shows
Ira Behr: Your insight, wit and superior intellect are beacons that light the darkness that surround so much of our lives here at the end of 20th Century. I know I speak for all of us, not only on Star Trek but at Paramount, Melrose Avenue, Greater Los Angles, Southern California, the Western United States and the United States Postal Service when I say to you…
Good night and God Bless…
Oh no.. That was Red Skelton, not me. I though he was dead.
I must’ve been thinking about Burgess Meredith
STC: Alan Copper asks, Being completely honest, what re the chances of a fan’s script/story idea being used in DS9?
Ira Behr: At this point, DS9 is closed to outside submissions. At best, the show’s only going to go for another year and a half and the backlog is already huge. I know that’s not what you want to hear but I’m afraid that’s where we’re at.
STC: Berserker asks, Is there really an episode about Morn? And will he speak, or will it be some sort of dream thing where he doesn’t talk at all?
Ira Behr: There will be an episode about Morn in which much will be learned about our favorite barfly but you won’t be hearing it from him.
STC: 1hp aks, I love Moogie. Is he coming back this year?
Ira Behr: Moogie will be back this year. Andrea Martin was going to reprise the role but had to drop out at the last minute.
STC: Kinloks V asks, Ira, Thank you so much for spending your valuable time with us here on CONTINUUM! I look forward to this new season of DS9 (It kicks Voyager Butt, BTW!) and want to know if you find it a challenge to make your episodes accessible to a casual viewer who may not know the rich detail and background on the world you’ve created?
Ira Behr: You’ve touched on a problem that has given me pause for the last two years. DS9 can seem daunting to a new viewer. Unlike most TV shows, we do tend to build on what’s come before but I do believe, or at least want to believe, that the individual episodes are entertaining enough to pull a viewer in. Once we get them interested, there are many ways (Videos, Reruns… etc) for them to catch up.
STC: Gleknar asks, How tall are you?
I am a giant who doth bestride the world like a Colossus
STC: Bones1701 asks, Is it just me, or have you purposefully been getting old TOS guest starts on DS9? Like space hippie Adam for the general in Little Green Men?
Ira Behr: We tried to get Robert Walker Jr. This year but he’s not interested in renewing his acting career. I am trying to get Iggy Pop on the show. I know he wasn’t on the original series but I just want to give a plug to Iggy.
After all, Iggy truly does bestride the world like a Colossus. If he does do the show, He’ll be playing a Vorta.
And I, for one, would be very happy
STC: ItsAMystique asks, Ira, Do you intend to beat Jeri Ryan’s three hour plus CONTINUUM chat record? If so let me know so I can order in dinner. Thanks.
Ira Behr: Thank you and drive home safely. I guess this is as good a time to call it quits.
My kids are waiting for me to put them to bed. My wife is waiting to hear me complain about my day.
This has been a real pleasure.
The guys here at Star Trek CONTINUUM have been great. The questions have exceeded my expectations. We hope to give you the best season of DS9 yet. If we fail, it won’t be through lack of trying. So, keep watching… and read a goddam book once in a while (Even if it’s not one of mine)
And finally, yes this is really is me!
STC: We’d like to thank Ira Steven Behr for joining us here tonight. We’re looking forward to the upcoming exciting season of Deep Space Nine!
Thank you all very much for participating in tonight’s special event!
Remember to watch the season premiere of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine this week. Check your local listings for day and time.