Command never looked so good
My friend Ankhesen, a devout Trekkie, introduced me to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine earlier this year. Over the summer, I Netflix’d the entire series; seven years’ worth of episodes and had a mammoth sci-fi/fantasy marathon. This marathon included the Twilight Zone, the Outer Limits, Thriller & Night Gallery, but more on those shows later. Anyhoo, I’m a fan of TOS & TNG, but never gave DS9 any thought until Ankh showed me a few episodes. And I fell madly in love with Captain Benjamin Sisko and bought the entire 7-season series for a great price at Cheqoot.com.
Before I express my admiration and lust love for the sexy Captain Sisko, I should provide you some context. Deep Space Nine is the best of the Trek shows I’ve seen, and Ankh assures me that it’s the best of the entire lot. The writing is top notch, as is the acting, directing, editing and set designs. There are also strong female characters; these women fight, command starships & freighters, govern planets, and act as spies. One is a former terrorist and another is an intergalactic warlord. The show tackled issues of racism, sexism, faith, religion, slavery and corruption, as well as other hot-button topics. It’s a very dark show; the series spends nearly five years on an epic war with the Federation and its allies battling a hardcore violent faction known as the Dominion (which is run by a badass changeling chick I call Gertrude). You see the Federation get their asses kicked on a regular basis; Starfleet vessels are routinely destroyed and people murdered. The series finale contains a grisly scene in which three men are standing amid a pile of rubble and dead bodies. DS9 is not idealistic like TOS & TNG; you see real shit happening in this show and there are parallels as well as portents to our own society.
Sisko; seasons 1-3
The only real drawback is the costume/wardrobe department, who should have had their asses kicked from here to Jupiter for the hot fire mess that was DS9’s apparel. They had a real opportunity to do some really fantastic things with character attire, but failed miserably. I can only assume that the producers chose to put the money into the writing & directing and left a bare minimum for wardrobe. There is absolutely no reason for anyone in the 24th century to look this damn hideous:
Jake typically looked like a pack of crayons
I mean, for real. But I should point out that it was usually the human outfits that were ugly. They got things right with most of the other races (especially the Klingons). There was also the ridiculousness of Starfleet officers clearly being off duty and still attired in those hot-ass uniforms. As if! You see Captain Sisko (who is also an architect and chef) cooking elaborate meals while still wearing his Starfleet uni. *snorts* I call bullshit.
DS9 introduces us to a wonderful cast of characters that include Ferengi, Klingons, Trills,
Breen, Romulans, Bajorans, Cardassians, and changelings. The star of the show, however, is a man named Benjamin Sisko, captain of the space station. Captain Sisko is portrayed by the excellent actor Avery Brooks. The show starts with Sisko as a grieving husband and loving father who is duty-bound to take over a raggedy Bajoran space station. He has a wonderful relationship with his son Jake; there are plenty of hugs, kisses and adventures between them. It’s rare to see a black man in such a positive role, and I relished every second of it.
Sisko is an honorable, ethical guy who is devoted to his son, dedicated to his career as a Starfleet officer, and is the voice of the Prophets, the Bajoran gods. He has a commanding presence and is highly respected by everyone he encounters, especially his enemies. I liked him a lot in Seasons 1-3, but fell in love with him at the start of Season 4. This is when the war between the Federation & the Dominion heated up and the show’s writers kicked the storytelling into high gear. It is also when Avery Brooks, who spent the first three seasons with hair on his head and not on his face, decided to go bald and goateed; a look I find intensely attractive. It gave his character a powerful edge; an extra marvelous oomph! that made me pay close attention every time Sisko was on the screen. Which, for the most part, was nearly all the time.
Sisko; seasons 4-7.
But the captain isn’t perfect; he sacrifices much for peace, including his own happiness and self-respect. He violates orders, lies, cheats, bribes others, and is an accessory to murder, among other things. He even becomes a Klingon to accomplish a mission (but this is NOT a bad thing; Klingons are fucking awesome). But this made Sisko more appealing to me because he’s flawed just like any other person. It gave him a depth that I haven’t seen in any other Starfleet captain and made DS9 that much better.
Sisko also has some of the best lines in the show. Here are a few of my favorites:
“So, I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all…I think I can live with it. And if I had to do it all over again, I would. Garak was right about one thing: A guilty conscience is a small price to pay for the safety of the Alpha Quadrant. So I will learn to live with it.” –In the Pale Moonlight, Season 6
“Brag all you want, but don’t get between me and the bloodwine!” –Apocalypse Rising, Season 3 (He’s a Klingon in this episode)
“Haven’t you seen a Klingon before?”
“Kasidy Yates, where are you going?” –For the Cause, Season 4 (Kasidy is Sisko’s boo)
“It’s not every day that you meet the girl you’re going to marry.” –Emissary, Season 1
“You betrayed your uniform!” –For the Uniform, Season 5
“He played me all right. And what is my excuse? Is he a Changeling? No! Is he a being with seven lifetimes of experience? No! Is he a wormhole alien? No! He’s just a man, like me – arrgh! And he beat me!” –For the Uniform, Season 5
“Go on! Shoot me!”
“Do you know what the trouble is? The trouble is Earth. 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.” –The Maquis, part 2, Season 3
I could go on, but you get the idea. Captain Benjamin Sisko is The Man. More television shows should be bold enough to have characters like him, and write shows with as much depth and realism as Deep Space Nine. It would certainly be a massive improvement to the dreck that inundates current TV. Heaven knows I’d start watching it again.