The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Mother-load is Mine
Star Trek – The Deep Space Nine Companion – Terry J. Erdman, Paula M. Block (2000)
From 1993 until 1999, what I consider the greatest science fiction television show ever aired in syndication in the United States. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (DS9) turned the Star Trek formula upside down. Instead of a ship and crew of high-end achievers exploring the galaxy and encountering a new threat or danger or problem every week, DS9 showed us a flawed Commander and crew who take over a commandeered Cardassian outpost orbiting a small, seemingly inconsequential planet named Bajor. Whereas, in Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) the entire ship was populated by Starfleet personnel and their families, in DS9 the command crew is composed of a mix of Starfleet officers and staff, Bajoran military and government officials, and a whole slew of civilian shopkeepers and workers, not to mention the constant arrival of travelers seeking refueling, repairs, or just some rest and relaxation after a long voyage. Because of this, DS9 was able to tell deeper, more involved stories, sometimes taking years to fully understand.
DS9 began in 1993, as a premium syndication show, meant to be the showpiece of a new network, UPN, now defunct. It aired for 7 years, and because it was a syndicated show sometimes it was moved, pre-empted, or otherwise ignored by the UPN people. DS9 always sought to maintain a sense of continuity between its episodes, but once they began to fully explore serialized storytelling, if became a difficult show to follow if you had missed a few episodes. TNG, on the other hand, told stand-alone episodes, capable of being watched in nearly any order. Watching DS9 out of order would lead to massive confusion! It was a good thing that the people in charge of DS9 knew how special the cast and show were and kept this all in mind as they crafted season after season of amazing science fiction television.
Because of this, Terry Erdman and Paula Block’s book, Star Trek – The Deep Space Nine Companion, is such a favorite among fanatics of DS9. (We call ourselves Niners, BTW) Not only does this heavy tome detail every single episode’s narrative, but it provides countless piles of data and information about the show, including cast members, trivia from behind the scenes, the production teams, and thoughts about each episode from the pertinent cast or crew members involved. It is literally the DS9 bible, and it fetches a fair price on the secondary used book market!
I am a huge fanatic of reference material, and to have such a motherload of data about my all-time favorite television show is so cool. I enjoy the insight provided to me by the cast and crew as they look back on some of the best work they ever did. I look forward to a lifetime of curiosity leading me to dig back into the Deep Space Nine Companion. I highly recommend it, either for yourself if you are a Niner, or as a gift for someone in your life that loves Deep Space Nine.