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Friday, 22 February 2008 08:10

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

The original strapline for this series was "It Waits" ...

 

USA - 1993-99 - 176 episodes (60 mins) - colour

With the original Star Trek described as "Wagon Train to the Stars", Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was suggested as "The Rifleman in Space", rooted in place rather than traveling through the uncharted wilds.

In this instance the frontier settlement became a recently abandoned Cardassian space station, taken over by the Federation upon request of the Bajoran government after withdrawal of Cardassian Occupation. Put under the command of Benjamin Sisko, a Starfleet Captain damaged by his past and initially unenthusiastic of his new responsibility, DS9 is discovered to be at the mouth of a previously dormant wormhole allowing instant access to the distant Gamma Quadrant of space. As a consequence, Deep Space Nine soon became the most strategic outpost in Federation space.

Evolving over time into a darker, richly complex and adult side to Star Trek's optimistic view of the universe, the multi-cultural setting of Deep Space Nine, more importantly sidestepped Gene Roddenberry's binding restriction that humans had worked out their petty differences, allowing actual conflict amongst the characters to create better drama.

With the addition of the starship Defiant allowing the crew to extend their range, and Commander Worf (Michael Dorn) joining the crew from the Next Generation's Enterprise, Deep Space Nine established a number of lengthy and complex story arcs to create a welcome mix of political intrigue, power plays and galactic wars amongst alien races; the Klingons, Romulans and Cardassians inherited from previous shows, and the shape-shifting Founders and Jem'Hadar that made up the Dominion Empire from the Gamma Quadrant.


REGULAR CAST
Avery Brooks as Benjamin Sisko
Rene Auberjonois as Odo
Nana Visitor as Kira Nerys
Alexander Siddig as Dr Julian Bashir
Colm Meaney as Miles O'Brien
Armin Shimerman as Quark
Terry Farrell as Jadzia Dax
Cirroc Lofton as Jake Sisko
Michael Dorn as Worf
Nicole deBoer as Ezri Dax

 

Posted in Series Formats
Friday, 22 February 2008 07:54

Lost In Space

Played for drama in monochrome, for laughs in colour ...

 

USA - 1965-68 - 83 episodes (60 mins) - B&W/colour

With the space race between the Americans and the Russians reaching fever pitch, producer Irwin Allen looked to the stars for his follow up to the successful Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. A furturistic reworking of "The Swiss Family Robinson", Lost in Space charted the adventures of the Robinson family, selected to pilot the Jupiter 2 spacecraft from an overpopulated Earth to the new world of Alpha Centauri. When the ship is sabotaged by an enemy agent who has been trapped onboard, the family find themselves marooned on an unfamiliar world, deep in uncharted space. Helped by their sophisticated robot, and hindered by the back-sliding Doctor Smith (Jonathan Harris), the crew set about exploring their strange new home.

After a successful first season, the show found itself up against Batman in the schedules, and thus Irwin Allen altered the original concept to emulate the opposition's format, taking Lost in Space from a suspenseful action adventure to camp comedy, moving away from focusing on the family as a whole to concentrate on the mismatched, comedic relationship between Doctor Smith, Will Robinson (Billy Mumy) and the Robot. For the third year, with the arrival of Star Trek, the once land-locked Jupiter 2 was again able to travel to new worlds, allowing the Robinson family to escape their planet and venture out amongst the stars once again.

The most successful of Irwin Allen's quartet of science fiction series, the show's demise came not from declining ratings but Allen's unwillingness to accept budget cuts for a fourth year, leaving the Robinson's lost in space for good.

 

REGULAR CAST
Guy Williams as Professor John Robinson
June Lockhart as Doctor Maureen Robinson
Mark Goddard as Major Don West
Marta Kristen as Judy Robinson
Angela Cartwright as Penny Robinson
Billy Mumy as Will Robinson
Jonathan Harris as Doctor Zachary Smith
Dick Tufeld as the voice of the Robot

Posted in Series Formats
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