Thoughts on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as a Commentary on Present Day Issues

The times they are a-changin’.

This post seems to be older than 13 years—a long time on the internet. It might be outdated.

I’m just over 80 episodes into Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and there’s a couple of episodes that I think people should watch because they offer a really great commentary on what I see in America today.

To me:

  • Duet is about a persons right to have a fair trial, no matter where they came from or what they did. It echoes some of my feelings about Guantanamo Bay detention camp. I also recommend listening to NPR’s This American Life: Habeas Schmabeas 2007.
  • In the Hands of the Prophets is about Christians demanding that religion be taught in schools and/or decrying the teaching of evolution.
  • Homefront and Paradise Lost are about power, fear, and control. They are about what happens when something you love so much (freedom and America) are taken away from you because a few people threaten you. It’s not a perfect analogy, yet there are definitely a lot of parallels to what has happened over the last six and half years. I think the best quote comes at the end: “If the Changelings want to destroy what we’ve built here, they’re going to have to do it themselves. We will not do it for them.” – Benjamin Sisko. Now, replace Changelings with terrorists.

What I think is interesting is that these episodes are about 12 years old. I don’t think the writers intended this as a commentary on the current events of the time. Yet, somehow, twelve years after their air dates, these shows provide such a great reflection of the current times!

Other thoughts I’m going to throw in:

  • There are a surprisingly large number of sci-fi TV shows with episodes named “Paradise Lost”.
  • I am now 51.59% the way through all the Star Trek episodes/movies made.
  • I have seen 372 episodes/movies with 364 (actually, 365 if you count the upcoming Star Trek movie) left.
  • I have watched about 286 hours of Star Trek thus far in this project.

5 thoughts on “Thoughts on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as a Commentary on Present Day Issues”

  1. Pingback: SciFi Observer » Sci-Fi NewsStream 3/31/08

  2. Yep, I too am often reminded of DS9 when looking at the events of today. Watched the whole series several times over. Only Trek I really got into. I sometimes wonder how much my pick for President is influenced by my preference of DS9 over its two peers. 🙂

  3. DS9 is amazing deep for a show. I used to think (when I was young) that season 3 was when the show got good, but there are phenomenal episodes in Season 1 (like Duet), and most of Season 2 was excellent. I actually found season 3 to be disappointing, except for Tain’s appearance (one of my favorites).

    Sure, In the Hands of the Prophets can be looked at that way, but even then you see Winn is just using it as a pretext to accomplish a selfish agenda. Plus, be careful, for those of a different worldview, the religion of “global warming” and of naturalism being crammed down our kid’s throats, and Winn representing scientists like Dawkins wouldn’t be too far a stretch either…

    I’m just saying… be careful of the world view you throw at interpretations … that’s all 🙂

    Wait until you get to Section 31. Wow.. there are potential parallels there too! Especially with what they try w/ … I won’t spoil it for you. But seriously, wait until you see those parallels!

    The other great stuff — at what level is xenophobia tolerable (Bajorans w/ the Schreea), another cultures ways inviolate (I am taask), etc..

    The great thing is the writers wrote real stories, and for the most part avoided the agenda based garbage that Enterprise had. This ultimatately allows the shows to be more interesting, instructive and useful — because they have applications to life their writers never imagined.


  4. @Sean:

    You’re right that In the Hands of the Prophets can be seen from many different angles and Dawkins wouldn’t be a far stretch. I used the example I did because because it seems that fundamentalists Christians† are always the ones trying to force religion into schools

    Don’t worry, I’ve actually seen most of the last few seasons of DS9 when they aired for the first time on TV. In fact, the SSID of my WiFi network used to be “Section31” before I changed it to “FergNet”. Also, when I wrote satire articles for our school newspaper, I used the pseudonym “Luther Sloan“.

    Ron Moore is pretty awesome, that’s all I have to say.

    † Although I am Christian, I’m not crazy.

  5. Out of curiousity, what is a crazy Christian?

    Thanks, I didn’t notice Ron Moore as an author per say.

    Two more series (that got cancelled long before their time) that were excellent: Firefly, Space Above and Beyond …

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