ST:DS9 documentary shouldn’t be left behind

Imagination Connoisseur, Eric Gant, shares his enthusiasm for the documentary about STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE, “What We Left Behind” with the Post-Geek Singularity.

Greetings, O Emissary Of Imaginative Empowerment!

The recent debut of Lower Decks has had a curious side effect: It has ramped up my desire to revisit some of my favorite Trek films and shows. With that being said, I just watched the Deep Space Nine documentary, “What We Left Behind,” and all I can say is WOW! This thing was a joy to watch!

For starters, the documentary include several excellent and often emotional interviews with the cast & crew. Watching them, it quickly becomes apparent that these folks actually loved the work they were doing, and were deeply invested in the portrayal of the characters they brought to life & the story they were telling.

The interviews provide some eye opening & often humorous insight into the behind the scenes development of the series, motivation of the actors, and interpersonal relationships between the characters.

For example, I’ve often marveled at the nuance and complexity Marc Alaimo brought to his role as Gul Dukat. Unarguably a bad guy with a Jesus complex, Dukat was given depth by his own twisted vision of himself as an unappreciated, visionary hero and would-be savior. Most of the time, we’re convinced that in his eyes, he’s The Good Guy. But sprinkled throughout the series, we’re also given hints that despite his best efforts, Dukat can’t fully trick himself into believing his own false narrative. We’re often left wondering whether or not he recognizes what a monster he is, and if on some level, he actually revels in his own evil.

As it turns out, part of this is a reflection of how Alaimo viewed himself as an actor during the production. During an interview between him and the show runner, he admits that he saw himself as a prodigy, and that he often felt resentment that his talent was unacknowleged and unappreciated.

And then, there’s the amazing friction between Alaimo’s Dukat & Kira, played by Nana Visitor. Kiras views Dukat with undisguised hatred and contempt, Dukat sees her attitude as an attempt to deny her subconscious respect, admiration, and thinly veiled sexual attraction towards him.

As it turns out, this too seems to have been rooted in reality. In one interview, Alaimo reveals that he had the hots for Nana Visitor in real life. Cut to an interview featuring Visitor, and she recounts a prank involving a fake script that had her character hooking up with Dukat. Recalling the incident, she angrily exclaims “There is no way in HELL that I would sleep with Marc Alaimo!” As the cast around her erupts in laughter, she quickly amends, “I mean DUKAT.”

And did you know that Avery Brooks and the show runners wanted to portray Sisko as a bald, goateed character from day one? The producers were strongly against it, feeling that the look was “too street” for Star Trek, and only relented on the matter in season four.

The documentary also includes an amazing segment in which the writers reunite for a brainstorming session in which they map out a hypothetical opening episode for an eighth season of Deep Space Nine. Watching how easily they fall back into the world of DS9, and how fluidly they bounce ideas off of one another is fascinating. With grace and style, they effortlessly craft an episode that takes place roughly 20 years after the conclusion of season seven. The story is filled with so much heart, action, and intrigue that I was genuinely saddened by the fact that it will never come to be.

Last but not least, there is a jaw-dropping, remastered space battle scene that is a wonder to behold. Seeing the Defiant weaving in and out of clusters of Cardassian battleships and Klingon Vor’Cha class cruisers, all crisply rendered and intricately detailed, is pure eye-candy. I swear, if by some miracle a remastered box set was released, I’d buy the hell out of it.

Anyway, I STRONGLY recommend that all fans of DS9 check out the documentary. You can catch it streaming from many of the usual sites, or better yet, you can grab the truly excellent Blu Ray produced by Shout! Factory.

Speaking of Shout! Factory, they’ve also produced a Blu Ray for a little film called “The Hills Run Red.” Perhaps you’ve heard of it?
It’s loaded with hours of special features, including Original Audio Commentary with Director Dave Parker, Writer David J. Schow and Producer Robert Meyer Burnett.

Thank you for taking the time to read my letter, Rob. LLAP.

-Eric

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