What We Left Behind: Looking Back at Star Trek: Deep Space Nine ★★½

I love Deep Space Nine, so this was a fun and endearing watch. What it lacks in originality in its presentation and analysis of the show's legacy, it makes up for it greatly with only the best intentions and interviews of virtually all the cast and writing staff (as well as fans who crowd-funded it), all holding a great love for the show itself, which strings it together nicely.

The framing device is a theoretical opening episode for season eight, proposed by the original writing staff, which is intercut throughout at numerous points. A neat idea that's only sparingly used, a more thorough breakdown of their writing process and the inner workings of the characters would have been a lot more interesting, for me.

The main chunk focuses on the characters of the show, how they relate to the actors who portrayed them; their real-life relationships on set, bleeding into the show through the help of 14-18 hour filming days and extensive make-up. Moving at a constantly amped pace, making for an engaging watch, although meaning that the interviews with certain actors are noticeably more threadbare than others.

Numerous themes from the show are explored and it overall focuses on how much of an oddity DS9 was in terms of its execution in the general TV landscape at the time, also the divide it created within its core audience - in the examination of the ideals and philosophies that were ingrained in Star Trek as a whole from up to that point and its wealth of morally grey dilemmas and characters that made it so interesting and dynamic. (The "anti-trek" or the "middle child" as it's described in the documentary)

Clips of the show are presented in HD, including the entire battle sequence from "The Sacrifice of Angels" probably being the main selling point, which all look glorious; especially showcasing how well-thought-out and lived-in the design of "Deep Space Nine" as a space station still is. The documentary presents the all-encompassing station as allegorical to both the show itself and the cast and crew who worked on it to good effect.

It's about as perfect as a love letter to a TV series as you can get, but ultimately it's hard to recommend this to anyone who isn't a complete
die-hard fan, aside from shedding light on some brief contextual elements to those not familiar with either the show or Star Trek itself. A crowd-funded documentary and it definitely feels that way. For the fans, by the fans.

The very young girl whose favourite part of the show was the Dominion War is my highlight as a whole. Special mention to Marc Alaimo being more of a nutcase than Jeffrey Combs and Andrew J. Robinson put together. Just makes me respect him even more.

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