DS9 Was OP

Alright, as you may have noticed over there on the Facebook page, this week is Star Trek week, that means I will be releasing a post ever day this week {Monday through Friday} which will contain something related to Star Trek and a sort of internal revelation I had regarding the series. As Star Trek, Internet Culture, and World of Warcraft (specifically Feral Druids) happen to be the three areas I feel confident in speaking in, I consider myself a sort of Subject Matter expert. It is because of this that I get to make wild assertions in what is not actually a field of study and pretend that they have value to outsiders.

But without further delay, let’s begin a presentation of weird things I’ve derived from watching Star Trek:

DS9 Characters were hacking

Alright, so Deep Space 9 was the third installment in the Star Trek franchise [4th if you happen to accept the animated adventures (Which you don’t)]. It was a chance for Star Trek to get a much darker tone as the script was pretty much stolen from Babylon 5 (Go ahead tell me those shows don’t smell similar). The long and short of this is that DS9 features a lot of character traits in its characters that you just don’t tend to see elsewhere.

In previous and later incarnations of Star Trek, while the characters were unique, they certainly weren’t all that God like. In fact, they tried to keep it to one super powered character per series (with TNG being a sort of exception). The Original Series had Spock, who was the first Vulcan [half vulcan] in star fleet, but past that, the crew itself was rather unremarkable. I mean, they would go on to have these huge accomplishments, but Kirk wasn’t all that much better than any other Starfleet captain, he just happened to get stuff that had him in the history book. On TNG we had our stereotypical “1 new race for starfleet” with Worf representing the first Klingon, our Overpowered player [1] came in the form of Data who was  considerably out of league with the rest of the in Universe characters.

Some might suggest that Wesley be added in addition to Data as a character that performs outside of the bounds of in universe expectations, but honestly Wesely didn’t do all that well in a number of areas. Hell, the child nearly flunked out of Starfleet Academy [something our boy Nog didn’t do]. Voyager has it’s share of characters using some OP hacks, coming from the 7 of 9 corner of things, but past that the rest of the crew is spectacularly mundane. So let’s compare these players to Ds9’s crew.

Captain Sisko – God of the Bajoran People

Captain SiskoAlright, so let’s start this parade off with the commander and later captain of our little space station. Captain Sisko is a man who blooms from your average and every day officer whose life was ruined at Wolf 359 to an instrumental figure not only in Federation History, but the tales and legends of a significant race within Star Trek lore (namely the Bajorans). And while Picard may have found himself being viewed as a god by a bunch of adobe hut dwelling, rock chucking morons, Sisko had the distinct honor of actually being a GOD. Well, the show likes to play it off as if he was simply the emissary to the prophets, but the truth of the matter is that in the end it was his actions that made the whole of Bajoran history keep on turning.

And if the whole Bajoran god thing wasn’t enough, the man also happened to be commanding the most pivotal station in the Federation. The Enterprise may have been an important ship, but do you really think that Starfleet would assemble 900 ships with the sole purpose of recapturing her? Given how many Galaxy class starships I saw explode throughout the various series, I don’t think so.

Captain Sisko:

  • Bajoran Emissary to the Prophets
  • Commanding officer of the single most important starbase in Federation Space for 5 years
  • Son of an actual Prophet
  • Oh… Designed one of the early Federation Warships (or its heavily implied he was behind the Defiant’s construction), so Ship Designer
  • Tactical Commander during a significant portion of the Federation and Dominion War
Garak, Child of the Obsidian Order

What now?In case the main cast wasn’t good enough, let’s get started with the fan favorite here: Garak. Garak was introduced early in the show as a simple tailor who had been left behind by his fellow Cardassians. The show progressively went on to highlight that he was much more than a man who could hem suits, in fact he may have well been the single most over powered character in this series next to Sisko.

You see, as Garak evolved, he simply picked up more in universe super powers. It started off incredibly simple “Oh he was a spy”, slowly spiking to “Oh, he is one of the heroes who retook Cardassia”. I’d say that sure as hell beats a telepathic 3-year-old and her garbage scowl operating lover for side characters.

Garak:

  • Son of Enabran Tain, head of the Obsidian Order
  • High Ranking member [possibly second in command] of the Obsidian Order
  • Professional Assassin and Spy
  • Professional Tailor (just for shits and giggles)
  • One of the 3 leaders / Advisers of the Cardassian revolt against the dominion.
Julian Bashir – IRL James Bond

Dr. GodAlright, so the Captain is practically God, the station Tailor may or may not have been one of the puppet masters for the most powerful spy organization in the alpha quadrant, surely other members of the cast could be portrayed as much more mundane? Try again, the station Doctor doesn’t even start off with any sort of “not OP” he just rushes right into it. In the first season we are told that Bashir was the top of his class at the academy (Haven’t heard Crusher, McCoy, or Phlox ever even think of that one). And that’s just the easy mode.

As the character is fleshed out more, it turns out that not only was he top of his class, he is one of 5 genetically enhanced humans [more, but the only ones the show demonstrates] that operate in the Federation. He is literally James Bond with enhanced physical and mental capabilities. Shit, he just solves plagues because he’s bored. Section 31 even thought about bringing him on board.

Julian Bashir

  • Top of the class Starfleet Doctor
  • Genetically Modified Bad ass
  • Able to out wit key officials within Section 31
  • Essentially the James Bond of Star Trek
Quark – Mostly his family

A ferengiAlright, so James Bond, that’s not really so much. As much as the show absolutely makes fun of Quark for being the average Ferengi that he is (only owning a bar) he can’t possibly be all that special in the Star Trek Universe. And for once, you might actually be right, Quark is a pretty average Ferengi in the scheme of things… if it weren’t for the fact that every member of his family that we meet isn’t.

Let’s take for example his nephew, the first Ferengi to ever join starfleet. Or lets take his mother, the leader of the Ferengi woman’s rights movement. The man may not be excelling in his own right, but he is now technically the son of the Grand Nagus of Ferenginar [excusing the fact that it was DS9 who created that character in the first place].

Quark:

  • Nephew is the first Ferengi in Starfleet
  • Mother marries the Grand Nagus
  • Mother leads a Ferengi Civil Rights movement
Odo – Ze Shapeshifter

Odo on Purple Background So, who cares if the rest of the crew is incredibly pivotal in the advancement of most of the major species in the Star Trek Universe, I mean it’s not as if there is actually a crew member who genuinely has superhuman powers… OH WAIT. That’s right, to round off the cast, there is the ever-present Odo who serves as the chief of security and changeling bad ass.

Odo was introduced almost immediately as a Shapeshift, and it only got better as the series went on. He went from being a unique shapeshifter, to being the only member of his race that fought for the Federation. Suck on that TNG and Worf.

Odo:

  • Shapeshifter
  • Only member of his race to return after being sent out
  • Disease vector which was almost responsible for wiping his race out

I drone

I could carry on at this pace for a while, but the truth of the matter is that nearly everyone in the DS9 franchise is reeking of a bit of Mary Sue [2]. I mean, don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of other Trek series that have their characters doing some over the top things, but they aren’t inherently Mary Sue. Tom Paris was a great pilot, but he wasn’t the single best pilot in all of the Universe, he was just really good. Hell Riker and Picard were both lauded as great pilots on a number of occasions [Picard even invented a maneuver all his own].

The point of the matter is that while other Trek series characters do have their moments, they are not consistently “amazing” within their own universe. There are times like any other that you wouldn’t really pick them out of the room. And in the event that you did pick them out DS9 stole those characters anyway [Worf].

The reason for this is probably because in a lot of ways Ds9 looks and smells like Babylon 5, and part of Babylon 5’s formula was that everyone on that Space Station was suffering from a severe case of hidden bad ass (except Londo, he just suffered from a severe case of ass). Because of this mimicry,  I think DS9 inherits a lot of this “All characters must be heroes”.

In addition, DS9 got to stay in one place as opposed to Voyager, TNG, TOS, and Enterprise which were constantly moseying about the universe. As such, it got a chance to really develop the species it was dealing with. It didn’t have to deal with the “Flavor of the Week” species every time it turned around, forcing the writers to make the characters interacting with those various species more and more important.

The end result is a lot of characters that are just “Super Hereos” in terms of the Star Trek Universe, with Garak at least being Batman.

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One Response to DS9 Was OP

  1. Brian says:

    Bashir might be super smart, but he sucks at saving the non-important people. I think someone died on just about every episode during the first season. He’s a good character, but frankly as a doctor he is a bit lacking. Honestly in terms of a character “the doctor” from Voyager is much better in my opinion.

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