Story: The authors go behind the scenes of the first two seasons of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, talking extensively with producers, writers, designers, make-up artists, special effects technicians, oh, and actors too – from the original premise and character lineup to the changes that were made and why they were made, touching on every step of the production process along the way.
Review: It’s rather ironic that the most poorly-marketed Star Trek spinoff (with the possible exception of Enterprise) has turned out to be the best documented one. Paramount initially threw tons of money at the launch of Deep Space Nine, and then backed off – there was a new Trek movie to promote, as well as yet another spinoff series upon which an entire network, and not just syndicated advertising profits, would be riding. From about the middle of year 2 onward, DS9 got the short end of the Star Trek stick.
Not that you could tell that from the effort put into the series. This book walks you through the process of creating the stories that made their way to the screen, and indeed the process of creating the whole series. Combined with the outstanding “Deep Space Nine Companion”, “The Making Of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” does an outstanding job of covering the show’s gestation, and gives a nicely detailed – but not bafflingly technical – overview of how everything’s done, from pitching a new series concept to putting starships on the screen complete with glowing engines and windows and the like.
There have been many excellent books written about the making of the various Star Trek series, and this one is written by the two people who have proven they’re on top of that particular game. Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens turn the technical into the comprehensible, it’s all very user-friendly, and there’s little or no editorializing, even when the subject of “rival” shows such as the then-new Babylon 5 is brought up. Truth be told, user-friendly is probably underselling it – there’s a gentle good humor to the proceedings that doesn’t get in the way of the subject matter, and interviews especially benefit from this.
And what does one learn in this book? That the fans aren’t alone – DS9 was a labor of love for the folks behind the scenes too. One gets a sense that somehow, this was the one chance that these people had to truly make their own contributions to Star Trek. Gene Roddenberry didn’t hand them the blueprint, UPN wasn’t around to impose its own demands on the format – for Michael Piller, Rick Berman, Herman Zimmerman, Michael Westmore, Mike Okuda and everyone else, this was their one shot, and they were more than up for the challenge. In retrospect, it may be a blessing that Paramount ignored Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – because without the amount of corporate oversight that shaped and reshaped Voyager, Deep Space Nine continued to be the show that these people wanted to make, without much interference.
I highly recommend this book – alongside Terry J. Erdmann’s “Deep Space Nine Companion”, it really raises the bar on “the making of…” books.
Authors: Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens
Publisher: Pocket Books