If there was ever a way to gauge how passionately fans of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine were willing to go to bat for a series that remains something of the bastard stepchild of the franchise, all one had to do was promise a documentary interviewing all of the major players, and then crowdfund that documentary. Then you just sit back and watch how many of the stretch goals go whizzing by as the production is funded.
One of those stretch goals was to hire the original composer of the Deep Space Nine theme and most of the series’ episodes, Dennis McCarthy, to score the documentary, What We Left Behind. McCarthy was not only game for returning to the Star Trek universe, but he brought with him Kevin Kiner, a frequent collaborator from McCarthy’s years providing music for the ratings-challenged, budget-addled Star Trek: Enterprise. As that show’s music budget was repeatedly slashed, McCarthy would lean on Kiner to bring the music to life electronically, since the money for an orchestra was no longer necessarily on the table. By the time McCarthy brought Kiner in the perform much the same function on What We Left Behind, Kiner was a composer in his own right, having scored nearly the entirety of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, numerous early episodes of Stargate SG-1, and a second animated series, Star Wars: Rebels.
There’s one component of the documentary where bringing McCarthy back into the fold really pays major dividends. The show’s storied writers’ room is reassembled – a room now made not of rookie TV writers, but of high-powered Hollywood showrunners in their own right – with their old boss, Ira Steven Behr (also the frequent narrator/muse of the documentary), to break down the story for an entirely hypothetical season 8 premiere. As they devise the story, it’s brought to life by artwork and by McCarthy’s music, which is authentic as one could get without actually digging up McCarthy’s 1990s session tapes. The result is an authentic Deep Space Nine story with authentic Deep Space Nine music, one of the highlights of the whole project. In a few other cases, McCarthy ends up rescoring scenes he originally scored in the ’90s. With Kiner’s considerable skill at electronically recreating orchestral bombast, the results are genuinely thrilling.
McCarthy and Kiner bring more modern sensibilities to tracks like “Mr. Brooks”, “Killing Will Robinson”, and “Racial Inequalities”. From the jauntiness to the electronic percussion elements of these tracks, there’s a clear musical dividing line between “documentary” and “breaking the story for an unmade season 8 premiere”.
The all-star barbershop quartet of DS9 veterans – Casey Biggs, Jeffrey Combs, Armin Shimerman, and Max Grodenchik – also appear on the soundtrack with their renditions of classic standards (now with Deep-Space-Nine-inspired lyrics, i.e. “I Left My Quark And Captain Sisko” to the tune of “I Left My Heart In San Francisco”). These interludes were a highlight of a documentary that tried very hard to give the impression that it wasn’t taking itself too seriously, and is an extension of Biggs’ and Grodenchik’s convention party piece. (It’s especially nice to have these songs handy in a year where conventions have abruptly become as much a distant memory as the show itself.)
So if you were wondering why you should bother with a soundtrack that isn’t even from one of the Star Trek series, but rather a documentary about that series, it’s pretty simple: by bringing Dennis McCarthy and Kevin Kiner back into the Trek universe, the result is something that earns its place alongside the music from the series itself. Much like the entirely hypothetical season 8 premiere, it’s a tantalizing glimpse into a Star Trek tale that could’ve kept on going.
- Main Title (0:12)
- Through A Glass Darkly (0:57)
- I Left My Quark and Captain Sisko (2:10)
- Reunion (2:40)
- Big Space / Fun Voyages (0:37)
- Mr. Brooks (3:03)
- Concept Art / Production Design (2:47)
- Actor Interaction / DS9 Renaissance / Promise to be Back (3:05)
- Writers Intro / New Episode (4:58)
- Explosion (1:33)
- Evolving Characters I / Friendship to Romance (1:32)
- Grey Character (2:54)
- Evolving Characters II / Recurring Characters (1:46)
- Killing Will Robinson (2:29)
- Galactic War Saga / Sacrifice of Angels (3:04)
- Writers’ Room I (2:48)
- Haven’t Advanced Much (1:33)
- Racial Inequalities (1:45)
- Writers’ Room II (2:30)
- Action Barbie / Being Heard (3:03)
- Intro Ezri (1:28)
- Bashir (1:16)
- The Cost of War (1:16)
- Real World Issues (2:53)
- Section 31 (3:49)
- Finale (5:58)
- What We Left Behind (Vocal) (2:48)
- In Memorium (0:43)
- End Credits (3:12)
- DS9 Rocks (1:29)
- What We Left Behind Trailer (2:27)
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Main Title for Solo Piano “After 3:00 AM at Quarks” (5:09)
Released by: BSX Records
Release date: October 11, 2019
Total running time: 1:17:54