Synopsis: Ira Steven Behr explores the legacy of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
Review: It’s hard to believe that 20 years have passed since ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’ wrapped its final season of adventures back in 1999. Which is perhaps why the release of this documentary on Amazon Video is so well-timed.
For me Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is in my top three favorites ‘Star Trek’ shows. The series picked up the Bataan from Star Trek: The Next Generation and carried the Star Trek Universe into some of the most progressive storytelling it had ever attempted. So it is only right that we get this celebration of the series now. Although I am sure that there is a group of Trek fans out there that will disagree with me, which is perfectly fine.
‘What We Left Behind’ is a wonderful celebration of the troubled teenage years of Star Trek. In Deep Space Nine we had a show that took Gene Roddenberry’s philosophy and Utopian idea of the future and gave them a blast of reality and conflict. It was a jolting experience for many ‘Star Trek’ fans who had followed the more utopian ideals expressed in The Original series and ‘Next Generation’ in that it gave us the most human of the Star Trek shows. We got flawed characters, political intrigue, philosophical conversations about religion and much much more. It also caused a bit of conflict between Ira Steven Behr and Rick Berman. Behr was a progressive writer looking to push the envelope and take Star Trek into the future. Berman was head of all the Star Trek series that were airing at that point in time and a staunch defender of Gene Roddenberry’s vision to a point where he worried about how dark and edgy DS9 was.
This documentary lifts the lid on Behr and Berman’s working relationship to a point where we see the two men reflect back on some of the debates they had when it came to moving the story forward on DS9. And Berman admits that with the hindsight of 20 – years. Behr made the right calls as the head writer for DS9.
We also learn about the circumstances, which sadly drove Terry Farrell to leave the series in season six of the show. In an emotional scene. Terry recalls how she saw it to her fellow cast members and how upset she was at the decision to kill Jadzia Dax off. We also get input from the producers that were involved at the time.
For me though. It was the writer’s room section of this documentary that made me smile. In this segment we see Ira Steven Behr reunite with Ron D. Moore, Robert Hewitt Wolfe, Hans Beimler, and René Echevarria. Together they continue the story of Deep Space Nine 20 years on from ‘What We Leave Behind’ and watching them spitball story and character developments was an absolute joy and just made me want to see them go on to produce a new series continuing the story. Please powers that be. Spin this off from Star Trek: Picard. Do something, because the story they crafted was awesome.
The documentary features interviews with all the cast members as well as those behind the scenes. We get fun stories from Michael Dorn about how Colm Meaney would complain about sitting in the make-up chair for five minutes, and how he took a great deal of joy out of Meaney’s protestation about having to wear the Klingon make-up for the episode where Sisko and the crew had to pretend to be Klingons.
We also get Nana Visitor talking about what attracted her to the role of Kira and how well written she felt the female characters were on the show.
Overall. ‘What We Left Behind’ is a wonderful documentary that I am very likely to revisit. But before I do. I plan to revisit DS9 and write a few retro reviews of the series for scifipulse.net as part of the build-up to the launch of Star Trek: Picard, which we hope can be the boost that modern Star Trek needs.
If you’re a fan of Deep Space Nine and haven’t seen this film. Then don’t delay any further watch it now. It’s brilliant fun and somewhat emotional to see all the actors and writers back together in this way. It also illustrates how a Star Trek series should be done. So hopefully Alex Kurtzman has taken some notes from this.