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Far Beyond the Stars


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"Far Beyond the Stars" is a season six episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

From Wiki:

"Benjamin Sisko considers leaving Starfleet, but before he makes a decision, a vision from the Prophets shows him as Benny Russell, an African-American science fiction writer on Earth in the 1950s. Julian Bashir recognizes Sisko shows the same synaptic potentials as he had when he had visions a year ago (in the episode "Rapture").

Benny Russell writes for Incredible Tales, where his colleagues are human versions of Sisko's subordinates, including: Herbert Rossoff (Quark), who often threatened to quit; Julius Eaton (Julian Bashir), considered to be maudlin in his writing; Kay Eaton (Kira Nerys); Albert (Miles O'Brien) who prefers to write stories about robots.

Pabst (Odo), the editor of the magazine, announces photo day and Kay Eaton takes the hint that she should not show up that day so that the readers don't learn she's a woman. Benny Russell also realizes he's not expected to show up for photos either, but he is appalled.

Russell is inspired to write a story about a U.S. Air Force space station called "Deep Space Nine", whose commanding officer is the African-American Benjamin Sisko. The other writers like the story, but Pabst is hesitant to publish it. At length Russell convinces Pabst, but Pabst's boss does not like the story. The whole month's run of the magazine is scrapped (though the printer is presumably still paid).

Angry over the news of the scrapping, Russell has a nervous breakdown and is taken by an ambulance. Benjamin Sisko wakes up, to the relief of his father and his son."

My problem with this episode is that it is the first time that Star Trek deals with human racism. This was something that Roddenberry didn't want as an issue, since the original enterprise crew basically represented a member of the Earths largest ethnic groups. (Russian, Asian, American/European, African) It was never supposed to be an issue. But in DS9, the first show with a Black captain they decide to throw this in.

It isn't that racism has never been an issue in Star Trek, in fact Star Trek VI deals with racism in general pertty well when the Enterprise is faced with the job of escorting Klingons to peace talks. Not too mention on The Next Generation the blood hated between Romulans and Klingons, Romulans and Humans, Romulans and Vulcans (Romulans and anyone really, they hate everyone). The line from the season one TNG episode "The Neutral Zone" comes to mind "sir, these are romulans. They think that humans and kilgons are a waste of skin!"

However despite that DS9 had to break this to focus on human racial discrimination by giving Sisko these visions. In a time where Earth has eliminated such things, has eliminated war and violence of all kinds this is what STAR TREK decides to focus on. I don't believe Roddenberry would have been very happy with this episode. His belief that in the future such things wouldn't be a factor has been thrown out in this episode. Sure, it was a horrible thing. But humans have developed beyond that stage, and learned to go forward.

Why'd they do it? I'm not exactly sure. I've read Wikipedia and Memory Alpha (the Star Trek wiki) expecting to find an answer but I didn't. StarTrek.com is never any help for such questions. But what is done, is done. And the damage is done. It is unfortunate but true. Star Trek will never be the same after DS9 was allowed to run completely out of control.

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Well DS9 did have it's shining moments, when the characters and plot were used successfully. It was rare, but it happened.

However, everything Roddenberry did had a purpose. Where burman turned Star Trek into a soup opera war story. Take the villians that the two men were responsabile for.

Roddenberry had the Romulans who were facist/militaristic, the ferengi who were capitalist to the point where rights ment less then profit (republicans basicly), and the Borg who were conformists. Each one repersented something the Federation was not. The Federation repersented a free and open communist society who wasn't interested in war or in nationalism. Each of the villians highlighted that what the federation was.

The when Berman took over we had the Cardassians take center stage. The Cardassians had range, they were a fully developed race, but that took away the meaning behind Star Trek. We learned of WHY cardassians took to the military, we had high level Cardassians who were sympathetic toward peace. Berman even ruined the ferengi by having their society grow. It defeated the purpose of even having the ferengi in the first place.

Even the fucking Borg learned to work along side the crew of Voyager in the greatest insult in Star Trek history.

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Earth is the Utopian society, the rest of the federation worlds on the other hand we really don't know. I don't think Andoria would except that lifestyle as quickly as Earth. The colony's I assume are quite dangerous, and a war isn't too far fetched because of the Romulans and Cardassian Neutral Zones. Some of the war episodse were pretty cool, but it lacked a strong continuity.

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I suppose that some colonies would not be Utopia, but I don't see why the large majority wouldn't be. Since Federation society has pretty much permeated all of its citizens and any planet that's been part of the Federation for a reasonable amount of time.

IMO, living on Vulcan would be like pure sex.

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  • 1 month later...

There are several ways to look at this episode. First off, I'm not sure if wiki or the star trek wiki gave an original air date, but I believe the ep was aired in february (black history month). That episode was written and shown with the express purpose of showing how far our society has come. DS9 has a black captain, but 50 years prior, you couldn't even write about such a thing.

Another perspective is that this is the environment that Gene Roddenbery grew up in. He made Star Trek the way he did as a social commentary on society as it was, and how he would have liked it to be. He said "in the future, all races will work together." Then it happened, for the most part. There is still racism and racial conflict, of course, but not to the extent it was back in the 50s.

You could almost think about this episode going back to the genesis of star trek (no pun intended on star trek 2). It's possible that Roddenbery saw this kind of discrimination, and so made a show that had a black woman on the cast, not only to bring to life his vision of the future, but also to show the world at the time that a black woman can do just as good (if not better) job as a white woman.

A lot of people hate on Rick Berman, but I think star trek could've done a lot worse. Marina Sirtis said at a con that he fought to keep a lot of stuff in Star Trek Nemesis, that other people on that project wanted to cut. I would like to know what people have against him, though.

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A lot of people hate on Rick Berman, but I think star trek could've done a lot worse. Marina Sirtis said at a con that he fought to keep a lot of stuff in Star Trek Nemesis, that other people on that project wanted to cut. I would like to know what people have against him, though.

Rick Berman ≠ Gene Roddenbery, therefore he sucks.

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Rick Berman ≠ Gene Roddenbery, therefore he sucks.

My sarcasm-ometer is broken...are you being sarcastic?

This isn't targeted at you specifically, but star trek could've done a lot worse. It's because of Rick Berman that Trek went on for as long as it did (probably should've stopped at next gen or ds9 tho). After Gene Roddenbery's death, who was going to keep the series going? Trek could've died with Gene, and I, for one, am glad it didn't.

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If not for Rick Berman, though, Trek might've died a long time ago.

What exactly did he do to kill star trek? I'm not trying to be a smartass, I'm honestly confused. If he was doing that bad of a job, I think he'd have gotten fired long before trek was driven into the ground.

Further, I can't blame trek's downfall solely on Berman. I think part of the reason why star trek went down the tubes is that people were just getting tired of jumping from series to series. I managed to enjoy next gen, ds9(most of it) and voyager, but after V'ger, I just had enough trek. I was ready for something new that wasn't star trek. I'm sure after four successful trek series, and one flop, other trek fans feel the way I do. So, you can't blame it all on Berman, people are fickle.

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He forced Star Trek's tone to deviate from what Gene imagined. He admits to hating the perfect future for mankind that Star Trek showed and that it was unrealistic. He wanted Trek to have a darker tone with more emphasis on action than diplomacy. Unfortunately, his vision of what Star Trek was turned the franchise into standard sci-fi action and thus eliminated any unique qualities it had and turned away many fans and potential new fans.

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He forced Star Trek's tone to deviate from what Gene imagined. He admits to hating the perfect future for mankind that Star Trek showed and that it was unrealistic. He wanted Trek to have a darker tone with more emphasis on action than diplomacy. Unfortunately, his vision of what Star Trek was turned the franchise into standard sci-fi action and thus eliminated any unique qualities it had and turned away many fans and potential new fans.

hm, interesting. That explains why the dominion war didn't work out too well for DS9.

I can see both a pro and a con to his view. The pro is that you end up with more action (which I'm in favor for). It takes quite a bit of creativity to reinforce conflict in a utopian age. Voyager is a good example of how to take persons raised in a utopia, and put them in a very non-utopian society.

The con is the obvious. I think the initial deviation from roddenbery's dream was a good step. STTNG was much more interesting in seasons 2-5. Seasons 6 & 7 got admittedly stupid. The story got overwhelmed with action, and it ended up being not-good. Same thing happened to Star Wars. Lucas betrayed his own vision, and favored special effects.

Also, you have to share blame with the writers, too.

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We are not comparing Gene to Lucus, not at all!

No, I'm not. I'm comparing how the later treks went overboard with action and fights, just like the later star wars movies went overboard with special effects. Gene was not alive for the later Treks, hence I can't be comparing gene to lucas, in the sense that both persons had series that went down the drain. I suppose you could say I'm comparing them they were both great men; gene is a legend since his death, and lucas was good in his time (which, sadly, passed).

I'm more comparing lucas to berman, in that both men took a great series, and led it downhill. The difference is that Lucas did it much more rapidly, whereas berman did it much more gradually.

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