Sunday, July 6, 2014


The STAR TREK DEEP SPACE NINE episode "Trials and Tribble-ations" is something of a "crossover after the fact," but it satisfies my criteria for melding two separate series-concepts with different sources of appeal.

"The Trouble with Tribbles," the original "Star Trek Classic" episode on which the DS9 episode is based, has long been a favorite for fans of the series, as well as a touchstone that can be used to sum up one aspect of the show's appeal to outsiders.  However, "Tribbles" was not the DS9 producers' original choice for a salute to the classic series. Originally they envisioned a follow-up to the episode "A Piece of the Action," but a demonstration of the digital techniques used in 1994's FORREST GUMP convinced the producers to insert the DS9 characters into the "Classic" cast.

The result proved popular with fans, though the main plot of the DS9 additions-- selected crew-members must journey back to the era of the original Enterprise, to prevent Captain Kirk from being killed by a "tribble-bomb"-- is thin at best. It's largely an excuse to put the latter-day Trek epigoni in touch with their "ancestors." The DS9 crew generally express admiration for the Enterprise crew, though not without a touch of amusement at the indicators of a simpler time, as with the mini-skirted female yeomen.  Possibly the best "meeting of the generations" is one in which Bashir encounters a woman who may be his great-grandmother. In tune with the classic time-paradox, he wonders if he ought to sleep with her to make sure he's born in the future.

On the other hand, the DS9 producers weren't well advised to insert their characters into the one sequence of "Tribbles" that depended on precise choreography and an equally well-timed musical score. In order to put the DS9'ers into the big space-station brawl, the producers had to re-score the sequence, resulting in a pointless mishmash of new and old that does nothing for either. The only decent moment involves Worf's refusal to comment on the appearance of the "old style" Klingons, and this verbal exchange could have appeared any place in the storyline.

However, the best aspect of "Tribble-ations" is probably not just that it turned out as well as it did, but the fact that the producers happily did not make a second attempt at this sort of retcon-crossover, which could have turned out much less felicitously.

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