Monday, September 26, 2011

"The Storyteller" Stagnates

The Good: Humor, Character
The Bad: Weak plot, Lack of series cohesion, guest acting.
The Basics: Not terribly entertaining, though funny, the absurd plot of "The Storyteller" makes it hard to recommend.

Every now and then, there's an episode in a serial show that is less than necessary to the series. It's a shame, because the best serialized shows have staff writers that are hired to keep the flow of the series in mind. "The Storyteller" is the only episode of Star Trek Deep Space Nine that comes to mind that focuses on the Bajoran people that is not part of the essential Star Trek Deep Space Nine.

In this completely mediocre episode, Bashir and O'Brien visit a Bajoran village plagued by a monster in the sky. The Dal'rok visits at night and is held at bay by the village storyteller who tells the tale of thwarting the creature and empowers the village to actually send the Dal'rok away. On the fourth night of the ceremony, while our heroes are visiting, the storyteller dies of old age, naming O'Brien the new storyteller.

The rest of the A-plot is spent being funny or exploring the political nature of the Bajoran religion in the village. It attempts to create a mystical phenomenon away from the political aspects of the Bajoran religion. On one level, this is an indictment of organized religion, contrasting spirituality with religion.

The B-plot is even more absurd - two villages are in a land dispute due to a rerouted river. One of the two village leaders is a girl and Nog and Jake take a liking to her almost immediately. Through Commander Sisko's wisdom and Nog's Ferengi instincts, she is able to reason a solution for her people.

Outside the weak plot, the acting in the b-plot isn't anything to write home about. An even younger than now Gina Phillips plays Varis Sul, the girl leader. Does she do it well? Not so terribly for a child actress, but nowhere near as well as her costars.

But the characters on all fronts are interesting, at the very least. The humor of O'Brien actually telling the story is very good. And while the series is not terribly well advanced by "The Storyteller," it provides some humor that has been noticeably lacking in the series thus far.

The series regulars do a great job, especially Siddig El Fadil as Bashir, who is caught playing Bashir with varied arrogance and humor. Colm Meany infuses O'Brien with life and humor that has been utterly lacking from his overworked character. And to his credit, Avery Brooks makes the terribly b-plot watchable, if not compelling.

[Knowing that VHS is essentially a dead medium, it's worth looking into Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Complete First Season on DVD, which is also a better economical choice than buying the VHS. Read my review of the first season by clicking here!


For other television reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011, 2007, 2002 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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