As Star Trek: Deep Space Nine enters its second season(starting the week of Sept. 27; check local listings), it faces a danger even deadlier than the dreaded Borg: bored Trekkies. Although the spin-off space-station series has been flying high in ratings for syndicated dramas (No.2, behind Star Trek: The Next Generation), fans at Trek conventions and on computer bulletin boards have been complaining thatt the show has become duller than Bingo Night on Vulcan. ”There hasn’t been a lot of drama inside the station and there hasn’t been enough exploration outside of it,” says Queen Trekkie Bjo Trimble,60, who organized the 1967 letter-writing campaign that helped delay the original Trek’s cancellation. ”Nobody seems to be stretching their imaginations.” Another disaffected fan described Deep Space rece3ntly on the America Online service as ”The Love Boat in space.” Although Trek executive producer Michael Piller cold-shoulders the criticism-”We’re making marvelous TV,” he says-some changes are in store for the new season. Among them:
*More stars: Trek has always attracted big-name guests (remember Mick Fleetwood dressed as a giant herring on Next Generation?). Among the celebs beaming aboard DS9 this season are Frank Langella (Dave), Richard Beymer(Twin Peaks), Louise Fletcher (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest), and Wings’ Steven Weber, all as Bajorans, and John Glover (South Beach) as a Trill. Plus Gavin Macleod as Captain Stubing. Just kidding. *More plot twists: This season kicks off with the most involved story line in Trek history: A three-parter about civil war on planet Bajor that ultimately leads to a fall-of-Saigon-style evacuation of the space station. *More villains:”Later this season we’ll meet a new race of alien adversaries from the other side of the cosmic wormhole,” promises Piller, ”I can’t say too much, but we’re thinking of calling them the Dominion.”
If none of this works, Deep Space Nine has one other ace up its sleeve that’s guaranteeed to increase viewer appreciation: The beloved Next Generation will be warping off the airwaves (and into feature films) at the end of June.