Behr: 'We Brought Frailty Back' To Trek

By Antony
January 21, 2003 - 3:20 PM

As Deep Space Nine celebrates its tenth birthday, executive producer Ira Steven Behr has spoken about how the writers brought human drama into the show.

"We brought frailty back. People aren't always sitting around talking about how to solve problems people are the problem," he told Joe Nazzaro at Star Trek Monthly. "I think we tried to make the characters grow and become more multi-dimensional. If you kept your ears open, you'd hear things on DS9 that relate to problems and attitudes and philosophies. It's nice to see we're going to survive the 20th century, and this is still the optimistic Gene Roddenberry universe, but there are relatable human frailties within that perfect world."

Ironically, Behr and DS9 co-creator Michael Piller would tell writers that it was actually the Ferengi that were the closest to 20th century humans in the show, with all the "desires, needs, hopes and greed" that humans have. But according to Behr, there was only one true 20th century character — Miles O'Brien. "He was the only guy in all of Star Trek that I could relate to. He's intelligent, but not that intelligent, he's a little bigoted, he's a little sexist, he's a little everything and I think that was a nice character to have."

However, if it wasn't for Michael Piller, Behr might not have even worked on the show. Behr passed up working on TNG in season two, but joined the following year. "I stayed and produced the third season with Michael, and at the end of the season, I ran like hell," said Behr, who didn't care for the show's utopian ideals. It was later that Piller brought up the matter of DS9, and Behr was interested. "I had lunch with Michael and Rick Berman, and they said, 'There will be more humour, more conflict, more characters to play with, less tech. People will be more neurotic and unhappy and dark,' and I said, 'Okay, I think I can do that!'"

Behr enjoyed the experience, and the creativity it provided. "To feel creative like that only makes me want to do more creative work, it doesn't tire you out," said Behr. He'd be happy to return to do more DS9, but is adamant that it won't happen. "Of course I'd want to be involved. [But] do I think it's ever going to happen? No."

The full interview, in which Behr talks more about DS9, as well as executive producing Enterprise lead-out show The Twilight Zone, can be found in issue 101 of Star Trek Monthly.

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