Deep in the bowels of The Spool Studios, there lies a chamber only the greatest TV characters can enter – the funniest, the grumpiest, the maddest masks the television medium has to offer. There, we honor the breakout comic relief, the magnetically flawed protagonist, the one-time guest character that defines an entire series. This is where we hoard TV’s most valuable visages. This… is the Hall of Faces.
Welcome to the Hall of Faces, The Spool’s monthly TV podcast! Hall of Faces sees hosts and TV critics Allison Shoemaker and Clint Worthington build up a pantheon of television’s greatest characters, one show at a time.
During Star Trek: Deep Space Nine‘s seven-season run in syndication from 1993 to 1999, the spinoff was never particularly popular. It didn’t look like a Trek show: instead of a clean, shiny starship filled with Starfleet’s best and brightest, we followed a group of disparate souls struggling to overcome conflicts both personal and interpersonal on a ramshackle space station in the middle of nowhere. Where most Trek zoomed to a new planet each week, solved the problem, and moved on, Deep Space Nine was forced to stick around and do the hard work of rebuilding the occupied planet of Bajor, all while wormholes and interstellar dominions came knocking at their door. Characters clashed over ideals, bonded in deeply felt relationships, and lived with the consequences of trauma and war — a far cry from the no-conflict future of Gene Roddenberry.
Showrunner Ira Steven Behr, along with other head writers like Ronald D. Moore (whose Battlestar Galactica reboot carries a lot of DS9‘s DNA, what with its focus on serialized storylines and a greater focus on religion than most sci-fi properties), found a way not just to make their show stand out from The Next Generation and Voyager, but to interrogate the very ideals of Trek by showing a Starfleet filled with ethical quandaries and realistic philosophical struggle. And on top of it all, this long-form serialized storytelling gave way to one of the best, most robust ensembles in science fiction history.
For this month’s Hall of Faces, Clint and guest host Kate Kulzick (of The Televerse) are joined by Vulture‘s Angelica Jade Bastien and Improvised Star Trek‘s Sean Kelley to dig through Star Trek: Deep Space Nine‘s extremely deep bench of characters and find the one that best represents the show’s ideals and complexity. Is it Sisko? Worf? Garak? Gul Dukat? Quark?! Take a listen and find out. Don’t walk; run!