DIRECTOR: IRA STEVEN BEHR, DAVID ZAPPONE | RELEASE DATE: JUNE 26TH (SELECTED UK CINEMAS, ONE NIGHT ONLY)
As passion projects go, What We Left Behind not only shows the love of the production team but also a steadfastly loyal fanbase who, two decades on, still miss what was one of the great TV shows every bit as much as they did when the final episode aired on June 2nd, 1999. We’ve seen such documentaries before, oftentimes vanilla dips into a film or show, often presented as in-depth but in truth revealing little more than part of the EPK that promoted it on launch. What We Left Behind is far more than that. Led by DS9 showrunner Ira Steven Behr, the doc celebrates the glaringly obvious love the cast and crew have for the show and each other, but also refuses to look away from the issues that arose during the lifetime of the show. Just like Deep Space Nine itself, it’s real, honest (sometimes brutally so), gritty, and revealing.
To highlight the passion of the fandom for this documentary, raising $150,000 in a day on its way to a $631,000 total says it all, and those funds were put to good use. Interviews with almost all of the primary cast, new special effects sequences, original music by Dennis McCarthy and Kevin Kiner and remastered footage (which looks SO good, remastering the entire show needs to become a priority for CBS, especially given its ‘rebirth’ on Netflix) all combine to make this an essential watch for Niners, Star Trek fans in general, and students of ‘90s television.
There is something else woven into this documentary that highlights the many, many roads that could still easily be taken with the show. Behr also reconvened the writers' room to develop a script for the first episode of an imagined eighth season, and throughout the documentary, we see animated scenes from this bucket list episode – and trust us, it goes in a direction that you will not have anticipated. If the final episode of Game of Thrones was enough to persuade you to sign a petition to signify your outrage at an unsatisfying ending, then this will probably instigate some kind of nervous twitch. It’s brave, left-of-field, and unexpected – in other words, classic DS9.
There aren’t enough good things to say about this presentation. It gives us a deeper insight into what the actors think of their characters and the relationships which drove the show, the producers and writers who made this near-perfect tapestry of people, Trek history and events, and the fans who so passionately identified with DS9. The fact that the credits roll with the Rat Pack singing over the titles and Ira and Nana Visitor bickering about what they left out only endears us to it even more. For Niners it’s essential, for Trek fans it’s unmissable, and for neutrals, it will persuade you to cue up all 176 episodes for a DS9 marathon. In other words, this is deep space divine.