As you know I am a big fan of  Deep Space Nine. I never made it a secret that the Six-Episode Arc is probably my favorite piece of television. Nowadays it is standard TV but back in the day it never had been done before so there was excitement but also some trepidation by the writers and creators. Below an excerpt from the DS9 Companion how this came about:


The Six-Episode Arc - Season 6 (How It Came About)


The original plan for this Arc was to encompass the entirety of the Dominion War, explains Ronald D. Moore. It started with the idea that season 5 would end with a real cliff-hanger. When the sixth season started, the Federation would be plunged into a war, which would last for several consecutive episodes, and then this war would also end. The war was supposed to have 4 episodes, Ira Steven Behr extended it to 5 and eventually it became 6.


On the somewhat controversial decision to semi-serialize the show: According to Rick Berman, the potential for serialization has always been there. Not so much for series like Voy, TNG or TOS because it takes place on a ship that is in a different place every week. DS9 didn't, it wasn't going anywhere and so the stories had to come to the station. Before you know it, you have a lot of recurring characters and a lot of storylines too. And because DS9 wasn't going anywhere, the characters and the stories came back. So once you have such a rich history of all those characters, and all those stories that are connected to each other, you quickly come to the conclusion that the serialization format is almost inescapable. And because the Dominion war became such an important part in the last 2 seasons, it also contributed a lot to the sense of serialization.

While it was inevitable that the series would become increasingly serialized, the decision to create a Multi-episode Arc at the start of Season 6 was not a decision to be taken lightly. As Hans Beimler explains, this was not nothing, this was very daring. Although strange things had already happened in the first 5 seasons, we had never tried to make a 6-episode Arc. This had never been done in Star Trek history. None of us had come from series where that had been done before, so it was a new experience for all of us. It turns out we still had a lot to learn but it showed many possibilities and in the end we liked it so much that at the end of the series we decided to make a 10-episode Arc to end the series with it. Ira Steven Behr says: There was hesitation about whether or not it was the right way to go and whether or not we might go a little too far. But in the end everyone agreed that this was the way to go and it turned out to be very successful, one of the best things the series has ever done.


On the process of writing the 6-episode Arc, Ronald D. Moore [BSG] explains: We split the 6 episodes together but then each went his own way to work on the episode. It became an interactive process more than before. Because every detail had a domino effect. To some extent, we'd done this before, but we'd never had so many episodes with so many storylines put together into one big story. We weren't used to that rhythm, it was a real challenge. Hans Beimler adds: It changed our way of working, of writing. Because Ronald D. Moore or René Echevarria worked on their own script, but then discovered that a certain storyline he wrote had a direct influence on the scrips of his fellow writers, who also had to process that in their scrips. There was always someone who came back and indicated that certain storylines needed to be looked at again. And then everyone would get back together to adjust the storyline[s] again.


Source : Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion

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