Season 5, Episode 4 “It’s Only a Paper Moon” (DS9) with David Mack

We’re hitting the old familiar places this week as we revisit “It’s Only a Paper Moon”!

New York Times bestselling author David Mack returns to the show this week to discuss an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine that explores one man’s struggle to come to terms with loss and fear. Nog has survived the Siege of Ar-558 but at the cost of his leg and his self-confidence. When he turns to the holodeck for escape, he’ll find that Vic Fontaine is more than just a singing hologram and that the key to life isn’t winning or losing but choosing to continue playing the game.

When Aron Eisenberg passed away in 2019, the world didn’t just lose a husband and father and friend to many Star Trek fans; it also lost a performer of surprising depth and passion. Aron was a man who had experienced tragedy in his own life and when called upon to portray Nog’s suffering, he imbued the role with an honest emotion that makes this one of DS9’s finest hours. Not to be outdone, veteran performer James Darren brings his charm and musical talents to a role that is so much more than a holodeck subroutine. “Moon” is an episode that showcases two of the series’s “supporting cast” but is an episode vital to Deep Space Nine’s themes of the cost of war and the healing that comes after. On this episode, we talk about the conception and creation of “Moon” from Dave’s perspective as co-writer, the original “Everybody Comes to Quark’s” pitch, the episode’s rarified status as one of Trek’s few “sequels”, the bravery of Aron Eisenberg as a performer, the toll that combat takes on servicemen and women, the multi-talented James Darren, the sometimes convoluted way in which TV writers collaborate, and the lack of individual ego in the writing staff that elevated the show’s material.

We also discuss having Ron Moore leave you hanging, “‘Touched By An Angel’ meets ‘The Equalizer'”, having your sub-plot take over the story, the apparently forgettable films of the ’30s, the aesthetic of orthopedia devices in the Federation, Hitler walking out of your Axis and Allies hologame, “Commando Geordi”, holodeck doggie bags, Dave talks about the things he tries to avoid when writing Trek, his work on “Lower Decks”, and he shares a life-threatening experience that helped inspire the episode!

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Listen to “Season 5, Episode 4 “It’s Only a Paper Moon” (DS9) with David Mack” on Spreaker.

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