Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s doctor, Julian Bashir, wasn’t the most well-liked character from the beginning of the series.
When fDr. Julian Bashir, played by Alexander Siddig, on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, was first introduced, it was difficult to know if you were going to hate him or like him. He came off as a little pompous to some but naive to others.
As reported in The Fifty Year Mission The Next 25 Years by Mark A. Altman and Edward Gross, Michael Piller, who, along with Rick Berman, created the series, described the character as a “young, ambitious, wet-behind-the-ears, thinks-he-knows-it-all young man who’d just graduated from Starfleet Medical.”
Piller wanted to create a character [in the doctor] who was somewhat unlikeable so he could be grown into something interesting, but that almost backfired on the creative team as the network wasn’t thrilled with the negative feedback coming in from viewers who clearly didn’t like the character.
Alexander Siddig’s version of Dr. Julian Bashir almost didn’t last on the series
In the middle of the first season of Deep Space Nine, Piller revealed that the research coming in from studio said the doctor had to be fired because no one liked him. But that was the whole idea, to take an unlikeable character and turn him into someone the fans would root for.
Piller and Rick Berman remained steadfast in not wanting to fire Siddig, who even admitted that Berman had to protect him from being let go. The research did cause Bashir to be softened as the show went on, and Ira Steven Behr, who took over as showrunner in season four of the series, really turned the character around with the episode “Our Man Bashir.”
Bashir did become a better character as time went on, but that’s the case for a lot of characters in the first season of a new series. It takes a while to really develop the character and to find the sweet spot sometimes. Fortunately, it worked out with Bashir, who ended up being an asset to Deep Space Nine.