Series: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"Think of it: Five years ago, no one had ever heard of Bajor or Deep Space Nine. And now all our hopes rest here."
Chancellor Gowron

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is the second of the "next generation" of Star Trek shows, following on from Star Trek: The Next Generation. This series ran seven seasons, airing after TNG for its first three years, then concurrently (some might say "competitively") with UPN's Voyager for the remainder of its run. Set on an orbital space station, DS9 traded the Wagon Train to the Stars premise of past (and future) Treks for "Fort Apache in Space".

Picking up off the heels of Next Gen, the remote world of Bajor has just booted out its occupiers, the Cardassians (the Evil Alien Race of the month), through a war of attrition and a fair amount of terrorism. With the planet spiraling into anarchy, Starfleet sends a platoon to the former gulag, rechristened Deep Space 9, to lend the Bajorans a hand.

In the pilot episode, a unique stable wormhole leading to the uncharted Gamma Quadrant of the galaxy was discovered—instantly transforming Bajor from a rustic backwater into the most valuble piece of real estate in the Alpha/Beta Quadrants—and the station was relocated there to claim its use. The fixed base allowed the show to delve deeply into the politics of the Star Trek universe, but the appearance of the wormhole also caught the attention of the Dominion, a less cuddly counterpart to the United Federation of Planets.

One of the factors that made Deep Space Nine unique was that every action had consequences. Part of this is because the producers became more and more comfortable altering Gene Roddenberry's spotless, optimistic future: nobody on Bajor particularly got along with each other and, unlike its ship-based sister series, the crew couldn't just 'jump to warp' and leave the Problem of the Week behind. The writers employed Story Arcs much more extensively than in other Treks, showing it had now earned the "Space Opera" genre tag that it had been given. Perhaps most importantly, by shifting focus to garrison troops toiling above a border planet, DS9 finally allowed the writers to scrutinize The Federation for what they believed it truly be: a noble organization that still has problems with bureaucracy and some skeletons in its closet.

Another key difference for Deep Space Nine was the unprecedented number — and depth of the supporting characters. While all Trek shows have large casts, DS9 is the only one that qualifies for Loads and Loads of Characters. Consequently, the show was overrun with Fake Guest Stars, Andrew Robinson's seven-year stint as Garak chief among them. This was enabled, again, by Deep Space 9 being a fixed location.

As a result of this kind of thing, the show tends to divide Trekkies quite a bit: people who like Trek for the spacefaring action and moral commentary may dislike its focus on soapy melodrama and dispensing with many of Gene's utopian themes. On the other hand, those who do like DS9 tend to prefer it over other Trek shows, forming a little subculture of their own in Trekkie fandom known as "Niners".

In spite of the general divide within fandom itself, DS9 earned more critical accolades than even The Next Generation due to its intense Character Development, high-quality acting and pioneering use of Story Arcs; it is still regarded by many as the greatest and most underrated show ever to take the Trek name.

The show currently runs in British and Japanese TV. It used to run in Syndication on Spike TV in the United States, but due to low ratings has not aired for some time. As of October 2011 the complete series is available on Netflix streaming in the United States.

Despite the acknowledged limitations of focusing on individual episodes in a heavily arc-based series, this show has a tool for voting on Favorite Episodes. Also has a recap page. Please feel free to contribute to it.

See also the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Relaunch, a series of novels continuing the show's story arcs past the finale.

This series provides examples of the following tropes:

Alternative Title(s):

Star Trek Deep Space Nine, Deep Space Nine