The main characters of Deep Space Nine. Not pictured: Ezri, Nog, Rom, Leeta, Garak, Dukat, Winn, Bareil, Keiko, Molly, Damar, Weyoun, Gowron, Martok, Ziyal... 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 concurrently with TNG for its first two years, then with Voyager
for the remainder of its run. Set on an orbital space station
, DS9 traded the Wagon Train to the Stars
premise of older (and future) Treks
for a "Fort Apache in Space
" or "The Rifleman
in space" flavor.
Picking up off the heels of Next Gen
, the remote world of Bajor has just driven out their Cardassian occupiers through a war of attrition and a fair amount of terrorism. With the planet spiraling into anarchy, Starfleet sends a platoon to the former Cardassian 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 positive, 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 it truly is: 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 Star Trek
shows have large casts, Deep Space Nine
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 being one of the more glaring examples. 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
while dispensing with many of the 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
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: