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, airing after TNG for its first three years, then concurrently (some might say "competitively") with UPN's Voyager for the rest 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".

When we last left Next Gen, the remote world of Bajor had 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 sent 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 is discovered. Instantly, Bajor is transformed from a rustic backwater into the most valuable piece of real estate in the Alpha Quadrant, and the station is relocated to police its traffic. 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.

What made DS9 so unusual in Trekdom 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 (including a full Myth Arc dealing with the Dominion), showing it had now earned the "Space Opera" genre tag that it had been given. Perhaps most importantly, by shifting focus to garrison troops hovering a border planet, DS9 finally allowed writers to scrutinize the Federation as it appears to its neighbors: a noble organization that still has problems with bureaucracy and some skeletons in its closet.

Another factor was the sheer number of recurring 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, Aron Eisenberg's seven-year stint as Nog standing out in particular. This was enabled, again, by DS9 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.

Related works in the Star Trek Expanded Universe include the Terok Nor trilogy, which chronicles the Occupation of Bajor and features many of the Bajoran and Cardassian characters, and the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Relaunch continuation series.

This series provides examples of the following tropes:

Alternative Title(s): Star Trek Deep Space Nine, Deep Space Nine