These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
The Maquis as pissy and entitled Federation civilians who can't accept that peace comes at a high price. Considering how brutal the Federation-Cardassian war was said to have been and the atrocities the Cardassians visit on occupied worlds like Bajornote the fact that when the Bajoran people were destitute and dying in refugee camps they received no help from Starfleet personnel while now officers are resigning left and right to help the Maquis, people who are choosing to be destitute for a comparatively minor 'injustice', does not help matters, one might think they would accept the Federation's offer to be relocated instead of becoming a group of self-righteous terrorists willing to jeopardize not just themselves but the stability of the quadrant by taking up arms against both Cardassia and the Federation... with a touch of Never My Fault for the consequences of some of their actions to boot. Further emphasized in that many of the colonies they were so desperately clinging to had only been settled within the last three decades or less, and were sparsely-populated at best. Apparently the idea of interstellar war that could cost billions of lives was less of a concern than losing a home their family had lived in for only a single generation.
Section 31. Well-Intentioned Extremist spies who do what it takes to protect paradise from people who don't share its idealistic view of the universe, or mass murderers who grasp at any straw they can to justify despicable and evil actions, be it kidnapping, conspiracy or genocide? It appears it's really hard to find a concensus, as this page has been heavily edited thanks and because of them. Word of God says it is Necessarily Evil, based on the former reasoning.
For an ultra-elite black ops agent, Luthor Sloan isn't terribly subtle. He wanted to recruit Bashir, but kept demeaning his ideals and constantly trying to dominate rather than persuade or coerce him. He also antagonized everyone on DS9, calling a bunch of attention to himself and the rest of section 31. Also, after having Bashir witness his elaborate plans, first hand, twice, he openly gloats about how effective his scheme was. The third time, Bashir is able to outwit him easily. Is Sloan really using sections 31's autonomy to it's most effective end, or is his bruised ego causing him to make stupid mistakes?
Major Kira and the Bajoran resistance as a whole can be seen in many ways. It heavily depends on how much you accept the interpretation of her as a Well-Intentioned Extremist or Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters or if you simply view her as an terrorist. Her speech in "The Darkness and the Light" is central to your interpretation of her. If you believe her defense, that every member of an occupying species is a legitimate target, then her actions are acceptable and even good. Her defense is helped by the fact that the Bajoran resistance won eventually by making the Occupation so unpalatable to Cardassia that they couldn't hold the planet. But if you view terrorism as unacceptable under any circumstances, then you're unlikely to find her defense acceptable. It's highly unlikely they would give her such a backstory today.
Ezri Dax. She had to succeed the fan favorite Jadzia and was basically a first-season character in the show's final season (and thus needed a good few episodes to flesh her out), so she already had some big hurdles to be liked. She's characterized as someone who was totally unprepared for being joined, particularly to the legendary Dax symbiont, and is still trying to find her feet while the other characters have already matured through several character arcs. How well the writers and Nicole DeBoer handle it are still hotly debated.
The Prophets, especially concerning "Sacrifice of Angels" and "What You Leave Behind". While some think they were interesting and were another mark of DS9's unique flavor, others contest that they acted as a Deus ex Machina and distracted from the Dominion War as the "real" plot.
Although they were established in the very first episode, their importance with Sisko and the Bajorans was emphasized throughout, and their conflict with the Pah Wraiths was forshadowed before the Dominion even got a mention, their appearences were rare enough that a lot of fans apparently didn't take notice. So this is more an effect of the writers losing focus with them than it is of their lack of actual importance.
Section 31, mostly in regards to their attempted genocide of the Changelings. Was it justified or not? Cue endless arguments on if it helped or hurt the war effort (would the Female Changeling have surrendered if Odo didn't have the cure or did the illness just make her more ruthless and eager for a Taking You with Me ending), if genocide can be justified if it's against an implacable enemy, if it was crossing the line for Section 31 to engineer the virus at all. While Word of God has repeatedly established the Canon to be closer to the pro-Section 31 sides of the argument (and even the non-black-ops parts of the Federation were pissed at Picard for refusing a similar measure against the Borg) some fans still draw the line at actual genocide.
Vic Fontaine sang twelve jazz caberet songs (in their entirety) over the course of two seasons. When grumblings began to stir, Ira Behr responded by partnering Vic up with Sisko for a duet. Vic also carried two episodes, "Badda-Bing, Badda Bang" and "It's Only a Paper Moon", sang during the battle scene in "Siege AR-558" despite not appearing in the episode, exists in the Mirror Universe, and played out the series finale. Either Behr was certain that fans would eventually warm to Vic's infectious musical style, or he just didn't give a damn. Behr, by his own admission, was a huge fan of James Darren, so that's naturally going to reflect in the character design.
Period piece shows in general had this problem. Creators loved them because they required little to no special effects, fans hated them because no one watches a show about the future to see a show about the past. (See also Jeri Taylor's much-hated Harlequin Romance scenes from Star Trek: Voyager.) While, indeed, some period piece shows did manage to be good enough that fans didn't necessarily hate them, it still should have been obvious that a regular character of this sort wasn't going to be well liked.
Designated Villain: The Maquis. Despite the fact that when Starfleet signed the peace agreement with the Cardassians - a very hard-won peace - they offered to relocate and reimburse all Federation citizens who had been displaced and help them set-up on another planet, there are a significant number of fans who agree with the Maquis that they were treated unfairly by not being consulted on the formation of a peace treaty that would force them to leave the places they thought of as home. This, with the Maquis' claims not to be "killers" - despite doing things like stranding someone with no supplies on a planet that would kill them within a week - and trying to help out those who have been the victims of forced relocation despite their own limited supplies - although the fact that if the refugees had gone to the Federation they would have been completely taken care of makes their compassion less heroic and more confusing (and, YMMV, stupid) - makes the Maquis very sympathetic and there are a number of reasonable explanations and justifications to defend their actions. Then again, the Maquis aren't exactly portrayed unsympathetically, with a fair number of defectors from Starfleet itself.
Dukat was a complex villain and given many sympathetic qualities, such as his love for his family and his willingness to disgrace himself in Cardassian society so he could be with his illegitimate daughter. However, he was still a ruthless Manipulative Bastard (even towards his daughter) who oversaw the many atrocities on Bajor. The problem lay in that he was very affable and convincing and sincerely believed that he himself was a good man who was misunderstood. It got so bad that the writing staff dedicated an entire episode almost exclusively to reminding people that he was a bad guy who had done and still would do really terrible things. However with Dukat's character after "Waltz" being reduced to an Ax-CrazyCard-Carrying Villain with Obviously Evil motives along "Destroy The World" lines, in contrast to his prior characterization as a multi-faceted antagonist who did evil things but with variable intentions, many fans (and even his actor) took this deterioration to be the result of Villainous Breakdown following a psychotic break after witnessing the death of his daughter Ziyalnote which wasn't difficult given that he was legitimately insane at the time contrary to the writers' intentions of using this episode to demonstrate his true persona (although whether Misaimed Fandom or bad writing was the fault here is still being debated). And yet, even Dukat's Card-Carrying Villain portrayal for the last two seasons gets Draco in Leather Pants treatment by some fan circles!
This sometimes extends to the Cardassian Authorities during the Bajoran occupation. Some fans think that Cardassia "had" to invade Bajor because of its limited resources—a story we mostly got from Gul Dukat and other military officers who were pissed that they lost Bajor. Never mind the horrific atrocities that the Cardassians committed—the slave labor, the persecution of monks and nuns, the sex slavery and the murder, and ending the Occupation by salting the earth so the Bajorans couldn't use it—they haaaaad to do that! For the resources!
Weyoun, come on. He was programmed by the Founders to be evil... (Except for Weyoun 6, who deserves Woobie status through his Heroic Sacrifice.)
The Maquis also get this treatment. Though most are just people in a distressed situation fighting back, some are well aware of the diplomatic consequences and keep up the violence anyway.
Section 31, being the Base Breaker it is, gets this andRon the Death Eater mentioned below. Its defenders can be equally vitriolic and insist that anyone who dislikes them and their actions is too naive and foolish to see the obvious "rightness" of the things they do. Certainly it's a tough galaxy with some ruthless people in it, and some of the things they do unquestionably help the war effort, but that doesn't mean its detractors are all naive fools for not wholeheartedly embracing the wonderful world of black ops and genocide.
Ear Worm: It may be in Klingon, but the fight song from "Soldiers of the Empire" is surprisingly catchy. Interviews with the cast reveal that it was this for the cast and crew, as well; the song was sung around the set for nearly a week after this episode was filmed.
"Allamaraine, count to four, Allamaraine, then three more..."
Morn. We nearly always saw him sitting silently at the bar having a drink, but his popularity was immense. Lampshaded in one episode where Morn was away from the station on business and Quark installed a hologram of him because people didn't come to the bar as much when Morn was absent. He never speaks on screen. He is frequently described as talking Quark's ear off every chance he gets, we learn that he has troubles with his mother, and an episode dedicated to his seeming death reveals that he practiced Bahtleth with Worf and used to be a successful bank robber. He also has a lovely singing voice.
On his way to Parody Sue, it's also revealed in this episode that Dax wanted to start an intimate relationship with him but he wasn't interested. In Dax.
To drive it home, when Star Trek Online launched Morn wasn't there. Massive whining ensued until Cryptic added him.
Garak. His impeccable sense of sarcasm, flippant cynicism and contrast with the Starfleets, combined with his Mysterious Past and excellent focus episodes, make him a favorite among Niners.
There's also Weyoun, a secondary villain whose great acting and great lines have caused no small amount of gushing even on This Very Wiki.
Martok was this to the show's creators. His actor did such a good job in 'Apocalypse Rising' that, instead of having him be disposed of by the Changeling impersonator who died at the end of the episode, they decided to have the real Martok show up later on in the season; he went on to become a fairly important supporting character.
Grillka, Quark's Klingon love interest, has a fandom as well.
"For The Uniform": Use terrorist tactics against terrorists if you want to beat them.
Which is unfortunately true. When dealing with someone who moves around in unconnected cells, uses amoral tactics that focus on loss of life and hysteria, we have the proof in real life that they do not respond to conventional tactics and that they thrive on attention.
"Vortex": It's okay to release a known thief and murderer onto an unsuspecting planet as long as he's got a cute teenage daughter.
"Storyteller": If passed over for a job that's rightfully yours, attempt to murder your successor.
"Cardassians": When settling a custody battle, don't consider the desires of the child, nor the fact that you're sending him to a military dictatorship and away from a peaceful democracy. (Though to be fair, O'Brien did ask that, and there was some concern that the boy had been abused—he was certainly getting an unhealthy attitude towards his own species. Plus, Cardassians have very different family values.)
"The Nagus": Attempt to kill your boss, and he'll give you a promotion. Again, though, this is some Deliberate Values Dissonance. Ferengi laud greed and ambition, after all.
Rather: It's perfectly okay to kill every single member of the species that is occupying your country as long as you drive them out in the end. Including completely innocent bystanders who never did a thing to earn their fate.
"The Begotten": Reconcile with the person who tortured you and participate in doing the same thing to another person, because you couldn't possibly choose to do anything different and it was for your own good anyways.
"In Pale Moonlight": Sisko describes how sometimes the end justifies the means, and how political assassinations, lies, and guilt are all a small price to pay to win a war. This is a fairly deliberate case of grey morality, however, as Sisko's tone of voice shows that he's trying very hard to convince himself, and shows that in war you don't always have the luxury of sticking to your principles if the consequence is the total destruction of everything you hold dear. Section 31 further explores this idea.
So... I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all... I think I can live with it. And if I had to do it all over again, I would. Garak was right about one thing, a guilty conscience is a small price to pay for the safety of the Alpha Quadrant. So I will learn to live with it. Because I can live with it.
Fan-Preferred Couple: Many felt Jadzia had far more chemistry with Sisko than Worf, despite the fact that they were portrayed as Like Brother and Sister and Sisko himself is Squicked out and deeply disturbed by the thought of Jadzia being even latently attracted to him in one episode. But that's never stopped Shipping before.
Fandom Rivalry: At the time that the shows were broadcast, there was incredible fandom rivalry with Babylon 5, partly because the creator of Babylon 5 accused Paramount of plagiarising the show's concept from him. (Just swap out "Centauri and Narn" for "Cardassians and Bajorans", and you're set for Season One.) Nowadays, things are more friendly, with fans of both shows admitting that they both had good and bad points, and that Deep Space 9 responding to Babylon 5 by starting its own long-term arcs was a positive development. Even during the worst rivalry, a lot of people quietly watched and enjoyed both.
Fanon: The first names of Dukat, Damar and most other Cardassian characters are not given in the show, but most fans accept the names given in "A Stitch in Time" (written by Garak's actor) as canon.
"Funny Aneurysm" Moment: In season 5's "Apocalypse Rising", Worf fights Chancellor Gowron, believing he's a changeling imposter, and almost kills him before it's revealed that General Martok was the changeling imposter. Afterwards, Gowron says to Worf "You should have killed me when you had the chance. I promise you will not get another." In season 7's "Tacking into the Wind", Worf fights Gowron once again and kills him this time.
Most fans agree that the introduction of theDefiant in season three was a very good step. And Worf's introduction in the fourth season happened to coincide with Captain Sisko growing a beard and shaving his head, cementing his unique characterization among Star Trek captains.
Most of the first season was full of weak attempts at philosophy and downright stupid episodes ("Move Along Home" anyone?). "Duet" is a solid episode that started the drama, moral searching, and politics for which much of the series is remembered. It also showed the realistic aspect that no single nation is completely evil (or good). Unfortunately, it also set up the start of Kira's Aesop Amnesia.
Mrs. Tandro's request that Jadzia "live a long, fresh and wonderful life" becomes this after the sixth-season finale.
The show was made at a time when the word "terrorist" wasn't quite as politically charged as it is now, which can make its open acknowledgement that that's exactly what Kira was during the occupation come off rather strange. Of course, the show should probably have exclusively used "freedom fighter" or "occupation resistance" or "partisan".
In the season 2 episode "Blood Oath", the Klingons Kang, Kor and Koloth get their vengeance against the Albino, with Kang and Koloth dying and Kor surviving before finally dying in season 7's "Once More Unto the Breach". In real life, however, John Colicos, who played Kor, was the first to pass on in 2000, followed by William Campbell (Koloth) in 2011 and Michael Ansara (Kang) in 2013.
The show's use of O'Brien as the constant Butt Monkey who often goes through horrible pain, after a former reporter named Miles O'Brien needed to have his arm amputated after what at first appeared to be a minor accident with his luggage.
After Kim Kardashian and her family became household names around the late-2000s, the fact that DS9 included an alien race named the "Cardassians" led to more than a few obligatory jokes from the Trekkie community. Including a pretty sweet t-shirt◊. note And considering the media's obsession with certain of Kim's..."physical features", she probably still would have gotten the nickname "Kim KardASSian" even if the writers of Star Trek hadn't come up with the name first...
Season 4 had an episode titled "Rules of Engagement", in which an esteemed officer (Worf) gets accused of attacking and killing innocent civilians. Wait, wasn't this a 2000 film starring Samuel L. Jackson and Tommy Lee Jones?
Ho Yay: Garak and Bashir. The actor for Garak actually stated he was playing Garak as pansexual in the first episode he appeared in (where he totally came on to Bashir) before complaints made him tone it down. They have lunch together (canonically said to be weekly throughout the years) and have saved each other's lives at least once. They've snarked, given each other gifts, and really sometimes been the only people who can stand the other. Plus Garak wants Bashir to "Take this rod... and eat it." (Actually, it was a data rod.)
Alexander Siddig has also remarked that his reaction to Garak and Bashir's first scene together was "Oh, so are we going to be Star Trek's first gay couple? Cool."
Also Bashir and O'Brien. There's one episode where Julian spends most of his time trying to get Miles to admit he likes Bashir more than his wife.
In the series finale, the main characters are reminiscing on their times aboard the station, and we get to see a series happy flashbacks for each character, with scenes from earlier episodes. All of O'Brien's flashbacks are of him and Bashir doing various things, while Keiko doesn't appear in any of them.
Odo and Laas in "Chimera". Odo and Laas link in private, but Odo declines when Laas wants to link with him in public. Also, Quark remarks that people won't want to see a "Changeling pride" demonstration on the Promenade. Considering that director LeVar Burton said that Odo and the female Changeling's scenes were G-Rated Sex, it's hard not to see their Linking as a quasi-love scene. (Changelings may have a fluid relationship with gender, but that doesn't mean they can't be attracted to anyone.)
Idiot Plot: "Profit and Lace" is universally loathed for it and the Unfortunate Implications but the reasons behind the problems are actually more complicated than it appears. The writers wanted the episode to be high farce. Armin Shimerman, the lead actor thought the original script was degrading, if not appalling, and went for a much more serious approach. Same went for the director - Alexander Siddig aka Dr. Bashir, someone completely new to this - who wanted to tackle family issues instead but without making the point clear to everyone. The first result was so disturbing, with incredibly dark scenes following equally light-hearted ones, they had to reshoot some scenes, butchering a script that was already seen as weak to begin with. Shimerman later admitted the half-baked result was the main reason behind the failure.
The Bajorans sometimes fall into this. While the Occupation was an atrocity committed on their people, there are more than a few episodes that demonstrate that the Bajorans became equally ruthless to get their planet back. Episodes such as "Duet" demonstrate there are still cases of Cardassians being randomly murdered by Bajorans simply because they're Cardassian, and they're as capable of mob-driven racism as anyone else in episodes like "A Man Alone." (To be fair, though, they do get a good share of What the Hell, Hero? when these things happen.)
The Maquis also count at the end. They attack both the Cardassians and the Federation, won't negotiate, are constantly attacking any Cardassian because they are Cardassian with indiscriminate terrorist attacks to - in Eddington's words - "make the Cardassian empire crumble." It was their attacks which finally drove the Cardassians to join the Dominion, and they still don't take responsibility for their actions (or at least, Eddington is incredibly reluctant to, and blames everything on Ben Sisko). Even when Sisko saves the last few Marquis members after a bloody massacre, they still maintain their self-righteous approach.
Les Yay: Hinted at in the Mirror Universe episodes. Also in the episode "Rejoined", which wasn't directly about same-sex relationships (indeed, none of the characters even comment on that) but which is a pretty clear allegory for homophobia through the Trill taboo on "reassociating" with lovers from past lives.
Love It or Hate It: The episode "In the Pale Moonlight." Niners point to it as one of the best episodes of the series because Sisko realizes he must put aside his long-held Federation principles to win the war. Trekkies who hate Deep Space 9 point to this episode and say it's a betrayal of Gene Roddenberry's vision of a better humanity for the exact same reason.
Vic Fontaine. People either like him as he genuinely helps the main characters to get through difficult times and either carried or added depth to what are seen as good episodes (It's Only A Paper Moon and The Siege Of AR-557 being the best examples). Or they hate him because of his Spotlight-Stealing Squad tendencies, taking his sweet time for his stories that could have been used to flesh out more Ezri Dax, the Dominion War, Dukat post-Waltz, etc. Although for a Creator's Pet to be able to reach this point, this is one hell of an accomplishment.
Gul Dukat had a certain flair most Star Trek villains lack, at least early on. Garak was a much better example. As stated elsewhere, Cardassians excel at this trope, their culture is based around manipulation with style.
Garak's speech to Sisko at the end of In The Pale Moonlight is a beautiful example of the trope. So the plan Sisko thought he'd reluctantly signed up to failed, well that's ok because Garak had another little twist in mind that would involve a few deaths but get the desired result. Then when Sisko works it all out, and beats Garak up in his own shop, Garak unleashes the monologue...
That's why you came to me, isn't it, Captain? Because you knew I could do those things that you weren't capable of doing? Well, it worked. And you'll get what you want: a war between the Romulans and the Dominion. And if your conscience is bothering you, you should soothe it with the knowledge that you may have just saved the entire Alpha Quadrant. And all it cost was the life of one Romulan senator, one criminal, and the self-respect of one Starfleet officer. I don't know about you, but I'd call that a bargain.
Weyoun, the most prominent member of a race that was engineered to be this, although he tends to vary. Depending on his particular incarnation, he can twist the other characters around like bits of yarn, or he's a Smug Snake. You have to admire the way he drinks that poisoned kanar, though.
The Founders are nearly an entire race of Magnificent Bastards, lacking perhaps only the charisma that usually goes with the trope. They manipulate politics on a galactic scale and are not afraid to personally take a hand in doing so, disguising themselves as major figures to disrupt other superpowers internally.
Section 31. At the end of the series, a whole Star Empire is dancing on their tune. They also prove to be so useful and efficient, even the Federation will tacitly support their attempt at genocide. Sloan in particular achieves this status with his devilishly clever Batman Gambit in "Inter Arna Enim Silent Leges". The genocide plot could also easily be considered a Xanatos Gambit, to be honest.
Ben Sisko, who holds the respect of the Maquis, Klingons, Founders and the Jem'Hadar as being a Worthy Opponent and as such, demonstrates he can even make them stand down simply by showing up in some episodes. He also punched Q to the ground. According to SF Debris, if Sisko had been in Star Trek: First Contact, the movie would've only been five minutes long.
Well, as the first ep reveals, Sisko did go up against The Borg, and the battle was about 5min long, but...
In-universe, Federation engineers:
Vorta: Perhaps you have one of those legendary Starfleet engineers who can turn rocks into replicators?
The runabout Rio Grande is somewhat famous among fans for how it managed to be the only runabout to survive the series, with only the Rubicon (delivered to the station near the end of season 3) coming close to matching its length of time. In universe, the way that DS9 goes through runabouts got a lampshade, making the Rio Grande notable in its survival.
In the last episode, the Female Changeling orders the entire Cardassian race exterminated, starting with Cardassia Prime. And that's not even the least of it. She goes on to tell the protagonists that not only will she not surrender regardless of the circumstances, she's sure the Dominion will do as much damage as possible before going down. If her species is doomed to die, she's taking the entire quadrant down with her. Fortunately, Odo does change her mind.
Dukat's a jerk, and we know he presided over the slaughter of millions of Bajorans, but then in "Waltz," he picks up a metal bar and attacks an injured and helpless man. And nothing he does can any longer surprise us.
The Big Bad of "Homefront/Paradise Lost" seems like a Well-Intentioned Extremist for most of the story, even looking conflicted and regretful when he frames Sisko and tosses him into a holding cell. But he crosses it big time when he tells his right-hand-woman to destroy the Defiant under the pretense that it's full of Changelings—just to kill the other underling they'd caught before they reach Earth and expose the conspiracy.
"Field of Fire," a seventh season episode, has this in the form of Lieutenant Illario appearing in a nightmare of Ezri's where he is allegedly the killer of the real Illario, and Odo says "I'm sorry, Lieutenant (Dax), there's nothing more annoying than a corpse with a mind of its own."
In the episode "Broken Link," Odo returns to the Great Link for judgment. He's later thrown to the surface of Great Link "ocean," gasping, shouting, and thrashing around, before washing up on shore unconscious. The scene is meant to show that something is wrong and the Great Link has rejected him, but he just looks like a ridiculously bad swimmer with a leg cramp instead!
"Waltz" was loaded with it. It was supposed to be a horrific view into Dukat's psychosis, but it just makes him look like a petty manchild who talks to himself, until the final act anyway.
The part in "What You Leave Behind" where Dukat uses his powers to make Sisko bow down to him. It's obviously a show of power by a completely egotistical villian, but it's presented in a way that makes it hard not to laugh, especially with the way Sisko calls him pathetic.
Also the part where after Garak kills Weyoun, and the Female Changling says she wishes he hadn't done that. Garak retorting that he was hoping she'd say he was the last one is just priceless.
In Defiant, Riker from The Next Generation comes to visit the station. At one point he pulls off his fake sideburns to reveal... a goatee! This is supposed a dramatic moment, as his lack of full beard means this is not William Riker but Thomas Riker, his doppelgänger. However, the scene comes off as incredibly goofy, especially if you haven't seen the Next Generation episode where Thomas previously appeared, and therefore have no idea what this beard-pulling business is all about.
Never Live It Down: Admiral Nechayev has never been well-liked since her main job is to be an Obstructive Bureaucrat, but in DS9 she goes beyond the pale because she was willing to sell the Federation to the Dominion...! except that was not actually her, it was a hologram/mental simulation that the Founders used to test just how far they could push the Federation. It was a rather large plot point, but apparently forgettable in favor of complaining about her.
Nothing Is Scarier: The Breen. It's a testament to the writing/costume design, etc. of DS9 that the Breen are so unsettling and so memorable, as we learn almost nothing about them. It could even be argued they're less fleshed-out than Voyager's legendarily one-dimensional foes The Kazon... and yet the end result is positively chilling.
Replacement Scrappy: Ezri. In fairness, had she been present from the start of the series (possibly with Jadzia or Curzon as a Dead Star Walking) she would probably have worked well, but given only one season there was just no way she could fill the void left by Jadzia. Fortunately, the novels would go a long, long way toward redeeming her...
The Ferengis. The show features three regular ferengi characters who are portrayed sympathetically to varying degrees. Nog and Rom show that the Ferengi are good at more than just business and Rom and Quark show that being good at business has it's benevolent side. They show that capitalism, when used right, is about helping people meet each other's needs.
Section 31 gets this treatment. Well-Intentioned Extremist types? Sure, pragmatists who are willing to subvert Federation principles in order to expand its influence? Probably. Obviously Evil forces of darkness? That rather misses the point they raise of whether or not any great power can exist without such a group and how far people can go to protect themselves in a desperate situation like the Dominion War. Word of God even states that they were intended to be a necessary evil of sorts, to allow an idealistic society to exist in a universe where more pragmatic races would take advantage of its high idealism. There's also the fact that they get bashed on for their underhanded tactics and attempt to wipe out the entire race of changelings, but rarely get any credit for how these things are largely responsible for the allies winning the dominion war. Not to mention how many innocent lives were saved.
Sisko gets this sometimes as well. While he's certainly not a Federation ideal like Captain Picard, he still does plenty of good things over the series. You don't have to like him or everything he does, but there's a contingent of Trek fans who paint him as an immoral and violent person who doesn't deserve to wear the uniform, even going so far as to call him genocidal. (This last is mainly from "For the Uniform, when he uses a bioweapon to make a Maquis planet uninhabitable for humans—a weapon that operates on a long enough delay for everyone to get away safely, and an idea he got from the Maquis when they did the same to a Cardassian colony.) While Sisko is definitely a fighter, he's also dealing with many more violent situations and is still quite a Guile Hero.
Kira has gotten this post 9/11. Her history as a terrorist just didn't win her any favors in a world where terrorists have become more hated, especially since she explicitly defends having bombed civilians in "The Darkness and the Light."
The Bajorans as a whole as well. It doesn't help that many parallel modern religious extremists and/or the war hawk right. People who give the Draco in Leather Pants treatment to Dukat and his ilk are extremely prone to this.
The Cardassian people are sometimes hit with this because of their ruthless, totalitarian government (who usually represent them onscreen). There are still plenty of Cardassians who recognize that the government is horrific and committed incredible atrocities on the Bajorans (and themselves). There's even a resistance and an overthrow of the military dictatorship partway through the series.
Seasonal Rot: Seasons 5 and 7, while not exactly regarded as bad, are considered noticeable steps down in quality from Seasons 4 and 6. Season 5 features a number of universally despised episodes (most notably "Let He Who Is Without Sin...") and spends a lot of time spinning its wheels and resetting the Klingon War and Maquis arcs in order to make way for the eventual Dominion War story line, while Season 7 suffers a combination of the show's religious symbolism becoming overwhelming, Gul Dukat being turned from a complex villain into a straightforward Omnicidal Maniac, and Ezri Dax... just being Ezri Dax.
It doesn't help that the Prophets/Pah-Wraiths plot is resolved almost as quickly as it starts. Almost as if they were planning for a season 8 with which to resolve it, and found themselves forced to do it within the latter half of the 7th season instead.
So Bad, It's Good: Armin Shimerman (Quark's actor) has a fondness in his heart for "Move Along Home", and whatever else may be said about it, it's pretty easy to get a chuckle out of a DS9 fan by using one of the show's abortive attempts at a Catch Phrase ("Allamaraine! Third shap!" or the title as spoken by Falow in the simulation, for example.)
Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: "The Siege of AR-558." A lot of people didn't want to make the episode but the writers (and the director, a Vietnam veteran) pushed on because they wanted to make an episode showing the horror and dehumanizing trauma of war.
Squick: Quark as a Ferengi female in "Profit and Lace". He even shows his (her?) parts off to a lecherous future business partner and a horrified Brunt. Ugh.
Dukat took Kira's mother as his mistress during the Occupation, and goes on to be pretty obviously interested in Kira herself. Ewwwww.
Winn/Dukat. Just...Winn/Dukat... She even has an in-universe squick reaction once he realizes who he is.
Once Kasidy Yates shows up, Jake seems rather disturbingly invested in getting his dad laid.
Worf and Jadzia sometimes didn't seem to have much in common with each other, besides their Klingon connections. Many thought Jadzia had far more chemistry with Sisko. There are plenty of others who do feel that they do make a good match with some fun UST, of course.
Ezri and Julian. Their pairing was disappointing to fans who took it to mean that Julian really hadn't gotten over Dax after all, and that the relationship amounted to going from friendship to high-school-crush displays of awkwardness—and therefore, was a waste of forced comedy. Said fans also felt that their relationship lacked chemistry or character development, or had any point in the plot arcs that were going on at the time (when everyone was concerned with the very serious events of the finale, the only reason these two seemed to be together was to introduce artificial "breather moments"). This seems to be why the Expanded Universe writers seemed obsessed with making their relationship fall apart.
Quark in "The Siege of AR-558." Quark's mercenary and cowardly nature suddenly doesn't seem all that bad compared to the Federations' brutality in the name of idealism. In fact, Quark comes across as the Only Sane Man. And later he guns down a Jem'hadar soldier as he busts into the infirmary Nog is staying at, undermining Quark's own statements in the face of having to do what's necessary to protect one's own, but from the look on his face after he fires the phaser, he seems to realize that himself.
Worf in "Let He Who is Without Sin." Yes, he should ease up a bit, but with how much Jadzia keeps shrugging off his requests to discuss their relationship, which was the reason they were going to Risa to begin with - which was also where she wanted to go, by the way - it's hard to blame him for finally losing his cool when he does.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: On the level of a whole organization. The Maquis were created entirely to set up the situation on Voyager, with little thought to what role they could play on Deep Space Nine. The result is that besides Eddington they never become more than generic terrorists despite their quite understandable motivations. And when the story reached a point where they might have an interesting role to play, they were unceremoniously wiped out between episodes.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: "Looking For Par'Mok In All the Wrong Places". It's the return of Quark's Klingon ex-wife (and fan favorite) Grilka! And she's starting to show romantic feelings for Quark! Unfortunately, Worf falls in Love at First Sight with her. Even more unfortunately, the plot's basically a rehash of Cyrano de Bergerac with Worf in the role of Cyrano for Quark. A couple of problems with this: 1) Quark and Grilka already know each other, so one wouldn't think he'd really need a Cyrano, and 2) Worf has always despised Quark and continues to do so at the end of the episode (the last thing Worf has to say about Quark here is, "What does she see in that parasite?" Worse still, the whole Quark/Grilka story is sidelined just to bring Worf and Jadzia together. Even worse, Jadzia actually insults Grilka (albeit not to her face), contemptuously referring to her as a "statue", which combined with Worf's sustained contempt for Quark, puts a really ugly spin on Worf and Jadzia helping Quark to get together with Grilka. Worst of all, just a few episodes later in the abysmal "Let He Who Is Without Sin", Quark's back to chasing women on Risa, and Grilka's never seen or mentioned again.
Uncanny Valley: Several Changelings who assume humanoid form, such as Odo and Laas. Because Odo has difficulty mimicking humanoid facial details, his face has blunted features with unnaturally smooth skin. The fact that Laas, the Female Changeling, and a Changeling infiltrator also look this way suggests that it may be a default Changeling facial template.
In his review of "Tears of the Prophets", Confused Matthew notes that after the orbs of the Prophets are put out by Dukat, the Bajorans start acting like junkies needing their fix.
Nana Visitor hated that Dukat's attraction to Kira was initially Played for Laughs in "Civil Defense," because 1. to Kira, this is the equivalent of Adolf Hitler trying to flirt with her and 2. if it had taken place just a few years earlier, Kira would not have been in a position to refuse his advances. (Accordingly, it is portrayed as creepier later on.)
In "Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang", Sisko initially refuses to get involved in helping Vic Fontaine in his 1960s-era Vegas program because of how it whitewashes the issues of racism at that time, and yet he doesn't say anything about the issues of sexism also present in that time. As SF Debris put it, "In their attempt to address the elephant in the room, they've unwittingly called attention to the mammoth standing next to it.".
Most of "Profit and Lace", where Quark going through a sex change (as part of a scheme to help Grand Nagus Zek) is largely Played for Laughs, with many stale jokes about ha-ha women are so hysterical and weepy, ha-ha Rom is acting like a giiiirl, ha-ha Quark is extorting sex from his employees again....
From "Change Of Heart": So it's Starfleet procedure to send married couples on dangerous away missions together and to not expect them to try to save each other against all costs? Is that really the sort of thing that Starfleet expects from its officers? If so, that implies a whole lot of rather alarming moral-detachment on the part of Starfleet procedure. Or really should Sisko instead have reprimanded Major Kira for making a ridiculously stupid command decision and not punish the victim of her idiocy who did everything he could to finish the mission before his own conscience caught up with him?
From all we learn about Kira and the Resistance, it turns out that every Cardassian and every Bajoran "Collaborator" - as she said "We had a saying in the Resistance: if you weren't with us, you were against us" - was a legitimate target and she had no qualms with killing, mutilating or crippling any of them, whether innocent or guilty. She does realize that the issue is more complex, but only after the Occupation is over and she has an Orb experience and encounter in "Duet" with a genuinely remorseful Cardassiannote who, unlike Prin, didn't kill most of her old friends and was trying to atone on behalf of his people instead. She tackles the issue again when she's left with deeply conflicted feelings over her mother after learning she fell in love with Dukatnote At this point in the series, it's less about him being a Cardassian and more about him being Space Hitler, but her deep-seated hatred of Cardassians and "Collaborators" - even her own mother - belies the nature of her motives for fighting the Occupation, and the ruthless bloodshed of her own actions and those implied of her cell gives disturbing insight into the Black and Grey Morality of the Resistance itself. Given the persistence of Bajoran terrorists well into the second season, it's easy to conclude that the Resistance became a pack of Well Intentioned Extremists by the end of the Occupation, with many either advocating or committing murder against former occupiers or collaborators. However, given the massive physical and psychological scars the Cardassians left on Bajor, allotting ultimate responsibility and ethical culpability for the acts of violence that were perpetrated after the Cardassians withdrew is a subject for a long and involved debate which would probably end in alcoholism for all sides. The only ones with clean hands in the entire mess were the Bajorans in refugee and labor camps—even Kai Winn can claim some moral superiority for once, since she and other clerics like her were often brutalized for teaching the "Words of the Prophets" with nothing to defend them but their faith.
All the scenes in which Ferengi characters ask or manipulate female characters into oo-mox. For example, in "Little Green Men," Nog gets the doctor to "massage his ear" repeatedly. This would be roughly equivalent to asking a woman from a species without penises for a handjob. Creepy, right? Oh, humorous? Okay then... sure, let's make it a joke that Quark requires his female employees to sexually pleasure him a joke too. Surely that kind of thing is totally acceptable on a station run by Starfleet and Bajor. Since Starfleet is egalitarian and the Cardassians raped and sexually exploited Bajoran women during the Occupation, they'd definitely turn a blind eye. And in fact an early episode has Sisko summarily declaring one of Quark's employee's contracts null and void for exactly that reason, but hey, Rule of Funny right?
The circumstances around Sisko's parentage. His mother was basically raped by a Prophet that took control of her body and forced her to have sex and a child with Joseph Sisko. The second she was released, she fled to Australia, where she was oh-so-conveniently killed in a shuttle accident so neither Joseph nor Ben could know what happened until decades later. Ben displays his usual disgruntlement over those meddling Prophets using people again, but as it's never mentioned again and the Prophet becomes a fixture in his visions, the writers apparently didn't realize the truly horrifying implications of their own plot point. It also goes somewhat against the traits we know distinguishes Prophets from the Pah-wraiths' evil—previously, we knew the Prophets possessed willing vesselsnote Kira in "The Reckoning" and the Pah-wraiths used people against their will.
Values Dissonance: The good guys include former terrorists and a new terrorist group formed during the series is portrayed as having some reasonable motives. Yes, this series was made before 9/11.
The two-part episode "Past Tense" has proven extremely relevant throughout the post-2008 Great Recession.
After the whole NSA/PRISM/Xkeyscore thing went down, the events of Homefront and Paradise Lost become a LOT more scary, and Sisko's problems with Leyton make a whole lot more sense.
Visual Effects of Awesome: Two space battles spring to mind- "The Way of the Warrior", which was the last big Trek space battle done with models (and in which Deep Space 9 itself takes a level in badass) and "Sacrifice of Angels", where CGI finally allows an epic battle between six hundred Federation ships and double that number of Dominion and Cardassian ones. Particular mention should go to the moment where we finally see more than one Galaxy-class starship (as in the Enterprise-D from Star Trek: The Next Generation) go into battle side by side and letting rip with their full complement of weaponry.
Hell, they pulled this off as early as the first episode. Where in TNG you would be lucky to see the Enterprise D perform so much as much as a bank, suddenly we are shown just how vicious Wolf 359 was, with several Federation ships zipping around at high speeds desperately trying to avoid the Borg Cube's fire.
Wangst: Sisko gets a lot of it, especially related to his status as Emissary.
Some fans also think that it also applies to his personal log in "In the Pale Moonlight," when he is upset over trading his personal sense of honor for a Romulan alliance via lies and assassination. Although it's well-established that Starfleet places a lot of value on honesty and personal integrity and not being involved in clandestine murders, some viewers think the decision was a no-brainer in the first place.
Kira arguably wangsts far more than Sisko throughout the entire series.
Bashir! For a genetically enhanced, super doctor, you'd think he'd be better at walking the balance between principle and practicality. Instead, he whines incessantly every time someone doesn't go 100% towards the former, no matter how right they are, how sound their reasoning, or how much their pragmatic decisions keep proving to pay off.
What an Idiot: Lieutenant Primmin, Odo's short-lived Starfleet-appointed security counterpart gets hit with this in his last appearance, the infamous season 1 episode "Move Along Home". When the entire senior staff of DS9 (save Chief O'Brien, who is on Earth with his family) doesn't show up for duty the day following First Contact with the Wadi, a species from the Gamma Quadrant, Primmin, who's job is to assist with station security merely shrugs it off and assumes they're all busy recovering from the party that was thrown at Quark's without ever actually checking to see if they were in their quarters or even still on the station (which he could have done in less than a minute via his combadge or even just asking the computer). When Odo finds out he is visibly pissed off at Primmin, but decides to focus on finding out what happened to Sisko and the others. Given that Primmin is never seen or even referred to again after this episode, it's not hard to imagine that his gross negligence cost him dearly.
O'Brien, who's suffered such indignities as abduction/replacement, arrest and trial, death, arrest and 20 years imprisonment in 20 hours, threatened by his possessed wife, etc. Kira's suffered just as bad, if not worse. And Odo gets his fair share of suffering as well.) The writers even said "O'Brien must suffer" at least once a season because they thought Colm Meaney was great in that kind of story.
Dukat also gets this treatment in one episode, at the end of Sacrifice of Angels and the beginning of Waltz. Sisko's log, at the beginning of Waltz puts it into words; He lost an empire, he lost his daughter, and he nearly lost his mind. Whatever his crimes... isn't that enough punishment for one lifetime?. Of course, since it's Dukat...
Ziyal, much more so. Poor girl.
As if dealing with 8 lifetimes' worth of memories without 1 lifetime's training wasn't bad enough, Garak makes Ezri cry by saying she doesn't deserve to be a Dax.
Marritza in "Duet". He feels horrible knowing he saw massive atrocities committed against the Bajoran people and could do nothing to stop it. His tragic murder by a Bajoran in the end makes it worse.
Garak becomes one too at the end of the series. His father died, barely acknowledging him. His mother was murdered in cold blood by Jem Hadar. Most of his contacts/friends were dead. The defeat of the Dominion was a Pyrrhic Victory for Cardassia, and he knows it. He didn't get to kill the Female Changeling who started it all either, which would not normally be something to feel sorry for him over, but by this point, she had killed hundreds of millions of innocent people, most of them Cardassians. The fact that he had previously come real close to killing off the changelings, albeit at a cost, probably just made this worse.
Damar is a good candidate as well, considering that he not only desperately tried to make the best of the terrible situation that Dukat had put Cardassia in, but that he stayed absolutely loyal to Dukat despite how he screwed him and everyone else in the Alpha Quadrant over. What's more, because he had a conscience, trying to work with the Dominion (despite being effectively conquered by them had him Drowning My Sorrows) with a diligent resolve that would make any Klingon proud. He suffered through the entire war, tried to protect Cardassia as much as possible, and then when he tried to resist and stop the bloodshed, millions of Cardassians died. That has got to hurt. Sad thing is, he would have made a brilliant leader for the new Cardassia if he hadn't been Killed Off for Real.