Deep Space 9: So past the final frontier, it sometimes hurts.
There's often fights about what makes Trek what it is. Nowhere is that debate more polarising than when it's coupled with this series, often leading to verbal skirmishes (and sometimes even warfare.). The reason the fighting is so fierce is that very few people can argue with the fact that this series is the best critically-rated series of Trek and that for most of the time the characters and writing were superb; yet that doesn't mean that they personally enjoyed it. I'll say where I fall on the issue at the end, but for now we should focus on the show itself.
was a show that was based around conflict and consequences. This was a complete departure from the usual Trek model, where the Federation flies in, attempts to fix a problem, pontificates, then shoots off into the distance. For the most part, you did not get consequences, nor conflict between the crew. If you wanted the crew to rebel, you stuck leeches in their ears or let William Shatner direct. (Star Trek V, I'm looking squarely in your direction here). The Next Generation was the show that kept to, but altered the model most, showing that the consequences of big decisions still hang over Picard, Data, Hugh and Wesley. (Even making Wes a better character)
In DS 9
, the station where everyone knows your name, everything hangs over the characters. It may not be referenced, but actions and words last long after they're created. Some chatacters don't like each other. Some do, but can't admit it. A former spy and retired murderer lives on the station, but because he's useful, witty and charming he gets away with it. It was almost as if the show was created to bend and shatter the utopia that Gene Roddenbury created,
Personally, I don't think so, but even if it did I wouldn't say it was a bad thing. When Roddenbury's vision became strong enough to become dogmatic, it led to many bad things. The Prime Directive became sacred law instead of a guideline, and we got Star Trek: TMP and the first two series of TNG. DS 9
questioned them to breathe new life into the world, to make us think about it. In many ways, the world of Star Trek feels better when you establish the good points of the utopia, as well as the bad. For me, DS 9
is both a great series, and a great Trek series. And if you disagree, I'm sure many of you will agree with half of that statement.