Throughout the years the two shows in the Star Trek universe that have got the most attention seem to be the original Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation but, while I enjoy both of these shows for different reasons, the Trek show that I have found to be my favorite for a few years now is Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
It is a show that gets a lot of flack (it seems) from the common viewer. The usual complaints I hear are; “It’s boring” and “They never go anywhere”. For me, both are untrue. I’ll explain why I disagree with the latter and then to the former.
One of the whole points of DS9 is that they didn’t want two shows with ships “going where no man has gone before”. So they set DS9 on a space station and instead of them going out and meeting the alien cultures of the world, the aliens came to them. Yes, I will admit in the early years of the show they didn’t go to many places but travel and exploration wasn’t the point of the show like it was with TNG. By season three, however, with the introduction of the Defiant they started going to more places while still keeping things primarily on the station.
Personally I wouldn’t care much if they did go to places all that much as I find the idea of a space station fascinating and more interesting than that of a space ship. If you think about it TNG had a good amount of ship-based episodes, and the only thing really separating those from DS9 is that you saw exterior shots of the Enterprise moving, thus giving it the illusion of movement. But I think I’m digressing a bit here.
I think I’m coming to my second point in regards to it being dull. DS9 is, in my opinion, the best written, best cast, most consistently good, and overall best done of all the Star Trek shows. It was far from unexciting and had its fair share of action (at times becoming more epic and big than TNG ever was). The thing that distinguishes it from the rest of the shows is that it was personal. It really delved into the characters in a much more intimate way than I feel the other shows did. The characters changed a lot over the course of the show and you can see them getting closer and closer together as the show went on. Also, romantic relationships actually went somewhere (unlike TNG where I find most of them don’t develop at all or hardly at all). Personally, I find a very warm aspect from them, when I don’t watch the show for a while I come back to it with a sort of ‘coming home and visiting old friends’ type of feeling.
What makes the writing of the show stand out is the fact that as the show went on it became more and more tightly woven. It had more and more storylines that continued into the next episode and the episode after that, to the point where the last two seasons had many episodes that continued from right where the last one ended. No other ST show really has done that. They are all really stand-alone-episode shows. Yeah, they had their occasional two-parter but by the end things went back to the way they were before. DS9 had a good many episodes that affected each other and things weren’t always resolved by the end of them. That’s not to say that DS9 didn’t have stand-alone episodes. It has a lot that are quite good.
Now I’m not trying to say that the show was perfect. It had crappy episodes just like any show. The actors would also over act sometimes and there were some characters (recurring characters or guest stars) that I found annoying and wanted to shoot. There was also a downside to the episodes being so connected. But the good in DS9 far outweighed the bad.
So, if you didn’t check out Deep Space Nine during its original run and have been wondering about whether or not to check it out, then I would tell you to take a look at it. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.