Ah, Deep Space Nine. Forget Picard’s Enterprise; my dream posting within Starfleet – now come on, we’ve all thought about it – would be to the space station on the wild frontier, populated by a motley crew of Starfleet personnel, Bajoran soldiers and shady characters of all species. During its seven-season run (1993-1999) DS9 repelled casual viewers with its ‘dark’ plotlines and complex moral dilemmas, even as it rewarded long-standing fans with fascinating character arcs and some of the finest acting ever seen in aTrek series.
Still battling the emotional damage inflicted by the loss of his beloved wife, Jennifer, at the devastating Battle of Wolf 359 – and in no mood to forgive Jean-Luc Picard, who was responsible for the carnage in his brief incarnation as Locutus of Borg – Commander (later Captain) Ben Sisko (Avery Brooks) was initially reluctant to bring up his only son, Jake (Cirroc Lofton), on a station in the thick of political turmoil. The reminders of its past as Terok Nor, a key outpost of the oppressive Cardassian Empire, were many, while the simmering resentment of Bajoran former rebels at Federation interference in their affairs was only complicated by Sisko’s acclamation as the ‘Emissary’ following his encounter with the mysterious wormhole-dwelling race worshipped by the Bajorans as the Prophets.
DS9’s first three seasons could be hard going, entrenched as they were in the intricacies of Bajoran religion and politics. Delving into such themes was a brave experiment on the part of creators Rick Berman and Michael Piller and showrunner Ira Steven Behr, but the show’s real brilliance began to show through from its magnificent fourth season onwards, when Worf’s arrival on the station brought some much-needed Klingon verve to proceedings, and as the sinister presence of the Dominion – oppressive rulers of the Gamma Quadrant and the people of mysterious station security officer, Odo (Rene Auberjonois) – heralded a long and bloody conflict.DS9’s crew may have spent less time boldly going than their TNG counterparts, but they also proved that sometimes, true bravery lies in sticking around long enough to pick up the pieces. Or in sitting through one of the episodes about Chief O’Brien’s family, none of which were ever in any danger of making this list.
Via James Keith