Reasons Why Deep Space Nine is My Favorite Form of Star Trek
Often unfairly overlooked in general discussions regarding Trek, this show rocks. Here's why I love it.
- •Captain Benjamin Lafayette SiskoCaptain Sisko is one of the baddest people in the galaxy this side of James T. Kirk. Yet, he also has the gravitas and diplomatic sensitivity of Jean-Luc Picard. Best part? He's no Mary Sue. He fails at things, gets beat up, lets others (Michael Eddington) get the better of his trust. Yet, he's still a loving father, devoted Starfleet officer, and he can punch out a Klingon. Avery Brooks does a tremendous job in the role. My favorite Star Trek captain for sure.
- •The supporting cast is equally as well-developed as SiskoThe nature of DS9's setting allows for a huge number of supporting characters and they're all given weight and pathos in their storylines. Major Kira is a former resistance fighter with trust issues. Doctor Bashir has dreams of being a frontier doctor, but those get clipped. Dax is really 700 years old and carries a lot of wisdom. O'Brien suffers - a lot. And that's just the staff. There are many more characters on the station who are all awesome and believable in their own ways.
- •The setting allows a lot of unique experiences and character interactions to happen.A Star Trek series that doesn't take place on a starship?! The station isn't even originally a Federation station? The nature of a station allows a lot more interesting things to come by instead of an endless quest for "something." Also, the nature of the station's technology meant that not everything worked right, providing some tension and creating a cultural mixed salad that was missing in other forms of Trek (ahem, Voyager).
- •DS9 passes the Bechdel Test with flying colorsGoing back to the fact that this show has amazingly written supporting characters, the show's female characters have depth and agency in all their storylines. They aren't defined by traditional gender roles and often take center stage while a lesser show would've used them as window dressing. Of particular note is my second-favorite character, Major Kira Nerys, the Bajoran freedom fighter almost forced to be Sisko's second-in-command. See Season 1's "Duet" for why Kira is so amazing.
- •Compelling long-form story arcs.Consider this: the Dominion is previewed as early as Season 2 of the show, little more than an oddity of the recently discovered Gamma Quadrant. They're behind the scenes in much of Season 3 and kick off the whole Dominion War arc running through Seasons 4-7. The writers weren't afraid to take chances with the formula and it paid off big time. It's thoroughly compelling and makes for great binge viewing.
- •Deconstructing the Federation "utopia"I've never been the biggest fan of "Gene Roddenberry's original vision." I always thought that his view of the future was too easy and didn't make for much interesting conflict. DS9 opened up the Federation and showed that it could have some dark sides. Need proof? Watch Season 6's "In the Pale Moonlight." Fun fact: the word "utopia" actually comes from the Greek meaning "no place."
- •Gul Dukat is seriously the greatest villain everEvery great hero needs a great villain and Ben Sisko definitely has his match in Gul Dukat. Not the traditional villain, his allegiances change quite often and he's always ready to play his own hand. He is DS9's Loki, having his own ambitions and motivations that are clearly understood and entirely in character for him. I wish we could see him in movies; his actor, Marc Alaimo does a tremendous job with the character. Every villain sees himself the hero and that description fits Dukat perfectly.
- •The father/son relationship between Ben and Jake SiskoJake Sisko is the anti-Wesley Crusher. He's not some kid hero/genius/avatar for the creator; he's a believable kid who has one of the most natural and realistic depictions of a father/son relationship ever seen on TV. Every moment between these two is either smile-worthy, a Tear Jerker (in a good way!), or a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming. Plus, Jake Sisko is one of the few kids in Star Trek who DOESN'T join Starfleet. He's a writer! A good one too!
- •The USS Defiant is one of the coolest Federation starship designsA baaaaad ship for a baaaaad captain and crew. This ship broke away from the "armed cruise ship in outer space" aesthetic of the Enterprise-D and replaced it with something way more utilitarian and awesome. I like the fact that it's a small, maneuverable ship that can pack quite the serious punch. And I do mean SERIOUS punch. This thing went up against a Borg cube and held its own!
- •The show made Worf AWESOMEThe Son of Mogh was everybody's favorite Klingon on The Next Generation, but he kept getting his rear handed to him by the villain of the week or was used as a visual punchline most times. It wasn't until he put on a red Command uniform, pulled his hair back, and joined DS9 that he showed how AWESOME he could truly be. DS9's Worf shanked fools with his mek'leth, commanded the Defiant, and even got the girl!
- •Less Treknobabble, more high stakesNot everything is an easy fix on DS9. Sometimes characters get hurt. Sometimes they die and sometimes, they don't come back. The show relied less on "reversing the polarity of the tachyon pulse," and more on "let's put the screws to these characters and see how they react."
- •And last but not least...Elim Garak, Cardassian "tailor." The best supporting character Trek has ever had. Bar. None.