It has really been 30 years since Star Trek: DS9 first aired on TV! January 3rd, 1993 the pilot aired. It was midseason, so therefore there are less episodes than you are used to with Star Trek. Still it got 20 episodes, which is still almost as much as a standard full season on a network like CBS (22 episodes). Let me first say I also wrote a blog about DS9 being 21 years in 2014, so 9 years ago. It is very conceivable that I will repeat myself here and there in this blog in comparison to that blog.
DS9 was the 3rd live action series which bears the name Star Trek, after The Original series, we got The Next Generation. The third TV show was not going to be on a spaceship but on a space station. So an entirely different concept! Instead of the crew going to a planet every week, with DS9 the action had to come to the station. Star Trek fans found this concept to be strange, a Star Trek show not on a ship. The creators also apparently had to get used to this idea also, the stories in the first season certainly aren’t all perfect. Even as a Star Trek fan, it was sometimes difficult to go through the first season. Of course there some good episodes like the pilot episode “The Emissary” as also “A Man Alone” and “Captive Pursuit”. However there also were a number of episodes were mediocre at best! They even got Q to visit within the first 10 episodes! But even the Q episode was fairly uninteresting It is not to say it was all bad, it just was so bland, nothing special.
Of course the actors also got to get familiar with their characters. For the remainder of the season I can only name 3 really good episodes: “The Forsaken”, when Lwaxana Troi visits the station, “Duet” where Kira meets a so called Cardassian war criminal and the season finale where we first meet Vedek Winn who wants to close the school on the station because according to her, Keiko is not teaching them that the wormhole aliens are gods to the Bajorans instead of merely wormhole aliens. In these last two episodes you begin to notice that this third Star Trek show could become very interesting indeed. Ratings wise DS9 did not do so bad but was not in the same league as the more popular Star Trek: The Next Generation which at that time was in its sixth season.
DS9 had a large cast as you may well know but the recurring cast was also considerable. In the first season we meet Gul Dukat, former commander of DS9, then called Terok Nor, Elim Garak, a Cardassian no longer welcome on his home world so when the Cardassians left, he stayed behind on the station when the Bajorans and the Federation took over the station. We also meet Ferengi Zek, who is the Grand Nagus, leader of the Ferengi people. Vedek Winn, who wants to become Kai Winn after Kai Opaka can no longer return home seen in season one episode “Battlelines”. We also meet Vedek Bareil, who has no interest in becoming the Kai, he has a thing for Kira and this is mutual. And there is also Morn, who is the Norm from Cheers. It’s not for nothing he is called Morn! 😊 Although Rom, Nog are also recurring characters, I don’t see them that way, I consider them lead characters. Many more recurring characters are coming in and after the first season, like the Female Changeling, Gowron, Martok, Weyoun, Keiko and many, many more.
Where, in my opinion, both The Next Generation and also Voyager still had to find its feet with its second season, I thought the second season of DS9 was already up to par with season 3. Season two starts out with 3-parter, which, as far as I remember, not done before. It is a start to a solid season with some exceptional episodes like “Necessary Evil”, “Armageddon Game”, “Whispers”, “Paradise”, “The Wire”, “The Maquis”, “Crossover”, “The Collaborator”, “Tribunal” and “The Jem’Hadar”. These, and the 3-parter opening, are for me top episodes and it does not mean the other are all mediocre, most of them are very watchable and of course there are some weak episodes like every show has. In episode 7, “Rules of Acquisition” the Dominion is mentioned for the first time, only a mention, nothing more, but it’s a beginning of something fantastic.
In season 3 we get a new character, which only enriched the show, it was the ship the Defiant. A prototype warship constructed after the Borg invasion a few years earlier. It had a lot of firepower, it looked very nice also. It meant that the crew could go away from the station on a ship which also had a cloaking device. It was very important addition to the show is my opinion. The writers got more options to write stories and did not need to stick with stories only happening on the station and with this new enemy, it was imperative that Sisko and his crew could defend themselves at least. Commander Sisko finally gets to be Captain at the end of the 3rd season, was about time. Season 3 also has a lot of great episodes, the Dominion already was big part of the show, which made the stakes even higher. Kai Winn, wasn’t happy at all that Captain Sisko was the emissary for the Bajorans. Sisko himself at that point in the series, was also not so fond of this role he had. Season 3 can measure up to any other season with episodes like: “The Search”, “Second Skin”, “Civil Defense”, “Defiant” (where Riker visits DS9, but which Riker?), “Past Tense”, “Life Support”, “Visionary”, “Through The Looking Glass”, “Improbable Cause”/ “The Die is Cast”, “Explorers”, “Shakaar” and the season finale “The Adversary”. My favorites are definitely “Improbable Cause”/ “The Die is Cast”, where Elim Garak and Odo travel with Tain in order to destroy the Dominion home world.
At the end of the second season of Deep Space Nine, The Next Generation finished it 7th and last season and would transition into movies. If you think DS9 now would run on its own you are mistaken because with DS9’s 3rd season, Star Trek: Voyager was launched in January 1995. It would have been nice if they got a few seasons on their own.
With the start of the 4th season, we got another new character, a character I wasn’t fond of to be honest I wasn’t really enthusiastic about this new character. Of course I mean Worf, who came from The Next Generation after the movie “Generations” was done. Although I was very skeptical about this move, it turned out to be an enrichment! I've never been a fan of Klingons, Klingon stories. I did like Worf as a character but I was afraid that would mean lots of Klingon stories I wasn’t interested in.
But that turned out to be not so bad, there are a few Klingon stories I didn’t care for but most of them were okay. And I also did like the relationship with Dax, and Worf certainly he had humor, ultimately it was a welcome addition and I believe that Worf grew more in these 4 seasons on DS9 than on the 7 seasons on Next Generation. Season 4 was at that point best season yet, episodes like: “The Way of the Warrior”, “Visitor”, “Our Man bashir”, “Homefront” / “Paradise Lost” and many more episodes. I think only 2-3 episodes which are mediocre, usually Ferengi episodes, but this time we had “Little Green Men”, one of my favorite Ferengi episodes”. The Dominion thread goes on, being more important with every season, in season 4 the Federation also is at war with the Klingons, but this is solved in season 5 so that they can unite together against the Dominion. Season 4 is also the season that Sisko fully embraces this Emissary-ship.
Season 5 contains one of the worst DS9 episode ever, “Let He Who is Without Sin...”, worthless episode. Otherwise the 5th season is spectacular, this time no new character. Some great storylines, the fantastic "Trials & Tribble-ations", what a treat is that, an entertaining Jake episode, “Nor the Battle to the Strong”, “For The Uniform” where Sisko perhaps goes further than we would expect from a Starfleet Captain. “In Purgatory’s Shadow” / “By Inferno’s Light”, we see that Bashir has been captured and is replaced by a Dominion operative, we see Tain who was presumed dead, spectacular episodes. “In The Cards” is a small but very enjoyable episode and of course the season finale, “Call to Arms” is the set-up for the season 6 occupation episodes. These only are a few examples, it is a consistent good season, with only a very few mediocre episodes.
Season 6 is arguably the best season of Deep Space Nine! Why do I say that, well because it has some exceptional episodes, plus it starts the season with a 6-episode arc, 7 if you count the season 5 finale also. Season 6 also contains one of the best Ferengi episodes, “The Magnificent Ferengi”. “Far Beyond the Stars” is an exceptional episode also. My favorite episode “In The Pale Moonlight”, and episodes like “Inquisition”, “His Way”, well you get my meaning, it is simply a wonderful season and the 6-part season opener is perhaps my favorite piece of television! Yes indeed, there are some weaker episodes but that is perhaps a handful. There is also an episode which I absolutely love, a budget saving episode I gather, but I love it, “The Sound of her Voice” where the Defiant crew gets a mayday message from a Starfleet officer who already is dead several years!
The final season, season 7 is another great season…mostly! I have to admit, don’t get me wrong, I like Ezri Dax a lot, but in my opinion she got a lot of episodes in the first 10-12 episodes! Those episodes weren’t stellar episodes, I think had Jadzia still been on the show, it would have become an even better season because the “get to know you” episodes wouldn’t be necessary and the creators could be bold all season instead from episode 16. Of course, in the first 15 episodes there also are some wonderful episodes, episodes like the two-part season opener: “Image in the Sand / Shadows and Symbols”. I thought “Take Me Out to the Holosuite” was a real fun episode. ”Treachery, Faith and the Great River” was a good Odo / Weyoun story, “The Siege of AR-558” is also a terrific episode where you see war on the planet instead of in space. “It’s Only A Paper Moon” is also great episode where Nog wants to live in the holosuite after losing a leg. “Chimera”, Odo’s Changeling friend is also quite entertaining. And then you have these 11-part season finale for which I have no words, never been done I think.
DS9 went out with a blast this last season, certainly not with a whimper as other Trek shows did. The last 11 episodes (including the 2-hour series finale) had you on the edge on your seat, no more filler episodes, just a lot of action, good story telling and an unforgettable season finale! (sorry but I am a fan of DS9 so I might be overdoing it! 😊) For me it still is the very best Star Trek ever been created.
VHS Video Tapes:
Of course in the 90’s we didn’t have DVD’s yet, Star Trek and other shows were released on VHS! Back then you bought 2 episodes a season which meant you’d buy 13 tapes for a whole Star Trek season. I myself was such a nerd who didn’t want to wait before it came on the telly because in my country, TV was always 2 to 3 years behind North America, at least with some shows, especially Star Trek & Babylon 5. So I purchased the Star Trek DS9 and Voyager tapes, but also the Babylon 5 tapes. Which meant after only one season of each series, I had almost 40 tapes on my shelves! You can can imagine how much room it would take in after 7 seasons of Star Trek and 5 seasons of Babylon 5. I have to say though, each videotape had such nice covers about the episodes in question, it was a work of art, each month newly created covers for all shows, it did always amaze me how they looked. That is the one set-back you had when it was transferred to DVD, ugly boxes and the re-issues weren’t that creative either. Of course, because of not having room enough, at one point I had to get rid of the videos, it was simply too much. Although rationally I still know it was the right thing to do, there is still some regret in hindsight! At the end of the blog I wil show a few DS9 covers from the VHS tapes that were released in the 90’s.
Must have magazines:
As probably any Star Trek fan knows, since the 90’s or so Star Trek Magazines where also being released. I don’t know for sure how it is now, I reckon there still is a Star Trek Magazine but in those days you had the “Star Trek Communicator”, from North America and there was a UK magazine called Star Trek Monthly. I collected them in those days anyway and I would like to recommend 3 Star Trek Magazines which are centered about DS9 when the show had ended. They are the 3 magazines you see below. These magazines are dedicated to DS9, interviews with the cast, recurring cast, retrospective view, episode discussions, you name it. The first two magazines came out shortly after the series ended, the 3rd one is a 15 year anniversary magazine of DS9, also a must have magazine. I’m sure they are still for sale somewhere, like eBay, but you probably will have to search for it, but it is worth it. Taking in information as it was done before the internet! In 2018 Starburst also had a 25 year anniversary special of DS9, however, that was a huge letdown, only 5 or 6 pages, can't call that a special. So make sure you skip that one and try to find one these below.
If you need any info about these 3 magazines, please let me know via the comment section!
Must have DS9 - Soundtracks
What is a TV show (or a movie) without music, I think you would be bored out of your skull in 10 minutes. Without realizing it, music is very important for any TV show or movie. When DS9 first aired in the 90’s there were CD’s released but very limited. However in 2013, after it had been announced for quite a while, volume I finally came out with the title: the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine collection! No less than 4-discs of music from various episodes, with that also a thick booklet with lots of information about the show and its music. In 2018 volume II was released, again a 4-disc set, each disc 72+ minutes of music on it for the total of 8 discs. It is something every DS9 fan should own but nowadays the first volume is a bit harder to find. The first volume is not available anymore on La-La Land Records, currently sold out, but perhaps still available on Ebay and such. The second volume is still available on La-La Land Records, for the same price as 4 years ago. I only recently discovered there is also a soundtrack of the DS9 documentary What We Left Behind! This one is still easy to purchase for a reasonable price. I ordered the What We Left soundtrack myself, will arrive next week or so (as per time I am writing this, October 2022), so I cannot give a verdict about this, probably a one-disc soundtrack, which is fine, but if you have the chance, try to purchase the other two, the La-La Land Records, volumes, these are definitely worth it. On the La-La Land website, see links, you can find the "Track Listing". As a Star Trek DS9 fan, they belong in your collection.
If needed I can give you more detailed pictures about these volumes. Please let me know in the comment section!
2018 –25 Years DS9 – Documentary – Convention “Star Trek Destination” in Germany
In 2018 DS9 of course celebrated it’s 25 birthday. Because of this, the (almost) entire cast was invited and came to this convention called Star Trek: Destination, in Germany. Only Avery Brooks and Armin Shimerman weren’t present but the rest of the main cast were. Also a number of recurring cast like Jeffrey Combs, Casey Biggs were there. I should name Max Grodénchik and Aron Eisenberg also but as I said earlier, I consider them main cast. It was quite an experience to meet the cast of DS9, with so many there. It is something I will never forget, ever! Of course in honor of its 25th birthday the documentary “What We Left Behind”, which was in part funded through crowdfunding, was to be released in that year. The release was delayed a few times but finally in April or May of 2019, not all clear to me anymore, the documentary was finally released and it was a 120 minute long documentary, with 90 minutes of special features, scenes that were cut out of the actual documentary. Furthermore, the scenes that were shown in the documentary, were in HD! The documentary was brilliant and also the scenes looked amazing in HD! If you haven’t seen it yet, see that you do, it is still available on DVD and Blu-ray!
In 2019, we lost two DS9 cast members, Rene Auberjonois (Odo) & Aron Eisenberg (Nog), very sad, it really hit me when I heard the news back then. Especially Aron Eisenberg was still so young, I know he was ill but still it was unfair. I was very glad that I got two meet these fantastic guys, we fans will miss them for always!
I have to say I am not a fan of animation Star Trek but last week I watched a trailer of Star Trek: Lower Decks. Normally I would not have been interested in watching the trailer but the title of the news item caught my eye, in the trailer they were visiting DS9! I thought, I have to see that! I had to wait till the end of the trailer but when DS9 came onto the main viewer of the ship ….it was a wonderful moment, I got goosebumps, the intro played also, it was so amazing! On August 25th the 3rd season will start streaming, you bet ya I ordered the first 2 seasons now also!
Hope you found this an interesting read, it is a good time to start another rewatch of this amazing show on its 30th birthday! DS9 is definitely different than its predecessors and also different than Voyager & Enterprise simply because of the fact that the show is set on a station. Because of the story-arc design, DS9 is slowly building up until the final climax 11 episodes of the 7th season. It has such a richness in terms of recurring cast and the main cast has so much opportunity to grow, it is just wonderful, I sincerely think there never will be another Star Trek which has so much richness than Deep Space Nine. Watch it, relish it, thoroughly enjoy it!
Wat leuk dat je het blog mooi leesvoer hebt gevonden, dat je een bezoekje hebt gepleegd en een bericht hebt achtergelaten! :-) Ja het zal ook voor altijd mijn favoriete Trek-serie blijven, kan niets aan veranderen! Ja dat van Morn is een echte "inside joke" zoals ze dat noemen!
Nogmaals dank je voor je bezoekje en ik hoop dat je de website nog eens vaker zult opzoeken!
Lieve groetjes terug! :-)
Wat een geweldig blog om te lezen. Zo uitgebreid en gedetailleerd. Erg interessant ook. Ook mijn favoriete Trek-serie. Wat leuk om te lezen over Morn (Norm) heb ik nooit geweten.
Ik ga natuurlijk nu ook de hele serie herkijken, vanwege het 30 jarig jubileum. Lieve groetjes Ingrid 😊