Just over 24 years ago, Paramount expanded the Star Trek universe again, and for the first time ever, as the sixth season of The Next Generation continued, there were two Star Trek series running on television concurrently.
And what a different manner of series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was. Instead of exploring the galaxy, our heroes were confined to a space station, one that wasn’t even built by Starfleet, guarding one of the only stable wormholes in the galaxy. Working a bit like Rick’s Cafe Amercain in space, the incredibly diverse station is overseen by Commander Benjamin Sisk0 (Avery Brooks) a single father, who finds himself hailed as a religious icon by the neighbouring planet of Bajor, discovers he is on the front lines of the war between the Federation and the Dominion including the Breen and the Jem’hadar.
Sisko is joined by a Bajoran resistance fighter turned officer, Major Kira (Nana Visitor), a Changeling security officer, Odo (Rene Auberjonois), the Enterprise’s transporter chief, Miles O’Brien (Colm Meaney) as well as the Klingon, Worf (Micheal Dorn), eventually, and a green as grass, eager young doctor, Bashir (Alexander Siddig). All of them, as well as the owner of the local watering hole and gambling den, the Ferengi, Quark (Armin Shimerman) find themselves exploring the human condition and social issues as only Trek can.
Running for 173 episodes the series, while holding to a lot of ideals that Gene Roddenberry instilled in the Original Series, as well as Next Gen, explored darker territory than the other series, and proved divisive for some fans.
The series dared to be darker than its previous incarnations a concept introduced right from the beginning of the series as we see the events of Wolf 359, from Next Gen’s Best of Both Worlds from Sisko’s perspective and how it changed his life. The show hints that the galaxy wasn’t in such a perfect state as we’d been led to believe, and there was conflict between cultures and species. The crew of DS9, however, still hold to the things that make Starfleet and Roddenberry’s original vision so enduring.
Politics, terrorism, war, religion, all of these subjects are touched on through the series, and over the course of seven years, as the characters grow, change the series plays with all the usual science fiction tropes, especially the Trek favourite, time travel – best illustrated in the classic fifth season episode – Trials and Tribble-ations.
The years have been kind to the series and the stories (though admittedly the first season of DS9 and Next Gen are a little shaky), and Paramount Pictures has unveiled a new repackaged collection of the series in a gorgeous slipcase. Containing all the episodes and previous special features released in prior sets, this collection is slimmer, and wonderfully affordable.
Deep Space Nine proves itself worthy of the Star Trek name as it opens up the universe that so many of us have loved for so long, and this new packaging will look amazing on any collector’s shelf, and will, in due time, be explored episode by episode as I continue my journey through all incarnations of Star Trek, boldly going on the Human Adventure.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – The Complete Series is available today from Paramount!