Well I did it – twenty years since the last episode of DS9 aired, I finally made my way through all seven seasons. It surprised me how many episodes I had actually missed – although many of them didn’t really add anything significant to the overarching story-line. So, for those who care (probably not that many) here’s my take on the story.
DS9 was the grittiest Star Trek released thus far – it launched in 1993 to a rather understated fanfare. Star Trek: The Next Generation was in it’s fifth season and was really smacking it out of the park each episode. The notion of a series set on a space station was something different, but the real clincher was the lead role was being played by a Black American.
The early seasons dabbled in multi-part stories, but it wasn’t really until Season 4 that it all really kicked off – episode 1, the Way of the Warrior, introduced Worf to the DS9 continuity with a bang, and the series really started to kick into gear.
The crew seemed to bond very well together – Avery Brooks as Commander and then Captain Benjamin Sisko provided the gravitas that Patrick Stewart brought to TNG. To say the man is a great actor would be a serious understatement – Brooks really wrings every drop of reality from the huge tapestry that is Benjamin Sisko. He balances the Starfleet officer against the Bajoran Emissary, with the father figure and cool cat almost as if he were the man in real life.
Seven seasons in all, with a few misfires here and there. Unlike Discovery, where pretty much every episode adds something to the overarching story, DS9 seemed to depend on filler episodes to make up the required twenty-something episodes required per season. The Ferengi episodes seemed to be the primary fillers, and I have to admit that it was starting to wear a bit thin by the time the Grand Negus visited the Mirror Universe.
All in all, it’s an excellent series and well worth the investment in trying to watch it over a period of time. The highlight episode for me, by a long shot, is In The Pale Moonlight – a totally Sisko-based episode, where he wrestles with his morality in bringing the Romulans into an already very costly war. Brooks is superb as he brings the viewer into his way of thinking through the episode; not so much a viewer as a co-conspirator. By the end of the episode you can’t help but agree with his point of view.
So – yes, I have to admit that DS9 is a superb series. It can’t ever replace Star Trek: The Next Generation for me, but it is a superb entry in Star Trek Canon.
Now Discovery? That’s a whole different kettle of fish, particularly in a post Battlestar Galactica world…