Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is not often known outside of science fiction circles. I’m sure if I said Captain Kirk or Captain Picard most people would know who I was talking about – however how many would recognise the name Benjamin Sisko?
It’s a shame that DS9 isn’t better know because it is an excellent series. In my view it is the best of the Star Treks – followed very closely by TNG.
DS9 took a while to find its footing. The first couple of seasons weren’t that interesting. Though it must be stated that the early DS9 seasons were much better than the first two seasons of TNG. DS9’s pilot episode was probable the best of all the Star Trek series. It established the themes of the series, introduced the characters and, unlike TNG, was well paced.
Deep Space Nine is the name of a space station in Bajoran space. The station is located near a wormhole and it is this that drives much of the story. It meant that the series could tread new ground, exploring through the wormhole, but also cover things in our side of the galaxy.
The series faced some criticism from die hard fans because of the perceived abandonment of Gene Rodenberry’s ideals of a perfect future. Personally I don’t see this. It is true that DS9 is largely about a war but the human characters are not the aggressors. Also people of great virtue can only maintain that way of being in a setting that allows it. I could believe that humans could one day achieve would peace. However if there was some sort of disaster and survival became more difficult then some principals might fall by the wayside. A vegetarian, as an example, would probably eat meat if it was down to a choice between that or starvation. So as the characters, Sisko in particular, face great enemies and threats it stands to reason that sometimes a hard choice has to be made – the choice between being killed or killing.
I don’t know what Gene Rodenberry would have said had he been around but for me personal I think the series almost reinforces the idea of a perfect world. Sisko says in one episode that is easy to be a saint in paradise. However I think the best example comes form the episode ‘The Siege of Ar-558‘
“Let me tell you something about Hew-mons, nephew. They’re a wonderful, friendly people – as long as their bellies are full and their holosuites are working. But take away their creature comforts… deprive them of food, sleep, sonic showers… put their lives in jeopardy over an extended period of time… and those same friendly, intelligent, wonderful people will become as nasty and violent as the most bloodthirsty Klingon. You don’t believe me? Look at those faces, look at their eyes…” Quark.
This expresses everything I’ve been rambling towards. This is also shown in the Mark Twain short story ‘The Man that Corrupted Hadleyburg‘ It is about a town that prides itself in its integrity but it is soon revealed that the integrity of the town has never been tested and so fails at a vital moment.
Over all DS9 is an excellent show. It has a few problems here and there but most of those, at least the ones that come to mind at the moment, are little more than nitpicks. I thoroughly recommend you check this out.