Despite its low popularity, “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” ran for seven seasons before cancellation. (Photo courtesy of Paramount Domestic Television)
There have been five “Star Trek” television series that have been brought to the small screen over the franchise’s half century of existence. The three that people remember are “The Original Series,” “The Next Generation” and “Voyager,” while people seem to forget about or overlook “Deep Space Nine” and “Enterprise.” But “Deep Space Nine” and “Voyager” should be swapped.
The show follows through with the same themes and morals that the original series of “Star Trek” upheld, but “Deep Space Nine” takes these elements in a darker direction than before. The series deals with religion, genocide and conspiracy all wrapped up into a series that spends half of its run building up to a costly war and the second half dedicated to that war.
The main setting of “Deep Space Nine” is aboard a space station that carries the same name, which is in place around the planet of Bajor. This setting allows for a number of returning characters to be included in the series. There is Rom (Max Grodénchik), the idiotic brother to the station’s bartender Kai Winn (Louise Fletcher), a Pope-esque figure for the Bajoran people, and Elim Garak (Andrew Robinson), a former Cardassian spy who is in exile. All of these characters are well fleshed out and developed, especially Garak who is easily one of the best characters on the show, if not one of the best characters in all of “Star Trek.”
As one of the main themes of “Star Trek” is the idea of a future where people of all different races and species work side-by-side in, the cast of main characters reflects this by being one of the most diverse of all of the shows (“Voyager” might be a tad bit more). The entire main cast is made up of people of different races and species.
Unlike “Deep Space Nine’s” two predecessors, “The Original Series” and “The Next Generation,” “Deep Space Nine” follows a more traditional television narrative. There are miniature story arcs for every episode with a larger story arc, character arcs and relationship subplots that carry over from one episode to the next. By doing this, it gives a different take on the franchise than the previous two series did. By doing this, the show is able to create some of the strongest characters in the entire franchise.
Despite the darker themes of the series, the episodes do fluctuate in tone rather easily and without feeling off. There are episodes that reach the apex of darkness while the next episode would be filled with levity, and both episodes would be so well made and written that they feel believable in the same long-running story arc. Some examples of the best dark episodes would be Necessary Evil (S2E8), Things Past (S5E8), and In the Pale Moonlight (S6E19) while some examples of the best levity-filled episodes would be His Way (S6E20) and Trials and Tribble-ations (S5E6).
Almost every aspect of “Deep Space Nine” makes it deserving of an Underrated Classics review, because almost every aspect of it is underrated in the “Star Trek” franchise. It is one of the more overlooked shows despite the strength of the characters, as they are not the characters that people would normally turn to when it comes to “Star Trek.” It is filled with episodes that would probably not make it onto most people’s lists of best “Star Trek” episodes. It is, in almost every sense of the word, underrated.
Final Grade: A+