When the Cardassian occupation of Bajor ended in 2369, the mining space-station Terok Nor was left abandoned, its systems ripped out. By invitation of the provisional Bajoran government, Starfleet stepped in to oversee the rebuilding and day-to-day operations of the newly christened Deep Space Nine. DS9 soon became a center of travel and commerce thanks to a newly found stable wormhole leading to the largely unexplored Gamma Quadrant.
I’ve always preferred Star Wars over to Star Trek and have never really watched as much Trek as I probably should have, having only seen a couple of movies, the Abrams films, First Contact and Wrath of Khan. My knowledge of the TV series extents to a couple of episodes of The Next Generation and the Enterprise pilot, but that’s probably about it. Thankfully though Netflix UK secured the rights to stream all of the Star Trek series which is pretty awesome and welcome news, so I spent most of the past few days binging on the second half of Season 1 of Deep Space Nine, and I have to say that I’m very impressed with how this season turned out, as it can be watched on its own without that much knowledge of the wider events in the Star Trek Universe.
When the Cadassians end their occupation of Bajor in 2369, the mining station of Terok Nor was left abandoned and in response, the provisional Bajoran government allow Starfleet to oversee the rebuilding and day to day operations of the station, which is christened Deep Space Nine. Deep Space Nine itself soon becomes home to a variety of alien species and the centre of travel and commerce in the regions thanks to a rare stable wormhole that leads to the Gamma Quadrant, which is largely unexplored. The show itself follows the Starfleet crew on board Deep Space Nine and their struggles trying to maintain order and peace amongst the vessel.
Whilst adopting a mostly case of the week approach to storylines aside from the opening two-part pilot, Deep Space Nine uses it to flesh out the characters and the world of the series. Avery Brooks plays Commanding Officer Benjamin Sisko, who is placed in charge of Deep Space Nine. Sisko is joined by First Officer Kira Nerys, a Bajoran militia officer played by Nana Visitor, a shape-shifting changeling named Odo (Rene Auberjonois), a young, chief medical officer Julian Bashir (Alexander Siddig), a Chief Science Officer named Jadzia Dax (Terry Farrell) and the Chief Operations Officer Miles O’Brien (Colm Meaney). It’s a great diverse cast of characters that really works, and the writers often had some of the early episodes focusing on the characters individually, for example A Man Alone sees Odo accused of the murder of a Bajoran murderer, and even if these episodes have varying degrees of success with some working where others don’t, they provide an excellent way into the world through its likeable and engaging characters.
The episodes themselves take interesting turns, sometimes ranging into the bizarre with If Wishes Were Horses when the crew’s thoughts are turned into reality and we get to see what happens when Deep Space Nine plays host to Rumpelstiltskin, and a long dead famous baseball player. The arcs that the characters have over the episodes though are dealt with well, and this episode uses a chance to provide further character growth with a decent resolution.
This show is not the most action heavy and if you’re looking for a shoot-first ask questions later series you’re not going to get that with Deep Space Nine, which focuses more on politics and allows for a lot of character interaction. It’s also the first Star Trek series to remain focused on a fixed location that really separates it from the previous two series’ ideas about exploration and search of brave new worlds. However, the confined space is played to its strengths, and we really get a fleshing out of the world as we learn how the Bajorans and Cardassians react to the arrival of Starfleet and the Federation, with different parties from different species having different views.
The characters themselves are flawed and Deep Space Nine really utilises them well. More often than not you’ll see the characters commit selfish acts and often their actions will have consequences. It’s a really promising start and I can’t wait to see how the series continues to grow in the future. Yes, some of the effects and character make-up may be showing their age, but for the most part, the first season is a pretty effective opener and introduction into the world of Deep Space Nine and I can’t wait to explore more.