Back when Deep Space Nine was on the air, I quickly gave up on it. I just couldn’t get into a show about living on an immobile space station week in and week out (this from a huge fan of Babylon 5). My choice was almost certainly encouraged by the abysmal choice of an opening sequence. Spend two minutes panning around the outside of a mostly deserted space station while playing a beautiful, but incredibly down beat musical score (this was before DVRs when people used to actually watch shows when they were on). Everything about it screamed boring.
The only reason I decided to give it another try was a friend who claimed that DS9 was easily the best Star Trek TV series ever made and Captain Sisko was by far the best captain. Speak words like that in the wrong Trekkie bar (if such things existed) and you’re bound to start a fight. He warned me that the first season was pretty slow, but it would get much better. I have to say he was right.
The first season was, once again, pretty boring. In retrospect, I’m sure they wish they had done a better job of it, but it is what it is. The Deep Space Nine universe is much more complicated than the other Star Trek series. If you look at season one as setup for what is to come, it becomes tolerable.
I would also add season two as a setup season, but it definitely gets moving nicely. It is in season two that you start to get a feel for how dark the series is going to be. You have a Bajoran civil war, Federation citizens turned terrorists, and a mysterious super race of soldiers of a mysterious empire called the Dominion from the Gamma Quadrant. You can just tell that the fun has just begun.
The Federation has always been this ridiculous ideal and that is certainly part of the charm of the Star Trek universe. That is completely thrown away in DS9. The Federation becomes as morally ambiguous as all the other races which would certainly be far closer to the truth in any real world situation. As soon as the pretense of an idealistic Federation is thrown away, Deep Space Nine really starts to shine.
And Captain Benjamin Sisko? Badass. How badass his he, you ask? The man poisons an entire planet making it completely inhospitable for humans while it is currently inhabited by humans! On purpose. He is the first captain that actually seems human. Most Star Trek shows have vanity episodes that focus on just how human the captain actually is, but almost every episode of DS9 shows Sisko’s humanity. Warts and all. That’s how captains should be portrayed.
If you are like me and gave up on Deep Space Nine, I highly recommend that you go back and watch it if you have access to Netflix. If you’re not into the whole Star Trek thing, Deep Space Nine is different. It’s well written, well acted, and well directed. At seven seasons, it’s a big commitment, but I think it’s one that’s worth it.