The first couple of seasons didn’t have a lot of footing for long-term stability, and it felt as though the show was really struggling at times to keep people interested, but the creative team did one thing that really brought forth the potential for an ongoing aspect: the introduction of the Dominion. Never seen until the end of the second season, and spoken of only in whispers by other Gamma Quadrant species, the Dominion turned from being just an enigmatic entity to becoming one of the most deceitful, vindictive, and cold, calculating galactic powers in the history of the Star Trek universe. It was here that the show really started to pick up.
But, why this show, I’ve heard you ask many times. Why did I fall in love with this particular version of Star Trek? Well, as I mentioned, I enjoyed all of the shows (Yes, even Enterprise. Stop giving me that look!), but it was Deep Space Nine that really pulled me in, not because of the science fiction aspects of the show and the encompassing universe it belonged to, but because of the plot, themes, and writing that went into it. As a writer myself, I look heavily into novels, comics, television shows, and movies from that specific perspective, and while several things can keep my attention—artwork, special effects, acting ability—if it doesn’t have a decent plot and in-depth writing behind it, there’s a greater chance of me disliking the show. I loved The Next Generation for its ability to explore a new aspect of the Star Trek universe, and I enjoyed Voyager for its concept of being a lone ship in a vast sea of the unknown, but neither of those could compare to the writing and all-inclusive depth that has beheld me to DS9.
The show had an all-inclusive, overarching story that dominated the series after the full introduction of the Dominion, and this is really what set the tone apart from the other Trek shows; The Original Series was about exploration and discovery, The Next Generation was about showing a newer side to the Star Trek mythos, Voyager was about finding its way back to the Alpha Quadrant (and exploration in the process), and Enterprise was about humanity’s first steps into a larger galactic community (and exploration). Aside from a few episodes here and there (and the third season of Enterprise), plot wasn’t as far-reaching as DS9 ended up being. As a writer, I focus a lot on plot in terms of what is not just enjoyable, but also what demonstrates thoughtfulness in long-term storyboarding and design, and that’s what this show did. From the very first mysterious, throwaway introduction of the Dominion to the two-hour series conclusion, the protagonist/antagonist dichotomy between the crew of the station and the leaders of the ever-oppressive galactic dictatorship captivated me in a way that no other Star Trek show has done (and I doubt ever will).
So, that, my dear Trekkies, is why I enjoy the show about the station, though there are certainly some not-so-great moments about it (mostly the first two seasons, in my opinion). I know there are a lot of Kirk vs. Picard discussions, but don’t discount the efforts of Sisko and his motley crew, for if you give them the chance, they’ll truly win your hearts as they have mine. Go experience the wonders of the Gamma Quadrant, and be sure to tip your conn officer on your way through the wormhole.
Robert J. Baden