Hopefully, you’ve at least started watching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine by now. It’s my favourite Star Trek series, and I believe the most underrated. While a highly serialized story doesn’t seem strange today, you must remember that in the 1990s, it was highly unusual. Syndicated shows like Star Trek generally returned to status quo at the end of each episode. Thus, Deep Space Nine had some of the deepest and most compelling character development in Trek of that era and an ongoing story that was genuinely thoughtful and impactful in a way that its contemporaries weren’t capable of being.
So this week, as an addition to the viewing guide I’ve already laid out, I’d like to present to you what I believe to be the 14 best episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
Just a word of warning, though: the viewing guide, I did my best to keep as spoiler-free as possible. I’m not going to do that here.
So here we are the final season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
The wormhole is sealed. Captain Sisko is on Earth, lost without his connection to The Prophets. Worf is devastated over the end of the season six finale. The war with The Dominion rages across the Alpha Quadrant and goes poorly for the federation. Things are grim, and in this final season, things are only going to get worse before they get better.
Season 7 starts with a two-episode story, but it really shines in the end: the last nine episodes form one story, which wraps up all of the storylines begun in the series.
These are the episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, season seven.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine season 5 ended with a bang, literally. After three years of build-up, the war everyone knew was coming finally arrived. The Dominion attacked the station under the command of Dukat and captured it. Sisko and the crew retreated and joined the allied fleet, vowing to return.
Season 6 is where the action really gets started. We had been waiting for war, and now it’s here, and because it’s Deep Space Nine, we’re going to get to explore every aspect of it. This season starts with a six-episode serialized story and also features what I consider the best episode of the whole series.
These are the episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, season 7.
Season 4 of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was a bit strange. After the plot finally got moving in season 3, the fourth season reverted back to build-up and development. Still, toward the end, we started seeing some real consequences for some characters. Odo, in particular, revisited his people and, after returning home to Deep Space Nine, left us with a shocking revelation about the Klingon Empire: Changelings have infiltrated them at the highest levels.
As season five begins, the Federation is forming a plan to deal with that situation, and The Dominion is building its forces on the other side of the wormhole.
These are the episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine season 5.
Deep Space Nine Season 3 ended with a warning from The Dominion. Things are in motion, and they cannot be stopped. No one is sure how far the Founders have spread in the alpha quadrant or how high up their influence goes, but one thing is for sure: things are starting to destabilize.
The second season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine ended in a dark place. The Federation finally made contact with The Dominion, a major power in the Gamma Quadrant we heard about throughout most of the season, with disastrous results. The Dominion, it is made clear, is not to be trifled with and hammered that point home in a big way.
The Federation is left reeling, and war seems all but inevitable.
Season three picks up where season two left off. The Federation tries to find a way to avoid war; The Dominion slowly begins to infiltrate the Alpha Quadrant. Bajor is still experiencing growing pains as an independent power leading to power struggles politically and conflicts of faith as they work toward Federation membership. Meanwhile, the ever-present Cardassians are working in the background, but to what end?
These are the episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, season 3.
After a slow first season of world-building and character development, the second season of Deep Space Nine begins to really lay the groundwork for the continuing overreaching plot that would continue through the rest of the series. We continue to learn about our characters’ backgrounds, and at the same time, some of the defining relationships of the series, such as Bashir and O’Brien’s friendship, begin to take shape.
Tensions with the Cardassians mount as well, causing friction with not only the Bajorans but also Federation citizens who find themselves on the other side of a redrawn border with the Cardassians (a story thread introduced in Star Trek: The Next Generation). Furthermore, the history of the Cardassian Occupation of Bajor is explored, and throughout this season, we start to hear rumblings about an as-yet unencountered power in the Gamma Quadrant: The Dominion.
Structurally the storytelling becomes more serialized, starting with a story arc that spans the first three episodes; a first in Star Trek.
These are the episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine season 2.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine gets off to an admittedly slow start. Being the first chapter in a multi-year story, most of the episodes are either world-building –lots of weird things coming through the wormhole and the Federation working with Bajor, a world recovering from a 50-year occupation by the militaristic Cardassians– or character development. While this isn’t bad, it can make the season feel pretty slow overall. That being said, without all the character development, the later seasons wouldn’t pay off as well as they do because we wouldn’t understand the world or know the characters as well as we do.
So, These Are The Episodes… of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Season 1.
Everyone I know has seen at least some measure of Star Trek. With around 725 episodes (depending how you count) broadcast from its 6 television series and the 12 motion pictures it’s pretty much impossible to not have seen any at this point.
Of those perhaps the most underrated is Deep Space Nine.