It’s hard for me to recognise that Star Trek Deep Space Nine is over 26 years old. I first watched this series on BBC2 in the 90s when they had the rights to air it, not long after that I was consuming the VHS tapes as my hunger for the show grew. Actually; I can feel that passing of time now when I think about it . . . . . It’s basically a lifetime ago. What a world we lived in back then, when entertainment wasn’t just a click away, look how spoilt we have become, I find it tiresome to put a DVD in the player these days.
That click away is a very good reason that I have been less than productive over the last few weeks! I’ve been knee-deep in Galactic disputes, Jambalaya and Orbs. Yes, welcome to the wonderful world of binge-watching. Thanks to Netflix, I no longer have to wait for an episode anymore, even better for me is the “Skip Intro” button, just pour that sweet Ketracel-white into my veins. You know what I have learnt whilst watching this series in its entirety, it’s amazing and would say at this moment in time could be my new favourite series in the franchise. Strong words for someone who has watched The Next Generation as much as me. Funny thing is, I’m not alone as Deep Space Nine is having a real resurgence in the zeitgeist. The Member Berries are strong with this one. Anyway, this is isn’t gonna be a deep kick in the history of DS9 but me picking out my favourite episode from each season. I just thought I best make some use of those hours I lost in the abyss of a streaming app, don’t get me wrong, it was bloody glorious. Enough of the small talk, let’s get started.
Season 1. Captive Pursuit, January 31st, 1993.
Chief Miles O’Brien Colm Meaney what a character and what an episode. As much as I enjoyed the first season of Deep Space Nine it felt like it was still in its infancy stage but this episode hit the ground running. The humanity of Miles is so well written in this episode as he builds a relationship with a Gamma Quadrant alien called Tosk who is one of the best alien costumes in the entire series in my opinion. Tosk says his ship was damaged in the wormhole but was damaged by laser fire and then the mystery begins. Later we learn that Tosk is nothing more than prey for the Hunters, unable to let the prime directive decide Tosk’s future Mile’s does what he knows is right and helps his friend escape. This is pure Star Trek in its element and Tosk is by far one of my favourite characters of the franchise, I just wish we would have seen more of him.
Season 2. Paradise, February 13th. 1994.
Captain Sisko Avery Brooks and Mile O’Brien locate an M-Class Planet and decide to investigate it further. A colony that once belonged to Starfleet has been living there for ten years, creating a utopian, paradise after they ship they had crashed, stranding them. Turning there back on the technology available to them, the camp opts out for a simpler and more rewarding way of life, that is until someone becomes ill and has to suffer; regardless of using medical science to cure her. As captain Sisko becomes more alarmed by Alixus’s way of running the colony, she becomes more annoyed with his reluctance to conform to the rules. Later Sisko is put into a metal crate as punishment, leaving Miles to work out that Alixus had actually planned the crash on the planet and has kept them there since. Paradise soon begins to unravel and eventually Alixus is forced to pay for her crimes. Funny thing is, most of the colony decide to stay on the planet. Great episode as we much the captain grows into his role, at this point in the series you can really understand how determined and passionate he is about injustice and freedom.Past Tense: Part 1, January 2nd 1995. Past Tense: Part 2, January 9th 1995.
A time travel episode that takes us back to San Fransico 2024. I really struggled to come up with anything I really liked from season three, to be honest, this is definetly the worst season from the series. This double bill certainly did take me back to the ’90s though. I think the moral of the story is meant to be something more meaningful but this is just a comedy episode for me. First, is Jadzia Dax! Why is she wearing something Sherlock Holmes would suit better? Next, we have the doom and gloom of the Sanctuary District, every extra in the scene is walking with there heads down and looking gloomy, it was hilarious. Nothing can compete with Miles and Kira energising into different parts of San Fransico’s timeline, the hippy scene was just car-crash television on the highest scale, wonderful! The positive again is Avery Brook’s as he takes part in the Bell Riots, he really does stand out from the rest of the cast in this episode as he falls into the role of Gabriel Bell.
Season 4. Hard Time, 15th April 1996.
I guess I really do like the character of Cheif Miles O’Brien as this stand-alone episode features the darts playing engineer again. Saying that though, this is such a well-written episode that any of the characters could have carried the story. Miles finds himself locked in a cell and is released after twenty years of confinement. Luckily for him, its only been a matter of hours as those memories of his imprisonment are artificial and he can go back to his normal life once again, or can he? The Cheif suffers flashbacks back on the station, which eventually spills over in his real life as he lashes out at daughter Molly and assaults Quark. Miles is placed on medical leave but is constantly visited by former cellmate Ee’char. Miles sees no way out from this nightmare and finding a weapons locker pulls out a phaser and sets it maximum, until his friend Julian arrives. It seems Miles is feeling guilty as he killed Ee’char over a few pieces of bread that hill cellmate was saving for both of them, Julian manages to talk Miles down and explains that he isn’t an animal and can get help to move on with his life. As Miles gives in to what has happened, Ee’char slowly disappears from his mind.
Season 4. Trials and Tribble-ations, 4th November 1996.
Another time travel episode but the difference between this episode and Past Tense is a huge leap forward in terms of quality for Deep Space Nine. The Department of Temporal Investigations visit the station and they want answers! The one thing I like about this series is that it manages to be a serious and somewhat heavy show and still manage to have little moments of fun in between, this episode is somewhat on the lighter side, even though the plot could have devastating results. Basically, the plot is pretty simple as the crew pick up the Orb of Time and a hitchhiker, Arne Darvin. During the trip back to the station, the crew find out they have been transported back 200 light years back to original Enterprise, the one featuring Kirk, Spock and the rest of the crew. Sisko and his crew must do everything they can to stop Arne changing the timeline, in which Captain Kirk had disgraced the agent before. The enjoyment in this episode comes more from watching the Deep Space Nine crew integrate with the Enterprise crew so easily, it really is a very technical episode and somehow they pulled it off superbly. The crew end up in a punch up with Scotty, who they mistake for Kirk starting out and it’s fascinating and funny. There are so many special touches in this episode that are worth writing about but I would be here all day. My favourite moments are Captain Sisko visiting Kirk on the bridge and eventually the promenade been overrun by Tribbles. Great episode, and one you can keep rewatching it without becoming bored.
Season 6. One Little Ship, 18th February 1998.
This is a little summary for an episode I really enjoyed. A runabout shrinks in size as they enter an anomaly, the only problem is the Defiant is attacked by the Jem’Hadar at the same time. The U.S.S Rubicon runabout must enter the Defiant and help the crew take the ship back. I’m a huge fan of the series, Land of the Giants and this episode made me realise just how much. There is nothing new here but its a really fun and enjoyable episode.
Shadows and Symbols, Image in the Sand and Far Beyond the Stars. 7th October 1998.
Okay, I cheated a little, but I actually think this trio of episodes belong together and is by far one of the reasons I love Deep Space Nine and definitely confirms to me that this series is by far the most ambitious of all the Treks we have had before, or after. I mentioned earlier that I had bought the VHS of this series and Far Beyond the Stars was the reason why! Back then I got my information by a magazine and had seen some photos from this episode and was blown away. When I finally watched the episode, I was not disappointed and think its best and most powerful bit of television I have ever watched. Avery Brook’s is a great actor and I think it was only fitting he could get his acting chops around a story that is as powerful as this, his portrayal of Benny Russell is a thing of beauty. Benny Russell is a 50s science-fiction writer who writes a story about a black man commands a space station and can’t let the story go, regardless of the prejudice he comes up against. Benny works for the magazine Incredible Tales, and in this 1950s scenario, all the characters from Deep Space Nine are all there taking up some amazing roles. I really don’t think I have the writing skills to do this storyline justice enough, all I can say is that its a really important part of storytelling in today’s society. I also really love how Benny comes back and plays an important role in Sisko’s journey with the prophets. I just love everything about it. One picture that always catches my imagination is the picture of the space station for the magazine.What We Left Behind and I can’t wait to watch it. I even hear that some of the writers for the show outline what an episode of series 8 would look like on screen. I also realise that movies, tv shows and other forms of media can change through time and becomes something much bigger and this series is becoming that right now and that can only be a good thing. Could we ever see a new series of DS9, I very much doubt it, but I can always dream. Anyway, what are your favourite episodes from Deep Space Nine? I would love to hear them?