Watching 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' on Netflix

When “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” was first conceived of, some people of a more suspicious frame of mind thought that the show was an attempt to steal some thunder from another science fiction project, “Babylon Five.” The two were set on large space stations. However, as it turned out, there were enough viewers to keep both shows on for a number of seasons.

DS9, as the series was sometimes called, was not only the first in the “Star Trek” universe not to be set on a starship (at least initially), but was also the first never to have the direct input of Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. The setting was not so much a starbase as it was a frontier town called Deep Space Nine set in the Bajorian system next to a wormhole that led to another part of the galaxy called the Delta Quadrant. Bajor was an independent planet that had recently been liberated from the Cardassian Union, the latest group of Star Trek bad aliens.

The series was noted for not only having a darker view of the Star Trek future, but for an eclectic set of both human and alien characters. The Federation cast included the station’s commander, Benjamin Sisko, his son Jake, Lt. Dax, a Trill, who was a humanoid who contained a symbiont lifeform, and Dr. Julian Bashir. The aliens included Odo, the shape-shifting chief of security who might be considered the sheriff of the town, Quark, the dodgy Ferengi owner of the local bar, and Major Kira, the Bajorian authority and former guerilla fighter against the Cardassians. Worf and Miles O’Brien were brought over from “Star Trek: The Next Generation” to provide a connection to the rest of the franchise.

DS9 ran for seven seasons and in many ways is considered the most complex and nuanced of the franchise. The show touched on the themes of politics, religion, war, commerce, and alien cultures. One episode was an interesting take on “The Mirror Universe:” initially seen in the first series with very surprising versions of our intrepid heroes.

Quark was first used as comedy relief, but the culture of aliens who had incorporated capitalism into their laws and culture eventually took on an added dimension and depth, though the short, troll-like creatures represented a parody of the free market. The Ferengi characters were able to provide a fresh and sometimes critical perspective of the Federation, previously depicted as a future utopia in which all societal problems had been solved.

Sisko was noted at the time as the first black character in Star Trek who was in command. Jake was a far more approachable child character than was the hapless Wesley Crusher from Next Gen and proved to be very popular.

“Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” is available for live streaming binge watching on Netflix.