Twenty-four years ago today, I was seven years old. From what I can recall: I was an awkward youngin’, in love with Star Trek The Next Generation, Star Wars, Power Rangers and Sailor Moon (though that would come out in a few years). Oh, almost forgot. I was a big time fan of the FOX’s X-Men the Animated Series. I guess I was a geek before I knew what a geek was.
But on January 4, 1993, my world basically changed in the best way possible. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine debuted.
Like I said, I was already a big fan of Star Trek. I religiously watched Star Trek: The Next Generation and got the chills every time Captain Picard got super passionate. It was always refreshing.
But for me, Deep Space Nine became something very different.
From the get-go, DS9 offered up a very different perspective. A modern perspective. DS9 blended religion, science, war and the issue of race on a scale that I still don’t feel it has been given the proper appreciation for what it added the Star Trek universe.
Yes, yes. I know. Kirk was the first. Picard is awesome. But I always felt like Sisko never got the love he deserved. I mean, when Sisko got mad? There was fire in that. He was passionate about everything. Maybe he got a little too mad sometimes (i.e. going after Eddington) but all in all, he was different and I liked that.
I’m not even talking about the fact that he was the first leading African-American Captain to the franchise. But there was pain and depth to his character. The opening scene of the series is Sisko leaving his deceased wife Jennifer behind during the Borg attack lead unwilling by Captain Picard.
I mean, shit. That’s a dark way to start this, beautiful, but dark.
I’m not a religious person in the slightest but I’ve also had a fascination with it. The presence of the Prophets (the Bajoran gods) always acted as an interesting trope. Even the audience didn’t have a hard grasp of what their goals were but their actions pose a great impact on the story.
Oh, and did I forget to mention? The women of DS9 are fierce!
Lt. Commander Jadzia Dax and Major Kira Nerys were the best role models (for fictional characters anyway) I had growing up. Dax was smart as hell. She had eight lifetimes to draw from. And she had a great affinity for Klingon culture. Nerys was born a warrior, a passionate lover, stubborn, determined and refused to back down (especially if it was a Cardassian). It felt rare not to have female characters that weren’t flat and one-sided. I mean, I love Counselor Troi but she was very one-note throughout the series.
DS9 was finding itself for the first few seasons and then it entered the Dominion War. At the time, I didn’t really get it. I wasn’t into it. I was like, “War? What this isn’t Star Wars!?” But I was wrong naturally, it wasn’t so much a war as it was a political shift in the universe. It asked the vital question: Is there really enough space for everyone?
The strife between the Dominion and Starfleet; the Bajorans and the Cardassians always strikes me as relevant. If Tea & Fiction is still around in thirty years I could probably rewrite this piece and insert the current relevant news topic.
It is really bittersweet, that despite the series being as good as it was there’s no way to revisit the characters and the show. Everything tied up so nicely and the characters went in different directions. Sure, there’s the books that explore what happens after the show ended but nothing will ever mimic or duplicate the heroes and the villains (because let’s be real, Dukat was the best Star Trek villain ever).
If you never really watched the series I would recommend it. The characters are well developed. The storylines will put you on the edge of your seat. It isn’t what you would expect in a Star Trek series but twenty-four years later it still holds up to the test of time, untouched by the Prophets.