Feeds

Up your wormhole: Star Trek Deep Space 9 turns 20

Defiantly different yet still boldly going

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Dominion pizza

Classic episodes include the comedic Rules of Acquisition, which introduced the inexplicable game of Tongo to the DS9 universe, and Blood Oath, which saw the return of Klingon warriors Kor, Koloth and Kang from the original 1960s series.

Star Trek: Deep Space 9

Ferenghi landlord Quark (Armin Shimerman) proved in instant hit...
Copyright: Paramount Pictures

Futuristic technology naturally played a big part in the show. DS9 had a well established litany of technobabble to call upon, but innovated as well. We got a portable(ish) hologenerator, a portable Starfleet computer that looked very much like a modern laptop and a Cardassian medical tricorder worn like a glove.

Season Three was to prove pivotal for DS9. Suddenly it was the only Trek show on air. TNG had bowed out in a blaze of glory and incoming newbie Star Trek: Voyager wouldn’t clash until episode 11. Unfortunately, backstage pressures were building. The show wasn’t generating the same buzz as TNG, and its preoccupation with Bajoran religion and politics were proving a turn-off. The solution was to step up the threat of the kick-ass, drugged-up Jem‘Hadar, and to draft in the Defiant, the first Federation warship to employ a cloaking device. DS9 found its action mojo, even if it meant flip-flopping on the original premise.

Reflecting a wider talent draft from TNG, Jonathan 'Riker' Frakes guested both in front and behind the camera. The fans seemed satisfied. Ratings solidified, averaging twenty points higher than its nearest syndicated competitor, the pneumatic Baywatch. But that didn’t stop the studio demanding yet more shake-ups for Season Four. Enter everyone’s favourite Klingon, Worf.

Star Trek: Deep Space 9

...as did Constable Odo (Rene Auberjonois), though Nana Visitor's Kyra Nerys suffered from the designers' fascination with nasal prosthetics
Copyright: Paramount Pictures

Executive producer Ira Steven Behr recalled: “Of all the TNG characters, probably the one who would fit in the best would be Worf.” The story possibilities were strong. The Federation was no longer on speaking terms with the Klingon Empire, leaving Worf very much out on a limb. His arrival, in the two-part The Way of the Warrior is fondly regarded as one of DS9’s best episodes.

Season Four also saw co-stars Siddig and Visitor become an item off camera, necessitating the writers to work Visitor’s pregnancy into the series. My personal season highlight? Little Green Men, in which Quark, Rom and Nog wind up in Roswell, New Mexico…

Season Five conveniently corresponded with the 30th anniversary of the franchise, and in celebration DS9 gave us Trials and Tribble-ations, which inventively (and expensively) mashed the cast into the classic TOS Trouble with Tribbles episode, creating a ratings smash in the process.

Star Trek: Deep Space 9

But it required the arrival of Worf (Michael Dorn) to give the ratins a much-needed lift
Copyright: Paramount Pictures

Season Six similarly broke new ground, opening with a six-episode arc that flew in the face of the episodic nature of TV shows of the time. And it wrapped by killing off one of its key characters.

Deep Space Nine was to enter its final season battered in the ratings by a double whammy of Hercules and Xena Warrior Princess. Audience tastes were clearly changing. Still, plot-wise DS9 went out with all phasers firing. The Dominion War came to a fitting conclusion, and the show culminated with a final two-parter that once again returned DS9 to the top of the syndication charts.

Once described as the Rodney Dangerfield of the Star Trek universe, because it “didn’t get no respect”, Deep Space Nine may not go down in the history books as the greatest of the TV Treks, but it was consistently the most interesting. I for one wouldn’t say no to a return visit. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.