Feeds

Up your wormhole: Star Trek Deep Space 9 turns 20

Defiantly different yet still boldly going

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

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. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.