Well, it’s done. Last night I finished the last episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The Dominion War is done.
As I’d mentioned before, I’d never seen DS9 before — I’d caught a few episodes here and there over the years, but hadn’t seen enough to really gain any appreciation for the series or the characters. Now that I’m done…well, while I hate to rank the three versions of Star Trek that I’ve seen (TOS, TNG, and DS9) as they each have their strengths and special places, I do feel comfortable in saying that DS9 is by far the strongest Trek incarnation as a whole.
I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for TOS. It’s the series that got this whole thing started, where we were first introduced to the Federation, the Klingons, the Vulcans, and many others, and the series that captured the hearts and minds of fans all over the world. I grew up watching Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and the rest of the crew, and that in itself is very important to me.
TNG was the rebirth of Trek, and it took a big chance in daring to boldly go where Paramount had gone before. New characters, new ships, new aliens — and a new show that ended up being far better than many expected it would be when word first broke that it was going to be made. Much of my high school weekends were spent in the company of my friends, gathering at one person’s house or another each week to watch the adventures of Picard and crew (often followed up by watching re-runs of TOS that were broadcast immediately afterward). Here we had a modern Trek, and it turned our initial skepticism into belief and a reborn love for the Trek universe.
With DS9, I believe that all the best parts of Trek were brought to the forefront, and then given just enough of a “darker” twist that could have doomed the show from the outset, but instead served to create some of the best Trek I’ve seen. For all their strengths, the almost antiseptic perfection of much of TOS and TNG sometimes seemed almost too good to be true. The characters were almost too perfect, there was too often a definite “right” and a definite “wrong”, without the shades of grey that so often color the real world. DS9 saw this, and painted the entire show in those shades of grey (almost literally, in the design of the Cardassian station). Without breaking away from the ideals set forth by Roddenberry in creating Star Trek, DS9 showed that as good as Paradise is, it takes work to maintain, and the real decisions and ramifications of that work are rarely as clear-cut as we’d like them to be.
So while I hate ranking one series above the other, I will say that DS9 is most definitely my favorite of the three Trek incarnations I’ve seen. Wonderful stuff.
And now that I’ve finally finished it all…