Star Trek: Deep Space Nine or DS9 is an American sci-fi series created by Rick Berman and Michael Piller, and is based on the works of Gene Roddenberry. It is a continuation of the Star Trek franchise which started with Star Trek: The Original Series (which aired on NBC from September 8th 1966 to June 3rd 1969). DS9 originally aired from January 3rd 1993 to June 2nd 1999 and has seven seasons, and 176 episodes. It features an ensemble cast which includes Avery Brooks as Benjamin Sisko, commanding officer of space station Deep Space Nine until his disappearance in 2375, René Auberjonois as Odo, chief of security until 2375, Nicole de Boer as Ezri Dax, station’s counselor, Michael Dorn as Worf, strategic operations officer and later Federation Ambassador to the Klingon Empire, Terry Farrell as Jadzia Dax, chief science officer until her death in 2374, Cirroc Lofton as Jake Sisko, son of Benjamin Sisko, Colm Meaney as Miles O’Brien, chief operations officer and later Starfleet Academy professor, Armin Shimerman as Quark, bar owner, Alexander Siddig as Julian Bashir, chief medical officer and Nana Visitor as Kira Nerys, first officer and later commanding officer of Deep Space Nine.
1. Far Beyond the Stars
God this episode is just so powerful, it takes Sisko out of the station and into the shoes of Benny Russell, a science fiction writer in the 50s. We see him deal with the pervasive racial tension of the period which mirrors the conflicts in Sisko’s real life with the Dominion. It’s so poignant and riveting that I’ve probably seen it about thirty times easily l, and plan to watch it at least thirty more. If your interested you can grab a novelised version of the episode on Amazon (UK/US).
2. The Visitor
Much like the first entry on this list I’ve watched and re-watched this episode a lot, it’s also another Sisko heavy episode, although mostly Jake this time. It lends payoff to his desire to be a writer, and has his father cast off into subspace, intermittently reappearing in proximity to his son. It’s an episode that shows their profound bond, and how we often put our lives on hold for others even if/especially if it’s not in our best interest. It’s so powerful and never fails to elicit tears from me.
3. Distant Voices
Takes us right to the heart of Bashir, or rather the mind. After upsetting an alien called Altovar he wakes up on DS9 but all alone and surrounded by broken systems. He soon realises that things are not as they seem and has to battle his on psyche to escape.
4. Dr Bashir, I Presume
Has Robert Picardo who plays The Doctor (or the E.M.H) on Star Trek:Voyager star as the creator of the Emergency Medical Hologram, Dr. Lewis Zimmerman. He has come to DS9 to use Dr. Bashir as the template for his new holographic project, the Long-term Medical Hologram. However is investigating Bashir to get as clear a profile of him as possible be uncovers the fact that he was genetically engineered as a child and thus his Starfleet career is put at risk as the genetically engineered are not allowed to serve in Starfleet. It’s another really powerful episode that really gives us insight into Bashir.
5. Hard Time
Has Colm Meaney’s character Chief O’Brien be accused of spying, he is punished, the punishment is that he be uploaded with 20 years of memories or an incarceration. He then has to adjust to life again, after spending what felt like 2 decades in jail. He comes close to taking his own life but is saved by Bashir. It’s a really powerful episode, that is only tainted by the fact that its resolved and never brought up again an episode later l, which is especially a shame as DS9 did story arcs far more and far better than any Star Trek series to date.
6. The Wire
Is a strong Garak episode (which is good for me because he either is, or is at least one of my favourite characters) it has Garak in pain because of an implant, Bashir tries to get Garak to reveal more but ever the master of obfuscation he refuses to give him anything but the bare essentials, all wrapped in mystery. It was a strong episode and the first episode the series to deal with Garak.
7. It’s Only a Paper Moon
It’s a poignant episode where Nog, still recovering from the trauma of losing his leg at The Siege of AR-558 hides in the holosuite with Vic Fontaine (played by the phenomenally talented James Darren). This episode got me obsessed with ‘I’ll Be Seeing You’ and the song from which the episode got its title ‘It’s Only a Paper Moon’ both performed beautifully by James Darren.
Is a strong episode with a twist that I like enough not to ruin it by even hinting at it here. What I will say is that it’s an O’Brien heavy episode and has him coming back to the station only to discover eyes watching him and people acting weird. It’s a nice episode with plenty of intrigue.
9. Empok Nor
Is a strong Garak episode that has him along with a few other DS9 crew members travel to DS9’s (formerly Terok Nor) sister station Empok Nor to salvage parts. Garak unwittingly becomes exposed to a dangerous chemical that practically turns him feral. It’s quite a tense episode that I really enjoy every time I watch it, party because we see another side to Garak and partly because they don’t get to so episodes like it every day.
10. Things Passed
Its last on the list but this was a tremendous episode that really showed us more of Odo, it showed us the moral ambiguity and line walking he had to do before starfleet took over the station. It’s a powerful episode that really surprised me.
Honourable mentions go to Whispers, The Magnificent Ferengi, Treachery, Faith and the Great River, Civil Defense and Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang which I also really enjoyed but didn’t quite make the top 10 list.
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