When the troubled Cmdr. Sisko takes command of a surrendered space station, he learns that it borders a unique stable wormhole.
A group of Starfleet officers arrive at the space station Deep Space Nine to help the Bajoran people after 50 years of occupied rule. Although they first believe the posting to be a boring one, the discovery of a wormhole that leads into another quadrant of the galaxy—and brings humanity to the attention of a group of dangerous aliens—leads to a lot of action, some good and some terrible.
Armin Shimerman as Quark
You might not recognize Armin in his full prosthetic getup, but he also played Principal Snyder on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Quark’s not as evil as Snyder turns out to be, but he’s a great gray character, and one-half of one of my most favorite brOTPs ever. (More on that below.)
Colm Meaney as Chief Miles O’Brien
Chief O’Brien didn’t get to do much during his time aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise (as immortalized by the amazing Chief O’Brien at Work comics), so it was funny to watch him pretty much always have too much to do on Deep Space Nine. Colm is a familiar actor if you’ve seen Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG); he also pops up in a lot of period pieces, and currently can be seen on Will.
Alexander Siddig as Doctor Julian Bashir
At first, Julian was a terrible stereotype of a ladies man bachelor, but over the course of the show’s seven seasons, he grew as a character and became a vital part of the crew. Unfortunately, it seems that Alexander got a bit typecast after Deep Space Nine (DS9); a cursory look at his IMDB page shows a lot of roles with Middle Eastern names. That said, he’s definitely one of the more prolific of the show’s main actors, with major roles in 24, Peaky Blinders and Game of Thrones.
René Auberjonois as Odo
Odo’s another character whose prosthetics likely make it more difficult to recognize the actor. But since René has had roles since the 1970s, you’ve probably seen him around. Or heard him—he has voiced many roles in a variety of animated series.
Michael Dorn as Lieutenant Commander Worf
Michael is another actor you’ll recognize from TNG and whose voice you’ll recognize from a lot of cartoons and video games. Worf was often a buzzkill on TNG, and doesn’t really loosen up on DS9, but his relationship with one of the other characters is a high point of the series.
Couch-Sharing Capability: Bring Your Friends
My husband and I started watching DS9 right after rewatching the entirety of Star Trek: Voyager. Neither of us had seen any of the series in a long while, thanks in part to the fact that the series doesn’t seem to be syndicated. (Unlike Voyager, TNG, and The Original Series (TOS), which seem to be on some cable channel pretty much all of the time.) And, to be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it, even with the gloss of nostalgia. The first two seasons of DS9 are … not good. The acting is wooden and/or oddly overdramatic, and the plot flounders.
But at some point in Season 3, the show gets really, really good, and the quality only increases through the remaining four seasons. I got seriously invested in the characters and their relationships—I cried during the series finale—which are some of the best of the entire franchise. Quark and Odo, in particular, are the most delightful of duos; they hate each other, but they make each other’s lives infinitely more interesting and exciting. And Julian and Miles grow from being mere coworkers into believable BFFs. The female characters could use some work, but it was the 90s (and the franchise made great strides with Captain Kathryn Janeway in Voyager).
The show also focuses on themes that are somewhat unique to the franchise, particularly religion/faith and what it’s like to live in the Alpha Quadrant during a galaxy-spanning war. But amidst the seriousness are moments of amazing levity and entertainment. For example, in one episode the main DS9 characters travel back in time to the TOS episode “The Trouble with Tribbles.” For a series that aired in the ’90s, the CG is pretty dang good, and the actors playing off the original characters made me gleeful.
Recommended Level of Inebriation: Meet Me at Quark’s
One of the main places for entertainment on DS9 is Quark’s Bar, so it would be fitting to have a fully stocked bar cart available so that you can have a variety of options to sip, chug, etc. while watching.
Use of Your Streaming Subscription: Binge-Worthy
Like I mentioned above, DS9 is the one Star Trek show (other than Enterprise, but …) that isn’t frequently on TV. So streaming it is a great way to revisit this show, or watch it for the first time. I promise that it gets better after the first couple of seasons, and although they are long (20 and 26 episodes, respectively), it’s worth it to get to know the characters and the basic plot before things get intense and wonderful.
If that doesn’t sway you, I’m thinking about how I can fit a DS9 (and maybe a wormhole) into my space-themed tattoo, which already features an Enterprise from TNG, and was only supposed to include one ship from each of my favorite science fiction franchises. I love it that much.