It’s hard to believe that one of my favorite shows growing up has hit a major milestone of 25 years. Deep Space Nine was the third spin-off in the massive Star Trek franchise. But in a massive change from the original series and The Next Generation, the crew of the title vessel were staying in one place for Deep Space Nine was a space station in orbit of the planet Bajor.
When creating Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry described his show as a “Wagon train to the Stars” or a Western set in space. Like a wagon train traveling the Old West, the Enterprise would travel from planet to planet and encounter problems that would need solving. Deep Space Nine, on the other hand, would examine the wagon train’s arrival at it’s destination and the founding of a permanent settlement. Essentially a Dodge City out on the Final Frontier.
The crew would even fill various Old West roles. Commander (later Captain) Benjamin Sisko was the widower commanding officer of the station, Major Kira, the first officer, filled the role of the Native American (in this case the Bajoran people), Constable Odo was the sheriff, and Doctor Bashir was, naturally, the town doctor. Of course, the station also needed a saloon run by the Ferengi Quark.
Initially, the series was essentially a Western with a science fiction twist but the lack of network interference allowed the show’s writers to take Star Trek into a much darker direction. Most famously, the show features numerous episodes where the Federation is not as perfect as some might believe. This is why fans like myself consider Deep Space Nine the best of the Star Trek franchise.