Even now, after all of the new series, why do we say that Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is the best the franchise has ever produced? The main components divide into two categories: the writing and the talent. The writing includes the choice of subject matter, the characters, their rich development over the seven seasons, and serialized story arc. It gave the show an internal memory so that something that happened in Season 1 or 2 could develop into a major plot point by Season 6 or 7.
The other component was the talent employed on the show. We mean the actors, writers, the rotating group of directors, editors, cinematographers, sound and set designers and the guest stars. Because the show had such a large cast of excellent actors among the series regulars and supporting actors, the writers could decide to put the spotlight on anyone and not be disappointed in the result. Their overall high caliber acting to do significant character development that prior series had reserved for a small -usually male – group of characters.
We looked at the seven seasons of content and chose what we thought were the best episodes that reflect everything stated in the two previous paragraphs. Check out the list below. Consider doing a rewatch of the episodes listed so you can see what we decided as we did.
Duet – A Cardassian man arrives on the station suffering from an illness that he could only have contracted at a Bajoran labor camp during the Occupation. Major Kira leads an investigation to determine whether he is actually a notorious war criminal.
Honorable Mention: Captive Pursuit – The first two species to visit through the wormhole are hardly ceremonial: one, described only as “Tosk,” is being hunted in a formal, ritualized sport that both he and his pursuers enjoy.
Necessary Evil – While investigating a recent murder attempt on Quark, Odo finds clues connecting it to a murder he investigated five years ago during the Cardassian Occupation. Odo relives some tragic memories in which Kira was the prime suspect.
Honorable Mention: The Wire – Bashir fights to save Garak’s life when a device implanted in his brain, designed to alleviate pain in the event of torture, begins to malfunction and is slowly killing him.
Past Tense 1 & 2 – A transporter accident sends Sisko, Bashir and Dax back to San Fransisco 2024. They find themselves trapped three hundred years in the past confronting a world plagued with massive inequality and social injustice.
Honorable Mentions: 1) The Improbable Cause – Odo begins an investigation after a bomb that destroys Garak’s tailor shop, 2) The Die is Cast – The Cardassian-Romulan fleet enters the Gamma Quadrant; Sisko tries to rescue Odo.
The Visitor – After an accident in the engine room of the Defiant apparently claims the life of Benjamin Sisko, Jake lives out his life in an endless quest to locate his father.
Honorable Mentions: 1) The Way of the Warrior (Parts 1 & 2) – General Martok’s Klingon fleet unexpectedly arrives at Deep Space 9. Sisko seeks to discover the Klingons’ intentions. 2) Home Front – Sisko is recalled to San Francisco after a terrorist bombing reveals that Changelings have reached Earth. 3) Paradise Lost – While Starfleet tightens security measures on Earth, Sisko and Odo discover that Admiral Leyton is deviously plotting to take over the planet. 4) Hard Time – Falsely accused and convicted of espionage by the Argrathi, Miles O’Brien is given the memories of twenty years in prison in a matter of hours. Returning to Deep Space 9, he cannot shrug the memory of his awful experience or rid himself of the guilt he feels over the death of his cellmate. 5) The Quickening – Bashir and Dax try to find a cure for a planet-wide infection that was induced by the Jem’Hadar as a form of punishment for disobeying the Dominion.
The Ship – While searching for minerals on a planet, Sisko, Dax, O’Brien, Worf, and Muniz discover the wreckage of a crashed Jem’Hadar ship.
Honorable Mentions: 1) The Rapture – Sisko discovers the legendary Bajoran city of B’hala. He also receives visions of Bajor’s future, one of which warns him not to let Bajor join the Federation. 2) Blaze of Glory – To prevent a Maquis missile attack from reaching Cardassia, Sisko must force Starfleet traitor Eddington to lead him to the launch site.
In The Pale Moonlight – As defeat appears eminent in the Dominion War, Sisko enlists Garak’s aid to “persuade” the Romulans to join the Federation/Klingon alliance.
Honorable Mentions: 1) Favor the Bold – Tired of losing the war, Captain Sisko convinces Starfleet Command to launch a fleet of starships to retake Deep Space 9. 2) Waltz – Following the destruction of the starship Honshu, Sisko is severely injured and trapped alone on a deserted planet with an unstable Dukat. 3) Sacrifice of Angel – A large fleet of Federation ships head towards Deep Space 9 to stop the Dominion destroying the Wormhole minefield. A Dominion fleet meets them in battle. Can the Defiant make it in time? 4) Far Beyond The Stars – Experiencing visions from the Prophets, Sisko sees himself as Benny Russell, a science-fiction writer in the 1950s, who struggles with discrimination after writing about a black commander on a futuristic space station.
What You Leave Behind – The Federation Alliance prepares a final invasion of Cardassia. Meanwhile on Bajor, Kai Winn releases the Pah-wraiths from the Fire Caves which threatens the entire Alpha Quadrant.
Honorable Mentions: 1) The Siege of AR-558 – During a supply run to AR-558, Sisko finds the defending Starfleet unit with over two thirds of the troops dead and the remaining soldiers’ morale extremely low. When the Defiant comes under attack, Sisko, Bashir, Dax, Nog, and Quark choose to remain on the planet, which is about to come under attack by a much larger contingent of Jem’Hadar soldiers. 2) The Dogs of War – Kira, Damar, Garak and Cardassian Resistance are ambushed on Cardassia.