Originally intended to be a slightly different take on the standard Star Trek Starship-based series of adventures, by the end of its seventh and final season Star Trek: Deep Space Nine had evolved into the darkest, complex and most pessimistic of all the Star Trek spin- offs.
Under series creators Rick Berman and Michael Piller's able creative control, DS9 thrust the darker side to Roddenberry's optimistic universe into the spotlight and dared defiantly to be different. Once again the tried and trusted Trek device of "family" was the glue which bonded the disparate political and emotional elements of the series together as the production team chronicled the intrigue and duplicity of life aboard a former Cardassian space station in orbit near a strategically crucial "Worm Hole" (a sort of inter-stellar super highway), to the distant Gamma Quadrant.
Led by noted African American Shakespearean actor Avery Brooks as Starfleet Commander Ben Sisko, the large ensemble cast brought a much needed tougher edge to the usual harmonious inter-relationships of the Trek universe. DS9 also broke with established tradition by presenting the viewers with a number of ambitions and complex story arcs which wove a complexly compelling tapestry depicting a galaxy at war and the very real, sometimes tragic effects of that conflict on the lives of the people involved.
Ultimately DS9's greatest contribution to Trek lore was in proving that Roddenberry's original pristine view of the future benefited enormously from the added dimension of a darker, more starkly adult tone previously only hinted at in earlier Trek incarnations. With the later seasons of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Roddenberry's galaxy finally achieved adulthood, and both the Star Trek universe, and the viewers, reaped the rewards of that growth.
Published on February 4th, 2019. Written by Steve Hulse (2000) for Television Heaven.