Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

So when Netflix put Star Trek: The Next Generation up online, I watched them all.

Seriously, all of them. Back to back, in sequence. Why not? In between my long work hours it seemed like the thing to do.

And it was great. Cheesy, sometimes. But great.

So then I figured why stop there? And went right into Deep Space Nine.

And that’s when a realization I had had almost ten years prior came back to me: Deep Space Nine is the BEST Star Trek show.

I BELIEVE this, strongly. Maybe only the original compares and only then in the sense that the original was so groundbreaking for its time. But I think DS9 is one of the most under-rated pieces of science-fiction ever created.

It’s the ‘hard liquor’ of Star Trek, to be sure. And that’s what I love about it. Sure, we still see a lot through the eyes of the Federation. But the Federation is just one culture out there in a big, BIG universe. The Bajorans, the Cardassians, the Klingons--hell even the Ferengi--play big roles in this seasons long Star Trek epic.

Star Trek has always been about multiculturalism, but somehow I always kind of feel like the dice are loaded towards the Federation. You ever notice that? It’s always like the power of love or humanity or something that causes the alien computer to explode or some *^% like that. And frankly, some of the portrayals of Star Trek’s races didn’t always strike me as super sensitive.

The Klingons were basically goons in the first show and later they made this transformation into being like the Scottish or something. And not even the real Scottish, but like the Hollywood Scottish who show up in kilts and say things like "we’ll fight for ya lads!"

And the Romulans? I could be wrong, but there’s something very Axis-ey about the Romulans. They’re like the Germans and the Japanese rolled into one. Not the REAL Germans and Japenese, but the WWII era propaganda-infused portrayals of them.

You see what I’m getting at here? For a show about multiculturalism, these didn’t strike me as the most sensitive characterizations of the alien races that a ship headed up by a caucaisan man encountered.

See, I think in DS9 alien races really kind of come ALIVE. Each culture, each government, each system of beliefs seemed equally valid. And some of those cultures and beliefs do NOT embody everything we’d consider human. Sure, the Cardassian occupation of Bajor has shades of the WWII Holocaust in there, but I feel like Star Trek kind of graduates in this show onto it’s OWN thing.

It’s not just a bunch of ‘quickies’ about some piece of human history. It’s a long and complicated plot, filled with pieces that ARE relevant to our own experiences that is fully realized in the Star Trek universe. It’s Star Trek in the future tense, not Star Trek in the "every episode helps on reflect on the past" tense.

I really love Sisko too. I just love this idea that unbeknownst to him, this guy is going to become one of the biggest spiritual influences on the entire Bajoran culture. That he’s in fact the Emissary they’ve been waiting for.

See, I love this idea because I love that someone like that--a veritable stranger to the Bajorans--could be their sort of chosen spiritual guide. Because it speaks to the idea that some things (spirituality in particular) can TRANSCEND culture. Ben doesn’t have to know or even believe in what the Bajorans are saying to him. His path just kind of plays out in ways that it only ever could FOR him.

So you know I like this idea that DS9 both embraces the differences between cultures but speaks to certain universal truths that I find appealing. Now, I love the reboot, but I have to say I think it’s kind of a shame that DS9 didn’t get any movie deals. No follow-ups.

And as far as continuity goes for the Star Trek universe? These days, I have no idea. I know there are some novels set in the future of TNG, DS9, and Voyager’s universe, but I also know that novels and comics are starting to kind of move in the direction of the new timeline that the reboot established.

All that being said I would LOVE to see DS9 get a little more screentime, somehow. I don’t know if that would mean a reboot of its own or something like that. I mean, I suspect this will be a ways off because chances are we’re going to take some time to live in the rebooted Kirk-era of Star Trek, but if we ever got to…the rebooted TNG era? I would be bummed if DS9 got left out of the mix.