After half a century of occupation, the planet Bajor is finally free of the Cardassians(all but Garak, who remains, seemingly an exile
is he really just a tailor? Could he be a spy for them?). Well, more or less
the latter will continue to pester them, since there's now a treaty, and they retain some territories. The Provisional Government is a barely cohesive whole and doesn't have much support. Kira(Visitor, speaks her mind even when it'll get her in trouble) is the liaison between them and the Federation, who remain to support the rebuilding effort. The discovery of a nearby wormhole, the only stable known, complicates matters. It will enable travel back and forth between "our", quadrant, Alpha, and Gamma, which, until now, was so far away it made little sense to even consider going there. The orbiting station of Deep Space Nine will be a trading post and dock, dealing also with the plentiful traffic, all of which represents a potential help, or threat
to the safety of the war-torn lands. And a few seasons in, also once "the voice" of this has been found, tensions increase and what was a great show becomes an excellent one.
Characters are the core, as with all good Star Trek. Credible, three-dimensional, well-acted(even when they have their body "taken over", etc.), passionate, every last one. Main and even some peripheral, the focus is evenly divided. The show likes and understands them all, and that is contagious. We don't meet as many new species or groups, but this means less one-offs, and most you meet, you will see again, learning more(without the mystery ever being lost) about them, seeing them(heck, everyone in this) in different situations: with or without power, at their peak or their lowest end, and running the gamut of emotions. The status quo will be shaken up... and these changes take time, not happening overnight. I should note that this review is co-written by my ex-fiancée. She has watched these more than I and helped me ensure that I covered every aspect here.
Things are run by Benjamin Sisko(Brooks, wounded badass, not brooding, pragmatic but not jaded, charming). His kid Jake(Lofton, a real teen, unlike Wesley) and he maintain a natural father/son relationship. The latter's friend Nog(Eisenberg, dedicated), a Ferengi(capitalist, "let the buyer beware"), the two from different cultures, and the question is raised, are they a good or a bad influence on each other. His uncle Quark(Shimerman, giving us uncomfortable reminders of our past), who runs the bar/casino and attracts business, and his contacts can get off-the-record stuff done. He has a real give-and-take, banter-driven thing going on with Constable Odo(Auberjonois, using his T1000 powers for sting operations), the lonely, "non-human who gives us perspective on what we are like"(like Data or Spock) of this. I imagine he was based on those with Asperger's, and from personal experience, can say they do it extremely well.
Officer of not techno-babble but actual science is Dax(Farrell, with the Dax symbiont in her giving the weight of many lives and their memories). Chief of Engineering Miles O'Brien(Meaney, an everyman) and his wife Keiko(Chao, a botanist), who have a Homer/Marge marriage
he may not always know how to make her happy, but he does love her and his efforts show that. And finally, Doctor Bashir(Siddig, young, arrogant, eager to prove. He has studied, not experienced). Prominent guests include Jeffrey Combs, who is always enjoyable to watch. Always present at the bar is Morn(Shepherd, a big, cute guy, who doesn't speak and hardly moves, we know about him from what others say about or to him, such as in response to an off-screen exchange. He has a ton of personality, and it's consistent, with the use of mostly just his eyes and gestures, reminiscent of Kevin Peter Hall, R.I.P., who performed The Predator, among others), a tribute to and anagram of Norm, of Cheers.
This favors tense episodes with a climax and then a short wrap-up over an in-depth explanation. Like other sci-fi, it works on multiple levels, such as 'just wanting to enjoy the story' and 'thinking about/debating/analyzing', repeated viewings will allow you to think about the layers. It seems to have learned lessons from The Next Generation, it's so tightly written and executed. The theme of religion explored, almost every single idea explored in the show has, and is fair to, both sides. The Prophets(or to others, aliens) offer spiritual guidance, "helping people to accept situations, and to grow" without forcing rules upon people(though the people come up with some. They see everything, without time or context, but they show you only glimpses of your future, often something truly important to you.
This features amazing production design, with tremendous attention to detail and credibility. It meticulously ties up anything resembling loose ends and plot threads. This is even more relevant now, 20 years later. It is the first Star Trek with a regular straight-up comic relief character, and it can be a tad annoying, and doesn't always fit with the otherwise mature content. They do stories, scenes and concepts that you've seen before, but they do them so well that you don't mind, and at times you'll even be happy to see their take on it. Politics, philosophical ideas and compelling SF concepts are explored, but that happens in other ST, as well... so here, there's the added dimension of inner conflict in the core group. Half of them have different backgrounds, goals and points of view than others, and this comes across. The tension is felt.
There is disturbing content and some bloody violence in this. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys fiction
this has the closest to real people and the most universal stories of the franchise(you should have a basic understanding of the tech, since there is so much else going on here, it's too much to pick up), and if you watch only one series, it should definitely be this one. 10/10