Why Deep Space Nine is the best Star Trek Series

Posted on April 30, 2017


Deep Space Nine (DS9) has long been my favorite Star Trek series. I don’t say that lightly, not at all. When it comes to ST, I really and truly love them all.

Star Trek: The Original Series, (TOS) was the one that started it all. It left the airwaves almost twenty years before Star Trek: The Next Generation debuted. There is no comparison. It was the granddaddy of all Treks, the beloved first ‘child’ of Gene Roddenberry, the Great Bird of the Galaxy himself.

Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty, Uhura, Sulu, Chekov. Beam Me Up, Red Shirts, Phasers, Tricorders, Warp Speed. TOS is where we met and fell in love with the original starship Enterprise, the “NCC One 1-7-0-1. No bloody A, B, C, or D, thank ya very much.

Six feature length films. Star Trek, T to the O to the S, ‘nuff said. 

Star Trek: The Animated Series (TAS) in my opinion; the most underrated of all Trek television series. The writing, the wildly colorful aliens, the original cast, TAS stands the test of time, cheesy 1972 animation aside. Also, TAS was the first Star Trek series to win an Emmy award. TAS had a very short life, only because it was too cerebral for the early 70’s Saturday morning cartoon set.

Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) was like water to fans parched for new content between 80’s era TOS films. The success of Picard, Riker, Data, Worf, Troi, Crusher and LaForge was amazing, exceeding all expectations. TNG spawned three spin-offs and in its seventh season became the first and to date; remains the only syndicated television series to ever be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama. In all, TNG won 19 Emmy Awards, two Hugo Awards, five Saturn Awards, and a Peabody Award. The show was wildly popular when it ended after 7 seasons in 1993 and immediately jumped to the big screen; ultimately four TNG feature films were released.

Star Trek: Voyager (STV) was very cool, Kate Mulgrew was the perfect fit for Star Trek’s first female captain. Captain Kathryn Janeway was an amazing character and the supporting cast was colorful and diverse, in the Star Trek tradition. Chakotay, Paris, Tuvok, Kim, Neelix, Torres, Kes, The Doctor and Seven of Nine made the journey through the Delta Quadrant a delightful 7 year trip.

Star Trek: Enterprise (STE). Oh, Enterprise. It started out so darn well. ‘Broken Arrow’, the pilot episode of Enterprise, really and truly, one of my favorite Trek episodes. And that is saying a lot, there will be 738 television episodes of Star Trek when Star Trek Discovery debuts. Jonathan Archer was a great captain IMO. But I’m a Quantum Leap fan and perhaps have a Scott Bakula bias. Really though, having re-watched Enterprise a few times since it’s cancellation in 2005, STE got a bit of a bad rap. The series finale was dreadful, I admit it. I mean, the ghosts of Troi and Riker Past in the Enterprise D’s holodeck? Terrible idea. And just why the hell did they have to kill Trip anyway? But history will be kind as new Trek fans enter the fold and discover the NX-01 and crew. So, kudos Captain Archer, T’Pol, Trip, Travis, Hoshi, Flox and Reed. And Porthos. Cutest Star Trek pet (no disrespect Spot and Captain Picard’s fish).

But Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was the greatest Star Trek series and there are several reasons why. First up, no ship. Well, the station had a compliment of three Danube-class runabouts: the USS Ganges, the USS Yangtzee Kiang, and the USS Rio Grande. But runabouts were just beefed-up shuttles. In season 3, the USS Defiant arrived at DS9 and while she was ‘one tough little ship’, DS9 remained the center of action throughout the series. Deep Space Nine was an ‘alien’ space station. Terok Nor; originally a mine and ore processing station, was rechristened ‘Deep Space Nine’ after the Cardassian race withdrew from the planet Bajor following a brutal occupation that lasted fifty years. Unlike TOS and TNG, Deep Space Nine was a sweeping drama, a soap opera disguised as a sci-fi show. DS9 explored themes previously unseen on a Trek series, like civil strife, religious conflict and war.

Unlike other Trek series, Deep Space Nine didn’t end on a high note, with crew and ship safe and sound. Deep Space Nine was darker, more somber and gritty than other Star Trek series. It’s where Ronald D Moore did his best work in the Trek universe; you can’t watch his magnificent ‘Battlestar Galactica’ reboot without seeing obvious similarities to Deep Space Nine. Bajor and DS9 were on the frontier of Starfleet space, far from the perfect worlds of the peaceful Federation. 

The cast, much larger than other series, was terrific, as symbiotic as the TOS & TNG gang, extraordinary character development. The crew of Deep Space Nine had inner demons to battle and these conflicts were well explored over weaving, intertwined story lines.

Benjamin Lafayette Sisko, Star Trek’s first black captain, was a monolith of a character. In the pilot episode we learn the heir to Kirk and Picard is a grieving widow and single parent. His inner battle, forced to choose between duty as a Starfleet captain and destiny as the Bajoran Emissary of the Prophets, was fascinating. In the final seasons, Avery Brooks really shines as the war-torn battle commander, forced at times to make immoral choices for the greater good.

Brooks the man is as fascinating, actually more so, than the fictional Captain Sisko. And please note that I refer to his character as ‘Captain’, a rank Sisko should have held from the pilot episode. Avery Brooks is an Indiana native and reportedly once said this; ‘”I was born in Evansville… but it was Gary, Indiana that made me.” His mother was one of the first African-Americans to earn a master’s degree in music and worked as a professional music teacher while his father sang in a choir on CBS radio for ten years. Avery Brooks went to Indiana University and Oberlin College and completed his B.A., plus an M.F.A. from Rutgers University, becoming the first African American to receive an MFA in acting and directing from Rutgers.

Unlike most of his DS9 costars Brooks was already a bona fide television star after portraying Hawk on ‘Spencer for Hire’ from 1985 – 1988  (a role he carried into a short-lived spinoff and four TV movies). Brooks took some time away from ‘Spenser for Hire’ to play the title character in a television adaption of ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ in 1987 and the following year appeared in ‘Roots: The Gift’. Though he’ll forever be associated with Hawk and Sisko, Avery Brooks has an outstanding body of work outside of Star Trek and television. He has performed on stage many times, on and off Broadway and all over the world.

In film, he portrayed Dr. Bob Sweeney in the Academy Award nominated ‘American History X’ alongside Edward Norton. He and Norton reunited on screen in Robert De Niro’s ‘15 Minutes’ and he played a mob boss in the Mark Wahlberg film ‘The Big Hit’. His deep baritone ensured lots of voice work for the actor. Brooks has narrated several acclaimed documentaries including the IMAX feature ‘Africa’s Elephant Kingdom’, ‘Walking with Dinosaurs’ and ‘Jesus: The Complete Story’. Speaking of documentaries, in 2011 William Shatner wrote and directed ‘Captains’, a documentary featuring Brooks, Patrick Stewart, Kate Mulgrew and Scott Bakula and in addition to starring, Avery Brooks served as music director for the film.  Music is a passion for the actor; his parent’s influence is undoubtedly part of that. He has performed with some of the biggest names in jazz, recorded a Duke Ellington tribute album and in 1999 released his own original album, ‘Here’. Brooks even got to sing in character when Sisko performed ‘The Best is Yet to Come’ in season 7 of DS9.

After earning his MBA from Rutgers University Brooks went on to teach himself and today, instead of being hailed as Captain Sisko round campus he is referred to as Professor Avery Brooks. Rutgers U is a passion, literally for him. In 1976 Brooks married Vicki Lenora, an assistant dean at Rutgers, and they have three children. 

Nana Visitor brought Bajoran Major Kira Nerys to life. A tough as nails former guerrilla fighter turned military officer, Nerys is suspicious and antagonistic as the series begins. Her love affair with Odo was heartbreaking, the way she comes to terms with Cardassians (particularly Damar) as the series ends; just a few of the reasons her character’s evolution was so interesting and fun to watch.

As Avery Brooks’ parents influenced him through song, Visitor’s parents did for their daughter through dance. Visitor’s mother was a ballet teacher and her father a choreographer; she is also the niece of legendary hoofer Cyd Charisse. Nana was born in New York City and Tucker is her actual last name, she started going by Visitor in the early 80’s.

Nana Visitor got her start in show business on Broadway in the 1970’s before breaking into TV on soap operas. Beginning in the mid 80’s she guest-starred in some of the decade’s biggest shows, ‘Night Court’, ‘MacGyver’, ‘In The Heat of the Night’, ‘Remington Steele’, ‘Doogie Howser MD’, to name a few.

Following Deep Space Nine she starred as Jean Ritter on the series ‘Wildfire’ for three seasons and appeared in the films ‘Swing Vote’, ‘The Resident’, ‘Ted 2’ and the 2009 reboot of ‘Friday the 13th’. She reunited with Ronald D Moore in a memorable guest starring role on ‘Battlestar Galactica’ in 2008 and voiced the USS Enterprise computer on an episode of ‘Family Guy’ (and played the ex-wife of Quagmire in another episode).

Personally, Visitor is married to Matthew Rimmer and has two sons from previous marriages. One of those marriages was to her DS9 costar Alexander Siggid. They were married for four years and their subsequent pregnancy was written into the show when Major Kira carried the son of Miles and Keiko O’Brien to term.  Asteroid 26733 Nanavisitor, discovered in 2001, was named in her honor.

Speaking of Odo, DS9’s security chief is as unique as any character to grace the Star Trek small screen. Constable Odo starts the show as a law enforcement machine, a liquid Robo-Cop. Other than a caustic tongue, the only emotion we get from the Changeling is fierce devotion to Major Kira. He has no idea who, or even what, he is. When The Founders reveal themselves, Odo learns his race’s true nature, a group of tyrannical intergalactic fascist. The poor constable is literally, at times ripped apart. René Auberjonois’ final scene as a tuxedoed Odo, waving goodbye to a tearful Kira while melting into The Great Link… It was unforgettable; lovely and heartbreaking.

René Auberjonois, like Avery Brooks, was a major television star before joining the Star Trek family. He’d played the snobbish hypochondriac Clayton Endicott III on Benson for several seasons garnering an Emmy nomination for his portrayal. Constable Odo was actually Auberjonois’ second turn in Star Trek. In the final movie to feature the original TOS crew, 1991’s excellent ‘Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country’, he played Starfleet Colonel West (the movie also featured his future DS9 cast-mates Michael Dorn and Brock Peters).

René Auberjonois is descended from French and Russian royalty. He is the great-great-great grandson of ‘The Dandy King’, Joachim-Napoléon Murat, King of Naples from 1808 – 1815 and brother in law to Napoleon Bonaparte himself. His great-grandmother was a Russian noblewoman named Eudoxia Michailovna Somova. René’s father was a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who covered the Cold War. He was born in New York City in 1940 but his family moved to France shortly after World War II. The family moved back to the United States a few years later and joined an artists’ colony in Rockland County, New York. While there, a young René hung around acting legends Burgess Meredith, John Houseman, and Helen Hayes. He also lived in London completing high school there.

Auberjonois graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 1962 and in 1968, landed his first Broadway role. He won a Tony Award the following year when he played opposite Katherine Hepburn in ‘Coco’. Jumping to film as the 70’s dawned, he appeared as Father Francis Mulcahy in the movie version of M*A*S*H, 1976’s ‘King Kong’, ‘McCabe & Mrs. Miller’ and ‘Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach’. Since DS9’s ending Auberjonois has gone on to star in the series ‘Boston Legal’ alongside Trek alum William Shatner. Boston Legal was a spinoff of the series ‘The Practice’ and René’s character Paul Lewiston, originated there. In that series, he received his second Emmy nomination. He nabbed a third Emmy nod for his portrayal of Ichabod Crane in a TV version of ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’.

His voice work alone is prolific. Auberjonois has lent his voice to numerous documentaries, animated series and films including the role of Chef Louis in ‘The Little Mermaid’. Fun fact; René Auberjonois was the voice of Spider Man for a 1972 album titled ‘From Beyond the Grave’. Auberjonois is a member of the DC and Marvel animated universes having voiced the villain Desaad in the 80’s kids cartoon ‘Super Friends’ (he reprised the role decades later in ‘Justice League’) and played Ebony Maw in ‘Avengers Assemble’. He is the current voice of the world’s coolest skunk, Pepé Le Pew on ‘Looney Tunes’. René Auberjonois married Judith Helen Mahalyi in 1963, they have two sons.            

Terry Farrell portrayed Jadzia Dax on DS9. She didn’t battle an inner demon; the young Starfleet LT. carried an old man around in her stomach, literally. She wasn’t conflicted; she was two individuals inhabiting one body. Jadzia was a young woman, Dax was the old man on his seventh host (Jadzia), a natural occurrence in this particular alien species, called the Trill. When Terry Farrell left at the end of season 6, one of the most interesting recasting stories in TV history happened. Her ‘old man’ character was transferred into another young woman and Ezri Dax was born, played by Nicole de Boer. Jadzia Dax tamed the heart of Star Trek’s greatest Klingon, LT Commander Worf, son of Mogh. Her murder at the hands of Gul Dukat in the season 6 finale, was shocking, it hit fans like a sledgehammer.

Terry Farrell (real name; Theresa Lee) was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and moved to NYC to become a model at the age of 16. She transitioned to acting and appeared in 13 episodes of the TV series ‘Paper Dolls’ before starring as Valerie Desmond in the classic film ‘Back to School’. Farrell guest starred in several hit series before being cast as Jadzia Dax including ‘The Cosby Show’, ‘Family Ties’ and ‘Quantum Leap’ (with future Trek captain Scott Bakula). In the early 2000’s Farrell retired from acting and was briefly married to Brian Baker, a.k.a. the Sprint Guy, they have a son. In 2016, Farrell announced she was in a relationship with Adam Nimoy, son of Leonard Nimoy. Asteroid 26734 Terryfarrell was named in her honor by its discoverer, the same astronomer who named an asteroid after Nana Visitor.

Nicole de Boer is a Canadian actress who earned her science fiction bones in the cult film ‘Cube’ and replaced Farrell after Jadzia’s death. The Dax symbiont was moved onto its 8th host, Ezri Dax. Following DS9, de Boer (which in Dutch means: the farmer) played the female lead in ‘The Dead Zone’ for six seasons. Nicole de Boer began acting as a child and at the ripe old age of 10 made her TV debut with Hollywood legends Vincent Price, Red Skelton and Imogene Coca. ‘Freddie the Freeloader’s Christmas Dinner’ aired on December 13th 1981, exactly one week before her 11 birthday. Currently she has a recurring role in the Canadian comedy/drama series ‘Private Eyes’, playing the ex-wife of Jason Priestley’s character. Nicole is divorced and has a young daughter.

There are many memorable supporting characters in the Star Trek universe but only one; Colm Meaney AKA Chief Miles Edward O’Brien, made the jump from supporting actor to main cast member. I enjoyed O’Brien’s character in TNG and after the 4th season’s ‘The Wounded’ he became a true favorite of mine. The Chief was unique among Star Trek characters, a non-commissioned officer, husband and father with small children. O’Brien was portrayed as a technical wizard, sort of the Scotty or LaForge type of Deep Space Nine, but the mild mannered engineer was also a fierce warrior.

Other than Michael Dorn, Colm J Meaney, has appeared in more Star Trek TV episodes than any other actor. He is also one of only three Trek actors to appear in two Star Trek pilot episodes (Patrick Stewart and Armin Shimerman are the other two). Meaney entered acting school in his native Ireland at the age of 14. He joined the Irish National Theatre and honed his craft on stages all over the UK for almost a decade. He played the patriarch of the Rabbitte family in three films starting with 1991’s ‘The Commitments’. Meaney has appeared in several hit films including ‘Die Hard 2’, ‘Under Siege’, ‘The Last of the Mohicans’, ‘Far and Away’, ‘Con Air’ and many others.

In 2017 he will appear in the Liam Neeson, Diane Lane flick ‘Felt’. On TV, in his pre-Star Trek days, Meaney appeared in ‘Moonlighting’, ‘Remington Steele’ and ‘Tales from the Darkside’. After DS9 ended Meaney guest starred on several hit series including ‘The Simpsons’, ‘Law and Order’ and ‘Stargate: Atlantis’. In 2011 he was cast as Thomas Durant in the AMC series ‘Hell on Wheels’, a role which earned him a Saturn Award nomination. Colm Meaney is married and has a teen daughter in addition to an adult daughter from a previous marriage. 

The doctor of DS9 had his own inner demons though they weren’t evident when the show premiered. Julian Bashir seemed like a bubbly little ray of sunshine, a fact his friendship with DS9’s amicable Chief O’Brien, seemed to reinforce.  But Julian Bashir changed after learning his parents had (illegally) genetically engineered him as a child. Add to that his odd relationships with Garak, and to a lesser extent, Sloane of Section 31, and Bashir became more interesting.

Alexander Siddig was particularly good in latter seasons when, as with Captain Sisko, Bashir faced moral dilemmas during the Dominion War. Siddig was born in Sudan but raised in England. His mother was a theatrical consultant and her brother, Siddig’s uncle, is the legendary actor Malcolm McDowell. How’s that for a Star Trek connection? Dr. Bashir’s uncle killed James T Kirk. His paternal uncle was Sudan’s Prime Minister and he is a direct decedent of a legendary 19th Century Sundanese religious leader. He followed the usual path to acting fame, working on London stages before landing a major role in the 1992 TV sequel to the epic 60’s film ‘Lawrence of Arabia’. A British flick called ‘A Dangerous Man: Lawrence after Arabia’, Alexander Siddig played Prince Faisal, the character originated by Sir Alec Guinness in the 1962 film.

Following DS9 he appeared in films like ‘Syriana’, ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ and ‘Clash of the Titans’. On the small screen he’s enjoyed recurring roles on ‘24’, ‘DaVinci’s Demons’ and the hit BBC series ‘Atlantis’.  Sci-fi fans were thrilled when he joined the cast of ‘Game of Thrones’ as Prince Doran Martell for season 5. 2017 promises to be a big year for the London-based actor. He’s playing Aristotle Onassis to Katie Holmes’ Jackie Kennedy in a miniseries released on the REELZ network in early April and in May he is set to join ‘Gotham’, the latest actor to take on the role of Batman villain Ra’s al Ghul.    

Cirroc Lofton played Sisko’s young son Jake and DS9 fans watched him grow up, as Lofton was only 14 years old when producers cast him in the role. His character, Jake was a young child when his mother died and is still dealing with that loss when thrust into the totally alien environment of Deep Space Nine. He grows into a young man across the seven years of the series; his friendship with Nog the Ferengi is one of the show’s most endearing storylines. Lofton, a native of Los Angeles, continued to act following the end of DS9 appearing in ‘7th Heaven’, ‘The Hoop Life’ and ‘Soul Food’. As of 2016 he and his wife Sara own a restaurant in Culver City, CA.

You could even argue that DS9’s bar owner Quark was conflicted. He battled his base Ferengi instinct a few times, choosing family and friends over profit more than once. Armin Shimerman brought such a sly humor and depth to Quark.

Shimerman was born and raised in New Jersey, his mother was an accountant and his father was a house painter. He broke into films in the early 80’s appearing in ‘Stardust Memories’, ‘The Hitcher’ and ‘Blind Date’ before landing the role of Pascal on the TV series ‘Beauty and the Beast’. Quark played three different Ferengi in the Star Trek universe, including the very first time we encounter the species, early in the first season of TNG in 1987. He played a different Ferengi later in season 1 and returned to TNG one more time, as Quark in the series final season. Quark also appeared in Star Trek Voyager’s pilot episode.

Shimerman found lots of work after DS9 concluded. For three seasons he played Principal Snyder on ‘Buffy: The Vampire Slayer’ and had a recurring role as Judge Brian Hooper on ‘Boston Legal’ with René Auberjonois where Quark and Odo were ‘reunited’ and Shimerman also worked with Star Trek alum William Shatner and Ethan Phillips (Neelix, STV). Shimerman, like so many other members of the Trek family, has an impressive voice work resume, the most well-known – Dr. Nefarious in ‘Ratchet & Clank’. He also voiced characters in the Marvel and DC universe (X-Men, Spiderman and Batman) as well as ‘Star Wars: The Old Republic’. Shimerman is co-author of a series of sci-fi books based on real life historical figure John Dee.  This summer, Shimerman and his wife, actress Kitty Swink will celebrate their 36th wedding anniversary. Fun note; Kitty guest starred in two episodes of Deep Space Nine, in seasons 2 and 7.   

In season 4 a familiar face came to Deep Space Nine, Worf son of Mogh. Michael Dorn holds the record for Star Trek appearances, one not likely to be broken soon. His iconic character appeared in 272 Star Trek episodes and 5 feature films, even more than Patrick Stewart (Dorn played his own grandfather and namesake in 1991’s ‘Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country’, sharing the screen with William Shatner’s Captain Kirk three years before Kirk and Picard meet in ‘Star Trek: Generations’).

Michael Dorn was born in Texas but grew up in Pasadena, California. After studying radio and television production in college he pursued a career in music. Dreams of being a rock and roll star faded and he turned to acting, appearing in ‘Rocky’ though he wasn’t credited. Dorn then landed a recurring role on the television series ‘CHiPs’, portraying Officer Jedidiah Turner from 1979 – 1982. After ‘CHiPS’ ended he spent two years on the soap opera ‘Days of Our Lives’. I

n the mid 90’s, at the height of his popularity as Commander Worf; Michael Dorn moonlighted as a voice actor on the animated series “Gargoyles’, ‘Fantastic Four’ and ‘Superman: The Animated Series’, something he continued after DS9 and ‘Star Trek: Nemesis’, the final TNG feature film. He has performed in numerous animated series and Star Trek related video games. In film, Dorn played The Sandman in ‘The Santa Clause’ trilogy. In his personal time Dorn flies one of several surplus military jets he owns, including one of America’s first jet fighters, a Lockheed T33 Shooting Star he lovingly refers to as ‘his personal starship’.         

There are wonderful supporting and recurring characters across the Star Trek universe. From Janice Rand to Harry Mudd to Q to the Borg Queen, Kang, Khan etc… the list goes on and on.

But the huge Deep Space Nine supporting cast; every bit as talented and diverse as the main characters themselves.      

Academy Award winner Louise Fletcher made Kai Winn Adami a fantastically evil bitch. Fletcher is an incredible actress, she brought Nurse Ratched to life in 1975’s ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’ and won the Academy Award for Best Actress, BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role and Golden Globe Award for Best Actress. She was also in ‘Firestarter’, ‘Flowers in the Attic’, ‘2 Days in the Valley’, and ‘Cruel Intentions’. The Birmingham, AL native is 83 years young and still going strong; appearing in 2013’s ‘A Perfect Man’ with Liev Schreiber and with a recurring role in the Showtime series ‘Shameless’ in 2012/2013. Louise Fletcher is even working on the Netflix series ‘Girlboss’, which premiered on April 21 2017 (watched it with my wife, hilarious BTW). IMO – Fletcher’s best work as Kai Winn Adami were in scenes when viewers connected and actually felt sympathy for her character. In her final scene, Bajor’s Kai actually tries to redeem herself. Before she can, Gul Dukat disintegrates her, but in the end the jealous, vain, hateful woman actually tried to do the right thing.    

Because the planet Bajor was central to Deep Space Nine, several other Bajorans were featured including not one, but two lovers of Major Kira. First up, Bajoran priest Vedek Bareil portrayed by Phillip Anglim. He died heroically midway through the third season but after the mirror universe storyline, reappeared again in the sixth season appearing in a total of eight episodes.

Major (later Colonel) Kira, bless her heart, is just not meant to have a man. Following the death of Bareil she met and fell for Shakaar Edon. He was a resistance leader, farmer, and later First Minister of Bajor, played by Canadian actor and award winning painter Duncan Regehr. Shakaar and Kira part ways on the advice of the Prophets who tell the couple “they weren’t meant to walk the same path.” The character was Regehr’s second role in Star Trek; he played Ronin in ‘Sub Rosa’ an episode in TNG’s seventh season. 

Kai Opaka, the spiritual leader of Bajor during the Cardassian Occupation and for a short time afterward, was played by Camille Saviola who was born in 1950 and grew up a few blocks from Yankee stadium. Though she only appears in four episodes her Opaka character was central, particularly in relation to Sisko, Kira, Bareil and Kai Winn.

Another Bajorn was the sexy Leeta, the Dabo girl (think poker or black jack dealer) at Quarks, played by the delightfully exuberant Chase Masterson. She eventually becomes the First Lady of Ferenginar after marrying Rom. Chase (real name: Christianne Carafano) is reportedly a fan favorite at conventions and recently had a recurring role in ‘Dr. Who’. Her film credits include ‘Robin Hood: Men in Tights’. Masterson is a talented jazz singer and has released two albums.

Marc Alaimo, a ‘that guy’ villain in countless 70’s & 80’s movies and television series was Gul Dukat. Alaimo is a Star Trek legend and the obvious choice for Dukat having portrayed the Star Trek universe’s first Cardassian on TNG, Gul Macet. He was also the first Romulan seen on Star Trek: TNG and an Old West French poker player in the TNG classic ‘Time’s Arrow Parts 1 & 2’. Like Kai Winn, Dukat was at his absolute best when Marc Alaimo played to viewer’s sympathies, most notably with the near-catatonic grief that grips him after witnessing his daughter murdered by his most trusted lieutenant.

The daughter, child of Dukat and a Bajoran woman he kept as a slave, was portrayed by three actresses. Tora Ziyal was played by Cyia Batten in ‘Indiscretion’ and ‘Return to Grace’, by Tracy Middendorf in the episode ‘For the Cause’ and by Melanie Smith from ‘In Purgatory’s Shadow’ to ‘Sacrifice of Angels’.   

Casey Biggs played Damar, the murderous lieutenant who killed Ziyal. Biggs is a graduate of the famed Julliard School and currently teaches at the School of Drama at The New School in New York City. He rose to prominence in the soap operas Ryan’s Hope and General Hospital and appeared in the films ‘The Pelican Brief’, ‘Broken Arrow’ and ‘Dragonfly’. Damar was a typical arrogant and tyrannical Cardassian, cruel and vicious to a fault. But he switched sides and turned on The Founders and The Dominion. Then he learned that his wife and children had been executed and Damar became a different person, even winning over Major Kira before dying in the battle to free Cardassia.  

Speaking of Star Trek legends, Savannah, Georgia native JG Hertzler brought an astounding seven ST characters to life, three on DS9 alone, including a Vulcan captain in the series pilot and the changeling Laas. But Hertzler will always be General Martok, the kid from the Ke’Tha Lowlands who overcomes tremendous odds to become Chancellor of the Klingon Empire.

Ironically, Martok wasn’t the first Klingon JG Hertzler portrayed. In 1996 he provided the voice of Le’rat in the Jonathon Frakes directed ‘Star Trek: Klingon’, one of the earliest video game/movie hybrids. After DS9, JG Hertzler stayed in the Star Trek family, playing a Hirogen in a Star Trek Voyager episode that also featured pro wrestler and future A-List actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. In Star Trek Enterprise, he took on two different Klingon roles, a lawyer in the episode “Judgment” and a Klingon Captain in the episode “Borderland”. Two years ago Hertzler joined the cast of a fan-funded short film titled ‘Star Trek: Axanar’. It was great to see Hertzler as a human (Look Ma, no prosthetics!) Starfleet captain named Samuel Travis. It’s a documentary-style 20 minute film about the Klingon/Federation War (really well done).    

Subtract his Star Trek credits, Jeffery Coombs still has a very impressive resume. Coombs starred as Herbert West in the 80’s cult classic ‘The Re-Animator’ and its three sequels. The ‘Re-Animator’ was based on an HP Lovecraft novella and Coombs has starred in seven additional Lovecraft adaptations and even played the tragic author himself in a 1993 film. In 1994 Coombs joined the Star Trek family and has since brought nine characters to life, most notably Weyoun the Vorta clone who lived to serve The Founders. My favorite Weyoun episode has to be ‘Treachery, Faith and the Great River’ when Weyoun 7 tries to defect to Odo but winds up committing suicide to save his ‘god’. 

Incredibly, Coombs also brought Ferengi Liquidator Brunt to life in eight DS9 episodes. A frequent foil of Quark, Coombs describes Brunt as ‘The IRS Agent from Hell’. In season 7, in the episode “The Dogs of War”, Combs appeared as both Weyoun and Brunt, making Trek history as the first actor to play two unrelated recurring roles on screen in the same episode. Coombs also gave Star Trek fans their closest look yet at the Andorian species with his portrayal of Shran in Star Trek Enterprise. He was so good in fact, producers intended to make his character a series regular before the show was cancelled.

Jeffery Coombs also portrayed human police officer Kevin Mulkahey and the alien Tiron on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. He was the alien Penk on Star Trek Voyager and a Ferengi pirate named Krem on Star Trek Enterprise. Along with many other actors, writers, and creators of the show, Combs made a cameo appearance as a holographic patron in Vic’s Lounge in the final episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Combs even voiced a Romulan Commander on a Star Trek video game. 

William Sadler, one of Hollywood’s finest supporting actors, brought Commander Sloane of Section 31 to life. Sadler and Alexander Siggid’s scenes were always fun, great dialogue between Sloane and Bashir. He only appeared in three DS9 episodes but his character played a crucial role in the final season. His death scene, a dying Sloane’s brain fights off a virtual Bashir and O’Brien as they search for a cure to the Founder’s disease, a classic, great ending for a villain.

Today Andrew Robinson is director of the Master of Fine Arts acting program at the University of Southern California but as teenager he was a juvenile delinquent and wound up in reform school. Perhaps some of that sinister mischievousness seeped into his portrayal of Elim Garak, Deep Space Nine’s resident tailor and exiled Cardassian spy. His scenes with Paul Dooley, who played his reluctant father were highlights of Garak for me.  Though originally cast for one brief scene in the series second episode, producers were impressed with Robinson’s performance and Garak ultimately appeared in thirty seven episodes of DS9.

Sticking with Cardassians, Enabran Tain (Garak’s reluctant father) was the former head of the infamous Obsidian Order and responsible for Garak’s exile. Though Tain was a dark character, Paul Dooley is a great comedic actor, he played Molly Ringwald’s dad in ‘Sixteen Candles’, among many other notable roles. Interesting side note, Dooley was a writer for PBS’s ‘The Electric Company’ and actually created The Easy Reader, Morgan Freeman’s character on the iconic 1970’s kids show. 

The role of leader of the Ferengi people went to none other than Wallace Shawn, Vinzinni in ‘The Princess Bride’, a comedic actor so talented he played a semi-fictional version of himself named Wally Shawn in the 1981 comedy/drama ‘My Dinner with Andre’. Grand Nagus Zek, the head of the Ferengi Empire was a hilarious character, a delightfully greedy and colorfully over-the-top character.

Speaking of Ferengi, Quark’s little brother Rom was played by Max Grodénchik. Though best known as Rom, Grodénchik had small roles in some major flicks like ‘Apollo 13’, ‘The Rocketeer’, ‘Barton Fink’, ‘Sister Act’ and ‘Bruce Almighty’. When the series begins Rom is a waiter and stock boy in his brother’s bar. In one of the final episodes Grand Nagus Zek retires and names Rom as his successor.

Aron Eisenberg played Rom’s only son Nog, a real twerp in the beginning. But Nog evolved so much, by season 6 he becomes the first Ferengi to join Starfleet. He and Jake Sisko are the same age when the series starts but Aron’s 5’ height and prosthetics aged the actor down, he was actually in his mid-twenties when cast as Nog. Eisenberg appeared on several TV shows prior to DS9 including ‘Tales from the Crypt’, ‘Parker Lewis Can’t Lose’, ‘The Wonder Years’, and ‘General Hospital’ and with a recurring role in ‘The Secret World of Alex Mack’.

Speaking of General Hospital, Penny Johnson Jerald is another DS9 alum who spent time on that ABC soap before Star Trek. Kassidy Yates was a civilian space freighter captain who captures the heart of, and eventually marries Captain Benjamin Sisko.  Another Julliard graduate like Casey Biggs, Johnson was already a TV star after playing Beverly Barnes on ‘The Larry Sanders Show’. When the series ends she is pregnant with Sisko’s child.

Kenneth Marshall played Lt. Commander Michael Eddington, a Starfleet security man sent to keep an eye on Odo who ironically turns against the Federation and joins the Maquis resistance. Eddington was a great anti-hero and Sisko protagonist for nine episodes.

Deep Space Nine counts one of the original ‘Teen Idols’ of the 1950’s among its ranks. Crooner James Darren, who played Moondoggie to Sally Field’s Gidget in the 1960’s film series, appeared in several episodes during the last two seasons of the show as holographic crooner ‘Vic Fontaine’. 

Robert O’Reilly appeared on Broadway before jumping to TV as a villain in TV shows like ‘Cheers’, ‘Knight Rider’, ‘MacGyver’, ‘In the Heat of the Night’, ‘NYPD Blue’ and ‘Dallas’. O’Reilly joined the Star Trek family in season two of Star Trek TNG, playing a 1940’s era gangster in a holodeck scene. Two years later he returned to the Trek universe after being cast as Gowron. He played the Chancellor of the Klingon Empire in several episodes of TNG and showed up on DS9 soon after Worf arrived. O’Reilly also appeared in an episode of Star Trek Enterprise as an alien bounty hunter.

The late Brock Peters is another Star Trek legend. Several years before being cast as Benjamin Sisko’s father Joseph, Peters portrayed Fleet Admiral Cartwright in ‘Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home’ and ‘Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country’. Peters, who passed away in 2005, appeared in a number of classic films including ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, ‘Soylent Green’ and ‘Porgy & Bess’. Joseph Sisko is near and dear to me as the character is a resident of Louisiana, just like me. He is the owner of ‘Sisko’s Creole Kitchen’, a restaurant in New Orleans’ famed French Quarter.  

The First Lady of Star Trek, Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, appeared in several episodes of Deep Space Nine. Majel played #1 in ‘The Cage’, a rejected Star Trek pilot that did not air until 1988, though several scenes were incorporated into the TOS two-part episodes ‘The Menagerie’. In TOS, TAS and in the films ‘Star Trek The Motion Picture’ and ‘Star Trek IV The Voyage Home’, she portrayed Nurse (later Dr.) Christine Chapel. But it was in TNG and later on DS9 her most memorable character came to life: “I am Lwaxana Troi, daughter of the Fifth House, holder of the Sacred Chalice of Rixx, heir to the Holy Rings of Betazed. Who are you?”– Lwaxana Troi     

Vice Admiral William J. Ross, played by Barry Jenner, was featured in twelve pivotal episodes of the sixth and seventh seasons of DS9. Ross passed away in 2016 at the age of 75. Away from acting Barry Jenner served as a reserve police officer for 21 years with the LAPD.

Although she is a second generation American, Rosalind Chao gained fame in her early 20’s after being cast as South Korean immigrant Soon Lee in the final season of M*A*S*H, a role she continued in two seasons of the sequel AfterMASH. Chao, a native of Los Angeles, played Keiko O’Brien in 27 episodes of TNG and DS9. Chao was originally considered for the part of TNG security chief Tasha Yar, the role that went to Denise Crosby. Rosalind is still hard at work in Hollywood. In 2016 alone she appeared in the ‘Hawaii 5-O’ reboot and in the Netflix series ‘The OA’. In the former Chao was reunited with Michelle Krusiec, who played an older version of her DS9 daughter Molly O’Brien, in the sixth season episode ‘Time’s Orphan’.

But Krusiec only portrayed Molly once, a ten-years-older version of the character. Hana Hatae was a small child when she was cast as Molly O’Brien, the daughter of Miles and Keiko O’Brien in TNG. Hatae retired from acting soon after DS9 but recently got back into the business, appearing in the 2015’s low budget sci-fi thriller ‘5th Passenger’, alongside fellow Trek alum Marina Sirtis (Troi), Tim Russ (Tuvok), Robert Picardo (The Dr.) and Armin Shimmerman (Quark).  

John Colicos portrayed Kor, one of Star Trek’s first Klingons in TOS, a role he reprised three times in DS9. Dorn, Hertzler and Colicos are sublime in the episode ‘Once More Into The Breach’.  Colicos also played the delightful villain Count Baltar in the original ‘Battlestar Galactica’. Colicos’ acting career spanned five decades, he passed away in 2000.

Ishka (better known as ‘Moogie’) was the name of Quark and Rom’s mother, a woman who eventually becomes the First Lady of Feringinar when she marries Grnad Nagus Zek. Ishka was originated by actress Andrea Martin but when she was unable to return for a second appearance the role went to the late Cecily Adams who played Ishka for an additional four episodes.  

Like Ishka, the role of Romulan Kimara Cretak went to two actors, Megan Cole and 70’s mega-babe Adrienne Barbeau.

For an actor who never had a single line Mark Allen Shepherd has quite an impressive Star Trek resume. His character, the silent Lurian, Morn, appeared regularly in Deep Space Nine and had cameos in both ‘Star Trek The Next Generation’ and ‘Star Trek Voyager’. Shepard is also accomplished artist, several of his works were featured as set pieces on DS9.

James Sloyan is another Star Trek journeyman. On DS9 he portrayed the Bajoran scientist Mora Pol, Odo’s “father” in the episodes “The Begotten” and “The Alternate”. Prior to that, in TNG, he portrayed Romulan Alidar Jarok and Alexander Rozhenko (Worf’s son) as an adult in the future. After DS9, Sloyan was featured in Star Trek: Voyager in the episode “Jetrel” as the title character. Sloyan is well versed in science fiction, he’s appeared in ‘Buck Rogers in the 25th Century’, ‘Quantum Leap’ and ‘The X-Files’.

Actor James Otis played Solbor, Kai Winn Adami’s assistant. Otis appeared in several films including ‘The Prestige’ and ‘The Black Dahlia’.

Soap Opera legend Julianna McCarthy played Mila, the housekeeper of Enabrin Tain and possibly his lover and the mother of Elim Garak. McCarthy played Liz Foster on ‘The Young & the Restless’ for an astounding four decades. Mila appeared in three episodes and was murdered by Jem Hadar soldiers in the series finale.

Before being wiped out by the Dominion, the Maquis was a terrorist organization. Or a group of freedom fighters, it all depended on your perspective. The concept of the Maquis; oppressed people using terrorist tactics against the Cardassians and even against the Federation, was introduced in the 5th season of TNG. The Maquis were a sympathetic group as evidenced by Starfleet officers who turned their backs on the Federation like Ensign Ro Laren (Michelle Forbes), Michael Eddington and Commander Cal Hudson (Bernie Casey). The Maquis were also pivotal in relation to Star Trek Voyager.

Between January 3rd 1993 and June 2nd 1999 a total of one hundred seventy six original episodes of Deep Space Nine aired. Some of my favorites include:

‘Emissary’, the two-hour pilot of DS9.

Sisko: “It’s been a long time, Captain.”

Picard: “Have we met before?”

Sisko: “Yes sir, we met in battle. I was on the Saratoga at Wolf 359.”

Remember thinking DAMN, this dude just bowed up on Jean Luc Picard!

‘Progress’ Brian Keith has a wonderful guest starring role as a farmer who refuses to leave his land.

‘Blood Oath” According to writers, the story was based on ‘Seven Samurai’ and ‘The Magnificent Seven’. TOS Klingons Kor, Koloth and Kang come to DS9 on a mission of vengence.

‘The Maquis Parts 1 & 2’ Actor and former NFL player Bernie Casey was great as Starfleet Commander Cal Hudson.

‘The Wire’ We learn more about the mysterious Garak.

‘Crossover’ DS9 travels to the Mirror Universe, first encountered in the TOS classic ‘Mirror, Mirror’. The series revisits the Mirror Universe in an additional four episodes.

‘The Jem Hadar’ and ‘The Search Parts 1 & 2’ Three episode arc includes the 2nd season finale and 3rd season two-part opener. Its where we meet the Dominion, witness a kamikaze Jem Hadar warship obliterate a Galaxy-Class starship and meet the USS Defiant.

“Defiant’ William Riker’s transporter duplicate Thomas Riker steals the USS Defiant on behalf of the Maquis.

‘The Way of The Warrior’ Commander Worf reports for duty on Deep Space Nine.

‘The Sword of Kahless’ Kor returns to the station and together with Worf and Jadzia search for an iconic Klingon relic.

‘Trials and Tribbleations’ One of DS9’s highest rated episodes as Sisko, Dax, O’Brien, Worf and Bashir go back in time and encounter the TOS crew.

‘Call to Arms’ and ‘A Time to Stand’ the season 5 finale and 6th season opener, the Dominion War begins.

‘Sacrifice of Angels’ A Federation/Klingon armada re-take DS9 from the Dominion. Gul Dukat’s daughter Ziyal is killed by Dumar.

‘In the Pale Moonlight’ Focuses on Sisko and Garak and how the use lies and deception to influence the Romulans to join the fight against the Dominion.

‘Tears of the Prophets’ and ‘Image in the Sand’ 6th the final season finale and the final season opener for Deep Space Nine. Jadzia dies. Sisko goes home to Earth.

‘Once More into the Breach’ Kor returns to DS9 for a final time going out in a blaze of glory.

Episodes 169 – 176 Deep Space Nine raced to the finish, every episode is simply riveting.

Deep Space Nine, the best Star Trek series.

From Space dot com, published March 10th 2017:

After nearly quadrupling their Indiegogo goal to produce a new documentary on “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” (DS9), the creators are busy trying to figure out how to best deploy their newfound wealth. Today is the final day of the campaign to produce “What We Left Behind,” and backers on the crowdfunding site have raised more than $575,000 for the film.

The show is co-led by DS9 showrunner Ira Steven Behr, produced by David Zappone and directed by Adam Nimoy. Zappone and Nimoy are known for the 2016 documentary “For The Love of Spock,” and Zappone also produced the 2011 “Star Trek” documentary “The Captains.” In an interview with Space.com, Behr and Nimoy, who is the son of the first “Star Trek” series’ actor Leonard Nimoy, said they are reconfiguring their plans for the now 90-minute documentary, which is 30 minutes longer than their original vision, because of the extraordinary response to the crowdfunding effort.

Among other things, they plan to convert several clips of DS9 to high resolution, conduct more extensive interviews with cast and crew and possibly add 6 hours of extras following the DS9 creators as they lay out a plot for a mythical “Season 8” for the long-running series.









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