The Shuttle Pod Celebrates The 30th Anniversary Of ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’

The Shuttle Pod podcast episode 114 - Deep Space Nine celebration - TrekMovie

Shuttlepodder Jared Whitley invites John Duchak and Laurie Ulster to join him in a celebration of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in honor of the show’s 30th anniversary. After a not-so-quick overview of the series as a whole, they each pick three episodes to talk about—not the most venerated ones, necessarily, but ones that stuck out to them as favorites that demonstrated some aspect of what the show does best.

NOTE: We’ll be back in a few weeks when we can reconvene with the full complement of the Shuttle Pod crew for a Star Trek: Picard Season 3 wrap up.

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😔 ✖️ Weyoun 😔😔😔😔😔😔😔


If I was going to pick one that doesn’t seem to top fan lists but works terrifically for me both as Trek and as heavy emotionalism (THE VISITOR for some reason doesn’t quite deliver as strongly for me as for most, probably because of the terrible age makeup, a Westmore tradition), it would be PAST TENSE. Always am weepy at the death of the father and really think the show brings it in a credible and engaging way (plus it was scarily prophetic, though not in a surprising way sadly.)

Jake’s outfit just gave me a seizure.

And now for something completely different. The show was tedious. Had way too many characters. Way too many storylines and plot-points. It went on forever and was the antithesis of Roddenberry’s vision of the future. The Captain wasn’t a Captain. It didn’t go anywhere, literally. The worm-hole and it’s weird semi-God like inhabitants – what were the writers on, Acid? In contrast. Strange New Worlds is what Gene envisioned. Generally positive. Story of the week with a little carry over. Great individual main characters (under 10 – more manageable). Sorry to rain on your parade here, but you all know I’m right. Right?

Sounds like you watched a couple of episodes in the first season and gave up. If so, I understand. I gave up early too, then came back in the third season and enjoyed it much more.

And I don’t think it was the antithesis of Roddenberry’s vision — it turned a profit. ;-) Really though, it challenged a lot of what TNG was about, but it was still Trek.

I have never read a more incorrect statement in my life. I can’t count but

Sisko, Kira, Quark, Odo, Julian Bashir and Jake Sisko are six.

Jadzia Dax, Ezri Dax and Worf are three.

Six plus three is nine.

One more thing, just so you know, what you said here is nothing DS9 fans haven’t heard before. Many times. So, you can say you’re ‘raining on our parade’ or whatever, but that’s fine. We have umbrellas.

And our umbrellas are supported by really cool curvy pylons too.

Ha, indeed!

It’s very difficult to do what the show did and very easy to do what this comment does.

I like the show I really do but I too have some fundimental problems with the show. I didn’t like all the religious mumbo jumbo or that Siskos mother was a wormhole alien. And don’t get me started on the pah- wraiths – silly beyond words, it made Dukat into cartoon villian towards the end of the show. Great cast of characters though. Never liked Jazdia Dax though, didn’t get her appeal. She was played by a horrible actress maybe that’s why.

The pah-wraiths was a very Christian thing, I’ll say that much. It’s literally the same thing as the light side and the dark side of the force being in constant battle. Also Dukat was always a cartoon villain. Ever since Emissary.

But the Prophets and the Bajorans themselves. And Sisko too. Yes they were intended to be Catholics but in my mind, they’re Jewish. In ways that Vulcans aren’t. Both of those species are very Jewish in very different ways. Also Sisko was Moses way more than he was Jesus. So writing that off as religious mumbo-jumbo is understandable but also unfair.

Also there was literally nothing wrong with Jadzia Dax or Terry Farrell, the writers just didn’t write her that well. But go off I guess.

Thanks for your insightful reply. Just that up until DS9 religion was completely avoided in Trek so it was a complete shock too me to get so much of it all at once. I’m not a religious person at all so it just doesn’t appeal, it’s all little off putting to be honest and doesn’t belong in Trek imo.

I don’t agree about Dukat being always a cartoon . Up until that episode that he was made into a cult leader he was the most multi layered and nuanced villains in all of Trek hands down. He’s quite phenomenal actually. You were always on the edge of your seat with him.

I agree they couldn’t write for Jadzia Dax but still think Terry’s not that strong. She’s great at one liners I’ll give her that… but that’s about it imo.

Actually no it wasn’t avoided in Trek before then. May I point you to the TOS episode Bread and Circuses for example. Also TOS Return of the Archons. Yes that was a computer pretending to be a g-d but it was still religious. Not to mention the entire mess that was The Final Frontier. Religion was always in Trek, even when it was being portrayed as wrong. It’s nice that DS9 finally came along and portrayed it as something that it’s okay to have. And with Winn Adami it still made a point about religion that is sadly still relevant today.

We’ll have to agree to disagree on Dukat. I never liked him, I never cared about him, I fast forward through his scenes unless I have a reason to watch. Maybe that reason was played by Jeffrey Combs but still. There were always more interesting antagonists than him to me. Even Winn.

I’ve always loved Dukat but I know for some he just rubbed people the wrong way like how MU Georgiou does today for others.

He reminds me of some of the people that I’ve been traumatized by during my life. So does Winn but in a different way. That’s why I just don’t care and don’t want to watch any scenes with him unless Jeffrey Combs is also there and I can just focus on Weyoun.

Don’t forget:

The Apple, Who Mourns for Adonias, Thanksgiving referenced in Charlie X, a Christmas party is referenced in Dagger of the Mind, more TOS references here:

Yeah thanks, that’s a good reference.

I agree that Dukat was more than a cartoon villain, for a time. The stretch of him being a lowly freighter captain to stealing a Bird of Prey to joining the Dominion to ruling over Terok Nor until his failure to hold it, topped off by the death of his daughter, is one of the best arcs in the franchise, in my opinion.

Then he became space Satan and was considerably less interesting to me. Should’ve ended it with him sadly handing the baseball back to Sisko.

I don’t agree about Jadzia, but the way the writers reoriented Dukat and then plotted out the resolution of the Emissary storyline in season 7 was my main gripe.

Dukat was always a villain, that was never in dispute. I never quite agreed with the writers when they said it was disturbing how he was still a fan favorite despite doing so many horrible things. They seemed to write “Waltz” to atone for basically having written a charming Nazi and they wanted to correct the audience’s perception of him. The character stopped working for me from that point on, and it’s not because I love myself a charming Nazi. He felt more caricatured and ordinary, and then his being entwined with Winn made some sense but devolved into what was basically Dungeons and Dragons sorcery in the infamous little fake cave set. That was the culmination in the Sarah Sisko/Sisko is a Prophet story which again made some sense but was not as compelling as it could have been. These were incredible writers who plotted it incredible stories on the fly each season, but this one felt a little harried.

It did lead to one hell of a last shot though. Balled my eyes out.

I am sick to the back teeth of people venerating “Gene’s Vision”. We got that with Season One of TNG and look how THAT turned out.

agree – Gene’s vision was ultimately to make a TV show and money with some (valid and good) social commentary on the side. The ‘Great Bird of the Galaxy’ noble humanist out to change the world bit was something he cultivated himself after TOS ended.

When Genes vision got buried where it should of, star trek became great, DS9 the best example of it.

60s Roddenbery wanted “Wagon Train to the Stars” – relatable characters where the Enterprise is associated with a US Navy Vietnam ship and Horatio Hornblower on the frontier. The phasers are guns. The mission is to learn, explore, defend. Aliens are more power than us, we have lots to learn. Today’s humanity will succeed but it will be painful and full of action, danger and heroism. Free markets and democracy will be communism in the episodes he himself wrote – Omega Glory and a Private Little War. In the TMP novel with his name (that he obviously did not write) Kirk is an “old human” while the “new humans” can’t handle space travel with all its imperfections.
90s Roddenbery decided he must try to be some visionary for perfect humans, I assume worried about the me too movement pre-me too movement (he was known for sleeping with the talent). Suddendly humans are perfect and space is supposed to love perfect humans so much you can throw your family on the hotel starships complete with carpet. We are going to teach the aliens, even Q in the first episode how great we are. The ultimate bad guys, I kid you not, the Ferengi.
This is why TNG is a snoozfest except for when you toss out the rules.
Irony, the best part of TNG even now is the Borg… where the ultimate evil is a collective.
Like you said, good Trek (DS9, SNW, PIC S3) is when 60s Roddenbery throws 90s Roddenbery out the airlock.

Yes you are correct, and that is also why it is some of the best Trek in the history of the franchise.

I think this is a sarcastic or trolling post. The supposed “points” are the epitome of cliched DS9 criticisms. Half are incorrect, half are shallow or unfounded. This has to be a joke.

yeah, cause TOS never had weird semi-God like beings…..

Tell me you didn’t watch the show without saying you didn’t watch the show.

It tested the values of Roddenberry’s ST, especially in time of war, but those values were upheld and protected to the end on DS9

DS9 overall was a GREAT show, not just great Star Trek but great TV.
With 170+ episodes you are going to get a mixed bag, the good the bad and the ugly – but when the show hit its stride there are so many of those great episodes just branching out here, there & everywhere

The mirror universe episodes are the best mirror universe episodes in all Star Trek
Rocks & shoals?
Red Squad?

We have maybe the 2 greatest supporting characters in Trek – Garak and Nog. Nog especially would grow from probably not much on paper beyond a few lines with Jake to being a character that represents the very best of what the show and the vision (Gene’s vision AND OTHERS) was really about

This was back when writers could write, we have not had that in Star Trek for a LONG time now
Anyone who is enjoying “Nu-Trek” and complaining about DS9??? GET REAL!!!!!

I’ll be straight up honest and say I thought I was never going to like this show. It felt too weird, hated the religion stuff and did not care about the whiny Bajorans. And no one went anywhere. And when they dud they always came back. How is that Star Trek??? Loved VOY and TNG at the time but was convinced DS9 was never going to be for me. I didn’t think it was bad just not really Star Teek either.

Cut to years later when I finally watched TNG/VOY reruns for tye 20th time and just wanted new Star Trek. I decided to give DS9 a real chance and it became my second favorite show in the franchise and still is 15 years later. I adore it so much and TNG only edge it out because I love that cast and ship so much. Because of this show the Bajorans, Cardassians, Trills and Changelings are some of my favorite species in all of Trek.

But I love being on that station today and with that crew. DS9 is what a well written show looks and feels like.

I don’t think that I will ever love a Trek species more than I do Vorta. I just really really love and miss them.

I love the Vorta too and all the Dominion species. They are my second favorite villains after the Borg.

I’m hoping if we get the legacy show we’ll see them again. I was disappointed we didn’t get any Vorta or Jem Hadar on Picard last season.

Glad you came back to it and found it enjoyable. To me it is the best Trek to date.

Oh yeah for sure. At the time I was just more of a casual Trek fan and didn’t really have the urge to watch everything. But DS9 got me more invested in the universe as a whole once I started watching.

Anyone who wants to argue that it is against Gene Roddenberry’s vision (of which I only partly agree, Roddenberry’s vision was not sustainable as a story telling principle), I suggest they watch the episode “In the Cards”, it is absolutely what Trek is about and shows that through all the darkness and evil there is still some good in the universe.

Great discussion! I’m definitely going to revisit these episodes.

The characters in DS9 are my favorite, and I find myself coming back to the show more than any other Trek.

Thanks again!

Love it. Best Trek ever. To everyone who doesn’t like it: Start with the end of S3 and see the rest as prequel, if you change your mind.
Can’t wait for an HD-Release or upscaling AIs to become better…

I’m with Laurie on this one: I have never liked “For the Uniform” like everyone else seems to. Like John said, the Les Mis references are so over the top to be oppressive and annoying. I understand the pieces trying to be insightful about Sisko and his ego (see “Take Me Out to the Holosuite”) and pushing him to a dark place (similarly to “In The Pale Moonlight”), but I just don’t enjoy it nor think it is particularly good. In the end I feel like Sisko goes too far for too little reason (neither logically nor emotionally) with no repercussions from anyone. If you feel Worf gets off too easily for wrecking the mission in “Change of Heart” wait till you see Sisko bomb a planet and not even get a slap on the wrist.

But all the other selections on this podcast I heartily agree with. Some wonderful choices. I love the overlooked episodes like “Civil Defense”, “In the Cards”, etc. Oh, and I predicted ChatGTP would like “The Wire” best – that is a great Garek episode (but then again, all Garek episodes are great ones)!

I do so wish that the Berman Era of Trek would have allowed Andy Robinson to take Garak where he wanted to take him. He wanted Garak to subtly pursue Bashir and play off that subtext, but it just wasn’t meant to be for that time. The layers it would have added would have been fascinating to watch. Garak was a character who simply enjoyed playing with people, whether in torture or love, he enjoyed the game, the pursuit of a goal.

Garak is what you can get when you have more than 10 episode per year of a show to develop and explore interesting actors and characters.

I’ve always thought that Avery deserved more recognition for his acting and directing than what he ever got at the time. I also think that DS9 works better being binged; it really was an early prototype for so much of the storytelling of today with interconnections between episodes, character moments that tend to move them forward, and holding a mirror up to our own culture and issues. Yes, 26 episodes per year is too many, but the 10 of today is simply too few. It’s way too hard to build up really interesting characters in basically 10 hours of television. Writers, actors, and showrunners simply don’t have enough time to really breath life into characters. Just think about SNW S1 if they had done 13 episodes instead of 10. How much more in-depth could we have gotten with Hemmer or Una or La’an or Ortegas if we had 3 more hours of content?

I would like to make a point about “In the Pale Moonlight”. I understand Laurie’s point about the why of the episode, and the strategic reasons to get the Romulans into the fight. Those points are not relevant as to why this episode is so highly regarded. It is highly regarded because of Avery’s acting, (episode director) Lobl’s choices when shooting scenes such as Avery talking directly to the camera, and Avery slowly taking off his uniform as the episode progresses reflecting the bearing of Sisko’s soul to the viewers, and the mirror it holds up to us. Every person has their price. People with good intentions, Starfleet officers, all have their price, and that’s what they wanted us to see. When you become willing to pay that price, you’re getting in bed with the devil. And once you get in bed with the devil, you’re not coming out of it without doing the deed–paying that price. The showrunners were pushing the boundaries with the Trek world by showing that even the best of Starfleet had their price, if pushed far enough. It didn’t make them bad officers, but it certainly made them human.

I do wish that in the era of Berman Trek we could have had some follow-up to Sisko’s decisions, but we didn’t get to see that. The relationship between Sisko and Garak would have been fundamentally changed, but that kind of follow-on was too far out of reach for the times.

Can we finally get a remastered version in HD.

I think it’s been mentioned often that the main barrier is that many of the later seasons special effects were digital assets only mastered in standard def and aspect ratio. The original assets are long gone and to go to HD you’d have to re-do all of those effects from scratch as though it were a new production

Great podcast. Loved the non-traditional top episodes discussion.

My personal favorite season is 4. I also am not a fan of the last few episodes on the last season, especially the Winn/Dukat stuff.

I think a non-traditional favorite episode of mine is The Ascent. The stuff between Odo and Quark is gold as they climb that mountain. The Nog/Jake stuff is great as well.

My favorite character on that show is Jadzia Dax by far.