Star Trek celebrates its 50th anniversary today and one series that deserves to be a big part of that celebration is Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The third Star Trek series ran from 1993-1999 and while it was once considered the "red-headed stepchild" of Star Trek, it's now generally accepted as one of the strongest elements of the franchise.
Beth Elderkin explores what makes the series so great in a new piece for i09 called "Deep Space Nine Is Star Trek's Best World, Because It's the Real World." She writes:
Deep Space Nine took the world—er, universe—established in the previous shows and opened it up to all the longstanding complexities that would come with it. We got to see how these different species groups lived and worked together over a long period of time. We saw amazing friendships and bitter rivalries developing side-by-side. (It's why having the show take place on a space station made so much sense.) And while the Federation was still as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as ever, dedicated to making the universe a more peaceful, prosperous place, we also got to see that not everyone has the same idea of what's best, especially when it came down to different species. Sometimes it went hand-in-hand with humanity's mission, other times it was completely the opposite. But we had a great crew that knew the value of compromise.
From the racial diversity to the complex female characters to the serialized storytelling, Deep Space Nine pushed Trek to new heights. And its thought-provoking storytelling still holds up today.
You can read the rest of Elderkin's piece over on i09. And for those looking to get into Star Trek for the first time (or just to brush up), I've written a beginner's guide over on Vox that highlights five episodes from each of the five series that are perfect for newbies.