The Star Trek universe is nearly as vast as the actual universe itself. Multiple television spin-offs based on the premise of the original series are available for a Trekkie's viewing pleasure. Movies and television episodes await Star Trek fans around every corner. A new Star Trek series, Star Trek: Discovery, is currently airing on CBS. However, the two Star Trek series that are clearly fan-favorites are The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. These two shows have defined the Star Trek universe in a way that no others have (aside from the original series, that is). Read on if you want to suss out which of these spin-offs is the best.
10 The Next Generation: Best Captain Since Kirk
The Next Generation introduced us to one of the most iconic Federation captains since Captain Kirk. Captain Picard was the nuanced, civilized, and honorable captain of the Starship Enterprise. Famed actor Patrick Stewart played the indomitable Picard. While Kirk might have been the bombastic and charismatic hand-to-hand fighter we all loved, Picard was the knowledgeable and friendly leader we all wanted.
A sense of duty drove Picard in every episode. His leadership skills provided his crew and viewers at home with a sense of comfort. However, it will never cease to be strange how a supposed Frenchman had such a fondness for British items like Earl Grey tea, Shakespeare, and Royal Navy ballads.
9 Deep Space Nine: Serialized Episodes
In this day and age, television watchers are pampered with immense story-lines in their favorite TV shows. Seasons of a show can tell a vast story comprised of the different episodes within, like chapters in a book. However, this was not always the case. In pre-2000s television shows, stories were episodic. Each episode told a self-contained story. In this regard, Deep Space Nine was ahead of the curve. This Star Trek series showed stories over the course of more than one episode. In fact, the show frequently referred to events that had occurred earlier in the season. Deep Space Nine was the first Star Trek series to embrace this concept. As a result, Sisko and company's adventures felt more present to viewers.
8 The Next Generation: Deep Issues With Strong Acting
In all honesty, the acting and story-lines in the original Star Trek series were a little laughable. To say that it was campy fun would be an understatement. The Next Generation brought more serious stories to the Star Trek universe. The Next Generation tackled issues of sentience, violence, discrimination, and more with grace and aplomb. As an added benefit, The Next Generation had a cast that was up to the task of enacting serious and silly scenarios. Patrick Stewart, Wil Wheaton, Michael Dorn, and Whoopi Goldberg are just a small portion of the strong acting talent that bolstered the show. Even the most ridiculous line was made memorable by these phenomenal actors.
7 Deep Space Nine: Most Unique Crew
Despite taking place in the far reaches of space, the command crews of starships in most Star Trek shows feel strikingly human. In the original series, Spock was the only non-human member of the command crew. In The Next Generation, Worf and Data are the most alien crew members. Deep Space Nine can boast that more than half of its main recurring cast are aliens. Klingons, Changelings, Ferengi, and Trill are only a few of the alien species aboard the station, Deep Space Nine. In a universe where there are various alien species on countless planets, it always felt nonsensical to have Federation crews be comprised of mainly humans. Deep Space Nine fixes that issue.
6 The Next Generation: Best Star Trek Villains
The Borg are horrifying villains introduced to us by The Next Generation. These cybernetic drones serve a hive mind known as the Collective. Their main purpose in life is to assimilate other alien species into the Collective. Often, this assimilation has been involuntary. These Star Trek antagonists first appeared in The Next Generation and later in the film First Contact.
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The Borg have reached epic levels of pop culture fame as a result. Their battle cry of "resistance is futile" has been mimicked and replicated numerous times. The creation of the Borg alone should catapult The Next Generation to the forefront of all other Star Trek spin-offs.
5 Deep Space Nine: Included The Dominion War
Deep Space Nine's serialized format was especially highlighted during the narrative events of the Dominion War. No other Star Trek series had attempted to tell of the evolution of an intergalactic war. Deep Space Nine took the plunge and dove in admirably. The Dominion War is a conflict between members of the Alpha Quadrant of the Milky Way and a government in the Gamma Quadrant of the Milky Way known as the Dominion. The progression of the war is told in a fascinating way. It forces characters of upstanding moral proclivities to engage in dubious behaviors. People we thought we knew, like Captain Sisko, suddenly appeared flawed.
4 The Next Generation: Original Star Trek Cameos
The Next Generation included some of the best guest appearances from members of the original series' cast. Captain Picard got a chance to meet Captain Kirk. While it may be difficult to picture the two contrasting captains in the same room, it happened and it worked. The new crew of the Enterprise interacted with several of the members from the old crew.
The best interaction would definitely have to be between Data and Spock in the episode "Unification." The two most intellectual members of their respective crews got together and conversed, and it was logical heaven. Their conversation left fans of both series reeling with delight.
3 Deep Space Nine: Taking Star Trek In A New Direction
Nearly every Star Trek series is about a starship and her crew exploring the vastness of space. The characters are on a journey to "boldly go where no one has gone before." Deep Space Nine diverged from this set pattern. Instead, Sisko and the crew of the station are relatively sedentary. They remain on Deep Space Nine, running the station as if it were a giant, floating city. Admittedly, the wormhole nearby allows for travel to different sectors of the galaxy. However, for the most part, episodes stayed grounded on Deep Space Nine. It was a gamble on the part of the show's creators. However, given the love of the Star Trek community for Deep Space Nine, it was a gamble that paid off.
2 The Next Generation: The Best Memes Around
The Next Generation implanted itself so deeply into the hearts and minds of viewers that it ingrained itself into internet culture as well. No other Star Trek series has proven such rich soil for the growth of memes. Stills of Picard's face as he makes an impassioned speech litter our social media feeds. La Forge's huge visor makes for humorous references to modern VR devices. Data's typically stoic features breaking into laughter forms the punchline picture for jokes. The Next Generation provided us with fantastic stories that spanned the borders of known space. And these stories provided us with the best meme-worthy material Star Trek has ever given us.
1 Deep Space Nine: A Flawed Federation
The Federation is usually a constant force for good and exploration. In both the original series and in The Next Generation, the Federation seems to do no wrong. It is an idyllic system of governance. Deep Space Nine was not afraid to show the flaws that might crop up in the Federation if it actually existed. Disagreements between higher-ups, political maneuvering, and underhanded dealings make up the backbone of Federation appearances in Deep Space Nine episodes. This is a marked departure from how the typical Star Trek series usually treats the United Federation of Planets. It was a bold decision that sets Deep Space Nine apart from its compatriots.