Ask your average Star Trek fan what their favorite series is, and they’re likely to bring up the legendary Original Series, or the Picard-led Next Generation. That said, there’s a huge chunk of the fanbase that’s happy to declare Deep Space Nine as not only their favorite, but also as the best out of every series that Star Trek has given us.
Predominantly taking place on a single space station, the show has something of a Wild West-vibe. We get to know an eclectic group of individuals for the main cast, some of which are Federation personnel, while others are simply folks who live on the station, like the wonderful Quark and Odo (whose bickering relationship is a joy to behold.) Everything starts off relatively basic with episodic plots, but once the series gets in gear a few seasons in, it takes a huge turn into all-out war across the Alpha Quadrant against the Gamma Quadrant-based Dominion.
This is the point where fans really latched on to the series and its unique strengths, particularly as the story transitioned form episodic to serialized, and especially as the overall tone grew increasingly bleak and dark, which was a massive departure from everything we’ve seen before in the franchise. Despite all of these strengths, though, Deep Space Nine has a collection of awful storylines that some of the writers have even admitted that they were embarrassed to have written.
It's time to delve into the worst of the worst, so brace yourself for red alert because here are the 20 Storylines Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Wants Us To Forget.
Star Trek, as a whole, is known for its progressive views and deft handling of social issues that plague the society of the 21st century rather than their own. For a show with a track record as successful as Trek’s when it comes to dealing with such topics, it’s no wonder that the events of “Profit and Lace” were quickly swept under the rug with the hopes that people would forget.
In short, this is the one where Quark dresses up as a woman, and it’s also the one loaded with never-ending sexism. Deep Space Nine handles touchy subjects well, but they really fumbled with this one, making it a blight on an otherwise impressive record.
Q was one of The Next Generation’s greatest additions. This god-like being was capable of just about anything, and enjoyed toying with the Enterprise crew, especially Picard. In fact, he was so beloved and critical that he was the driving force of the superb series finale, which might be the best episode of the entire franchise.
Unfortunately, Q and all his mariachi band antics were added to Deep Space Nine, which, just by reading that sentence, you can tell was a mistake. He appeared only once, and rightfully so. Q just didn’t belong in DS9’s realm, and this awful episode proves it. One positive moment is Sisko punching him in the face, though, so we’ve gotta give credit where credit is due.
Miles O’Brien is one of the more beloved side-characters from The Next Generation era, but the same can’t be said about his wife and daughter, Keiko and Molly. While neither character is particularly offensive, they were often saddled with weird and boring plots that didn’t endear them to the audience.
In the case of Molly, specifically, “Time’s Orphan” is one of those. After being sucked into a time portal, Molly emerges ten years older, and entirely feral. We could go on explaining, but we’ll get right to the point: who cares? This is one of those pointless, throwaway episodes that do nothing for anyone and have no real consequences. “Remember when Molly became a feral teen?” asked no one ever.
In truth, Deep Space Nine didn’t intentionally try to make fans forget about the character of Vic Fontaine. If anything, Deep Space Nine tried to get him over with you as many times as possible, retroactively causing a distaste for the holographic-singer, and inadvertently causing fans to want to forget about him.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with this '60s Vegas performer, but there can be too much of a good thing (or even too much of an “okay” thing.) The obsession that the show developed with attempting to endear viewers Vic ended up being so off-putting that fans would much rather forget he had more than one or two quick appearances, and it isn’t easy.
Ezri Dax gets the short end of the stick, and it’s not really her fault. Instead, the fault lies solely with the creative team. Jadzia Dax was an awesome and interesting character who only became more likable as the series progressed, especially when paired with Worf (which was both charming and hilarious.)
When Jadzia was eliminated, they should have let the character go out with dignity and grace, creating an emotional impact. However, instead, they had to bring in Ezri. Nowadays, when you hear anyone talk about “Dax” being their favorite character, you know almost for certain that they’re speaking of Jadzia and not Ezri, and you’d likely have the backing of most of the writing staff, too.
Quark is one of our favorite Star Trek characters. His constant arguments with Odo are a series’ highlight, along with his character arc that proves he’s not as selfish as he appears. He’s rude, cheap, and cranky, but he’s also hilarious and extremely likable… except in “Ferengi Love Songs”, in which he’s anything but “hilarious” or “likable.”
When Quark’s mother enters into a relationship with the Grand Nagus himself, Ferengi society, and even their economy, are thrown for a loop. There’s nothing offensively evil about the plot, though -- instead, it’s how Quark treats his dear old mom. He’s incredibly crass and mean spirited towards her, and it’s hard to root for a guy who doesn’t treat his mom right.
There’s seemingly no escaping the Mirror Universe in Star Trek. Debuting in The Original Series, and popping up repeatedly throughout just about every following series (even featuring heavily into Discovery), the Mirror Universe is an interesting and cool concept, but one that’s a little overdone, especially in Deep Space Nine.
While a few of the episodes that feature the Mirror Universe are certainly high-quality, one more or less sours the bunch: “Resurrection”. Not only does it bring back the boring Bareil, but it also has him steal an Orb from Kira by seducing her. Overall, this was an awful way to sully the memory of Bareil, and devalues the normally far more intelligent Kira. It’s all better left forgotten.
“Move Along Home” is mildly divisive among fans, with some claiming it’s one of the worst episodes, while others seeing it as fairly harmless. No matter what side of the spectrum you stand on, we think both sides can agree that, overall, it’s an outlandish episode of little consequence, featuring a race that is mind-boggling inconceivable, even for Star Trek standards.
Basically, the DS9 gang gets sucked into a giant board game by aliens who are utterly obsessed with games of chance... and that’s it -- that’s their one defining trait. In the end, the board game turns out to be harmless, and everyone gets cranky with the aliens, and they themselves move along home. It's obvious that this episode’s events will never be mentioned ever again.
How do you take a race that you’ve built up with an expansive culture and interesting lore, and then try to shatter everything you’ve worked towards in terms of storytelling? Why, with the episode “The Storyteller”, of course.
After spending so much time getting to know the Bajorans as a people, along with their plight, endearing them to fans everywhere, “The Storyteller” almost totally poisons the pot, nearly ruining the collective image of the Bajoran people by portraying them as savages. Oh, and it also has one of the most absurd and idiotic narrative devices in the entire franchise: a magic cloud that wipes you out unless everyone thinks happy thoughts about one another. As hard as it was to do, consider this one forgotten, and rightfully so.
Throughout Deep Space Nine’s excellent run, Quark found himself at odds with more than a few characters, with some even becoming full-time rivals. Who could forget the bickering with Kira, or Rom, his own brother. Of course there’s the obvious frenemies relationship with Odo and we mustn’t forget that scoundrel, Brunt, and the multiple times he and Quark butted heads.
As we said, there are plenty of great rivalries that Quark has dealt with, but no one will ever list the so-called “rivalry” between Quark and Martus because… well, if we’re being frank, it was boring and entirely forgettable. Despite the title of Martus’ episode being boldly called “Rivals”, you’d be hard-pressed to even remember the pathetic “rivalry” between the two characters.
We already mentioned that “The Storyteller” does a huge disservice to the Bajorans, and just a single season later, and a similar conundrum strikes again with “Sanctuary”, but this time it’s only a small part of the overall problem.
In fact, this is one of the times that Star Trek and its often well-done tackling of issues takes center stage, rather than making a compelling episode. A race called the Skrreeans seek Bajor as their apparent homeworld, but they’re refused sanctuary by the Bajorans. The Bajorans seems like terrible people, but the Skrreeans makes less sense, since they refuse an even better planet offered by Sisko. In the end, the episode is more concerned with its message than actually telling a story that makes sense, so it’s best left forgotten.
This heavy-handed episode deals with the totally unique, never-before-heard message that too much technology is bad for the human race, and it makes us stupid and out of shape. It also deals with the idea of cult leadership and how easily swayed people are (which is certainly a critical issue of the modern era), but almost nothing about this episode works when it is considered as part of the series as a whole.
For Pete’s sake, we know that the overabundance of technology in the Federation has made life a utopia for humanity, so the message doesn’t even mesh with the empirical proof of Trek’s universe.
Star Trek and time-travel go hand-in-hand, and Deep Space Nine’s “Little Green Men” is another story about going to the past, but with a much more humorous tone, rather than the typical “we’re destroying the timeline” apocalypse. We’ll also be fully upfront in admitting that “Little Green Men” is a great little episode, and a total joy to watch. Despite this, though, it’s best to keep this episode as separate rather than treat its plot as a canon.
Basically, Quark and his family end up on Earth in the '40s, and are the subjects of the infamous “Roswell crash.” Of course, hilarity ensues, but the implications of it being the basis of the actual Roswell incident in Star Trek’s universe are just too wacky to consider.
Odo was a fantastic character in the world of Deep Space Nine. A mysterious “changeling” seeking any information about his long-lost race, he fulfilled the role of the no-nonsense constable aboard the station. While he’s best remembered for his relationship with Quark, he was also able to find love with Kira, whom he had long harbored feelings for.
With such a lovely plotline and resolution for the character, let’s just do our best to forget about the incredibly weird “relationship” and marriage Odo was part of with Deanna Troi’s mother, Lwaxana in “The Muse”. Obviously this never really goes anywhere, but every episode featuring Lwaxana felt forced, so it’s probably for the best to forget about this dalliance altogether.
Deep Space Nine features one of the best episodes of the franchise to deal with a serious societal issues, specifically racism, in “Far Beyond the Stars”. There is also a collection of other high-quality “issue” episodes such as “The Siege of AR-558”, and the entire plotline regarding PTSD that follows it. However, sometimes the ball is dropped, and sloppily so. This brings us to “Melora”.
Maybe not specifically intended to a “very special episode,” the odor of an attempt is still mightily pungent. A woman is bound to a wheelchair due to being from a low-gravity planet, and Bashir takes an interest in her and wishes to “fix” her. Overall, it’s just an embarrassing episode with an elementary school-styled lesson at the end, and we should just forget all about it.
When we ranted about the pointlessness and embarrassing nature of Odo and Lwaxana’s marriage, we failed to mention that that particular incident wasn’t the worst part of “The Muse”. No, there’s a far worse element of that particular episode, and we’re dedicating this entire entry to it.
Jake’s aspirations to become a great writer are a major part of the episode, but the writers unfortunately mar this by introducing what is basically a vampiric muse. Not only is this an overused trope, but it’s because of this that he was able to write “Anslem,” which ruins his value and talent as a novelist. Since this episode sinks Jake as a character, we’re glad DS9 avoids chatting too much about it.
One of the more bizarre Star Trek episodes, “Let He Who Is Without Sin…”, commits a few sins of its own. For starters, the franchise has inexplicably started to shame the use of the “pleasure planet,” Risa, with the main plot being about a group that wants the place shut down. However, the real crime is what this episode does to Worf: it inexplicably makes him into a puritan.
This trait had never really been alluded to before (and it sure as heck isn’t alluded to afterwards), so it just ends up as being bizarre, bewildering and down right stupid. It’s clear that DS9 recognized the episode’s damaging qualities and myriad of idiocies, so it has, thankfully, been forgotten by many.
Deep Space Nine was unusual in many ways when compared to its Star Trek brethren. The darker tone is a major difference, as is its serialized storytelling, but its focus on religion and spirituality is also a huge departure its peers, as the subject is rarely discussed or expanded upon.
Throughout DS9, there is a race of “gods” (or at least powerful aliens) that the Bajorans worship, but there are also “devils,” called the Pah-Wraiths, that oppose them. In the end, it’s revealed that Sisko was created by the Prophets, and he is forced to do battle with the Pah-Wraith-possessed Dukat. The two face-off in what could best be described as a Dragon Ball Z-styled showdown. It’s weird, it’s out of place, and its overt supernatural elements have never really been seen in Trek again.
Julian Bashir is a great character. Starting off as a smug guy you who you can’t help but like, we get to know a great deal about him, especially through his fantastic bromances with Garak and Miles O’Brien. Unfortunately, we get to know a little too much about him, and he is the subject of increasingly esoteric plotlines that make you question how one man could be the crux of so many insane stories.
First, Julian Bashir is revealed as a genetically modified human, which is okay, we guess. However, after that suddenly he might be a spy for the Dominion (what!?). Also, he’s James Bond and he almost joined Section 31. Even Alexander Siddig, Bashir’s actor, thought these plots were absurd, and did everything he could to fight against the idea of turning his character into Data.
It was awesome for O’Brien to leave the decks of the Enterprise and be given a much greater focus in Deep Space Nine, and the character was quickly becoming more of a favorite than ever before. The writers knew how much fans loved this very normal guy, so they did everything they could to torture O’Brien, with episode after episode of putting the poor fellow through the most horrifying circumstances. They just hoped you wouldn’t notice the pattern.
O’Brien has, by far, the most amount of episodes dedicated to ruining his life, but you never seem to notice because the writers space it out just enough that you’ll forget what just happened to the guy. So they really do want you to forget about what happens to him… so they can do it all over again.
Are there any other storylines that Star Trek: Deep Space Nine wants us to forget? Let us know in the comments!