Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – The Federation at war in an epic 7-year story line
All things considered, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is responsible for creatively expanding the ST universe beyond all other series – and did so mostly based in a single stationary location. But the influence of Deep Space Nine goes well beyond the realm of Star Trek. If Star Trek: The Next Generation can be credited with popularizing serial continuity and the sort of story arcs we now expect from our binge-worthy TV, DS9 grew those possibilities exponentially to create the progenitor of Game of Thrones, The Wire and such episodic 21st-century television.
The legion of supporting characters filling the ranks of Deep Space Nine, each receiving at least mini-story arcs numbers a good 60. And, in contrast to the primetime soap opera dramas of the 1980s, likesay Dallas and Falcon Crest, these characters’ storylines were planned one series in advance minimum. Within the already-set tradition of Star Trek, Deep Space Nine dove deeper into the culture of an alien race or two, in this case the Cardassians and the Ferengi.
Assembling these disparate elements under the guidance of co-producer Jeri Ryan and much of the writing team who’d honed their skills on The Next Generation resulted in the narrative success that was Deep Space Nine, a show a decade ahead of its time.
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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Major cast and “crew” members
Deep Space Nine deviates from the rest of the Star Trek TV lot in a great number of ways, but nothing distinguishes this fourth series from its predecessors more than the sheer size of the cast of characters. The number of substantive named roles over the course of this series easily tops 200, with at least 120 characters appearing in at least two DS9 episodes.
Another difference: Many major players in the series do not inhabit the Deep Space Nine station and even a majority may be recognized as non-Federation citizens. Of the seven ST series, only Discovery devotes as much screen time to matters outside the typical sphere of Earthly/Vulcanly influence.
And, well, it’s not really a “crew” onboard Deep Space Nine in the traditional starship sense.
Factoring all this together, then, Star Trek Guide approaches this particular page a little differently; below are listed the major players of the ST9 set. Within each bio, STG goes to a second degree of separation from what will loosely be called the “main plotline(s).” We’ll get through a couple dozen on the periphery as well. Right … here goes nothing.
Commander/Captain Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks) – The only lead character to receive promotion within his/her series’ run, Sisko is a no-nonsense dude from New Orleans who prefers to run a tight, um, station. At first hesitant to take the DS9 post, Sisko is rapidly welcomed by the locals as an emissary to the gods, and he eventually grows to love his job even while serving on the front line during wartime. Sisko is a single parent as well and thus brings his son Jake Sisko (Cirroc Lofton) to the station with him after the death of his wife Sarah Sisko (Deborah Lacey), who was killed in the Battle of Wolf-359. Captain Sisko enjoyed a brief romance with one Kasidy Yates (Penny Johnson Jerald), but that didn’t turn out so well…
Major Kira Nerys (Nana Visitor) – A longtime member of the resistance during the Cardassian occupation of Bajor, Major Kira may be even more serious than Sisko; she is notably Incredibly patriotic (can you say that about a planet?) and devout in a way Gene Roddenberry might not necessarily have dug on. Thanks to this makeup, Kira’s foil Gul Dukat (Marc Alaimo) becomes a persistent and disturbing influence in her life, while her religious leader The Kai (Louise Fletcher) seems to have a disproportionate influence on DS9 metters.
Jadzia Dax (Terry Farrell) and Ezri Dax (Nicole de Boer) – For season 7 of DS9, the symbiote Dax received a new host body, thereby making Dax two characters in one. Jadzia Dax frequently welcomed her old Klingon buddy (and Star Trek staple) Kor (John Colicos) aboard to do something suitably bloody, kicked Ferengi buttt in Tongo and ultimately got Worf to take wedding vows. As for Ezri Dax, well, she’s this series’ Dr. Pulaski.
Dr. Julian Bashir (Alexander Siddig) – Super cool with ldaykiller looks and an off-the-charts IQ that’s only slightly the result of genetic manipulation, Dr. Bashir is another in a long list of awesome ST doctors and habitually shines in his starring moments. On the minus side, we can hold him responsible for the insipid and inexplicably recurring holodeck character Vic Fontaine (James Darren); on the plus side, his dialogue with Chief O’Brien and especially (especially!) with Garak (Andrew Robinson) is 99% pure fantastic.
Chief of Engineering Miles O’Brien (Colm Meaney) – Would you believe Miles O’Brien has appeared on the second-most Star Trek episodes ever? The indomitable Irishman crossed over from TNG, along with his wife Keiko O’Brien (Rosalind Chao) and daughter Molly O’Brien (Hana Hatae) thanks to an apparent promotion to heading the staff and overseeing the great bloody engines of Ds9.
Odo (René Auberjonois) is the tough-talking, shapeshifting, fear-instilling security chief of DS9 – plus, he gets to be the mysterious alien/student of humanity in this series. Thanks to a mostly empty backstory to begin the series, Odo’s past was slowly revealed through a number of guest appearances by characters from his past. The most commonly-seen visitor to Odo was ultimately the unnamed “Female shapeshifter” (Salome Gens) of his race, a temptress who constantly sought to get Odo back to the Dominion home world.
Quark (Armin Shimmerman) – Deep Space Nine is to the Ferengi as Next Generation was to the Klingons, i.e. a seven-year expansion of the alien culture to admirable depths. As a character, Quark is a primary benefactor of the Ferengi-pushing, as he and his casino bar on the station are given a nice fair share of plotline all to his own while, you know, wars rage in space outside. Among Quark’s kin/employ are his distinctly beta-younger brother Rom (Max Grodénchik); Rom’s son Nog (Aron Eisenberg), who ultimately seeks to become the first Ferengi citizen at Starfleet Academy; his mother Ishka (Cecily Adams), a trendsetter who thinks women should be allowed the right to play capitalism; Ferenginar leader Grand Nagus Zek (Wallace Shawn); and the dabo girl Leeta (Chase Masterson).
Lt. Commander Worf (Michael Dorn) – Here he is, folks: The all-time champion of Star Trek TV series. Michael Dorn managed to get 11 full seasons plus four movies’ worth of life out of nearly everybody’s favorite Klingon. And if Worf isn’t you favorite Klingon, he may have brought him to the station during his years aboard Deep Space Nine: Multiple guest appearances were turned in by Worf’s brother Kurn, son of Mogh (Tony Todd); his son Alexander (Brian Bonsall); Gowron (Robert O’Reilly), badass leader of the Klingon High Council himself; and General Martok (J.G. Hertzler), leader of the Klingon forces in the Dominion War.
Morn (Mark Allen Shepherd) – But what can we say about this guy that he hasn’t already told us himself…?
Mirror Universe versions – The great majority of characters listed on this page (as well as some third-degree characters) also appear in alternate-universe versions of themselves in several episode set within ST’s “mirror universe.” The fate of most of our heroes (with the exception of Garak) is typically far more desperate in the somehow even darker mirror world, and each truly has a distinct character of his/her/its own. So tack on about, what, 40 more characters here.
The point here is that Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is one epic series with one epic cast. Further considering the cast list episode listing, STG has got to say that, like TOS and TNG, DS9 is far ahead of its time in terms of standards for American television series.