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Time has been kind to Deep Space Nine.

Deep Space was only a modest success during its original run, but its reputation has steadily grown over the last decade. In the age of digital media, viewers can now watch the entire series at their own pace and on their own terms. For many Trekkers, DS9 is now considered the crowning achievement of the Star Trek TV franchise. It’s certainly the darkest, most uncompromising vision of Star Trek committed to screen, a vision that sometimes alienated casual and hardcore fans alike.

DS9′s flawed characters, moral complexity, and deep continuity was destined to rub some people the wrong way. Captain Sisko and his crew didn’t make a terribly good first impression when the show premiered twenty years ago, and DS9 only became more inaccessible to casual viewers as it progressed. It played a long game with its serialized format and its willingness to challenge Gene Roddenberry’s dream of a better tomorrow.

Deep Space was ahead of its time. Some people didn’t know what to make of it, others thought it was taking Star Trek in the wrong direction. Despite an exodus of fans, the writers of Deep Space Nine continued to take larger and larger risks as the show went on, almost all of which paid off. It’s amazing that it lasted for seven years with an unbelievable level of artistic freedom. Few shows have earned as much acclaim as Deep Space while still dividing a franchise’s fanbase. Here are a few reasons why.

Also, what’s the difference again between a Trekker and a Trekkie? I can never remember…

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This article was first posted on February 7, 2013