10. It Had To Compete With Its Own Franchise
Your mom probably watched The Next Generation. That’s not a knock – even if she did watch it to fantasize about a bald, middle-aged man that wasn’t your dad.
It’s easy to forget how popular Star Trek was twenty years ago, when it was still riding on the success of Star Trek IV and The Next Generation. Heck, people who didn’t watch sci-fi tuned into Next Gen. Nerds actually left their basements and went upstairs to watch Next Gen with their friends and families … and were often left to wonder why their mom looked so flushed every time Picard said “Engage!”.
By DS9′s series finale in 1999, Star Trek’s fanbase had severely dwindled. Trek was largely a basement-oriented affair again.
Overkill was largely to blame. Deep Space’s run overlapped with Next Gen and Voyager. With The Next Generation, it made sense: it gave Deep Space a year and a half to establish itself while keeping Trek fans happy. Then, for some ungodly reason, DS9 wasn’t even by its lonesome for a whole season before Voyager launched the UPN network (two bad tastes that didn’t taste great together).
Between DS9′s overarching continuity and Voyager being … Voyager – it’s easy to see where casual viewers went: somewhere else. In a way, too much of a good thing actually helped Deep Space Nine. Voyager – and the new UPN network – kept Paramount’s attention away from Deep Space, allowing the writers to take some pretty big chances.