Riding a wave of popularity and praise for The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine launched in 1993 to high expectations, yet represented a radical departure from the utopian ideals of its sister series. Deep Space Nine pushed the Star Trek franchise in a new direction that explored serialized storytelling, interpersonal conflict within Starfleet, and corruption at the very heart of the Federation.
While some fans loved Deep Space Nine's darker tone and more cynical message, others considered it a betrayal of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry's rose-coloured vision of the future. Initially derided by some critics as the Star Trek family's black sheep, Deep Space Nine has enjoyed a cultural resurgence in recent memory, rightly emerging as the franchise's finest offering.
Deep Space Nine is unique among Star Trek series in that it rewards repeat viewings from start to finish. Despite enduring the rocky start emblematic of most Star Trek series, Deep Space Nine's defining concept and characters were well developed from the outset.
Deep Space Nine's greatest episodes contribute to the show's overarching themes of identity, war, and spirituality or are diversions designed to let the audience breathe. These standouts transcend the Star Trek label and are simply great television.
Here are 10 of the most rewatchable episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.