Saturday, December 6, 2014

Star Trek Deep Space Nine: The Top 25

What follows is a personal and approximate list of the top 25 stories from DS9, in ascending order. If you don’t have the time to watch all 176 episodic hours of the show, here are around 35 that are “must see.” There are other great episodes, but these are my essentials:

25. “In the Hands of the Prophets” (Season 1, Episode 19)

The first season finale shows the potential of the series, delving into the political-religious themed material with both feet.

24. “Trials and Tribble-ations” (Season 5, Episode 6)

Not the best comedic episode of the series, but a crossover effort that is singular in Trek. (Enterprise may pull a similar publicity stunt, I don’t yet know.)

23. “In the Cards” (Season 5, Episode 25)

A lighthearted look at a complicated web of misunderstanding and altruism.

22. “The Magnificent Ferengi” (Season 6, Episode 10)

One of the many Ferengi-based humor episodes of the series, the second best to be exact.

21. “Our Man Bashir” (Season 4, Episode 10)

One of those holosuite episodes that allow the staff to tell quirky stories outside the normal Trek genre.

20. “Whispers” (Season 2, Episode 14)

Taking the unreliable narrator to the extreme, this one is unsettling and thus not as satisfying as…

19. “Inquisition” (Season 6, Episode 18)

Another attempt at the “whole-world-has-gone-crazy” storyline. This one is less of an attack on the sense of self and is thus, less troubling.

18. “Duet” (Season 1, Episode 18)

An almost too earnest look at issues political and ethical.

17. “Tacking Into the Wind” (Season 7, Episode 22 (+21, 23))

The middle episode of a three part story in the ten-episode run-up to the end of the series, this one has Worf at his most impressive. The over-arching Dominion disease storyline is also quite important.

16. “Rocks and Shoals” (Season 6, Episode 2)

One of those stories that forces you to look at things from a perspective you would hardly ever consider.

15. “In Purgatory’s Shadow” & “By Inferno’s Light” (Season 5, Episode 14, 15)

A great prisoner-of-war story with big political, wartime implications and even bigger, shocking reveals about things that have been going on for several episodes.

14. “Improbable Cause” & “The Die is Cast” (Season 3, Episode 20, 21)

Another gritty storyline for Trek, with disobedience, torture, and war making things messy.

13. “Far Beyond the Stars” (Season 6, Episode 13)

A creative tribute to classic science fiction.

12. “Favor the Bold” & “Sacrifice of Angels” (Season 6, Episode 5, 6)

The culmination to a vast story-arch that sees the attempt to win the Deep Space Nine station back from the enemy.

11. “The Way of the Warrior” (Season 4, Episodes 1, 2)

Worf’s arrival on the series changes things (for the better).

10. “The Adversary” (Season 3, Episode 26)

The third season finale really heats up the conflict that will go on to define the rest of the series.

9. “What You Leave Behind” (Season 7, Episodes 25, 26)

The series finale is an appropriately moving end to a great series.

8. “Penumbra” through “The Changing Face of Evil” (Season 7, Episodes 17-20)

The beginning of the ten episode arch that ends the show has a great sub-plot about religious power and the temptations it provides evil.

7. “Destiny” (Season 3, Episode 15)

This is a great story exploring prophecy.

6. “Homefront” & “Paradise Lost” (Season 4, Episodes 11, 12)

An important story with fr-reaching implications. Also a great exploration of power and its abuses.

5. “Little Green Men” (Season 4, Episode 8)

The quintessential Ferengi humor episode that echoes Star Trek IV a bit.

4. “Tears of the Prophets” (Season 6, Episode 26)

The sixth season finale is gut-wrenching and edge-of-your-seat tense…

3. “Call to Arms” (Season 5, Episode 26)

…and the fifth season finale is right there as well. Of course these two episodes don’t really save you the trouble of watching the whole series so much as they draw you into their trap of watching the whole thing.

2. “In the Pale Moon Light” (Season 6, Episode 19)

A story of what war and urgency makes our heroes capable of. Chilling.

1. “The Visitor” (Season 4, Episode 3)

One of the most moving episodes of Trek ever.

Oh, and the worst five episodes: “Meridian” (3.8), “Facets” (3.25), “Move Along Home” (1.9), “The Storyteller” (1.13), and “Rejoined” (4.6)

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