On January 3, 1993, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine premiered with the excellent episode “Emissary.” I was 11 years old, just starting to get interested in science fiction. My parents were fans of the original series, but had never watched The Next Generation, and wanted to give the new series a try. They asked me to watch it with them.
For some reason... I didn't.
I don't remember why. I loved Star Wars, but hadn't yet explored much else in the genre. For some reason, I just didn't want to watch “some dumb show called Star Trek.” The only part of the pilot I saw was near the climax, when Kira was facing down the Cardassians. I have no idea why the show didn't catch my interest then and there.
Of course, that wasn't the end of the story. My parents kept watching the show, and occasionally I'd sit in the living room and catch parts of it with them. I remember bits and pieces from episodes like “Captive Pursuit,” “Vortex,” and “Dramatis Personae.” But the first show that I watched from beginning to end, the one that made me sit up and notice, was the classic tale “Duet.”
DS9 remains my first and favorite Star Trek. Each and every series has its own great elements to commend it, but somehow none of them are as interesting, or as real and relatable, as Sisko, Kira, Bashir, Quark, and all the others. And even as television storytelling has evolved to tell more complex tales, the close interrelationship of personalities, politics, religion, and ethics that was explored in DS9 feels just as interesting today as it did when I first watched it.
In any event, today is the twentieth anniversary of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the show that made me a Star Trek fan. I've since moved on to enjoy many other shows... Babylon 5, Farscape, Battlestar Galactica, and others. Many of them, in their own way, were “better” than DS9. But to paraphrase Miles O’Brien, “I love ‘Star Trek,’ but I like the other shows more.”
Twenty years. Wow, do I feel old now.