This week, we'll be re-thinking those plane tickets to...
Place: A sprawling space station on the edge of the Alpha Quadrant called Deep Space Nine.
People/characters: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine featured a large cast of characters, including Starfleet's Captain Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks), Jadzia Dax (Terry Farrell), and Chief Miles O'Brien (Colm Meaney), plus Bajoran officer Kira Nerys (Nana Visitor) and the changeling Odo (Rene Auberjonois).
What Makes it Unique: Unlike its predecessors -- the original 1960s series and Star Trek: The Next Generation --DS9 presented the Star Trek universe as a real place with real people suffering through personal tragedies, terrorist threats, political corruption, and a devastating war. The show's setting, a space station at the far end of the galaxy, allowed for a more serialized style of storytelling that rewarded loyal viewers with rich story arcs, multi-season conflicts, and a stable of memorable recurring characters. The series was often dark, ambitious, and emotional. DS9's architects, including Rick Berman, Michael Piller and Battlestar Galactica's Ron Moore, also crafted hours of fun and quirky episodes, usually involving Quark and his Ferengi family, full of humor and heart.
Verdict: OK, I know I'm cheating a bit with this one. DS9 isn't exactly it's own franchise or universe – it's only a small part of the Star Trek world. I get it, but I don't care. I want more DS9, like, now. Gimme a TV movie, a straight-to-DVD feature – I'll even take a cameo from Captain Sisko's great great grandfather in JJ Abrams' reboot sequel. Seriously, Paramount, I'll gladly devour any little morsel you'll toss my way.
Reason: DS9 was a special show, and it's one I love to revisit over and over again as the stories, conflicts and characters seem more relevant today than they did when it originally aired. Standout episodes include 'The Visitor,' 'In the Pale Moonlight,' 'Far Beyond the Stars,' and 'The Way of the Warrior.' Check 'em out.