The fourth series of Deep Space Nine
can be summed up in one word: Klingons! The show's producers apparently felt beset from all sides. Babylon 5
was a huge hit, as was Star Trek: Voyager
, the flagship of new channel UPN. Stepping up DS9
's action quotient seemed to be the answer. Time would tell, however, whether doing so via Trek
's tried-and-tested former bad guys was the best solution. Opening with a special two-hour extravaganza, the new year was immediately unfamiliar. Dennis McCarthy's original theme--despite winning an Emmy--had been deemed too subdued. As its upbeat new rendition kicked off, the station was seen in battle and swarming with activity. Moments later, we met old/new crewmember Worf, whose sudden appearance was the result of a brewing invasive strategy by the Klingons. This initiated the first of many loyalty shifts, as the Cardassians became the victims. With plenty of re-appearances by Gowron, Kor, and Kurn, it was clear that an ongoing space opera was being crafted. Dukat revealed a tragedy-ridden daughter; Odo's relationship with his people (and Kira) became increasingly melancholy; and even the Jem'Hadar foot soldiers were given a sympathetic angle by their drug addiction.
Adding to the layers of ambiguity about Earth's (read: the producers') position over being at war, was the "outing" of two recurring characters as rebel activists. Lest we forget the homely/spiritual side of the Captain, time was spent with a future version of Jake, with his father (Brock Peters), and on the nature of his role as "the Emissary." Avery Brooks worked behind the camera a couple of times, but this year the surprise was LeVar Burton directing five shows. There was still time for comedy: the Ferengi warped back to Roswell in 1947 and Bashir played James Bond. But the year will be remembered predominately for its violence. One of the episodes Burton directed had its fight scenes drastically cut, while the series as a whole won an Emmy for its space battle effects.--Paul Tonks
STAR TREK DEEP SPACE NINE is set on a space station orbiting the planet Bajor. Commander Benjamin Sisko (Brooks) is in charge of a diverse crew who must fight off rival alien species who want to control DS9 because of its strategic position close to a wormhole that allows speedy travel to the far reaches of space. Season 4 includes the episodes "Broken Link" and "The Visitor," which TV Guide included in its Top 35 Star Trek episodes ever story (Aapril 20-26, 2002). "The Visitor" was listed as the #4 favorite.