“Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” Season 1: The Skip It/Watch It Guide

Hey, want to check out on the complete series? A guide to all seven seasons of “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” can be found in “Liz Tells Frank: The Skip It/Watch It Guides,” now available on Amazon!

Friends, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is now streaming live on Netflix and that is a BIG DEAL. For if you never watched the show, then you’ve missed out on television that was subversive and revolutionary for its time, eschewing previous Star Trek formula to instead push the limits of multi-arc storytelling in the sci-fi genre. Oh, and it essentially served as a training ground for Ronald D. Moore prior to his equally groundbreaking work on Battlestar Galactica. That’s right — no DS9, no Battlestar.

However, the problem with DS9 is that it WAS subversive and revolutionary for its era, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t plenty of dead weight along the way. It takes at least two seasons for the show to really kick into gear, and in the meantime Lwaxana Troi shows up TWICE. In TWO DIFFERENT EPISODES. Letting someone watch the show as is could be considered an act of cruelty. Thus, the discerning television fan who wants to check it out should please consider the below recommendations. With the writer’s compliments.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Season 1: The Skip It/Watch It Guide

1. “Emissary, Parts I and II”: Watch it. As always with pilots, characters are introduced, relationships are established, and we figure out what the hell kind of show we’re watching. Plus, there’s a Borg fight! Gotta love a Borg fight.

3. “Past Prologue”: Watch it. Many of these early episodes focus on individual characters — in this case, Major Kira, with an added dash of back story about the Bajoran people, who have recently escaped oppression, but not without casualties and battle scars, and whose journey will be a key aspect of the series as a whole.

4. “A Man Alone”: Watch it. Another character-establishing episode, this time being Constable Odo, and a decent murder mystery.

5. “Babel”: Skip it. Decent character development, but the “gibberish plague” is pretty silly.

6. “Captive Pursuit”: Watch it. Another character-establishing episode, and it’s a Chief O’Brien episode, and I don’t think there’s a single Chief O’Brien episode I’d suggest skipping, because Chief O’Brien is the best.

7. “Q-Less”: Skip it. Lacking in goodness. Unless you’re a giant Q fanboy, skippable. Even if you are a giant Q fanboy, you’ll probably be better off skipping it.

8. “Dax”: Skip it. This is a personal preference thing, but the “am I accountable for the actions of a past life?” storyline always strikes me as stupid. Also, this is the second episode so far to revolve around a character being accused of murder. Weak sauce.

9. “The Passenger”: Skip it. Meh. Not memorable on a character or plot level. Meh.

10. “Move Along Home”: Watch it. I actually remember this one fondly (and I remember few first season episodes, period). Silly but entertaining.

11. “The Nagus”: Watch it. At this point in the season, you’ll probably know how you feel about Ferengi, and if you’re at all interested in the political aspects of their culture, this is actually one of the better Ferengi episodes made. (Wallace Shawn as the Grand Nagus!)

12. “Vortex”: Skip it. Meh.

13. “Battle Lines”: Watch it. This episode is the catalyst for all future Bajoran politics stuff, making it pretty essential. Fortunately, it’s also good.

14. “The Storyteller”: Skip it. Unless you really like O’Brien and Bashir, and you should consider liking them — their developing friendship is at times the emotional heart of the series as a whole.

15. “Progress”: Skip it. It’s a good character development episode for Kira, but the story’s a bit simplistic and not essential viewing.

16. “If Wishes Were Horses”: Skip it. Kinda silly. “Wishes come true!” Rumplestiltskin shows up! But he is played by Michael J. Anderson (the 1990s genre TV version of Peter Dinklage), if you’re into that.

17. “The Forsaken”: Skip it. DS9‘s biggest weakness is that episodes focused on primarily on romance tend to be absolutely terrible. This is the first example of said trend. Also, LWAXANA TROI ALERT.

18. “Dramatis Personae”: Skip it. What could be a meaty drama gets written off as “aliens made them do it.” In short, meh.

19. “Duet”: Watch it. A good one — some juicy political stuff and lots of background on the Cardassian occupation of Bajor.

20. “In the Hands of the Prophets”: Watch it. Warning: creation vs. evolution debate funtimes! But let’s just remember that this was 1994 and tackling issues like that then was kind of a big deal. Also, more Bajoran politics stuff, leading into a pretty bad-ass three-parter at the beginning of season 2.

You may not be impressed by these earlier episodes, but give this show a shot, and you’ll soon be rewarded with some truly excellent and morally challenging television down the line. Just one pro-tip: If I don’t get around to doing Skip It/Watch Its for the other seasons, just be sure to avoid most Ferengi episodes. You’ll be much better off.


About Liz Shannon Miller

Liz Shannon Miller is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor, and has been talking about television on the Internet since the very beginnings of the Internet. She is currently Senior TV Editor at Collider, and her work has also been published by the New York Times, Vulture, Variety, the AV Club, the Hollywood Reporter, IGN, The Verge, and Thought Catalog. She is also a produced playwright, a host of podcasts, and a repository of "X-Files" trivia.

Posted on October 2, 2011, in No Spoilers, Skip It/Watch It Guide, TV and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. DS9 holds a special place in my heart, despite the fact that I can only remember a handful of episodes after the first season. My friend and I are doing a very slow rewatch whenever we have time to get together. We finished “The Storyteller” the other night.

    Great list, except I’m a Dax fangirl so I’d say “Dax” is a “watch it” (I’d skip the Odo mystery, but that’s me). And even though the entire universe seems to think “Move Along Home” is terrible, I totally loved it. So your list gets five BILLION bonus points for that.

    Also, if you don’t get around to guides for the other seasons, everyone should watch the Mirror Universe episodes. And “Trials and Tribble-ations”, which was better than “The Trouble With Tribbles” (but don’t tell other Trekkies I said that).

    • See, I’m more of an Odo fangirl, which is why we understandably disagree there. 🙂

      The Mirror Universe episodes are definitely solid. As is the baseball episode (despite being weirdly racist against Vulcans). And “Far Beyond the Stars,” of course. Oh, and all the Bashir episodes about his Secret Genetic Past! Oh WHY CAN’T I JUST WATCH DEEP SPACE NINE ALL DAY LONG?

  2. I own the whole series on dvd and have probably watched the whole thing at least 5 times and I’ve watched individual episodes—well, ad nauseum, since they’ve been streaming on Netflix and I don’t have to haul my lazy butt off the couch to switch out a dvd. So you’ll understand that off the top of my head I can say (no idea of the real spelling):

    Allamaraine count to four
    Allamaraine then three more
    Allamaraine if you can see
    Allamaraine then come with me.

    In my mind I’m seeing Kira, totally irritated that she has to do this stupid rhyme and dance, and the little girl doing it making a lot of mistakes. But I guess if I had to do that for hours on end, I’d get mixed up too.

    I’m going to draw a line in the sand: ‘In the Pale Moonlight’ is the best episode of DS9, and maybe all of Star Trek.

  3. Great guide, is there something like this for the rest of the seasons?

    • I haven’t gotten to it, but until I do here are a few tips:

      -Don’t skip anything that takes place on Earth.
      -You can ignore any episode about Ferengis after season 2.
      -Episodes on the Defiant are usually pretty important.
      -Unless you really like Klingons, Klingon episodes are skippable after season 5.
      -Gul Dukat always shows up for a good reason.


  4. Hi Liz, thank you for answering 🙂
    this makes dsp a little more watchable 🙂 (love the show but a little to much.. euh.. padding)

  5. ur dum. warp 10 was the best episode of all time.

  6. If you love Quark. DO NOT SKIP ANY OF THE FERENGI EPISODES, and chances are if you falll in love with DS9, you’ll also fall in love with Quark.

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