Star Trek: Deep Space Nine changed Trek forever with the Dominoino War storyline but was that a good or bad thing?
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine brought fans the involved, and over-arching storyline of the Dominion War. A story that saw an alien cabal from the Gamma Quadrant invade the Alpha Quadrant via the Bajoran Wormhole and disrupt the status quo with many of the mega powers in the area.
The story wasn’t all that original, as Star Trek has had war angles before, but what was different was that the show was no longer episodic in nature, with a more over-arching storyline that went from episode to episode. Considering this was syndication when episode order and air times weren’t guaranteed like they are now, this was a huge gamble.
While it didn’t change things at the time, as the show caught on with more and more fans after its original run, especially when it landed on Netflix, fans caught onto the product. With a more focused effect to have streaming series become 10 or 20-part movies with a continual storyline, Deep Space Nine satisfied that binging desire in a way where episodic stories just don’t.
So when Star Trek was relaunched as a streaming brand with Star Trek: Discovery, the focus shifted to more serial content, with storylines that bled over into every episode, making it impossible to skip a bad episode or two if you wanted to continue to follow the more major plot points and their evolutions.
This was not a good idea.
The Dominion War storyline has hurt future Star Trek shows
The Dominion War is a great storyline and must-see TV for any Trek fan. Yet, that was all it needed to be, contained to Deep Space Nine. Seeing shows like Discovery and Picard turn themselves into 10-part movies, instead of 10 separate storylines, was a mistake. It made it impossible to pivot away from bad storylines or ideas, and into a more wanted and desirable storyline.
Strange New Worlds has combatted this a bit, but they still rely on serialized storytelling too much for my liking. The saving grace here, however, is that Strange New Worlds is the best Nu Trek show that’s been produced, so more people are willing to watch all 10 episodes in a day or two without needing a huge break, something that not many can say about Discovery or Picard.
Yet, the shows that have best combatted the serial television that Deep Space Nine pushed onto the franchise are Prodigy and Lower Decks, animated shows that are largely self-contained from episode to episode.
This is largely how The Original Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine (seasons 1-3), Voyager, and Enterprise were. This allowed for more unique storytelling and more organic character growth and should be the way all Star Trek is told.
The Dominion War storyline is great but the fallout and effect it had on the streaming era of shows are not positive at all.