When Star Trek: Deep Space Nine premiered, it was already in Star Trek: The Next Generation's shadow. There were doubts about the potential success of the series as it wasn't set aboard a starship. The differences between the two series were really put under the spotlight when John de Lancie, who played Q, guest-starred in a first season episode of the series.
Armin Shimerman appeared onThe Delta Flyers podcast to discuss "Q-Less" with hosts and Star Trek: Voyager actors Robert Duncan McNeill and Garrett Wang. [via Screenrant]. In the episode, Q, who seems to be there just to compare the two Trek series, makes repeated verbal jabs at Commander Sisko (Avery Brooks). Shimerman said he found this part of the script "insulting" and only played into the cast's fears about Deep Space Nine coming up lacking when compared to The Next Generation.
"[Q] says something like, 'Picard would never put up with this. I guess this is why you don't have your own starship.' Then he talks to Kira, and she says something defying to him, and he calls her some sort of misogynistic citation. And he turns to O'Brien and says, 'oh yes, you were one of the little people,' which was a double insult as far as I was concerned. One, he was accusing Colm of being from the lower decks, and two, we all know that Colm is Irish and 'the little people' is a reference to leprechauns. What I found infuriating is: really? The powers that be decided that we had, in the sixth episode of our first season, to disparage [us] by making comparison with the other show. I don't know about [Voyager], but [DS9] always lived in the shadow of Next Generation, and this particular sequence of speeches by Q is indicative of what we were all frightened of: that when compared between the two shows, we would come out lacking. Yes, they put it in the mouth of Q so you can't take it too seriously, but I found that particular addition in the script insulting."- Armin Shimerman
There was rather satisfying aspect to the episode "Q-Less" as Sisko, finally fed up with the insults and the god's oafish behavior, punches him. Of course, Q responds by saying Captain Picard never hit him. Yet, another comparison.
There's no denying that Deep Space Nine differed vastly from the other Star Trek series, and for many, that was a good thing. Did we really need to have yet another Trek series set aboard a starship? The studio and producers took a chance by changing directions, inviting the challenges of life aboard a space station where the trouble generally had to come to Deep Space Nine rather than a ship. And it worked for seven seasons.