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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's 'Emissary' at 30: An Appreciation

We take a look back at the series' premiere.

Illustrated banner showcasing Deep Space 9 (formerly Terok Nor) space station surrounded by bold colors and shapes / Rob DeHart

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine debuted in first-run syndication on January 3, 1993, with a two-hour pilot entitled "Emissary."

It was — especially compared to Star Trek: The Next Generation — the dark Star Trek, a gritty, angry, contentious spin on Gene Roddenberry’s Wagon Train to the Stars concept. Characters who disliked each other? A commander who didn’t want to be there? Who had a young child on board with him? A space station that boldly went… nowhere? Is this even Star Trek at all?

30 years on, it’s safe to say, the answer is YES.

For many fans, DS9 is their absolute favorite of the live-action Star Trek series. Others appreciate it more now in retrospect, as it grew on them over time. And, yes, there are those fans who, to this day, still despise the show. It’s why, as we say, there's a Star Trek series for every type of fan.

So, as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, we've got some “Emissary”-centric facts to share!

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine promotional cast photo with the main cast


The idea forDS9, the initial kernel, came from then-Paramount Pictures boss Brandon Tartikoff, who, according to the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, put the notion of “a man and a boy in space” in the ear of Rick Berman, who teamed with Michael Piller to create the show.

Production on the pilot, “Emissary,” started on August 18, 1992.

As late as August 11, 1992, while “Emissary” was still in pre-production, Dr. Julian Bashir was named Dr. Julian Amoros.

The last series regular cast was Terry Farrell, who arrived on set after production commenced on “Emissary.” In fact, she shot her first scene on Day 11.

David Carson directed “Emissary,” and his fine work on the DS9 pilot won him the coveted opportunity to helm Star Trek Generations.

Patrick Stewart was billed as Special Guest Star, playing Captain Picard/Locutus.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Benjamin and Jake Sisko Get Ready for Their New Journey

DS9 boasted the largest and best ensemble of recurring guest stars of any Star Trek series:

  • The premiere episode introduced Marc Alaimo as Gul Dukat, Aron Eisenberg as Nog, and the uncredited Mark Allen Shepherd as Morn, while Max Grodenchik portrayed a character credited as Ferengi Pit Boss and John Noah Hertzler (who came to be known as J.G. Hertzler) appeared as the Vulcan Captain.
  • Later, of course, fans were introduced to such frequent returnees as Jeffrey Combs, Andrew Robinson, Casey Biggs, Chase Masterson, Penny Johnson, Barry Jenner, Salome Jens, Wallace Shawn, Robert O’Reilly, Brock Peters, Louise Fletcher, Frank Langella and Rosalind Chao, among others.


In the Air Date Schedule provided to the media by Paramount in advance of DS9’s debut, “Emissary” was referred to as Episode #721, with the pilot to be delivered to stations on December 23, 1992.

Two months after its premiere, when the pilot re-aired on March 1 and March 8, it was split in half and referred to as “Emissary Pt. I (#401)” and “Emissary Pt. II (#402),” respectively.

The official “Emissary” press material provided to the media suggested that newspapers, radio stations, TV publications, etc., introduce the series as follows:

Program Highlights

STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE: “Emissary” – On a distant outpost at the edge of the final frontier, an untested crew embarks on an unprecedented journey in the two-hour series premiere of STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE.

Advertising Copy


At the edge of the final frontier for an untested crew to being an unprecedented journey.

TV Log Listings

Tonight, the wait is over. STAR TEK: DEEP SPACE NINE Series Premiere!

“Emissary” notched 18.8 percent of the syndicated audience, according to the Deep Space Nine Companion, and ranked #1 in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston and Washington, D.C., all major markets.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine — The Journey


“Emissary” received Emmy Award nominations in the Outstanding Art Direction, Outstanding Sound Mixing, Outstanding Sound Editing and Outstanding Special Visual Effects categories. It won for Outstanding Art Direction, with the award shared by Herman Zimmerman, Randall McIlvain and Mickey S. Michaels.

This article was originally published on January 3, 2013.

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