Star Trek: Deep Space Nine never entered the mainstream consciousness like Star Trek or Star Trek: The Next Generation, but over its seven under-appreciated seasons, it helped pave the way for a lot of the fancy-pants prestige television we enjoy today. From richer, darker explorations of formerly light material to complex plotting that stretched across multiple episodes and seasons, DS9 took Star Trek into a new direction that shows in the future would take for granted. (It's not a coincidence that Ronald D. Moore, who'd go on to create the much-beloved Battlestar Galactica relaunch, was one of DS9's key creators.)
DS9 also broke a different barrier: It was, as the Hollywood Theatre points out, "the first English-speaking science-fiction series ever to feature a person of color in the lead." Captain Benjamin Sisko, played by Avery Brooks, was tasked with running the titular space station, dealing with everything from barroom scuffles to interplanetary warfare. And he usually had to do so without much support: Unlike Jean-Luc Picard's Enterprise, Deep Space Nine is firmly stuck in one place, and that place is on the frontier. DS9 is a western as much as it is science-fiction, with the added benefit of its diverse protagonists being able to examine and negotiate with different cultures rather than just wiping them out in the name of manifest destiny. DS9's premise—and execution, which only got better as the show progressed—wasn't just great Star Trek, it was great storytelling, period.
Tonight, the Hollywood's Re-Run Theater series is playing two of DS9's most-loved episodes: "Trials and Tribble-ations," which sends DS9's crew back into the original Star Trek's 1967 episode "The Trouble with Tribbles," and 1998's "Far Beyond the Stars," in which Sisko wakes up in 1950s New York, working as a Black pulp sci-fi writer who's intent on publishing outlandish stories about a space station in the distant future where a Black man is in command.
Both are pretty meta, with "Tribble-ations" giddily riffing on DS9's sometimes awkward relationship with the series that spawned it, and "Stars" directly addressing the racism of mid-century America, as well as how far, or how little, those attitudes had progressed by the late 1990s. Both are also smart and fun: Even for people who aren't into Star Trek, all of "Tribble-ations" fan-servicey Easter eggs are only part of the adventure, and in "Stars," Brooks—who also directed the episode—makes sure that even alongside that episode's cruelty and melancholy, there's still the promise that humankind will eventually stop fucking around and create a better, more progressive future.
In other words, both episodes are well worth watching, or rewatching—and doing so with a beer or two, on a giant screen, and with vintage TV commercials, which is how the Re-run Theater folks do it. There's plenty of good Star Trek-y sci-fi out there at the moment, but screenings like this one don't come along very often.