You know I love Deep Space Nine. Not everyone has the time to invest in a new show, and DS9 has a rough introduction. To help some people get into it, I've compiled a list of five episodes from each season of Deep Space Nine that focus on essential stories and character moments of the series. I've also added a few supplemental episodes that are very good, but don't quite make the cut.
Necessary Evil (2x08): Necessary Evil looks back at the occupation and challenges the usually airtight relationship between Odo and Kira. It is 100% character and it positively sizzles.
Supplemental: Rules of Acquisition (2x18): You learn about Ferengi society, grand Negas Zek and The Dominion. A good Quark episode.
Supplemental: Armageddon Game (2x13): Bashir and O'Brien finally become friends. Irredeemable from any other context, but yeah.
Supplemental: Blood Oath (2x19): A Dax episode that explores her relationship with Klingons. It's awesome in its own right and it foreshadows a great many things to come.
The Maquis, Part II (2x21): There's a recap. The Maquis are an enemy that weren't able to live up to the pizazz of the Dominion, the Cardassians, the Pah-Wraiths, or the Klingons, but they do represent DS9's ability to question the utopian perfection of The Federation.
The Wire (2x22): It's a Garak episode. I skipped Cardassians and Past Prologue, but Garak is an essential character and this is the pinnacle of Garak episodes. Great character work for him and Bashir alike.
The Collaborator (2x24): Bajoran politics, bits of Kira's character, and more Winn Adami. Oooh yeah.
The Jem'Hadar (2x26): Meet The Dominion.