Your expectations were way out of line with Star Trek and television then. In 1995, that level of serialization and being set away from a staple (in this case the starship) was quite rare (outside of soaps). Networks didn't risk it.
You're right. Perhaps "serial" was too strong of a word on my part. I'm not sure. Anyway, I was young and I definitely built up too much excitement for Voyager before it premiered, so anything would have disappointed me.
But back to DS9... :-) It was more than the story arcs that made DS9 stand out. There was so much rich, deep character development there -- and not just for primary cast members. It was great. As the show started getting really good, I remember I would turn off so many episodes and say to myself, "what a great show!" Of course part of me, the overindulgent part of me, would love to see a movie or reunion or something -- but at the same time, the finale was so amazing and the the entire collection of shows as a complete work was so great, I'd love to just leave it there. How often can you say that about a television series? (Plus they're all getting older, what can you say). I guess I'm mostly sad that this show is just as lost now as it was back then. I wish more people could discover and appreciate it. I'm so thankful for Netflix and Paramount releasing the entire series to Netflix.
Anyway, I was just about to burst at the seams with excitement about this show having just discovered it, and I wanted to share my thoughts, not that they're anything special -- I'm just excited! Thank you for this message board! I'm looking forward to watching the series one more time with my wife and reading what you guys have to say about this series. Thank you guys for allowing me to rave for a bit (better than a rant, eh)!