I have been returning to DS9, trying to get a handle on it and to "get" it. I am a fan of all of the other Trek series except for ENT. I recognize the importance and the frequent brilliance of DS9. But I will confess to finding a lot of the episodes to be skippable.
These episodes range from the awful Ferengi episodes to episodes that focus on "character," which I often find surprisingly dull. For example, Dr. Bashir is perfectly acceptable in ensemble uses, but when he gets individual episodes, they are hopelessly uninteresting.
While the Cardassian occupation of Bajor and its aftermath can certainly be deeply fascinating at times, I also think that--with some exceptions like the great Dukat--the series generally failed to make Cardassian culture come alive, seem specific and truly interesting. This is a failure considering how much was spent on the Cardassians, who never get the richer treatment given the Klingons by Ron Moore.
It seems to me that the Dominion War plot was absolutely the best thing to happen to the series. The Changelings, especially as led by the great Salome Jens as the Female Changeling, are truly fascinating, as is the war and its multifaceted races and dimensions.
As a veteran of the VOY vs DS9 wars at the Trek BBS, I hope that my post is not interpreted as bashing, which really isnt my intention. I appreciate the great aspects of DS9 w/o being able to get past certain fairly huge lapses in its execution.