DS9 format for Section 31
Introduced in DS9, Section 31's Black Ops will get their own Star Trek show, and they can learn a lot from the parent show.
The format of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine could be replicated to great success in the upcoming Star Trek show about Black Ops Section 31. Known for its long-running stories, DS9 was clearly very influential on modern Star Trek shows like Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Picard, which have season-long arcs and more complex moral dramas. However, this is not the only structural point that can be applied to a Section 31 program. First introduced in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, it feels fitting to borrow the DS9 format for Episode 31.
During Star Trek's Dominion Wars, a covert Starfleet operation involved discrediting a Romulan senator and developing a morphogenic virus to genocide the changelings. They're everything the Federation should be against, but until they acted in the 24th century, they were seen as playing a vital role in Starfleet intelligence. Following Season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery, Episode 31 will focus on the work of Black Ops in the 23rd century. The fact that they're a secretive organization could make a huge difference for the show to take on DS9's space station format.
DS9's Format Would Work For Section 31
When verse 31 appeared most recently In Star Trek: Lower Decks, they operate aboard a Defiant-class starship in an undisclosed region of space. It's possible that the show in Area 31 could take place on a starship, but a space station would be a better fit. Instead of having a ship, DS9 found creative ways to tell the Star Trek-style story of the former Cardassian space station orbiting Bajor. Star Trek's Section 31 spinoff would benefit from doing something similar, especially since its focus on covert operations will require characters not to use recognizable starships like the Enterprise.
Instead, Section 31 can operate from a redesigned space station in a quiet area of space, plotting various plans to keep the Federation safe and secure. Where DS9 became an important outpost in the Dominion Wars, Sector 31's space station could serve as a vital staging area for covert operations across the galaxy in the aftermath of the war with the Klingon Empire. The appeal of the Episode 31 spinoff is that it subverts the morality of Gene Roddenberry's vision of Star Trek, whereas a show without a starship would emphasize that this is a very different program type.
DS9 & The Section 31 Spinoff Share A Trait In Common
DS9 is a Star Trek show that examines the moral compromises made during wartime and tackles more mature themes such as nation-building, faith, and war crimes. The Dominion War requires Starfleet officers like Julian Bashir (Alexander Siddig) and Benjamin Sisko to make some complicated moral decisions. Section 31 is effectively ostracized by the Federation for its genocidal actions against the Founder, but may return Lower Decks, Boimler's dropship clone Thomas as its newest agent. Since Lower Decks is a comedy show, it's unlikely to properly delve into the darkness that DS9 often explores, and the Section 31 show will be its main selling point.
Section 31 appeals to major Star Trek characters by manipulating or promising a more pragmatic solution to galactic conflict. Since the Section 31 show will likely take place in the aftermath of the Klingon Wars, it could be ripe for exploring the serious moral compromises the Federation is willing to make to keep the peace. As with Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, this will offer a fresher, more grown-up take on the Star Trek legacy, and will end up being a fascinating project into production.