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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Season One

review by Zach B.

 

 

 

Running Time: 908 Minutes

Starring: Avery Brooks, Rene Auberjonois, Colm Meaney, Terry Farrell, Armin Shimerman, Nana Visitor, Alexander Siddig, Cirroc Lofton

 

 

Studio: Paramount

Retail Price: $139.95

Features: Deep Space Nine: A Bold Beginning, Crew Dossier: Kira Nerys, Michael Westmore's Aliens, Secrets Of Quark's Bar, Alien Artifacts, Deep Space Nine Sketchbook, Photo Gallery, Hidden Files

Specs: 1.33:1 Full Frame, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Surround, English Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Episode Selections, Chapter Index (8 Chapters per episode, 18 for "Emissary"), 6-Disc Set

Released: February 25th, 2003

 

 

During the course of 2002, I was fortuante enough to review all seven seasons of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" on DVD. While I wasn't a major Trekkie then and I still am not now, I must say I do have more respect for its fans and the series itself, as well as more knowledge of what it's all about... and maybe even some more interest in the whole franchise. Still, "Star Trek" will always forever be part of popular culture and every different series that bears the "Star Trek" name will always have a loyal fanbase.

While I think "The Next Generation" remains one of the more popular series of the franchise (or even most popular), I'm hard pressed when it comes to what kind of following that "Deep Space Nine" has. You never really hear people talk about (of course, there's always the Internet though). Yes, it has its fans, but I believe that many are divided on the show itself. I don't think it's as popular because it is rather different in its nature. Whenever "Star Trek" is referenced in some other form of media, you really don't get any "Deep Space Nine" references. The show is memorable because it is "Star Trek," but just how memorable is it?

The concept of "Deep Space Nine" is that there is a lot of events and happenings... a board a space station. This is an interesting premise I think, but this very premise gives the show its greatest strength and its greatest flaw. So much talking and so little action does not exactly appeal to the masses. While I think it could build for some good background on various plot points and add to character development, as well as interaction, I found the first season of "Deep Space Nine" to be very slow moving.

While I didn't go through the whole first season, from the episodes I watched, I was pretty mixed. I got a sense something was there and something was forming... the pieces just didn't quite come together yet, which makes me hopeful for future seasons. I got a decent feel for Captain Benjamin Sisko, and I think he's interesting, but I'm sure there's more to be added to him. Still, from what I watched, I'm hoping that there is more development in the whole space station idea and with the supporting cast of characters. With that said, I think the show's cast is very stable and the actors do a very nice job.

I think the show really has potential past this first season and I will see, but at the same I felt it lacked warmth and some familiarity "The Next Generation" had. Should I even be comparing it to the series before it? I don't even know myself, but that's all I have really as a reference point since I'm not into the whole universe. I really did enjoy how "Deep Space Nine" linked itself from "The Next Generation" through the pilot episode, events and some characters... but that's not enough for me (does familiarity breed contempt?). But believe it or not, I think there can be excitment and while a lot of you know what happens, I'm hoping that things do improve as the show goes on... just like most television shows that don't overstay their welcome. Oh, and on a different note... the special effects are so damn cheesy. With the fog and green-screen work... it's pretty funny if you ask me.

You get all 20 first season episodes here, and that includes: "Emissary (two-part episode)," "Past Prologue," "A Man Alone," "Babel," "Captive Pursuit," "Q-Less," "Dax," "The Passenger," "Move Along Home," "The Nagus," "Vortex," "Battle Lines," "The Storyteller," "Progress," "If Wishes Were Horses," "The Forsaken," Dramatis Personnae," "Duet," and "In the Hands of the Prophets."

 

The first season of "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" looks pretty dang good, probably since this show is younger (and is definitely superior to the first season of "The Next Generation"). Presented in its original TV broadcast aspect ratio of 1.33:1 full screen, fans of the show will be quite pleased with the visual presentation. Despite the slight hazy look to the image most of the time and a bit of artifacting here and there on some of the episodes (which can be a slight nuisance), everything else is pretty golden. There's a good depth to the image, fleshtones look very nice and color saturation is rather pleasant. This is a nice start to what should be a series of nice looking transfers.

 

Just like "The Next Generation," "Deep Space Nine" gets the full 5.1 English Dolby Digital remix treatment. How does it benefit from this upgrade? Above decent, but not much more. This is in part due to what kind of show "Deep Space Nine" is: less on action, more on people talking. The mixes feature good dynamics as well as strong fidelity. Dialogue is clear and easy to hear, and the background sound effects do give a bit life while the musical score fills up the channels in a nice, smooth way. Those elements are all balanced nicely. Still, when it comes to surrounds, it's slightly disappointing. The opening of the first episode (with all the firing and action) failed to truly engage me and bring me, as it was front-heavy. Subwoofer use isn't too much on the episodes either, but is fine when used. In all, the tracks are good and fit the show well, but lack the ambiance I was expecting. Also included are English Dolby Surround tracks, English subtitles and English closed captions.

 

A whole new "Star Trek" series on DVD means a whole new round of boxed sets. I'll begin with the basics. First off, the packaging is different than those big "The Next Generation" boxed sets. Maybe condensed is the right word to use? Going for a sleeker, more plastic-based slipcase, I actually like these set designs better than the former series. While there is no collectible booklet to be found (disappointing, but at least the discs list the original airdates), the discs are packaged in a book-style so you can just flip through them. In all, I think it's a neat design and certainly makes it clear that it's different from "The Next Generation" (oh, and the disc menus are niftier too if you ask me).

All the extras are on the sixth and final disc. Deep Space Nine: A Bold Beginning is a nice look back that traces the origins of the show and it's approach as far as making it a much different show than "The Next Generation." Executive producer Rick Berman, producer Michael Pillar, production designer Herman Zimmerman, visual effects supervisor Rick Sternbach, Ricardo Delgardo, Mike Okuda and Avery Brooks give their thoughts on how the show is more character driven and more conflict-based. Die-hard fans of the show won't likely get much out of the mix of old and new interviews (topped with stills and clips from episodes), but for the newbie like me, this was a perfect start that let me familiarize myself with what the show is about and what it aimed to be. This lasts slightly over 18 minutes.

Crew Dossier: Kira Nerys lasts a bit over 14 minutes and focuses on the character of - yep - Kira Nerys. Also topped with film clips and stills, actor Nana Visitor talks about her character and what she exactly means. Executive producer Ira Steven Behr also adds his input on the character and what she's about. This is pretty interesting as it leads to some nice thoughts of who the character actually is, so if you're a Nerys fan, go nuts.

Michael Westmore's Aliens is a bit over ten minutes has a strong focus on designer Michael Westmore and how big of a job he had for the show. This piece nicely highlights his impressive work, especially since it's quite unique and time-consuming. Behind-the-scenes footage of his creations are showed as well as film clips, as he talks us through some of his inspirations and creations for the first season. Nicely done.

Secrets Of Quark's Bar, also using clips from the show, is hosted by Star Trek Achivist Penny Juday as she takes us through some of the items and secrets that deal with Quark's Bar. Quark fans should dig this, even if it is a bit on the short side (about five minutes). Alien Artifacts, lasting slightly less than three minutes, has a focus on property master Joe Longo. It's old footage, but still pretty intriguing of what he and his team came up with. Doesn't give you much, but it's fun (and shows clips of where the props were used).

The Deep Space Nine Sketchbook is actually an automated photo gallery of sorts, featuring a interview with senior illustrator Rick Sternbach throughout. We see some of his sketches followed by clips of some of them in the actual show. The Photo Gallery is your standard but nice shots from on-the-set, publicity shots, storyboards, sketches, and stills from some episodes. Finally, we also have several Hidden Files. They're not hard to find (just click around the menus), as these scant little segments feature stills, clips and some interviews on a little particular something. Fun for fans and newbies alike (and they don't forget to plug other "Star Trek" items on video and DVD at the end of these!).

 

One season of "Deep Space Nine" down... six more to go. While I'm looking forward to future seasons to see how the show develops being the newbie I am, die-hard "Star Trek" fans and those loyal to this entry of the franchise should rush out to pick up this up. The episode transfers look great, the sound mixes are fine and the supplements are nicely in-tune, plentiful and very robust in their content. The price can certainly be justified... so if you're going to buy this, make sure you start to make some extra room on your shelf space.