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DVD Reviews

HTF REVIEW: "Deep Space Nine" Season One (with screenshots)

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#1 of 124 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted February 13 2003 - 08:36 PM

Posted Image

Deep Space Nine
Season One

Studio: Paramount
Year: 1993
Rated: NR
Film Length: 908 minutes
Aspect Ratio: Full Frame (1.33:1)
Subtitles: English

Of all the Star Trek TV shows that have been created,
none had been a bigger challenge to both producers
and audiences than Deep Space Nine. It was
a project that began shortly before the death of
Gene Roddenberry in 1991. Roddenberry had great
concerns about the show, and it took two further
years to develop and upon its premiere in 1993,
audiences were struggling with the show's darker
themes. Nonetheless, fans who stuck with the show
through its 7 seasons have praised it as the best
Star Trek show ever made. Social issues,
spirituality, and personal stories were among the
stories this show tackled best.

In this third STAR TREK series, Benjamin Sisko
(Avery Brooks) is commander of the starship Deep
Space Nine. He has discovered the first known
stable wormhole--a virtual shortcut through space
that leads to the Alpha Quadrant to the Gamma
Quadrant on the other side of the galaxy. With
this discovery a new frontier of exploration for
the Federation and the Bajoran people opens. Sisko
and the crew must fight off rival alien species who
want control of Deep Space Nine because of its
strategic position close to a wormhole which
allows speedy travel to the far reaches of space.

I must admit that I did not want to write this
review or even watch the show. I had requested
Paramount not send me a screener, but out of
kindness, they did anyway. Though I am a fan of
Star Trek TOS and TNG, I have never
watched any further Trek television creations
since. I know how loyal Star Trek fans are to
their shows, and I felt that a review would be
best done by someone familiar with the material.
Upon further thought, I decided that perhaps the
best review would indeed come from someone who
is watching the show for the first time. So,
without further ado, here is a review from a
Deep Space Nine virgin about to be deflowered.

Posted ImagePosted Image

First, let me talk about the packaging of this
brand new Star Trek series, because I think it's
quite unique (and please forgive the flash - it was
unavoidable). Whereas Star Trek TNG was
presented in all-cardboard packaging (Region 1),
Deep Space Nine is totally plastic from
it's see-through outer slipcover to its innards
that open to a 3-pane presentation. One panel
contains the general plans of the Deep Space Nine
station, while the opposite pane contains a list
of all 19 episodes in the set. In the middle of
it all sits a stack of 6 DVD discs.

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This is one of the weirdest layouts I have seen
to date, but I think it's very effective. The
DVDs rest in what can best be described as 6
individual plastic housings stacked on top of
one another. Binded together on a single side,
you can easily flip through each CD as if you
were flipping through pages of a book.

While I commend Paramount for the unique layout
of this set, I am a bit concerned by the absence
of a Collectors Booklet inside.

Posted Image

Once you pop the CD in the drawer, you are greeted
by a shuttle sailing across a starfield and the
appearance of the DEEP SPACE NINE title. Suddenly,
the shuttle enters a wormhole which brings it to
another part of the galaxy where the Deep Space
Nine station suddenly appears. As the shuttle moves
into docking position, the MAIN MENU appears with a
list of 4 episodes to choose from (disc 1 has 3 episodes).

Posted ImagePosted Image

Upon choosing an EPISODE, you are brought to a
control panel that lets you set up your sound
and subtitle options as well as giving you direct
access to any particular scene you wish to access.

Totally unfamiliar with this series, the first
thing I needed to do was to select which three
episodes best represented Season One. I
scoured a dozen fan sites around the internet and
selected what most regarded as their favorites.
These are the shows I chose to look at for the
purpose of this review.

Posted Image

The show begins with a bit of background. We are
taken back to the moment Captain Jean-Luc Picard
of the Starship Enterprise was held captive by the
sinister Borg, altering his mind and forcing him
to attack the Federation starship U.S.S. Saratoga
headed by Lieutenant Commander Benjamin Sisko.
While Sisko managed to escape with his young son
Jake, his wife did not survive. Three years later,
a reluctant Sisko and son are transferred to the
space station Deep Space Nine in Bajoran territory
where he meets his crew that includes Chief
Operations Officer Miles O'Brien, who has been
transferred from the Enterprise, and Kira Nerys,
a Bajoran who helped lead her people's painful
fight against the Cardassians. Sent out on a patrol
by a prophet, Sisko and Science officer, Lt. Jadzia
Dax, discover a stable wormhole leading to the
Gamma Quadrant. While in the wormhole, they make
first contact with a race of aliens that would be
known as the Bajoran Prophets. Upon his return,
Sisko is announced as the Emissary to the
Bajoran People.

Posted Image

A Kobheerian freighter transports a passenger
onto the space station who has a medical condition
known as Kalla-Nohra. Kira recalls that the only
cases of this were the result of a mining accident
at a Bajoran forced labor camp she helped liberate
years ago. Kira is shocked when she discovers this
patient could actually be a notorious war criminal.
However all is not as it seems when information
supplied by Gul Dukat reveals that the Cardassian
they are holding cannot be who he claims to be.

Posted Image

In the hands of the Prophets
An ambitious and unscrupulous Bajoran spiritual
leader (Vedek Wynn) comes to the station and objects
to Keiko's secular teachings. The situation rapidly
escalates to the point where Keiko's school is blown
up by a home-made bomb. This starts a religious
uprising among the Bajoran community that threatens
to destroy the Federation-Bajoran alliance.

So what did I think of Deep Space Nine? I
think the first episode, Emissary clearly
is an attention-grabber. It exhibits all the
qualities of great storytelling that the Star Trek
series is known for. I also enjoyed the fact that
there is a lot of spirituality introduced into this
show with its mystic-driven Bajoran culture. It's
quite interesting to learn about the Bajoran people,
their acceptance of Cardassian occupation, and the
prejudices that exist between the two cultures.

I can't say, however, that I really fell in love
with this series. It's a totally different Star
Trek that doesn't beg to be immediately accepted.
The characters seem to be more troubled, the
neighbors are far unfriendlier, and the themes of
each show are darker than ever before. From
everything that I have read, this series really
doesn't kickstart into high gear until Season 3
when there are more stories that take place outside
of the Space Station.

How is the transfer?

I can't say Deep Space Nine looks any better
than Star Trek TNG looked on DVD, and that
may not be a totally good thing. Though images are
extremely clean with no blemish to be seen, the
picture is a tad too soft. It's that lack of
overall sharpness that has always bothered me about
these sets, but perhaps these are true representations
of how they looked when originally broadcast. Colors
are mostly vibrant here and the special effects seem
to lose their jagged edges, looking a bit smoother
than they did in Star Trek TNG.

I wasn't blown away by the 5.1 mix. Dialogue rests
firmly in the center channel with superb audio
dynamics and stereo separation across the front
channels. The problem is that sound is very heavy
across the front and not very distinguishable in
the rear channels. I could barely make out the
fact that the show's score was being distributed
to the rears, and hardly heard the presence of any
effect noise. At least in Star Trek TNG I
could distinguish the hums of the ship's engines
in the rear channels, but none of that was
clearly audible here. There is some nice LFE
activity that underlines most of the space shots
and flyovers, but those moments didn't come too
readily in the episodes I reviewed.

Special Features

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Let's take a look at the supplemental material
that is available on Disc Six....

Posted Image

Deep Space Nine: A Bold Beginning is a
look at the birth of a brand new Star Trek series.
How did the idea come to be? It was actually
Brandon Tartikoff who requested some sort of new
show to be added to the Star Trek family. The
problem was, Next Generation already had
a cast of characters on a spaceship who were
constantly going where no man had gone before.
A new show had to go in an entirely different
direction. In an interview with Executive
Producer Michael Piller and actor Avery Brooks,
we learn about the vision of Deep Space Nine.
It was a show that was more land based and more
character driven -- it brought different races of
individuals together, showed the conflict amongst
those people, and yet suggested that we could
find ways of living amongst each other. In
designing Deep Space Nine, Herman Zimmerman
and his team were very fortunate to be given a
lot of time to create a world that was very strange.
Through original concept drawings and models, we
see that the biggest difficulty was coming up with
the look of the space station, both inside and out.
I think you'll be amazed at how the designs for
the ship all came together in such a way that it
was practical not only for its characters but for
filming as well.
(length: approx. 18 minutes)

Posted Image

Crew Dossier: Kira Nerys takes a look at
the spiritually-orientated Bajoran First Officer
of the Deep Space Nine space station. Her character
started off as a very angry, distrusting woman, but
over the next seven years would become far more
relaxed. Actress Nana Visitor talks about the very
serious atmosphere of the DSN9 set. Most of the
cast were experienced theatrical actors and everyone
took their work very seriously. The biggest fear
the actress had was being written off of the show
when she became pregnant. Fortunately, the writers
found a way to involve that pregnancy into the Star
Trek storyline. Finally, the actress talks about
the romantic relationship between Oda and Kira.
(length: approx. 14 minutes)

Micheal Westmore's Aliens brings us face-to-
face with the man and team who brought us such
aliens as Odo, Quark, Dax, the Bajorans and the
Cardassians. One by one, Michael takes us through
his gallery of creations including: Tosk, Wadi,
Miradorn, Tailheads, Kobliad and Bolian.
(length: approx. 10 minutes)

Posted Image

Secrets of Quark's Bar introduces us to Star
Trek archivist, Penny Juday, who shows us many of
the props (and their secrets) that are seen in Quark's
(length: approx. 4 minutes)

Alien Artifacts introduces us to Prop Master
Joe Longo who shows us many of the alien props used
on the show including a Bajoran phaser, The orb box,
tricorders and alien knives. It's interesting to
know that nothing is bought here -- everything is
made to order from scratch.
(length: approx. 3 minutes)

Posted Image

Senior Illustrator Rick Sternbach takes us through
the Deep Space Nine Sketchbook, where we see
dozens of conceptual drawings of alien props. In
an included Photo Gallery, you can wade
through a few dozen publicity and behind-the-scenes
photos of the cast and crew.

Scattered throughout the menu are various hidden
that are easy to find. Each of these files
gives us a short in-depth look at characters such
as Sisko, Vash, Dax, Miles O'Brien, Odo and Kira. To
find these hidden files, simply run your remote over
the outer arches of the Deep Space Nine station menus.

As usual, I applaud Paramount for providing
subtitles throughout every single piece of
supplemental material presented here. I can't
begin to tell you how much easier it made my
viewing experience.

Final Thoughts

From a first-time perspective, I found myself
fascinated by Deep Space Nine and its
dark world that is painted in fairly positive
colors. It's obvious from watching just a few
episodes of this first season that this show
would become more bolder, daring, and inventive
than any Star Trek show before it.

As expected, Paramount has put together one of
the most unique packages of TV programming to
date, promising to deliver all 7 seasons by year's

Though this will be my ONLY review of the entire
series, I feel fortunate that I had the opportunity
to explore a brand new Star Trek universe.

Release Date: February 25, 2003

All screen captures have been further compressed.
They are for illustrative purposes only and do not
represent actual picture quality


Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner


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#2 of 124 OFFLINE   David Lambert

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Posted February 13 2003 - 10:47 PM

Good review, Ron. Sigh...I have to at least pick up the first couple of seasons. AND I CAN'T AFFORD IT! ARRRRRGGGHH!!! Posted Image
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#3 of 124 OFFLINE   Adam_WM



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Posted February 14 2003 - 12:34 AM

I was never a DS9 fan. I made it through the first season but I found I was getting bored with the "character-based" episodes. I gave up soon thereafter. However, my roommate thinks the world of DS9's latter seasons. This split in opinions is very common, I have found, when it comes to DS9. To some, it is another wonderful Trek series. To others, its another poor excuse. To each his own.


#4 of 124 OFFLINE   Dave Scarpa

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Posted February 14 2003 - 12:44 AM

DS9 is the best Trek Series. The characters were crearted and they actually evolved. The characters never evolved on TNG for the most part where they were at the end is where they were in the beginning. The stories evolved from Mysticism, to war, to conditions of the human spirit, to fatherhood , and evolution to another plane of existence. Conflict breeds interesting story opportunities. DS9 only came to be because they were ignored, left alone by the corporate bean counters and producers that must tow tow to the demographic and have big breasted babes in catsuits. And it was syndicated. Without a doubt DS9 is the Pinnicle of Trek.
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#5 of 124 OFFLINE   JonZ


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Posted February 14 2003 - 01:08 AM

I cant wait,cant wait.

One of the things they wanted to explore with DS9 is that everyone doesnt get along so well. In TNG, the crew was very close and tension never really happened between any crew members.(Fans complained there was never any tension between characters)

In DS9 they wanted the opposite - a bunch of different people who didnt like each other but were stuck on a station together.(Fans complained there was too much tension between characters)

For me, Season 3 was the best.

I loved TNG, but IMHO only 1/2 of most of the seasons was worth having. I passed on the sets,hoping they release them like TOS.

But I cant pass up DS9Posted Image

#6 of 124 OFFLINE   Brajesh Upadhyay

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Posted February 14 2003 - 01:09 AM

[quote] Without a doubt DS9 is the Pinnicle of Trek. [quote] I'd have to disagree. The "pinnacle of trek" on TV was TNG. That said, there are a handful of DS9 episodes I like (the 'Tribbles' CGI-homage comes to mind). Some of those 3-part Cardassian/battle episodes were good too.
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#7 of 124 OFFLINE   Craig S

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Posted February 14 2003 - 01:30 AM

[quote] It's a totally different Star
Trek that doesn't beg to be immediately accepted.
The characters seem to be more troubled, the
neighbors are far unfriendlier, and the themes of
each show are darker than ever before. [quote] I would argue that it's precisely these characteristics that make for good drama, and make DS9 the best Trek of all.

I hope someday you find the time to explore this series. Once it hits its stride in season 3 with the Dominion storyline it takes off & never looks back.
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#8 of 124 OFFLINE   RobertCharlotte


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Posted February 14 2003 - 01:35 AM

Ron, you said[quote] Whereas Star Trek TOS was
presented in all-cardboard packaging (Region 1),
Deep Space Nine is totally plastic from
it's see-through outer slipcover to its innards
that open to a 3-pane presentation. [quote]Did you mean TNG? I don't own either, but I've seen both in the stores and the TOS packaging looks like regular keep cases to me.

#9 of 124 OFFLINE   Peter McM

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Posted February 14 2003 - 01:45 AM

It was so nice of Paramount to send you that screener, Ron.

Too bad they couldn't have done the same with Nemesis to the Academy voters!Posted Image
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#10 of 124 OFFLINE   Tony Whalen

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Posted February 14 2003 - 02:59 AM

Thanks for the great review Ron! Interesting packaging! I was REALLY hopeful that the packaging wouldn't be a repeat of the pretty-but-pain-in-the-butt TNG packaging...

I too wrote off DS9 in it's first season, for the exact same reasons you mention.

[quote] The characters seem to be more troubled... [quote]

...and so forth.

Well, I stopped watching it. I didn't watch it again until part way through the third season. I'd urge you to give it a shot. As others have mentioned, it does indeed "take off" once the Dominion enters the picture. Seasons 1 & 2 are kind of weak... much as TNG was. Posted Image

(You know... I did the exact same thing to Bab 5. Wrote it off in the first season... only to rediscover it later.. and enjoy it a great deal...)

I'm sad to see that you'll only be reviewing Season One!

Personally, I can hardly wait to add the entire series to my collection. Posted Image

#11 of 124 OFFLINE   Sam Davatchi

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Posted February 14 2003 - 03:27 AM

Nice coincidence! I got the set today! There is one slight problem though! I have not finished season 6 and 7 of TNG yet! Posted Image

#12 of 124 OFFLINE   Kwang Suh

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Posted February 14 2003 - 03:44 AM

Ron, just wait till you get into the Dominion arc. You might start being impressed by how this series took Trek into directions never seen, and have never seen again, and probably won't ever.

#13 of 124 OFFLINE   Todd K

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Posted February 14 2003 - 05:32 AM

Ron, even if you choose not to visit this series again for HTF purposes, at least do yourself the favor of checking out the highest top 5 or 10 fan rated episodes. There were some great ones, like: "In the Pale Moonlight" (man, was this good!) Going over casualty lists, Sisko realizes there is only one hope of winning the war - the Romulans, who signed a non-aggression pact with the Dominion, must be convinced to join the Federation/Klingon Alliance. Sure that the Dominion will eventually invade Romulus anyway, Sisko recruits Garak to discreetly obtain evidence from Cardassia that will bring the Romulans into the war. and "Trials and Tribbleations" Returning from Cardassian space with the Bajoran Orb of Time, the Defiant also carries a Klingon named Arne Darvin, surgically altered to look human. He uses the Orb to send the Defiant more than one hundred years into the past - near the original U.S.S. Enterprise as it orbited Deep Space Station K-7. Records reveal Darvin was a spy then, and that he was caught having poisoned a shipment of grain on the station. Darvin is out to change history, possibly by killing Captain James T. Kirk, who originally exposed him as the spy.

#14 of 124 OFFLINE   Jim_C



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Posted February 14 2003 - 06:19 AM

>>Without a doubt DS9 is the Pinnicle of Trek.<< Absolutely! I really like TNG but I found the evolution of the DS9 characters more involving. The Dominion Arc is strong and ties in nicely to the Bajor/Cardassia. Great review, Ron. I second the vote for "In the Pale Moonlight". Great, great episode. I would also recommend "The Visitor" and "Far Beyond the Stars".
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#15 of 124 OFFLINE   JonZ


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Posted February 14 2003 - 07:25 AM

Some of my favorites: Captive Pursuit Blood Oath The Wire Crossover The Search parts 1 & 2 House Of Quark Civil Defense Prophet Motive Improbable Cause The Die Is Cast The Adversary The Way of The Warrior The Visitor The Sons of Mogh (One of the best ST episodes EVER) Apocalypse Rising Trials And Tribble-ations For The Uniform A Time To Stand Rocks and Shoals Behind The Lines Favor The Bold The Sacrifice of Angels In The Pale Moonlight

#16 of 124 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted February 14 2003 - 07:31 AM

Nice, nice review, Ron. Really excited about these boxsets. As a charter member of the Trek universe (having been watching since TOS premiered in Sept. 1966), I consider DS9 the most innovative of the spinoff series (though not necessarily the "best"). Here's to hoping these discs expand DS9's exposure and fanbase. It was the last of the great Star Trek series, as the two that succeeded it have just about brought the franchise to a crash landing not unlike the Enterprise-D's demise on Veridian III.

#17 of 124 OFFLINE   CaptDS9E



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Posted February 14 2003 - 07:47 AM

Ill tell ya the truth . I didnt really get into Trek until DS9. Then i eventually watched TNG, TOS and so on. DS9 was a different type of trek. It went places the other trek shows didnt go. TNG was a great show as it brought new Trek to life and it had a excellent cast, but DS9 to me was better. Not only did it deal with a main core of charectors but there were a lot of other charectors who popped up most of the series.You were never too sure who the bad guys were, who the good guys were, and where things would go. I consider it the best trek series, some think TNG was, but I think everyone can agree it was the last good trek series and then Trek went down the crapper. Heres to more andorian / temporal cold war episodes on Enterprise as its the only thing that will save it capt

#18 of 124 OFFLINE   Steve_Cohen


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Posted February 14 2003 - 08:01 AM

My 2 cents: Being a huge Star Trek Fan, all I can say is give DS9 a chance especially after season 3. It is truly the best Star Trek there ever will be.

#19 of 124 OFFLINE   Ric Easton

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Posted February 14 2003 - 09:36 AM

Thanks for the review, Ron. Excellent job. I am also a big fan of this series and hope you find the time to revisit it someday. It was the richness and exploration of the characters that set this series apart, and I am looking forward to having the whole series in my collection. Ric

#20 of 124 OFFLINE   andrew markworthy

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Posted February 14 2003 - 11:05 AM

Nice review. For once, however, I'm going to wait for the R2 version (which is out a month later, but is quite a bit cheaper, surprisingly enough). I've got to say that I like DS9 more than all the other Trek series, simply because it *develops* and the final series is superb. Yes, there are deeply annoying bits (the Bajorans get on your nerves with pressing home the 'deep spirituality' angle rather too much), but compare that with other series: ST - most of the actors were from Planet Ham; TNG - Wesley [need I say more?]; Voyager [which do you want to push out of the airlock first - Neelix, Janeway, Chakotay, Harry Kim? Oh heck, who cares? - just shove 'em all out]. That's not to say that these series were awful - far from it. However, with the other members of the ST family, I'm happy to see them by chance when channel hopping. You can see practically any episode divorced from the others. With DS9, it's different. Here, you've got to see a lot of the episodes in the correct order as a set, and DVD is the only way. Okay, maybe when/if Voyager comes out I might get one of the series with 7 of 9 :b .

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