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HTF REVIEW: Star Trek Deep Space Nine: The Complete Fifth Season (Recommended)

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#1 of 33 OFFLINE   Scott Kimball

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Posted October 05 2003 - 11:50 AM

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Complete Fifth Season



Studio: Paramount

Year: 1996-1997

Rated: NR

Length: Over 1200 minutes

Aspect Ratio: 4:3 Fullscreen

Subtitles: English
Release Date: October 7

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, The Complete Fifth Season opens where the fourth season left off - with Odo stripped of his shape-shifting abilities, and The Federation suspecting that Gowron has been replaced by a changeling. Kira is pregnant, carrying the child of Miles and Keiko. And so it begins...

Aside from the developments in the Dominion war in season five, which I will not discuss here for those who have not seen the series through yet, there are some excellent standalone episodes, and some interesting personal developments, as well.

The first episode,Apocalypse Rising, begins shortly after Dominion infiltration of the Klingon Empire is discovered in season 4. Our crew goes into the Klingon Empire, undercover, to expose the Dominion threat. Of course, we find that not all is what it seems to be.

Perhaps the most famous episode of DS9, Trials and Tribble-ations, is found early on this season. This episode, a Star Trek 30th anniversary celebration, unites the the Deep Space Nine crew with the characters and events of the original classic episode, The Trouble with Tribbles.

For the Uniform reintroduces Captain Sisko’s Maquis nemesis, Michael Eddington in an outstanding episode.

A two-part Dominion episode advances the plot in In Purgatory’s Shadow and By Inferno’s Light.

In the finale, Call to Arms, things with the Dominion come to a head, resulting in one of the most impressive space battle sequences ever filmed for television. This episode ends with many unanswered questions - much more a cliffhanger than previous seasons. Fear not - season six will be in stores on November 4.

Episode List
Disc 1

Apocalypse Rising
The Ship
Looking for par’Mach in All the Wrong Places
... Nor the Battle to the Strong

Disc 2
The Assignment
Trials and Tribble-ations
Let He Who is Without Sin...
Things Past

Disc 3
The Ascent
Rapture
The Darkness and the Light
The Begotten

Disc 4
For the Uniform
In Purgatory’s Shadow
By Inferno’s Light
Doctor Bashir, I Presume?

Disc 5
A Simple Investigation
Business as Usual
Ties of Blood and Water
Ferengi Love Songs

Disc 6
Soldiers of the Empire
Children of Time
Blaze of Glory
Empok Nor

Disc 7
In the Cards
Call to Arms
SPECIAL FEATURES


The Video:
Colors are beautifully rendered, vibrant and saturated. The discerning viewer will notice some occasional mild pixellation or pixel drift, especially in darker action scenes... but it's usually momentary and rarely distracting. The casual viewer most likely will not even notice. The picture is as sharp as previous seasons - showing some evidence of high frequency filtration, but it is adequate and does not exhibit any noticeable edge enhancement. Shadow detail could be better - my biggest complaint - but it is comparable to previous DS9 outings on DVD. The program is presented in its original fullscreen aspect ratio.

The Audio:
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround. As expected with a television production, the mix is non-agressive. The forward soundfield is expansive, with dialog anchored to the center channel. Rear channel effects are noticed in space battles and action scenes, and for general ambience, but they lack punch. The LFE is noticeable in the action scenes, as well as the ever-present rumble heard on the station or on a ship as ambient noise. Again, though, the low frequency effects are slightly underutilized. The mix is average or above average for television product from this time period.

Those who are familiar with the look and sound of previous DS9 outings will find this season to be on par with the rest.

Special Features

Trials and Tribble-ations: Uniting Two Legends (17:00)
1996 and 2002 interviews with Ira Steven Behr, Ronald D. Moore, Alexander Siddig, Michael Dorn, Rene Auberjoinois, Terry Farrell, Rene Echevarria, Rick Berman and Charlie Brill. Discussion of the impetus and logistics of the 30th Anniversary special “Trials and Tribbel-ations,” which unites Deep Space Nine with the original series through “Gump” technology. Cast relay their impressions of sets, props and costumes. The “Klingon problem” is discussed. The casting of an original cast member from “The Trouble with Tribbles,” Charlie Brill as Arne Darvin, is discussed. A chance encounter between Behr and Brill at a Pizza restaurant set this casting choice in motion.

Trials and Tribble-ations: An Historic Endeavor (16:39)
This featurette includes comments from Herman Zimmerman, Gary Hutzel, Doug Drexler and Michael Okuda, as well as input from many of the same people in the “Uniting” featurette, above. This piece concentrates on the mechanics of the production - from the recreation of sets and models to the special effects used to marry shows from two different eras. An entirely new Enterprise model was built for this show. Since the original model at the Smithsonian Institute had been refurbished (incorrectly), the model builders had to go back to the original illustrations and photography and build a new model from scratch. Sets and props from the original show no longer existed, so they were also built from scratch.

These two featurettes are very interesting, giving over thirty minutes of documentary material on the groundbreaking special anniversary episode.

Crew Dossier: Miles O’Brien (11:30)
Interviews with Colm Meaney, Ira Steven Behr, Robert Hewitt Wolfe, Alexander Siddig, Terry Farrell and Ronald D. Moore reveal the character of “every-man” Miles O’Brien. Emphasis is on how, every year, the writers like to make Miles’ life miserable, because the fans can empathize with the character.

Inside DS9 with Michael Okuda (7:19)
Scenic Arts Supervisor Michael Okuda, a virtual encyclopedia of all things Trek, discusses his contribution to the show. Discussion includes the “look” of the technology, and the building of props from everyday items: bird feeders, canteens, plumbing fixtures, air fresheners, etc... Also talked about: the little in-jokes - odd text on control panels that isn’t picked up by the camera, the namesake businesses on the promenade such as: Berman’s Dilithium Supply and Chez Zimmerman.

Michael Westmore’s Aliens (7:32)
Michael Westmore discusses makeup design. Emphasis is on the creation of wounds (burns, bruises and scars), Jem’Hadar makeup (patterned after rhinoceros skin), and Trill makeup (applied with a Sharpie). Westmore estimates that he, personally, applied Farrell’s Trill spots with a Sharpie 479 times.

Photo Gallery
Over 40 images from the episodes of season 5, and from behind the scenes.

Section 31: Hidden Files
01: “The Begotten” / Rene Auberjoinois
02: “The Ascent” and shooting on location
03: Interview with Robert Hewitt Wolfe
04: Interview with Nana Visitor - discussing her pregnancy and her character
05: “Ties of Blood and Water” Interview with Nana Visitor
06: “Soldiers of the Empire” All-Klingon episode / interview with Ronald D. Moore
07: “Dr. Bashir, I Presume” / Interview with Chase Masterson
08: “Ferengi Love Songs” - Armin Shimerman talks about “Moogi.”
09: Interview with J.G. Hertzler about his character, Martok
10: Interview with Jeffrey Combs about his characters: Tiron, Brunt and Weyoun

Trailer
Indiana Jones Trilogy

Final Thoughts
Star Trek Deep Space Nine: The Complete Fifth Season continues the tradition of great storytelling and special effects set forth in the earlier seasons. This set also includes some great special features, most notably the featurettes about the making of “Trials and Tribble-ations.” The Dominion arc gets wound tightly by the end of the finale, leaving the viewer hanging until the release of the next season of DS9.

Paramount continues to do justice to this series, with a wonderful season set. I only wish that episode trailers were included, and that chapter stops would be consistently placed after the opening credits. Like MGM’s “Stargate: SG1,” chapter stops after the credits are a crapshoot. These are just minor complaints for an outstanding TV on DVD set.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for genre fans
RECOMMENDED for anyone else

#2 of 33 OFFLINE   Tony Whalen

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Posted October 06 2003 - 03:37 AM

Great review Scott! Thanks!

Sadly, I may have to wait a few days to pick this up! (Next payday...) Posted Image

2 documentaries totalling more than a half-hour on "Trials & Tribblations"! WOW. That's just too cool. I was hoping for some stuff on that ep, but I didn't expect a half-hour of material! Awesome. Posted Image (They should have interviewed David Gerrold, author of the origial episode and creator of tribbles! He was on the set of DS9's "Trials", and appeared as the silver-haired security guard seen in the background several times.)

Lookin' forward to adding this to my collection! Man, this fall is just gonna be expensive!

#3 of 33 OFFLINE   Scott Kimball

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Posted October 06 2003 - 03:57 AM

I forgot to mention one little "extra."

When you select the "Trials and Tribble-ations" episode on disc two, instead of hearing the ambient "station sounds" on the next menu screen, you are greeted with the sound of purring tribbles.

-Scott

#4 of 33 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted October 06 2003 - 04:00 AM

Scott, this really is a nice review. You covered all bases succinctly and professionally. Thank you for the good work.

#5 of 33 OFFLINE   Andrew Bunk

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Posted October 06 2003 - 04:55 AM

Nice to see the last 3 releases a month apart. It's been a long wait since the beginning of August.

I've already blown through the first 8 episodes (got it Saturday).

I've never seen a lot of these episodes and I was surprised to see that the concept of the
pah-wraiths
was introduced this early. I always thought it was something they came up with in the last season.

Can't wait to finish the set this week! Great review!
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#6 of 33 OFFLINE   Bill Williams

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Posted October 06 2003 - 05:07 AM

Wonderful review, Scott! Well done! And the set makes for a nice Christmas or wedding present, too (hint hint to y'all out there!) Posted Image
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#7 of 33 OFFLINE   Jason_V

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Posted October 06 2003 - 05:27 AM

Quote:
I've never seen a lot of these episodes and I was surprised to see that the concept of the Spoiler:
pah-wraiths
was introduced this early. I always thought it was something they came up with in the last season.

I could be remembering wrong, but the fire caves were mentioned way back in the first season and I think the pah-wraiths were mentioned before this season. I'll check when I get home.

#8 of 33 OFFLINE   Joseph Bolus

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Posted October 06 2003 - 06:54 AM

Now *this* is what I'm talking about!!

Not one, but two, special features on Trials and Tribble-ations!!

Way to go, Paramount!!

Needless to say, Season 5 is a *must have* for DS9 fans; but, due to the treatment of the official 30th Anniversary Star Trek show with this set, this is now a *must have* for all Star Trek fans!!

Great Job!!

(Man, I can't wait to get this package!!)
Joseph
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#9 of 33 OFFLINE   Daryl Stovall

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Posted October 06 2003 - 07:59 AM

Is Deep Space nine Considered superior to ST TNG? I'm kinda new to the whole post Star Trek series phenomenon after Kirk & Spock

#10 of 33 OFFLINE   Andrew Bunk

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Posted October 06 2003 - 08:06 AM

Daryl,

TNG vs. DS9 is basically apples vs. oranges.

Both series have unique characteristics that make them special IMO.

I own both series on DVD, and while I had seen almost all of the TNG episodes before I bought the DVD's, I had seen next to none of the DS9 episodes prior to season 6 before.
And I've still enjoyed the DS9 sets every bit as much as the TNG sets. It took about half of season toget used to the series and characters, and after that I started liking it more and more.

If you have to decide on one over the other right now, that's a tough call. DS9 tends to be much more serialized than TNG, so in that sense it lends itself much more easily to DVD.
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#11 of 33 OFFLINE   Jason Seaver

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Posted October 06 2003 - 08:23 AM

Quote:
Is Deep Space nine Considered superior to ST TNG?
I'd say that average DS9 is better than average TNG, but that TNG had higher peaks (and lower valleys). Also, the styles of storytelling were very different. TNG was very good at the done-in-one, well-focused story, but was only sporadically successful when the running time crept past the forty-five minute arc, whereas DS9 was very good at the extended storytelling.

Also in this vein, DS9 had a better all-around cast and got good use out of all the main characters, and the recurring characters (by the end of S7, there might be 20 characters in an episode that you'd seen before), but nobody was quite at the Patrick Stewart level.

Basically, you'll get more ideas on TNG, and a more thorough examination of the ideas on DS9. The two series complement each other. DS9 probably is getting a lot more respect now because they're both in the past and sci-fi/die-hard TV fans tend to value the serial aspect more.

Put another way, TNG is Law & Order and DS9 is NYPD Blue, and which you prefer probably has less to do with the shows' relative quality and more to do with what type of storytelling you enjoy (or are looking for at that moment).
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#12 of 33 OFFLINE   Seth--L

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Posted October 06 2003 - 09:30 AM

To add onto Jason Seaver's excellent comments, one of the aspects of DS9 I liked the most was how well it developed its secondary characters. I always disliked how on TGN you never knew anything about anyone else on the ship except the senior staff.

In many ways DS9 was more satisfying as a series, but TNG had better individual episodes, if not some of the best dramatic television episodes in general, such as "The Inner Light" and "Darkmok" (a favorite among college professors).
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#13 of 33 OFFLINE   CaptDS9E

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Posted October 06 2003 - 10:46 AM

Ds9 was way more serialized, but it had some really good stand alones also. The Visitor for one is excellent, Tribbles in season 5, Far Beyond the stars and a few others.

capt

#14 of 33 OFFLINE   Joseph J.D

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Posted October 06 2003 - 12:52 PM

Excellent review Scott! This is my number one item for pickup this week. Can't wait to get my hands on this set.....hell, I want the rest of them. Good thing only two months separate me from completing my collection.Posted Image
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#15 of 33 OFFLINE   Dave Scarpa

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Posted October 06 2003 - 04:35 PM

....of course you could look at it another way as well.. we're only 3 sets away from voyager


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#16 of 33 OFFLINE   Bill Williams

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Posted October 07 2003 - 01:35 AM

I agree, there are differences between TNG and DS9, but nothing I would say that makes one any better than the other.

TNG had a charm all its own and followed in Gene Roddenberry's original footsteps, even in the final two and a half years after Roddenberry's passing. While they seemed to punch it up a bit in the second half of the series, it had charm and adventure and great little moments that added to the series.

DS9, however, started pushing the envelope from its initial Fort Laramie/"Gunsmoke"-style concept and kept on pushing the envelope with its serialized stories and rich character arcs. Along with "Trials and Tribble-ations", DS9 had so many wonderful character pieces such as "The Visitor", "Far Beyond the Stars", and "In the Pale Moonlight", among others, that really gave twists and turns to the series. And they also had fun, too, in episodes such as "Take Me Out to the Holosuite" and "Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang", as well as the aforementioned "Trials and Tribble-ations".

I like Jason's earlier allusion to "Law and Order" and "NYPD Blue" about both series. Both got the stories executed and had their own approaches to it, yet both have to be analyzed on its own individual merits to be fully appreciated.
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#17 of 33 OFFLINE   Tony Whalen

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Posted October 07 2003 - 03:00 AM

Quote:
When you select the "Trials and Tribble-ations" episode on disc two, instead of hearing the ambient "station sounds" on the next menu screen, you are greeted with the sound of purring tribbles.


Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

Perfect. I love it. Posted Image

As for DS9 and TNG, I just gotta note down the "Law & Order" and "NYPD Blue" comparison. That's the best quick summation I've heard yet! Posted Image

#18 of 33 OFFLINE   Bill>Moore

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Posted October 07 2003 - 03:44 AM

Can't wait to pick up the set later today!

#19 of 33 OFFLINE   JonZ

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Posted October 07 2003 - 04:02 AM

Gonna have to wait a few weeks,too poor Posted Image

#20 of 33 OFFLINE   Haden

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Posted October 07 2003 - 05:09 AM

Any info on what the Best Buy bonus disc has on it for this season?





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