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

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Ronald Epstein, Feb 13, 2003.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    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.


    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.


    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.


    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).


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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


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


    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)


    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)


    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)


    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
  2. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

    Aug 3, 2001
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    Good review, Ron. Sigh...I have to at least pick up the first couple of seasons. AND I CAN'T AFFORD IT! ARRRRRGGGHH!!! [​IMG]
  3. Adam_WM

    Adam_WM Screenwriter

    Oct 25, 2001
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    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. Dave Scarpa

    Dave Scarpa Producer

    Apr 8, 1999
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    David Scarpa
    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.
  5. JonZ

    JonZ Lead Actor

    Dec 28, 1998
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    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 DS9[​IMG]
  6. Brajesh Upadhyay

    Brajesh Upadhyay Supporting Actor

    Jul 11, 1998
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  7. Craig S

    Craig S Producer

    Mar 4, 2000
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    League City, Texas
    Real Name:
    Craig Seanor
  8. RobertCharlotte

    RobertCharlotte Supporting Actor

    Feb 21, 2002
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    Ron, you said
  9. Peter McM

    Peter McM Supporting Actor

    Nov 18, 1999
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    Indianapolis, IN
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    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![​IMG]
  10. Tony Whalen

    Tony Whalen Producer

    Jan 29, 2002
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    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.

  11. Sam Davatchi

    Sam Davatchi Producer

    Sep 15, 1999
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    Nice coincidence! I got the set today! There is one slight problem though! I have not finished season 6 and 7 of TNG yet! [​IMG]
  12. Kwang Suh

    Kwang Suh Supporting Actor

    Sep 4, 1999
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    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. Todd K

    Todd K Second Unit

    Oct 21, 2001
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    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.


    "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. Jim_C

    Jim_C Cinematographer

    Feb 6, 2001
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    >>Without a doubt DS9 is the Pinnicle of Trek.
  15. JonZ

    JonZ Lead Actor

    Dec 28, 1998
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    Some of my favorites:

    Captive Pursuit
    Blood Oath
    The Wire
    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. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

    Jun 3, 1999
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    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. CaptDS9E

    CaptDS9E Cinematographer

    Apr 18, 1999
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    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

  18. Steve_Cohen

    Steve_Cohen Stunt Coordinator

    Oct 29, 2002
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    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. Ric Easton

    Ric Easton Cinematographer

    Feb 6, 2001
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    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.

  20. andrew markworthy

    Sep 30, 1999
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    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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