Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Complete Sixth Season Studio: Paramount Year: 1997-1998 Rated: NR Length: Over 1200 minutes Aspect Ratio: 4:3 Fullscreen Subtitles: English Release Date: November 4, 2003 Warning! This Season 6 review contains spoilers from the end of Season 5. Given the nature of this series, it is unavoidable. Continue reading at your own risk Season 6 of Deep Space Nine sort of broke the rules set forth in Trek production in previous years, opening with essentially a long arc, leading up to the Federation’s retaking of DS9 (occupied by the Cardassians at the end of season 5). Producers pushed the envelope on continuing threads as far as Paramount executives would let them, and the result is a truly memorable start to the season. With the exception of “Sons and Daughters,” the thread runs continuously until episode six. (This would open the door for even longer arcs in season 7) In an exciting episode, “Sacrifice of Angels,” the Defiant endures a huge space battle (one of the most impressive FX sequences ever made for television), to make it back to DS9 in an attempt to maintain a minefield guarding the wormhole, and re-take DS9. The episode ends in somewhat of a Deux ex machina, but the justification for the resolution is made over time, through to the end of the series. I won’t get any more specific than that, for those of you who have not yet seen the series. This is a difficult season to review without revealing important plot points, so I will now touch upon a few of the excellent episodes of the season while avoiding spoilers. Who Mourns for Morn is a fun episode where we get to hear characters eulogizing Morn, giving him attributes contrary to what we have seen... for instance: Morn is apparently quite the conversationalist! This is a great standalone episode. Far Beyond the Stars is an excellent homage to pulp sci-fi. It’s one of the best written episodes of DS9. See more comments below, under Special Features. One Little Ship is DS9’s answer to Fantastic Voyage. Inquisition introduces us to Section 31. In the Pale Moonlight explores the darkness to which humanity will sink when confronted with impossible choices, as Sisko lies and puts people at risk to bring the Romulans into the war with the Dominion. This is one of the most compelling hours of television I’ve ever seen. Disc 1 A Time to Stand Rocks and Shoals Sons and Daughters Behind the Lines Disc 2 Favor the Bold Sacrifice of Angels You Are Cordially Invited Resurrection Disc 3 Statistical Probabilities The Magnificent Ferengi Waltz Who Mourns for Morn Disc 4 Far Beyond the Stars One Little Ship Honor Among Thieves Change of Heart Disc 5 Wrongs Darker than Death or Night Inquisition In the Pale Moonlight His Way Disc 6 The Reckoning Valiant Profit and Lace Time’s Orphan Disc 7 The Sound of Her Voice Tears of the Prophets SPECIAL FEATURES The Video I’m used to doing some copy & pasting in this section, from reviews of seasons past - since the seasons have been essentially the same in this department. This season, however, seems to show improvement in some areas. Images seem a bit brighter and sharper than in seasons past. And, some of the effects sequences seem sharper - quite noticeable alongside recycled flybys from seasons past. Some darker scenes still exhibit some occasional pixellation or drift. As before, colors are beautifully saturated. This is the best DS9 yet. The Audio The audio is as before: expansive forward soundfield with moderate use of surrounds and light use of LFE. About as aggressive as you will hear from TV product from this time-frame, but not nearly as open and aggressive as most film product. Special Features Be aware that viewing the special features may spoil some surprises that are in store for you if you are viewing DS9 for the first time. Don’t watch the special features until you have completed viewing the entire season. I have done my best to minimize spoilers in the review, but you may wish to read no further. Spoilers Ahead... Mission Inquiry: Far Beyond the Stars (8:49) Cast and crew react to the landmark episode, Far Beyond the Stars. The episode let the entire cast step out of character, and out of makeup, and offer up an homage to classic pulp sci-fi - and to the writers who often worked for little money and under pseudonyms to create it. The episode is not only great scifi, it is relevant social commentary. 24th Century Wedding (10:54) Ronald D. Moore, Terry Farrell, David Livingston and others talk about the marriage of Worf and Dax. Particularly interesting is the interview with Aron Eisenberg, discussing the finer points of Ferengi dancing. Crew Dossier: Julian Bashir (14:21) Alexander Siddig talks about the evolution of his character. Ira Steven Behr recognizes that Bashir was disliked by fans early on, and talks about developing the character, in part, via his friendship with Miles O’Brien, and the intrigue with Garak - not to mention the “Section 31” thread. Crew Dossier: Quark (16:00) Armin Shimerman talks about the evolution of his character “Quark,” and how he tried to make changes from the way the Ferengi were portrayed in TNG. The relationship between Odo and Quark is discussed. Sketchbook: John Eaves (9:16) Illustrations from season 6. Photo Gallery Indiana Jones Preview Trailer Section 31 01: Major spoiler: The death of Jadzia Dax 02: Nana Visitor talks of her character’s relationship with Cardassians 03: Nana Visitor on singing with “Vic Fontaine” 04: Ira Steven Behr on the lengthening story arcs 05: Iggy Pop is an alien 06: Rene Auberjonois on the “harumph” 07: Kira and Odo kiss... finally 08: David Livingston on “Change of Heart” 09: Marc Alaimo on Gul Dukat 10: Who mourns for Morn? Final Thoughts Deep Space Nine keeps getting better and better, and the presentation on DVD seems to have improved a bit, too. While I was only able to watch a handful of episodes, I also noticed that there are chapter stops after the opening credits... on all the episodes I screened. I can’t say that holds true for the entire season, but spot-checking about two thirds of the episodes bears that out. This season took bold strides in extending the arcs and advancing the Dominion thread, while also providing some excellent standalone stories. Recommended!