Star Trek Deep Space Nine - The Complete Seventh Season Studio: Paramount Year: 1998-99 Rated: NR Length: 19 Hrs 55 minutes Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Audio: DD 5.1 English English Subtitles Release Date: December 2, 2003 Warning: I’ve done my best to avoid spoilers for season 7 in this review. However, there are major spoilers for season 6 which may be inferred from this text. If you have not finished watching season 6, continue reading at your own risk. It is with sadness that I completed viewing season 7 of Deep Space Nine. The characters in this show were painted with such detail that they feel like friends. I will miss them. Each character has truly evolved over the years. I’ve never seen a show where that happened to this extent. Season 7 manages to continue the evolution of every character (and there are so many in DS9), sometimes to surprising degrees, while continuing to advance the war between the Dominion and the Federation Alliance - not to mention the war between the Prophets and the Pah-wraiths. Much planning went into the resolution of all of these threads, leading to a somewhat somber, yet satisfying conclusion to an exceptional television series. Here’s a sample of what you’ll find in Deep Space Nine, Season 7: The season opens with a multipart thread (Images in the Sand, Shadows and Symbols, Afterimage) that introduces us to Ezri Dax, and delivers a surprising revelation about Benjamin Sisko and his role as Emissary - it’s a real shocker for those who haven’t seen the series before. The fourth episode, Take Me Out to the Holosuite, is an enjoyable romp in the holosuite for a game of baseball. This is one of a few episodes that provide some lighthearted entertainment in season 7. Sisko is challenged to a game of baseball by a rival (a Vulcan), and so he enlists his entire, inexperienced senior staff for the contest. Treachery, Faith and the Great River begins to turn our attentions back to the Dominion War, when Weyoun offers to surrender to Odo. But not all is as it seems. There is a great subplot where Nog’s Ferengi trading skills come into play to help O’Brien out of a jam. Weyoun: Let’s just say I left Cardassia because my life was in danger. Odo: From whom? Weyoun: Everyone. Odo: Aren’t you being a little paranoid? Weyoun: Of course I’m paranoid -- everyone’s trying to kill me. Once More Unto the Breach is one of the best Klingon episodes of the series. Worf attempts to restore honor to Kor by helping him get assigned to battle duty, where he can die with honor in battle. Martok resists the plan. The Siege of AR-558 finds Sisko, Bashir, Quark, Ezri and Nog stuck in a ferocious battle - one with serious consequences for Nog, who sustains a serious injury. Covenant turns up the heat on the Prophet vs Pah-wraith plot, as Kira is kidnapped by the Covenant and confronts an old adversary. Field of Fire finds Ezri summoning former host Joran for help in solving a series of murders on DS9. In Chimera, Odo finds another lost Changeling. Badda-Bing Badda-Bang is an uproarious story set at Vic’s, in the holosuite. It seems that the Vic holo-program was written in such a way as to “shake things up” on occasion. Vic has been ousted from his casino by mobsters, and it’s up to the DS9 crew, in Ocean’s Eleven fashion, to set things straight by robbing the casino and framing the mobster. I usually don’t care a lot for holodeck / holosuite stories, but the Vic Fontaine stories (particularly this one) are a joy. Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges: Section 31 returns in this intriguing episode about political assassination. It isn’t the last we’ll hear from Section 31. Another thread begins with Penumbra and runs through several episodes: Worf is missing in action, and Ezri takes it upon herself to find him. This thread resolves issues between Ezri and Worf, while making Ezri aware of her affections for another crew member. Penumbra is also the start of the rally toward the end of the series, in what is essentially a ten part wrap-up of the war, and the conflict between the Prophets and the Pah-wraiths. There is so much that goes on in season 7, it is difficult to digest it all. The show takes daring strides that we’ve never seen in Star Trek before - and it doesn’t wait long before introducing these concepts, either(see Sisko’s life-changing revelation early in the season). It all boils down to a near perfect season... almost every episode is packed with information relevant to a character’s evolution, the resolution of the series, or both. There really isn’t a bad episode in the bunch, and several episodes could go up against the best from previous seasons. Some have been critical of the finale, but I found it fitting. Each character’s hanging threads are dealt with. It’s a somewhat somber end, and not everything is tied up in a nice little bow... but since when, in life, is everything tied in a nice little bow? The Video If I had to temper my enthusiasm at all for the Star Trek series on DVD, it would be because of the video quality. In my reviews of previous sets, I’ve compared each set against prior incarnations of Trek on DVD. Since most people interested in buying season “X” of a series on DVD have already seen the season prior to it on DVD, it seems logical. While Season 7 fares well in comparison to prior seasons, the franchise on DVD is somewhat of a disappointment, overall. All seasons have shown some softness, possibly due to some high frequency filtration to aid in compression. Grain and shadow detail have also been concerns on every release. The Next Generation sets also suffered from inconsistent color fidelity, but that hasn’t really been a problem with DS9. So... how is THIS season of Deep Space Nine? Pretty much like the rest. For every bright, sharp image, there is another scene in the same episode that is soft or otherwise lacking detail. For all its faults, the show looks better than I’ve ever seen in a broadcast. DVD is capable of, and demands better, however. That’s what it boils down to... it doesn’t look bad (in fact, it’s pretty good), but we all know it could look better. The Audio The audio, too, is comparable to earlier seasons. Mixed in Dolby Digital 5.1, the program delivers a decent surround experience for a show of its age. The dialog is consistently clear. Music (especially in the Vic Fontaine sequences) sounds quite nice, filling the front soundstage with excellent frequency response. The rears are used subtly, as is the LFE. Special Features Ending an Era (15:22) Rick Berman, Ira Steven Behr, Ronald D. Moore, Peter Lauritson, Gary Hutzel, Denise Okuda, Michael Okuda, Dan Curry, Alexander Siddig, Nana Visitor, and Colm Meaney discuss the ending of the “seven year canvas” that was Deep Space Nine. The process of unwinding the intricate tapestries that formed since the beginning of the series took two years, with great care that all the threads would be addressed, even if some ambiguities would remain. Interviews are from 1999 to 2002. Crew Dossier: Benjamin Sisko (13:03) Avery Brooks talks about his reasons for pursuing and accepting the role of Benjamin Sisko. The multifaceted role of military authority, spiritual leader and single father was a first for Star Trek. Brooks reveals that he thought seriously of leaving fairly early on in the series, but stayed to prove the point of commitment to his children. Ultimately, Brooks is proud of the work and association with the series, and happily took out of it a personal relationship with Cirroc Lofton. Ira Steven Behr and Penny Johnson contribute comments. Crew Dossier: Jake Sisko (10:09) Cirroc Lofton, interviewed early in the series and again in 1996 and 1999, talks about his character and his experiences “growing up” on DS9, both on the set and off. With comments from Ira Steven Behr, Terry Farrell, Aron Eisenberg, and Avery Brooks. The Last Goodbyes (14:13) Alexander Siddig, René Auberjonois, Nana Visitor, Ronald D. Moore, Chase Masterson and Ira Steven Behr talk about the last scene shot for the series, at Vic’s place (with behind-the-scenes footage of the shoot). Footage and interviews from other cast and crew at the wrap party follows. Photo Gallery Stills from some of the scenes in season seven, along with candid shots on the set make up this click-through gallery. Indiana Jones Trailer Section 31 Files 01: Marc Alaimo on his character “Gul Dukat” 02: Jeffery Combs on the six(!) characters he played on DS9 (not including clones) 03: Robert O’Reilly on his character “Gowron” 04: Louise Fletcher on her character “Kai Winn” 05: Penny Johnson on her character “Kasidy Yates” 06: Max Grodenchik on the role of “Rom” 07: J.G. Hertzler on “Martok,” Shakespeare, playing a Vulcan and being blown up. 08: Aron Eisenberg on “Nog” 09: Ira Steven Behr talks about bringing James Darren into the show as “Vic.” Final Thoughts Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is one of my favorite television series - ever. The seventh and final season really holds your interest with compelling plot and character developments throughout. My enthusiasm for this (and other Trek on DVD) is only slightly tempered by video quality that, while acceptable, really doesn’t stand out as a shining example of what TV shows can look like on DVD. Even though Star Trek: Deep Space Nine has a somewhat narrow appeal (its fan base is small but very vocal), I heartily recommend this show to the uninitiated. Try out season 1. Have patience through season 2. By the time the show finds its legs in season three, you’ll be hooked for sure. Season 7 is a commendable end to an outstanding series. Highly Recommended.