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As STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE progressed into its later seasons, it is easy to comprehend why this reviewer considers this TV series to be the superior Trek. The darker tone of this Trek series really comes into its own as the political intrigues of the Dominion War begins to play out. Season five opens with political instabilities in the alpha quadrant that could make it easier for the Dominion to gain a foothold on the other side of the wormhole. Also, character development continues to get richer across season five, with certain changes in a key character providing the opportunity to explore things from a different perspective. STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE- SEASON FIVE ($130) comes to DVD via Paramount Home Entertainment in a seven disc set, which offers all twenty six episodes that were broadcast during the fifth year.

Disc one contains the episodes Apocalypse Rising, The Ship, Looking for Par'March In All the Wrong Places, and ...Nor The Battle To The Strong. Apocalypse Rising finds Constable Odo (Rene Auberjonois) having to deal with the ramifications of his fellow changelings "judgment," while at the same time Captain Sisko (Avery Brooks) has to lead a covert mission to the Klingon home world to expose a Dominion plot. The Ship is concerned with a crashed Jem'Hadar warship, which Sisko hopes to retrieve for Starfleet intelligence; unfortunately another Jem'Hadar ship shows up looking for the downed vessel. Looking for Par'March In All the Wrong Places has traces of Cyrano de Bergerac when Quark (Armin Shimerman) is reunited with his Klingon ex-wife, while Commander Worf (Michael Dorn) coaching the Ferengi in a bit of Klingon romance. ...Nor The Battle To The Strong finds Jake Sisko (Cirroc Lofton) getting his first real taste of the horrors of war, when he and Dr. Bashir (Alexander Siddig) answer a distress call.

Disc two contains the episodes The Assignment, Trials And Tribble-ations, Let He Who Is Without Sin and Things Past. The Assignment finds Keiko O'Brien (Rosalind Chao) under the control of an alien entity and Chief O'Brien (Colm Meaney) a virtual pawn in the entity’s plot to destroy the Bajoran Prophets that reside in the wormhole. Trials And Tribble-ations pays homage to the original series, with a time travel story that takes the DS9 crew back to the days of Captain Kirk (William Shatner) and the Enterprise. Let He Who Is Without Sin takes Worf and Jadzia to Risa for a holiday where they can work on their burgeoning relationship; of course, internal and external complications abound. Things Past finds members of the DS9 reliving a past event through the eyes of Bajorans, at a time when the space station was under Cardassian control and Odo was given his first investigative assignment.

Disc three contains the episodes The Ascent, Rapture, The Darkness And The Light and The Begotten. In The Ascent, Odo and Quark crash land on a cold, mountainous planet and must climb to a higher altitude if they are to send an SOS with their malfunctioning communications equipment. Rapture finds Sisko trying to divine the whereabouts of lost Bajoran city, which brings on certain visions, which may spell out his fate and that of the planet Bajor. The Darkness And The Light requires a very pregnant Major Kira (Nana Visitor) to figure out who has been killing old friends from her days in the Bajoran resistance. The Begotten involves the discovery of an injured baby changeling, and Odo’s efforts to communicate with it, which are complicated by the arrival of the Bajoran scientist that first studied Odo.

Disc four contains the episodes For The Uniform, In Purgatory's Shadow, By Inferno's Light and Dr. Bashir, I Presume?. For The Uniform finds Sisko’s feelings of betrayal turning into an obsession, when a subordinate that abandoned Starfleet for the Maquis resurfaces, and then sabotages the Defiant’s computer systems. In Purgatory's Shadow brings the Dominion invasion of the Alpha Quadrant a step closer, when Cardassian "tailor" Garak (Andrew Robinson) receives a coded message from the Gamma Quadrant that could have only come from his old mentor. With By Inferno's Light the invasions of the Alpha Quadrant finally comes, with Gul Dukat (Marc Alaimo) announcing that Cardassia has formally become part of the Dominion, after months of secret negotiations. Dr. Bashir, I Presume? finds the DS9 doctor being selected as the template for a new medical hologram; however, the close scrutiny threatens to reveal Julian’s darkest secret.

Disc five contains the episodes A Simple Investigation, Business As Usual, Ties Of Blood And Water and Ferengi Love Songs. A Simple Investigation finds the usually "law and order" focused Constable Odo falling in love with a beautiful woman, who claims she is trying to leave the crime syndicate, for whom she has been working. It is anything but Business As Usual for Quark, who finds his financial future in jeopardy and in something of a moral dilemma, when an arms dealing family member offers to help him out. In Ties Of Blood And Water, Kira finds herself visited by a dying Cardassian, who wishes to pass on secrets that could prove damaging to the Cardassian/Dominion alliance. With Ferengi Love Songs, Quark returns to his home world to visit his mother, only to discover that she has become romantically involved with Grand Nagus Zek (Wallace Shawn).

Disc six contains the episodes Soldiers Of The Empire, Children Of Time, Blaze Of Glory and Empok Nor. Soldiers Of The Empire finds Worf serving on board a Klingon ship as first officer for a special mission; however, the odd behavior of the ship’s commander makes him question the Klingon officer’s fitness for duty. Children Of Time offers an interesting premise, in which a temporal anomaly takes the members of the DS9 crew two centuries into the future, where they meet their possible descendants- that is if they don’t find a way off of a planet on which they will crash. Blaze Of Glory finds the rebellious Maquis decimated by the joint Cardassian/Dominion forces and desperate enough to launch cloaked missiles at Cardassia. Empok Nor entails a mission to an abandoned Cardassian space station to find replacement parts for DS9; however, booby traps and other surprises lie in wait for the salvage team.

Disc seven contains the episodes In The Cards and Call To Arms. In The Cards brings the situation in the Alpha Quadrant closer to all out war, with representatives from the Dominion arriving on DS9 to negotiate a non-aggression pact with Kai Winn (Louise Fletcher), which will serve to protect Bajor from the fighting, but ultimately force the Federation to abandon the key vantage point near the wormhole. Call To Arms marks the official beginning to the Dominion war, with Cardassian/Dominion forces laying siege to DS9, after Starfleet authorizes a minefield on this side of the wormhole to prevent Dominion reinforcements from arriving from the Gamma Quadrant.

Paramount Home Entertainment has made all of the episodes from STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE- SEASON FIVE available on DVD in the proper full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. Season five appears pretty much on par with its predecessors, looking quite good for a television series shot on film, but having its special effects and postproduction work finished in the realm of video. The image itself generally appears reasonably sharp, not up to theatrical standards, but still pretty darn good. There is a bit of softness here and there, plus some of the darker scenes come up short in shadow detail, but overall, the DVDs far outshine broadcast and cable airings. Colors usually appear strong and pretty vibrant; there are some mild variations in the rendering of the hues, as well as a tiny bit of fuzziness. Blacks are accurate, whites are clean and contrast remains respectable at the broadcast television level. Even when four episodes are contained on a dual layer disc, digital compression artifacts never become particularly noticeable.

All the episodes that comprise STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE- SEASON FIVE feature soundtracks that have been upgraded to Dolby Digital 5.1 channel format, just as with the preceding seasons. I still think that STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE was a well-recorded television series for its era, although these tracks are somewhat limited by the necessities of television sound design. The forward soundstage is dominant, with good channel separation across the front. As for the rears, they are not particularly aggressive, but they do serve the material well, by providing ambient sounds, engine rumble and occasional active effects. Dialogue is always completely intelligible and the voices sound cleanly defined. The bass channel is solid enough, but is nowhere near as powerful as would be required for one to feel the deck plating vibrate. An English Dolby Surround soundtrack is also encoded onto the DVDs, as are English subtitles.

Full motion video, 3-D animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD’s nicely designed interactive menus, which utilize an interface reminiscent of DS9’s Cardassian designed computer systems. Supplemental materials are provided on the seventh disc of the set, and are similar to those offered in the preceding seasons. Trials and Tribble-ations: Uniting Two Legends is a seventeen-minute looks at this special 30th Anniversary Trek episode; this program features old and new interviews with cast and members of the production team. Trials and Tribble-ations: A Historic Endeavor runs sixteen minutes and examines the nuts and bolts of placing the DS9 characters in the same environment as the original cast from the episode The Trouble With Tribbles. Crew Dossier: Miles O’Brien is an eleven-minute look at the endearing "everyman" station engineer portrayed by Colm Meaney. Inside DS9 With Michael Okuda is a seven-minute look at show’s design, with special emphasis on the little "inside jokes" that were ever present. Michael Westmore's Aliens Season Five runs seven minutes, and in addition to the fifth season alien designs, the program looks at other special make-ups used for Dominion war storyline. A photo gallery is also present on disc seven, as are the usual array of Section 31 Hidden Files for Easter egg hunters.

Paramount has done their usual terrific job with STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE- SEASON FIVE; offering presentations that outclass syndicated broadcasts. This set also features some really nice supplements that will be of interest to Trek fans. Season five really begins to ramp up the actions and political intrigues of the series- thus showing why it is the best of all Treks. If you are a longtime fan, or someone just getting into the show for the first time, STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE- SEASON FIVE is a must have DVD for any Trek collection. I know I’m looking forward to the even more intriguing sixth season of this wonderful show…



Star Trek Deep Space Nine - The Complete Fifth Season (1997)


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2003 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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