STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE
It is during the seventh and final season that STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE achieves true greatness, even though I’ve been saying that the show has been great since its very first episode. Unlike the episodic nature of the rest of the series that were created under the Star Trek moniker, DEEP SPACE NINE featured a continually evolving storyline that was building to a rather grand conclusion. Sure, there were plenty of standalone episodes during the seven years, but for the most part, STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE told a bigger, more epic like story than its other Trek counterparts.
Additionally, this series was darker than the others and wasn’t afraid to mix philosophy and spirituality into its brand of science fiction storytelling. STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE also had the most well rounded Trek characters, displaying the kind of flaws that made them seem a bit more real than the other idealized entities zipping around the universe created by Gene Roddenberry. Concluding with all the really big payoffs that fans have been anticipating across the preceding six years, STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE- SEASON SEVEN ($130) comes to DVD via Paramount Home Entertainment in a seven disc set, which offers all twenty six episodes that were broadcast during the seventh year.
Disc one contains the episodes Image In The Sand, Shadows And Symbols, Afterimage and Take Me Out To The Holosuite. Image In The Sand finds Captain Sisko (Avery Brooks) back on Earth trying to figure out how to reestablish contact with the Bajoran Prophets and reopen the wormhole. Shadows And Symbols introduces the character of Ezri Dax (Nicole deBoer), the new host of the Dax symbiont, who joins Sisko in his quest to find the Orb of the Emissary, a mystical artifact, which should allow the captain to make contact with the Bajoran Prophets. Afterimage finds Ezri having to deal with the memories of the past lives contained in the Dax symbiont, while at the same time helping a severely claustrophobic Garak (Andrew Robinson), who has become instrumental in the war effort by decoding Cardassian messages. Take Me Out To The Holosuite takes a break from the Dominion War, with this episode that focuses on Sisko taking on an old Starfleet Academy rival in a game of baseball.
Disc two contains the episodes Chrysalis, Treachery, Faith And The Great River, Once More Unto the Breach and The Siege of AR-558. In Chrysalis, Dr. Bashir (Alexander Siddig) undertakes the task of devising a new therapy that would help bring a genetically engineered young woman out of her catatonic state. Treachery Faith And The Great River finds Constable Odo (Rene Auberjonois) lured to a rendezvous, only to discover that Weyoun (Jeffery Combs) has decided to defect from the Dominion. In Once More Unto the Breach, legendary Klingon figure Kor (John Colicos) comes to Worf (Michael Dorn) with a request- interceded on his behalf with General Martok (J.G. Hertzler), so the aging warrior may taste the glory of battle once more. The Siege of AR-558 finds the Defiant bringing supplies to the front lines, where Sisko decides to remain, to assist the entrenched Starfleet soldiers until their relief arrives.
Disc three contains the episodes Covenant, It's Only A Paper Moon, Prodigal Daughter and The Emperor's New Cloak. In Covenant, Colonel Kira (Nana Visitor) is spirited away to an abandoned Cardassian station, where she discovers that Gul Dukat (Marc Alaimo) has become the spiritual leader to a group that worships the Pah-wraiths- enemies to the Bajoran Prophets. It's Only A Paper Moon finds Nog (Aron Eisenberg) loosing himself in a Holosuite simulation, while recuperating from the injuries he sustained in battle. Prodigal Daughter has Ezri returning home to her family, as part of a mission to track down Chief O'Brien (Colm Meaney), who disappeared in the same system as her family’s mining operations. The Emperor's New Cloak finds Ferengi Grand Nagus Zek (Wallace Shawn) held prisoner in the mirror universe, with Quark (Armin Shimerman) and Rom (Max Grodenchik) needing to mount a rescue mission that entails stealing a cloaking device.
Disc four contains the episodes Field of Fire, Chimera, Badda-Bing Badda-Bang and Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges. In Field of Fire, Ezri calls upon the memories of a past Dax symbiont host to assist her in a murder investigation. Chimera features the arrival of another changeling like Odo, not part of the Dominion, but one of the hundred newborns of their kind that were sent out into the universe on a mission of discovery. Badda-Bing Badda-Bang finds Vic Fontaine (James Darren), the leading character of the crew’s favorite holosuite program, facing extermination at the hands of the mob figure, who just purchased his 1960’s era Las Vegas casino. Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges marks another appearance of Section Thirty-one operative Sloan (William Sadler), who enlists Bashir’s services on a mission to the Romulan home world, which may involve the assassination of a key Romulan government figure.
Disc five contains the episodes Penumbra, 'Til Death Do Us Part, Strange Bedfellows and The Changing Face of Evil. In Penumbra, Ezri goes in search of a missing Worf, while Sisko asks Kasidy Yates (Penny Johnson) to be his wife. 'Til Death Do Us Part marks an appearance of Kai Winn (Louise Fletcher), who is duped by the Bajoran appearance of a surgically altered Gul Dukat, while at the same time, Sisko’s nuptials are in jeopardy because the prophets have warned him not to marry, and finally, the Breen enter into an alliance with the Dominion. Strange Bedfellows finds Ezri and Worf facing death at the hands of the Dominion; Kai Winn is seduced by the disguised Dukat, which leads to a destiny altering vision from the Pah-wraiths, plus Cardassian leader Damar (Casey Biggs) doesn’t see much of a future for his people in the new Breen/Dominion alliance. In The Changing Face of Evil, Starfleet Command on Earth is attacked by Dominion; the Federation learns they have allies on the Cardassian home world, and Dukat convinces Kai Winn to release the imprisoned Pah-wraiths from the fire cave on Bajor.
Disc six contains the episodes When It Rains..., Tacking Into The Wind, Extreme Measures and The Dogs Of War. When It Rains... finds Damar leading rebel attacks against the Dominion on Cardassia Prime with Kira serving as a Federation advisor; Bashir concludes that Odo is suffering from the same disease that is killing his fellow changelings in the Dominion; Kai Winn begins studying the forbidden text of the Kosst Amojan to learn how to free the evil Pah-wraiths. In Tacking Into The Wind, Kira, Garak and Damar undertake a covert mission to steal Breen/Dominion weaponry, while Worf challenges a corrupt Chancellor Gowron (Robert O'Reilly) for the leadership of the Klingon people. Bashir and O’Brien are forced to take Extreme Measures against Section Thirty-one operative Sloan to find a cure for the dying Odo. The Dogs Of War finds the Dominion’s power base collapsing as they retreat into Cardassian space, while at the same time Sisko’s new wife announces a blessed event.
Disc seven contains the episodes What You Leave Behind, Part I and What You Leave Behind, Part II. What You Leave Behind, Part I finds the Cardassian people revolting against the Dominion; the Federation prepares for an all out assault against the combined Breen/Dominion forces; Kai Winn and Dukat enter the Bajoran fire caves to free the Pah-wraiths. In What You Leave Behind, Part II, the final battle comes to Cardassia; Odo meets with the dying Female Changeling (Salome Jens) to convince her to end the war; Sisko, in his role as Emissary of the Bajoran Prophets, faces off one final time against Dukat, who has been empowered by the recently freed the Pah-wraiths.
Paramount Home Entertainment has made all of the episodes from STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE- SEASON SEVEN available on DVD in the proper full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. While this final set looks as good as its predecessors, it has the same visual inconsistencies that one would associate with a television series shot on film, but having its special effects and postproduction work finished in the analog video realm. In general, the image appears pretty sharp and nicely defined; although the crispness of the image is always at the television level and does not approach the look of a theatrical production. There are some soft looking shots within every episode, but these are due to the show’s production techniques. Colors are fairly vibrant, although there is a bit of fuzziness in some of the stronger hues. Blacks appear pretty accurate, although shadow detail can be a bit truncated in darker scenes. Whites are stable and contrast is good, although it always remains at the broadcast television level. Even with four episodes on a dual layer disc, digital compression artifacts are always very well contained.
All the episodes that comprise STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE- SEASON SEVEN feature soundtracks that have been upgraded to Dolby Digital 5.1 channel format, as were the preceding six seasons. Sound quality is rather good, owing to the fact that STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE was a well-recorded television series for its era. Certainly, these are not theatrical caliber sound mixes, since accommodations had to be made to the limitations of the broadcast medium. Overall, the sound mixes are strong across the forward soundstage, while the rear channels provide ambient sounds, engine rumble and occasionally active sound effects. Battle sequences provide reasonable punch for their broadcast origins, with the bass channel coming across in a fairly solid manner. Dialogue is always completely intelligible and the voices sound very cleanly defined. Music comes across very nicely; especially the holosuite sequences in which James Darren performs pop standards. 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 computer systems. Supplemental materials are provided on the seventh disc of the set, and are generally similar in scope to those featured in the preceding season sets. Ending An Era is a fifteen-minute program that looks at how STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE wrapped up all of its major storylines that had been developing across its seven year run. Crew Dossier: Benjamin Sisko runs thirteen minutes and features interview footage with Avery Brooks, who discusses his role in the series and added benefits that he took from the Trek experience. Crew Dossier: Jake Sisko clocks in at ten minutes and features an interview with Cirroc Lofton, who talks about growing up in front of the cameras. The Last Goodbyes is a fifteen-minute look at filming the final scene and the following wrap party for the series. A photo gallery is also present on disc seven, as are the usual array of Section 31 Hidden Files for Easter egg hunters.
STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE was and is the finest series to bear the Trek moniker, with season seven proving that point beyond a shadow of a doubt. Paramount does their usual splendid job with STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE- SEASON SEVEN; with this final set offering the kind of presentations that continue to outshine typical syndicated broadcasts. Absolutely recommended.
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