Paramount // 1997 // 1170 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Eric Profancik (Retired) // November 11th, 2003
"It's a long story."
"Those are the best kind."
Think of it. Five years ago, no one had ever heard of Bajor or Deep Space 9 and now, all our hopes rest here.
And coming into its fifth season, Star Trek: Deep Space 9 is at full stride. With its arc solidly defined and with its impressive ensemble of characters, DS9 boldly did go where no Trek show had gone before. It's unlike any other series in the franchise, and it broke the Trek mold and successfully blazed a new vision. Though not as widely successful as its predecessor nor as disliked as its successor, DS9 has never received the credit it has rightly deserved. With the Next Generation movies most likely finished, quiet murmurings leak out of possible ideas of the Voyager cast helming the next movie. There's even occasional talk about an Enterprise movie being next. But never, ever does a hopeful fan hear that DS9 may be next in line for that privilege.
And that is a shame, for of all the shows, DS9 is the most richly textured, offering far more possibilities than any of the others. And, though we'll "not know" for two more seasons, the series finale didn't answer all of the questions.
As mentioned in my review of the fourth season of the show, I have joyously watched every episode in order as they've been released on DVD. Though it was the weakest, watching that first season was so completely refreshing. I had forgotten how different this show was -- different and better. DS9 is the last of the great Trek shows. Everything since has yet to meet our expectations.
Do they still sing songs of the Great Tribble Hunt?
This seven-disc collection contains all 26 episodes from the fifth season of Deep Space 9.
With the revelation that Gowron is a Changling, Sisko, Worf, O'Brien, and Odo are sent by Starfleet to Ty'Gokor to prove to the Klingons that their leader isn't a Solid.
SPECIAL MOMENT: An inside joke for fans when Kira points to her pregnant belly and proclaims to Bashir, "This is all your fault."
While exploring the Gamma Quadrant, Sisko discovers a crashed Jem'Hadar ship. As they begin salvage operations, another Jem'Hadar ship arrives, and it's a battle to lay claim to the downed vessel -- and its valuable and secret cargo.
"Looking for par'Mach in All the Wrong Places"
Grilka, Quark's ex-wife, returns to the station, and Worf is instantly enraptured and attempts to court her. Elsewhere on the station, O'Brien and Kira realize that they're getting too comfortable with one another.
...".Nor the Battle to the Strong"
On a remote outpost, the Klingons have launched a massive ground assault. Bashir and Jake pick up a distress call and go to lend medical assistance. Jake is writing an article about Bashir, and he believes this side-trip will make his article better. But upon arrival, Jake forgets about the article as he realizes he isn't as courageous as he thought.
Keiko is possessed by an alien intelligence, forcing O'Brien to make special modifications to DS9.
SPECIAL MOMENT: Rom's character has completed the most dramatic change of any of the regulars on the show. He's gone from total nitwit to engineering genius.
"Trials and Tribble-ations"
The Orb of Time sends Sisko and his crew back in time where they encounter Kirk on Deep Space Station K-7 during the infamous Sherman's Planet incident. Sisko has to unravel a plot to kill Kirk without altering the timeline.
SPECIAL MOMENT: A mind boggling and phenomenal 30th Anniversary tribute to Star Trek.
"Let He Who Is Without Sin..."
Worf and Dax have arranged a little vacation to Risa, but their plans are changed when Quark, Bashir, and Lyta tag along for the ride. Worf has been very grumpy as of late, and he doesn't like Risa. But when he gets there and meets up with a group of people who think the Federation is too soft, he joins up and helps them prove their point.
SPECIAL MOMENT: Vanessa Williams in a swimsuit. Chase Masterson in a swimsuit. Terry Farrell in a swimsuit.
A spatial anomaly causes Sisko's, Odo's, Garak's, and Dax's "minds" to travel back in time to when DS9 was still Terok Nor. While there, Odo is forced to relive a moment when he made the worst decision of his life.
Nog has returned to DS9 for his coursework in Field Studies, and he and Jake move in together, but they quickly realize they don't have as much in common anymore. Elsewhere, Odo is transporting Quark to a trial when their shuttle is sabotaged. The two struggle and have to work together to survive on the frozen tundra.
On the eve of Bajor's acceptance into the Federation, the Cardassians return a painting of the lost city of Bahala -- the only proof the city ever existed. Sisko is intrigued and tries to unravel the secret of the city lost for thousands of years. To no surprise to the people of Bajor, he succeeds. As a result of the work, Sisko begins to have powerful visions and makes a startling announcement that will affect the Federation and all of Bajor.
SPECIAL MOMENT: The new gray and black uniforms are introduced.
"The Darkness and the Light"
Kira's past once again catches up with her, as a mysterious assassin begins to target members of her former resistance cell.
A baby Changling is found, and Odo immediately begins to take care of it. In due course, Dr. Mora, the Bajoran scientist who studied the "baby" Odo, comes on board to be of assistance. Elsewhere, Kira gives birth to the O'Brien child.
SPECIAL MOMENT: Odo's character grows as he comes to terms with his past and his perceptions of Dr. Mora.
"For the Uniform"
Sisko is in hot pursuit of Michael Eddington, and the two work to keep one step ahead of each other. But it would seem that Eddington knows Sisko too well and will continue to evade the determined Starfleet Captain.
SPECIAL MOMENT: Millions of young men finally learn about Les Miserables without reading the book or seeing the Broadway play.
"In Purgatory's Shadow"
A mysterious encoded message from the Gamma Quadrant is received at DS9. Enlisting the assistance of Mr. Garak, it's determined to be an SOS from Enabran Tain, who survived the foolish Cardassian-Romulan attack on the Founders' homeworld. Worf and Garak are dispatched to recon the source of the transmission, but they end up making a terrible discovery.
SPECIAL MOMENT: The slow buildup is paying off with hints at a possible invasion. And, the Founders really are everywhere!
"By Inferno's Light"
While Worf and Garak work to escape from the Dominion, they find many a surprising ally also jailed in their detention block. In the interim, Cardassia has joined the Dominion and they want their space station back. All signs point to an imminent attack.
"Doctor Bashir, I Presume?"
Dr. Zimmerman, the creator of the Emergency Medical Hologram, has decided that Dr. Bashir would make the perfect template for Version 2.0, a long-term Holodoctor. Against Julian's wishes, Dr. Zimmerman brings Bashir's parents to the station for an interview, which eventually reveals a remarkable secret about the young doctor.
SPECIAL MOMENT: Alexander Siddig gives his finest and deepest performance as the good doctor.
"A Simple Investigation"
Odo falls in love with a mysterious woman who is at the center of a murder investigation. Is she as innocent as she appears, or is she cleverly manipulating the Constable?
SPECIAL MOMENT: Odo gets his groove on for the first time!
"Business as Usual"
Quark's cousin Gaila comes to Deep Space 9 with an offer to help Quark get free of all his debts -- all he has to do is help sell weapons. Things go well until Quark begins to think like a hew-mon.
"Ties of Blood and Water"
Leget Ghemor, the Cardassian who was led into believing Kira was his long-lost daughter, is dying. He comes to DS9 to be with the only "family" he has ever known, and he decides to share all of his secrets with Kira before he dies.
SPECIAL MOMENT: Kira is back in shape after giving birth and is back in her tight-fitting uniform.
"Ferengi Love Songs"
As Rom and Lyta announce their plans to marry, Quark is depressed and decides to return to Ferenginar to see his Moogie. While there, he is stunned to learn Moogie and Grand Nagus Zek are secretly seeing each other. But Brunt of the FCA knows, and he wants Quark to end the relationship.
SPECIAL MOMENT: A cute nod to fans and collectors as Quark is chastised for taking his Marauder Ferengi action figure out of the original packaging, thereby reducing its resale value.
"Soldiers of the Empire"
General Martok is given command of the Klingon vessel Rotarran, a ship with severe morale problems. The crew has lost every single battle with the Dominion and the tension is rising as Martok and Worf attempt to rescue a damaged Klingon cruiser in Cardassian space.
"Children of Time"
While investigating some unusual energy patterns on a planet, the crew of the Defiant is surprised to find a colony of 8000 people. Upon investigating, it is discovered that they are all descendants of the Defiant crew. In two days, when they are going to leave, a spatial anomaly will cause them to travel back in time two hundred years and crash on the planet, and they will not be able to escape. Now Sisko must decide if he will change history and erase the colony or maintain the timeline and sacrifice his crew.
"Blaze of Glory"
A message from the Maquis is intercepted that it is meant for their former leader, Michael Eddington. It turns out the remaining Maquis have armed up to thirty missiles with biogenic weapons, cloaked them, and sent them to Cardassia. Sisko is forced to work with Eddington to prevent the plan from succeeding and leading the quadrant to certain war.
SPECIAL MOMENT: Space Station Regula I from Star Trek II makes a cameo appearance.
The plasma manifold on DS9 has broken down and cannot be replicated. It's up to O'Brien and his crew to go to the recently abandoned Empok Nor to retrieve that station's manifold. Once there, the crew accidentally awakens a group of Cardassians who will stop at nothing to kill the trespassers.
"In the Cards"
Morale on board the space station has plummeted due to mounting losses in the growing conflict with the Dominion. By chance, Jake learns that a mint condition 1951 Willie Mays baseball card is up for auction at Quarks. In trying to win the item, Jake and Nog find themselves in the midst of a mounting crisis, for Weyoun is aboard trying to negotiate with Bajor to join the Dominion.
SPECIAL MOMENT: "Lions, Geigers, and bears. Oh my!"
"Call to Arms"
It is imminent: the Dominion is about to launch an assault on the Federation. To stop any further reinforcements, Sisko mines the entrance to the wormhole. But will they be able to finish before the Dominion arrives?
SPECIAL MOMENT: A magnificent shot of a huge Federation Fleet ready to take on the Dominion.
You've come a long way from the naïve young man I met five years ago. You've become distrustful and suspicious. It suits you.
One of the things that stood out for me while viewing DS9 this time around has been watching the growth and development of our characters -- and this is another facet where DS9 is different from all other incarnations of Trek. DS9 really did make an attempt to have the characters grow and mature over the course of the seven seasons. The obvious example of this is Doctor Bashir. In the first episode, he's almost kicked in his butt by Major Kira for insulting her home planet. Bashir is introduced to us as a very green, extremely naïve, and overly enthusiastic young man fresh from Starfleet Academy. Over the ensuing years, Bashir slowly matures into a capable, rational, confident man. Everything about him matures: he no longer chases after Dax, his best friend is O'Brien, and he's thoroughly respected and trusted by his peers. This type of progress is obvious in Bashir, but it's also evident in the rest of the characters as well, and it adds depth and richness to the Trek universe. I've been known to comment on character development in my TNG DVD reviews, but this is so much more than that. This is an honest and authentic attempt to make the characters as realistic and "human" as possible.
As an offshoot of this, there's something else that really struck me the second time around: the strong father-son bond between Benjamin and Jake Sisko. I have been very moved and impressed with the wonderful and touching relationship developed here. There seems to be genuine emotion when the two interact; there's an almost natural chemistry between the two, which probably isn't too far from the truth, considering Cirroc Lofton's age in the first season. The beauty of their relationship was magnificently showcased in the season four episode "The Visitor." But it didn't end there, and it continues to grow through this season as well.
And all of these wonderful characters are enmeshed in an intriguing story arc that has slowly expanded over the years. Taking a(nother) cue from Babylon 5, the Dominion is always lurking in the background. Slowly, the tension has mounted and it seems inevitable that a full-scale war will break out. But the clues as to how it will all happen and who will be involved are still a mystery. With such ambiguity in the story arc, DS9 compelled viewers to tune in on a weekly basis -- not just to revisit their favorite "universe," not just to revisit old friends, but to see how it would all play out. Viewers were captivated and drawn into the series.
In yet another batch of DVDs from Paramount, there are no surprises left. After seven seasons of TNG and five seasons of DS9, you can recite the specs and features with your eyes closed because you know exactly what to expect. The full frame video is a carbon copy of years past, with adequate and average colors, definition, and detail. I have noticed a spot more shimmering in this batch than other years, but I attribute that more to pressing errors than any significant transfer errors. But lo and behold, contrary to what I just asserted, there are some surprises in this latest release. Much to my immense joy, two things are immensely better. The first are the special effects. On this release, I found the SFX shots to be sharper, more vibrant, and "realistic." While it would be nice to attribute this to the transfers, it's certainly more a result of a shift to CGI technology. The second surprise is the audio. From the first seconds of "Apocalypse Rising," I could hear a difference. It was unlike any of the past eleven releases, for the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix was closer to the definition of the technology: all five speakers were being utilized more effectively. You could hear more from around you, immersing you in the environment. I'm finally able to say that this is the mix I've been waiting two years for. Thank you.
The extras return to the formula and do not have any delightful surprises. In fact, aside from the saving grace of two featurettes on the fantastic episode "Trials and Tribble-ations," this group of bonus materials is practically dreadful. The full menu of extras are: "Trials and Tribble-ations" -- Uniting Two Legends (16.5 minutes); "Trial and Tribble-ations" -- An Historic Endeavour (16 minutes); Crew Dossier -- Miles O'Brien (11 minutes); Inside DS9 with Michael Okuda (7 minutes); Michael Westmore's Aliens (7 minutes); a photo gallery; a preview of the Indiana Jones DVD set, and the usual "hidden" Section 31 Files. As I mentioned, the two "Tribble" featurettes are the best, with the "Historic" one being more technically focused and thus more enjoyable for me. The segment with Okuda is also interesting, but it's over far too soon.
Par for the course, the bonus materials really lack what the fans want. We continue to clamor and dream of just one commentary track, a text track, deleted scenes, gag reels, or a meaty feature on the series. Maybe next series we'll be so lucky.
I have two minor-major quibbles I need to let loose. The first is the lack of consistency in the placement of the beginning of chapter two for each episode. Roughly seven times out of ten, when you hit the chapter skip to skip the opening titles, it works. You are placed at the correct spot. However, for some inconceivable reason, the other thirty percent of the time the beginning of chapter two is not at the end of the credits. It's just annoying to skip ahead then have to rewind. Couldn't they have just been consistent with chapter two? And this is not an isolated season five problem; it's been going on all along.
Next, I've always been extremely annoyed by the fact that no DS9 episode addresses the fact that Worf took the Defiant to battle the Borg, as shown in Star Trek First Contact. We know there had to be some conference, some discussion, and some decision to do this. Further, there had to be ramifications arising from the ship being pummeled during the conflict. But, to have only one fleeting reference (...".and recent Borg attacks...") during "In Purgatory's Shadow"? That's not good enough. What would have been so hard to expand the conversation? Why not bring some continuity between the two? An obvious and silly "oversight."
Tell our friends out there to stand down. Armageddon will have to wait for another day.
Though disc five of this set is a bit slow, it's a ton of fun to plow your way through every episode of this overlooked series. Great stories, great characters, great action, great drama...DS9 has it all. If you happen to have twenty free hours, or even 140 free hours, then sit down, cook up a whole lot of popcorn, and prepare to be entertained. Deep Space 9 is a show that absolutely deserves to be watched: it is immensely enjoyable, it demands your attention, and it will make you realize how dull the Trek universe has become since this show left the airwaves. I've just finished watching "A Call to Arms," and I simply cannot wait for the sixth season discs to arrive in the mail. That's how good this show is -- you simply cannot wait for the next episode. You crave what's next; you want more.
If you have the money, go out and buy this series. It will not disappoint you at all. If you're lacking funds, then find a friend who's lucky enough to own the collection. Sit back, relax, and become involved with these people and their universe. You'll be richly rewarded for your time.
Though the extras are routine and border on dull, the series itself far outweighs any negatives one might find. I hereby find Star Trek: Deep Space 9 innocent of all charges.
Review content copyright © 2003 Eric Profancik; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
Running Time: 1170 Minutes
Release Year: 1997
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* "Trials and Tribble-ations" -- Uniting Two Legends
* "Trial and Tribble-ations" -- An Historic Endeavour
* Crew Dossier -- Miles O'Brien
* Inside DS9 with Michael Okuda
* Michael Westmore's Aliens
* Photo Gallery
* Indiana Jones DVD Preview
* "Hidden" Section 31 Files
* Official Site