Five years into the run of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the powers that be at Paramount Studios wanted to launch a second series based in the Star Trek universe of the future.
Not wanting to have two series based on ships traveling the galaxy, the Star Trek creative staff instead launched a show which takes place on a space station orbiting the planet Bajor. To add a bit more to the story, the station is also at the opening of the galaxy’s first stable wormhole – a sort of shortcut in space between two points.
Deep Space Nine promised to be a very different series. Unlike the Starfleet vessels such as the Enterprise which was made up of mostly human crews, Deep Space Nine offered up a great deal of variety in different alien species. This was necessary in some ways to compensate for a setting that would stay the same from week to week.
At least, that was the intention in the beginning.
Deep Space Nine also boasted season-long and series-long story arcs. This was a first in series television, rivaled only at that time by the story arcs in another science fiction series, Babylon 5.
Commander Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks) is the Starfleet Officer sent to administer the Deep Space Nine space station after the Cardassian race leaves following its occupation of the station and the planet Bajor. He brings along his son Jake (Cirroc Lofton). His wife was killed by the Borg – and Captain Picard – in the battle of Wolf 359.
Kira Nerys (Nana Visitor) is the Bajoran envoy to the station. She is tough, having survived internment camps during the Cardassian occupation. She is also very wary of Federation involvement in the affairs of Bajorans.
Odo (Rene Auberjonois) is the shape-shifting constable of Deep Space Nine, charged with keeping the peace and keeping the merchants on the up-and-up.
Dr. Julian Bashir (Siddig El Fadil) is the young medical officer on the station. He is young and enthusiastic, and at times naieve.
Jadzia Dax (Terry Farrell) is a Trill. This is a species that consists of a humanoid host of the actual worm-like creature that is very long-lived. Benjamin Sisko knew Dax when he inhabited the body of a man and the two worked together.
Miles O’Brien ( Colm Meaney) is the one crewmember left on Deep Space Nine from the Enterprise. Transporter Chief there, here he is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the station.
Quark (Armin Shimerman) is the Ferengi owner of Quark’s Bar. It can only be described as a sort of nightclub. It has drinks, gambling, and holo-suites for fantasies of every kind.
This is the cast that begins the series. Along the way, there are additions to the regular cast, as well as many recurring characters added to the mix. It makes for a colorful canvas rich in character-driven stories.
The first season consists of only six discs. This is because it began midway through the television season rather than in September or October as many others do.
Disc One contains the episodes The Emissary, Past Prologue, and A Man Alone.
Disc Two contains the episodes Babel, Captive Pursuit, Q-Less, and Dax.
Disc Three contains the episodes The Passenger, Move Along Home, The Nagus, and Vortex.
Disc Four contains the episodes Battle Lines, The Storyteller, Progress, and If Wishes Were Horses.
Disc Five contains the episodes The Forsaken, Dramatis Personae, Duet, and In the Hands of the Prophets
Disc Six contains all of the Special Features.
The graphics and menus introducing these episodes are fantastic. There is a beautiful shot of the ship Defiant as it circles the Deep Space Nine space station. The menus are then overlayed on shots of the station from various angles.
Each episode is available in either 5.1 surround sound or Dolby surround sound. English subtitles are also available.
The Special Features which make up the final disc are a nice plus. Paramount’s either been reading my reviews or got the idea on their own to put a blurb on the case about each one of the features.
The first one, Deep Space Nine: A Bold Beginning talks with the producers and design teams about the creation of the series. It shows the evolution of the space station’s design, both overall and for the various sets used.
Crew Dossier: Kira Nerys talks with Nana Visitor and others about her character in the series. It covers not just the first season, but actually discusses her character over the course of the series.
Michael Westmore’s Aliens shows how the makeup designer for the series created some of the wide variety of aliens in the series and how the ideas came about. One thing I didn’t like here was that he talked about whenever he had a female alien, he didn’t want to “cover up her pretty face” and would tend towards an alien look that let their faces be seen. This struck me as highly sexist, and quite offensive if you think about it.
Secrets of Quark’s Bar talks about how the look to the bar was created and the unique way the props were secured that are seen there.
Alien Artifacts: Season One is a short bit about the other props used in the show.
Deep Space Nine Sketchbook is a piece with the senior illustrator showing how his sketches for props came to fruition during the first season.
There is also a still photo gallery.
In some ways, I have always liked Star Trek: Deep Space Nine better than Star Trek: The Next Generation. It’s a darker series overall, and doesn’t come off as too preachy or showing the future as everyone being perfect. This disc is worth it for the quality of the shows as well as the story background given.
The packaging is sleeker than it was for the Star Trek: The Next Generation boxed sets by season. It will take up less space in your cabinet as well as having its own distinctive look.
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