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PARAMOUNT HOME VIDEO

MOVIE INFO
Synopsis:
See review for episodes

Director:
Various
Cast:
Avery Brooks, Rene Auberjonois, Nicole de Boer, Michael Dorn, Terry Farrell, Cirroc Lofton, Colm Meaney, Armin Shimerman, Siddig El Fadil, Nana Visitor
Writing Credits:
Various

MPAA:
Not Rated.

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
7-Disc set
Fullscreen 1.33:1
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Dolby Surround
Subtitles:
English
Closed-captioned

Runtime: 1181 min.
Price: $129.99
Release Date: 10/7/2003

Bonus:
• “Trials and Tribbleations: Uniting Two Legends” Featurette
• “Trials and Tribbleations: A Historic Endeavor” Featurette
• “Crew Dossier: Miles O’Brien” Featurette
• “Michael Westmore’s Aliens: Season Five” Featurette
• “Inside Deep Space Nine With Mike Okuda” Featurette
• Photo Gallery


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EQUIPMENT
Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


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

Disc Five

A mystery woman appears on DS9 in A Simple Investigation. Arissa (Dey Young) comes in search of some special crystal, and Odo immediately falls for her. He attempts to help her while they also develop a relationship.

“Simple” provides way too much soap opera than I’d like. It seems inevitable that Arissa will break Odo’s heart in some way, and the show provides a meandering and uninteresting mystery plot. It’s a lackluster show.

Quark finds a new outlet to make money in Business As Usual. When he drowns in debt, his cousin Gaila (Josh Pais) offers him a way out: join with smuggler Hagath (Steven Berkoff) to sell arms. This goes well, and they even figure out how to do it without violating laws. However, this earns him the animosity of the Starfleet personnel and causes him to worry in case he cheeses off the volatile Hagath.

Yes, “Business” provides yet another heavily character-oriented show. Quark has to deal with his conscience when he sees the consequences of his sales. The program works fairly well for what it is, but I must admit I’m getting impatient to see the Dominion war develop; it remains odd that we watched such a huge change in that status a few programs ago and haven’t heard a whit about it since then.

We hearken back to Season Three’s “Second Skin” in Ties of Blood and Water. In that episode, Kira was used by the Cardassians to impersonate the daughter of a dissident leader. He never got back his real daughter, but he established a bond with Kira. Tekeny Ghemor (Lawrence Pressman) led the Bajoran dissident movement against the Cardassian Central Command, and Kira wants him to help the Federation fight Gul Dukat’s new government. Unfortunately, he has a terminal disease, so he seems like a poor choice for this role. Ghemor wants to follow an old Cardassian tradition and pass his memories to a family member; since Kira’s the closest thing, he wants her for the job. This will give the Federation scads of potentially useful insights, but she’s not sure she wants to do it due to issues connected to her own father’s demise.

Boy, talk about a soap opera episode! A surrogate father with a terminal disease makes this show potentially sappy, and when Dukat introduces the prospect he can deliver the location of Ghemor’s daughter, it turns downright mushy. Though it does help further the plot via the Cardassian insights, it remains pretty gooey and emotional overall.

When he feels depressed at the start of Ferengi Love Songs, Quark goes to visit his mother (Cecily Adams). When he settles into his old room, he finds Grand Nagus Zek (Wallace Shawn) hidden in the closet. It turns out that he and Quark’s “Moogie” are having a love affair, and this causes controversy. In the meantime, back at DS9 Rom and Leeta plan their nuptials, but these run into some cultural clashes.

The first strike against “Songs” comes from the absence of Andrea Martin, the originator of the Moogie role. She’s a terrific talent, and Adams fails to bring the same level of life to the role. In addition, we’ve gotten an awful lot of Ferengi-based shows lately. They need a break, as “Songs” seems a little tired.

Disc Six

When a Klingon ship goes missing in Soldiers of the Empire, General Martok gets the command to try to find it. He recruits Worf to help. Behind Worf’s back, Dax comes along as the ship’s science officer.

“Empire” takes an unusual viewpoint, as it examines fearful Klingons. Beaten repeatedly, the crew of the ship lack the usual sense of adventure and pride, so Worf needs to deal with this. Those elements make “Empire” reasonably intriguing and entertaining.

On their return home from a reconnaissance mission, the crew encounters some mysterious lifeform readings in Children of Time. When they zip through the atmosphere toward this planet, Kira gets zapped by energy but seems okay. The crew beam down to the sparsely populated planet Gaia. It turns out that when they try to leave, the ship will go back 200 years and crash-land. The survivors will start their own society, and that means all the inhabitants are actually the crew’s descendants. The crew try to figure out how to leave and avoid this crash but also keep the society in place.

Geez, just thinking about the convoluted plot gives me a headache! It’s a gimmicky show with a sporadically confused story. The show also features some soap opera elements as the alternate Odo reveals his long-lasting love to Kira, who died on his planet years earlier. Despite the bizarre intricacies, I must admit “Time” has some powerful elements, as it explores its subject in a nicely introspective way.

It appears that the Maquis launched some cloaked missiles toward the Cardassians in Blaze of Glory. This could spark a massive war, so Sisko and the others need to find and halt the missiles. Sisko recruits an unusual ally in this quest: captured traitor Eddington. He refuses to cooperate, but Sisko must have his help, so he brings him along anyway and does his best to persuade Eddington to do the right thing.

As seen with the episodes that pair Kira and Cardassians, DS9 loves its situations in which enemies must join forces, and “Blaze” presents a pretty typical entry in that genre. Still, it’s a fairly good one, largely because of the ever-intriguing character of Eddington. He remains a shifty and interesting personality, and it’s fun to see him go one-on-one with Sisko.

When some parts of DS9 go on the blink, some crewmembers head to an abandoned station called Empok Nor for replacements. Did I say “abandoned”? Apparently not, for after the staff – along with Garak to help them avoid Cardassian booby-traps – awaken a resident, they fight for their lives against some nasty genetically altered beings.

“Nor” plays more like a remake of Alien than an episode of DS9. Not that I regard that as a bad thing necessarily. “Nor” boasts a tone that seems darker and more intense than normal, and it provides a fairly taut little horror story. Yeah, parts of it seem quite predictable, especially given the higher-than-normal complement of anonymous – and expendable – crew on the mission. Nonetheless, it’s a lively and entertaining show.

Disc Seven

Tensions seem high on DS9 at the outset of In the Cards. A war with the Dominion looks like it might happen sooner than later, and Kai Winn (Louise Fletcher) comes aboard the station to meet with one of their representatives to safeguard Bajor. In the meantime, Jake tries to obtain a recently discovered Willie Mays rookie card for his dad, and despite some setbacks, he and partner Nog won’t give up easily. The pair get more than they bargained for when they meet up with Dr. Giger (Brian Markinson), the card’s purchaser, and a scientist with a plan to defeat death.

Jake-centric episodes usually bite, but this one’s different enough to be entertaining. At times it feels like a self-conscious attempt at some levity before the inevitable season-ending Big Program, but it succeeds nonetheless. It also helps advance the big picture with the issues between the Dominion and Bajor.

Season Five comes to a close with Call to Arms. More and more Dominion ships keep plowing through the wormhole, so the Federation decides to mine that domain to stop them. Not surprisingly, this provokes a negative response from the Dominion even before the next convoy heads through, so Sisko needs to deal with a confrontation from their envoy. This fails to defuse tensions, so the Federation officially finds itself at war with the Dominion.

All I can say is it’s about time! Ever since we first heard about the Dominion in Season Two, the series has slowly and steadily built toward this point - really slowly, as a matter of fact. So slowly I started to think the day would never come when the battle would commence.

But in “Arms” war opens, and it does so in a most satisfying manner. “Arms” offers everything one wants from a season-ending program. It presents a big show with major initiatives, and it also sets up coming events in a really enticing way. While I’ve enjoyed prior seasons of DS9, I can’t say I’ve ever felt really excited to get the next set. “Arms” makes me quite anxious for Season Six.


The DVD Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus B- /center>

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine appears in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on these single-sided, double-layered DVDs; due to those dimensions, the image has not been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Don’t expect any changes here from prior years, as Season Five strongly replicates the other sets.

Sharpness mainly looked very good. Some moderate examples of softness or fuzziness popped up at times, but those were fairly rare. Most of the time the shows seemed nicely detailed and distinctive. Occasional issues connected to jagged edges and shimmering appeared on occasion, but edge enhancement and source flaws caused no problems.

Colors seemed fine for the most part. The palette remained somewhat restricted, though occasionally the shows brightened and became more vibrant. Some blandness still occurred, but in general the tones were nicely vivid and detailed. Black levels mostly seemed tight and dense, while shadows were a little less consistent. For the most part, low-light shots appeared well depicted, but they could still be a little flat at times. Overall, however, these concerns stayed small, and I mostly thought Season Five of Deep Space Nine looked quite good.

In the auditory realm, the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio of Deep Space Nine remained strongly in line with what I heard during prior seasons. The focus stayed in the forward channels. Those channels showed nice localization of elements and it placed elements in their appropriate spots. The material blended well and created a good sense of environment. The rears still didn’t offer a whole lot of effects, but they supported the forward channels reasonably well and added to the feeling of atmosphere.

I thought sound quality continued to seem positive. Dialogue came across as crisp and detailed, and I heard no concerns related to edginess or intelligibility. Music was dynamic and lively, with good low-end response for the score. Effects seemed tight and accurate, and they lacked substantial issues connected to distortion. Low-end continued to seem good but unexceptional. The programs presented adequate punch when necessary. I still didn’t feel terribly impressed with the audio of Season Five, but it functioned in a more than adequate manner.

The supplements of Season Five follow the same lines as those seen in the first four sets. The majority of these extras revolve around five separate featurettes. The first two of these investigate one particular episode from this year. ”Trial and Tribble-ations”: Uniting Two Legends runs 16 minutes and 59 seconds as it mixes show clips, a few behind the scenes images, and interviews. We hear from executive producers Ira Steven Behr and Rick Berman, writers Rene Echevarria and Ronald D. Moore, and actors Alexander Siddig, Michael Dorn, Rene Auberjonois, Terry Farrell, and Charlie Brill. We get some notes on the genesis of the episode and various aspects of the production, but mostly the participants just wax about how cool the whole enterprise is.

For more info on the topic, we go to the 16-minute and 38-second ”Trials and Tribble-ations”: An Historic Endeavor. It uses the same format and includes comments from Berman, Behr, Moore, Farrell, production designer Herman Zimmerman, visual effects coordinator Gary Hutzel, illustrator Doug Drexler, and scenic art supervisor Mike Okuda. They discuss the technical challenges of the project, as we learn about melding old footage with new and recreating sets and ships. It also turns fluffy at times, but it includes a reasonable amount of good information about creation of the show.

The fifth in a continuing series, next we get Crew Dossier: Miles O’Brien. The 11-minute and 30-second piece offers the same mix of production footage, show snippets and interviews we find on the other featurettes. We hear from Behr, Moore, writer/story editor Robert Hewitt Wolfe, and actors Colm Meaney, Alexander Siddig, and Terry Farrell. They discuss the character, his place on the show, and his relationship to others, with a particular emphasis on the bond between O’Brien and Bashir.

Unlike prior “Crew Dossiers”, this one doesn’t need a spoiler tag, as it tells us nothing about what’ll happen to O’Brien in episodes after Season Five. It also features fewer comments from the actor in question than during previous “Dossiers”, as Meaney doesn’t say a whole lot. That makes this “Dossier” less valuable than the others; it doesn’t shed a great deal of light on its subject.

After this we find Inside DS9 With Michael Okuda, a seven-minute and 20-second featurette. Scenic arts supervisor Okuda takes us on a tour of DS9 to point out many small visual elements we otherwise probably wouldn’t detect. It’s a fun little trivia excursion.

Another recurring feature appears next with Michael Westmore’s Aliens: Season Five. In this seven-minute and 22-second featurette, we get show clips, behind the scenes video and pictures, and remarks from make-up designer Westmore as he discusses his work. He covers these topics: remaking three DS9 crewmembers as Klingons, various scars and bruises, the Jem’Hadar, and trills. As with prior episodes of this series, “Aliens” gives us an informative look at Westmore’s work.

Two minor components round out the obvious parts of the set. In the Photo Gallery, we find 44 images. These offer a decent mix of production stills and behind the scenes pictures. Lastly, we get an Indiana Jones Preview Trailer. What Indy has to do with DS9, I don’t know. Oh wait – both come from Paramount. There’s your connection!

In the last paragraph, I used the qualifier “obvious” because DS9 includes many Easter eggs. Referred to as “Hidden Files”, we get 10 of these strewn throughout the two screens of the DVD’s extras menu. These clips last between 126 seconds and four minutes, 11 seconds for a total of 30 minutes and 12 seconds of footage. Comments from writer/story editor Robert Hewitt Wolfe, writer Ronald Moore, and actors Rene Auberjonois, Nana Visitor, Armin Shimerman, Chase Masterson, Jeffrey Combs and JG Hertzler. A mix of banal and interesting material appears here, though unlike most prior “Hidden Files”, the latter dominates. We get some nice notes about specific episodes along with intriguing perspectives from guest actors and Visitor’s reactions to being pregnant in real-life as she worked on the show.

Positive interface note: as usual with Paramount DVDs, all the extras include English subtitles. Paramount remain the only studio that does this as a given, though I think DreamWorks titles very rarely omit text.

With Season Five of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the stuff finally starts to hit the fan. Actually, most of the year feels like business as usual, but the series intensifies as it progresses and creates a generally satisfying set of shows. The DVDs present the usual very good picture and sound, though the extras seem a little sparser than in most of the prior packages. Nonetheless, Season Five provides a solid package and gets my recommendation.

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