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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: 1195 min.
Price: $129.99
Release Date: 12/2/2003

Bonus:
• “Ending An Era”  Featurette
• “Crew Dossier: Ben  Sisko”
• ”Crew Dossier: Jake Sisko”
• “The Last Goodbyes” Featurette
• Photo Gallery
• Easter Eggs


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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 Seventh Season (1999)

Disc Five:

Worf goes missing and potentially dead at the start of Penumbra. The Defiant searches but needs to call it quit early due to impending Jem’Hadar threats. Due to her Dax symbiont’s connection with Worf, Ezri takes off in a runabout to conduct her own hunt. Back on DS9, Sisko finally proposes to Kasidy Yates (Penny Johnson), and they run into complications as they plan the wedding due to his status as the Bajoran Emissary. Meanwhile, the Founders continue to suffer from their plague, and the Vorta attempt to find a cure. Gul Dukat returns to Cardassia and launches his own plans.

For the most part, “Penumbra” feels like an artificial attempt to force Worf and Ezri together so they can uncomfortably interact. At least that serves more of a purpose than the average Ezri episode, but it still feels somewhat unsatisfying. The other plot lines help move things along better.

A continuation of the prior episode, ’Til Death Do Us Part finds more issues related to the Prophets. Kai Winn (Louise Fletcher) visits and seems to get a consultation from the Prophets. However, this isn’t quite what it seems. The Breen capture Dax and Worf, and they develop their relationship in captivity. Dukat’s scheme grows as well.

“Part” operates as a “plot-thickener” episode. A lot happens to develop the story, but no resolutions occur. Actually, that’s not true, as Sisko and Kasidy wed, but it seems clear the real action will occur in the future. Nonetheless, the program unwinds in a good way that leaves us interested in future material.

The Breen join sides with the Dominion and the Cardassians at the opening of Strange Bedfellows. This doesn’t sit well with Legate Damar, who sees matters slip out of his grasp. Spiritual matters continue to complicate things with Kai Winn, as we see the unfolding of Dukat’s plot. Lastly, Ezri and Worf deal with imprisonment.

“Bedfellows” continues to explore the overall storyline. Yes, it exists as another show that moves things ahead but without any resolution. That continues to remain intriguing, though I hope the series resolves the topics one of these days; the thickening plots are starting to get a little old.

The Breen attack Starfleet Headquarters in San Francisco early in The Changing Face of Evil. Damar ferments rebellion against the Dominion. Kai Winn turns to the Pah-wraiths and gives up on the Prophets. Ezri confronts her apparent love for Bashir. The Defiant goes into battle against a Breen counteroffensive.

“Face” doesn’t resolve much, but at least it gives us a bitchin’ space battle. And it’s about time: all exposition and no play makes Trek a dull show. Though still without conclusions, “Face” ramps up the action nicely and presents enough new intrigue to make it a good program.

Disc Six:

When It Rains finds that the Federation needs to support Damar’s insurrection as much as possible, so they send Kira, Odo and Garak to teach them methods of rebellion. Bashir discovers that Odo’s infected with the disease killing the changelings but runs into problems with his attempts to find a cure due to Starfleet regulations. When Klingon Chancellor Gowron (Robert O’Reilly) visits DS9 to honor General Martok, he surprises the warrior with a declaration that he plans to take over military operations.

In many ways, “Rains” stands as another placeholder episode, but it does present some intriguing new threads. Elements related to the Klingons and the changeling plague take the story in new directions. These prove compelling and should become more interesting soon.

Gowron continues his offensive despite many failures in Tacking Into the Wind. Kira and company assist with the Cardassian rebellion and attempt to find how to adapt non-Klingon ships to resist the Breen weapon. Odo gets sicker as Bashir attempts to find a cure.

More intrigue develops in “Wind”, along with a pretty exciting mission. The Kira/Odo/Cardassian trek to learn more about the Breen weapon gives us a good piece that offers some nice action. Otherwise, the show motivates other elements well, especially as Worf takes it into his own hands to redeem the Klingon Empire.

Odo nears death so Bashir and company resort to Extreme Measures. They lure the shifty Sloan to DS9 to get the cure from him, but the secret agent attempts to kill himself before they can use a memory probe. Bashir takes a journey into Sloan’s brain before death occurs, and O’Brien comes with him.

“Measures” certainly offers an unusual way for the show to find a cure for Odo. It also seems clever and entertaining. The show presents a number of surprises and doesn’t always take predictable paths.

When the party with Kira, Garak and Damar attempts to lure additional conspirators in The Dogs of War, they find themselves in a trap and stuck on Cardassia Prime. They need to figure out what to do from there. In the meantime, Zek declares that he plans to retire, and it appears he intends to name Quark as his successor. When he learns of social reforms on Ferenginar, he rebels and declares he won’t take the position unless he gets what he wants.

With only one more episode to go, DS9 enters wrap-up mode, as it starts to send its characters in different directions. In that way, it feels a little forced, as it pushes the participants along with a few too many big events. Still, it’s an interesting path it takes.

Cast note: while many actors played multiple roles on different Trek series, I believe no one ever performed two roles on the same show prior to Jeffrey Combs’ stint as both Brunt and Weyoun.

Disc Seven:

A double-length episode, What You Leave Behind concludes the season and the series. The show presents a climactic battle between the Federation and allies against the Dominion, et al, via an invasion of Cardassia. It also wraps up any loose ends waiting in the wings.

While it lacks the elegance and cleverness of “All Good Things”, the conclusion to Next Generation, “Behind” finishes DS9 on a reasonably satisfying note. It does tie up most loose ends, though it leaves a few slightly unraveled. It also gets a little too sentimental at times, though I suppose we should expect that. In any case, it concludes the series well.

So that does it for Deep Space Nine. Overall, I think it provides a good series, though perhaps not as solid as Next Generation. Comparisons tend toward “apples and oranges” territory because of the many differences between the series. In addition to being ship-based and exploratory in nature, Next Generation largely focused on its captain. Data also received a heavy spotlight. While the rest of the main cast got their moments – Worf in particular earned a fair amount of attention – it was always clear where the series’ allegiances stayed.

DS9 was much more of a wild card. Unlike Next Generation or the original series, it definitely didn’t mostly concentrate on its captain. Sure, Sisko received much attention, but I never felt like he was the show’s main character. I don’t think DS9 had any primary role, as it formed much more of a genuine ensemble.

It’s interesting to examine the evolution of its characters. I think secondary participants like Nog and Rom enjoyed the greatest growth. Sure, the top-billed regulars developed over the years and were moderately different at the end of Season Seven than they were at the start of Season One, but some of the supporting roles really changed.

For the most appropriate comparisons, check out Quark/Rom and Jake/Nog. When the series concludes, Quark has clearly become warmer, nicer, and more “hu-man”, but he remains largely the same person, just with a little less edge. Rom, on the other hand, goes from moronic, buffoonish screw-up who lives off his brother’s generosity to becoming the husband of a babe who rules the Ferengis! If that ain’t development, I don’t know what is.

Then compare Jake with Nog. At the series’ start, Nog was nothing more than a somewhat mischievous pal to contrast with good boy Jake. By the end of the show, Jake changed very little. He was still the nice, clean-cut captain’s son. Yeah, he developed into something of a writer, but the series never seemed to know what to do with him. Season Seven’s Jake was taller than Season One’s, but otherwise you’d be hard-pressed to see any differences between them.

Rom, on the other hand, went from borderline juvenile delinquent to Starfleet officer! His journey seems more substantial than his father Rom’s, as he really develops into a very different person. Some may regard that as inappropriate, since people rarely change so substantially. However, this seems acceptable to me for a few reasons. For one, Rom was a kid at the series’ start, so big alterations become more natural. In addition, he wasn’t exactly well-developed at the beginning, so the writers couldn’t violate established traits easily; they didn’t really exist.

For depth of character, I’d probably pick Garak as the most intriguing. He was the series’ one real wild card regular, as you never really knew what he’d do or where his allegiances stayed. In an odd way, this made him the most believable character, as he was the one who didn’t always stick to a set roster of responses to various situations.

While the remaining characters didn’t change as much as the Ferengis or display the depth of Garak, they did develop relatively nicely, and that factor helped make DS9 a good series. As I noted, I probably enjoyed Next Generation more, but for character depth, DS9 had its predecessor beat.

DS9 also was the more ambitious series. For all my frustrations with the stop and start nature of the Dominion War storyline, at least the program attempted a fairly coherent theme over a long period of time. Next Generation had the threat of the Borg, but that plot never remotely occupied the show’s progress as did the Dominion. The way in which that story filled the series was impressive, and it gave the series additional depth.

Ultimately, I enjoyed the time I spent with Deep Space Nine over the past 10 months. It wasn’t my favorite Trek series, but it was the most ambitious and possibly the best.


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 Seven strongly replicated 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 Seven 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 Seven, but it functioned in a more than adequate manner.

For the final batch of supplements, we find elements that strongly resemble those seen in past packages. The majority of these extras revolve around four separate featurettes. We start with Ending an Era, a 15-minute and 22-second examination of the series’ conclusion. It mixes show clips, stills, and interviews with executive producers Rick Berman and Ira Steven Behr plus writer Ronald D. Moore, supervising producer Peter Lauritson, visual effects coordinator Gary Hutzel, scenic artist Denise Okuda, scenic artist supervisor Mike Okuda, visual effects supervisor Dan Curry, and actors Alexander Siddig, Nana Visitor, and Colm Meaney.

The program looks at issues connected to the end of the series. We hear about topics that deal with wrapping up the overall arc as well as effects concerns and some valedictory comments related to how the conclusion impacted various parties. Though not terrifically informative, “Era” finishes matters reasonably well.

Finally – two “Crew Dossiers” without spoilers! Since these extras finish the end of the series, at least they can’t ruin any potential surprises Crew Dossier: Ben Sisko. The 13-minute and three-second piece offers the same mix of production footage, show snippets and interviews we find on the other featurettes. Though we hear a little from executive producer Ira Steven Behr and actor Penny Johnson, actor Avery Brooks dominates “Dossier”. We hear about how Brooks ended up on the series and also get notes about his relationship with Cirroc Lofton, character insights, and his general thoughts on the series. The most interesting tidbit comes when he states that he wanted to leave the show early but stayed as an example for his son. It’s a decent look at Brooks’ experiences.

Next we get Crew Dossier: Jake Sisko. It uses the same format as the prior one and lasts 10 minutes and nine seconds; here we get notes from Behr and actors Cirroc Lofton, Terry Farrell, Brooks, and Aron Eisenberg. The program presents thoughts about Jake, how that character related to others, and Lofton’s growth on the show. Lofton only appears in archival interviews from 1992, 1996 and 1999; he offers no new comments. Jake was the series’ dullest regular character, and “Jake” makes for the DVDs’ blandest “Dossier”; there’s only so much to say about such a flat personality as the younger Sisko.

For additional valedictory notes, we move to the 14-minute and 13-second The Last Goodbyes executive producers Behr and Berman, writer Moore, actors Visitor, Siddig, Brooks, Rene Auberjonois, Chase Masterson, Armin Shimerman, Michael Dorn, and Nicole deBoer. Basically this show discusses cast and crew reactions to filming the final episode, and we also see a lot of shots from the 1999 wrap party. The comments tend to gush and praise, so this program doesn’t include much real information.

Two minor components round out the obvious parts of the set. In the Photo Gallery, we find 40 images. These offer a decent mix of production stills and behind the scenes pictures. Lastly, we get an Indiana Jones Trailer.

In the last paragraph, I used the qualifier “obvious” because DS9 includes many Easter eggs. Referred to as “Hidden Files”, we get nine of these strewn throughout the two screens of the DVD’s extras menu. These clips last between two minutes, 35 seconds and four minutes, 47 seconds for a total of 30 minutes and 42 seconds of material. We find comments from executive producer Behr plus actors Marc Alaimo, Robert O’Reilly, Jeffrey Combs, Louise Fletcher, Penny Johnson, Aron Eisenberg, Max Grodenchik, and JG Hertzler. In this batch of “Hidden Files”, the supporting actors get their due. We learn lots of good notes about recurring but not main characters, and these offer a great deal of fun and interesting pieces. These are probably the most informative “Hidden Files” of the seven DVD sets.

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 very rarely omit text. Negative interface note: if you use chapter skip to bypass the opening credits after the end of each episode’s starting sequence, you’ll often wind up farther into the show than you’d like. Chapter two should always begin immediately after the conclusion of the opening credits, and this inconsistency seems annoying.

Season Seven of Deep Space Nine ends the series on a reasonably positive note. It doesn’t present the show’s best set of programs, mainly due to a reliance on some gimmicky new characters. However, it wraps things up nicely and seems generally satisfying. The DVDs feature picture and sound that are virtually identical to those observed in prior sets, and the smattering of extras continue earlier trends as well. If you’ve grabbed the past packages, there’s no reason to skip this one. Pick up Season Seven and enjoy the last installments of DS9.

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