Created by: Rick Berman and Michael Piller
Starring: Avery Brooks, Rene Auberjonois, Siddig El Fadil, Terry Farrell, Cirroc Lofton, Colm Meaney, Armin Shimerman, and Nana Visitor
- New Frontiers: The Story of Deep Space Nine making-of featurette
- Michael Westmore’s Aliens: Season 2 makeup and costuming featurette
- Deep Space Nine sketchbook: Season 2
- Crew Dossier: Jadzia Dax
- New Station, New Ships production featurette
Released by: Paramount
Rating: NR, suitable for 12+
Anamorphic: N/A, appears in its original 1.33:1 format
My Advice: A must-have for fans of the series
[ad#longpost]As a matter of full disclosure, I should admit up front that I was dubious of Deep Space Nine when it premiered. I couldn’t see how it would compare to Next Generation, and was still a bit miffed that they had bailed on such a good series to create one that seemed less interesting. I was, however, willing to overlook my concerns initially to see Avery Brooks kick ass as a Federation commander, having been a fan since he played Shaft-derivative second fiddle Hawk on Spencer for Hire.
While it still doesn’t hold the place in my heart that the earlier Trek shows do, and can’t quite compete in my head with Babylon 5, this third installment in the Star Trek universe is definitely watchable stuff. Focusing more on the interpersonal dynamics of the larger “crew” of the space station, the show has a markedly different feel than the various Enterprise crews. It also places Brooks (as Benjamin Sisko) in a role that’s more diplomat than captain, completing a spectrum with James Tiberius Kirk at the one end (the hard-charging cowboy space hero) and Jean-Luc Picard squarely at the Golden Mean between the two.
Season 2 has the cast and writers getting over the growing pains of their first season, and starting to comfortably settle into the distinctly different vibe of the trials and tribulations of a bustling space habitat. El Fadil and Farrell are both fantastic as the station’s young officers, and Colm Meaney serves as a nice familiar face to help the transition for fans of Next Generation. The enigmatic security officer Odo (Auberjonois of Benson fame) is still a touch underdeveloped, but significantly less wooden and distant than in the first season.
This season also introduces the beginnings of some long-running plot elements for future seasons. The Maquis get more significant development than TNG ever gave them in their very own two-parter. “Crossover” plays like the classic original series “Mirror, Mirror,” minus the goatees and ceremonial daggers, which makes it interesting on a couple of different levels. The season ends with the introduction of some of the show’s long-running “bad guys,” setting up some fairly serious conflicts a few seasons down the road when the struggle goes from subtle to in your face. This move away from straight episodic storytelling to multiyear story arcs is a direct attempt to counter the stated intentions of newcomer Babylon 5, one that would ultimately prove less skillful than Straczynski‘s storytelling.
The set is a work of art, in a beautiful cut-out slipcover decorated with station schematics and a sector map of Cardassian space. The discs are on individual plastic trays, hinged at the center like pages of a book. This makes them much easier to access than the TNG fold-out model. The audio and video are crisp and clear. The features are the standard fare one can expect from Star Trek season sets: a making of feature, an FX feature, a production design feature, some production sketches, and a spotlight on a particular crew member (this year’s focus is Jadzia Dax). The features run to nearly an hour and a half, and give lots of great trivia for die-hard fans of the show.
In short, if you were a fan of the show, these discs will make you plenty happy. Paramount continues to produce quality fare for fans of their long-running science fiction franchise. The investment is probably a touch high for anybody that wasn’t a big fan, but if you didn’t really pay attention to the show the first time around, I highly recommend you go see if one of your geekier friends has picked this up and would let you watch or borrow them.