Series created by: Rick Berman and Michael Piller based on original concepts by Gene Roddenberry
Starring: Avery Brooks, Rene Auberjonois, Michael Dorn, Terry Farrell, Colm Meaney, Siddig El Fadil, and Nana Visitor
- All twenty-six third season episodes
- The Birth of the Dominion and Beyond featurette
- Michael Westmore’s Aliens, Season Three featurette
- Crew Dossier: Odo
- Time Travel Files: “Past Tense”
- Sailing Through the Stars: A Special Look at “Explorers”
- “Easter egg” featurettes on “Second Skin”
Released by: Paramount
Rating: NR, suitable for audiences 12+
Anamorphic: N/A; presented in its original 1.33:1 format
My Advice: Must-have for Trek fans…even if you think you don’t like DS9
[ad#longpost]Having hit the early steps of their stride in Season Two, the creators of Deep Space Nine really come into their own in the third season. Much like was true of Next Generation, actually. I’m not sure what alchemy goes on that takes fifty episodes to make something really start humming, but it seems to be consistent across these two franchises, at least. With Season Three, we get serious development of the group that will become the chief adversary to the inhabitants of DS9, the Dominion, as well as how they pull the strings for their servitor races to make war on those that oppose them. This setup is vital stuff for anybody that really wants to follow the chaos and carnage of the next few seasons when the phasers start flashing and torpedoes start flying.
Another welcome development in this season is the expansion of Odo, the station’s enigmatic security chief. Auberjonois’ “man without a country” schtick is excellent stuff, and for an actor denied the possibility of physical expressiveness, he elicits pathos like few other characters in the series. The season-opening two-parter “The Search” gives him the opportunity to truly step out and define the character, which had remained a cipher for the first two seasons.
There are a number of excellent episodes in this season, not least of which are the two parts of “The Search” mentioned above. “Second Skin” provides Nana Visitor with some quality screen time to work her craft as well, in a story that challenges the very nature of identity, as well as Kira’s own prejudicial notions about the Cardassians. Even the Ferengi Quark (Armin Shimerman) gets a little bit of development time (as the most unexpected and reluctant leader of a Klingon house) in “House of Quark.”
Most of the episodes in the season are in one of two modes: character development (especially of the more neglected characters of the first two seasons) or set-up of the massive overarching plot that will occupy the vast majority of the show’s remaining four seasons. In that, there are only so many episodes where anything actually happens, which I think probably leads to a lot of Trek fans passing the series up as uneventful or boring: a “soap opera in space,” as I’ve heard it called. But it’s really an issue of the viewers not being entirely ready for a show that broke from Star Trek tradition in moving from an episodic to a serial storytelling format. Given the opportunity to watch the show in more condensed blocks, it’s easy to see the larger plot advancing. Watching it on a weekly basis, as it would have appeared in broadcast, does make some of the plot developments drag on and on a bit.
The DVD treatment here provides lots of added value, with a slew of featurettes as we have come to expect from Paramount’s handling of their Star Trek property. Interviews, production details, character profiles, you name it. The standard array. I still wish they’d do a few “select episode” commentaries on each set, but given that we’re ten sets into the release of all their TV show material and they haven’t done it yet, I guess it will remain a pipe dream. Nonetheless, the set’s nothing to sneeze at, and should have plenty to keep hardcore fans happy and broaden the more casual fan’s knowledge of the show and the universe.
Sci-fi lovers will definitely want to snag this one. While the first two seasons are certainly interesting stuff in places, this season is where things really start to pop, so if you’re looking to selectively choose the cream of the crop, this a great place to start.