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Star Trek Deep Space Nine - The Complete First Season
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In the casting, there was a clear intent to differentiate the show from its predecessors. Genre stalwarts Tony Todd and James Earl Jones were considered for Commander Sisko before Avery Brooks. The one letdown at the time was that Michelle Forbes did not carry Ensign Ro across from The Next Generation, but when the explosive Nana Visitor defiantly slapped her hand on a console in the pilot episode, viewers knew they were in for a different crew dynamic. In fact, the two-part pilot show ("The Emissary") is largely responsible for DS9's early success. Mysterious, spiritual, claustrophobic, funny, and feisty, it remains the most attention-grabbing series opener (apart from the original series') the franchise has had. The first year may have relied on a few too many familiar faces--like Picard, Q, and Lwaxana Troi--but these were more than outweighed by refreshingly detailed explorations of cultures old and new (Trill, Bajoran, Cardassian, Ferengi). As it turned out, Deep Space Nine was the boldest venture into Roddenberry's galaxy that had been (or ever would be) seen. --Paul Tonks
Top Customer Reviews
Deep Space Nine had it all. It was the first Star Trek series to be produced after Gene Rodenbury passed away, and I think he would have been very proud. The series had a grand story arc from the very first episode. It increased the number of primary characters over that of 'The Next Generation.' It featured more female characters in commanding roles (most notably, Major Kira). It mirrored the post Cold War politics and instability of the Balkins / Slovakia / Eastern Europe, with its setup of the dimming Cardassian Empire and the newly-freed Bajorians. It also addressed the legacy of empires past. One only needs to see the bond between Chief O'Brien (ethnic Irish) and Doctor Bashir (ethnic Indian) to identify echoes of the British empire.
And let's not forget France, or for that matter, Casablanca! Deep Space Nine was a dense series. It had action, drama, romance, and a series-long homage to the classic film, Casablanca. It could have been called, "Everyone comes to Quarks." Quark is no Rick Blaine, but he does own a bar. And Odo is a very good redux of Captain Louis Renault. Add to that the familiar story of the spy-turned-tailor in the likeable character of Garak (the only Cardassian aboar DS9). In any case, it added a depth of romance and humor to the series. Furthermore, DS9 took advantage of a grand opportunity to further develop the Bajorians, Ferengi, and Cardassians as major players in the Star Trek universe.
And it should be mentioned that although Rick Berman and company downplayed early rumors that the series would be "bleak" and "much darker" than the 'Next Generation' series, it was still a very different Star Trek. The cinematography, set design, and music might have looked and sounded a lot like The Next Generation, but this Trek had a much more realistic storyline, with very powerful and often dark themes. This Trek had the highest body count of any previous or future series. Every major planet in the storyline - Earth, Bajor, Cardassia, and Qonos/Klingon are all devastated by major military attacks sooner or later in the series (with one of them nearly being destroyed altogether). DS9 (the station) itself was originally built as a Cardiassian prison, where countless Bajorians toiled and died. So although this series is part of the same glossy world as TNG, the themes and scenarios are much more realistic. This series was about suvival against the odds, and I think it pulled it off wonderfully.
This was a grand series about the struggle to survive and build trust among different races and worlds. And being a Star Trek series, it was also about management - how to manage people, build teams, and solve problems on the fly. I think any engineer, mechanic, or IT professional would love the new Star Trek shows, including this one for it's never-ending theme of problem solving and the demonstration of leadership skills.
But above all, a series can't work unless the characters are well-developed, and the story flows at a steady pace. And that's where DS9 excelled. In my opinion, 'The Next Generation' became a great series only when a solid story arc was established, and the crew of the Enterprise-D had acquired multiple missions to deal with the Romulans and fight the Borg. I assume, that could only be done when the future of the series was secured (thanks to strong ratings in syndication). DS9 hit the ground running when it premiered in early 1993, thanks, of course, to the success of TNG. It's characters were very well thought-out (most of them had solid backgrounds and personal interests established from the start), and only grew in depth as the series progressed. And the story arc was emphasized with some of the greatest season-ending cliffhangers I've ever seen. It is quite possible that the finale of the 1999 series (I think it was '99) when both Garak and Worf lost their love interests during an attack on DS9, was as dramatic and powerful as anything I had seen on other well-written drama series such as Homicide or Six Feet Under. In fact, Homicide was the only other TV show I watched between 1993 and 2000.
It could be years before all 7 seasons of DS9 are released on DVD. But let's hope Season #1 is released soon. And then the journey can begin again. This was one for the ages for Trekers and non-Trekers alike.
The first season, as with any Trek series, is a bit iffy. There are good shows and bad shows, the characters are still being explored both by the writers and the actors, the massive guest cast that made DS9 such a thick, rich series is mostly not in place yet (although some of them are introduced this season). So go into it keeping this in mind. There are the usual exaggherated "personality" stories as well.
But there are a couple of reasons to get this set. First of all, you get to see the ground work that is laid for later seasons, both in terms of character development and story development. Plus, there are some cool guest appearances, like Q, Lurhsa and B'etor, and Vash.
Second, even though the stories are uneven, the series begins and ends with three of the strongest episodes of the series.
"The Emissary" does a great job of introducing the viewer not only to the characters and personalities that make up the station's crew, but also introduces the strange, mystic-driven Bajoran culture, the plight of the Bajoran people in the wake of the Cardassian occupation, and the prejudices that exist between the two.
Then, the final two episodes are absolutely indispensible. "Duet" is incredibly gripping, and possibly the best script Nana Visitor was given (she still names it as her favourite episode from the series). Kira has to confront her prejudices face to face, literally, and finds that they even in the midst of racial hatred, there is room for compassion. Then, "In the Hands of the Prophets" is a very real and strong tale of religious tolerance, and the lengths that people will go to to defend their beliefs. It's sort of a science vs. religion, "Creatism vs. Evolution" type of conflict. Very startling.
Basically, while season one isn't the strongest DS9 ever offered, it does show very clearly the sort of values and style of storytelling that grew into what became, for me, some of the best television happening at the time. Wait'll Seasons 6 and 7 come out: That is Trek at it's absolute best.