Star Trek: Deep Space Nine-Complete Season 3 (1995)
Main Menu Introduction
Featurette-The Birth of the Dominion and Beyond
Featurette-Michael Westmore's Aliens
Featurette-Time Travel Files - "Past Tense"
Easter Egg-Section 31, Hidden File 01- Second Skin
Easter Egg-Section31, Hidden File 02 - Second Skin
Easter Egg-Section 31, Hidden File 03 - Family Business
Easter Egg-Section 31, Hidden File 04 - Past Tense, Part 2
Featurette-The U.S.S. Defiant
Featurette-Crew Dossier: Odo
Featurette-Sailing Through The Stars
Easter Egg-Section 31, Hidden File 05 - The Die Is Cast
Easter Egg-Section 31, Hidden File 06 - The Search, Part 1
Easter Egg-Section 31, Hidden File 07 - ST:TNG, The Best of Both Worlds
|Year Of Production||1995|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Multi Disc Set (7)
|Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Menu|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Various|
Paramount Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Now things really start getting going. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Season 2 ended with the discovery of the Dominion, a new force with a powerful influence in the Gamma Quadrant which will have major repercussions for the galaxy, and the Federation itself. Season 3 starts with a search to find the Dominion and ends with a paranoia-driven finale and the realisation that the Dominion are already everywhere.
All up, Season 3 really set the rest of the show up, with the beginnings of the biggest plotlines of the series, which resonate through until the finale of Season 7. We also get a lot more in the way of character exploration: the closer forging of the relationship between the hard-edged non-commissioned officer Chief Miles O’Brien (Colm Meaney) and the privileged and ambitious medical officer Doctor Bashir (Alexander Siddig); between Commander Sisko (Avery Brooks) and his son Jake (Cirroc Lofton) who is resisting all efforts to follow in his father’s footsteps; between chief of security Odo (Rene Auberjonois) and Bajoran liason to the station Major Kira Nerys (Nana Visitor); and the quirky relationship between the bartender and local black market dealer Quark (Armin Shimerman) and the science officer, and host to a symbiote containing many past lives, Jadzia Dax (Terry Farrell).
Here is a short summary of the episodes:
1. The Search: Part I (43:36) -- Commander Sisko returns to the station with the U.S.S. Defiant, a new class of starship, complete with a cloaking device on loan from the Romulans. His mission – head to the Gamma Quadrant, find the Founders of the Dominion and negotiate a peace treaty.
2. The Search: Part II (43:32) -- Separated from the rest of the crew, Odo and Kira find themselves on a planet which is the homeworld of a group of shapeshifters just like Odo.
3. The House of Quark (43:37) -- When Quark accidentally kills a Klingon and boasts about it to boost business at his bar, he finds himself forcefully married to the Klingon’s ex-wife and caught up in Klingon politics which may very well cost him his life.
4. Equilibrium (43:34) -- Dax finds she has an affinity for music that she never knew she had, and begins getting disturbing visions she believes are coming from her symbiote. The truth of the matter is infinitely scarier.
5. Second Skin (43:37) -- One of the finest episodes of Season 3, an exploration of personal identity and race relations. When Kira is kidnapped, she wakes to find herself disfigured as a Cardassian. Is this a sinister plot or is she a secret agent who has been behind enemy lines all this time?
6. The Abandoned (43:36) -- When Quark purchases wreckage from the Gamma Quadrant, he gets more than he bargained for – an abandoned Jem’Hadar child. Interested in the child’s origins, the crew try to rehabilitate him, but as he grows he is overcome by violent impulses and the only authority he respects is that of Odo.
7. Civil Defence (43:37) -- The crew accidentally triggers a security protocol left over from the Cardassian occupation, and the station is put on a countdown to meltdown.
8. Meridian (43:36) -- An alien is obsessed by Major Kira and enlists Quark to make a holosuite program featuring her. At the same time, Dax finds herself falling for one of the inhabitants of a world shifting between dimensions.
9. Defiant (43:37) -- Commander Riker arrives on DS9 for a little rest and relaxation, catching the eye of Kira. But during a tour of the new U.S.S. Defiant, he seizes control of the vessel and takes it on a raid into Cardassian territory. Has the real Riker gone mad, or is there something more going on here? And why is the Cardassian secret intelligence organization – the Obsidian Order – so interested in Riker’s destination?
10. Fascination (43:36) -- Lwaxana Troi arrives on the station with her desire for Odo unabated. However, the crew begin to find their amorous feelings spiralling out of control during the Bajoran festival of rebirth, with hilarious results.
11. Past Tense: Part I (43:37) -- One of the most topical DS9 episodes. A transporter accident leaves Sisko, Bashir and Dax stranded in San Francisco in 2024, during a time of civil strife. But will their inadvertent pollution of the time stream mean the end for the Federation?
12. Past Tense: Part II (43:36) -- Forced to impersonate a prominent figure from the 21st Century who died as a result of Sisko and Bashir accidentally arriving in his time, Sisko must take a group of people hostage in order to save the future.
13. Life Support (43:36) -- An accident leaves Veddec Bariel with brain damage that can only be healed by a neurological implant. But as his brain deteriorates, Bashir and Kira must make the choice between letting Bariel die as a man with dignity, or save his life at the death of his humanity.
14. Heart Of Stone (43:36) -- While attempting to apprehend a fugitive, Kira is encased in a crystalline rock from which Odo cannot free her. As the rock slowly encases her, Odo is forced to face his feelings for the Major. At the same time, Quark’s nephew Nog applies to become Sisko’s apprentice in order to be the first Ferengi in Starfleet, much to the Commander’s surprise.
15. Destiny (43:35) -- With a trio of Cardassian scientists set to arrive on DS9, Sisko is warned that a prophecy is about to be fulfilled which will mean the destruction of the wormhole. Sisko dismisses the interpretation, but begins to be troubled as signs emerge indicating that the prophecy may yet eventuate.
16. Prophet Motive (43:35) -- Grand Nagus Zek has arrived on the station with some rather radical ideals about reformation of the Ferengi Empire, including an addendum to the Rules of Acquisition which include fair trade. Has he gone insane or can Quark single-handedly save the Ferengi way of life?
17. Visionary (43:34) -- Chief O’Brien finds himself travelling back and forth in time after an accident leaves radioactive isotopes in his bloodstream. But the future he sees is the destruction of DS9. Can he act to save the station in time or will the radioactive isotopes kill him before he can succeed?
18. Distant Voices (43:37) -- On his 30th birthday, Doctor Bashir is attacked by a Lethian. He awakes to find himself aging at a dramatic rate and the station in disarray.
19. Through The Looking Glass (43:32) -- The follow-up episode to the Season 2 episode “Crossover”. With the Terrans free and fighting against the Alliance, Sisko is kidnapped to the alternate universe and forcefully recruited to help fight the rebellion after his double is killed.
20. Improbable Cause (43:32) -- When Garak’s shop is blown up, Odo’s investigation points towards a Romulan/Cardassian conspiracy.
21. The Die Is Cast (43:37) -- Will the Romulan/Cardassian conspiracy succeed? Or will Sisko get the Defiant into the Gamma Quadrant in time to prevent an all out war?
22. Explorers (43:38) -- Sisko builds an old-fashioned Bajoran spaceship in the hope of proving that the Bajorans were the first race to discover interstellar travel.
23. Family Business (43:36) -- Quark believes he is ruined when his mother is accused of engaging in business against the sexist customs of the Ferengi homeworld. Back on the station, Sisko meets Captain Cassidy Yates who will have an important role in his future.
24. Shakaar (43:35) -- Civil strife on Bajor leads Kira to her old resistance cell and former flame and cell leader Shakaar.
25. Facets (43:37) -- Dax undergoes a sacred Trill ritual allowing her to confront her symbiote’s past lives in the hope of better understanding herself.
26. The Adversary (43:37) -- Commander Sisko is promoted to full Captain, but when a routine peace mission turns into a deadly race against time to prevent war, it becomes apparent that a shapeshifter has infiltrated DS9 and they are now ... everywhere!
I tend to think of DS9 as the Star Trek universe’s neo-liberal response to the mythological neo-realist Babylon 5. While a lot of people draw parallels between the shows, I prefer to distinguish them as separate entities on this basis; they have vastly different approaches to the way in which they view humanity. What is important to note about DS9 is that, more than any of the other Star Trek series (The Next Generation, Voyager, Enterprise), this show is about politics; interpersonal and international. The heart of this series is the conflict between personalities, and the conflict between species and the importance of diplomacy as a preventative measure to ensure peace and force as a last resort in the face of totalitarian aggression. It acknowledges that everybody is different and that everybody has a valid interpretation of how to live life, but that this is no barrier to achieving a bright future together – indeed, it is an asset. The Federation itself is a very thinly veiled analogy for the United Nations, and when viewed in that context there are all kinds of parallels with the real world international political environment.
The great thing about DS9 in terms of the Star Trek franchise is that, although it gives a darker and more violent take on the Star Trek universe, it never gives up hope. In the face of overwhelming odds and the darkest sides of human nature, the crew of DS9 gives us honour, integrity and heroism and a bright future if we choose to make it for ourselves. It may not be realist, but it gives us something to aspire to, and this is a very important part of the show. Indeed, the real heart of the Star Trek universe comes down to the question of what it means to be human, or, more specifically, how to be better humans. The Next Generation series had Data (Brent Spiner) to explore what it means to be human as opposed to android and force us to question our own identity in the light of his self-discovery. Voyager had Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) to explore what it means to become human again once you have been violated and utterly dehumanised. DS9 uses the entire cast and the entire storyline of all of its seven years to explore what it means to be human as a species of cultural diversity: to live and let live; to forge friendships and love; to create families and communities; to perform acts of self-sacrifice and to make the hardest of decisions in the name of the greater good; to be able to stay human and stay firm to your principles no matter how hard this becomes. Some may consider Star Trek to be old hat, but I think that this series in particular still has lessons to teach.
Season 3 is the midpoint of this science-fiction masterpiece, the final days of light before darkness comes down upon the Alpha Quadrant, setting the story up brilliantly for the Season 4 series-defining double episode Way Of The Warrior when Worf (Michael Dorn) joins the cast after the destruction of the USS Enterprise-D in the movie Star Trek: Generations. It is an establishing season to be sure, and is certainly not as visually impressive as later seasons, working off older production values which take a quantum leap with Way Of The Warrior. That said, it is an important part of the overall story. Things are about to get much nastier on the frontier of space from here on out, and DS9 is about to define itself as the finest of all the Star Trek series. If you have never seen it, or if you have lost faith in humanity with all the horrific things that are going on around the world at the moment, now is the time to stick on an episode of DS9 and rediscover the great things about difference of personalities and culture, and the virtues of humanity in all its forms.
Presented in 1.33:1, full frame, this is the original broadcast aspect ratio.
Overall, the transfer is very good – certainly better than the transfer of the Next Generation series which had issues in its colour palette, and infinitely better than my old VHS collection. For those of you who do already own VHS copies of this series and are wondering whether to upgrade to DVD, I will tell you now that, yes, it is worth the expense. That said, I think the video transfer of Deep Space Nine – Season 2 was slightly better than what I have here, with considerably less minor transfer faults and a picture that is not quite so soft. The transfer of this season is more comparable to the transfer of Deep Space Nine – Season 1 which was also a little too soft at times.
Those of you who used to watch the show will know that it, like all of the Star Trek series, is filmed through a slight soft-focus filter. This gives a certain lighting effect that is an intentional part of the show, making the picture a little less harsh and defined overall in order to highlight the fantasy element and put you in a world that is not firmly rooted in the real. On VHS this filtering process often resulted in a blurriness that gets hard on the eyes after a long time, and very noticeable colour bleed. On DVD, it results in a definitely soft picture, but not a blurry one. However, the softening seems to result in a graininess effect which is unlike regular picture grain. Most of the time this is just a very light film of grain over the picture, but there are some low-light shots where the graininess is quite bad. Take 41:44 during The Search: Part I for example. My VHS copy of this was already pretty grainy, and this is no improvement. But that is the exception to the rule, and although the picture is a little too soft at times overall, it is still better than VHS.
For the most part, this is a very well defined image. It does not have a harsh realist intensity the way a glossy Hollywood movie does, or even the clear detail of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series, but it is not blurred or murky the way the VHS image was. You can finally see the textured metal of the internal walls of the space station, and the diamond shaped patterns on the arms of Major Kira’s uniform – something I was not even aware of until seeing this show on DVD. More importantly, shadow detail is far better than the show offered in its VHS incarnation or TV broadcast. You can see the creases and wrinkles in the black parts of uniforms, and facial expressions which were once lost in shadow are now much clearer. Not quite perfect, but getting better.
Colours are rich, vibrant and highly saturated. My VHS copies look worn and faded by comparison, and I cannot ever remember this show having such a glow. The DVD image just lights up the screen.
There are no major or glaring MPEG artefacts here, which is a bonus. However there are several low-level persistent film-to-video transfer faults. First up, the softness in the picture produces a very faint low-level noise throughout. You really have to strain to be aware of it, but it is definitely there in the background.
Secondly, there seems to be some ongoing but faint cross colouration which generates false colour in closely grouped lines. This fault generally occurs here in the light off reflected surfaces or on some grill plating as well, which is perhaps a fault resulting from transfer from NTSC to PAL or the filtering process that was used to soften the image during filming. Once you are aware of this fault it gets a little irritating, as it is in absolutely every scene in absolutely every episode to one degree or another. It is not overly distracting, but it is definitely noticeable if you know to look for it. Sometimes you can see it in the whites of the eyes, which can be a little more obvious and consequently more annoying. Check out the reflected light in Bashir’s eyes at 03:20 in the episode Distant Voices where they are all but a radiant shade of mauve. This perhaps the worst of it (I can remember making a special note of it while reviewing this), but unfortunately similar, if less intense, artefacts occur throughout.
Thirdly, there is often moiré on grille plating (of which there is plenty in this series). It is not generally harsh and only ever really occurs in the background image. Much of this is also present on VHS versions. The moiré here is sometimes also accompanied by cross colouration.
Fourthly, the softness in the image sometimes results in posterisation on facial close-ups. It is very faint, and I am being very picky here, but that’s my job.
Fifthly, the episode credits which scroll in the sequences immediately after the opening titles often exhibit dot-crawl. This is nothing major, and you have to be fairly close to the screen to pick this up, but it is there.
What is good, though, is that there is no aliasing, which is a real pet hate of mine. There are plenty of hard lines here that are just begging for a low bitrate transfer to make them wobble up and down. Thankfully, hard lines are hard lines, even through the soft-filter.
There was no dirt that I spotted on the print.
There is an extensive list of subtitle options here: English for the Hearing Impaired, regular English, Danish, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, Norwegian and Swedish. They appear as white with a grey/black border and are easy to read. Whether the foreign language titles reflect the actual dialogue, I have no idea. But the English HI track is fairly accurate, with relevant cues as to who is speaking, and only minor deviations from what is said.
The dual-layer pause is in between the episodes, with two episodes per layer. I often wonder if the episodes were transferred two per disc whether the minor picture faults would be overcome. For the sake of convenience, though, four episodes a disc stops me getting up to change discs all the time, and seven discs takes up a lot less room than thirteen discs, and considerably less room than thirteen video-cassettes.
Originally mixed in 2.0 Dolby Surround for broadcast, this English 5.1 Dolby Digital remix is really good, although I must confess that to date the finest audio remix in this series was the pilot double episode Emissary, which made extensive use of the surrounds and subwoofer. I am hanging out to see what the DVD authoring studio has done for the Season 4 opening feature Way Of The Warrior. For the most part, the regular episodes, while definitely generating a surround field, do not heavily use the rears and the sub for anything other than ambience, but still make more use of them than many other 5.1 Dolby Digital remixes I have heard.
Dialogue is always easy and clear to understand throughout the series, and indeed the sound field is often dominated by dialogue. There were no audio sync problems that I detected.
There is plenty of surround information, lots of left-right directional cues and plenty of ambient information coming from the rears, to give the low-level roar of being on a starship or the hum of the station. This gives the show a definite cinematic feel that is not present on the 2.0 Stereo mix available on VHS (or even the 2.0 Dolby Surround mix if you purchased the UK released VHS copies).
Dennis McCarthy’s score comes through loud and clear with a great range when necessary. Again, looking forward to the remix of the opening title music concurrent with Season 4 and the broad orchestral soundscape that is heavily employed in later seasons to achieve emotional intensity. While this technique is not heavily relied upon, you can see its genesis in the final sequence of Past Tense: Part II. When the show finally admits to its grandiose operatic quality come Season 5, here is hoping the producers of the DVD will master the score appropriately.
There is quite extensive sub-woofer use in this season, although predominantly to create ambience. You can feel the low-level rumble of a starship beneath you when you turn the sound up on Defiant, and that is definitely using the lower registers. Some of the weapons sound effects and explosions (such as the destruction of the station during Visionary) also employ the subwoofer to good use, although surprisingly not as effectively as it was done in the remastered versions of the early Star Trek movies. I was hoping for a little more ‘oomph’ from the Quantum Torpedoes that the USS Defiant gets to fire off from time to time, but no such luck. I sincerely hope the DVD producers can improve on this in later seasons because once the Dominion War rolls around, I want a space-age war zone in my living room (and I’m sure I’m not alone on that one).
Sound is also available in German 5.1 Dolby Digital and Spanish, French and Italian in 2.0 Dolby Surround voice overdub. These alternate audio tracks are much thinner, but passable.
|Surround Channel Use|
How many extras do you want? These are all presented in 1.33:1, full frame, with 2.0 Dolby Surround audio. Interviews are in 1.85:1, letterboxed within the 1.33:1 frame.
All menus are 1.33:1. You can play them in 16x9 format, but they are not 16x9 enhanced. The main menus are a CGI recreation of the credits, with a panning view of the station. The episode menus only have an ambient 2.0 Dolby Stereo track and are static. All other menus are static and silent.
Although Paramount have not provided us with the booklet that comes with this boxed set for the purposes of review, nor the special packaging, like all other retail releases of the Star Trek series to date, the DS9 series comes with its own individual booklet full of written information about the Star Trek universe and a summary of the episodes on each disc. This is very handy because unless you have every episode committed to memory, it is good to be able to sweep through and find the one you want to watch.
Series creators Ira Steven Behr, Robert Hewitt Wolfe and Michael Hiller discuss the inception of the totalitarian analogy in the DS9 universe, the Dominion, and how it became a major part of the series.
Interviews with Michael Westmore and other cast and crew on the various alien species created for Season 3 and the extensive makeup effects often employed to make them look real.
A look at the creation of the double episode Past Tense, a look at poverty in the developed world and how humanity has a cold way of dismissing it until the poor revolt, generally only to be brutally put down by the upper classes. Includes interviews with writers, cast and the series creators.
A look at the introduction of the starship USS Defiant which enabled the stories to go beyond the station, and for the crew to play a vital role in the upcoming Dominion War.
Like previous releases, this gives an in depth look at the character of Odo as played by Rene Auberjonois. Includes interviews with series creator Ira Steven Behr and Rene Auberjonois.
An in depth look at the episode Explorers, and the analogy of exploring space as sailing on a grand ocean in times of limited technology. Includes interviews with cast and crew.
There are 7 Hidden Files here, which are easy enough to find by just playing around with your remote until you highlight one of the auxiliary panels of the space station:
- Hidden File 01 (2:05) looks at the episode Second Skin and includes an interview with Nana Visitor, who plays Kira, and the nightmares of putting on Cardassian makeup.
- Hidden File 02 (2:49) includes interviews with the writer of the episode Second Skin and how he was interested in exploring personal identity by showing how people are not defined by their past, and they are who they are now, not what they were before.
- Hidden File 03 (2:28) takes a look at the episode Family Business and the use of the Ferengi as a humour device during the series.
- Hidden File 04 (1:38) is a brief look at the use of psychedelic artwork in a brief sequence in Part Tense: Part II.
- Hidden File 05 (2:05) an interview with director David Livingston regarding the episode The Die Is Cast and the relationship between Odo and Garak.
- Hidden File 06 (1:35) is a look at the designing of the shapeshifter’s homeworld for the episode The Search and the pool that would later be known as the Great Link.
- Hidden File 07 (1:38) is an interview with special effects designer on the destruction of the station during the episode Visionary
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Apparently, the R1 release has fewer special features. I have heard lots of complaints about the lack of a booklet providing episode summaries. Moreover, from what I can tell, the R1 release does not have the USS Defiant featurette and only has 6 Hidden Files instead of the 7 available on the R4 release.
There is also the PAL/NTSC differential, but I have no way of telling whether the image is better mastered in its original NTSC format. If someone could enlighten me, I would be grateful. I have heard similar criticisms to what I have pointed out above, so I somehow doubt the NTSC transfer is much better. But the cross colouration may not be present.
On top of that, there is the difference in audio and subtitle options. The R1 offers only English 5.1 Dolby Digital and English 2.0 Dolby Surround audio options and only English subtitles. Unless you have specific language requirements, however, these are largely a matter of preference. The R4 release is certainly more multiculturally friendly.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Season 3 really sets up the rest of the series and has some of its most memorable episodes. If you are a fan of the series, this is a must have: it beats your old VHS copies hands down. If you enjoy quality late-night sci-fi, this is definitely worth a watch, and a good place to start, as things really start to heat up from here on out, and you miss some of the ‘filler’ episodes from the first seasons when the creators were not quite sure the creative direction this show was going to take.
Video is very good, and up there with the best of the Star Trek transfers so far (aside from the movies, of course), but the persistent minor transfer artefacts get a little annoying – particularly the cross colouration. I sincerely hope that this problem can be remedied for the rest of the series, and if anybody from Paramount is reading this, please pay particular attention to this fault as it has the potential to ruin the image.
The sound gives a more cinematic feel to the show, which adds to its impact, but we are yet to hear the true soundscape this show offered in later seasons.
The extras are very good, but it would have been nice to have an audio commentary on a few of the episodes – particularly Past Tense: Parts I & II.
|DVD||Panasonic DVD-RV31A-S, using S-Video output|
|Display||Beko 28" (16x9). This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver.|
|Speakers||Energy - Front, Rear, Centre & Subwoofer|