Star Trek: Deep Space Nine-Complete Season 4 (1995)
Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Charting New Territory
Featurette-Michael Westmore's Aliens
Featurette-Crew Dossier: Lt. Worf
Featurette-Deep Space Nine Chronicles
Easter Egg-Section 31, Hidden File 01 - The Quickening
Easter Egg-Section 31, Hidden File 02- Little Green Men
Easter Egg-Section 31, Hidden File 03 - Our Man Bashir
Easter Egg-Section 31, Hidden File 04 - Character of Lenara Khan
Easter Egg-Section 31, Hidden File 05 - The Visitor
Featurette-Jim Martin Sketchbook
Featurette-Bob Blackman's Designs Of The Future
Featurette-Deep Space Nine Sketchbook: John Eaves
Easter Egg-Section 31, Hidden File 06 - Visual Effects
Easter Egg-Section 31, Hidden File 08 - Character of Leeta
Easter Egg-Section 31Hidden File 09 - Sword Of Kahless & File10-Make-Up
|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 (384Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/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
|Smoking||Yes, but only for laughs|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
From its opening double episode Way Of The Warrior Parts I & II to its conclusion with the declaration of war between the Federation and the Klingons, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Season 4 is hands down one of the finest seasons of Star Trek that has ever been produced.
The whole crew is back again – newly-promoted Captain Sisko (Avery Brooks) and his aspiring author son Jake (Cirroc Lofton), Bajoran liaison Major Kira Nerys (Nana Visitor), station engineer Chief Miles O’Brien (Colm Meaney), gifted chief medical officer Doctor Bashir (Alexander Siddig), chief of security Odo (Rene Auberjonois), science officer Jadzia Dax (Terry Farrell), and the unscrupulous bartender and black market dealer Quark (Armin Shimerman) – all ready for the challenges of life on the front lines as things in the Alpha Quadrant turn really nasty.
Season 4 of the show breaks down like this:
1. Way Of The Warrior: Part I & II (89:19) -- with the Changeling threat intensified and civil unrest on the home world, Cardassia has sealed its borders and the Klingons take this as a sign that the Changelings have taken control. They launch a massive war party to wipe them out, expecting the assistance of the Federation. Sisko realises that he needs a Klingon to help him out, and Worf is posted to DS9 as a liaison. But when Sisko intervenes to save the Cardassian Ruling Council, Chancellor Martok abrogates the Khittomer Accords and the Klingons turn on DS9 for one final onslaught.
3. The Visitor (43:37) -- A pretty young visitor in the night comes across an old sick and dying Jake Sisko alone at his house in New Orleans. She asks him why he only ever wrote one book and Jake finds he has a story still to tell, the last one he will ever tell.
4. Hippocratic Oath (43:37) -- Bashir and O’Brien crash on a planet where a band of marooned Jem’Hadar reside. They are captured and the leader of the Jem’Hadar offers Bashir the chance to cure the Jem’Hadar of their addiction to the Ketracel White so that they will no longer be slaves to the Dominion.
5. Indiscretions (43:37) -- Gul Dukat enlists Major Kira’s assistance to find his illegitimate daughter, the result of a union between himself and a Bajoran mistress. But is Dukat out to save his daughter, or to destroy a dirty secret?
6. Rejoined (43:36) -- The wife of one of Jadzia’s past lives arrives on the station stirring up feelings that are forbidden in the Trill culture.
7. Little Green Men (43:35) -- A warp drive accident thrusts Quark, Nog and Rom back to Earth during the Cold War where they inadvertently cause the Roswell incident. Is this Quark’s chance to rule the primitive people of Earth?
8. Starship Down (43:36) -- During trade negotiations in the Gamma Quadrant, the Defiant comes under attack from two Jem’Hadar warships and is forced to hide in the dense atmosphere of a gas giant. With sensors blind and Sisko badly injured, can the crew survive?
9. The Sword Of Kahless (43:36) -- Worf and Jadzia are led on a hunt for the legendary sword of the Klingon emperor Kahless, which has mystical properties, by Jadzia’s drunken Klingon friend Kor. But is the Klingon Empire ready for the sword to be found?
10. Our Man Bashir (43:35) -- Bashir and Garak are enjoying Bashir’s James Bond style holosuite program when a transporter malfunction suddenly turns the crew members into villains in the program. Bashir must become the secret agent he is portraying in order to complete the program and save his friends.
11. Home Front (43:35) -- After a bombing at a Federation meeting, Sisko returns to Earth to help Starfleet Command improve its defences against the Dominion. But he soon becomes suspicious about a plot to take military control of the planet.
12. Paradise Lost (43:36) -- With Earth under marshal law, Sisko tries to uncover the conspiracy that removed the President from power and put the planet in the hands of the military before the paradise of Earth is forever lost.
13. Crossfire (43:36) -- When First Minister Shakaar arrives on the station, Odo is assigned as his security liaison. However, when romantic feelings begin emerging between Shakaar and Kira, Odo is forced to face his feelings for the woman he loves or lose her forever.
14. Return To Grace (43:36) -- A disgraced Dukat is reduced in rank and left to ferrying cargo and minor dignitaries on an outdated vessel. On a mission to take Kira to an outpost for intelligence sharing, they are ambushed by Klingons who destroy the outpost. Salvaging what weapons they can, Kira and Dukat set out to avenge the deaths of their fellow citizens.
15. Sons Of Mogh (43:36) -- Worf’s brother Kern arrives on the station having been stripped of his title and lands after Worf went against Chancellor Gowron. Worf arranges a security job for him but it becomes abundantly clear that Kern’s only remaining wish in life is to die as a warrior, and thus avoid living in disgrace.
16. Bar Association (43:36) -- Quark finally pushes Rom too far and his brother forms a union to demand fair working conditions for all of Quark’s employees. But when Liquidator Brunt of the FCA (Ferengi Commerce Association) shows up with some Norsican muscle to break the strike, Rom must choose between his cause and his brother.
17. Accession (43:32) -- When an ancient Bajoran light ship emerges from the wormhole, a famous poet from two centuries before is found aboard. Sisko sees this as a way to avoid his appointment as the religious icon known as the Emissary of the Prophets. But when this time traveller begins advocating drastic political reform, Sisko must face up to who he really is.
18. Rules of Engagement (43:36) -- Worf is put on trial for the destruction of a civilian freighter in the middle of a battle zone, and is to be extradited to the Klingon Empire. Is this just a Klingon plot to embarrass the Federation, or has Worf given in to his Klingon heart? An outstanding episode exploring the complexities of humanitarian intervention and military command.
19. Hard Time (43:37) -- O’Brien is tried and sentenced by an alien race for espionage which involves an implanted memory of incarceration for many years in a hell hole of a prison, leaving severe psychological scars.
20. Shattered Mirror (43:36) -- Sisko is once more called upon by the Terran rebels of the alternate universe to help fight, this time to defend the recently captured Terak Nor from a joint Klingon/Cardassian assault led by Regent Worf.
21. The Muse (43:37) -- Jake is being assisted in his writing by a female alien being who feeds off his inspiration while at the same time providing a heightened creative ability. But the process is slowly killing him. Can he stop using her before he finishes his book or will his art kill him?
22. For The Cause (43:36) -- Investigations into the recent activity of the Marquis point towards a possible operative aboard DS9 – Cassidy Yates. Is the Captain’s girlfriend a smuggler, or is there more going on here than a simple black market operation?
23. To The Death (43:10) -- A band of renegade Jem’Hadar attack DS9 to gain components to help them build a mystical Iconian gateway than can allow them interstellar travel without starships. Sisko forges an uneasy alliance with a band of Dominion survivors to hunt down the renegades and wipe them out before they can complete their task.
24. The Quickening (43:37) -- Dr. Bashir comes across a planet stricken by a plague struck down upon them after resisting the Dominion. Bashir offers his help but makes matters worse. In a last ditch effort he tries to help a pregnant woman save her child.
25. Body Parts (43:37) -- An accident in the Gamma Quadrant results in O’Brien’s unborn child being transplanted into Major Kira until gestation. At the same time, Quark finds out he is dying and pre-sells his vacuum desiccated corpse to pay off his debts. But when circumstances change, Quark finds he must choose between death or exile from Ferenginar.
26. Broken Link (43:32) -- When Odo is stricken with a virus that Bashir cannot cure, Sisko and the crew take Odo into the Gamma Quadrant to find the Founders in the hope that they will know how to help him.
With only a couple of mediocre episodes, and several stand out favourite episodes for the series, Season 4 is, in my mind at least, the standard to which the rest of the Star Trek franchise should aspire. It is not the best season of Deep Space Nine – that is probably the magnificent Season 6 – but it set a benchmark for Star Trek storytelling that the contemporaneously running Voyager struggled to meet (although it did finally succeed with its superbly executed Season 5) and the successor series Enterprise has yet to attain. Not only does Deep Space Nine – Season 4 have excellent production values, a quantum leap on previous seasons, and an amazing cast who always give their all in their performances, Season 4 also has original plotlines and heartfelt emotion in its storytelling. It takes on tough issues and handles them with grace and style. If anyone doubts me, watch the episodes The Visitor or The Quickening and see what you think. Sure, it still has its fun tongue-in-cheek episodes such as Little Green Men and Our Man Bashir, but this show would not be half as good without these instances of satirical humour.
The world seems to have moved on from Star Trek a little, with the last big screen venture – Star Trek: Nemesis – being not terribly well received, despite being one of the franchise’s finest productions ever. Star Trek is not and never was as socially acceptable as Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, perhaps because it is not so firmly rooted in contemporary culture, and its cast are not as young and good looking. Moreover, it is often associated with the geeky loser crowd who spout technobabble. I think this is somewhat of a shame, and a drastic misinterpretation, as Star Trek has always had a lot more to do with politics, inter-personal and international, than with mind blowing technology. That said, given the current quality of the most recent Star Trek small screen production, Enterprise, I do understand why a lot of long-term fans have finally turned away. The blame lies squarely with the writers, who seem to have lost some inspiration, and so hopefully they can get that series together and make it a worthy addition to the franchise before the die hard fans seek entertainment elsewhere.
All that aside, for me, Deep Space Nine was a show that did what a lot of other more commercially viable and socially acceptable TV shows have absolutely failed to do; it explored the human condition. It did it with imagination and creativity. It did it with heart. And it was very entertaining. A rare beast for the small screen indeed, and a landmark TV series. My only regret is that nobody thought ahead to the digital revolution and widescreen TVs. This show is just begging for a 1.78:1 aspect ratio (and probably a 2.35:1 ratio, but that would just be getting greedy). However, we are stuck with the ‘classic’ small screen image. With that production criticism aside, Deep Space Nine was, and still is, brilliant science fiction and the best that the Star Trek franchise has ever offered, no matter what you Next Generation purists would care to argue. Do not get me wrong, I love The Next Generation, but the impact of the writing of Deep Space Nine and the issues it was willing to tackle make it the superior show. For those who haven’t seen it, watch it before you judge it. Season 3 is probably the best place to start, but after Season 4 you will be missing too much back story to understand what is really going on. For those who know this show and love it, welcome to the 4th instalment. It was worth the wait.
I do not know if the production team at Paramount Home Entertainment read these reviews, but if they do, I would just like to say thank you for finally giving this series the transfer quality it deserves. At last we have a transfer which matches the production values of the show. Keep up the good work.
Those of you who already own VHS copies of this series and want to know whether to upgrade to DVD, this new transfer of Season 4 makes those VHS releases, both the UK and Australian versions, look totally cheap by comparison. Give them away and upgrade, because this release is exceptional.
As for particulars, here goes: although the transfer is presented in 1.33:1, Full Frame, this is the original broadcast aspect ratio. The show was indeed shot on 35mm film but not with an anamorphic lens, and I do not believe that widescreen prints even exist for the episodes. As I have stated above, this show was just begging for a 1.78:1 aspect ratio, but hindsight is no substitute for foresight.
Colours are radiant and striking, rivalling releases of contemporary Hollywood films. The image positively glows off the screen. It just looks so real – an image quality as good as the transfer for Star Trek: Generations. Considering this season of the show was made about the same time as that first Next Generation big screen venture, it is hardly surprising that some of that technical experience has come back to help improve the quality of Deep Space Nine. And wow, what a difference.
The image itself is intensely detailed, and immaculately rendered. The smudging and colour bleed that was the staple of VHS is gone. You can see texture everywhere, the fine detail that went into making this show. Absolutely amazing. Explosions are also far more detailed and consequently more impressive.
Shadow detail is exceptional, with the texture of dark clothing clearly visible and no graininess in shadowy shots (unlike the releases of Season 1 and 3). This is spectacular.
There were no MPEG artefacts, and the film-to-video transfer artefacts are so minimal they barely rate mentioning. The only artefact that is evident is a very slight mistiness as a result of the soft filter used to shoot the show in order to conceal film grain. It is in no way distracting, but if you get close up to the screen you can see it. That nasty cross-colouration problem which plagued Seasons 1, 2 and 3 to varying degrees is completely remedied here and it makes a huge difference.
There was a very occasional white speck of dirt on the print here and there, but nothing distracting and nothing worth pointing out as a particular example. If you go hunting for these things you will see them, but the person I was watching this series with told me off for being so picky.
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. While they do not convey the exact dialogue word for word, they cover the general gist of what is being said, editing it down slightly so as to make it easier to read. While some of the embellishments are lost, the story remains intact.
The dual-layer pause is in between the episodes, with two episodes per layer.
Another vast improvement on previous releases is the English 5.1 Dolby Digital remix we are given here, which is stunning. The audio on the double episode Way Of The Warrior I & II met my expectations and honestly I was a little surprised. This is not the absolute best 5.1 Dolby Digital mix I have heard for a TV series - that honour still goes to Alias – Season 1. But compared to anything Paramount has done for Star Trek before on DVD, this is getting closer to the quality of the audio on the big screen releases, and with a little more tweaking I think Paramount can give us the deafening audio onslaught we fans want for the upcoming Dominion War in Seasons 5 - 7.
As to particulars, dialogue is very well mixed, always easy to understand throughout the series, but also reproducing a certain clarity of annunciation that you would expect on a DTS track rather than a Dolby Digital track. There were no audio sync problems that I detected.
The music finally gets the attention it deserves here, with a full cinematic surround experience when required. One need only listen to the revamped title sequence with its more up-tempo theme music by Dennis McCarthy to get an impression of what I am talking about. But the score used in The Visitor and The Quickening is something to behold, and drastically alters the emotional impact of the episodes.
Surround information is exquisite, infinitely more aggressive than previous seasons. Some of the battle sequences are truly awesome. The attack on the station during Way Of The Warrior is very impressive, and the battle sequences in Starship Down and Shattered Mirror are chock full of surround information. More than that, there are far more directional cues implementing the rears in non-action sequences, which gives the show a much more encapsulating feel.
With the notable increase in surround channel use comes a corresponding increase in sub-woofer use. One thing that I was acutely aware of during this season was the variation in ambient rumble of the station depending on where the characters were. This hum is very low level in the Promenade, but becomes more intense in the heart of Ops or up in the docking pylons. Watch Crossfire and notice the variance of rumble in each of these locales. The subwoofer was also aggressively used in the battle sequences and to add depth to various explosions. I also noticed its use to flesh out the music – an obvious example being the opening credits, but there are other occasions during the season.
As with previous seasons, audio is also available in German 5.1 Dolby Digital and Spanish, French and Italian in 2.0 Dolby Surround overdub. These alternate audio tracks are not as richly textured, especially the 2.0 Dolby Surround tracks, but are still acceptable for what they are.
|Surround Channel Use|
Again, we are provided with an extensive list of extras, 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.
As with previous seasons, all menus are presented in 1.33:1 Full Frame. 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 have an ambient 2.0 Dolby Stereo track and are static. All other sub-menus are static and silent.
Although Paramount Home Entertainment have neglected again to provide us with a copy of the booklet or packaging to review, I am told by reliable sources that, as with previous seasons, this season too has its own booklet outlining episode summaries and detailing information on what was happening in the rest of the Alpha Quadrant during the season. I also quite like the funky packaging and am glad that this format has been decided upon for the whole series as it is considerably sturdier than the cardboard packaging provided in the US.
This is a good look at the making of Season 4, including interviews with series creators Ira Steven Behr, writer and executive producer Robert Hewitt Wolfe, writer Ronald D. Moore, actors Michael Dorn, Avery Brooks and Terry Farrell and guest star Susanna Thompson.
As with previous seasons, here is an interview with make up effects artist Michael Westmore and the creation of the various alien species which populate the station and the Gamma Quadrant.
A look the character of Worf, his joining the show, his relationship with Jadzia, and the movie crossovers. Includes several different interviews with Michael Dorn and also an interview with Ira Steven Behr.
These are a series of episode introductions done by various cast members for significant episodes of the series from Season 1 up to the end of Season 4. They include:
These include all sorts of various Star Trek lore on the show in question and even some making of information.
A look at the artistic design work of illustrator John Eaves, including interviews with Eaves who only started at Season 4.
A look at the creative design work of another illustrator for the designs on the show, this time with Jim Martin who started as a production assistant early on in the show and was promoted to an illustrator in Season 2.
A look at the work of regular Star Trek costume designer Bob Blackman throughout the series, including an interview with the designer himself.
A series of 40 inset stills from the production of the season.
There are 10 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:
There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
From what I can tell, the R1 release lacks:
Other than that, the extras would appear to be identical.
However, as with before, there is a dramatic difference in audio and subtitle options. The R1 offers only English 5.1 Dolby Digital and English 2.0 Dolby Surround and only English subtitles. The R4 release certainly caters for more cultures.
Given all the above, I am going with the Region 4 release both in qualitative and quantitative superiority.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Season 4 was a benchmark in Star Trek storytelling, garnering critical acclaim and elevating the production values and sheer entertainment value of the series several notches. If the rest of the Star Trek franchise could be this good, it would have more fans. I’m hanging out for Season 5.
This is the finest video transfer that Paramount have done for one of their TV Series. It can only get better from here. Again, thank you Paramount for this exceptional release.
This 5.1 Dolby Digital remix is fantastic. The sound effects and orchestral score are finally getting the attention they deserve, and the surrounds are not just picking up ambience any more but real effective audio cues. Turn it up loud and enjoy.
There are still no audio commentaries by cast and crew for the episodes but I prefer picture and sound quality to extras so I will not quibble too much. We are still provided with an impressive stack of extras so you do not feel cheated.
|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|