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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Season 7 (DVD)
Member Name: Frankingsteins
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Season 7 (DVD)
Date: 04/06/04, updated on 04/06/04 (52 review reads)
Advantages: Original and enjoyable space adventure, Suits every mood, Excellent character development
Disadvantages: Some conclusions seem a little forced, Very expensive
The final year of a long-running television show, especially one with continuing storylines and a loyal fan following, needs to provide a satisfying conclusion to a large number of plot threads. The final year of Star Trek?s boldest and darkest incarnation did not disappoint those who had followed its characters and developments since 1993, as the writing staff took some interesting decisions: the first half was surprisingly low key in providing stand-alone episodes and foreshadowing later developments, before the series plunged straight into a ten-part epic, tying up loose ends and leaving even more open for possible future developments.
Over the seven years, Star Trek?s space station-bound third incarnation came a long way, aided mainly by the change in writing staff after the third season. While the original notion of a station out in the far reaches of known space, providing aid to a recently occupied planet while having to balance out the changing political situations in the area, was a little bland for some peoples? tastes, the introduction of a powerful and immense enemy force from the distant Gamma Quadrant by the name of ?The Dominion? changed everything: immediately the show became more about protecting the Federation from this threat, but it was only at the end of the fifth season that the Dominion carried out its all-out invasion of the Federation, leading to the outbreak of war.
Seasons six and seven are primarily led by the idea of a large-scale war, and while this deterred those who watched Star Trek for its messages of peace and its superhuman characters, others found the examination of the human condition under stress the most interesting development in the franchise?s history. Captain Benjamin Sisko and
his crew of less than perfect Starfleet officers and Bajoran militia firmly established himself as a much different commander than Kirk or Picard, and the increasing focus on the show?s huge assortment of regular and recurring characters meant that the final season had a lot of work on its hands.
STYLE & THEMES
The seventh season begins surprisingly low-key after the devastation and death at the end of season six, but this is all part of the writers? plan to continue as normal and then surprise viewers towards the end. The first six episodes are fairly standard ?space opera? that the show does so well, focusing on the characters and their problems rather than the space phenomena common to the more popular Next Generation.
This series continues its focus on the themes that made DS9 unique among sci-fi shows: its in-depth exploration of religion through the Bajoran?s beliefs, the devastation and personal effects of war and loss, and the importance of family and friendship. If you?ve been put off by the bland and dull nature of some Star Trek shows in the past, there is very little by this point in Deep Space Nine, aside from the appearance of familiar races such as the Cardassians and the Cornish pasty-headed Klingons, so this should not form the basis of your opinion.
This season is one of DS9?s best, and there are many character pieces of note. ?Field of Fire? sees new crewmember Ezri Dax having to face the violent past of one of her previous hosts when solving a series of murders on the station, ?Take Me Out to the Holosuite? is a fun baseball romp with the ultimate morals of ?it?s taking part that counts? and ?Vulcans can be smug,? while ?It?s
Only a Paper Moon? is a very sombre look at the debilitating effects of personal injury.
The darker side of the show is not lost in the first half, with the ultimate gritty war episode ?The Siege of AR-558? presenting the most violent and grim Star Trek episode in history, while ?Covenant? examines suicide cults and confirms that Sisko?s ultimate nemesis, the Cardassian Dukat, is completely insane and undeniably evil.
The ten-part story arc at the end is the highlight of the season however, with its focus on every character and their importance (or lack of) to the overall scheme of things. This is Deep Space Nine at its very best, remaining unpredictable, tragic, enjoyable, funny and full of impressive special effects. Penumbra / ?Til Death Do Us Part / Strange Bedfellows / The Changing Face of Evil / When it Rains? / Tacking into the Wind / Extreme Measures / The Dogs of War / What You Leave Behind parts I & II.
All 26 episodes are very clear and crisp, despite the soft lens the series is filmed in, although the show slightly predated the modern convention of making every sci-fi show in a widescreen format. As usual with the DS9 releases there is a final disc of special features, all of which provide an interesting look behind the scenes, focusing especially on the end of the series and the cast and crew?s reactions to their seven year commitments coming to fruition, but they still feel a little tagged on for the sake of it. Still, the DVDs are presented in an excellent sturdy plastic case, and small extras such as a collector?s booklet complete the effect. There are plenty of language and subtitle options as well.
Season seven is not DS9 at its absolute best, and as is always the way with the end of a popular series, there are some conclusions that were not made as satisfactory as they could have been. The writers still deserve credit however, especially for allowing focus on some great stand-alone episodes amidst the frantic rush to meet the series? end.
As stated earlier, this is not Star Trek at its most traditional, and has more in common with shows such as Farscape, Stargate SG-1 and Buffy the Vampire Slayer in terms of its exploration of characters and important themes over time rather than using the ?reset button? format of many shows. Anyone interested in Deep Space Nine would certainly not find this season the most inviting due to amount of knowledge that can be required at times, and it?s my opinion that season four is the best starting point; the first three years were important, but far less impressive.
The drawback with these DVDs, apart from the lack of extensive special features, is the rather extortionate price: Play.com and other websites often charge £58.99 as the lowest price. I have found that importing from eBay.com can provide a bargain ? the equivalent of £12.00 for a Chinese import of inferior but still watchable quality ? but I can?t recommend this to everyone.
Deep Space Nine was always overshadowed by the end of the Next Generation and the beginning of Voyager, and it?s my hope that subsequent re-runs could inspire more science fiction fans to re-discover what an excellent show it was.
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