SFTV Re-Views: Deep Space Nine 1.7-1.10


DS9 1.7: “Q-Less”

Having just spun off from Star Trek: TNG and having a few episodes under its belt, DS9 decides to reconnect a bit with the parent program by bringing Vash and Q back. (Vash being the Indiana Jones-like archaeologist/profiteer and Q being the omnipotent alien.) Q had taken Vash to the Gamma Quadrant two years ago but they had a falling out in which each claims s/he left the other. Regardless, Q wants Vash back but she only wants to sell some artifacts she’s acquired in the Gamma Quadrant, getting Quark’s help to do so. While this goes on, the power drains on the shuttle that Dax brought Vash back on (and which nearly killed them both) have spread to the station and, later, the station mysteriously starts moving towards the wormhole where it will be destroyed. Q is initially the prime suspect but he denies it and Sisko doesn’t think it’s him, either. With a neutron star’s worth of technobabble, Sisko, Kira, Dax, and O’Brien all work to try to save the day and show how the storylines are connected.

The plot of this episode is pretty weak and the ending is a bit silly and somewhat like a particular TNG episode but it is very entertaining as almost any episode with Q has to be. Q’s not a nice guy, as his tormenting of Vash shows but, for an omnipotent being, he’s actually pretty easy-going. For instance, he doesn’t even take revenge when, after magicking a boxing match between them, Sisko punches him, only exclaiming that Picard never punched him, to which Sisko tellingly replies, “I’m not Picard.” That said, DS9 never really found the alternate chemistry with Q and Sisko that Q and John Luck Pickard had and he didn’t make many appearances. Favorite line, on complaining about how dull Earth is: “Don’t get me wrong. A thousand years ago it had character – Crusades, Spanish Inquisition, Watergate.” Another good moment was when Odo was mystified about some beings’ pursuit of material goods and Quark trying to tempt him, getting him to think for a long moment about the appeal of a “platinum-plated bucket” to regenerate in.

Once again, the episode ends with a “return to normal” going even further to repeat that they were able to “return the station to its original position” but it was a fun ride while it lasted.

DS9 1.8: “Dax”

When this episode opens, we’re informed via Sisko’s voiceover that this will be a No’Brien episode as he’s back on Earth with Keiko. What it is, is a Dax episode, and a good one, too. Dax is innocently fending off Julian’s advances while some shady characters are observing her. When she departs, they follow her and attempt to kidnap her. Bashir has come along to try again, sees this, punches the ringleader, but then hesitates when the hood comes off another antagonist and it’s revealed to be a woman. So she smacks him and knocks him out. Meanwhile, Dax is far from the Klingon warrior-woman she will become in later seasons, and is briefly knocked unconscious. (It would have been better if she’d stayed unconscious and been carried instead of recovering, asking dumb questions, and stumbling along semi-voluntarily.) Meanwhile, Bashir recovers, contacts Ops, and they start trying to lock down the station and find the kidnappers. It’s looking pretty bad when they actually escape in their ship but the look of satisfaction on Kira’s face when Sisko fixes the disabled tractor beam and reels in the fleeing ship is priceless.

It turns out that these aren’t your garden variety thugs but people from a Kardassian-associated world with extradition papers. (How the Federation has a “unilateral” extradition treaty with such a world is another of this episode’s small problems.) Dax is being charged with treason and murder and doesn’t look too innocent about it. But, again, the scene in which Sisko lets Kira take over because there is no such treaty between the world and Bajor (and DS9 is Bajoran territory) is also priceless. So a (brilliantly cast and performed) Bajoran arbiter arrives to preside over the extradition hearing. (In another great scene, Odo had strongarmed Quark into giving up his bar for awhile so that they could hold the hearing there.) There follows a gripping “trial” scene which alternates with scenes during various recesses in the hearing in which the nature of Trills and Jadzia/Dax is examined in a really science fictional way. In addition to spotlighting Dax, it also gives Sisko a chance to demonstrate more of his character and past with Dax. (There is also a moment recalling Bashir’s hesitation when Dax is stonewalling Sisko and, in frustration, he smacks his fist in his palm and wishes she were still a man.) Finally, the ending is simple, but it also makes sense and works.

My only serious problem with the episode is that, even if Trills think they take responsibility for their previous symbiont/hosts actions, it’s an invalid deal because the idea of executing a 20-something woman for something a dead man may or may not have done in a previous life, whether there’s a symbiont connecting them or not, is manifestly unjust. Still, that is the situation that is presented, nobody ever promised anyone justice, and it makes for good practical drama. I’d put this one behind “Captive Pursuit” but would group it with that one as a cut above the rest.

DS9 1.9 “The Passenger”

Kira and Bashir are returning on the runabout from a medical call in which Bashir’s conceit is once again emphasized. A second emergency causes them to go aboard a burning ship and rescue one person while the other seizes Bashir by the throat, orders him to “make me live” and then dies. Turns out he was a criminal and the woman they rescued was a sort of detective gone far beyond the level of Javert or Gerard as she’s convinced he’s still alive and continuing his criminal ways, turning the episode into a sort of horror movie. The rest of the episode involves the progress of people accepting her thesis and trying to drag it back into science fiction by hypothesizing how it might be physically possible (mind transference into the “unused” portions of humanoid brains) and then trying to figure out who he could be inhabiting and how to deal with him.

Much of this episode is actually quite good and enjoyable and I was wondering why I had such a negative impression of it but then Bashir’s ludicrously bad acting (and/or Paul Lynch’s impotent directing) ruined the episode and reminded me why I didn’t like it. Other bad things include stuff not worthy of the phrase “technobabble” but more just “gobbledegook,” especially involving computers, a scene in which a stage whisper doesn’t remotely hide the identity of the whisperer, and a scene in which the impression is given (as we go to break so the impression can set) that the detective somehow fell off a balcony before she explains in sick bay that she was pushed, a bad action scene in which several people are slowly shot, and Dax emulating McCoy in whipping up a special EMP in moments and sending it down a tractor beam (which is apparently the one thing you can do through someone’s shields).

On the other hand, much of the character interaction is good, including the usual lusting over Jadzia by Quark and Odo’s failure to comprehend (or his denial of his comprehension) but also with a less common element I wish they’d have played with more involving Odo and a new Starfleet security guy [1] butting heads with Kira wondering if Sisko is freezing Odo out. This notion of jurisdiction (as included in “Dax,” above) and conflicts of loyalty between Starfleet and Bajor is dramatic and interesting.

Another good element of this episode is the humor. When the detective thinks Odo is being too cavalier and asks “what kind of fool are you?” he replies in inimitable Odo-fashion. “My own special variety.” And when Dax is following up on a theory she’s explaining to Sisko, she says, “I’ve been asking myself, ‘Why would anyone induct a bioelectrical charge into a glial cell?'” and Sisko agrees: “A question I have always wondered about.” The scene is made even funnier as she stands there, in intellectual detachment, holding hands with the corpse of a murderer.

DS9 1.10 “Move Along Home”

In this episode, which takes the prize for worst one so far, members of a species who enjoy nothing more than games arrive on the station and are cheated by Quark, so they force him to play a game which he comes to realize may be deadly and uses Sisko, Kira, Dax, and Bashir as pieces.

This forces all the characters to do ridiculous things (somewhat as the TOS episode “Plato’s Stepchildren”) with lots of dumb laughing and coughing and nursery rhymes (with Sisko for some reason adopting falsetto) and the tiresome refrain of “move along home.” Fortunately, there’s nothing key in here that would prevent skipping this episode. The only good parts to this are Quark’s internal war of compassion and avarice and the contrast between Starfleet officers and Kira and Odo.

[1] This guy may have been a trial balloon for a recurring character but I think he just appeared in this and the next and then disappeared.

SFTV Re-Views: Deep Space Nine 1.4-1.6

(My review of Isaac Asimov’s The Caves of Steel is not relevant to this post but something went wrong when I posted it Monday and it never appeared in the WordPress Reader so I thought I’d mention it again in case you missed it and wanted to see it. Moving on…)

This is the first installment of a new series in Featured Futures where I log the science fiction and fantasy television and movies I’ve watched recently along with any thoughts that may occur to me (hopefully fewer of them in future installments). I may do this monthly or so because I’d like to include some visual media but don’t want it dominating this print-oriented site. With this post, I’ll pick up where I left off previously with my laughably prolonged re-watch of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.


DS9 1.4: “A Man Alone”


In this, among other things, Bashir hits on Dax, Sisko takes Dax (in her guise as “the Old Man”) out to eat (in an awkward scene that’s perhaps acted a little more awkwardly still), and Quark drools over Dax. On the other hand, Odo complains about women second-hand, and O’Brien and Keiko fight verbally, and Odo and a Bajoran fight physically, as well.

The verbal fight is related to the B story about Keiko (Mrs. O’Brien) feeling useless and unhappy until she notices the kids on the station are also at loose ends and getting into trouble. (It is funny how, after Jake and Nog make friends, Rom doesn’t want Nog hanging out with that Human boy and Sisko doesn’t want Jake hanging out with that Ferengi boy when kids can be wiser about such things.) She finally hits on the idea of opening a school and amusingly tries to convince Rom of the profit in understanding other cultures. That story culminates in a classroom being outfitted and a handful of kids showing up to sit in computerized desks that look more suited to Plan 9 than Deep Space 9.

The physical fight is from the A story. When Odo was doing security when the Kardassians ran the station, he put Ebudan, a Bajoran war profiteer, in jail. Ebudan is now free, but Odo wants him gone. When the Bajoran is killed in the “locked room” of the holosuite, it looks like he might have wanted him gone very badly. This results in Odo being removed from duty and in the Bajorans on the station turning into a mob out to get the “shapeshifter” they’ve decided is guilty. So both storylines involve multiculturalism, with Odo being easily scapegoated for his differences.

When Odo runs into his office to escape the mob, it’s questionable, but when he comes out again with the mob still there, it’s plain dumb (even if it’s arbitrarily written to work out). Both storylines end rather awkwardly and easily (though Rom’s line of telling Nog to sit down, but “Not next to that Human boy!” was good). The stories aren’t all that great conceptually or all that well-acted, but much of the interpersonal character stuff does work. Perhaps the best part is when a Bajoran is amazed that Quark would defend Odo, saying, “You’re his worst enemy,” and Quark replies, “I guess that’s the closest thing he has in this world to a friend.” In this episode, you can see the potential if everyone could just relax into their roles and gel.

DS9 1.5: “Babel”

This is the traditional Star Trek Plague Episode but gets points for being less silly than the first TOS or TNG ones. In this, nothing on the station works properly and, while repairing a replicator, O’Brien accidentally sets off a device that infects the food (and then the air), causing everyone to lose the ability to produce or understand speech and which seems to ultimately be fatal. The perpetrators of this biological warfare are unclear and learning more results in no moral comfort. And, as if a plague wasn’t enough, a crazy starship captain is so desperate to avoid getting sick that he’s wrecked his ship trying to break quarantine and may destroy half the station as well.

This episode was a little too close to the bone to be watching now, not least when people were shown filling up Quark’s bar. When Odo challenged him, saying everything was closed, Quark claimed an exception for himself as part of “essential station operations.” And then everyone got sick, of course.

Perhaps because this was such a dire situation needing contrast, there was a surprising amount of humor, though. As is often the case, wily Quark and stiff Odo provide much of it. (Quark and Odo are like brothers in ways: they mess with each other constantly but, when a guy at the bar tries to abuse Quark, Odo puts a stop to it. Nobody beats up Quark but me.)

The first of my three favorite exchanges is when Quark gets caught using replicators that don’t belong to him because his are broken. (I’m attempting quotes, but may be paraphrasing.)

Quark: How’d you figure it out?
Odo: You claimed Rom fixed your replicators.
Quark: So?
Odo: Rom’s an idiot. He couldn’t fix a straw if it was bent.

Later, Quark is yelling and gesticulating at a patient in a temporary sick room and claims “They could be faking the illness to avoid paying their bills!” Sisko is passing by and says, “No one could be that devious,” and Quark mutters, “I am.”

Finally, when Odo needs to be transported and Quark’s the only one left to do it, he tells Odo not to worry, as he served on a Ferengi freighter, then adds, “I must have witnessed the procedure hundreds of times” and, as Odo holds up a hand to protest, Quark happily shouts, “Energizing!”

I thought everyone, especially O’Brien, did their word salads well and particularly enjoyed Kira’s role in saving the day in her classic “cut the crap” style. On the other hand, the last episode ended with Sisko saying “life on the station has begun to return to normal” and this one ends with “things are slowly returning to normal,” which would be fine in fantasy and is often hard to really shake up in a TV series, but the show got much better when things began to sometimes change permanently.

DS9 1.6: “Captive Pursuit”

“I am Tosk.”

After the Federation has sent plenty of ships through the wormhole, DS9 encounters its first visitor from the other side when a strange and damaged ship appears with an even stranger being inside. Because O’Brien handled tractoring the ship in, Sisko also gives him the job of meeting the stranger and finding out what’s going on with him. The being will only say “I am Tosk” when asked his name and species and is obviously worried about something but won’t say what it is. The closest he’ll come to saying is, “I live the greatest adventure one could ever desire” and that he only wants to “die with honor.” Despite Tosk’s evasiveness, O’Brien develops a trust in and affection for him, though it’s an uneasy and conflicted feeling. Nevertheless, Odo catches Tosk trying to bypass security to get to the station’s weapons. A tense scene of Odo apprehending Tosk with forcefields follows, and he puts Tosk in a cell. Odo asks him if he’s running from the law having committed crimes and he seems shocked. “Never! I am Tosk.” At the midpoint, just where they should, things get exciting as another ship arrives from the other side, scans the station, begins transporting, is blocked by the now-raised shields, fires at the shields to lower them, and beams faceless, helmeted, armed soldiers aboard. A suspenseful break follows as phasers are drawn. Then station security (and command staff) exchange fire with them as they march into the security cells and we find out what’s going.

That’s all I can really say without spoilers and all I can say by way of impressions is that this is by far the best episode so far and one of the better ones of all. If you’ve seen this or don’t mind spoilers, carry on…


It’s not much of a spoiler at first, because it’s probably no surprise by this point that Tosk is Big Game, being hunted by the helmeted warriors and under an oath of silence about it to prevent his actively soliciting help. Turns out that they have uplifted these beings into being an honored part of their society and Tosk more than accepts this, but demands it. Sisko is pretty thoroughly disgusted and argues with the aliens who turn out to be strangely reasonable despite having blasted their way onto the station without warning. The leader insists on Tosk being returned to them where, alas, he’ll live out a life of shame for having been captured alive. To pacify Sisko, he says that the newly discovered wormhole will be declared out of bounds for future games. Sisko, in obedience to the Prime Directive, may not like the aliens’ society but has no grounds for refusing. However, Kira has the idea that Tosk could at least ask for asylum and O’Brien runs to get Tosk to do so. Tosk insists this would be against everything he believes and that, though the shame he faces on his return is great, “to stay would be a greater dishonor.”

Another perfect break follows on this refusal for asylum and O’Brien moves into his end game. When the aliens begin to take Tosk to their ship, he gives Odo a load about Sisko saying this was a Federation matter and sending Odo away. Odo (convenience writing!) doesn’t use his communicator but goes to complain about this to Sisko in person. Then O’Brien gives the alien leader a load about it being the human way to accompany the aliens on the transfer. When the alien is leading the collared and leashed Tosk through the airlock, the enhanced weapons check O’Brien has set up zaps the alien leader, O’Brien punches him, and he and Tosk flee. Sisko has learned something is amiss from Odo and it’s determined that the pair are in the ducts. Odo says he’ll seal them off and they won’t get far. In one of the best moments, Sisko says, “Constable. There’s no hurry.” Odo looks perplexed but then understanding and confusion oscillate briefly and he slowly departs. Meanwhile, the leader’s response to having been temporarily knocked unconscious is, “The hunt has resumed,” and the aliens go after the loose Tosk, too, with much more urgency.

There are only a few problems with this episode. Usually very careful to make a point of the 26-hour Bajoran day, the writers have O’Brien talk about his eight hours of sleep and let Tosk later describe it as “a full third” of the day (which is true for humans but we’re not on Earth anymore, Toto). They have O’Brien talk about the Kardassian corridors being made such that he’s never seen a scanning device that could penetrate it (which I’m sure is never used again and, of course, the Tosk-hunters have no trouble with it). The physical action is mostly mediocre (though Tosk has a nice leaping moment) and, early in the episode, Tosk even accidentally kicks O’Brien in the face when they’re coming out the lower area of Tosk’s ship. I’m not sure if this is scripted or not, though I can’t believe it was. But this is all utterly minor stuff the like of which is present in almost every Star Trek episode.

While this episode is pretty good on the level of sheer drama, what makes this episode great for me, is the weird, polite, possibly dangerous character of Tosk, the weird, arrogant, possibly harmless hunters, the strange relation between them, the dilemma that Federation-types find themselves in, and the ultimate decision on what to do about it. There’s nothing real easy here. Early on, Tosk is surprised that the Federation is looking to attract attention from the Gamma Quadrant and O’Brien explains that, “Our mission as Starfleet officers is to seek out new lifeforms so we can learn about each other.” What they learn in this event is that they may find some other societies repugnant but that situations can be complex and without simple answers. Early on, Tosk tells O’Brien “We are very different,” and, by the end, we certainly know that to be true in a very deep sense.

[1]: Previous DS9 posts:

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: “Past Prologue”

Continuing my binge-watching of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (having watched the pilot about five months ago), “Past Prologue” introduces plain, simple Garak in the opening scene

and he recruits a singularly befuddled Dr. Bashir to be his liaison. This comes in handy as the Klingon ne’er-do-wells, Lursa and Betor, are on the station and up to no good, not coincidentally when a Bajoran terrorist has escaped the Cardassians and is planning his own evil deeds. This puts Major Kira in a major bind.

She’s sporting a nice new haircut after the pilot. Her conversation with the terrorist, Los, paints her backstory as a resistance fighter in fascinatingly gray tones of complex shapes. The ideas of dependence and independence, picking your battles, loyalty (to whom and why?) are raised in thought-provoking, if heavy-handed ways. An even better conversation starts to build the Kira-Odo relationship as well as furthering the elements raised by the first talk. All the character elements and moral conflicts are intriguing and one of the reasons I prefer DS9 to all other Star Treks. That said, this episode resonates better after you’ve become more familiar with the characters and their arcs (especially Garak’s – though why he’s a “clothier” in a world of replicators is never made convincing) and the action-adventure plotting is not the strongest. To be such a tough fighter, Kira sure can’t fight and as little as she does isn’t well-choreographed to be dignified and the episode ends not with the promised bang but a whimper.

DS9 hadn’t fully hit its stride here, but this was an interesting and not-bad follow-up to a pilot in the similar ballpark.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: “Emissary”

Back on February 21st, I posted about getting the complete series of Deep Space Nine and said, “In the coming days, I may occasionally write up my impressions in some posts as I rewatch the series….” So, hundreds of days have come and gone but they’re still coming, so here’s a write-up of impressions. (Apologies for any Trek stuff I’ll misspell in these posts and apologies if I miss the happy medium between belaboring the obvious for watchers or being insufficiently explanatory for the non-watchers.)

“Emissary” is a double-episode premiere that is primarily about finding your place in life. One of the ways in which this is illustrated is by having Commander Benjamin Sisko constantly revisit the scene of his wife’s death and seeing alien-induced imaginary landscapes as stormy and unwelcoming while, for instance, happy Dax, the science officer, revisits her joining with her symbiont and seeing the same landscape as an idyllic summer day. It also takes a larger view of humanity as explorers through a fundamentally clumsy but sometimes effective device of having our temporally linear Sisko explain to some strangely non-omniscient yet non-linear aliens what our existence is like and how that makes us automatically explorers through time and space in everything we do. Meanwhile, it introduces or makes more detailed a new Star Trek setting, a couple of alien races, a fairly large cast of characters, and more. At this early stage, the plotting is sketchy (particularly in the dramatic crescendos) and the acting quality rises and falls intermittently (sometimes it’s a long fall – I can’t watch a bit of the beach scene between Benjamin and Jennifer) and it’s simultaneously slow, yet overly busy, but it’s a promising start.

So, to back up: the episode opens smartly with an FX-laden battle scene of Commander Sisko leading a ship into battle against the Captain formerly known as Picard, who has been turned into Locutus of Borg and is leading them against the Federation. While the Enterprises could always pretend to be on missions of exploration and thus not unreasonably have civilians on board, this was obviously a battle situation so why civilians like Sisko’s wife and small child are on board, I don’t know, but such is Star Trek. The wife is killed in the battle and Sisko’s ship is destroyed though he, Jake, and some others escape. This provides the foundation of Sisko’s character as explored in the episode and establishes the motives of some extremely prickly interactions between Sisko and Picard. After that bit of action comes the slow-pening credits, which have always bothered me as the all-time dullest. Next, the characters and milieu are all gradually introduced. The Cardassians have been exploiting Bajor and its subject population before abandoning it. The Bajoran provisional government has invited the Federation in, so they are taking over the Cardassian space station formerly known as Terok Nor and now known as Deep Space Nine. Major Kira is a Bajoran native and first officer/liason officer serving under Sisko. Odo is the shapeshifting foundling security chief who worked with the Cardassians when they were in charge and will work with the Federation now that they are. Quark is the Ferengi owner/barkeep of a gambling house. Dax is the joined Trill science officer who was friends with Sisko when she was an old man in her prior life but is now a beautiful young woman. Bashir is the egotistical doctor out to practice “frontier medicine.” And, of course, O’Brien is the engineer transferring over from the Enterprise.

Things pick up when Sisko meets with Kai Opaka who is sort of the Pope of the Bajorans who are a deeply religious people with a theology built around the Tears of the Prophets which have appeared around Bajor every thousand years or so over about ten thousand years. The Cardassians have rounded up all but one and are investigating them to see if they can find the so-called Celestial Temple so it’s imperative that the Federation beat them to it. (No explanation as to why time is so much of the essence when the Cardassians have presumably been at it for awhile.) With the advantage of the Bajoran historical records and Star Trek‘s magic computers, Dax is able to find the X on the space map and a wormhole opens up. Once inside what turns out to be a kind of celestial temple of aliens and their tech (which includes the wormhole), we have another FX-laden scene of travel inside and then meeting with aliens which has a lot of the same dynamics in relation to the general action that the Yoda scenes have in The Empire Strikes Back – kinda cool the first time, but kinda boring, and very boring later, but not without some germs of enduring insight and perspective. However, the Cardassians are on the hunt, too (with Gul Dukat commanding, who will become very prominent later), and Dax and O’Brien whip up some ST-technobabble and turn the space station into a sort of big slow spaceship, chasing a Cardassian ship to the wormhole. When that ship disappears into the wormhole and more Cardassians arrive and are annoyed with the defenseless space station, things get very tense. Ultimately, the situation is resolved and, rather than being a minor backwater, DS9 and Bajor are now in position to be a major hub of interstellar commerce and exploration.

Random notes:

  • DS9 gets great credit for taking the worst Trek species ever in the Ferengi, and making them somewhat interesting and sometimes tolerable, especially with Quark, played by Principal Snyder, aka Armin Shimmerman. (Though they do over-use them over time.)
  • I love that Picard gets to do the “straighten my shirt” thing twice in the first meeting with Sisko.
  • The Sisko/Quark/Odo dynamics are set up wonderfully with a simple line to cap it when Sisko uses the imprisonment of Quark’s nephew as leverage on Quark to make Quark help the station. Odo ends the scene by saying of Sisko, “At first, I didn’t think I was going to like him.”
  • Kai Opaka is brilliantly cast/played (though, alas, ultimately underused).
  • There’s a nice Windows vs. Linux moment after O’Brien has fought with the computer which resisted doing what he intended to do to save the station because it was dangerous and “not recommended.” O’Brien says, “Computer, you and I are going to have to have a little talk.” Computers should do as they’re told!
  • While there may have been some self-aware mockery (after the six billionth “What is this?” from the wormhole aliens, Sisko says, “I was afraid you were going to ask that.”) the wormhole aliens’ “What is this?” starts to put me in mind “What is this brain? Brain and more brain!” or whatever the line is in the worst TOS episode ever.
  • It bugs me that Sisko originally expressed the idea that he might need to be replaced as he didn’t want the DS9 job and that, when he later changes his mind, he does it because he’s a changed man but it ought to look to Picard like he just didn’t want a crappy backwater job but, now that it’s an important one, he wants it.

Again, while the series didn’t catch fire for me until the Tosk episode, it’s a decent start.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Complete Series (DVD Box Set)

I’ve never gotten a complete box set of any show before but, because I loved Deep Space Nine and the individual seasons were ridiculously expensive (even used) and previous complete sets were insane, when I saw this new edition of the complete series for less*, I ordered it from an internet dealer you may have heard of. The set arrived with one disc off the hub, which was scratched very badly. After I complained, they sent me a new set (they couldn’t send a single replacement disc) and a mailing label (so I could send the other set back without paying postage) and the replacement set isn’t exactly perfect but seems okay. Hopefully it’ll play properly.

*Edit: Wow. I just checked the current listing of that dealer. Pre-ordering can be a good idea. Sometimes the product you pre-order never materializes (which is why I don’t usually do it) but sometimes you save over fifty bucks.

As long as they do work, I’m really happy to have them and look forward to watching them but, as a warning to anybody considering buying the set, the packaging is truly horrific. There’s a single cardboard box which holds three clear plastic cases. Two large cases hold seasons 1-3 and 4-6. The third mid-thickness case holds season 7. The labels on each of the cases looks like someone screwed up the graphics on their home computer, washing them out and making them look somewhat cartoonish, and then printed them on their home printer or something. Point is, they look pretty bad. There is no booklet or anything like that. Just an episode list printed on the inside of the paper that is obscured by the DVDs on the backs of two of the three cases (see below). Worse still, each of the large cases holds a giant thing of hard plastic (liable to break) with pages like a book with two overlapping DVDs on each “page” or each side of the “sheet.” I hate overlapping DVDs (if you want disc B you have to take out disc A to get to it) and I didn’t think they even made them anymore. And these things aren’t even attached to the cases. The cases’ inner spines are just smooth and blank and the “pages” just come right out of the case. But worse still the DVDs do not come right out of their hubs. Again, the hubs and teeth are very hard plastic and sharp and grip so hard that it’s very difficult to get the DVDs out, causing them to bend in most cases before they’ll finally snap free, despite applying cutting pressure with the thumb on the teeth. (Is there a trick to this?) And there are only two teeth, meaning if one breaks, you’re completely screwed. The second and third cases both contain an odd number of discs, meaning there’s one disc stuck on the back of the plastic cases (which are at least somewhat softer and less prone to break). The third case is unlike either of the first two in that the pages are attached to the spine and the discs are not overlapping – there’s one on each side of the three plastic “sheets,” though the seventh is on the back of the case like the last disc of the second case.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Complete Series DVD set

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Complete Series DVD set

So the physics of the thing just flat sucks. It’s an inconsistent, inconvenient mess that is several kinds of accidents waiting to happen. I assume the version released several years ago that cost an insane amount came in better packaging. Seems like it’d be cheaper and easier and better to just re-manufacture all the individual seasons (assuming they were any good) and stick ’em in one big box rather than specially designing and manufacturing this crappy packaging. But enough of that.

As far as the video itself, based on “Emissary,” it looks okay. I’ve seen better, but I’ve definitely seen worse. There are four episodes to the disc unless there aren’t four left for the last disc, in which case there are also some special features – I don’t usually care about those too much, but many do).

I guess that about covers it: an expensive but reasonable price for this 2017 edition (I guess… at least compared to what they cost before) but horrific packaging. But decent DVDs, which is the most important thing.

In the coming days, I may occasionally write up my impressions in some posts as I rewatch the series, somewhat (very somewhat) as tor.com did.