Adding to the layers of ambiguity about Earth's (read: the producers') position over being at war, was the "outing" of Eddington and Sisko's girlfriend as rebel activists. Lest we forget the homely/spiritual side of the Captain, time was spent with a future version of Jake, with his father (Brock Peters), and on the nature of his role as "the Emissary." Avery Brooks worked behind the camera a couple of times, but this year the surprise was LeVar Burton directing five shows. There was still time for comedy: the Ferengi warped back to Roswell in 1947 and Bashir played James Bond. But the year will be remembered predominately for its violence. One of the episodes Burton directed had its fight scenes drastically cut, while the series as a whole won an Emmy for its space battle effects.--Paul Tonks
My favourite episode are (in no particular order):
- THE WAY OF THE WARRIOR (great double-length episode with plenty of action)
- THE VISITOR (the best episode of this season, if not the whole series, great acting from Tony Todd, Avery Brooks and Cirroc Lofton)
- INDISCRETION (any episode with Kira and Dukat is good)
- LITTLE GREEN MEN (the head-banging scene is hilarious)
- OUR MAN BASHIR (A brilliant, deliberately over-the-top episode with a great musical score. Watch out for Garak's comments!)
- CROSSFIRE (the second best episode of this season. René Auberjonois is brilliant in portraying a man torn between his duty and his feelings)
- RETURN TO GRACE (another great Kira/Dukat episode)
- SONS OF MOGH (a terrific episode with Tony Todd, this time as Worf's brother Kurn)
- RULES OF ENGAGEMENT (A courtroom drama. I love the way this was filmed, with the characters speaking directly into the camera)
- HARD TIME (extraordinary acting by Colm Meaney)
- SHATTERED MIRROR (another visit to the mirror-universe. The scenes with Garak and Worf are very funny)
- TO THE DEATH (introduces Weyoun, played by the great Jeffrey Combs)
- THE QUICKENING (Bashir is taken down a peg or two)
- BROKEN LINK (the ending makes you beg for more, more, more)
The special features are good, especially MICHAEL WESTMORE'S ALIENS. watch WORF''S CREW DOSSIER carefully and you will notice that Michael Dorn does not have the same build as Worf (in a behind the scenes clip you see him wearing padding on his chest, arms and back!).
If you are a DS9 fan you will already have bought this season. If you are not, buy it now and you will be amazed.
After the Dominion-related adventures of seasons two and three, one would expect season four to continue building up those storylines. But the writers and producers neatly subverted expectations by throwing the emphasis in other directions. While there certainly are some stories which keep hyping the threat of the Dominion, the bulk of the uber-story is focused upon what effect the Dominion has had on the Alpha Quadrant. We therefore see huge changes for the Cardassians, the Klingons and the Federation. The Dominion, the Jem'Hadar and the Founders do pop up from time to time, but they're kept to the shadows -- a menacing presence quietly trying to manipulate events for their own agenda.
Adding Worf to the cast was an interesting and successful evolution. I think what I enjoyed the most about it was the fact that after being thrown into the middle of this ongoing storyline at the beginning of the season, Worf doesn't immediately find himself at home. Given that this is Star Trek we're talking about, I was half expecting Worf to become "part of the family" within a couple of weeks. But he doesn't. In fact, he is continually irritated by this new crew, and is nostalgic for the calm ordered structure that existed on the Enterprise. By the middle of the season, he's become so fed up that he moves his living quarters onto the normally empty USS Defiant. It was great to see a new face on board the station, and it was satisfying to see the creators not violate the individual characters to ease the transition.
Although reviews of Deep Space Nine seasons will tend to talk about what big galaxy-shattering events were going on in that year, I would be neglectful if I didn't also praise the standout standalone episodes. Of particular note is "The Visitor", a story rightly hailed as one of the best of all Star Trek series. And "Little Green Men" is a hilarious romp concerning the real story behind Area 51; it was the Ferengi.
The extras on this DVD are focused towards the events of this season, and most of it concerns itself with how the addition of Worf to the cast affected things behind the scenes. The writing/producing crew explain how it changed the dynamics among the characters. Michael Dorn appears in a handful of interviews (taken from various points during the filming of the series and beyond) talking about how he enjoyed playing the character and what directions he wanted to go in. The producers also mention the freedom they had with Star Trek: The Next Generation being off the air, and Voyager set in a distant corner of the galaxy. Now the Federation, the Klingons and the Cardassians were theirs alone to play with. Also included among the extras is the requisite look at the special effects and the alien makeup featured during this year.
I feel like I'm getting into a rut describing these Deep Space Nine season box sets, but yet again we are left with a year that takes the show in bold new directions while also dropping plotlines to be developed later. I had gradually faded away from the show around this season when the episodes were originally airing, but I'm very glad that I have finally decided to get back into the show now through its release on DVD.