In the casting, there was a clear intent to differentiate the show from its predecessors. Genre stalwarts Tony Todd and James Earl Jones were considered for Commander Sisko before Avery Brooks. The one let down at the time was that Michelle Forbes did not carry Ensign Ro across from TNG, but when the explosive Nana Visitor defiantly slapped her hand on a console in the pilot episode, viewers knew they were in for a different crew dynamic. In fact, the two-part pilot show ("The Emissary") is largely responsible for DS9's early success. Mysterious, spiritual, claustrophobic, funny and feisty, it remains the most attention-grabbing series opener (apart from the Classic original) the franchise has had. The first year may have relied on a few too many familiar faces--like Picard, Q and Lwaxana Troi--but these were more than outweighed by refreshingly detailed explorations of cultures old and new (Trill, Bajoran, Cardassian, Ferengi). As it turned out, Deep Space Nine was the boldest venture into Roddenberry's galaxy that had been (or ever would be) seen.
On the DVD: Star Trek Deep Space Nine, Series 1's hour of special features is split between seven featurettes that really would have worked better edited together. Covering the show's origins and most aspects of Year One's production design, they all crib from interviews with actors and crew from the 1992 shoot (exclusively so in the 10 "Hidden Files"). Other interviews conducted in 1999 and 2002 tend to be more revealing, although the solo section on Major Kira is curiously lacking in recent input. While the designers describe their work with passion, creators Michael Piller and Rick Berman come off as stiff and lacking in knowledge. Hopefully this is something that will improve through the next six box sets. The interactive CD-ROM to build a DS9 database on your PC is something that will become more involving, too. Obviously the most important thing is the episodes themselves, and despite the lack of a commentary to enhance the best of them, sound in 5.1 and the crisp full-frame picture do them ample justice. --Paul Tonks END