PARAMOUNT has released the third season of “STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE.”

Finally, after two seasons, “DEEP SPACE NINE” really begins to display high-quality, tension-filled storylines with a continuous momentum, lasting throughout the entire season.

This momentum starts off with a bang, as the opening two-parter, “THE SEARCH,” as we’re introduced to the “Defiant,” a Federation warship with cloaking properties.  Commander Sisko has decided to demonstrate the Federation’s capabilities to the Gamma Quadrant, and in spite of some hair-raising adventures, he succeeds!

“DEEP SPACE NINE” isn’t as accessible to new viewers as the old “STAR TREK” series is, mostly due to the deep-rooted politics and inner-workings existing between various groups. Sure, we have the Klingons and Romulans, but the series also introduces the Cardassians and many other groups, each with their own motives, making it a bit complicated to explain to someone just stepping into the series.

The writing for Season Three is far better than in the previous seasons, offering consistently great dialogue as well as some unique plot twists.  Still, in comparison to the other “STAR TREK” spin-offs, “DEEP SPACE NINE” strives for deeper character studies than narrative, and it actually pays off in several episodes.

The boxed set for Season three includes the following episodes:

“The Search, Part I”, “The Search, Part II”, “The House of Quark”, “Equilibrium” “Second Skin”, “The Abandoned”, “Civil Defense”, “Meridian” “Defiant”, “Fascination”, “Past Tense, Part I”, “Past Tense, Part II”, “Life Support”, “Heart of Stone”, “Destiny”, “Prophet Motive”,“Visionary”, “Distant Voices”, “Through the Looking Glass”, “The Die Is Cast”, “Explorers”, “Family Business”, “Shakaar”, “Facets”, “The Adversary”.

PARAMOUNT has preserved the show’s original 1.33:1 aspect ratio.  The image is fine, and colors are solid, however, there isn’t as much depth as we’d expected in comparison to transfers of the previous two seasons.  The special effects, however, are definitely more impressive, and it appears that the show, having built a hard-core following, was afforded a bigger effects budget this time.  Contrast is fine, with generally deep blacks and greys.  Fleshtones appear natural.

PARAMOUNT has provided a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix for this release.  While still not overly aggressive, there’s plenty of bass here.  Separation is focused towards the front speakers, but there are some directional effects in the rear at key moments.  Dialogue is always intelligible and free from distortion.

A bevy of supplements is included on the 7th and final disc of this boxed set.  “THE BIRTH OF THE DOMINION AND BEYOND,” does a fine job in explaining the structure making up the “Dominion.”  This is especially helpful to viewers who’ve just started watching the series with the third season.

“CREW DOSSIER: ODO” explores this particular character and his expansion over the series.
“TIME TRAVEL FLIES: PAST TENSE” explores the mechanics behind the great two-part episode, “PAST TENSE.”
“SAILING THROUGH THE STARS” focuses on the elaborate production design behind the solar ship used by Sisko in the episode “EXPLORERS.”