What We Left Behind: Looking Back at Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Blu-ray Review

DS9 fans should be pleased with this love letter.
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What We Left Behind, a riff on the title of the series finale "What You Leave Behind," finds Deep Space Nine showrunner Ira Steven Behr hosting this look back at the fourth Star Trek TV series, the “middle child” of the franchise in terms of respect. And that opinion doesn't just come from some Trek fans whose angry reactions are read by cast members, but seemingly the executives at CBS Television Studios as well considering it took thousands of folks listed in the end credits to help finance the project through Indiegogo. Over about two hours, cast, crew members, and fans reflect on this love letter to their beloved series.

The documentary covers many elements of the show, which ran for seven seasons. Such as why it took a few seasons before executives allowed Sisko to have a shaved head and goatee. Part of the reason was they wanted a distinction from Avery Brooks's character Hawk from the Spenser: For Hire, who also had a shaved head and goatee, and the other was they didn't want him took look “street” in the 24 century, which I was a little surprised the former Paramount executive admitted on record. Other subjects include Season 2 opening with a three-part story, which did poorly in the ratings; the Dominion War; the Brooks-directed episode “Far Beyond the Stars” with the cast playing characters in 1950s New York City; Michael Dorn (Worf) joining the cast after TNG transitioned to movies; and Terry Farrell (Jadzia Dax) leaving the show at end of Season 6 because of contract negotiations, which she is still heartbroken by.

In addition to the traditional interview sessions, Behr organized a writer's reunion in 2015 to breakdown a potential Season Eight premiere if they were restarting the show right then. Not knowing how the series concluded, I was a bit in the dark, but fans should enjoy the story they plotted.

The Blu-ray has been presented in 1080p at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The modern-day footage looks as good as expected, but it's the upgrade of the DS9 footage to HD where money needed to be spent and it looks marvelous with strong primary colors and rich blacks. The 5.1 DTS-HD MA sound is more than adequate for the interview sessions, but it's during the Season 8 sequences that the surrounds get put to good use.

For those that can't get enough, there are Bonus Features, all in HD:

  • Intro from Ira & the Gang (2 min) - Behr introduces the Bonus Features.
  • A Brief History of DS9 (3 min) - Would have been good for those not familiar with the series to have started the documentary with this.
  • What We Left Out (Deleted Scenes) (48 min) - Footage from 17 scenes, ranging from The Toughest Episode to shoot and Those Fuzzy Tribbles.
  • Filmmaker HD Discussion (15 min) - The documentary team discuss making it and what it took to upgrade the episodes.
  • More from the Fans (13 min) - Numerous clips that didn't make the final cut.
  • Behind the Scenes on the Variety Photoshoot (2 min) - B-roll of the cast and show executives posing for pictures.
  • Theatrical Trailer

I was a huge fan of the Original Series, was a regular watcher of The Next Generation, but never committed to Deep Space Nine. I am not sure I completed the first season and only returned for the Tribbles crossover episode. I wasn't a huge TV watcher during its first run in syndication and one Trek show seemed plenty. After watching What We Left Behind, I am curious to give the series another shot because the writing sounds compelling and works how great science fiction usually does: dealing with matters in the “future”, in DS9's case, religion, the ramifications of war, sexual identity issues (though not enough to Behr's mind), and homelessness, that are topical for the audience.

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