You can probably think of better ways to spend your time than stranded on a decrepit space station with an unhinged commander, a pack of particularly surly aliens, and civil unrest boiling all around you. But it was those frictional elements that eventually made ''Deep Space Nine'' the ''Trek'' franchise's most compelling series -- it just took a season or so to get it right. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine -- The Complete First Season is your chance to sift through half a dozen discs of groundwork for the dilithium gems that, once refined, would power the show for seven seasons.
''DS9'''s strengths range from its surprisingly relevant political underpinnings to Avery Brooks' over-enunciated yet endearing portrayal of Commander Benjamin Sisko, the anti-Picard (quoth the villain Q: ''You hit me. Picard never hit me''). And season 1 wasn't all about growing pains: Actor Armin Shimerman, as the conniving Ferengi Quark, had already nailed his character's delicate balance of humor, empathy, and toothy menace two episodes in. With few insightful extras -- obvious ''hidden'' interviews, boring background on ''DS9'''s props -- this set is primarily for those who didn't dig ''Deep'' enough the first time.