[REVIEW] STAR TREK: DISCOVERY – Season 1 on Blu-ray

Star Trek: Discovery – Season One on Blu-ray Review

When Star Trek: Discovery premiered on CBS All Access, it quickly caught fire with critics and the diverse audience it was trying to target — that is, die-hard Trekkies and the general public. While millions of people watched the show, some considered the All Access paywall to be prohibitive. Those people are in luck, because Star Trek: Discovery‘s season one home release allows viewers to watch the show without subscribing to All Access. The release turns out to be a pretty good deal — although not without its flaws.

Doug Jones as Saru and Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham
Doug Jones as Saru and Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham (CBS)

RE-DISCOVERING DISCOVERY

Much like the show’s presentation, the packaging for the season one Blu-ray is striking. The cover of the box opens to reveal a landscape image of the Discovery and the show’s cast, and the background behind the discs features a great head-on shot of the Discovery from the excellent season finale-wannabe “What’s Past is Prologue.” The four discs inside contain season one’s 15 episodes, along with the behind-the-scenes content that is, for many, the selling point of the home release.

Star Trek: Discovery - Season 1 packaging
Star Trek: Discovery – Season 1 packaging

Let’s start with a brief note about the image quality of the show itself. While anybody with a good internet connection could revel in Discovery’s amazing production values and picture quality as the season aired, those who don’t have reliable access to streaming may have been left out. The home release remedies this problem, as the show on Blu-ray really shines. Discovery’s set design, cinematography, and visuals often rival motion pictures, and one often feels their eyes darting all over the screen in an effort to absorb all of the show’s fine detail. This feeling is still there with the Blu-ray release. There won’t be many complaints about the season’s transfer to Blu-ray, except for one thing: where’s the 4K release? The Discovery Blu-ray sits at a standard 1080p, but this show would have benefited enormously from the finer detail resolved in a 4K image. While filming anything in 4K is expensive, one would think CBS All Access’ flagship show would earn that right. Hopefully CBS will change their tune for season two’s home release.

Shazad Latif as Lieutenant Ash Tyler and Jason Isaacs as Captain Gabriel Lorca
Shazad Latif as Lieutenant Ash Tyler and Jason Isaacs as Captain Gabriel Lorca (CBS)

WHAT DOES [YOUR NAME HERE] NEED WITH A HOME MEDIA RELEASE?

In any case, many die-hards pick up home releases to engross themselves in behind-the-scenes content, and this is something the Discovery Blu-ray promotes right on the front cover. Spread over four discs, these features are diverse, including a look into the show’s legacy, and challenge of creating a true-to-Star Trek main theme (an underlooked part of any TV show), and a fascinating look into the hard work of the show’s outstanding VFX team. Another essential part of this release is the “Creating Space” feature, which highlights how Discovery’s science is brought to life in a semi-realistic way. Also included as bonus features are various deleted scenes. By their very nature, these scenes are merely for the collector, and don’t add too much value to the package here. But whether these special features are good or bad, it is inconvenient to spread out the 9 features across four discs, instead of having one disc for all the features. For your convenience, here is a list of all the special features:

  1. DISCOVERING DISCOVERY: THE CONCEPTS AND CASTING OF STAR TREK: DISCOVERY
    Interviews with producers, writers and stars of Star Trek: Discovery about casting of the debut season.
  2. STANDING IN THE SHADOW OF GIANTS: CREATING THE SOUND OF
    DISCOVERY

    A discussion with Executive Producer Alex Kurtzman and Composer Jeff Russo about creating the Discovery theme and score for the show.
  3. CREATURE COMFORTS
    A behind-the-scenes look at the makeup and prosthetics department on Star Trek: Discovery, as they both modernize
    well-known Star Trek species like the Klingons, Vulcans and the Andorians, andbring to life a new species, the Kelpiens.
  4. DESIGNING DISCOVERY
    Insight into the production design department led by Tamara Deverell as they create the planets, the world within those worlds and the starships to travel amongst them.
  5. CREATING SPACE
    An exploration of how the VFX team, headed by Jason Zimmerman, pushes the envelope to create the reality of space, planets, and starships for Star Trek: Discovery.
  6. PROP ME UP
    Led by Propmaster Mario Moreira, a voyage through the world of Discovery props, providing an inside look at the design process from inception to
    set.
  7. FEEDING FRENZY
    Exclusive to the Blu-ray and DVD collections, a fascinating look at the on-set food stylist who creates a galaxy of cuisine.
  8. A WOMAN’S JOURNEY
    With strong female producers and writers off-screen and powerful female characters on-screen, Discovery exemplifies the groundbreaking inclusionary theme first put forth in the original series.
  9. DRESS FOR SUCCESS
    Costume Designer Gersha Phillips and her team create a spectacular array of clothing, uniforms and armor for every kind of species in the
    galaxy.
  10. STAR TREK DISCOVERY: THE VOYAGE OF SEASON ONE
    A look at the adventures and plot twists encountered in the first season by the crew of the Discovery.

Taken together, CBS’ home release for their flagship show is a perfectly reasonable package for folks that may have missed the boat originally, or are eager to revisit the show offline. Those who pick up the release mainly for the special features may be disappointed with only nine extras, interesting as they might be. And wouldn’t it have been a good idea to include every Talking Trek episode, perhaps as an option to play after each respective episode? As it is, the Star Trek Discovery season one home release will likely be under many Christmas trees this year, hyping up fans for the incoming season two.


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Kyle Hadyniak has been a lifelong Star Trek fan, and isn’t ashamed to admit that Star Trek V: The Final Frontier is his favorite Star Trek movie. When he isn’t reviewing Discovery episodes, he is pouring through Star Trek novels, most recently the Titan series and the Shatnerverse.

You can follow Kyle on Twitter @khady93.

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