[REVIEW] STAR TREK: DISCOVERY Season Two Blu-ray: A Gift-Worthy Package, With Minor Faults

The second season of Star Trek: Discovery on Blu-ray is out in the wild, giving fans a chance to catch the series’ excellent sophomore outing without a CBS All Access subscription. Whether you are a lapsed subscriber who wants to watch the season again, or a newcomer who didn’t want to spring for a subscription in the first place, this home media release offers plenty of value for your money, with only a few drawbacks.

Star Trek: Discovery - Season 2 Blu- ray packaging and discs
Star Trek: Discovery – Season 2 Blu- ray packaging and discs

First, being on a physical disc, Discovery now looks better than ever. Depending on your internet connection, you might have had streaming issues while watching the show on CBS All Access, but of course you’ll find no such problems here. (When watching the season as it aired, this reviewer encountered a strange streaming bug, where the show would cut to commercial a few frames before it should have, which sometimes left a scene without an important audio cue or just a strange camera cut. Of course, this isn’t a problem with this home release). Many aspects of Discovery‘s production are movie-quality, from the CGI quality to set design, and the crisp image of a Blu-ray really allows those production values to shine. However, tech geeks might lament that the image here is only 1080p. In an age where 4K video is growing more and more prominent, why not showcase Discovery’s beauty in that higher resolution? Now, the answer to this likely lies in the technical requirements for a truly crisp 4K image– better CGI in the show itself, more expensive Blu-ray discs, more expensive cameras while filming, etc. – but it’s still a limitation that we probably shouldn’t have in 2019. Maybe we’ll get Ultra HD quality for the eventual season three Blu-ray release?

 
Shazad Latif as Ash Tyler and Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham
Shazad Latif as Tyler and Sonequa Martin-Green as Burnham in the episode “Red Angel” (CBS)

Anyway, for most people the value of a home release lies in the extras included with the season proper, and fans will have little to nitpick about on this front. Besides the standard inclusion of deleted scenes (in this case, from nine of the season’s 14 episodes), multiple features highlight the outstanding work from Discovery‘s production crew. These features include costume design, creating alien creatures, building the Enterprise, crafting the season’s narrative, and creating the Red Angel.

It’s all fascinating, to be sure, but if these features aren’t your niche (and if not, the value of the Blu-ray goes way down, right?), these discs offer some interesting audio commentaries – including key cast and crew members talking about standout episodes, such as Anson Mount (Pike) and director Jonathan Frakes narrating the second episode “New Eden,” which really sets the tone for Mount’s Pike. The other key episode commentary comes during the amazing “Through the Valley of Shadows,” featuring an audio track from Anson Mount and Ethan Peck (Spock). These tracks are fantastic additions to the Blu-ray, and fans will surely gain valuable insight from them.

Anson Mount as Pike, Ethan Peck as Spock and Sonequa Martin-Green as Burnham
Anson Mount as Pike, Ethan Peck as Spock and Sonequa Martin-Green as Burnham (CBS)

A notable audio track missing from this release is director Jonathan Frakes and actresses Hannah Cheesman (Airiam) on “Project Daedalus,” a key episode for not only Airiam but also all the secondary members of Discovery‘s crew. It’s an episode that really helped sell the idea of that crew being a family, and it would have been fascinating to hear Frakes and Cheesman’s thoughts on that, especially since that aspect of the show was notably lacking in season one. If the production team had to get Frakes for one audio track, it should have indeed been “New Eden,” but this is still a miss worth pointing out. 

Doug Jones as Saru in the Short Treks episode "The Brightest Star"
Doug Jones as Saru in the Short Treks episode “The Brightest Star” (CBS)

This release also features two Short Treks – the two that introduced key characters who showed up later in season two. “Runaway” and “The Brightest Star” are included on these discs next to their applicable episodes. While it is sensible to include these mini-episodes with their counterparts, one must ask why isn’t the rest of the first Short Trek season included on these Blu-rays? By not including the full season, fans will only have access to the remaining season one Short Treks via CBS All Access. If you aren’t a subscriber already, it is doubtful you will subscribe just to watch less than half an hour of content (those mini-episodes being the excellent “Calypso,” which, really, might be included in the eventual season three Blu-ray release, and the Harry Mudd-centric “The Escape Artist”). It’s a striking omission likely made with the intent to keep the Blu-ray release soley about season two, but some fans might just view this as a slight against non-subscribers.

 
Comparison shot of Star Trek: Discovery season1 and 2 on Blu-ray
Comparison shot of Star Trek: Discovery season1 and 2 on Blu-ray

Taken together, the Discovery season two Blu-ray release offers nearly 12 hours of content in a well-designed package, sure to be a popular holiday gift for Star Trek fans. Contained on these four discs is plenty of material for fans to sink their teeth into, with only the notable exceptions of two Short Trek episodes and a key audio track. If you are a fan of this outstanding season of Discovery, you’ll want to pick this up. 

Buy Star Trek: Discovery – Season Two on Blu-ray on Amazon

Stay tuned to TrekNews.net for all the latest news on the upcoming third season of Star Trek: Discovery, along with news on Star Trek: Short TreksStar Trek: Picard and Star Trek: Lower Decks. You can also connect with us on social: @TrekNewsNet on Twitter, @TrekNews on Facebook, and @TrekNews on Instagram.


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