Blu-ray Review: Star Trek: Discovery (Seasons 1-3)

Back in the Fall of 2017, Star Trek went where it had never gone before. The latest series didn’t end up on a major network, first run syndication or launch a new network as previous entries had accomplished. Star Trek: Discovery didn’t find itself broadcast in the airwaves. The series launched on the internet with CBS All Access (now called Paramount+). By being on streaming Star Trek: Discovery was able to vary the running time of episodes. The series became a hit for the new frontier. Star Trek: Discovery begins its fourth season this week. For those wanting to catch up, Star Trek: Discovery Seasons 1 – 3 bundles together the previous episodes on Blu-ray.

The show follows the career rise of Michael Burnham (The Walking Dead‘s Sonequa Martin-Green) from a science specialist to captain of the U.S.S. Discovery. The first season has Burnham go from getting involved uncovering a Klingon plot to being convicted of mutiny on her old ship. The show doesn’t go into how its like to survive in a Federation prison. Instead Burnham gets on board the Discovery during an emergency situation. She becomes extremely useful to the ship and crew. She sticks around for a second season.

“Brother” opens up with the USS Discovery heading to Vulcan to get their new captain after all the events from the Federation-Klingon War. But the ship has to help a USS Enterprise in distress. Captain Pike (Hell on Wheels‘ Anson Mount) beams on board and takes command from Commander Michael Burnham. His ship was investigating seven unexplained red signals when something went really wrong. Burnham finds out the at her foster brother Spock has been having visions of the seven signals. Like the first season, the episodes lead to a larger story arc. The seven signals and an equally mysterious Red Angel that came to Burnham dominated the plots. The final three episodes build up to massive battle with a new enemy that tie in with the two big mysteries.

Not to give away too much about the third season, but Burnham has flown through time and space and arrived in 3188. Her plan to save humanity has worked since she encounters people in the distant future. However massive changes did take place because of events in the previous season including “The Burn” that has altered the way the Federation works. Turns out there’s an issue with dilithium in the future. She can’t immediately figure out the fate of the USS Discovery although viewers will find it out in the second episode. Acting Captain Saru (Weight of Water‘s Doug Jones) has to get the ship repaired after it crash lands on a frozen planet. While the locals seem helpful at first, it turns out they want to get their hands on Discovery’s precious dilithium. They need Burnham’s help as things get rather cold around the starship.

The bulk of the season is taken up with trying to figure out how to solve what the Burn did to dilithium. Burnham and the crew of the Discovery want to unify the Federation once more. The 13 episodes are meant to be watched in order and not skipped around. This gives Star Trek: Discovery its own sense of being in a universe that has already spawned so many spin-offs since Star Trek first aired 55 years ago on broadcast television. It’s much more engrossing as a show as the narrative of the season builds until the finale.

Star Trek: Discovery: Seasons 1 – 3 will help you catch up as before you press play on Season 4. Or makes a perfect gift for any Star Trek loving relatives who can’t quite get the hang of streaming television.

The video is 2.00:1 anamorphic. The transfers bring out the futuristic visions clearly. The audio is DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. The sound gets you in the middle of battle scenes. There’s also Dolby Digital 5.1 dub tracks in German, Spanish, French, Italian and Japanese. The subtitles are in English SDH, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Flemish, Norwegian & Swedish.

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.
The Star Trek Theme – A discussion with Executive Producer Alex Kurtzman and Composer Jeff Russo about creating the Discovery theme and score for the show.
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, and bring to life a new species, the Kelpiens.
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.
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.
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.
Feeding Frenzy – A fascinating look at the on-set food stylist who creates a galaxy of cuisine.
A Female Touch – 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.

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.
The Voyage of Season One – A look at the adventures and plot twists encountered in the first season by the crew of the Discovery.
Deleted and Extended Scenes on episodes.

Season 2

Audio Commentaries include Sonequa Martin-Green & Alex Kurtzman on “Brother,” Anson Mount & Jonathan Frakes on “New Eden,” Anson Mount & Ethan Peck on “Through The Valley of Shadows” and Olatunde Osunsanmi, Michelle Paradise, Jenny Lumet & Alex Kurtzman on “Such Sweet Sorry, Part 2.

Deleted and Extended Scenes are on many of the episodes.

Promos (0:31) are included on most episodes.

Season 2 Promo (1:14) teases the upcoming season about Spock’s Red Angel Vision.

Designing Discover: Season 2 (17:48) gives a sense of the production design in both the ship and the planets they visit. They talk about being resourceful and how they shoot for the stars. The art department works with the lighting department to work the lights into the sets. It’s a pretty sophisticated set up.

Prop Me Up: Season 2 (8:56) meets with the prop master who is a major Star Trek fan.

Dress For Success: Season 2 (16:00) goes into the wardrobe department. It’s amazing how many people have to contribute to the clothes of tomorrow. We get to meet Gersha Phillips, the costume designer.

Creature Comforts: Season 2 (15:18) deals with the creature designers and make up artists who get to do things that haven’t been seen before.

Creating Space (10:12) features a Special Effects spotting session that’s like a score spotting session with visuals.

Star Trek: Discovery: The Voyage of Season 2 (55:46) covers the behind the season for the new series. There’s talk of how the editor was on the set and cutting footage as things were being shot so they had a rough idea of what to reshoot while things were happening.

Enter the Enterprise (10:33) has the classic ship return with Captain Pike at the helm. They talk of dealing with the interior of the Enterprise for the show.

The Red Angel (13:10) has the crew discuss creating the outfit of the time travelling entity that finally arrives.

Gag Reel (7:09) because it isn’t a Star Trek show without seeing the futuristic devices and wardrobe go bad. Plus lots of blown lines.

Star Trek: Short Treks are two short episodes that ran between the first and second season to give a bit of depth to various characters. The “Brightest Star” (14:47) touches on Saru’s early life and how he got off his home planet instead of being eaten. “Runaway” (15:21) has Sylvia Tilly find a stowaway.

Putting It Together (43:05) goes deep into the final episode from the story to the production and how they made it two episodes.

Season 3

Deleted Scenes on People of Earth, Forget Me Not, Unification III, Terra Firma Part 1 & 2, Su’Kal, There Is a Tide and That Hope Is You, Part 2.

Writer’s Log: Michelle Paradise (13:49) is her talking about writing on the first and last episode of the season. She’s also an executive producer on the show so she does more than type. She takes us on location in Iceland.

Star Trek Discovery: The Voyage of Season 3 (28:32) is best watched after you’re done with the episodes since there’s a lot of giveaway moments as cast and crew discuss what went down.

Stunted (14:33) goes deep into how they pulled off stunts at an industrial park. We follow them from script to storyboards to rehearsals to shoot to post production. There’s a lot more to stunts on Star Trek now then when the crew would go back and forth to the beat of a pot being hit.

Being Michael Burnham (24:20) gets into the character with Sonequa Martin-Green. She takes us to the hot spring in Iceland for the opening episode. They had to aim the camera the right way to avoid showing the resort on one side.

Kenneth Mitchell: To Boldly Go (18:04) is about the actor and his battle with ALS. He does a lot of masked characters on the series. By this season, he needs a wheelchair so the producers created Aurellio, a scientist who needs a wheelchair.

Bridge Building (25:37) is about the characters (and actors) that work on the bridge and might not get to be major players in an episode. But they need to be there to make it seem like the ship is working.

Gag Reel (4:33) are those moments where the cast cracks up or the effects go odd. There’s a fine moment when an actor forgets his character’s name. Also you see Doug Jones dealing with his shoes.

CBS DVD and Paramount Home Entertainment present Star Trek: Discovery – Seasons 1-3. Starring: Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones, Shazad Latif, Anthony Rapp, Mary Wiseman, Jason Isaacs & Wilson Cruz. Boxset Contents: 42 episodes on 12 Blu-ray discs. Release Date: November 2, 2021.

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