Season two of Star Trek: Discovery has come to home video; here’s our review of the Blu-ray release.
Much has been said about the sophomore season of Star Trek: Discovery. We at TrekMovie covered the individual episodes as they came out, in reviews by our site founder Anthony as well as in our weekly episode review podcasts. You can find links to both the written reviews and the podcasts in our episode guide on our Discovery overview page.
The second season started off with a slam-bang, picking up the cliffhanger with the appearance of the USS Enterprise, and quickly introducing to us to a new version of Captain Pike, played by Anson Mount. With Lorca gone, the crew could finally become Starfleet officers who worked as team, with a renewed sense of collaboration. The season got off to a good start and then started to meander. The loss of its initial showrunners and the eventual transition to the team of Michelle Paradise and Alex Kurtzman wasn’t fully felt until the end of the season. Once a TV season is in production you can’t stop the train, so the shift happened piecemeal as the new producers focused in on what interested them, while trying to keep the overall plot threads connected and running smoothly.
The first half of the season continued to develop the original characters created for Discovery. By the time Spock came into the picture, showrunners had changed, and so to seemingly had the concepts for what and who the Red Angel might be. In the back half of the season the show became fixated on Burnham, Spock, Pike, and the sci-fi trope of a rogue AI, to the detriment of all the other characters Discovery had created in season one, which is a shame. But the Discovery ensemble of actors are always great, rising to the challenge of whatever they’ve been given, and often elevating the material. Newcomers Anson Mount and Ethan Peck were quickly welcomed into the fold, both doing fine jobs bringing to life new versions of classic characters, and Tig Notoro brought a welcome grounded performance with a dry sense of humor in the vein of McCoy with her Jett Reno character.
The Blu-ray set
The episodes and special features are spread out across four Blu-ray discs. Each disc has the names of the episodes it contains printed on them, as well as a full listing for the set on the inside front/back of the case.
The show has never looked better. Having the breathing room on disc means the image quality is just that much better than streaming. There’s an extra bit of sharpness, and notably, the dark scenes on planets like Qo’noS or Boreth are a bit less murky. Season 2 changed styles, for the better I think, the season was generally more brightly lit, and changing to anamorphic lenses not only offered a change to the aspect ratio, but also gave the image a more pleasing cinematic look. Season 1 of Discovery often looked rather harsh and digital.
The episodes have losslessly compressed DTS-HD MA 5.1 channel soundtracks. This is pretty standard for a TV show release. Discovery sounds great, better than season one. Like the visuals, every department upped their game for this season, including sound design.
Two Star Trek: Short Treks are included on the disc with their corresponding full episode from the season. “The Brightest Star” is on disc 2 as an extra for Saru’s big episode, “The Sound of Thunder.” Similarly, “Runaway” is a bonus feature for “Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2” on disc 4 since it re-introduces that character of Po.
Bits of these have been sliced and diced and released online, but much of this is new for the home video release. This season’s extras are quite a bit more satisfying than the first season set. Most of these are 10-20 minute pieces.
Designing Discovery: Season Two – Lots of production art, and behind-the-scenes shots. Executive producer Olatunde Osunsanmi, production designer Tamera Deverell, art directors Matt Middleton and Jody Clement, lighting designer Franco Tata, and construction coordinator Marc Kuitenbrouwer discuss the redresses of various spaces. There’s also a tour of Captain Pike’s ready room and the Section 31 ship bridge, L’Rell’s home, and the Klingon Cleave ship bridge.
Prop Me Up: Season Two – Propmaster Mario Moreira discuses making props for season 2, and shows off the new Section 31 phaser—which is an anodized aluminum hand weapon with a retracting barrel—Saru’s Kelpien knife, L’Rell’s knife, and a 9-foot fully articulated AI tentacle from 207.
Dress For Success: Season Two – Lots of design sketches. Costume designer Gersha Phillips and her team are highlighted, including L’Rell’s chancellor robes. L’Rell actress Mary Chieffo joins Phillips to discuss the new costumes. Michelle Yeoh gushes about the new costumes for Emperor Georgiou and the Section 31 costumes. There are also loos at Sarek and the Vulcan costumes and the new USS Enterprise uniforms. Anson Mount and Rebecca Romijn discuss the costumes and we see Romijn getting fitted for her uniform.
Creature Comforts: Season Two – Neville Page and Glenn Hetrick and the artisans at Alchemy Studios show how aliens are brought to life. Saru and Siranna, Pike’s scarred face, the Talosians, Linus the Saurian, and Airiam are highlighted. Lead makeup artist James MacKinnon and his team are also featured as they execute the final touches on the aliens.
Hidden bonus feature (arrow left of all the bonus features and a red delta appears) – James MacKinnon and Mary Chieffo chat in the makeup trailer about the makeups of the season. MacKinnon (a Trek makeup veteran) ends up sharing an embarrassing story about working on Star Trek: First Contact.
Creating Space: Season Two – Visual effects supervisor Jason Zimmerman is featured. The pods from “Brother” are shown—the lander pods were almost entirely a virtual construct. Sonequa Martin-Green discusses being in the Red Angel suit and all the green screen involved. Visual effects supervisor Ante Dekovic and Zimmerman discuss preparing for the huge battle at the end of the season.
Putting It Together (under “Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2”) – A 43-minute feature on making the finale with Alex Kurtzman, Michelle Paradise, and director/producer Olatunde Osunsanmi. This is an in-depth look at how the final episode was made, from pre-production preparations to post-production.
Star Trek: Discovery: The Voyage Of Season Two – This is a 55-minute look back at making the season. Writers, producers, directors, and cast are interviewed about the making of the 14 episodes in season two.
Enter The Enterprise – Production designer Tamara Deverell and and construction coordinator Marc Kuitenbrouwer talk about making the Enterprise sets for Discovery.
The Red Angel – Alex Kurtzman, Mario Moreira, and Gersha Phillips discuss the process of designing the Red Angel. It went through a number of iterations, including an early version that was a time pod that encapsulates the user, eventually becoming the time suit we saw on screen.
Gag Reel – Unlike on the Blu-ray set from season one, we get outtakes from season two. They do throw in a bit of season one (some outtakes from “Magic To Make The Sanest Man Go Mad”). A particularly fun moment is when Anson Mount mistakenly calls Saru “Commander Data.”
For many people, these are likely the most compelling of all the bonus content. There are eight episodes that have deleted or extended scenes.
A scene of Burnham and Owosekun around the supper table at the colony.
Tilly runs into Stamets in the corridor, Stamets praises Tilly, but also confides in her that he didn’t see Hugh in the jumps, and is starting to wonder if he’s just making things up, seeing what he wants to see.
Tilly in the cargo bay anxiously chats about May with Nilsson.
Tilly goes through the “signatures page” of the holographic yearbook and we see young May’s video note to Tilly. The computer confirms May is dead (as in the final version) and then Tilly wonders out loud to the computer if something is wrong with her.
“Point of Light”
Saru and Burnham in the turbolift—Saru expresses concerns about how Tilly is doing in the Command Training Program and asks Burnham to keep an eye on her. We learn that Saru and Burnham went through the CTP together.
Tilly looks over the CTP list on her padd at her desk, while May sits on Tilly’s bed and talks to her. Tilly tries to ignore May as she brushes her hair in the bathroom mirror, and argues with May about the meaning of the visions of her. May tells her that she is sane, she’ll go away but she just needs the help of a “courageous genius.”
“Light and Shadows”
Extended scene of Burnham talking with Amanda about needing to help Spock at the Sarek house.
Cornwell implies that she got the intel about the Section 31 base from outside Starfleet.
“The Red Angel”
A sweeping shot of Pike talking with Culber about still finding his feet, but that there’s a job for him: testing Burnham to see if she’s the Red Angel.
“Through the Valley of Shadows”
Tyler, Burnham, and Spock share an awkward turbolift ride to the ready room.
An unfinished VFX shot of the D7 decloaking and L’Rell beaming aboard the Discovery. L’Rell notes that the last time she was aboard the ship she was a prisoner.
Stamets, Nilsson, and Reno discuss if they could make a synthetic time crystal. Reno calls out Paul and tells him to focus, Stamets is still thrown by seeing Culber in the mess hall pass him by earlier in the day, he takes a break to clear his head, and Reno says she’s going to run an errand (to go see Culber with her “injured” finger as in the final version).
Tenavik tells Pike more about how the monks must have faith in the time crystals, and that they devote their entire lives to the crystals.
Tyler and L’Rell have an extended conversation about their son and his choice to continue to support Section 31. They agree that they should “always go forward.” A nice sign-off for the two characters as the camera pulls out from them looking out a window on the Discovery and into space.
“Such Sweet Sorrow”
Georgiou and Stamets have a quick aside that sets up her use of the spore cube to detain Leland later on.
Spock and Burnham have a discussion on the bridge about both of them going to the future and what that would mean to Sarek and Amanda.
“Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2”
A very short trim of Tilly talking to herself in the Jeffries tube.
- “Brother” – Sonequa Martin-Green and Alex Kurtzman
- “New Eden” – Anson Mount and Jonathan Frakes
- “Through the Valley of Shadows” – Anson Mount and Ethan Peck
- “Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2” – Olatunde Osunsanmi, Michelle Paradise, Jenny Lumet and Alex Kurtzman
Commentaries are another nice bonus that the season one set was lacking. “New Eden” with Anson Mount and Jonathan Frakes is highly recommended. Mount’s voice is leading-man deep and smooth, he has his own podcast so he knows how to do a pleasing audio recording, and Frakes is, of course, a dynamic and interesting presence and he’s great just chatting with Mount.
Also recommended is the laid back commentary with Mount and Peck for “Through the Valley of Shadows,” where the two actors discuss their process and enjoy the episode. Peck hadn’t seen the final version until he went to record so it’s kind of fun to hear him react to the final visual effects as well as scenes he wasn’t in.
This Blu-ray is the highest quality way to watch Discovery Season 2, so for people who care about getting the best audio-video experience, this is the set for them. It’s also recommended for collectors, as well as anyone who wants an offline copy of the show; this includes people who cannot or do not want to stream the show, and folks who have concerns about the fleeting rights to streaming media. The bonus features this season also make this worth considering, many of the deleted scenes help flesh out characters in small moments, and it’s great to see the cast have fun in the bloopers.
International release dates:
• United Kingdom – Out now
• Italy – Out now
• Germany – November 21, 2019
• Spain – November 22, 2019
• Nordics – November 25, 2019
• Belgium, The Netherlands & Luxembourg – November 27, 2019
• Denmark – November 28, 2019
• France – December 4, 2019
More Season 2 Images
Discovery Season 2 is available now on Blu-ray and DVD in the US.
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