Review: ‘Star Trek: Short Treks’ Blu-ray Packed With Special Features & Insights Into ‘Star Trek: Discovery’

On Tuesday, the first two seasons of Star Trek: Short Treks get releases on Blu-ray and DVD, with both releases having the same content. TrekMovie has had some time to check out the Blu-ray release to see if it is worth your quatloos.

The Short Treks 

The concept of Short Treks is a good one, born out of a pinch of necessity due to the long production and post-production times of a season of a modern Trek show and a desire to experiment with different styles and formats.

The first season of Short Treks was done during the production of season two of Star Trek: Discovery, and benefited from the new visual style and budget of its flagship series. Two Short Treks episodes directly related to the narrative of Discovery’s second season (“Runaway” and “The Brightest Star”). The two other entries were set in the Discovery universe but not tied to it as directly (the excellent “Calypso” and Harry Mudd entry “The Escape Artist”). Short Treks have also been a way to audition new writers and directors for the CBS Star Trek Universe fold. Michael Chabon (who would go on to be heavily involved in the creation and production of Star Trek: Picard) wrote “Calypso,” and Mike McMahan (who would go on to be the creator of Star Trek: Lower Decks) wrote “The Escape Artist.”

“The Brightest Star”

After the good reception to the first season, the second season became even more experimental. It included the first new animated Trek since the 1970s’ Star Trek: The Animated Series with two episodes which have very different tones and styles: “The Girl Who Made the Stars” (which expands on the legend that Michael Burnham recounted in the Discovery season 2 premiere), and the delightful Tom and Jerry-style “Ephraim and DOT,” told through the music of Michael Giacchino.  And again the Short Treks were used to test the waters, especially with three episodes featuring the USS Enterprise under the command of Captain Pike. “Q &A” starred Spock and Number One, and was written by Michael Chabon, “Ask Not” focused more on Pike himself, and “The Trouble with Edward” experimented with outright farce in an episode written by The Office alumnus Graham Wagner and starring (Archer and Bob’s Burgers lead) H. Jon Benjamin.

“Ephraim and Dot”

The final short of the second season: “Children of Mars,” is a unique case as it is the only short so far not related to Discovery. It was made to be a prequel (of sorts) to Star Trek: Picard season one and isn’t included in this Short Treks release, but we expect it to be included as a special feature on the Picard Blu-ray/DVD release (likely coming out later this year).

All in all, TrekMovie has been impressed with Short Treks for both its experimentation and the way it gives added depth to Star Trek: Discovery, and now, possible insight into the upcoming Pike show Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. These short films have provided some of the highlights of this new era of Star Trek. Star Trek Picard season one showrunner Michael Chabon’s two Short Treks episodes (“Calypso” and “Q&A”) are some of his best work as part of the franchise, showing how the format can benefit from a singular creative vision. For more details about each episode including links to our reviews of each episode please see our Short Treks page.

“Q&A”

The Special Features

The single-disc release of Star Trek: Short Treks complements the two seasons of episodes with almost an equal amount of new special features. The features are a highlight of the release and like the series itself, offer a variety of different styles instead of just being typical talking head comment commentaries.

There is a featurette titled “The Making Of Short Treks,” which has a nice in-depth discussion with executive producer Alex Kurtzman and others who worked on the series. It offers some honest insights into the origins and background of Short Treks along with details into the making of the series. (The following clip is from the featurette on Short Treks.)

There are also two audio commentaries. One is included with the first episode “Runaway,” featuring Kurtzman and co-writer Jenny Lumet, who offer interesting insights into the making of the episode, including how it was changed after the casting of  Yadira Guevara-Prip. The second commentary is for the episode “Q&A” from Anson Mount (Pike), which also gives some insights into how the episode was put together, along with insights about his acting process and love for Star Trek.

The bulk of the special features consist of video featurettes for each of the episodes (except for “Q&A” which has the Mount audio commentary).

Coming Of Age – Tied to the “Runaway” short, the first installment of the new Short Treks format, this featurette includes executive producers Jenny Lumet and Alex Kurtzman as well as director Maja Vrvilo, and star Mary Wiseman. The highlight is the discussion of Tilly as a character from the writers and Wiseman.

Shall We Dance? – Writer Michael Chabon and Director Olatunde Osunsanmi discuss the challenges of creating a compelling story with only one on-screen character in the “Calypso” short. Chabon offers a look into his process creating a Star Trek version of Homer’s Odyssey.

First Contact: Kaminar – A deep dive into “The Brightest Star” short and creating Saru’s backstory. Writers Bo Yeon Kim and Erika Lippoldt explain the origins of this short and how it ties into their Discovery episode “The Sound of Thunder.” In addition to Saru actor Doug Jones, Michelle Yeoh talks about what it was like for her to return as the original “good” captain Georgiou.

Covered In Mudd – Tied to “The Escape Artist” short, an interview with star Rainn Wilson about directing the Harry Mudd short and his experience on both sides of the camera. This featurette will be of most interest to those who like to go behind the scenes as it includes mostly on-set footage as well as details on the visual effects.  (The clip below gives you a taste of what to expect.)

Ensign Spock’s First Day – Writer Michael Chabon talks about writing for Ensign Spock’s first day in “Q&A” and opens up about how it tied into his relationship with his own father, who introduced him to Star Trek. He also gives some insight into how Rebecca Romijn’s Gilbert and Sullivan skills worked their way into the character of Number One.

Here Comes Tribble – Like the episode itself, this featurette is a departure from the others, focusing on just one behind-the-scenes element: Prop master Mario Moreira explains what it took to bring back tribbles for “The Trouble with Edward.”

Score! – Oscar and Grammy Award-winning composer Michael Giacchino discusses taking the reins on “Ephraim and Dot” as a director. The composer shows his love of Star Trek and especially The Original Series as he goes over how the music was created for “Ephraim and Dot” and the Short Treks series.

Bedtime Stories – Writer Brandon Schultz, director Olatunde Osunsanmi and actor Kenric Green (“Mike Burnham”) discuss the development of “The Girl Who Made the Stars,” the animated Short Trek about a bedtime story. The highlight of this featurette is Schultz, Osunsanmi, and Green talking about making a kid-friendly Star Trek short they wanted to share with their own children.

The Blu-ray

Since Star Trek: Short Treks are shorts (no more than 15 minutes apiece), they easily fit on one Blu-ray disc. The navigation is very straightforward. The special features (both audio commentaries and featurettes) that correspond to each episode are found under the episode titles in the “Episode Selection” menu. The “Making Of Short Treks” is under the special features section.

Blu-ray menu

Video Quality

Since these episodes were made either concurrently or just after the main season of Discovery, they get to benefit from all the production and style changes made to season two. These second season changes improved the show, as it was generally more brightly lit, and the move to anamorphic lenses not only offered a change to the aspect ratio, but also gave the image a more pleasing cinematic look. As for being on disc rather than streaming, there’s an extra bit of sharpness, and notably, the dark scenes are a bit less murky.

Audio Quality

The episodes have losslessly compressed DTS-HD MA 5.1 channel soundtracks. This is pretty standard for a TV show release. Discovery and thus Short Treks sounds great.

Packaging

The Short Treks Blu-ray release comes in a standard clamshell with a slide-out cardboard sleeve.

Final thoughts

This Blu-ray is the highest quality way to watch Short Treks, so for people who care about getting the best audio-video experience, this is the set for them. It is also recommended for fans of Discovery who want more insights into the show, both in terms of the narrative as well as how the show is made. It’s recommended for collectors as well as anyone who wants an offline copy of the show.

The Star Trek: Short Treks Collection is available to buy on Blu-ray and DVD, this Tuesday in the US. You can pre-order them on Amazon. The Blu-ray is priced at $19.99 and the DVD is priced at $14.96.

For fans outside the US and Canada, the Blu-ray and DVD releases are the only way to see the second season of Short Treks, since it has yet to be picked up on Netflix internationally. Short Treks will be released on July 13 in the UK, and on July 15 in Australia.


Keep up with all the Star Trek: Short Treks news and reviews at TrekMovie.com.

Subscribe
Notify me of
44 Comments
oldest
newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

It’s good they put these out on disc. I won’t buy them. Only Calypso and Q & A were any good. And while I was kinda looking forward to The Trouble with Edward I was massively disappointed with how that terrible short played out. Ephraim and Dot I kinda enjoyed a bit. Not as much as the good two but it was a decent #3.

Odd that Children of Mars was not included. It was awfully weak but should have been included to make the collection complete.

Children of Mars directly relates to events in Picard, so i’d imagine they’re saving it for the first season release of Picard. Nice to know there’s interest or at least some sort of plan in place to do a physical release for Picard

Maybe. But at this point isn’t it just speculation?

I liked most of the shorts but Mudd’s was the most fun and inventive. I love this character so much which is ironic because I hated the original and DIDN’T want him on the show because I thought he would suck as badly. I am so happy to be so wrong. I hope we see him again in SNW!

The Mudd Short Trek was comedic and fun, I agree. I want to see more of these in the future.

That Mudd one did nothing for me. And I really don’t want to see him on SNW. Not because the short didn’t work for me but I feel like it would be silly for him to find his way to Discovery… And TOS. AND Strange New Worlds.

The short with Mudd was fun (sometimes you need to leave
canon concerns behind ;-) ) , but the discovery episodes with him were just ok. I do not think there is any need to include him in SNW.

My dislike of the Mudd short had nothing to do with canon issues. It just wasn’t very good. In fact, I was kinda bored watching it.

Of course if you didn’t enjoy Mudd that’s fine but it probably is my favorite personally. I really like the tribble one too but that one seems pretty divisive lol.

We all seem to have our own takes on what worked and what didn’t. Which perhaps is part of why the shorts even exist?

What I like about these shorts is what Kurtzman himself said in that very video is that you can experiment and go very broad with these you may not be able to do on a show. Its clear the comedic ones, especially The Trouble with Edward, could never be made into an actual episode because it probably would feel over the top and even classless in a way. But for something like this, you have a laugh (or not lol) but you can move on easily. It’s canon but same time more of a side story.

I have a feeling Lower Decks will work in the same vein, especially knowing the guy who came up the Mudd one created that show.

The shorts were actually a pretty good idea. Kudos to whoever at Secret Hideout came up with the concept. That said, I think it pretty obvious that given the experimental nature of the shorts that to most people most won’t work for them. But that’s OK. They are just shorts.

Short Treks is awesome so it’s good to see it on DVD.

Calypso is my favorite Short Trek by far. Might pick one up on Amazon right now.

Children of Mars should be included not left out of this.

Interesting that this lists Children of Mars as not being included. I looked on another site (Amazon) earlier and it was listed there.

Can’t wait to get this as it’s affordable on a single disc.

First day purchase — JUST AWESOME!

The picture and audio on Blu-Ray is still vastly superior to streaming.

Me too!

I’m getting the Blu-ray too. Streaming is fine but I want to have my own physical copy just in case.

I love Short Treks.

Amazon Prime will get them delivered to my door ASAP!

Having the physical media is always preferable than relying on streaming rights that come and go. If I own the disc, it’s mine forever. Streaming has its uses but if there is something I want to see more than once… 49 times out of 50 I’m buying the BD.

“The picture and audio on Blu-Ray is still vastly superior to streaming.”

This I am forced to say is spot on. The other thing… Eh… Not so much.

DVDs are still a thing? why

Because DVDs are what people want. Streaming is not a one size fits all approach.

The video and sound quality is better on Blu-ray.

None of those three sentences make sense in relation to each other.

This is no longer true, streaming quality now surpasses all forms of physical media. That quality hasn’t made it to CBS, but it has on other platforms like Apple TV+ and Disney+.

I have yet to see it. Plus the user controls on all streaming services I have used are terrible. Maybe one day it will be up to that level. But it seems like by then the latest physical media will be upgraded to and still be better than streaming.

I still sometimes use DVDs for things that aren’t in HD, like old episodes of Doctor Who. They are cheaper than blu-rays.

So they make good coasters for coffee cups? Much better use for them than playing them lol.

(That’s just a bit of playful banter)

Why wouldn’t they be? I never bothered switching to Blu Ray. I have a DVD upscaler and the picture quality is good enough for me.

Well for me, i rip my dvds to the PC and then put them on my hard drive and attach to my TV, so i don’t have a blu-ray player in my office pc at home or software to rip it, which is supposed to not be ok, but we should be able to save them/back them up, lol. so that’s why i buy the dvds

It’s also not okay to rip DVDs. The difference is that copy protection for DVDs was cracked long ago and hasn’t been updated since. Copy protection for Blu-rays is updated continuously. But legally speaking you’re not allowed to rip either of them.

Why is Children of Mars not included?

Likely because they are saving it to go with a physical release for Picard’s first season

Call me old fashioned but I can’t get into a Trek show that’s not the ‘standard’ 40 minutes. My loss I know.

Not really. A few of these are okay, but on the whole they are, like the rest of CBS Trek, an opportunity squandered.

I wonder if Calypso is going to end up coming up in Season Three. It is the same time frame, isn’t it?

i hope it expands even more. such a great idea. i’ve said this before but would be fun to see some updates on older classic trek characters. would love to see quark on ferrenginar… characters from ds9 or voyager or even tng and where they are now encapsulated in 15 minutes. imagine a morn segment. would be hysterical and can put him anywhere. not suggesting recreating sets from those classic shows but you can do it with them somewhere in their lives. it’s kind of endless and you can mix and match…

Agree. I think that’s why Short Treks excites a lot of fans because it opens the doors to other past characters who may never see on SNW, Picard, Discovery, etc.

Season 1 was mostly Discovery focused with the exception of Mudd. But season two the stories were a lot more broader and showed that the door could be open to practically anything in any format. We got a cool little animated TOS short which I was not expecting at all. So I would love for a Voyager, ENT or DS9 story. I’m not holding my breath of course but nothing is out of reach with these shorts now since its not about one group of characters or a particular era of Trek.

Wish we had a BestBuy steelbook edition.

The Trouble With Edward has such a nasty, obnoxious undertone. Bullying encouraged and glamorised. How very Trek! It also ices the canon cake with a frosting of faeces.

I have to be honest that these don’t really interest me.
I’m surprised they have released them on disc format considering how streaming is becoming so much more prominent these days but it’s encouraging no less, as discs are something more special.
Part of me thinks these ‘shorts’ are just a waste of resources. Just make an extra episode or two as part of the established tv shows.
15 minute episodes are just too short to be enjoyable IMO, no matter how good they apparently might be.
Seasons are already shorter than ever!

The first season of Short Treks was probably done mostly to hold people over during the long break between seasons. They released them over the course of several months. I don’t know how many people actually kept their subscriptions because of Short Treks but it probably made CBS more money than extending the season by 1 more episode.
During season 2 of Short Treks they also used the format to try out new things that they couldn’t have done on a normal episode.
You say that 15 minutes are just too short to be enjoyable but I actually have a friend who enjoyed many of the Short Treks more than Discovery.

All I can say is that the shorts were not enough to get me to subscribe before the main Trek show returned. I saw them when I re-upped for STD S2 and STP.

So only English Audio (and only English subtitles) on this disc?

So it is only meant for English speaking markets

I enjoyed all of the Short Treks, especially Calypso and Q&A. The one episode that I found entirely dumbfounding was “Ask Not”, which is a shame because both my favorite and least favorite episodes are essentially SNW stories. I also found “The Girl Who Made the Stars” hard to enjoy, despite its creativity. Q&A is actually the episode that made me fall in love with the idea of a Pike series.

When did this website become a shill for CBS All Access?