Season three of Star Trek: Discovery has come to home video; here’s our review of the Blu-ray release.
The far future
The first episode of the season ties up the messy CONTROL baggage from season two in the first few minutes. Yes, Michael succeeded, and now, relieved of the burden of saving all sentient life, she can throw herself wholly into figuring out this new time and place, and even enjoy the process along the way. David Ajala’s character, Book, brings fresh air to the character of Burnham, and their chemistry is immediate. The timey-wimey nature of the wormhole means Michael has had a whole year of adventures that we barely see.
Catching up with the USS Discovery is initially less joyful, with the crew ending up in the middle of a bleak Space Western movie on an icy planet. When everything finally comes together we get a big mystery for the season: “The Burn,” in which most of the dilithium in the galaxy went inert and caused warp engines to explode. And the main antagonist in the Emerald Chain, a sort of anti-Federation coalition of Orions and Andorians. This season we finally get some more time with the bridge crew (who even get their own special feature on the Blu-ray), and the new recurring cast is quite good, with TV mainstay Oded Fehr as Fleet Admiral Charles Vance of the 32nd century Starfleet, newcomer Blu Del Barrio as Adira, and later in the season, a nice turn from Noah Averbach-Katz as Ryn.
Like some previous Trek productions, it seems like the third season is where things are finally clicking. Discovery had a tumultuous first two years behind the scenes. With consistent producers running the show, season three feels more coherent, and it’s generally just more enjoyable to watch as a viewer.
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. CBS Home Entertainment has also made a special “steelbook” style release available.
Discovery season 3 continues to refine the cinematic style started in season two and on Short Treks. Having the breathing room on disc means the image quality is just that much better than streaming.
The episodes have losslessly compressed DTS-HD MA 5.1 channel soundtracks. This is pretty standard for a TV show release. Discovery sounds great, as always.
The special features are a little lighter than on the previous season set, including no episode commentaries on this new set. I assume this has to do with both COVID and various scheduling issues (season 4 has been filming since November 2020). In sets like this I always like to see the deleted scenes and gag reel, out of the documentary features I most enjoyed “Stunted” and “Bridge Building.”
These are all on disc four of the Blu-ray set.
Star Trek: Discovery: The Voyage Of Season 3 – This is a 28-minute look back at making the season. Writers, producers, directors, and cast are interviewed about the making of the 14 episodes in season three.
Stunted – Through interviews with cast and stunt coordinator Christopher McGuire, fans get a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the stunts from rehearsal to the expertise required to make them safe and believable.
Being Michael Burnham – Sonequa Martin-Green takes viewers on her season-long journey as Michael Burnham through cell phone videos, on-set interviews, and clips.
Kenneth Mitchell: To Boldly Go – The actor who first appeared as Kol in season one and then played two new Klingons in season two returned to Discovery in season three after he was diagnosed with ALS. The emotional featurette interviews Ken along with members of the cast and crew of Discovery talking about his impact on the series and how the producers created the role of Aurellio for him in season three.
Bridge Building – As mentioned earlier in the review, the bridge crew gets a 25-minute feature all about the characters and actors who bring them to life.
Writer’s Log: Michelle Paradise – C0-showrunner Michelle Paradise provides a video log about shooting the beginning of season three in Iceland.
Hidden bonus feature – A quick two-minute bonus that shows the new season 3 on-set tradition of doing 15 claps to get the team amped up started with two of the camera crew; camera dolly grip James Parsons introduces the segment.
NOTE: From the Bonus Features menu, press up to select the star in the center of the delta.
Gag Reel – As we’ve come to expect, this cast works and plays hard. We get a look at the camaraderie and goofiness that happens when they’ve been spending long hours on set.
For many people, these are likely the most compelling of all the bonus content. There are eight episodes that have deleted or extended scenes. They accompany the main episode as a bonus feature from the episode’s menu item on each disc.
“People of Earth”
A short deleted segment of the flashback to Michael’s lost year, with her being put into a force field jail cell by the Emerald Chain for stealing a dilithium crystal and Book bailing her out.
“Forget Me Not”
Burnham and Saru discuss how Adira could have survived with a symbiont for a year when she’s not a Trill, along with some exposition about how a Trill is joined.
Michael’s voiceover as we see her going about her day, discussing how Saru had no choice but to fire her from the position of first officer, and how she feels different from her “lost year”—in contrast to the rest of the crew, for whom no time has passed.
“Terra Firma, Part 1”
Deleted scene with Burnham and Culber discussing how the sphere data keeps bringing up the planet Dannus V. It says that if they take Georgiou there, she’ll have a 5% chance of survival—and 0% if they don’t. Michael thanks Hugh for fighting to save Philippa.
TrekMovie shared this deleted scene with our readers earlier in the week.
“Terra Firma, Part 2”
Georgiou and Captain Killy watching Michael in the brig from her quarters on the Tantalus field-like console.
Landry is attacked by Detmer, who foils her but then walks away smugly only to killed by a lurking Burnham. Cut to another montage of Burnham and Detmer killing a variety of crew in different horrible ways. After dropping their badges on the Emperor’s desk, Mirror Michael kills Detmer to close the loop.
Burnham, Owo, Georgiou, Killy, and other loyal soldiers walk into a club. They question the bartender (who has contacts with Lorca), which turns into a bar fight. They learn Lorca has a secret villa on Risa.
Burnham questions Saru’s judgment due to the current situation involving Kelpiens in a sort of turnabout from earlier in the season when Saru removed Michael from her position as first officer.
Burnham, Saru, and Culber comment on their new virtual species in Su’Kal’s program. Saru mentions having a limited visual range as a human, Culber an enhanced sense of smell as a Bajoran. Michael says being a Trill isn’t much different than human, aside from being hungry due to a higher metabolism.
“There Is A Tide…”
A very small trim with Book following Zarah and Michael in another part of the ship trying to free the Discovery from Emerald Chain control.
“That Hope That is You, Part 2”
Michael grabs a shard of control panel to use as a hidden weapon just before Osyraa walks in and questions her. Osyraa makes light of the classic Vulcan saying “The needs of the many,” which of course irks Michael.
This Blu-ray is one of the highest quality ways to watch Discovery season 3, 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 it and folks who have concerns about the fleeting rights to streaming media.
After a few seasons now produced in the new CBS Star Trek Universe, and at least three of them (Picard season 1, Discovery season 2, and season 3) now available to stream in HDR from Paramount+, I would be remiss in not expressing some disappointment with the lack of a UHD Blu-ray release.
Available now in the USA
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