Review: ‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ Season 1 On Blu-ray Is Fascinating

The first season of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds arrives on home video today. This review covers the Blu-ray edition, but the set is also available on DVD with the same special features.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds – season 1

When Pike, Number One, and Spock showed up in Star Trek: Discovery season 2, fans welcomed them and wanted more. After testing the waters with a couple of Short Treks episodes, a full series was greenlit. There was much anticipation for Strange New Worlds, and the inaugural season didn’t disappoint. The premiere season was well received by fans and critics alike (with a 99% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes). The new cast members taking on legacy roles are excellent as well, giving fresh takes on Uhura, M’Benga, and Chapel. The new original characters are quite good too; Erica Ortegas is a total hotshot pilot, as one might expect (she’s also a nice nod to an unused character from the original Star Trek pitch), and La’an was much more nuanced than someone hyped to be related to the infamous Khan Noonian Singh might seem at first.

Refreshingly, SNW changed the template for the live-action CBS-produced Trek shows as it started leaning back towards more episodic adventures instead of the heavily serialized, typically over-plotted, season-long mysteries. This change let the show try out different styles and genres while also having ongoing character development. One story might be a screwball comedy, while another is a first-contact scenario. Standouts for me include “Children of the Comet,” “Ghosts of Illyria,” “Spock Amok,” and “Lift Us Where Suffering Cannot Reach.” Along the way, the Strange New Worlds writers reinvent The Gorn (personally, I’m not crazy about them becoming the franchise’s take on Alien’s Xenomorphs), and fudge canon here and there to show us more about T’Pring, all while giving us generally satisfying stories about Pike’s crew on the USS Enterprise.

Looming over the season is the one major holdover from Discovery season 2: the fact that Pike knows his fate is to be gravely injured on a cadet training mission in about 10 years. Thankfully this doesn’t bog down the season; instead, it crops up from time to time, giving Chris Pike pause. Pike’s future finally comes to a head in a rather gutsy tenth episode. In a “what-if” alternate future, we see what would happen if Pike had dodged his fate, and was still in command of the Enterprise when the Romulans test the Federation’s resolve along The Neutral Zone in an alternate version of the events of “Balance of Terror.” I didn’t love the episode as it failed to understand much of what made the classic TOS version compelling, but it certainly does work to service the character of Pike and resolve his concerns about his future.

The Blu-ray set

The 10 episodes and special features are on three Blu-ray discs. As we’ve come to expect for a Paramount/CBS home video release, 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 back of the case. There’s a special Steelbook edition of the Blu-ray set too. For those who want it, the season is also available on regular old DVD as well.

Image showing the DVD, Blu-ray, and Steelbook versions of 'Strange New Worlds' Season 1 on disc.

Video Quality

Strange New Worlds season 1 continues the slick, modern style that Discovery season 2 initially helped define for the Paramount+ Trek universe. Like Picard before it, SNW takes that general palette and makes its own “house style” for the series. Having the higher bitrate available on disc means the image quality in the many darker or more atmospheric scenes looks a bit better than streaming.

Audio Quality

The 10 episodes have losslessly compressed DTS-HD MA 5.1 channel soundtracks. Strange New Worlds sounds great, it continues the cinematic sound design esthetics that were started back in Discovery season 2, and carried on with all of the shows since.

Special Features

Audio commentary: Episode 101 – “Strange New Worlds” – Series star Anson Mount and co-creator Akiva Goldsman have a lively commentary on the premiere episode of the series. Mount has a great voice, is a big TOS fan, and is always engaging to listen to.

Documentary features

The documentary features are all on the third disc.

Bonus: TOS “Balance of Terror” – In a surprise bonus (as it wasn’t listed on any press release), CBS has included the 2006 remastered version of the classic Star Trek episode “Balance of Terror.” This is a fitting extra, of course, as episode 110 (“A Quality of Mercy”) relies heavily on the events and even dialogue from the original episode.

Pike’s Peak (17 minutes) – Anson Mount takes fans through his journey as Captain Christopher Pike in the first season of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, providing a peek (get it?) into his portrayal with intimate footage throughout the season. This includes mobile phone camera personal logs of Anson’s experiences during his quarantine to wait before production of SNW season 1, and then preparing for the season, including practicing riding horses, their first day on the bridge set, and more. A particularly touching moment comes when Mount is standing on the Enterprise bridge set reading a lovely note from Mike Gold of NASA congratulating the cast and crew on the beginning of filming.

World Building (12 minutes) – Anson Mount gives us a tour of the AR volume, currently set up as the hostile snowy planet from episode 109. Production Designer Jonathan Lee discusses designing for the AR wall. Through interviews with producers, cast, and crew, fans will learn about the expertise involved in the development process and how the powerful technology was seamlessly integrated into the show.

Exploring New Worlds (53 minutes) – As they’ve done with the other CBS Trek seasons, this feature documents the making of the season. Writers, producers, directors, and cast are interviewed about the making of the 10 episodes.

Deleted Scenes

There are five episodes that have deleted or extended scenes, found on the disc with the corresponding episode. By far the most interesting are from episode 109 “All Those Who Wander,” with quite a bit ending up by the wayside, including a couple of scenes that I think should have been left in.

“Children of the Comet”

  • A brief scene on the bridge checking in with the landing party as they start their exploration of the comet.

“Ghosts of Illyria”

  • Number One, Pike, and Ensign Lance go through the colony, Lance starts to rant about how Illyrians are engineered and liken them to The Augments on Earth, and says the Illyrians deserved what they got, he assumed they wiping themselves out by over-engineering. His prejudice about anyone that would use genetic engineering becomes clear, and Pike calls him on it.
  • Uhura comes home to her quarters and her roommates ask her if anything weird is going on since she’s up on the bridge she must know, she just wants to go to bed.
  • Chapel and M’Benga in sickbay, Number One walks out to check on the ship, Chapel attends to another patient; left alone, M’Benga is drawn to a light above a biobed.

“Lift Us Where Suffering Cannot Reach”

  • A flashback scene to 10 years ago when a young Lt. Pike was sent to help Alora, who, thanks to a scientific exchange, has a Starfleet shuttle that’s gotten into some trouble.
  • In a particularly soapy scene, Captain Pike, disgusted with what’s learned, tells Alora he wants to report what’s going on there to Starfleet and prepares to leave. She reminds him they’re not part of the Federation, and implores him to stay, that they had something special between them.

“The Elysian Kingdom”

  • A small trim of a scene with Spock as the wizard Pollux leading his forces. (You can see the cut scene in the video embedded below).

“All Those Who Wander”

  • Scene from the bridge with Number One monitoring the shuttles’ descent to the planet
  • On the USS Peregrine, Spock and Chapel have a moment. Spock explains how without proper control through logic Vulcan emotions can be dangerous. Chapel says it’s good to get mad sometimes.
  • Hemmer and Uhura down in Peregrine’s engineering see a baby Gorn feeding on entrails, who turns towards them and Hemmer takes the venom that was heading for Uhura.
  • In Peregrine’s sickbay M’Benga with Spock, Pike, and Sam Kirk discuss his analysis of the Gorn DNA. M’Benga says they’re invisible to most scans, and their gestation period varies based on the host species.
  • Hemmer with venom burns enters sickbay with Uhura, Pike asks if Hemmer can sense the Gorn via telepathy.
  • Sam Kirk freaks out on Spock for saying the Gorn biology is impressive. The group loses their cool as they realize they have very few options to try and stay alive, and Pike calls on them to strategize their way out. They discuss how to destroy the Gorn threat by drawing them out.
  • Uhura comes up at the end of the memorial service to talk to Pike and Number One. She says she’d like to accept their offer of coming back to the Enterprise once she graduates. They officially offer her the position of bridge communications officer.
  • La’an comes to see the surviving child Oriana; she has a nice moment helping her cope with the loss of her parents. She reads a letter to her brother, as a demonstration of closure and coping for the girl.

Gag Reel (3 mins) – Classic bits of prop malfunctions, doors that don’t open on cue, line flubs, and general fun from the long hours shooting the first season.

Final thoughts

Strange New Worlds had about as positive a reception for a new Star Trek series as there’s ever been. Being episodic helps the causal rewatch value, so it makes plenty of sense to own the season on disc. As usual, we recommend it for completists or anyone who wants an offline copy of the show; this includes those who cannot or do not want to stream the show and folks who have concerns about the fleeting rights to streaming media.

Strange New Worlds was confirmed to be shot in 4K and HDR and it is available to stream in HDR and 4K on Paramount+, in past reviews I’ve lamented the lack of a physical media release. It seems CBS and Paramount+ have heard the complaints from fans and a 4K release with the same bonus features is due out later this spring. So if you’ve got an Ultra HD Blu-ray player, go pre-order that version ASAP!

Available now

Strange New Worlds season 1 was released today, March 21st on DVD, Blu-ray, and Blu-ray/Steelbook in the USA. You can pick it up now at Amazon and other retailers.

You can pre-order the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Steelbook (coming in May).


Special features video clips

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Any news for when this will be released for purchase via digital download (like iTunes). And if such release will be in 4k?

I find it odd that news of digital downloads is very scarce compared to subscription streaming and even physical media.

For me its the best of both worlds. It provides me the same convenience of streaming *And* it addresses the “concerns about the fleeting rights to streaming media” (I own it)

Plus since its delivered digitally, there’s a good chance it my be available at the highest video format.

I dont know where I would be without My Apptv collection. I have dozens of shows and movies (many of them old classics in 4k)( owned digitally and easy to access

I am so sorry but if you buy it on iTunes or any other digital platform you still don’t own the digital product, and there were cases in the past when contant that I had bought was taken down and unavailable because the distribution platform decided not to renew their partnership with a studio (happened to me with movies and comics too). So owning is only true if you own it on disc …

I mean, in one sense, nobody truly owns anything in this world. But I think he’s referring to some places that offer own-able downloads, that are stored on your computer, offline.

Incorrect. With iTunes at least. I do Own the product. And very unlikely Apple shuts down their platform. Even if they do, I would likely get credit or a refund since I paid full price to own not rent. Im not worried about giving the product to my family after im gone. I just want to have them for my lifetime. In over 12 years of being with Apple, I have not lost a single title that I own.

AND even if Im wrong or you dispute what i said above, I can download them to a hardrive (and have for some select titles). Star Trek would be part of that for me.

Are you sure? Not to double back on my own comment in defense of you, but back in the day, like mid 2000s, I downloaded a bunch of stuff on iTunes — kept them on a hard drive — and a few years later I tried playing them and was told “you no longer have permission to watch this title.”

There ARE sites that allow you to keep them, DRM-free, but not sure iTunes is one of them/

I’m only telling you it hasn’t been an issue with me to this point but honesty I do not have a massive collection. Its under a 100 for shows and movies. (Nothing older than 2008) . From a collector’s perspective that’s pretty small. So its possible some stuff could disappear on me eventually. Dont really want to get into your last comment, but believe I have a permanent version of what i downloaded.

I hope so too! I’m not attacking digital media — I much prefer it over physical. Particularly streaming. Would never go back to having a library of discs unless I absolutely had to. Actually, I might never — might prefer to just not watch movies and TV…

My disks should arrive Thursday. Can’t wait!

I pre-ordered this in December. I’m bummed that Amazon will deliver it tomorrow if you order it today, but I ordered months in advance and won’t get it until the day AFTER tomorrow. Not that it’s a huge deal, but it seems unfair, y’know?

I got my copy today though i wish i could of gotten the steelbook version but since i don’t have much room to store steelbooks i got the standard version instead. I do have some room left where i store my steelbooks for a few more but I’d rather save that space for hopefully a Discovery S5 steelbook and Picard S3 steelbook release.

I also hope that SNW will do good enough on 4K that they will release a 4K S1-5 boxset of Discovery and a 4K Picard S1-3 boxset.

Discovery (at least seasons 1-4) and Picard were not made in 4K. They are in HD with HDR.

Doesn’t matter plenty of shows/films that weren’t filmed in 4K look far better when released on 4K disc. I have plenty of films that weren’t shot in 4K on both Blu-ray and UHD disc and there is a massive difference in quality.

If you capture at 2.8k like the older alexas, and then output at 4k, that’s roughly like shooting super 16 and blowing up to 35mm — it ain’t gonna look as good, no matter how well exposed.

Now if something was well shot on film, you can probably go beyond 4K and it’ll look better and better.

I’m not saying it can’t work, just that you are making a sacrifice. Roger Deakins shot SKYFALL on Alexa even though he knew there’d be a 4K finish. But that’s Deakins. He also told me he refused to use the Imax codec for that particlar release version, so there’s something to be said for individual taste over a massmind solution.

I think a lot of it has to do with cinematographers not wanting stuff to look that sharp, given how clinical today’s lenses can come off when shooting digital. Trouble is that they sometimes wind up going the other way too far and you get mush.

I can’t tell if there’s no real effort being made with digital to get stuff to truly look like it was shot on film or if the effort just always comes up short. Watching old seaQuest episodes on Peacock recently is much more comforting and engaging for my eye than just about anything on nowadays, once you exclude the cartoon fx (and steer clear of season 2 for content reasons.) There’s blue sky and white cloud and some actual contrast as well as a variety of colors — gee, approaching something like the way things look in life, what a concept!

You just reminded me of Techniscope. Which some of my favorite films were shot on. THX 1138, American Graffiti, Leone Dollars Trilogy.

Various shows have used off-brand or lower-end formats successfully, with YOUNG INDY coming to mind right off. Most of the time techniscope was used as a dollar savings tool, but a recent miniseries, I KNOW THIS MUCH IS TRUE, went beyond or beneath the TS three-perf frame to two-perf for the ability to shoot 20-minute+ takes. To me, this almost defeats the use of shooting on film, but to each his/her own.

Does DVD have all the Blu extras?

.”…but the set is also available on DVD with the same special features.”

Yep. That was in the first line of the article.

Ah, thanks

…first offering from Secret Hideout I’m tempted to purchase. Good on you, keep up the good work.

My Steelbook arrives sometime today. I’ve also pre-ordered the 4K version. I’ll donate the Blu-ray to a friend once that arrives in May.

Thanks for this — looking forward to the 4K release in May!

Nothing more that trek fans love than to take subtle, passive-aggressive jabs 😭

Hmm does Lt. Pike in that deleted scene wear a different uniform?

Oh neat thanks

Hoping that deleted scene gives us Captain April in action. In the premiere they gave him some white in his beard, and I wondered at the time that maybe it was because they’d show him in a flashback as a younger man.

yes, Red shirt and dark hair

Bought it digitally on verizon and of course episode 2 is broken and pixelated. Pain in the butt i will have to call them and complain. I thought i had gotten a deal 26 bucks.

I really respect your Star Trek insights and knowledge and have enjoyed your input on the podcast. I was wondering if you could elaborate on why you think the SNW remake of “Balance of Terror” wasn’t so great. Of course I prefer the original too, but I was curious about your specific reasons why you think it didn’t measure up to BOT. Thanks.

Thank you Matt for the thoughtful reply. You helped bring into focus why it didn’t feel the same as the original. I think I was so excited to see aspects of BOT done with 2023 effects and production values that it obscured some of these excellent points you just made.

I’m confused, most of those “deleted” scenes from “All Who Wander…” seem like they are in the actual episode: (1) Chapel on Spock getting mad; (2) Hemmer taking venom; (3) gestational variations; (4) Hemmer’s telepathy; (5) Kirk freaking out. I don’t know about the others but I just watched it on Parsmount+ a few days ago and those were all in there.

Normally I buy DVD’s. But this time I decided to purchase Star Trek Strange New Worlds Season One in Blu-Ray.

My system is a Katana GF76 laptop with 32GB memory
11th Gen Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-11800H @ 2.30GHz  2.30 GHz
Samsung SSD 980 Pro 1TB M.2 NVMe Gen4 drive
Samsung SSD 870 QVO 2TB Drive
Pioneer BDR-XS07UHD Blu-Ray Drive – Firmware TUHD_FW103EU released Mar 16, 2023
External Monitors
Samsung TU7000 Crystal UHD 4K Smart TV 50″ (2020)
Sony Bravia 32″
iVanky HDMI 2.1 Two-Way Switcher (switch between TV’s)
Windows 11 Home All Updates – OS Build info22624.1470
Windows Feature Experience Pack 1000.22640.1000.0
CyberLink PowerDVD 365 – Latest Updates

The Strange New Worlds Blu-Ray Disks won’t play in my system what so ever.

PowerDVD will attempt to load them up, but then it shows Resume/Restart.
Hit Resume, the screen goes black and it attempts load the disk and it goes right back to the same screen.
Hit Restart, it’s pretty much the same thing.

Windows Media Player won’t even attempt to play it and VCL Media player won’t play it, just keeps giving errors.

My computer is my main entertainment center for watching movies, TV DVD’s and Blu-Rays. Older Blu-Rays work just fine as I have tried a few to verify them.

I found that the disks will play in an older Blu-Ray player I have above the TV which is a big inconvience to me because of my being Disabled which is one of the reasons I use my computer for watching media.

The Blu-Ray player is a Sony BDP-S580 and is old enough where I don’t thnk they even provide firmware updates any more.

Using Google, I wasn’t able to find anything except something about Digital copies. Nothing concerning the physical disks not playing.

I really would like to play these and any future Disks on my Computer.

I’m stoked about this show. It really gives me the feels. Watching Picard s3 is also giving me a feeling that care and attention is being pretty generously lavished on this IP and that the creators are also fans. Not that this solves everything, of course it does not. But it feels very IDIC in Trekville to me.

I finished season 1. It was quite good. If people claim this is new Coke it was pretty darn refreshing. Easily the best Star Trek since Enterprise. And it isn’t dystopian, its Star Trek again. I had no idea how much i missed Star Trek or how much i would love to watch it again, i binge watched this in 2 days. Can’t wait for season 2.