The final season of Star Trek: Picard arrived on home video this week.
Star Trek: Picard – Season 3
It’s been a long (and winding) road getting from there to here. Picard had become something of a pet project for Sir Patrick Stewart, well after saying he didn’t feel the need to return to the character of Jean-Luc Picard. In 2018, he surprised fans by announcing he actually would return to the role for the titular streaming series, but only because the writers had a very different story for the character (and he was now an executive producer). With the intention of being a three-season series from the outset, the first couple of seasons tried to do different things with the character of Picard. It put him in new and uncertain territory with new characters, with a focus on exploring the character’s emotions and regrets. These included the loss of Data, the regrets piling up as he grew older, and the trauma of his past that had held him back from forming intimate relationships. Along the way, we learned a little more about what happened to the millions of Romulans left behind when Romulus exploded (as first referenced by Prime Spock in Star Trek 2009) and Picard’s regrets about not being able to save more during the refugee crisis.
Having Riker and Troi appear and offer a respite in his journeys in season 1 (which was a late addition to the season) piqued Stewart’s interest in seeing more of his old cast. This third and final season was a fitting way to re-introduce his old crew. The showrunning duties were taken up by Terry Matalas, a Trekkie and sci-fi nerd through and through. He had some of his first jobs in show biz at Star Trek, first on Voyager and then on Enterprise, so Matalas seemed a good fit to bring everyone together. Thankfully, he didn’t disappoint. The crew (both old and new) were worked into the story organically and each member of the Enterprise-D crew came into the story at just the right times—and that ship did too. Cast members Jonathan Frakes and Michael Dorn do some of their best work ever in this season. The new, younger bridge crew of the USS Titan were each given moments to shine, and did a surprisingly good job getting the audience to feel that we knew them and that they had an inner life beyond being on the bridge. Todd Stashwick’s Captain Shaw became an instant fan favorite (or at least a character people loved to hate) with his tough “I don’t have time for this shit” attitude, which put him up there with similar gruff but effective captains like Jellico.
Ashlei Sharpe Chestnut had the demanding task of bringing a new generation of LaForge to life, and she nailed it. By the end of the season, I was ready to see where Sidney LaForge’s adventures under the newly minted Captain Seven of Nine might go. Ed Speleers might technically be a bit too old to play Jack Crusher (son of Jean-Luc and Beverly), but it doesn’t really matter; he’s a charming rogue and a nice reminder of what Jean-Luc used to be like in his early days. (After all, he once was a young ensign who got stabbed through the heart in a fight over dom-jot.)
There had been whispers that the Enterprise-D would make an appearance for nearly a year before the show finally aired, but it didn’t make that moment with the cast stepping out on the meticulously reconstructed bridge set any less special. The love that went into the making of this season is apparent everywhere you look, from the detailing in the 25th-century starship corridors and display graphics (both were a logical evolution of the late-24th-century starships we saw in Voyager and the TNG movies) to the blend of every style of Borg tech seen in Trek over the years when we got to the giant Queen’s cube at the end, to, of course, that re-recreation of the Enterprise-D bridge.
Was the season perfect? Nope, but it was pretty great along the way and felt like the kind of Trek I wanted to watch (and rewatch) each week. I would have liked to have had the connections between Vadic’s rogue Changelings and the Borg Queen’s goals more obvious. Amanda Plummer was electric on screen, but Vadic herself never quite gelled; it always felt like there was something more to the bird imagery theme for her and her crew, but it was never really clear. Also, like many people, I found the show’s lighting to be too dark: There’s so much detail in every set, but it’s hard to see. It really seemed like the Titan should have been lit at least a bit brighter.
TrekMovie covered the individual episodes as they came out in reviews by our site founder Anthony as well as in weekly episode review episodes of the All Access Star Trek podcast, The Shuttle Pod also did five podcast episodes discussing the season at various points. If you haven’t already checked them out, they’re highly recommended for reviews and analysis of each episode.
The Blu-ray set
The episodes and special features are spread out across three Blu-ray discs. As we’ve come to expect for a 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. The Steelbook edition has the crew sitting around the table playing poker as the image behind the 3 discs.
Picard has a slick and modern style that follows the general trends of the live-action Paramount+ Trek universe. Season 3 changed a lot of the production team, and with it some of the conventions of the previous two seasons. This final season is shipboard for most of its run time, and when it went planetside, it was skulking around at night with Raffi and Worf. So the season ended up pretty dark—until the dramatic reveal of the Enterprise-D bridge. Having the higher bitrate available on disc means the image quality in these darker scenes is a smidge better than streaming.
That being said, it sure would be great if there was an Ultra HD Blu-ray release so we could have the benefit of the HDR grade. So many of the scenes are so dark, it noticeably helped to have it in HDR when streaming it on Paramount+. (And yes, while Picard was finished at “only” 2K, it would still behoove Paramount to release it on Ultra HD Blu-ray, there’s more detail and a higher color depth in a 2K professional master which can be utilized in a Ultra HD Blu-ray release with HDR.)
As we’ve come to expect, the episodes have losslessly compressed DTS-HD MA 5.1 channel soundtracks. This is pretty standard for a TV show release. Picard sounds great; as noted in my other reviews, the producers and sound mixers are on the top of their game with these latest seasons.
The commentaries are lively and showcase the easy chemistry the cast and Terry have with each other.
“The Next Generation” – Jonathan Frakes, Jeri Ryan, Todd Stashwick, Ed Speleers, Terry Matalas, (composer) Steven Barton
“Seventeen Seconds” – Gates McFadden, Michelle Hurd, Terry Matalas
“No Win Scenario” – Jonathan Frakes, Todd Stashwick, Terry Matalas
“The Bounty” – Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Brent Spiner, Terry Matalas
“The Last Generation” – Jonathan Frakes, Jeri Ryan, Ed Speleers, Terry Matalas
The Gang’s All Here (19 minutes) – Sir Patrick Stewart and Terry Matalas talk about bringing the TNG crew together. Each cast member is introduced and they discuss where their character is now.
Villainous Vadic (20 minutes) – Terry Matalas takes us through creating Vadic and how he wrote the role with Amanda Plumber in mind.
Picard: The Final Season Q&A (42 minutes) – This is the Paramount+ Emmy FYC (For Your Consideration) panel hosted by Scott Mantz that was recorded in Los Angeles in April just after the theatrical showing of the finale of season three.
Gag Reel (6 minutes) – The chemistry among the cast is on full display in the bloopers. Come for the goof-ups, stay for the always delightful Frakes dropping multiple F-bombs in one outtake.
The Making of “The Last Generation” (42 minutes) – As they’ve done with the other Paramount+ Trek seasons, this feature documents the making of the final season. Writers, producers, directors, and cast are interviewed.
Rebuilding the Enterprise-D (17 minutes) – Alex Kurtzman and Terry Matalas discuss how the idea of bringing back the Enterprise-D came to be, and then production team members Dave Blass, Liz Kloczkowski, and Todd A. Marks take us through rebuilding the iconic bridge set.
For many people, these little bits of “what might have been” are the main reason to collect a film or TV show on disc. There are five episodes that have deleted or extended scenes, found on the disc with the corresponding episode.
- While trying to figure out how to activate Daystrom Android M510, Riker asks Worf about what happened to him, since he’s such a changed person. Worf says he has hunted Changelings for decades. He hunted Changelings ruthlessly until one day he killed a woman, who he thought was a Changeling, but he was wrong. To make up for his transgression, he swore to temper himself.
- As Riker realizes M510 wasn’t trying to hurt them, Data (inside M510) briefly wakes up and recognizes Riker and Worf, but calls Raffi an “unknown,” and then has a breakdown as he fights to handle the different conflicting matrices of B4 and Lore, etc.
- As M510/Lore has locked himself in the chamber and Geordi pleads with Data to come out, we get an extended plea from Geordi where he talks about his “awesome daughters,” and asks Data to fight Lore for them.
- During Vadic’s monologue about the Starfleet genocide of the Changelings, Seven and Shaw listen in from the bridge. Seven (having been in the Delta Quadrant during the Dominion War) asks what she’s talking about, Shaw gives the cliff notes of what happened on DS9 with the Section 31 virus.
- Various small additions to the scene where Jean-Luc and Beverly talk about Vadic as she’s trapped in the forcefield.
- As Data surrenders his memories to Lore in their cyber realm, he hands Lore his painting of a raven (from TNG “Birthright”)
- An extended version of the scene where Beverly and Jean-Luc watch Jack’s shuttle warp away from the conference room windows as they discuss their failures as parents. Beverly leaves Picard alone and Data finds him, Data awkwardly pats Picard on the shoulder when discussing Jack, and then talks about how it’s hard to “transition from words to physical contact.” Data continues to discuss how he’s better understanding emotions, and that they can lead impulsive behaviors done on instinct. Then he tenderly touches Picard’s shoulder as seen in the final edit.
“The Last Generation”
- Deanna jumps into the conn seat, and Geordi says that Deanna has flown the Enterprise “exactly twice, and you crashed it both times.” Deanna retorts “Yeah well, third time’s the charm.”
- As the crew closes down Guinan’s bar, Data is given the final toast of the evening (which as seen in the final edit) is the joke he didn’t get from TNG “The Naked Now,” he’s cut off by the others, but in this extended version, Worf finishes the joke. Then, the actual last toast of the night goes to Picard as seen in the final edit.
If you liked this final season, and many, many fans did, go grab this on disc now so you can keep it in your collection. It’s of course generally recommended 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. After a few seasons now produced in the new CBS/Paramount+ Star Trek Universe, Picard season 3 is part of a growing list of new seasons produced in HDR (Picard seasons 1-3, Discovery seasons 2-4, and Strange New Worlds season 1-2) and are available to stream in HDR from Paramount+, I would be remiss in not expressing disappointment with the lack of a UHD Blu-ray release to let the gorgeous production design and cinematography really shine.
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Coming soon to other countries
The home video release of the third season will be available soon in these countries:
- United Kingdom – 20 November 2023 (DVD/BD/Steelbook)
- France – 15 November 2023 (DVD/BD/Steelbook)
- Germany – 16 November 2023 (DVD/BD/Steelbook)
- Benelux – 17 November 2023 (DVD/BD)
- Spain – 16 November 2023 (DVD/BD/Steelbook)
- Australia – 22 November 2023 (tentative) (DVD/BD)
- Japan – 22 November 2023 (DVD/BD)
- Italy – 15 November 2023 (DVD/Steelbook)
More images from the Blu-ray
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