REVIEW: ‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ Season 2 Shines Bright On 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

The second season of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is available now on physical media with a brand new release in a variety of formats and packaging. This review covers the Ultra HD Blu-ray edition, but the set is also available on standard Blu-ray or DVD with the same special features.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds – season 2

Season one of Strange New Worlds was a burst of fresh air, it changed the template for the live-action Trek shows of the modern era 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. The second season continues this format with the stated goal to make “big swings” in genre.

High points for the season included “Ad Astra per Aspera” which gave us the resolution to the cliffhanger from season 1 with Una’s arrest. The crossover with the animated comedy Star Trek: Lower Decks, is something I was both excited and concerned about, since it seemed like a crazy thing to do. However, my worries were unfounded, and “Those Old Scientists” was handled quite nicely and seems to be one of the show’s most popular episodes with fans. Another surprise of the season was that the musical episode “Subspace Rhapsody” was quite good. As with the crossover, I was a little bit worried about how it would be handled, but in the end was pleasantly surprised. Sure it’s a smidge goofy and something sci-fi had to be invented to explain it, but it was all quite good, you can tell that the cast gave it their all, and the songs were quite catchy.

Low points for the season come from when it appears to be just trying a bit too hard like with the sitcom-y “Charades” where it seems the producers think episode 5 of every season is now a “Something wacky happens to Spock” episode. And the less said about the very comic book-inspired Klingon fighting “rage serum” from the season debut “The Broken Circle” the better.

Looming over this season is the ongoing threat of a war with the Gorn. The reimagined Gorn was something I didn’t like about the first season, but the show continues to lean into this arc in a big way, especially with the finale “Hegemony.” Also, young Lt. James T. Kirk seems to feel free to pop in whenever, and the season finale adds yet another TOS character in the mix (though I did like Martin Quinn’s performance as Scotty). While the show has great characters and has shown an ability to make good on its promise to set a new standard for Star Trek TV, I worry it is is fast becoming a kind of TOS-remix rather than a proper prequel.

The Ultra HD Blu-ray set

The 10 episodes and special features are on three Ultra HD 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 it, as well as a full listing for the set on the inside back of the case. There are also two special Steelbook editions (Ultra HD Blu-ray and standard Blu-ray) which include a “Subspace Rhapsody” poster. For those who want it, the season is also available on regular old DVDs as well.

4K UHD Steelbook with extras

Video Quality

Strange New Worlds season 2 continues the slick, modern style that Discovery season 2 initially helped define for the Paramount+ Star Trek Universe. Like Picard before it, SNW takes that general palette and makes its own “house style” for the series. Unlike those other shows, Strange New Worlds being the newest member of the Paramount+ family, was shot in 4K from the beginning. It’s a gorgeous show, with lots of great production and costume design to show off. The pristine bright white of the Enterprise hallways really pops in HDR. Having this on disc at full 4K means the experience is sharper and obviously much less compressed than the 4K streaming experience from Paramount+

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

As we have come to expect from Star Trek home media releases, there is a good mix of special features for Strange New Worlds season 2. One thing missing is audio commentary due to how the set was produced during the SAG-AFTRA strike. However, the cast and writer/producers do appear in a number of the special features that were recorded before the strikes.

Documentary features

The documentary features are all on the third disc.

Producing Props (10 mins) – Vulcan props from “Charades,” including the Lyre, and the (handleless) teapot.

The Costumes Closet (13 minutes) – A look at the varied costumes of all the background characters on Cajitar IV.

The Gorn (15 minutes) –  Akiva Goldsman opens this segment by talking about the Strange New Worlds version of the Gorn. We also see the practical Gorn puppets and how they built and shot the full-size adult Gorn in its space suit.

Singing in Space (22 mins) – Alex Kurtzman talks about wanting to make a musical episode since the early days of Discovery. There are interviews with cast and crew, director Dermott Downs, and songwriters Kay Hanley and Tom Polce, and behind-the-scenes footage of the cast rehearsing.

Exploring New Worlds (46 minutes) – As they’ve done with the other CBS Trek seasons, this feature documents the making of the second season. Writers, producers, directors, and cast are interviewed about the making of the 10 episodes.

Deleted Scenes

There are seven episodes that have deleted or extended scenes, and even one alternate version of a scene. These are found on the disc with the corresponding episode.

“The Broken Circle”

  • A deleted scene with Admiral April getting a report about where the Enterprise escaped to. Another admiral approaches and discusses his surprise that Spock would do it, and they discuss the political ramifications of allowing the Enterprise to remain at Cajitar IV.

“Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow”

  • Extended scene when Kirk and La’an shoplift their 21st-century clothes
  • Deleted scene of Kirk’s first chess game
  • Extended scene in Pelia’s shop, Pelia realizes the old diver’s watch is valuable to them, and asks La’an for money for it.


  • Extended scene where Spock tries gum (you can see this scene in the videos below)

“Lost in Translation”

  • Extended scene with Pike and Number One discussing the refinery’s difficulties, Pelia appears out of a Jeffries tube saying she was dealing with waste removal. Number One, who is obviously annoyed with her, tries to keep Pelia on the Enterprise.
  • Extended scene bit of the Kirks bickering in the anthropology lab with Uhura.
  • Extended scene of Pelia and Number One in the shuttle when Una brings up getting a “C” in Starship Maintenance.

“Those Old Scientists”

  • Extended scene with Boimler on the planet’s surface with La’an and Pike just after they realize that the Orions stole the portal.

“Under the Cloak of War”

  • Deleted scene of Chapel and M’Benga discussing the state of their supplies and trying to rest between waves of wounded.
  • Deleted scene, present day in the bar after the 3 left from the tense dinner. M’Benga thanks Ortegas for the meltdown as his excuse to get out of the dinner.
  • Extended scene with M’Benga fiddling with biobed 2 as Pike walks up and apologies for asking the ships veterans to join, and says M’Benga doesn’t have to go through with the sparring match.

“Subspace Rhapsody”

  • Extended scene of Kirk and Number One in the Jefferies Tube discussing Number One and her command style and how she keeps a necessary distance between herself and her crew.
  • Alternate version of the Klingon song, this version is more like a power ballad.

Final thoughts

Strange New Worlds being episodic helps the causal rewatch value, so it makes plenty of sense to own the season on disc. It’s also the best way to experience the high value of the production, free of streaming constraints. The 4K release in particular delivers a superior viewing (and listening) experience. 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.

Available now

Strange New Worlds season 2 was released December 5, on DVD, Blu-ray in standard and Steelbook versions, and Ultra HD Blu-ray in standard and Steelbook versions in the USA.

There are three regular home media collections for Strange New Worlds season 2: 4-disc DVD, 4-disc Blu-ray and 3-disc 4K UHD. You can pick up a set at Amazon: DVD for $29.95, Blu-ray for $34.95. and 4K UHD Blu-ray for $56.99.

You can also get one of two limited edition Steelbook editions: Blu-ray Steelbook for $39.95 and  4K UHD Steelbook for $49.95.  Both Steelbook releases include a “Subspace Rhapsody” poster.

Blu-ray Steelbook with extra

The 4K UHD also includes a set of four exclusive character magnets that will let fans customize the packaging (because it’s made of steel) with their favorite character.

4K UHD Steelbook with extras

Special features video clips

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Watching all the special features, it’s clear that everyone involved with SNW is putting an ENORMOUS amount of work and thought into the show. I don’t always agree with the choices they make, but it’s clear that they aren’t doing anything out of laziness or failure to think about things.

The costume and prop makers put SO much effort into the things they’re making that they include a lot of details that are invisible — to me, at least — during the episodes. But if you work on Star Trek, you know it’s likely that people will be looking at your work fifty years from now, so giving it their all makes sense.

Thanks to everyone involved, for working so very hard to make Strange New Worlds as good as they can.

I was talking to a SW designer this morning and he said the way they design things, the viewing audience maybe only sees a quarter or a third of what they actually put into these sets. In fact, he indicated that the SW theme park is probably the only place where you can actually see all the little details, since you can always face in a direction that the camera wouldn’t be pointing!

That’s really interesting; thanks for passing that along!

Man, I am so envious of countries that still get physical media releases. In my country physical media is a thing of the past (economics), and the only way for us to enjoy new releases is to import at prohibitively exorbitant prices.

This looks like an amazing set and I thoroughly enjoyed reading the review.

Everything is subjective these days. Especially, opinions about STSNW. I disagree with the writer’s take about Season Two’s “Low Points”. Season Two didn’t have any low points. In my opinion, there wasn’t a single, low point episode by any means, period. All ten were different. All ten were unique. All ten were brilliant. This is what makes the series so inviting and interesting. Relax, dude. It’s escapeism at it’s zenith!

Star Trek has inspired people to become scientists, activists, artists, etc. which sort of steps on the idea that it’s simply escapism. At least, historically. But yes, I agree, very brave of the reviewer to not give every atom of the effort a 10/10.

I can see TOS as genuinely inspirational, and early TNG as being inspirational in a different way (geez, I can do better than that, I’m gonna write a few!) But these shows are mostly just making me increasingly think, ‘why bother?’

Short of a total clearing of the decks (like Apple buying Par and installing Ron Moore as Trek Czar), I can’t imagine investing much more time in future Trek series. It’s been a long road — so to speak — for me to get here, but I’m at last learning that while there is no cap on rage, there is a ceiling on disappointment, and I keep bumping my nose on it.

These days? No, I’m afraid subjectivity isn’t some new fad. It’s been around for a few months, at least.

I feel like giving everything a thumbs up is an dishonest way to look at things in general. While yes we should definitely give positive attitudes to the things we like we also shouldn’t like anything blindly because nothing is absolutely perfect. I also appreciate the fact that the writer gave his honest opinions about the stuff he liked and disliked. Also I feel like the argument about “subjectivity” is increasingly becoming an excuse to feel good about subpar products. Like Freud said sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and sometimes something can be just bad regardless of subjectivity.

Though I thought “Charades” had its moments, overall I found it pretty disposable and nowhere-near as good as the Spock-centric comedy “Spock Amok” from the first season. In fact, with the exception of “Ad Astra Per Aspera” the first half of the season was mostly a muddled disappointment. Fortunately the ship mostly righted itself in the much stronger back half — pretty much the opposite of what happened in Season 1 — and I hope that trend continues (or better yet, improves) in Season 3. Kahless knows, they’ve had more than enough time to polish those scripts.

For me it’s very simple. I do not want to see Lt. James T. Kirk in season 3 again. His casual popping up was annoying at best. Honestly never understood why he needed to be there, other then if Anson Mount wanting out. If that’s the case, just get that over and done with. But I want SNW, not a TOS reboot at this point. I want these characters to shine.

Yes, exactly. Well put. Let Anson Mount shine as Pike, write the character better than they have, imo. A reboot of TOS is inevitable I’m afraid, because these showrunners just won’t be able to help themselves. But for now, make the characters of SNW the focal point of the show. I agree, Kirk – don’t need him, and to me that was the mis-cast of the century.

I don’t know about mis-cast of the century (for me that is looks-like-he-lost-an-acid-fight Daniel Craig as Bond, and that’s only about his appearance, while the real damage is his acting choices in the role — what happened to the fine character actor he was before this?), but Wesley just utterly misses the mark, in pretty much all ways, to the point of making Chris Pine seem okay by comparison (at least in BEYOND, where he atones for coming off like an aging high-school stage performer in his scenes with Cumberbatch.)

As much as a I fault the writing on SNW — shoot, on all these shows — SNW Kirk’s failure to register as Kirk has to be as much on the actor as the material. It might be that anybody who would’ve taken this role would suffer by comparison, but in the main I’m the one suffering when this guy is onscreen.

On the subject of actors … in the most recent DUNE trailer, Chalamet comes off very ‘wrong’ … this is quite the reversal from the first film for me. I’d never seen him act in anything, but he won me over with the genuine aspect of performance, especially during the scene with Rampling. In this trailer, he seems lost (could be the character, but why emphasize that aspect for the whole trailer?) and occasionally even actor-ish. It might just be a case of no chemistry with Chani, too, but it really threw me for a loop (and I rewatched it a couple of times to make sure it wasn’t me missing something.)

It also makes me wonder if possibly Chalamet was cast based primarily on how well he could sell young Paul rather than looking at the whole odyssey the character goes through … supposedly McLachlan was cast because he conveyed both the innocence that folks like Cruise and Kilmer did not for early Paul and the evolved Muad’Dib, but for me Kyle seemed very one-note and unconvincing when it came time to step up later int he film to be Muad’Dib, and utterly uncharismatic, which is one reason why I always thought Cruise — an actor I’ve never liked in anything outside of TAPS and COLOR OF MONEY (basically parts where he plays ___holes) — would have been a far superior choice. I think Kilmer would have been the best possible choice, but apparently the shape of his lips annoyed Dino, so instead of closing a deal they did another nationwide scout that unearthed KM. Hey, at least we got THE HIDDEN and TWIN PEAKS as a result!

Oddly enough, the casting agent who found Kyle was killed on a Kilmer film, THE SAINT, by a hit&run driver. I know Kilmer used to carry grudges (Mathew Modine reported being hassled by him after beating him out for the lead in FULL METAL JACKET), but I have to assume this wasn’t a case of holding a grudge for a long time, right?

Can’t say I thought much of the DUNE sequel trailer myself, though my concerns were more on just how disjointed the whole thing felt in terms of conveying the narrative of the novel’s second half, along with my disappointment with how the new actors for the Emperor, Irulan, and Feyd look in their roles. You may remember that I wasn’t all that enthusiastic about Part 1, finding it dour and unimaginative compared to Lynch’s gonzo misfire. (Given that the director himself disowned the film, I wonder if he appreciated or even was aware of Harlan Ellison’s steadfast defense of it.)

The Ellison review is mentioned in that big DUNE book, but there’s no indication Lynch knew of it, or even of Ellison himself for that matter.

One takeaway from the book is that apparently Lynch was actually willing to put some work in on a new cut of the movie sometime in the last 10-15 years, but not for free, so . My impression is that it would basically be restoring the film to what he had in rough-cut at 3 hrs in length early in 84, but then fixing all the unblue eyes and such. Essentially this is what the fan-made ‘Spicediver’ cut does, going by various descriptions, though I’ve not ever seen it.

I happened across a barely used copy of the Japanese laserdisc box set and bought it on a whim awhile back,figuring that since it has nice, often unfamiliar large images in the artwork, so I might actually hang onto it as opposed to selling it. Now I’m wondering if I might just find a used LD player and give this thing a spin to see what all it has on it in terms of cut scenes/extras.

And I agree with you about the new cast members. Walken seems barely there, Pugh has never done much of anything for me, even in good or great movies, and Feyd seems like more of a gimmick than a character. Still hold out hope for Count Fennering and wife, and like many other people online, am wondering why Alia wasn’t in this trailer?

I like Paul Wesley as Lieutenant James Kirk. No one is ever going to best Shatner, but Wesley does a fine job with a character who isn’t yet who he’s meant to be. That being said, it would be nice if they could keep his appearances to a minimum. I loved the alt-Kirk in “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow” and his scenes with Sam in “Lost in Translation.”

I thought he was better in season 2 and adequate. He was playing Kirk, not playing Shater playing Kirk. At the same time i still see the Jim Carrey comparison.

Season 2 was inferior to season 1, simple as that imo. The stories were less fresh and exciting. It was quite disappointing to see. TOS-remix is a good description .Waaay to much comedy let’s be honest. Let’s get serious again Star Trek. You can see to they had a much lower budget too which doesnt help things. Let’s hope they work out the kinks for the next season.

It was very uneven at least half the episodes were a waste. The worst were the cartoon and musical episodes. Cloak of War was very Anti Star Trek as well, i hated it. Characters in SNW constantly act out of character from how they would have behaved in TOS, or in the Cage. There were so many canon violations i lost count. Should just say its the Discoverse and not prime and be done with it. Seriously when they said George Kirk wasn’t first officer on the Enterprise under April and was First Officer of the Kelvin i thought it was JJverse.

I really enjoyed S2 of SNW (so much so that I will pick up a hard copy), but I have to agree with many who would like to see more strange new worlds and exploration for S3.

That said, studios and producers pay attention to ratings and last season SNW did consistently well – so that seems to be a message that a lot of viewers really liked what they saw last season. We shall see what they come out with, hopefully before the end of 2024.

Great, and can anyone give a reason or several reasons why Picard (especially season 3) did not earn a UHD release in paramounts eyes? It was even more often in the streaming top ten than SNW, therefore it had even higher streaming numbers, and therefor it made even more money, and therefore it was more financial successful. Am I wrong, did I missed something???

The show was mastered in 2K so any 4K release would be an upscale and not worth it. SNW was just the first Star Trek show to be in 4K (I know DISCO season 4 has 6 random episodes in 4K for some reason). I’m sure going forward all future Star Treks will now be 4K, but pivoting the production to 4K probably felt unnecessary, especially when on streaming it still got a Dolby Vision color grading. Also, watching the blu-ray of Picard it looks great. A high bitrate 2K master still looks excellent even in SDR.

Also, as for charting SNW S2 charted more than Picard. I think it was about seven episodes made it to the top ten compared to Picard’s 3 (though we don’t have data for the first few episodes of Picard season 3). Comparing Nielsen numbers SNW is as popular as something like Apple’s The Morning Show.

When you say the blu-ray looks great, are you saying that there is more detail and clarity than was present on streaming? I ask because I found most of that season, esp the eps shot by Jon Joffin, to be distractingly mushy and hard on the eyes.

The Kelvin movies also only had a 2K DI and were just upscaled. The resolution isn’t the main thing here, it’s HDR, which is a great benefit, especially if a show is rather dark lighted, like P3.

4K is 4K when it actually isn’t. What about when every cgi shot is 2k, or an old optical effects shot doesn’t even resolve to 2k res. Its the problem with the Star Wars trilogy. Or like with James Bond when Lowry went from a raw off the negative live action plate that was stunning and then in the next shot its a processed optical at 2k so they had to try and match them. I guess people don’t care if any image needs to be noise reduced to limit or remove grain or when they artificially sharpen an image to smooth it out if it looks good in 4K.

As Lord Crust already mentioned towards the end of his post, you seem to remember incorrectly. SNW made the Nielsen Top 10 for 7 weeks of its 9-week run. Picard only managed to get into the Nielsen Top 10 three times during its 10-week run.

Whether Picard (or Strange New Worlds for that matter) were successful financially depends on revenues compared to costs. I don’t think anybody here knows the budgets for either of these shows. Nor do we know what numbers the shows would actually “need” to be considered profitable.

Shame it is a Star Trek season I really dislike for a long long time and I own every Star Trek series. This one was hard work and for the most part pretty rubbish sci fi gimmick tv. To say this was a huge disappointment is an understatement. I do.worry what we are gonna get going forward. The good thing is that there is some great sci fi out there still, season 2 of Foundation was fantastic.