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DVD Review

DVD cover

Star Trek: Discovery
Season One


Starring: Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones, Shazad Latif, Anthony Rapp, Mary Wiseman, Jason Isaacs and Wilson Cruz
Distributor: CBS Home Entertainment
Certificate: 15
Release Date: 19 November 2018

Follow the voyages of Starfleet on their missions to discover new worlds and new life forms, and one Starfleet officer who must learn that to truly understand all things alien, you must first understand yourself. Star Trek: Discovery is set roughly ten years before the events of Star Trek: The Original Series, and sees the united Klingon houses in a war with the United Federation of Planets that involves the crew of the USS Discovery. The show features a new ship and new characters while embracing the same ideology and hope for the future that inspired a generation of dreamers and doers...

Star Trek: Discovery pretty much hits the ground running from the first episode and never lets up. While there are episodes that fit the old format of previous series in the Trek franchise (ie 'Alien/planet of the week' style scenarios) there's an ongoing arc that plays through the first season and pretty much wraps up a lot of the plot threads that it starts.

For me this is already shaping up to be the finest Star Trek series to date, mainly thanks to a strong cast, solid writing and characters that are constantly surprising the viewer. It's the "greyness" of each personality that makes this a more real show than previous series.

First Officer Michael Burnham, wonderfully played by Sonequa Martin-Green, is possibly the strongest Trek lead character to date, and easily the most likable in the franchise's history. She's joined by a smaller than you'd expect number of co-stars including Doug Jones as Saru (First Officer of the USS Discovery), the first Kelpien to enter Starfleet; Shazad Latif as Ash Tyler, who after being held in a Klingon prison is rescued and appointed chief of security aboard Discovery; Anthony Rapp as Paul Stamets (Discovery's Chief engineer) who helped to develop the experimental propulsion system on the Discovery; Mary Wiseman as Sylvia Tilly, a Starfleet cadet who was assigned to Discovery for her final year, and is also Burnham's roommate; Jason Isaacs as Gabriel Lorca (Discovery's captain); Wilson Cruz as Hugh Culber (Discovery's Medical Officer and Stamets's partner.

There's also some interesting guest stars and well known character appearances. I couldn't help wonder if the producers were paying homage to Star Wars. There's a scene where the death of a character sounds like a screaming tie-fighter and one shot of Discovery made it look like R2-D2's head was popping out of the top of the starship... although, that could be just in my imagination.

This 5-disc collection contains all 15 episodes as well as plenty of extras that take us behind the scenes. I did feel that this would have easily fitted on 4 discs, with four episodes on each disc and the final three episodes and extras on the fourth disc. Which brings me to one of my issues with the way the extras are presented.

Firstly, I strongly advise you to not watch any of the extras until you've watched the entire season, as there are quite a few spoilers. And secondly, whoever designed the DVD menus has obviously never watched any features themselves, because they've created an unnecessary mess. When the disc starts up you have the option of playing all episode or choosing which episode you want to watch. This is fine. But then you also have an Extra Features menu... again... that's fine. The problem is if you're someone who wants to just play all the episodes and watch all the features. Logically, you probably wouldn't even open the episodes menu - why would you? But, even though we already have a special features menu, the episode selection menu also has other features that you could easily miss. Mostly it's promos and extended/deleted scenes, but there are interesting full length features too.

Extras include:

Disc 1: Promos (4 min, 32 sec - although there are plenty of "promo" extras dotted around the Episode Menus, this is the main one on the Extra Features menu); Discovering Discovery: The Concepts and Casting of Star Trek: Discovery (15 min, 59 sec feature which looks at the cast as well as what the producers wanted to do with a new Trek); Creature Comforts (15 min, 16 sec look at the show's creature effects).

Disc 2: Standing in the Shadow of Giants: Creating the Sounds of Discovery (7 min, 47 sec - look at the music); Designing Discovery (11 min, 41 sec - Looks at the designs for Discovery, The USS Shenzhou, the submarine style they were going for in Discovery's personnel and ship interiors - they were designed to give it a space navy feel, Klingon sarcophagus ship, various planet sets, Mirror universe and Kronos market).

Disc 3: Creating Space (12 min, 35 sec look at the space walk sequence from the pilot episode); Prop me Up (12 min, 22 sec exploration of the phasers, Tricorder, Communicator, Klingon Bat'leth and other weapons, as well as items from the Mirror universe).

Disc 4: A Woman's Journey (10 min, 47 sec look at main character. There's also an interesting revelation that one episode was entirely written by women - the first time in the history of Trek); Dress for Success (20 min, 35 sec look at costumes); and Feeding Frenzy (6 min, 25 sec look at creating alien food. This was one of the features hidden away in the Episodes menu).

Disc 5: Season 1 Promo (58 sec); and Star Trek: Discovery: The Voyage of Season 1 (39 min, 12 sec look at various aspects of the first season).

This is shaping up to be the most intricate and interesting Star Trek series so far.


Darren Rea

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