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Ultra HD : Highly Recommended
Ranking:
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Release Date: June 13th, 2023 Movie Release Year: 2022

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds - Season One - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

Overview -

Boldly going where recent series failed to journey, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season One is a fitting and joyful treat for longtime and new Trek fans. With a great cast and showrunners who seem to actually understand what Star Trek is and makes it great, episodes are thinly interconnected while still feeling like standalone adventures letting you fall in love with the Starship Enterprise all over again. With an excellent 4K UHD A/V package and some informative extras, beam us up - Highly Recommended

STAR TREK: STRANGE NEW WORLDS is based on the years Captain Christopher Pike manned the helm of the U.S.S. Enterprise. The series features fan favorites from Season Two of STAR TREK: DISCOVERY: Anson Mount as Captain Christopher Pike, Rebecca Romijn as Number One, and Ethan Peck as Science Officer Spock. The series follows Captain Pike and the crew in the decade before Captain Kirk boarded the U.S.S. Enterprise, as they explore new worlds around the galaxy.

OVERALL:
Highly Recommended
Rating Breakdown
STORY
VIDEO
AUDIO
SPECIAL FEATURES
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Video Resolution/Codec:
HDR10/Dolby Vision
Aspect Ratio(s):
2.39:1
Audio Formats:
English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles/Captions:
English SDH, French, Spanish
Release Date:
June 13th, 2023

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

Ranking:

If you’ve read through my reviews of the Star Trek Original Cast Films, the Next Generation Films, and Picard, you’ll notice that I love Star Trek, but I’m not in love with Star Trek. I enjoy the shows and films as they come. If I don’t like an episode, film, or even a whole series, I don’t get too wrapped up in it and move on. The trick with a popular IP like this is someone else is going to come along and take a stab at it. If we can’t get an R-rated Tarantino-directed film, then a new series is inevitable. I gave Enterprise a fair shot. I tried Discovery. Lower Decks is amusing but not amazing and I’ve yet to give Prodigy a viewing at all. 

Picard was the recent series I was most excited for but the conspiracy-theory-infused NuTrek stylings weren’t my cup of hot Earl Grey and by the second season I all but gave up on it. Season Three of Picard was everything I wanted from the returning Next Generation cast and so much more. In the background of all these releases was Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. Being an offshoot of Discovery I wasn’t keen on giving it a try. But like the third season of Picard the more I heard about it the more I got excited for it, and by the time Season Two was announced, my will broke and I gave Anson Mount’s Captain Pike and crew a genuine shot. I’m eternally glad I did. 

Now I’m not a huge fan of Akiva Goldsman, I found most of his screenplays to be overly simplistic and trite, but he’s turned out to be a true asset for Star Trek. After Hell on Wheels, Anson Mount has long deserved a solid series to bank his career on. Strange New Worlds feels like the perfect home for this new Captain Pike. But true to classic Trek, the Captain isn’t the only character we love here. Ethan "Grandson of Gregory" Peck returns as Spock with Celia Rose Gooding stepping in as Uhura. Rebecca Romijn is excellent as Pilke’s genetically enhanced first officer Una Chin-Riley with Christina Chong standing strong as security officer La’an Noonien-Singh. Of this new cast, the ones I enjoy the most are Babs Olusanmokun as Dr. M’Benga and Jess Bush as Nurse Chapel. Adding flavor and fun to the series is Melissa Navia as Lt. Ortegas piloting our favorite starship through any obstacle. 

Through thick and thin this great cast comes together to face any number of obstacles. Each episode is thinly connected to the next without having a tiresome dominant story arc. Which honestly is a real breath of fresh air considering how prevalent that issue is with modern series. My first episode of this series was actually the finale, A Quality of Mercy was viewed completely out of context and I enjoyed I didn’t have to see the prior episodes to get into what I was watching. Of course that got me excited to dive back to the beginning so I could thoroughly enjoy the entire season. 

The best asset of Strange New Worlds is that it feels fresh and new while staying true to the old school Original Series and films. This series may have ties to the J.J. Abrams timeline splinter, but it’s a whole new universe and frankly one I’m more than happy to stay with. They were bold enough to reinvent the Gorn but maintain their terrifying nature as a hyper-intelligent galactic beast of nightmares! 

Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Star Trek Strange New Worlds Season One
beams down with the away team for a three-disc 4K UHD Blu-ray release from Paramount. I got into the series late so I missed out on the SteelBook (at an affordable price) option, but within a standard case the ten episodes are spread over three BD-100 discs. Each disc gets its own tray without being stacked. The case comes with identical slipcover artwork as well. Each disc loads to an animated main menu with standard navigation options.

Video Review

Ranking:

Strange New Worlds Season One hits warp speed for a beautiful 4K Dolby Vision transfer that easily rivals the Paramount+ streaming experience. I mean, it’s to be expected but this was really quite something. Not only did I feel this 2160p transfer offered more detail and depth, but I felt the Dolby Vision grade for each episode was sharper and cleaner, and offered many more enhancements in the coloring and black levels. While the show utilizes a number of big CGI trickery sequences, it’s still pretty obvious greenscreen or some sort of simulated background set, but at least the show smartly keeps practical objects and makeup at the forefront. Alien makeup effects, textures in the uniforms, and small details in the Enterprise look terrific. Comparing visual experience I felt like skin texture and pigmentations were much more appreciable. Black levels are deep and inky with excellent shadows. If only we could have had a Dolby Vision release for that third season of Picard! We’d really be rolling.  

Audio Review

Ranking:

On the audio side, every episode in the series soars with an excellent DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio mix. Considering the great intergalactic action set pieces an Atmos track would have been very welcome, but I’m not going to crap on a great track when I hear one. Each episode rolls in with a fully active, engaged, and immersive surround experience. From those excellent, quiet, character-driven moments to the big exciting phaser-firing action sequences, there’s rarely a lull in channel activity. Dialog is clean and clear throughout without issue. The series’ music cues are terrific and fill the space nicely without overpowering the mix. I flipped into my receiver’s DTS Neural:X function a time or two and it was a nice enhancement but not a necessary one to get maximum enjoyment out of the show.

Special Features

Ranking:

This first season of Strange New Worlds flies in with a nice selection of extra features. Perhaps not the most aggressive assortment ever, but some good material awaits fans. Audio commentary for the first episode, some deleted scenes, and the usual sort of EPK talking head bits abound. The real meat for this package is the making of doc Exploring New Worlds. At almost an hour it covers a lot of great ground for the series’ origins, cast, character development, and in general how the show was produced. Because it fits in with the finale episode, the classic Original Series episode Balance of Terror is also included. 

Disc One

  • Strange New Worlds Audio Commentary featuring Anson Mount and Akiva Goldsman
  • Children of the Comet Deleted Scenes (HD 00:22)
  • Ghosts of Illyria Deleted Scenes (HD 2:11)

Disc Two

  • Lift Us Where Suffering Cannot Reach Deleted Scenes (HD 5:00)
  • The Elysian Kingdom Deleted Scenes (HD 00:20)

Disc Three

  • Exploring New Worlds (HD 53:38)
  • Balance of Terror Episode (HD 50:24)
  • All Those Who Wander Deleted Scenes (HD 10:55)
  • Pike’s Peak (HD 17:26)
  • World Building (HD 11:56)
  • Gag Reel (HD 2:47)

As a long-time Trek fan, I learned to embrace the good, enjoy the mediocre, forget the bad, and proceed with caution for any new series or films. If one series wasn’t good in the first season, that’s okay, season two might be better. If not, then move along. I don’t get too wrapped up with the fandom simply because I want to enjoy the time I give the franchise. But after a couple of rough movies and a few bumpy shows, keeping up with Trek wasn’t a priority. That’s why it was a refreshing surprise to see something like Strange New Worlds come along that wasn’t only just “good enough” to pass the time but genuinely worth getting invested in. With its head firmly on its shoulders, it’s a series that understands and borrows from all of the great Trek series and films while also charting a bold new future. On 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, the show comes to life easily warping past the streaming presentations with an excellent Dolby Vision transfer for each episode. Add excellent audio and an interesting assortment of extras and you have a first season worth having on disc. Highly Recommended 

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