Star Trek: Strange New Worlds - Season Two 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray SteelBookOverview -
Proving its first season wasn’t a one-off fluke, Star Trek Strange New Worlds Season Two beams in for an excellent 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release. The series stays strong, perhaps even better than the first season letting this cast of characters, new, returning, and recast thrive with one thrilling and musically enhanced episode after the next. With another excellent 4K A/V package and informative extras, the wait for Season Three is only going to feel longer. Highly Recommended
In season two of STAR TREK: STRANGE NEW WORLDS, the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise, under the command of Captain Christopher Pike, confronts increasingly dangerous stakes, explores uncharted territories and encounters new life and civilizations. The crew will also embark on personal journeys that will continue to test their resolve and redefine their destinies. Facing friends and enemies both new and familiar, their adventures will unfold in surprising ways never seen before on any “Star Trek” series.
Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take
Star Trek has taken many combinations and permutations over its 60-year history. There are ebbs and flows, highs and lows to every new series or film franchise. One great episode could lead to one of the worst. One amazing season could lead to a droll exhausting string of follow-up episodes. A middling but entertaining show could end with a maddening final reveal “that it was all a simulation…” After wading into Star Trek Strange New Worlds with a lot of caution and very little hope, I was blown away by the first season’s adventures and the terrific cast. So how did showrunner Akiva Goldsman and cast and crew follow up a great first season? By producing a second season that’s as good if not actually even better than the first!
Hot off the terrifying, thought-provoking, and exciting finale of Season One, Strange New Worlds returns for a thrilling Season Two that offers up some of the best episodes yet, including the franchise’s first and hilariously over-the-top musical episode. Like the first season, story threads about Rebecca Romijn’s Una Chin-Riley are followed up (again in one of the best episodes yet from the series), alongside some classic tropes like time travel. The series even rights one of Discovery's biggest wrongs restoring Klingons to their rightful place as a commanding antagonist of the Federation but nothing like the disrespectful animalistic disaster. We get to explore this fragile peace with Ethan Peck’s Spock playing diplomat over some Bloodwine while Babs Olusanmokun’s Dr. M’Benga and Jess Bush’s Nurse Chapel come to terms with their tours of duty during the last war. We see a terrific balance of comedy and entertainment against tightly written and weighty human (and alien) drama.
Even when the series falls back on an old trope like time travel with Christina Chong’s La’an Noonien-Singh, it’s done well and respectfully to the characters. It's not a throwaway adventure but serves to build storylines and offer connective threads woven throughout the franchise. It’s nothing like the disastrous entire second season of Picard which just couldn’t end fast enough. Each episode moves forward, the series maintains the thin interconnection without the weight of carrying a single story arc to a conclusion. And like the first season, ten episodes get the job done.
There isn’t an excess of filler or wasted time. We don’t have needless plot threads that go nowhere to simply endure. If a character stops to chat about their feelings or what’s going on, it has real weight and reason for being beyond filling time to meet an episode order. Then we get to the now-infamous musical episode Subspace Rhapsody which I thought was delightful. I generally don’t like musicals; I hate incessant singing that just doesn’t move the plot forward, but this one was different. It was funny, heartfelt, and actually helped set up the stakes for a number of characters going into the thrilling final episode.
And what a final episode! Exciting, scary, thrilling, and another classic original series crewmember gets reintroduced - only for it to end on one mother of a cliffhanger. With word that a new Picard-focused film is in the works, I personally would much rather see a whole slew of films with this cast and crew. Thankfully the Writer’s and Actor’s strikes are over and Season Three is well into production. Now all we have to do is wait patiently…if we can.
Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Star Trek Strange New Worlds Season Two boldly goes to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray where no other Trek series has gone before - to a SteelBook package with four alternate magnetic covers! These magnetic covers rest on the back of the SteelBook also pinning the foldout poster for “Subspace Rhapsody” designed to look like a classic-era Hollywood musical to the set. Like the first season, all ten episodes are spread over three BD-100 discs, each disc has an individual tray. Each disc loads to an animated main menu with traditional navigation options.
Following the blazing trail of the first season, Strange New Worlds Season Two blasts off with an equally impressive 4K Dolby Vision experience. Much like the first season, I was really impressed with how much better the series looked moving from streaming to disc. I mean, it’s not altogether shocking when you see this happen with other shows and films, but it’s pretty awesome to see a great Star Trek show looking this good on home video. As before details are notably sharper and cleaner than streaming. I really loved seeing those Klingons looking like their old selves again in such detail. You gotta love practical makeup effects! The Dolby Vision HDR grade again offers deeper black levels and excellent shadows for a richer feeling of three-dimensional depth to the image. Whites are brilliantly crisp without blooming (unless intentional). Primaries are right on point with lovely blues, reds, and yellows. Skin tones are appropriately human (and alien when and where necessary). I’ll reiterate the point, we need a 4K Dolby Vision release of Picard Season Three.
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.
This round of bonus features for Strange New Worlds Season Two may not be as robust as the first season, I would have liked to see/hear some audio commentaries again, but what’s here is nice. The deleted scenes for various episodes are nice little nuggets but understandable why they were cut given time and pace for each episode. We get a cool dedicated featurette covering the Gorn on top of another excellent Exploring New Worlds documentary. That doc really is the feast of the extra features.
- The Broken Circle Deleted Scenes (HD 1:52)
- Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow Deleted Scenes (HD 2:15)
- Charades Deleted Scenes (HD 00:45)
- Lost in Translation Deleted Scenes (HD 4:49)
- These Old Scientists Deleted Scenes (HD 00:55)
- Under the Cloak of War Deleted Scenes (HD 3:17)
- Subspace Rhapsody Deleted Scenes (HD 2:09)
- Exploring New Worlds (HD 46:30)
- Producing Props (HD 10:46)
- The Costumes Closet (HD 13:21)
- The Gorn (HD 15:37)
- Singing in Space (HD 22:14)
For some shows, Season Two is the make-it-or-break-it point. If it’s not good by now it’ll never be. Strange New Worlds already started out on a great first round, and Season Two only improves on what came before. Our cast is fully settled into their respective roles with the writing and directing team firing all phasers. The show continues its course of allowing humor and humanity to permeate each adventure without shortchanging the drama, politics, and space action spectacle. Now that the various talent strikes are over, all we have to do is wait for Season Three to wrap production - which hopefully will be sooner than later. In the meantime, I’ll happily rewatch Season Two on this excellent 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. The Dolby Vision transfers again are excellent upgrades over the streaming presentation. Audio is again terrific and the bonus features may not be as robust as Season One, but they’re all worth the time. The SteelBook packaging is stylish even if I don't quite have need for the extra magnetic covers. Highly Recommended
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