The most controversial incarnation of Star Trek has come to blu-ray as season one comes home from Paramount Pictures. Featuring a gorgeous picture and sound transfer, no matter where you stand on the show itself, it looks and sounds amazing.
Set after Star Trek: Enterprise, and a decade before The Original Series this incarnation of Trek has a very cinematic look (something it would have to have just to stand up against the other science fiction shows that have aired of late) and follows Starfleet officer, Micheal Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) as she loses one ship, and her position on it and ends up on the advanced starship, Discovery.
We are introduced to a variety of new characters, and a major new species, the Kelpians, as evidenced by Saru who is brought to life by Doug Jones, as well as two new captains, Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) and Lorca (Jason Isaacs). We also get to see canon characters portrayed by new actors, including Sarek (James Frain) and Harry Mudd (Rainn Wilson).
Following a serialized manner of storytelling, the first season runs for fifteen episodes and has a story that fans either really like or argue about it not being canon. No matter the arguments, and honestly I can see both side (though the first season is definitely darker and doesn’t embrace hope as much as the other series) the costume, and prop design are top-notch and make a nice nod to what is to come later in the timeline.
The story, itself, takes us through some familiar territory, and also introduces us to some new ideas, including a never mentioned in any other series drive system (which lends some problems to canon, but perhaps they’ll cover that in season two, or later).
The collection is filled with extras documenting the creation of the new series, from initial casting, and the idea behind the series. There are discussions on the importance of sound, the new music by Jeff Russo, and the history and legacy of Trek. And I’m a sucker for trailers, so I’m glad the promos used to highlight the series are included amongst the bonus features.
There’s also a short doc about the way Trek has portrayed women throughout the franchise and why Burnham and her fellow female characters are so important to Trek, and to television storytelling. There’s a look at the costumes, and their design, and how it ties in to what we’ve seen before in previous incarnations.
The season one collection is also packed with bonuses including a look at makeup, production, and how they combine to create a new version of Trek that is at once familiar, but, occasionally, unnerving in its newness and reinterpretation. There’s an episode long doc that takes us through the journey of Burnham and Discovery through the first season.
It’s a well put together collection, and definitely looks stunning on blu-ray as the series was shot completely in high definition. It just comes down to how the Trek fans in your life feel about the series itself.
I, myself, am still divided on the series there are things I like, just as many that bother me, and I’m unsure of whether or not I want to call it canon or not.
For now, I will continue to reserve judgement, and somewhere in the near(ish) future) I will be exploring this series episode by episode as I work my way through all the Star Trek series.
The Human Adventure continues…