Earlier this year, Star Trek: Picard warped back onto our screens for a triumphant, nostalgic, and cathartic final season. Today, at long last (US fans got this back in September)! We’re cracking open the Star Trek: Picard Season 3 Blu-Ray case for the UK release of the final season of Star Trek: Picard and taking a look and the goodies within.
The third and finale season was received positively by critics and fans alike. Managing to combine modern storytelling techniques and visuals with a veritable feast of fan-favourite characters, ships, and villains. While never losing sight of the fact that the series is essentially a character study for Jean-Luc Picard (Sir Patrick Stewart).
- Picard Season 3 Blu-Ray is available now from Amazon.
Unlike the US release, we will unlikely need a replacement disk program! I’ve checked, and at least in the set I’m holding, the correct version of the USS Enterprise D flyby from The Last Generation is present. Though somewhat hilarious, the ‘unused’ flyby shot features in the selection of clips that rotate in the menu’s background. The review copy we have is a standard Blu-ray case with a cardboard slip (that has identical artwork to the case).
The interior artwork is a still production of Sir Patrick Stewart and a disk contents breakdown. The disks have no artwork and the same reflective finish as other Picard seasons. The most interesting aspect of the design is the artwork on the outside.
Artwork and Packaging
When those who worked on the final season of Picard were interviewed, they repeatedly stated that they treated the season as an opportunity to do one last TNG movie. But longer. This can be seen across the structure of the season and the story it tells itself. But it can also be seen in how they chose to market and promote the show.
The most obvious indicator in that respect is the artwork that’s come out for this final season. The Season 3 release cover doesn’t have the more modern ‘silhouetted hero’ approach of Season One or the equally modern ‘promo picture floating heads to get the whole cast in’ approach of Season Two well. Not exactly, anyway. While there is an element of floating heads here, the artwork has clearly been designed to resemble the blockbuster movie posters of decades past. More specifically, the iconic work of Drew Struzan.
This choice of inspiration shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to those who have watched the season itself, which made ample use of the visuals and sounds associated with Star Trek’s own 80s movies. Or those who have read up on the showrunner for the season, Terry Matalas, an out and proud Back To The Future super fan. To the point of even having his own Delorean!
There isn’t much to write home about regarding specifications or technical features here for the Star Trek: Picard Season 3 Blu-ray. As with other CBS Home Entertainment releases this is more or less ‘textbook’. All of the episodes are presented in their native 2:39:1 letterbox format. An aspect ratio that aligns with the standard aspect ratio of cinema screens and one that Trek has used since it returned to TV screens in 2017.
This aspect ratio isn’t standard across the entire set. The special feature interviews (and panel) are all full-screen. It’s only the content shot for the episodes that have the letterbox bars.
Again, as is standard for CBS Home Entertainment. The US English default soundtrack is the only one that is mastered to the DTS-HD Master standard. The French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Japanese tracks are only Dolby Digital 5:1 surround sound mastered. There is a good variety of subtitle options though. English, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Spanish and Swedish. Making this set a bit more accessible than say, the recent Star Trek: Prodigy Season One release.
Special Features – Disk One
For those who may have been worried that this would be a barebones release. Stand down red alert. While some (me) may always want more. Star Trek: Picard Season 3 offers a feast of new feature content. After a somewhat disappointing ‘over 1 hour of special features’ for Season 2. Season 3 offers ‘over 2 and a half hours’. It seems that those involved had a good grasp of what fans would want to see and hear about in more depth.
The first disk features an audio commentary for the opening episode (The Next Generation) featuring Jonathan Frakes, Jeri Ryan, Todd Stashwick, Terry Matalas, and Ed Speelers. As well as a commentary for one of the (in this reviewer’s opinion) stand-out episodes of not just the season, but Picard and Star Trek as a whole – Seventeen Seconds. This commentary features Gates McFadden, Michelle Hurd, and Terry Matalas.
Alongside the welcome return of multiple episode commentaries. We have the feature The Gangs All Here. This feature interviews the returning Star Trek: The Next Generation cast members about their return to Star Trek and their thoughts on how their characters related to each other and developed between The Next Generation and their appearances in Picard. These interviews are remarkably candid in places, with Frakes especially. With him speaking openly about the fear he felt when he was invited to return as Riker in season one. Facing the prospect of acting for the first time in ten years to share scenes with the iconic Patrick Stewart and acting powerhouse Marina Sirtis, who was coming straight off a stage production at the time.
Special Features – Disk One Continued
Also on Disk One, is Villainous Vadic. Taking a look at the casting, development, and performance of… Vadic. This has interviews with amongst others Amanda Plummer, Patrick Stewart, Alex Kurtzman, and Terry Matalas. It’s surprisingly in-depth. Diving into some of the deeper considerations behind the character’s design. As well as external inspirations, such as her father’s performance in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Peppered between these deep dives are amusing anecdotes. Such as Matalas recalling how he was so excited when Plummer came up as a potential casting that he started chanting her name.
Star Trek’s ‘Berman’ era was infamous amongst the casts for its rigidity. Few actors got any say in the development of the character they played. Many have spoken of the bureaucracy that would be triggered if they tried. One story from The Delta Flyers podcast described how an entire day’s shoot was paused after a minor script alteration was suggested.
While they called the production office. Who would then discuss it with the writer? In that light, it’s a joy to hear about the bi-directional development of characters through these features in Picard’s final season. The production team discussed how they solicited the actor’s input on how their characters should appear and behave.
Don’t Worry, The Gag Reel Is Here!
There is also, of course, a gag reel. Providing all the expected facial mugging, alongside heartwarming glimpses into the off-camera antics. In an alternate take of one of the lines in the final episode. The camera continues rolling after the line delivery allowing us to hear the impressed reactions of the cast and crew. Only for the tension to be broken as they all (lovingly) join in poking fun at Stewart’s iconic “The line must be drawn here” line in First Contact.
Special Features – The Last of Disk One & Disk Two
The final feature of the disk is a lower-effort affair. With it just being a recording of a Q&A that took place after the theatre premiere of the series finale. This just being a recording shouldn’t discredit the effort that clearly went into professionally filming and editing it together. It also provides further valuable insight into the development of the final season. Including a lovely tribute from Kurtzman to Matalas, where he speaks about how Matalas’ Star Trek and more general fan credentials made him a perfect fit to run the final season. Hopefully putting to bed some of the bizarre fan narratives about Matalas sneaking around behind Kurtzman’s back to make the show.
In terms of features, the second disk is comparatively barebones. It has no video features. But like the first disk has two full-length audio commentaries. One for the equally impressive follow-up to Seventeen Seconds, No Win Scenario featuring Jonathan Frakes, Todd Stashwick, and Terry Matalas. The second is for the episode that held the nostalgic peak of the season – The Bounty. This commentary features Frakes and Matalas again, but this time joined by Brent Spiner and Levar Burton. Who rather amusingly turns up partway through.
As a Voyager fan. It brought a wide smile to my face to hear Frakes describe the moment that Seven sees Voyager at the fleet museum as ‘the musical highlight of the season’.
Special Features – Disk Two Continued and Disk Three
The second disk doesn’t have any features specially made for this release. Unlike the first disk, it does have something all fans love. Deleted scenes. The scenes on the disk are from the episodes The Bounty and Dominion and can be accessed as an option under episode selection. Rather than having their own dedicated ‘Extras’ menu.
The first of these scenes in Star Trek: Picard Season 3 features Worf on Daystrom Station. Speaking with Riker and Raffi about the incident that triggered his spiritual change towards pacifism. There is a second deleted scene from the sequence on the station showing an alternate version of the scene where Data V3 is discovered without the Altan Soong message featured. The other deleted scenes are for Dominion. The first is an extended version of LaForge pleading with Data from behind the door. The second is an exposition scene cutting between Shaw and Vadic explaining the mutagenic virus that featured in Deep Space Nine. The final scene here is an extended version of the conversation between Picard and Crusher where they discuss ‘losing their compass’.
The final disk is perhaps unsurprisingly the most feature-rich of this release. It has a full commentary for the series finale episode The Last Generation featuring Jonathan Frakes, Jeri Ryan, Ed Speleers, and Terry Matalas. Disappointingly just like the first and second seasons, there are no commentary contributions here from the actor playing the show’s titular character. A commentary track featuring Stewart discussing what may well be his last performance as Jean-Luc Picard is something many fans would have found extremely valuable and interesting. So it’s a shame that one didn’t make it into this release.
Special Features – Disk Three continued
There are also a number of deleted scenes. ‘Surrender’ has a cut section of the Data/Lore memory exchange. ‘Vox’ has an extended version of the scene where Data attempts to comfort Picard. Star Trek: Picard Season 3 episode ‘The Last Generation’ has a couple of deleted offerings.
I’m extremely glad the first one of these scenes was cut. Honestly. I’m surprised they even included it in this release. It features LaForge questioning Troi when she takes the helm and somewhat mean-spiritedly claiming that she’s only piloted the Enterprise twice before and crashed it both times. To which Troi responds, practically seething ‘Well third times the charm’. Not only is this exchange extremely out of character for both Troi and LaForge. But the dialogue leans on the misogynistic narrative of women being unsafe drivers in its attempt to create a funny moment.
The worst part of this exchange is that it’s rooted entirely in inaccurate fan narratives about Troi’s piloting capability. Rather than the in-universe reality. Which is that Troi managed to execute a textbook landing of the Saucer section in Star Trek: Generations with minimal to no engines. Then in Nemesis, she pilotted the Enterprise-E into the Scimitar’s hangar deck when Picard ordered her to ram it. Completely disabling its fleet of Scorpion support craft so Shinzon couldn’t continue his attack using conventional weaponry.
Special Features – The Last of Disk Three
The final deleted scene is thankfully much less offensive. It’s an extended version of the bar sequence prior to Picard raising his final toast for the season. Showing some friendly (and in-character) banter between the cast of The Next Generation.
There are then two extra features that round out the extra content of this release. The first is the somewhat inaccurately named The Making of The Last Generation. It’s more of a season retrospective than making of the last episode specifically. It includes interviews with, amongst many others, Orla Brady, Jeri Ryan, Todd Stashwick, Alex Kurtzman, and Terry Matalas. This does include Patrick Stewart speaking about the finale. Though his contribution is brief and Borg focused. But having said that, it does include Stewart’s emotional and powerful wrap speech from the set.
The final feature is focused on the gargantuan effort that the production team put into recreating the iconic bridge of the USS Enterprise-D. Carpets and all. It features interviews with many members of the production team, including Dave Blass, Liz Kloczkowski, and Michael Okuda. Regardless of how much you appreciated the return to the Enterprise-D. It’s undeniable that the recreation of the set is a true tribute to the passion and pedantry of Star Trek fans. I certainly know that whenever somebody asks me to explain how deeply Trek fans and cast alike feel about the franchise going forward. I’ll just show them this special feature.
Regardless of whether you’ve been a die-hard TNG fan since the 80s or found Star Trek through Picard, this release is unlikely to disappoint. Between the episodes themselves, the behind-the-scenes featurettes, and episode commentaries there’s enough content here to scratch the most stubborn itch. It’s clear that a lot of love and thought has been put into this set and the variety and length of the extras go far beyond the standards set by even blockbuster movies in recent years.
Some of the issues identified when the show was first released have been fixed. The contrast is set at the correct level on all of the episodes and as mentioned, the final version of the D warp-by is present. Others, such as the missing details on the Voyager CG model and the missing registry on the Enterprise D in the final shot at the fleet museum are still present. It seems that the versions of the episodes on these disks are very much the final versions now. It is unlikely that we’ll see a disk replacement for fixed effects (as we did with some of the early TNG-R releases).
Picard Season 3 Blu-Ray is available now from Amazon.
But this is the ultimate way to own Picard’s final season (with an exception, perhaps, for the Picard Legacy Collection). The series, unlike Strange New Worlds, wasn’t mastered in 4K. So this Blu-ray release represents the highest quality version of these episodes that will ever be available. This is because, unlike the episodes on streaming, the versions on these disks don’t have to be compressed to play over an internet connection. Plus, nobody can ever take away your access to them!
Win a Free Season 3 Blu-ray
And don’t miss our giveaway! One lucky fan has the chance to win a free copy, and enjoy the series and all those extras! You can enter below!Trek Central – STAR TREK: PICARD – THE FINAL SEASON
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