Star Trek: Picard focuses on Enterprise Captain Jean-Luc Picard’s next chapter in his life, but we already know that’s accounted for by Patrick Stewart appearing as Professor X in the X-Men movies, as well as CIA director Avery Bullock in American Dad, and occasional appearances in Family Guy, including as Avery, himself, and baby Susie Swanson.
I watched the films, but never saw the Next Generation series beyond the first couple of episodes, so I know I am way behind on the lore of Star Trek TNG, but while I know this new series takes place after he has left Starfleet (the trailer mentions “15 years” whereas in the episode, he states it’s been “two decades”), it appears it takes its cue from the comics miniseries Star Trek: Countdown, set just before the 2009 Star Trek reboot, to a degree.
That’s also because – and I’m basing this from what I have read outside of the episode, so I know it won’t be a spoiler to Trekkies – this episode sees him discussing the “lingering impact” from when the Romulan sun exploded in a supernova, and how he felt he had to help rescue 900 million Romulans, comparing it to Dunkirk in the process. In what capacity he discusses this, I’ll leave you to discover.
However, I will mention what comes at the start, which is that we see our titular hero playing poker against Data (Brent Spiner), with Picard telling him that he has a ‘tell’ – dilating his left pupil. But that only MAKES him look like he might have a tell, and that it’s only when he DOESN’T show any sort of a tell that he is bluffing. But… is it real? Oooh… Well, no, it’s a dream, as he’s living on thevieyards with his dog, Number 1, and a few other people including former Starfleet officer Chris Rios (Santiago Cabrera).
Skip over to Greater Boston – looking a bit like Blade Runner‘s Los Angeles, and there’s a young woman, Dahj (Isa Briones, above), enjoying time out with her boyfriend, before they’re interrupted by some masked men bleating about “she hasn’t activated yet”, and asking “Where’s the rest of you? Where are you from?”. She’s able to overpower the men, but doesn’t know why, so it’s like she’s acting like a secret agent who has just been activated, rather like Jason Bourne.
In time, the two will meet, leading him to declare that he wants to live again, rather than staying home in retirement. Well, he’s a spritely 94-year-old (I understand that’s his character’s age, although Patrick Stewart, himself, is 80 this year).
Elsewhere, there’s a curious painting, he goes over to the Starfleet Archives, plus this show has some nice wry humour, even from AI systems’ Index (Maya Eshet).
Overall, this first episode of Star Trek: Picard is pretty entertaining, if albeit undemanding, but Patrick Stewart is a nataional treasure, so it’s worth a watch for that, even though he may as well be Professor X in a side-plot of 2017’s Logan. That said, it’s a damn site more enjoyable than any of the recent Star Wars movies – but then that’s not saying much.
UPDATE Episode 2: There’s a lot of chat, but I can’t make out every last thing they’re talking about, so while at the time of psoting this, I can’t give any plot detail, I couldn’t even spoil it if I tried, as they’re making reference to other species in the universe, but one turns all ‘Father Ted’ as they say, “Cheeky Feckers!”
Overall, the second episode was… okay. About the same as the first. So, it’s all feeling watchable, but rather too slow to fully engage me.
Oddly, the series is presented in a 2.35:1 widescreen ratio, just like almost all of the Star Trek movies (oddly, the sixth one was shot in 2.00:1 at the time, even though it was masked to 2.35:1 for theatrical presentation). Okay, so that follows on from the movies, but we’re watching on TV. Maybe they’re doing it so it can easily be whacked up on a big screen for major events?
Unlike a lot of TV series which stream online, this is not a case of all ten episodes streaming from day one, but being launched on a weekly basis. Phew! That actually gives me a chance to watch a series at a normal pace, rather than trying to cram an entire series into one weekend.
I won’t go into any further detail about the first episode, since to do so would only give spoilers, and you need to find out what’s in it by watching it. However, according to Wikipedia, there will be appearances from Jonathan Del Arco as Hugh – a former Borg drone from TNG’s I, Borg and Descent Part II, Jonathan Frakes as William Riker – the other No.1, as well as Marina Sirtis as Deanna Troi.
And based on the picture above, it’s safe to say that Jeri Ryan will appear in due course as Seven Of Nine. Did you know she is 52 years old? How on Earth is that possible?! Maybe it’s in the Borg genes?
Star Trek: Picard is available now on Amazon Prime in the UK, and CBS in the US from today for episode one, with further episodes released weekly on a Thursday.
You can also buy the Star Trek: Picard Boxset, which is exclusive to Amazon and contains 4 movies and 2 feature-length TV episodes plus an exclusive 16-page original comic.
Episode 1 Score: 6.5/10
Episode 2 Score: 6.5/10
Series Directors: Hanelle M Culpepper, Jonathan Frakes, Akiva Goldsman, Maja Vrvilo, Douglas Aarniokoski
Series Writers/Creators: Kirsten Beyer, Michael Chabon, Akiva Goldsman, Alex Kurtzman
Star Trek Creator: Gene Roddenberry
Music: Jeff Russo
Jean-Luc Picard: Patrick Stewart
Cristobal ‘Chris’ Rios: Santiago Cabrera
Dahj: Isa Briones
Dr. Agnes Jurati: Alison Pill
Narek: Harry Treadaway
Raffi Musiker: Michelle Hurd
Ramdha: Rebecca Wisocky
Zhaban: Jamie McShane
Laris: Orla Brady
Dahj’s Boyfriend: David Carzell
No.1: De Niro
Index: Maya Eshet
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.