Contains mild spoilers only!
When Star Trek: Picard was announced I was so excited! Finally! Back in my most favorite Star Trek period! Period of The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager. I didn’t care the fact that it was going to be a totally different show than The Next Generation, for one because it would have become more of the same and why do that again? No I really like that it continued after the movie Nemesis of which I am apparently one of the few who actually seem to love that movie. Only the potential guest spots of our beloved characters of that era is reason enough to be excited about Star Trek: Picard. And we did get our share of guest spots although I was a bit disappointed there wasn’t a Deep Space Nine character recurring his or her role. It would have been awesome to have seen Dr. Bashir as Picard’s physician.
Star Trek: Picard is totally different from its predecessor, where The Next Generation is mostly episodic with (minor) character growth, Picard is a heavily story-arced TV show and arguably already more character growth in its first season of 10 episodes. Don’t get me wrong, I really do like (but not love/adore) The Next Generation but I always had trouble with the fact everything remained status quo all these years. It feels the cast has grown more in those 4 movies than 7 seasons of The Next Generation. The point I am trying to make I guess is that I enjoy an overarching story more than episodic television. Of course The Orville (which is basically Star Trek: The Next Generation 2.0) is also more episodic in nature so in the long run I don’t know if I find that The Orville has less re-watch value as lets say Deep Space Nine or Babylon 5. Same can be said of the upcoming new Star Trek: Strange New Worlds which is apparently also going to be episodic but the creators point out that the characters will grow throughout the season(s). So despite the episodic nature I still am very much looking forward to this new TV show. Mostly because I absolutely loved Anson Mount as Captain Pike on Star Trek: Discovery.
Star Trek: Picard starts approximately 20 years after Star Trek: Nemesis ended, Picard is no longer in Starfleet, he feels very much responsible about the fate of the Romulans but also about the fate of the synthetics who attacked Mars which resulted in many deaths and the synthetics (or Androids) were banned. Picard seems to be “done” with his life, he no longer has anything to live for, he would not mind if he life ended peacefully. But then his life starts to be interesting again when a young synthetic female, named Dahj, comes to him for help! Dahj seems to be some kind of “daughter” of Data which Picard finds very intriguing. She is pursued by Romulans and gets killed. But Dahj has a sister, because at the Day Strom institute Agnes Jurati tells Picard that synthetics are always made in pairs! Her name is Soji. Picard is determined to help her and arranges a ship to go and search for her, but not alone, he assembles a crew around him.
The crew is slightly odd but interesting. First there is Raffi Musiker, played by a seasoned actress Michelle Hurd. She and Picard have a history, served together during the Romulan crisis but haven’t seen each other for all that time and frankly Raffi is still pissed at Picard. Cristóbal Rios, the ships captain, played by Santiago Cabrera, I know him from TV show Salvation but he has done more than I realized! He knows Raffi, more for her he agrees to take on the job than to help Picard. He also is the EMH (Emergency Medical Hologram), EEH (Emergency Engineering Hologram), ENH (Emergency Navigational Hologram) and a few more. Dr. Agnes Jurati (Alison Pill), she works at the Daystrom Institute, recruited by Bruce Maddox to aid him in his android research. She comes along on this mission, not out of her own will but Commander Oh has asked (read forced) her to on this mission. She is played by Tamlyn Tomita, someone with a long list of roles on IMDb, but SCI-FI fans know her of course as Lt. Cmdr. Laurel Takashima from Babylon 5’s pilot!
Of course there also is Soji (Isa Briones), the android/synthetic for whom Picard starts this mission and last but not least Elnor (Evan Evagora), who Picard also last seen when he was a little boy and Picard had promised to help him find a new home but ultimately this hadn’t happen. There was some resentment at first But soon Elnor does decide to come with Picard, to be his protector. Narek did not belong to the crew but was manipulating Soji because he knew what she was, before she did herself and he is trying to find out where her home world is. He is helped by his sister Lieutenant Narissa Rizzo (Peyton List), who is also Narek’s handler. Peyon List is an actress SCI-FI fans also see in a lot of TV shows. Shows like Colony, Frequency, The Tomorrow People, Flashforward and much more. Finally of course I need to mention Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) and Hugh (Jonathan Del Arco), Data/Dr. Altan Inigo Soong (Brent Spiner) and two more guest spots from The Next Generation. I won’t say who they are. 😊
I thought Star Trek: Picard was quite an entertaining show, I’ve read that certainly not everybody agrees with me on this but that is of course a matter of opinion/taste which is okay. Although I did realize Picard wasn’t the same Picard anymore from The Next Generation, for one because obviously Patrick Stewart has passed his 80’s, it makes him look a bit fragile which is logical but still it did set me back at first, which is strange, because Nemesis was at that point some 18 years ago! Soon I got used to the new, evolved Picard and I did enjoy it a lot. My favorite episodes? Well because the 10 episodes are in fact one continued story, it is a bit difficult to have favorite episodes, there isn’t one I thought was mediocre but the best 3 for me are: The Pilot, how it all begins (or continues, depends on how you see it). Episode 7, “Nepenthe”, to be honest mainly because there are guest spots from The Next Generation and I am a sucker for cross-over characters! And also the season finale, “Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2”, I thought was very entertaining, a bit of a surprise at the end and some nice emotional scenes and also some nice space scenes, good CGI.
The New Star Trek:
Well I watch all Star Trek live action TV series, haven’t watched the animated yet, I hear good things about it though so I might try it out. In 2017, after 12 years there finally was another TV show named Star Trek, Star Trek: Enterprise was cancelled in 2005 unfortunately and Discovery was the new show. I am not saying I hate it, I don’t like parts of it, but I also cannot say I absolutely love Discovery, not by a long shot and even I am considering not to pursue the 3rd season on Blu-ray. I thought the last season was lackluster, I expected perhaps too much of it. Therefore I was so pleased with Star Trek: Picard, I won’t say it’s perfect but I like it way more than Discovery. As I said earlier, I am looking forward to Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, mainly because the cast. Season 2 of Discovery for me was entertaining mostly because of the presence of Captain Pike (Anson Mount). I also like this number one (Rebecca Romijn) a lot. If you can believe the creators, there is much more Star Trek on the way. I will always be interested in new Star Trek, as long as it is fresh, good characters and interesting stories.
Streaming services: Aspect ratio: 2.39:1/16:9 Letterbox for TV shows:
I have to say, I really am annoyed that streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime broadcast the shows I love with an Aspect ratio: 2.39:1 / 16:9 Letterbox, indeed with ugly black bars on top and below on your television set. Shows like Star Trek: Picard, Star Trek: Discovery, The Expanse are no longer full screen, which I don’t understand to be honest. It spoils my viewing pleasure to only see 2/3 of the screen, especially with SCI-FI shows, you want to see these impressive space scenes in full screen! At least this is my view of the matter. I fear this will also be the case with The Orville, which is going to be aired on Hulu.
I thought it was an exciting story, it was great to get back in that era, even if it is 20 years after Star Trek: Nemesis, Star Trek: Voyager. My wish was always to continue from that storyline, not go back to the beginning or even further. That would be even okay if they did two shows, one where they would have continued after Star Trek: Voyager and one (like Star Trek: Enterprise) where they went back to the beginning. Sadly that did not happen back then so I am glad that 20 years later they did. Keep an open mind and enjoy the first season of Star Trek: Picard. (Re)Watch recommended!