I grew up watching “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (ST:TNG), so I was ecstatic to hear CBS All Access was adding a new show, “Star Trek: Picard,” to their line-up, with the incomparable Patrick Stewart returning in the title role.
Then I saw the first trailer and I was so happy, though noticing a bit of a tonal shift from “ST:TNG.”
This weekend, I finally had the chance to binge the first season of “Star Trek: Picard,” and here are my thoughts.
First, a little background…
“Star Trek: Picard” features Jean-Luc Picard (Stewart) 20 years after Star Trek: Nemesis (2002) and sees a retired Picard deeply affected by the death of Data in that film, as well as the destruction of the planet Romulus featured in the 2009 J.J. Abrams-helmed Star Trek movie.
Picard lives a life of leisure on his own vineyard, but is still deeply affected by the death of Data (ST: Nemesis). While participating in an interview on what happened with Romulus, he reveals that he resigned in protest after Starfleet abandoned plans to rescue Romulan citizens from a supernova when rogue synthetics attacked the rescue fleet.
We learn Starfleet banned synthetics after the attack.
We then meet Dahj (Isa Briones), a young woman who is soon attacked by Romulan assassins. But the attack triggers something in her and she easily kills the assassins.
Visions of Picard lead her to seek him out. He then finds a connection between her and Data. Thus starts the mystery that fuels the first season of the show.
Along the way, he assembles a crew that includes former ship mate Raffi Musiker (Michelle Hurd), a pilot with a ship named Rios (Santiago Cabrera), a scientist named Agnes Jurati (Alison Pill), and a orphan protege named Elnor (Evan Evagora).
Meanwhile, Dahj’s twin, Soji Asha (Briones), works in a Borg Cube that has been reclaimed by Romulan refugees, and is in a relationship with a Romulan agent named Narek (Harry Treadaway).
As the two storylines intersect, Picard and his new crew race to stop what could be the ultimate destruction of the universe.
The series starts off fast-paced, but the next few episodes slow down to build the characters and backstory. The last four episodes bring everything together quickly, culminating in an exciting space battle.
And that’s all I can say without revealing some major plot points.
One thing that felt different about the series is that there are no “missions of the week.” Everything is focused on telling the season’s main story. But I liked this different approach. Reminded me a lot of how Logan was still an X-Men movie though it had a totally different feel to it.
“Star Trek: Picard” also has some great new characters (Rios was a fast favorite for me), but it is definitely helped by the inclusion of familiar faces, such as old friends and colleagues Data (Brent Spiner), William Riker (Jonathan Frakes), and Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis), as well as a surprising appearance by Seven of Nine from the series “Star Trek: Voyager” (Jeri Ryan).
The two-part season ender delivered a few shocks, but in the closing scenes, reminded me a lot of the heart of “ST:TNG” – friends who become family, working together to get each other through the worst of life.
The only weak point for me is Agnes Jurati. I’m not sure if it’s the way the character is written, or the way Pill plays her (or maybe both?), but I didn’t like Jurati at all.
There are ten episodes in the first season of “Star Trek: Picard,” making it easy to binge over a weekend, like I did. I suggest you do so, as well, if you enjoy a good sci-fi story and excellent acting.
And when did Romulans get so hot (looking at you, Narek)?
STAR TREK: PICARD
Cast: Patrick Stewart, Alison Pill, Isa Briones, Michelle Hurd, Santiago Cabrera, Harry Treadaway, Evan Evagora, Jeri Ryan, Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis, Brent Spiner
Streaming at: CBS All Access
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