After years of suffering a figurative drought in Star Trek shows we are suddenly inundated with new shows. However, not all is well. So far Discovery has had a mediocre response with many fans feeling alienated by the fast-pace and high drama.
On January 23 next year CBS has an opportunity to make things right with a Jean-Luc Picard centered series produced by Alex Kurtzman. Star Trek: Picard features Patrick Stewart has the titular character that he has played since 1987.
Not a joke, but an actual series
When the new series was first announced I actually though it was a joke. How, could an actor who now 79 years old lead a science fiction. Well it is not a joke, its also not a reunion event nor a mini-series. The first season will consists of ten episodes. If CBS does not bungle this it could well be The Mandalorian of 2020.
Star Trek: Picard is set 20 years after the events of Nemesis. This is the original timeline, so that means that Data is still dead, but his memories are uploaded to B-4. Also, Romulus is still destroyed after a being caught in a supernova.
Captain Picard finds retirement to be hard. Of course he has settled onto his family vineyard, but as his brother and nephew died during events of Star Trek Generations his existence is a lonely one. So far little is known about what sets the new adventure in motion but I do get a The Search For Spock feeling
A new crew with familiar faces
From the trailer is becomes clear that a woman seeks help from Jean-Luc. After doing his own investigations he is rebuffed by Starfleet, and so decides to act on his own. Essentially the few episodes of this will ’round-up the heroes’. That said Jean-Luc’s new team will consist of people whom we do not know. This includes Dr. Agnes Jurati (Alison Pill), Chris Rios (Santiago Cabrera) and Raffi Musiker (Michelle Hurd) a disgruntled Intelligence officer.
Picard’s new team is further enhanced with two Romulans: Narek and Elnor. Each brings with them a necessary skill to enhance the team, but a also a freight train worth of baggage. From the trailer it becomes clear that the aftermath of the Borg destruction plays an important role. The Borg were probably the favorite villains of the Next Generation and post TNG era. So I do not blame the shows creative staff from relying on that even if their return is not by their own hand.
However, the cast is much larger than that. Also returning are the principal other characters of TNG except for Gates McFadden, LeVar Burton and Wil Wheaton. So instead it will be Brent Spiner, Marina Sirtis and Jonathan Frakes. To top it off, everybody’s favorite Borg Seven-of-nine played by Jeri Ryan will also return. Suddenly the cast is looking inflated. That said, except for Jeri it is unclear just how large their role will be.
My final thoughts on Star trek Picard
So there it is, the hall is rented, the stage is set. Now we will find out in just over 2 months whether or not Star Trek: Picard can live up to the hype. There are of course plenty of worries I could express. The show could be another Discovery, but with Patrick Stewart added. Will fans and newcomers actually care to continue the TNG legacy 26 years (!) after the show ended and 18 years after the last feature film?
If you look back at TNG, something I have done frequently, you will notice the changing landscape of television. The outrage bloated streaming market has spawned a surge in big-budget high-concept shows. Every second on-screen matters with little room for the meditative speed found in TNG and its successor shows.
Star Trek: Picard will debut on CBS All Access on January 23rd.