TV REVIEW: Star Trek: Picard – Season 1

Mr O is a huge Star Trek fan. He grew up in a very science fiction focused household where he watched Star Trek in all its forms with Mr O Senior. His party trick is being able to name any Next Generation episode within three seconds of it starting. I grew up in a much less science fiction interested household but I had seen bits and pieces of various Star Trek seasons over the years. When Mr O and I moved in together we cycled through the entire Next Generation, Voyager and Deep Space Nine back catalogues as well as all the films. I am sure it’s no surprise that we were both quite excited to watch Amazon Prime’s Original Series, featuring one of Star Trek’s most famous characters, Jean-Luc Picard.

The series picks up 20 years after the happenings of Nemesis. Picard (Patrick Stewart) has retired, deeply affected by the loss of Data and the destruction of Romulus. In the wake of this simulant life has been outlawed and Picard has disconnected from the Federation in disgust.

When he meets a young woman who he believes is Data’s “daughter”, Picard decides to embark on an adventure involving a ragtag crew to try and find her “sister” and reconnect with his lost friend. What he’ll discover though is a dark plot that could derail life as he knows it. Meanwhile scientist, Soji (Isa Briones) starts to question her identity while undergoing work on a reclaimed Borg cube.

It’s really hard to separate Picard as a series from pre-conceived ideas, nostalgia and fan buzz. It is full of fan service, with old favourite characters resurfacing left right and centre and hundreds of Easter eggs that I largely didn’t pick up but that Mr O collected like a happy child.

From a mid-level fan perspective, I loved spending time with Picard again. Patrick Stewart absolutely embodies the character he created and it was a nice progression seeing Picard become more fragile with age. It was fun seeing the old characters, especially Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Troi (Marina Sirtis). I liked some but not all of the new characters. Raffi (Michelle Hurd) is great as is the nervous, space virgin Agnes Jurati (Alison Pill). I was less sure about Rios (Santiago Cabrera). He plays various different versions of himself with different accents and mannerisms. They can be a bit cliched and hackneyed and I found some of them rather irritating.

One thing I really did not like was the introduction of swearing. No one has ever used profanity in previous Star Trek canon. It’s weird and jarring and totally unnecessary. I am not sure what the point was of peppering the script with “fucks” but I absolutely could have done without it… and I am a very sweary person.

Overall I thought it was an interesting story line with loads of adventure and a great connection to the past. It looks really cool and I am definitely keen for some more Picard in the future.

3.5/5

6 Comments

  1. I only ever watched the original Shatner/Nimoy TV series, though I did later develop a fondness for The Borg. I won’t be watching this, but I like his dog!
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. I am glad you liked it. Did Mr. O approve of the series?

  3. I’m a Star Trek fan. Have watched them all (many times) except Deep Space Nine. I’m also a fan of the new movies with Chris Pine as Capt. Kirk.

    However, I’d forgotten we started watching Picard until I saw your post about it. I can’t even remember which one we left off on, but I’m sure we got through at least the first three or four episodes. For some reason the plot did not grip me. I asked myself why when I read your post. I think basically, for me, the plot felt contrived and Picard was too self-righteous.

    Maybe when we’re finished with other series we’re watching, we’ll revisit it. I’m still only on Season One of Outlander and have one season left of Poldark (which I recommend).

  4. I think the gratuitous bad language has become a major sticking point for many Trek fans who watched and hated this show as it isn’t Trek to be vulgar. But, I guess that’s what happens when younger people try to make an established franchise edgier and contemporary for their generation and ignore the basic principles that kept it going for so long.

  5. Although seeing Picard and some reference of the Enterprise crew is most welcomed, overall the season 1 was slow and dragging.

    The worse is the finale – I felt cheated in the end because after all the fights, the Romulans were right all along and that made them the good guys. Picard instead was driven by emotion and his past relationship with Data. There was only 50-50 chance that Soji would have listened to Picard, changed her mind and switched off the transmitter.

    And the end face-off with the Romulan fleet was simply a bad CGI without any real tactics that Captain Picard in the past would have deployed. Riker seemed a last-minute idea to close the season.

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