'Star Trek: Picard' Might be Clunky, But it's a Treat for Established Star Trek fans

This article reviews Episode 1 of Star Trek: Picard

One of television’s most iconic characters is back, just when we needed his guidance the most. Captain Jean-Luc Picard, played by Sir Patrick Stewart, is famous for his strong beliefs and compelling speeches. He served as a moral compass for Star Trek fans across the globe. Having him back in his own series during such a confusing time in our world feels like a certain brand of hope…but really only for established Star Trek fans.

The first episode of Star Trek: Picard is a visually beautiful look at the world of Star Trek and how this timeline (not the JJ Abrams one) has evolved since the last Next Generation film. Even if you are a Star Trek: The Next Generation fan, the plot can be hard to follow completely. However, Stewart’s pure magnetism on screen as he seamlessly slips back into Picard is just enchanting to watch. 

We find our dear Jean-Luc at his beloved Chateau Picard with a dog he calls Number One. He has taken in and employed Romulan refugees after the destruction of their planet. He is bored. 

He is also traumatised. It’s revealed that he severed ties with Star Fleet over a moral disagreement that has him feeling immensely guilty for his role in the Romulus destruction. We haven’t even touched on his Borg PTSD yet. A mysterious young woman named Dahj (Isa Briones) comes to him, asking for help. She is in danger and doesn’t understand where these abilities she has are coming from. She doesn’t understand who’s chasing her. She felt the need to find him, specifically. After some research, Picard discovers their bond goes deeper than he imagined.

It makes sense why CBS chose to make this series a CBSAccess exclusive (or Amazon Prime exclusive outside of the US). It would absolutely drive up subscriptions from devote Trek fans. It also wouldn’t likely generate any views from non-Trek fans either so airing in during their catch-all prime time would be a bad move.

Picard is so thoroughly drenched in Star Trek canon and that is a beautiful thing for fans. It is co-produced by the creator of Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry’s son after all. There are so many little details just packed into this first episode that alludes to Picard’s time on the Enterprise and we feel the character’s nostalgia right alongside him. 

The main plot itself is so intrinsically linked to Picard’s time on Next Gen that I can’t imagine anyone not familiar with the show would be able to keep up. This show was made by fans for fans, not to appease the masses and bring a new age into Star Trek. They’re already attempting that with Star Trek: Discovery.

Isa Briones as Dahj gives an underwhelming and sometimes flat performance. I’m not sure if the fact that her scene partner is an internationally decorated actor is a valid excuse in comparison. If anything, it should have helped lifted her performance. The pacing was fast but stayed consistent for the most part. The cinematography was stunning and just a pleasure to look at. Painting is a very big motif in this series so far and each frame really did look like a painting. 

Overall, the first episode will have any Star Trek fan hooked. I anticipate the minor clunkiness of this first episode or even first season will eventually fade as it finds it’s footing. After all, how awkward were the first few episodes of Next Generation before it settled into its own greatness? It’s so exciting to be back with Picard and to boldly go with him on his next adventure. 

Star Trek: Picard is available on CBSAccess in the US and Amazon Prime elsewhere

 

by Jamie Stewart

Jamie Stewart (She/Her) is a freelance writer and production assistant from Cleveland, Ohio. She’s a huge fan of Dungeons & Dragons and cats (her cat specifically). Jamie’s favorite movies and TV shows are Lawrence of Arabia, Elizabethtown, Fury Road, Brooklyn Nine Nine and Critical Role. Find her on instagram @jamstew93 and on Twitter @jamstew

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