-minor spoilers-

Starring: Patrick Stewart, Alison Pill, Isa Briones, Michelle Hurd, Santiago Cabrera, Harry Treadaway, Evan Evagora, Peyton List, Jeri Ryan, Brent Spiner

Episodes: 10

Genre: Social SF, Space Opera

Broadcaster: Amazon Prime (UK)

First Aired: 23/01/2020

Verdict: 5/5

Star Trek: Picard set itself an almost impossible task right from the start. Take one of the most beloved characters in all of SF, and tell a new story in an established universe. How do you take a classic like Star Trek and make it appeal to modern viewers. Discovery proved controversial enough, but with picard there was always going to be more scrutiny. Now, it may not always be smooth sailing, but Picard is easily the best Star Trek since Enterprise. And for reference, I am not an Enterprise hater. I loves that show, and I love Picard.

Picard is simulatenously the least and most Star Trek of Star Treks in a long while. It deviates more from the established pattern even more than Deep Space Nine, and to great effect. I don’t think anyone expected Picard to still be commanding an exploration vessel at this stage in his life, and he isn’t. Even when he eventually musters together a ship and a crew, they’re not Starfleet personnel. It’s a rougher, scrappier side to trek, both in characterisation and aesthetic. people wear a lot of black leather. Fights have a real weight to them. There’s more blood than ever before. It is at times gory, but never overwhelmingly so. The violence can be shocking, but it’s never out of place. And anyone who says this is too violent for Star Trek clearly hasn’t seen Picard shooting a man in the face until his head explodes. yes. that ahppened. Next GenerationConspiracy. It’s an experience.

But while the looks may have changed, the heart is all Star Trek. Picard shows a Federation that has slipped in its ethics, turning inward, with paranoia rife and robotics banned. So when the retired Admiral picard learns of a young android in danger, he can’t help but try to save her. The galaxy may be a dark place, but Picard is a gleaming beacon of hope. Even with the violence and darkness, Picard remains optimistic, and that is exactly what Star Trek should be.

There is an argument that Picard relies too hevaily on nostalgia, and it’s a reasonable one. There are dozens of references and callbacks. Cameo appearances and full-blown reappearances. None of it gets in the way of the story, but you have to wonder what a viewer unfamiliar with Trek history would make of it all. At the end of the day though, this is a celebration of Star Trek, and even with it’s long history, it is very much looking to the future.

There are a few niggles here and there. The pacing is slow, even glacial in the opening episodes. the middle act is rather overburdened with side plots. No amount of CGI and dream-sequence lighting can make Brent Spiner look thirty yeras younger. But really, who cares? This is Star Trek as it should be. We’ve waited long enough for this day, so let’s enjoy it while it’s here. Picard shows that there is life in the franhcise yet, and that not every SF drama has to be unrelenting doom and gloom.

Star Trek is back, and it’s as bold and brave as ever. With an increasing number of series in development, let’s hope they follow Picard’s example.

17 responses to “TV REVIEW: Star Trek: Picard, Season 1”

  1. STAR TREK DAY 2020: Why You Should Watch Star Trek – At Boundary's Edge Avatar

    […] PICARD: A return for Star Trek‘s most famous captain, Picard takes a slower pace, taking its time to fully explore the morality of the situation. It’s got its share of action too, and may just be the most Star Trek Star Trek yet. […]


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    […] SERIES: Star Trek Picard: Season 1 – Patrick Stewart’s return to the iconic role of Picard did the impossible and made a […]


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    […] Production obviously affected by the pandemic, but I’m fairly confident of a 2021 release. More Jean-Luc will always be appreciated, and it sounds like we may be seeing more familiar faces […]


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    […] to reunite the Romulan and Vulcan people. It also ties in nicely to the worldbuilding done in Picard. On the whole, this season does a far better job of employing the long legacy of Star Trek‘s […]


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    […] Animated Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise, Discovery, Short Treks, Picard, Lower Decks, and every film from The Motion Picture to Star Trek Beyond, with still more to come. […]


  6. BOOK REVIEW: Atonement, by Kirsten Beyer – At Boundary's Edge Avatar

    […] a weakness when it came to following up on the consequences of the main character’s actions. Picard had to wait twenty years before seeing them, and Sisko only faced problems because he lived in one […]


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    […] after seven years of wandering. Now, with the literary universe superseded by the new canon of Picard and Discovery, it’s only natural that the voyages come to an end once again, and the […]


  8. TV REVIEW: Star Trek: Lower Decks, Season 1 – At Boundary's Edge Avatar

    […] With Picard and Discovery taking on darker themes, Lower Decks is a breath of fresh air. It takes all the best elements of classic Star Trek – likeable characters, deep space exploration and the odd moral message – and turns it into a light and breezy half-hour show that manages to pack in a whole lot of humour. Lower Decks is in no way a subtle show. Jokes are hammered in at every opportunity, characters sound like they’ve had a little too much sugar, and the visuals are eye-poppingly rendered in full colour. But this is a show that wears its heart on its sleeve, and even as the crew are running around screaming incomprehensibly, it’s hard to take offence to it. This is Star Trek made by, and for, the fans. […]


  9. BOOK REVIEW: The Dark Veil, by James Swallow – At Boundary's Edge Avatar

    […] –spoilers for Season 1 of Star Trek: Picard– […]


  10. BOOK REVIEW: The Buried Age, by Christopher L. Bennett – At Boundary's Edge Avatar

    […] a certain similarity to the new Picard series as this book opens. Both begin with Picard’s failure, and his subsequent journey to […]


  11. BOOK REVIEW: Precipice, by David Mack – At Boundary's Edge Avatar

    […] Space Nine broke ground with it’s non-Starfleet (and non-Federation) characters, and Picard is showing life after Starfleet, but Vanguard takes the time to develop those characters who were […]


  12. BOOK REVIEW: Taking Wing, by Michael A. Martin & Andy Mangels – At Boundary's Edge Avatar

    […] is a name from the Enterprise relaunch novels, although I only know her from James Swallow’s Picard novel The Dark Veil, which shows a different canon for the Titan‘s voyages. Voyager‘s […]


  13. TBR & BEYOND: August 2021 – At Boundary's Edge Avatar

    […] A final August 17th release is John Jackson Miller’s Rogue Elements, the latest Star Trek Picard novel. I’m excited for this one, but have a lot of the older canon to work through […]


  14. SPOILER ALERT! It’s Okay To Know Things – At Boundary's Edge Avatar

    […] before we can possibly see the show. We as an audience are expected to go into season two of Picard knowing that he will encounter the Borg Queen in some form. We don’t know if it’s a […]


  15. BOOK REVIEW: Rogue Elements, by John Jackson Miller – At Boundary's Edge Avatar

    […] loves the first season of Star Trek: Picard, but it was a much darker show than a lot of other Trek. The notable exception to that was the […]


  16. INCOMING FIRE: Upcoming SF in 2022 – At Boundary's Edge Avatar

    […] 17th: Star Trek: Picard: Second Self, by Una McCormack. McCormack’s second Picard novel is the first set after the events of the first season. this one follows breakout character Raffi Musiker. […]


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