First Impressions: Star Trek: Picard strikes a tentative but intriguing balance between the old and the new

Star Trek: Picard

Star Trek as a franchise has been going for more than fifty years and its fans are definitely known for their passion and devotion to the characters and stories. One such character is Captain Jean-Luc Picard, portrayed by Sir Patrick Stewart. A new series from CBS All Access, created by Alex Kurtzman, and distributed by Amazon Prime will see us continue Picard’s journey. 

The ten episode first season picks up approximately twenty years after the events of the film Star Trek: Nemesis, at the end of the 24th Century. Picard, now retired, is living out his days on his vineyard in France. He is visited by a mysterious young woman named Dahj (Isa Briones) seeking his help after she is attacked. He learns that she may have a very important connection to his past and his android friend and colleague Data (Brett Spiner). This will then set off a chain of events that will see Picard once again return to space.

Obviously the series relies heavily on the talents of its lead. Only an actor of his calibre would be able to deliver such material with poise and elegance. But, even some of the supporting cast prove intriguing and will only add to the layered intricacies of a show that is already showing some promise. These include Alison Pill’s Dr Agnes Jurati, a specialist in bio-synthetics who surprisingly gets some of the most chuckle-worthy moments. As well as Santiago Cabrera’s hot shot pilot who uses  holographic duplicates of himself for counselling.

With writing credits from Akiva Goldsman, Kirsten Beyer and Michael Chabon the story extends beyond wanting to understand not just the why of Picard’s retirement (and almost self-imposed exile). But, also how it occurred and how it’s affected him. It strikes a tentative balance between the connective tissue of the film Star Trek: Nemesis and wanting to venture off into new flashier territory. 

The show’s pacing is a little slow, with the first episode introducing our ignition point to motivate Picard. The second sees Picard formulate a plan. Whilst the third finally has our lead character make the bold choice of returning to space. The slow speed may be difficult for some but it does give the air that they are taking their time to build up to something much larger. 

I am somebody who is not a hardcore Star Trek fan, only loosely familiar with The Next Generation era films, and have never seen any of the TV episodes. Yet, the show still remains accessible for less knowledgeable Star Trek fans. But, for those who love their Trek there is plenty to see that will excite them and want them to join Picard on this mysterious adventure.

Star Trek: Picard will be airing weekly on Amazon Prime Australia.

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