At last year’s San Diego Comic Con the best thing I heard was there was going to be a new Star Trek series featuring Jean-Luc Picard. Actor Patrick Stewart portrayed the captain of the Enterprise in a wonderfully different way in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Capt. Picard was the antithesis to Capt. Kirk from the original series. Mr. Stewart was given more episodes and movies to add to his Captain. That resulted in a deeper characterization. The new series called Star Trek: Picard picks up the story twenty years after the last movie featuring The Next Generation crew; Star Trek Nemesis.
Along with watching Mr. Stewart play Picard again there was another reason I was excited about this new show. It was when I found out author Michael Chabon was going to be involved. Mr. Chabon’s novel “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Klay” is the best book about comic books ever written. I expected he might have some interesting ideas for Star Trek.
The first season extends themes which ran throughout the Next Generation series and movies. Using the android Data’s search to be more human. This was in juxtaposition to whether mechanical beings should be considered part of society or as a tool to be used. The idea was returned to often always taking the high road. Where Star Trek: Picard takes this is what happens when artificial lifeforms commit a terroristic act? Do good intentions disappear when lives are lost? These are the first questions asked which are evolved upon throughout the first season.
When we meet M. Picard he has left Starfleet to run his family winery. Over the first three episodes we learn the circumstances which lead him to life in the vineyard. Something happens which causes him to return to space. The remainder of the season is the resolution of that.
There is a new crew to meet, most of who I enjoyed getting to know. One of the biggest surprises was the return of a character I did not like previously; Seven of Nine. Seven was part of the crew on Star Trek: Voyager. Like so much of that series the character was poorly served by the writing. In Star Trek Picard her character is given more depth in much less screen time. The episode which features her “Stardust City Rag” is one of my favorites of the season.
There are callbacks to characters we have seen before. I thought they found the correct balance of nostalgia and forward motion. By the time two castmates from Next Generation appear in episode 7 it felt natural. Producing another high point in the season.
The only slight quarrel I have is the pace of the plotting over the final three episodes. Where the first three episodes felt like things were moving at impulse power. The final three had plot on warp 10. It took some of the power of important events down a bit because it happened so rapidly.
They slow back down for the final few minutes to hit one final, very important, moment. By the end Picard is on a new ship with a new crew heading to new adventures. I am ready to follow them.