In today’s age franchises are all over the board.  Some franchises soar while others struggle to find their footing or any success at all.  The long silent and adrift franchise of Star Trek seems to be finding a new traction and area of success more akin to its roots.  With the release of Star Trek’s Picard episode 1, Star Trek is boldly going where its predecessors went before – TV success!

Returning to Its Roots

The movie franchise for Star Trek lays in ruins.  The franchise does not know where its next script will come from, nor who will direct or star in it.  The stellar cast in the rebooted movies drift apart waiting for a script that may never come.  Star Trek Beyond, while a quality film, failed to connect or draw audiences.

Meanwhile, Star Trek Discovery prepares to launch its third season.  Over the first two years Discovery transformed from questionable relaunch to a franchise going at Warp 9.6.  Now joining it is the new series Picard and after one episode, Picard promises to live up to every expectation.  How fitting a franchise rediscovers success after returning to its television roots.

Entering a New Age – Geriatric

After watching Patrick Steward in Logan, I began to wonder how much of his old age belonged to make up and acting versus real life.  We now have our answer.  Picard Episode 1 takes place 20 years after the last movie, and Stewart comes across quite old in his speech and movement, but even at 80 years old, Stewart and Picard come across more than capable.

While there were no guest stars in his episode other than a quick cameo from the late Data, I have no doubt they too will show the years since they last walked the deck of a starship. The thing is, this age plays extremely well into the world set up in Picard.  This show takes place 20 years after the last movie and a great many things have changed.

Picard Episode 1- The New Galaxy Already Known

The galaxy moves along as it always have, but with this first episode there have been two major developments that fundamentally altered the Star Trek Universe.  There is just one issue.  These two new plot devices stem from movies that already exist, so what is new is quite old.  Isn’t time travel fun?

Romulan Nero
Romulan Nero

The first of these, and perhaps the largest, is that Romulus no longer exists.  A supernova destroyed the Romulan home planet, setting up the current sate of her people.  Picard starts his show with two aids, both of which are Romulan.  Does this sound a little familiar?  It should.  Think back to 2009.  A young director named JJ Abrams was tasked with rebooting the Star Trek movie universe.  The plot to this movie revolved around a Romulan named Nero chasing an aged Ambassador Spock because he failed to save his home planet.  Spock acted alone but failed to save the home world.  Picard takes place about 10 years after these events.  While I will not spoiler the final scene, the final scene to Picard Episode 1 will tie into this backstory and leave you with a major jaw dropping What The F— moment.

The second major development deals with androids or “synths”.  As Picard began to mobilize a fleet of private ships to help the Romulans (an act he compared to Dunkirk), synths attacked mars and destroyed much of it.  Not only did this explain why Starfleet gave up on the Romulans, but Synthetics were banned in the galaxy.  Androids like Data were taken out of commission and their very existence is nor forbidden. These events set up the current galaxy in Picard.

A New Age Equal New Excellence

Picard and Dahj
Picard and Dahj

Few if any major characters were introduced in this episode that will make a difference going forward, but the main character would be Dahj, played by Isa Briones.  Isa does a magnificent job bringing life and personality to Dahj.  The character plays a deeper role in things and demands an actress that can bring those emotions to life.  Isa does a wonderful job and is a great addition to the cast.

Another excellent addition to the series has nothing to do with characters.  The fight choreography for Picard Episode 1 took my breath away.  Since the original Star Trek, fights in the Trekkie world were slow, cumbersome, overacted and exaggerated.  In short, they were a joke.  Picard Episode 1 gave us some fight scenes that would hold up in any modern franchise.  In fact, several of the moves shocked me in how violent they truly were.  It was great to see this level of choreography finally come to Star Trek.

You also have the opening.  It looks like a beautiful collection of floaty things, but beyond that really lacks any type of cohesive sense – until you watch the episode.  After you finish the episode, go back and rewatch the opening cut scene.  The amount of depth the story adds is mesmerizing and quite beautiful.

Going Forward

Picard Episode 1 launches us into a glorious new show that while it stands alone, ties into so much before it.  Watch episode 1, but then watch Star Trek Nemesis.  This will fill viewers in on the final days of Data as well as B-4, the primitive Sung android found by Shinzon.  Also watch Star Trek 2009.  This movie explains the destruction of Romulus, and its status 10 years before Picard.  These two movies truly add depth to the events of Picard Episode 1.

Once you watch those, sit back, relax and wait til this Thursday for the release of episode 2!