[REVIEW] Star Trek: Picard (Season 1)
Star Trek: Picard follows the great Captain Jean-Luc Picard (played by Patrick Stewart) through a series of events in order to find evidence of a conspiracy at the core of Starfleet Command. While the show provides an ample amount of fan-service, I describe it as a series of events rather than an adventure because there are hardly any cohesive elements in the story. It is nice to be back in the Star Trek universe that we all recognize, however its haphazard writing and nonsensical plot devices bring the show down from a must-watch to a Star Trek novelty.
The series takes place in the original timeline years after Romulus is destroyed by a supernova. This sets the stage for a different Starfleet and a universe which has drastically different politics than the one we knew before. This is a much darker time period than Star Trek is used to which sets a different tone for the series.
In order to aid him in his efforts to find what he is looking for, Jean-Luc Picard enlists the help of old associates and new allies. Each crew member brings their own strengths and weaknesses to the mission which creates and interesting crew dynamic, there is no semblance of militaristic ranks or structure here. While the show tries to create a backstory for some of these characters, 10 episodes is not really enough time to establish anything meaningful and it is hard not to see the attempts as a waste of time. Especially when throughout most of the 10 episodes it is hard to know whats going on plot wise let alone character wise.
Then we have the fan service. Star Trek: Picard definitely relies on fan service as well as new material in order to keep audiences coming back. Some of the episodes are in the series for no other reason than bringing in a character from a previous series. This is the case for Seven of Nine (played by Jeri Ryan) who has no other purpose for being in the show other than the fact that it is super cool. The fan service in the show are some of the best parts of the show, however sometimes it clashes with the overall plot flow.
One thing that is cool about a series set in the future instead of the past is that we get to see how technology has evolved within the universe. For example all the core functions of the ship Picard is on are carried out solely by holograms that take the form of the ships captain (played by Santiago Cabrera). This also allows for the audience to see different holo-characters interact with each other which is entertaining to say the least. Some new technologies are purely plot-devices though and show a lack of creative writing on the part of the show runner, but for the most part it works.
While it could have been an amazing comeback for classic Star Trek, bringing old and new fans together to re-invest in the series, Star Trek: Picard instead tries to be like every other pedestrian edgy space adventure. There are numerous amazing moments in this season, but in the end it is brought down by poor writing and distracting plot inconsistencies. Hopefully, if there is a season 2, it will have better writing and a more cohesive story-arch while also bringing more of the original TNG cast together.