TV Review – Star Trek: Picard Season One, Episode Five

Star Trek: Picard (CBS All Access)
Season One, Episode Five – “Stardust City Rag”
Written by Kirsten Beyer
Directed by Jonathan Frakes

Now, this is an episode I enjoyed. After setting the pieces up on the board for the first month of the series, Picard finally has our characters getting into dangerous situations and dealing with both interpersonal and external conflict. I wonder how someone utterly unfamiliar with Voyager would understand Seven of Nine’s part in this story. I think you need at least a rudimentary understanding of who she is and what happened to her on that series. Of all the episodes we’ve gotten thus far, I think this one does the best in blending contemporary elements with the world of the Federation.

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TV Review – Star Trek: Picard Season One, Episode Four

Star Trek: Picard (CBS All Access)
Season One, Episode Four – “Absolute Candor”
Written by Michael Chabon
Directed by Jonathan Frakes

At first, I have been annoyed with the lack of Next Generation characters in Picard. But after doing the math, he was captain of the Enterprise for twenty-one years, which is almost the same number of years he’s been retired. I expect he’d drifted apart from his original crew as they received promotions and new assignments. These new people are lower on the totem pole and thus have less to lose. They lack extended family and therefore, can hop on a ship and journey out into space, not knowing exactly where they are headed and what they are in for.

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TV Review – Star Trek: Picard Season One, Episode Three

Star Trek: Picard (CBA All Access)
Season One, Episode Three – “The End is the Beginning”
Written by Michael Chabon & James Duff
Directed by Hanelle Culpepper

Space finally becomes the primary setting of Picard but only in the final scene. This episode finishes up the first act of the season by having the captain wrap up things on Earth and get together a makeshift crew. I am looking forward to what comes next, but this was still a bumpy ride that feels uneven and underdeveloped. Picard relies on so many new characters that it feels disconnected in many ways from The Next Generation. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to build a unique story and focus on some new faces, but the lack of people that I would assume Picard considers his family is odd.

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TV Review – Star Trek: Picard Season One, Episode Two

Star Trek: Picard (CBS All Access)
Season One, Episode Two – “Maps and Legends”
Written by Michael Chabon & Akiva Goldsman
Directed by Hanelle M. Culpepper

I’ve read some criticism of Picard that is worth some thought. Longtime fans of the Star Trek franchise are disturbed at the portrayal of the Federation as xenophobic and exclusionary. This isn’t very reassuring when you look at Gene Roddenberry’s original vision of a utopian multi-species society where all peoples were accepted. But, I think it is worth examining what happens over time when such an organization goes through changes in leadership and the landscape upon which they operate shifts. The reticence of the Federation to aid the Romulans makes sense because they have little trust in this adversary. They allowed their ambition to give them an excuse to step back. Maybe there was thought among some of the leadership that this would enable new worlds to leave the Romulan Empire and join the Federation.

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TV Review – Star Trek: Picard Season One, Episode One

Star Trek: Picard (CBS All Access)
Season 1, Episode 1 – “Remembrance”
Written by Akiva Goldsman & Michael Chabon & Alex Kurtzman and James Duff
Directed by Hanelle Culpepper

Fifteen years prior, in 2387, a disaster occurred. A star in the Romulan Empire went supernova wiping out Romulus and leaving billions stranded as refugees. During the aftermath of this event, Captain Jean-Luc Picard abandoned his post on the Enterprise to aid in the crisis. Since then, he has become a hero to a large faction of displaced Romulans but has cut ties with Starfleet. He growls at one point that Starfleet, as it exists now, is not the organization he once committed himself to. You could see this path unfold on The Next Generation as Picard would frequently move to follow his principles over the commands of his superiors.

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Movie Review – Star Trek: Nemesis

Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)
Written by John Logan, Rick Berman, and Brent Spiner
Directed by Stuart Baird

You might notice the absence of one film from the Next Generation film franchise in my reviews, Star Tre: Insurrection. My reason for skipping over this film starts first with my disdain for it. It’s an extremely poorly written and executed film. It doesn’t do anything that the other films don’t also do and better. This isn’t saying the other three films are masterpieces because they are riddled with flaws. I’m also looking at the use of time and which movies are most relevant for the upcoming Picard series. Insurrection doesn’t bring anything to the table that will ever be brought up again, or I could be surprised.

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Movie Review – Star Trek: First Contact

Star Trek: First Contact (1996)
Written by Brannon Braga and Ronald D. Moore
Directed by Jonathan Frakes

With a sleek new Enterprise, the Next Generation cast set out on their second film, fully realized as a big-screen product. While the budget is bigger and the stakes are higher, something is lost in the process. It’s that distinct sense of a family. The focus is narrowed to Picard and Data, while the rest of the crew become supporting to minor players in these characters’ stories.

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