DISCLAIMER: There are *minor* spoilers in this review. If you don’t want to know any of the general plot plus some details in between, I suggest you watch and then come back!
THE PREMIERE: “Remembrance”
Picard isn't your normal Star Trek show. Set very much on the ground, with almost no spaceships in sight, there’s no captains log and no federation.
For me, Star Trek wasn’t something I happened upon, it was a foundational part of my childhood. My oldest brother is a passionate trekkie, who at nearly 40 still continues to collect the spaceships. Growing up in the 90s, we only had 4 TV channels and one TV, so when Star Trek was on, you either watched, or found something else to do. My childhood revolved around watching my brother watch Star Trek, be it The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine (my favourite) or Voyager. If you ask me to name plots, characters or alien races, I’d probably do better than I think, but I would struggle.
So why, I hear you ask, am I spending my time watching Picard? Well, I actually think I’m the perfect middle ground. I have a strange second hand nostalgia for the show, worlds and storylines, but I’m not so attached that I’ll feel offended or affronted by a change in direction. Equally, I’m an avid film and TV fan and like most humans can appreciate Patrick Stewart is one of the greatest actors of our time (have you seen his version of Macbeth?!). So Patrick Stewart, hanging out on a vineyard, in an epilogue mini-series? I am here for this.
On to the episode - this is not my brother’s Star Trek. Picard is old, withered and ready for retirement. In his words ‘I’m waiting to die’. He’s separated from the federation and lives on a vineyard with canine companion Number 1 and his Romulan housekeepers. In some minds, he’s a veteran starfleet hero, to others, his previous choices led to horrific consequences that he hasn’t had to face. This has all led to his reclusiveness nature, but the appearance of young woman Dahj changes all of this.
After being attacked in her home, watching her boyfriend be murdered, and fighting for her own life, Dahj only has one thought. Picard. The pair have never met, but Dahj somehow knows that Picard is who she should be with, and only he can keep her safe. Newcomer Isa Briones is a particular delight - I was convinced I must know her, but IMDB tells me otherwise. She easily matches Stewart’s performance and creates a fascinating character. I’m intrigued to see what she’ll bring to the screen in episode 2.
The rest of the cast are equally great, my two favourites being Alison Pill who is always a dream and Orla Brady as Picard’s housekeeper who blew me away is Rose Plays Julie last year. There are more cameos to come, as the trailer showed, Seven of Nine will be back, meaning we’re getting some Voyager crossover, and I believe Data will continue to play a huge part in the limited series.
My takeaway? The writers must have seen Blade Runner 2049, because there is so much owed to that film in this first episode, but it doesn’t feel like a cheap knock off, rather a fitting companion to both that world, and the world of Star Trek we all know and some love.
I know I’ll be watching the next episode. Will you?
(Additional note: my brother loved it too. In case anyone was worried.)
THE VERDICT: FULL POPCORN