Finally, something I’m too young for – the original series of Star Trek! The Next Generation was big when I was younger, though, and I enjoyed it a lot while never being an outright ‘Trekkie’. Subsequent series were hit or miss, and while I enjoyed both the kitch retroness of the newer movies and the somewhat dark first season of Discovery, I can see why fans think it’s ‘not Star Trek’ – enjoyable sci-fi, sure, but perhaps a bit too different in tone.
The big plus for this new series – already bucking tradition by naming itself after a person rather than a ship or station – is that the audience is likely already familiar with and indeed invested in the main character, Jean-Luc Picard, former Captain of the (an?) Enterprise. Back story can be dispensed in a few flashbacks as we already have many seasons of following Picard, Riker, Data, and others. We can quickly move on to the new story, safe that we’ve brought at least a large part of the audience along already.
Between the pedigree of the cast and the story of conflict and rescue that unfolds over the ten episodes, it feels safe to say that few could argue against this very much being Star Trek in every sense! Evil Romulans? Check. Borg? Oh yes! People acting for a great good, peril and that age old question of what it means to be human – it is one hell of a ride!
I think you can tell from that that I really liked this series. It felt very new and at the same time a perfect continuation of a familiar – can I use that word enough here? – story. The look has been updated from the 1990s, and Patrick Stewart finally looks like he’s aging. He acts it, too – Picard is in some ways softer, older and shaped by events he’s lived through since last commanding the bridge of the Enterprise. He carries the whole thing in a way perfectly worthy of the series being named after him, still earnest and honest and good.
The new characters are equally strong, and I loved the way some had shared history with Picard without us needing to know everything about it. They feel well rounded, providing several small side plots that flesh out the whole series without detracting from the main arc that runs through the ten episodes – one thing that is a bit ‘new’ from the old TNG.
I’ll leave you by saying that the ending made me quite emotional. It’s hard not to rave about a show that catches you up well enough to actually cause a genuine tear or two by the end!
First broadcast: September 2020
Series: 1 so far
Episodes: 10 @ ~42 mins each
My rating: 9/10