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Star Trek: Picard -Series Premiere - Remembrance- Review- Engage-ing

NOTE: This review contains spoilers.

Off and on since 1966, episodes of a series bearing the words Star Trek have been on television screens. That’s over 50 years of what many consider the standard-bearer when it comes to quality science fiction storytelling. That’s over 50 years of inspiring young adventurers, scientists, and writers enthralled by the worlds and values created by Gene Roddenberry. When it was announced that a new series, featuring Jean-Luc Picard was coming, I rushed to put my request in to review the show for SpoilerTV. Star Trek and I have a special connection – selling an idea to Star Trek: Next Generation was one of my first professional writer sales. It thrills me to no end to report that Star Trek: Picard, airing on CBSAllAccess is an exceptional production and makes an impressive debut.

Set 14 years after his retirement from Starfleet, this series will follow the latest adventures former Admiral Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), one of the most revered officers in Star Trek history. But this is not the same Jean-Luc Picard we remember. This Picard is weary and battle-worn, trying to live a quiet existence at his family vineyard in France, Chateau Picard, with his Romulan housekeepers, Laris and Zhaban (Orla Brady and Jamie McShane). But he just can’t quite let go of the past, dreaming of poker games with Data (Brent Spiner) and sharing his afternoon glass of wine and walks with his constant four-legged companion, appropriately named Number One. While living the life of the country gentleman part of him longs for adventure and no amount of wine can shake his boredom. This is a troubled Picard as well. We learn in a contentious interview with a reporter played in a nice appearance from Merrin Dungey, that Picard’s Starfleet isn’t the one we remember either. He’s bitter that his retirement came about from an unforgivable betrayal by the Federation when he was on a mercy mission to rescue Romulans and a world still reeling from a deadly attack by sentient AI’s. No one trusts Androids any longer.

Picard’s ennui is shaken by the arrival of a troubled young woman named Dahj the intriguing Isa Briones, who has been compelled to seek him out for help after she was attacked. She doesn’t know him or why she’s come, but she feels she can trust him. Picard senses something familiar about this young woman but can’t put his finger on it. He gets a clue about it in a dream where Data invites him to finish a painting he is working on. Even though Picard gave her sanctuary, Dahj flees sensing she is putting him in danger. His quest to find her takes him back to San Francisco, the former HQ of Star Fleet where he discovers that he does indeed have a unique connection with her. A trip to the Star Fleet archives leads him to one of Data’s painting. A painting of Dahj. The name of the painting is Daughter. It appears she is Data’s daughter. She’s followed him and they are attacked by a mysterious team and she is tragically killed. He’s stunned when during the battle the attackers are revealed to be Romulan!

Disturbed by her death, Picard investigates further and finds himself at the Daystrom Institute consulting with scientist Dr. Agnes Jurati, (Allison Pill) who shocks him by revealing that Dahj is likely a clone. That she is probably the result of fractal neuronic cloning from just one portion of Data’s positronic brain, in other words, she was an android with an organic body but a positronic brain. He’s even further rocked when Jurati reveals the procedure resulted in twins. Data’s other daughter and ultimately the only living part of Data left is alive and out there somewhere. Picard now has a mission; he’s determined to find Dahj’s twin. Little does he realize that the twin is indeed out there and she is working with Romulans aboard a Borg ship.

If ever there was an actor and a role so perfectly matched it is Sir Patrick Stewart and Jean-Luc Picard. Stewart has not played Picard since Star Trek: Nemesis in 2002, yet he easily steps back into the demeanor and characteristics of the character. But he also gives us a Picard that has aged well and can still command a room with a look or an arch of his eyebrow. He may be a step slower, but he is still in charge of this series from it’s opening moments. The production values and special effects are near film quality. The producers and writers are to be commended for giving us everything we love about Star Trek, but also bringing us something new with some perfectly paced story-telling. The delicious twist of having two of Picard’s most dangerous enemies, the Romulans, and the Borg work together was genius. They’ve brought us classic Star Trek themes, visits with familiar friends and villains, but have done it all with a new and exciting storyline.

Future episodes will bring us old friends like Jeri Ryan, Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis, Brent Spiner and introduce us to soon to be favorites Santiago Cabrera and Michelle Hurd. As a premiere, it was extremely engaging, and previews of future episodes promise us the adventure is just beginning. But one thing remains the same, we would all follow Jean-Luc Picard and Star Trek: Picard into the stars and beyond. What were your thoughts on the premiere of Star Trek: Picard? Share them in the comments below.

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