‘Star Trek: Picard’: TV Review

With:
Sir Patrick Stewart, Alison Pill, Isa Briones
Release Date:
Jan 23, 2020

60 MIN.

“Star Trek: Picard,” the latest entry in an ever-regenerating franchise, eventually gets going. That it does so more tentatively than boldly may, at first, be a test of individual viewers’ loyalty to the “Trek” universe and to its most famous captain.

“Picard’s” great asset is its title character — as played by Sir Patrick Stewart, who, at 79, seems somehow yet more in command of his craft as an actor even as his character has ceded command of the Enterprise. Living in oblivion as a retiree, Picard is called back toward duty by the sudden appearance of Dahj (Isa Briones), who seems connected in some way to old “Trek” pal Data (Brent Spiner, who makes an appearance in a dream sequence). 

Untangling aspects of her identity, with the help of an expert doctor (Alison Pill), occurs relatively fleetly; getting Picard out of his retirement vineyard villa into the heart of the action occurs only after significant stutter-stepping of the plot. (The third episode, the final one sent to critics, concludes where one might have assumed the first would have, were this series not planted amidst the sprawl-friendly terrain of a streaming service.)

Stewart helps sell the story’s indecision and bagginess — haunted by memories of career-ending catastrophe, his elder Picard is, if not content in isolation, then unsure he deserves anything besides it. But while propulsiveness is not the only virtue for a story, viewers could be forgiven for wondering, as the early episodes crawl on, why the show around Jean-Luc Picard feels inflected less with his burgeoning faith in himself than with risk-averse crawl.

Unlike “Star Trek: Discovery” — the installment in Gene Roddenberry’s fantasy universe that preceded “Picard” to air on CBS All Access — this new show is leveraging one of the franchise’s most major assets. It’s one thing to set forth on a wholly new adventure within the “Trek” universe and quite another to put an iconic character back on the board. (If “Picard” doesn’t succeed creatively, the character is burnt, at least for a while.) 

Maybe that’s why the series seems, at first, so tentative. But it moves within three hours to a place that promises as much excitement and movement as there already has been insight into its beaten-down protagonist, a show that suggests it’ll be worth sticking around for.

'Star Trek: Picard': TV Review

Production: Executive producers: Alex Kurtzman, Akiva Goldsman, Michael Chabon, Patrick Stewart, Heather Kadin, Rod Roddenberry, and Trevor Roth

Cast: Sir Patrick Stewart, Alison Pill, Isa Briones, Evan Evagora, Michelle Hurd, Santiago Cabrera, Harry Treadaway.

More TV

  • Emmy FYC Season to Kick Off

    Emmy FYC Season to Kick Off With a Michael Sheen/Lizzy Caplan Reunion

    Brace yourself — Emmy campaign season gets underway next weekend, starting with a unique For Your Consideration double bill for Fox’s “Prodigal Son” and Hulu’s “Castle Rock” on Saturday, Feb. 29. Warner Bros. TV is behind the event, which will pair “Prodigal Son” star Michael Sheen and “Castle Rock” star Lizzy Caplan on the same [...]

  • Democratic Presidential Candidates, former New York

    Ninth Democratic Debate Draws Record 19.7 Million Viewers

    The ninth Democratic debate of this election cycle, which saw candidates tear into former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg in his first appearance, was the most-watched ever, drawing just under 20 million total viewers. Wednesday night’s feisty affair, which aired across MSNBC and NBC News, comfortably beat the previous record of 18 million viewers [...]

  • steven universe

    'Steven Universe' Sets Final 10 Episodes on Cartoon Network

    The “Steven Universe” saga appears to be coming to a conclusion. The first of the final 10 episodes of the Cartoon Network original animated series will debut March 6 at 7 p.m., the cabler announced Thursday. The run will end March 27 with a four-part series finale. Though the next batch of episodes is set [...]

  • In this image released, general views

    Jennifer Khoury, Adam Miller Elevated in New Roles at Comcast

    Two top communications executives at Comcast Corp., Jennifer Khoury and Adam Miller, were given broader roles at the company that will make them the top architects of the entertainment giant’s strategy in how it portrays itself to the public and other constituencies. Khoury, a veteran of public relations strategy at Comcast’s cable operations, was named [...]

  • SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE:

    'So You Think You Can Dance' Renewed for Season 17 at Fox

    “So You Think You Can Dance” has been renewed for a 17th season at Fox. Bailey Munoz was named the winner of the most recent season of the dance competition series. Munoz, a 19 year old break dancer, won $250,000, a cover spot on “Dance Spirit” magazine, and the title of America’s Favorite Dancer. Auditions [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content