In Star Trek: Picard, we witness an older Captain Picard, retired and done with the outside world. He has withdrawn to the family estate, trying his hand at winemaking. It appears as if we’re starting at the happy ending of the Star Trek series, The Next Generation. But is everything truly as serene and concluded as it seems? Is it worthwhile to observe how the older generation, once the new generation, copes with a changing world (or universe)? Or should we simply dismiss older people like Picard once they retire?
The Star Trek Journey
Let’s revisit the origins of Star Trek. It all began with the original Star Trek featuring Kirk, Spock, and Bones. Then came the movies and later, in the 1980s, the TV series The Next Generation (TNG). TNG was a massive hit, and for seven seasons, we followed the adventures of Picard and his crew on the Enterprise-D. While Kirk was a relatively young captain, Picard was deliberately portrayed as an older man (although 47 isn’t really old, right?). This distinction gave TNG its own themes and crew dynamics. Picard was a calm man, more of a scientist than an adventurer, and someone who sought to solve problems diplomatically.
This is also how Star Trek: Picard begins: the old captain is still mourning the loss of Data, the android who served with him on the Enterprise. Picard embarks on a quest to find the man who might hold more information about what happened to Data. Along the way, he stops at a planet with fleeing Romulans. In subsequent episodes, other former crew members and Star Trek characters make appearances. However, it’s the search for Data that drives Picard forward.
A Chaotic Narrative
The first season is relatively easy to follow. Loose ends are tied up, and we witness Picard forming a bond with Seven of Nine (ex-Borg). Not to mention the brilliant guest roles of Data, Riker and Troi. But the second season attempts to accomplish a bit too much, leading to a somewhat chaotic storyline. I won’t even attempt to summarize it. Maybe when I rewatch it, things might fall into place, especially concerning Picard’s family history and its impact on him.
The third season is where everything comes together beautifully. The entire Enterprise crew reunites, and it’s a joy to see how the characters from TNG seamlessly merge with the new characters in ST: Picard. They also face a formidable opponent that challenges them. Everything falls into place in this last season.
Old, but Not Dead Yet
Yes, Patrick Stewart is older, but he still portrays Picard as an intelligent man who, despite his age, is determined to contribute to the future. For the young Romulan he encountered, for Seven who shares the scars of the Borg, and for Raffi, who needs a second and third chance. Picard seems to dedicate himself to the new generation, not for personal gain, but out of genuine care. And that’s beautiful.
This series is nostalgic, with loads of ‘remember when’ moments. I wouldn’t suggest starting with Picard unless you’ve seen Star Trek: The Next Generation. Picard was written by Star Trek fans, but not just any fans. Take Michael Chabon, a literary author who holds a passion for science fiction and fantasy. And evidently, for Star Trek. Perhaps the second season’s ambition was a bit too high for a TV series. Nevertheless, overall, it’s a delightful series, especially the fantastic final season.