The latest iteration of the long enduring Star Trek franchise, Picard, comes to blu-ray this week from Paramount Canada, and it’s gorgeous.
While the series could be construed as a sequel to Star Trek: The Next Generation and the The Next Generation films as it focuses on the show’s lead character, Jean-Luc Picard played by icon, Patrick Stewart, the show also stands on its own.
I know some people who had problems with the series, saying this isn’t the Picard they knew, or that the Trek universe has shied too far from the idealistic view that series creator Gene Roddenberry had for it back when he created the show in the 1960s.
It’s been twenty years since we last saw Picard, at the end of the film, Nemesis. Things have changed for him, and the universe he lives in, including the destruction of the planet, Romulus (seen in the 2009 movie, Star Trek), which instigated some of the changes we see in the character. For the people who took issue with his changes I ask, what were you like twenty years ago? Were you the same person?
Picard pulls together a new crew in this ten episode season that follows one continual arc that, at its heart, explores the human condition, which has always been what Star Trek, no matter its trappings, has always been about. It explores themes of loss, regret, love, the fear of the other and the unknown, and the human adventure we find ourselves on.
To me, that is Trek. There are some well-earned fan moments throughout the season, and little nods to the continuity of the universe, but you don’t have to know the shows intimately to enjoy it, as Stewart remains captivating as Picard, and he’s surrounded by a stellar cast, including Isa Briones, Alison Pill, Michelle Hurd, Santiago Cabrera and Jeri Ryan.
Over the course of ten episodes an engaging narrative emerges as we travel to new and familiar strange worlds, encounter new allies, and old friends and Picard takes its place comfortably in the Trek universe.
The new blu-ray (available in a gorgeous steelbook edition) not only has the expected gorgeous picture and sound, but also a wealth of extras, behind the scenes of each episodes, a too short discussion with Stewart and the show’s writers and producers Micheal Chabon, Kirsten Beyer, Akiva Goldsman and Alex Kurtzman.
There are commentaries, a look at Picard’s new crew, as he works outside Starfleet guidelines aboard La Sirena. How the aliens were brought to life, and how the recovered Borg in the series have changed, a very cool look at the props created for the series (so many wants in there, I’m just saying Paramount), set design, and of course, the Short Trek: Children of Mars which was held back from the Short Treks blu-ray as it tied in more directly with Picard than it did with Discovery, and serves as a precursor to the series.
And I’m not going to lie, I’m a sucker for a good gag reel, and this is included, and it’s so great to hear and Patrick and Jonathan Frakes laughing and working together again.
I eagerly await season two, even as Lower Decks surprises me on a weekly basis, and Discovery is about to return for its third season, and Strange New Worlds on the horizon… I should really be writing for one of them… Hey Paramount!!
Star Trek: Picard is available on blu-ray today from Paramount Pictures. Boldly go…