Blu-ray Review: Star Trek: Picard — Season One

I was never a big Star Trek guy growing up. It’s not that I thought it was lame or anything, I just never delved down that rabbit hole outside of reviewing a number of Star Trek: The Next Generation movies during their theatrical runs – and I actually enjoyed most of those, so why I never tried to jump into the show is still a mystery. Maybe when I was younger I actually believed that it was Star Wars or Star Trek and that was that. Definitely a silly mindset if that was the case, but it is what it is.

To this day I still haven’t watched a Star Trek series, though that’s mainly because I have a certain OCD with it and partially feel like I’d have to start from the beginning to get the full experience and by this point, doing so is incredibly daunting. That’s also an odd mindset, as I do know shows like Deep Space Nine and Discovery all live in the same universe or parallel universe or whatever it may be, so each show can stand on their own. I know that some fans enjoy certain spin-offs and dislike others, and I think that’s kind of cool.

I first took notice of Star Trek: Picard when I watched the beginning of the Comic-Con trailer. I’m a big fan of Patrick Stewart (so I guess at some point I should try and go back and watch The Next Generation,) and I also love strong female characters, so seeing Stewart returning as Picard and newcomer Isa Briones kicking all sorts of ass at the start of the trailer as the mysterious young woman Dahj, well, that was all I needed to get on board.

And I’m really happy I did, as Star Trek: Picard is absolutely fantastic, and I’m proof that it’s not just for Star Trek fans. It probably helps to know a little about the universe, as I do know who a number of the main characters of Next Generation are, and who some of the bigger characters are from other Star Trek series; however, even if you don’t, odds are you’ll pick up on who they are and their beliefs fairly fast, as the show does a really good job of catching viewers up without slowing down the pacing of the storytelling.

I won’t delve into the story too much, as the season is only 10 episodes long, so it’s best to just enjoy the ride and surprises as they come. I will say that it takes place 14 years after Picard retires, and roughly 30 years after Star Trek: The Next Generation ends. Picard is living on his vineyard, content to live out his days there, but also having dreams connected to his past that he can’t quite put together. The quiet life he’s been used to will cease to be after Dahj shows up on his doorstep, asking for his help to save her from an unknown threat.

The show itself looks fantastic and is rich with science fiction, new gadgets and great locales. While there are plenty of familiar faces there are also some really great new ones. First and foremost, as mentioned above, Briones is just awesome and when she wasn’t around I just wanted to see more of her character. She’s so cool to the point where I’d be on board with a complete spin-off focused on her.

New crewmembers also consist of former Starfleet Intelligence Officer, Raffi Musiker (Michelle Hurd), who also served under Picard before he retired; Cristóbal Rios (Santiago Cabrera), who is a pilot with some baggage that he’s hesitant to open up; Dr. Agnes Jurati (Alison Pill) is an android expert, and Elnor (Evan Evagora) is an extremely loyal Romulan warrior. All three are great, and the chemistry they all share is spectacular. On the villain side of things we’ve got two new Romulan played perfectly by Harry Treadaway and Peyton List, both so good at being bad that you really love to hate them, as any good villains should make you feel. It truly is a perfect cast, which is something Star Trek has never had issues putting together.

What’s truly so wonderful about Star Trek: Picard is that while it’s been renewed for a second season, this season stands on its own. What I mean by this is that the story wraps up all it needs to by the end of the 10-episodes, while also leaving things open ended to the point where anything is possible come season two. But most importantly, with how unknown things are these days in terms of project delays and so forth, if you invest your time into Star Trek: Picard you will not be left disappointed or hanging if a season two never happens.

Now, here’s hoping we get a second and third season, as Stewart has said that the plan for the show is to go three; but it’s a really good feeling when a season of a show wraps up all its main threads, while leaving just enough out there to keep you wanting more but not enough to make it so that if this is all we get that it’ll forever be tainted by a cliffhanger ending that’s never concluded.

So with that all said, whether you’re a Trekkie or not, I highly recommend jumping into the world of Star Trek: Picard. It’s an incredibly engrossing journey that allows itself time to breathe and really take in the dramatic stakes without simply rushing from action sequence to action sequence, while also pulling threads from a number of past Star Trek series, both from the big and small screen. So in the words of Picard himself, if you’re in the mood for some great science fiction and binge-worthy storytelling, then pick up Picard on Blu-ray and “Make it so!”

The series looks absolutely breathtaking on Blu-ray, and it’s definitely the way to watch it whether you’re revisiting it or viewing it for the first time. There are so many varying locations used over the course of the 10 episodes, and each shines through beautifully in this transfer. The darker scenes are clean and have depth without muddying up, which is key. On the audio side of things it’s just as superbly handled, with sound effects mixing in wonderfully with the score and dialogue, all living in harmony together to deliver a masterful viewing experience. This release is how you should watch the show.

Special Features:

Deleted Scenes – If you’re a fan of deleted scenes, there are four episodes here that have deleted/extended scenes. Clearly they had a vision for the show and where they wanted it to go, so it looks like they cut down on filming unnecessary scenes beforehand, and also didn’t have to trim much fat off the final product, which is always a win.

Short Treks: Children of Mars This is an 8-minute prequel of sorts to the first season, and is an interesting watch even after you’ve seen the show.

Audio Commentary for Children of Mars – This sees Executive Producer and co-writer Alex Kurtzman and co-writers Jenny Lumet and Kirsten Beyer discuss the Short Treks episode that I’ll touch on more later.

Video Commentary – It’s a new world in 2020 and this video commentary proves it, showcasing various cast and crew in a Zoom call format coming together for “Remembrance.” It’s good that they were able to get this together, despite current circumstances!

Story Log Featurettes – There are 10 different story logs that can be viewed, with each focusing on the episode it’s attached to. They range from 3-minutes to 7-minutes or so and are great quick watches to check out afterwards.

Make It So – This feature is 10-minutes in length and the creation of the show, some of the hardships in getting it off the ground. It also touches on them wanting the show to be able to stand on its own, and also delves into Picard as a character and Stewart’s work playing him.

Picard Props – This feature is just over 13-minutes in length and sees Propmaster Jeff Lombardy go through designing the world and time that Picard takes place in. We also hear from Head illustrator Daren Dochterman, and get a peek into the creative world that they lived in while designing things for the show.

Aliens Alive: The xBs – This feature is twelve and a half minutes in length and delves into the world of the “Ex-Borg” that are a pretty prominent part of the show’s first season.

Set Me Up – This feature is just under 15 minutes in length and focuses on the main sets used throughout filming. This is another really fun watch just to get a look behind-the-scenes at the world that was created.

The Motley Crew – This feature is the longest of the bunch, coming in at just over 19-minutes in length. It focuses on the new characters created for the show and the wonderful actors who portray them. It’s really great to see how excited everyone was to be a part of this, and it’s clear in the final product just how much they loved it.

Gag Reel – I’m always a big fan of gag reels, and this one does not disappoint. Clearly everyone had a great time filming this series, and hopefully it won’t be the last!

Paramount Pictures Presents Star Trek: Picard – Season One. Created by: Alex Kurtzman. Starring: Patrick Stewart, Isa Briones, Michelle Hurd, Santiago Cabrera, Alison Pill, Evan Evagora, Harry Treadaway, Peyton List. Running time: 10 Episodes/45-60 Minutes. Rating: PG. Released on Blu-ray: Oct. 6, 2020.

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