A quick confession before you read this review. I am a Trekkie for life. Ever since my late Aunt Joyce showed me a rerun one Saturday night on my Mammaw’s color TV, I have been hooked. I loved it, despite Mammaw rushing us to switch over to Hee Haw at the end. The very first words I ever said to my husband were “Do you like Star Trek? I love Star Trek.” We both went on to work in TV. He worked for a station that ran Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise and our Trek parties in the 1990s were legen– wait for it – dary!
Still, the launch of Star Trek: Discovery on CBS All Access was not enough to make me pay for another streaming subscription. We waited until the first season was over and got the DVD. Discovery was… pretty good. Well, most of the time.
But I didn’t run out to add another streaming subscription. But when I saw that Patrick Stewart was coming back as Captain Picard, I signed up to make sure I was there from episode one. I am pleased to say that not only is the show good enough to recommend that Trek fans sign up for All Access, it’s good enough to please people who aren’t familiar with the show. We had a little watch party equally divided among those two camps and the newbies agreed it was still an intriguing drama show even if they didn’t understand why the other half of the room kept squealing in delight at details like the name of Picard’s dog (Number One) and the mention of a scientist who only appeared in one episode of Next Generation.
Picard opens with our hero who is now 90 and retired to his family vineyard with his Romulan butler and housekeeper. He’s had a bitter break with Star Trek over what to do with a billion or so Romulan refugees. If you’re a fan, I’ll feed you a line from the episode that tells you all you need to know. “Early Grey, decaf!”
Don’t worry, this isn’t a wacky sitcom about a retired military man. This is not a reboot of Next Generation. This is definitely Trek, but with a twist. It’s a serialized drama as opposed to an adventure of the week. There are plenty of callbacks to keep fans happy with references to the beloved “Measure of a Man” and “The Offspring” episodes of Next Generation, Star Trek Nemesis, the first of the Star Trek reboot movies and more. The theme even plays with the flute music of “The Inner Light.” If none of that means anything to you, you’ll still enjoy this well-paced drama featuring one of the great actors of his or any other generation.
If you’re into saving money, you could wait until all of the episodes have aired and then get All-Access for a month and binge-watch. They offer a free one-week trial. All Access costs $5.99 per month with commercials, $9.99 without. Also, the Pluto TV app is playing the first episode of Picard along with relevant Star Trek movies on their Sci-Fi channel. Not sure how long they’ll be doing it as they really don’t put out a schedule, but you can get the free app in the app store for your phone or go to Pluto.TV to watch.
Puzzlingly to me, the reviewer for Entertainment Weekly said the first episode was awful. I promise you, he watched it wrong