– 23 January 2020 – Pop culture
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- Star Trek Picard: the humanistic science fiction series we needed
Star Trek: Picard on Amazon Prime focuses on one of the most cult captains of the Enterprise: Jean-Luc Picard. The character is true to himself, we find the humanistic and scientific utopia that makes the identity of Star Trek. We’ve seen the first three episodes. Here’s our review, no spoilers.
The return of Capt Jean-Luc Picard was long overdue. This wish has finally come true as this iconic figure of the Star Trek franchise is back in Picard, a series entirely centered on him. In France, the series will be broadcast from January 24, 2020 on Amazon Prime Video. What’s this suite worth? Spoiler-free review based on the first three episodes.
The relaunch of the Star Trek franchise began with Discovery. This new series, available on Netflix, had the merit of introducing thousands of people to this SF universe, but it remains decried by some fans because of its emancipation from a part of the “canon”. Another flaw of Discovery: it was taking place in the past instead of being part of the future of this universe (which will perhaps change with season 3). Picard, on the other hand, is extremely daring and brilliantly pursues the fabric of the franchise.
Star Trek Picard features a much older Jean-Luc Picard than the one who ran the Enterprise during the seven seasons of The Next Generation. He has retired and now takes care of his vineyard, in France, in a calm and serene atmosphere. However, the call of the stars was to prove stronger than anything else: the arrival of a mysterious young woman upset everything and forced Jean-Luc Picard to resume, in a way, service.
In Picard, the franchise benefits from an entirely new intrigue, so much so that the structure is not the one we were used to in the Star Trek franchise. The traditional exploration of the Universe is not really present, replaced by other issues, rather political and techno-scientific. One and the same plot spread over the episodes. Another change is that the series starts out in two different settings: on Earth and in a space base. That doesn’t mean the Star Trek DNA isn’t present. On the contrary.
Ex-Captain Jean-Luc Picard is true to himself. What’s more, his humanistic approach infuses this whole new series dedicated to him. It is only in the first scenes, when he meets the mysterious young woman, that he is convinced: empathy takes over, where any other character would have been driven by anxiety. But he doesn’t pose as a father figure – that would be tantamount to building a power relationship into the relationship, something he has never faced in a staggered way, and we’re glad the new showrunners have understood this.
- To read: Star Trek Picard: who are the cult characters in the trailer?
Jean-Luc Picard’s humanism is all the more at the centre of the series as this supreme value is put to the test. The former captain’s utopian vision of the Federation no longer corresponds to reality at the beginning of season 1, and it is precisely this discrepancy that will trigger his departure from the family vineyard for a new space odyssey. In this series, we understand more than ever what has always motivated Jean-Luc Picard. And, if we can’t tell you more, he won’t be the only character this season to carry this ideal within him.
Jean-Luc Picard is older, but he hasn’t changed that much, on the contrary // Source: CBS / Amazon Prime
Star Trek Picard resonates as the SF series that the times need, where Discovery was only SF entertainment (even of quality). With Picard, the screenwriters remembered that Star Trek is a futuristic utopia that is there to respond to the present. In an era where globalisation is troubled by hatred or fear of differences, the character of Jean-Luc Picard and his entourage are the antithesis of our present; where the drift of the Federation, on the contrary, embodies the drifts of the moment.
We can therefore conclude that this new series centered on Picard has understood the substantial marrow of Star Trek and even of science fiction as a whole.
Star Trek Picard is punctuated by scenes of action and suspense, but it is also, and above all, a damn “talkative” series. The focus is on dialogues in which everyone shares their moods or ideas – be they moral, political or scientific. This new Star Trek series exudes something very “scholarly”.
- To read: Star Trek Picard: which episodes should we watch before this new series?
It’s a quality, but from time to time it turns into a flaw, especially in the first two episodes. The plot of Star Trek Picard is linked to many of the fundamentals of the franchise, established over time. So the writers are working hard to make sure that the series is still easy for anyone who hasn’t seen a Star Trek series, except maybe Discovery.
So, yes, everyone will be able to watch Star Trek Picard, even without any knowledge of Star Trek... But you’ll have to hang on a little for the first two episodes. The dialogues are there to condense a maximum of information on the whole Star Trek canon: it’s effective but, in our opinion, not the most relaxing for an introduction. It softens after the third episode. And it’s worth it, because the humanist and scientific utopia that drives Jean-Luc Picard will do good even for franchise novices.
Star Trek: Picard, January 24, 2020 on Amazon Prime Video in France
Indicative note: 5/5
This new series centered on Jean-Luc Picard has understood the substantial marrow of Star Trek and even of science fiction as a whole. It can be a bit difficult to get in, but it softens after the third episode. The humanist message is worth it.
- Jean-Luc Picard’s humanism is back
- An outstanding SF series
- A good extension to the entire Star Trek franchise.
- A little difficult for novices to get started.
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