Among the 178 episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, some are particularly relevant to see or review before Picard.
As of Thursday, January 23, 2020, Captain Jean-Luc Picard will return to service on CBS and Amazon Prime. Two decades after the end of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the iconic character is back in Picard, a series entirely focused on him and his entourage.
If you haven’t seen a single episode of the franchise prior to the recent Discovery series, it might be a good idea to watch a few episodes to get the most out of this new adventure. And if you’re already familiar with Star Trek, refreshing your memory is always good. However, there is an “obstacle”: the series The Next Generation, starring Picard, consists of 178 episodes. We have concocted a little guide of some important episodes to watch before Picard. They are all available on Netflix France.
The Star Trek Picard series will find the famous captain, but now settled in his vineyard in France // CBS – Amazon Prime
It may seem obvious, but it’s important to remember that the pilot episode of The Next Generation is a fundamental building block. Jean-Luc Picard is taking command of his ship again. Cult members of its crew are also introduced.
During this special 1h30 episode, we will have to face an unusual extraterrestrial threat: the latter “judges” that humanity is a criminal species that must be punished and confined. Captain Picard will then seek to prove that mankind has become a better species, now cured of the atrocities and hatred that have marked its historical past. This scenario is an excellent medium through which we can (re)discover the full meaning of diplomacy and humanism shown by Picard.
If you’ve watched Picard‘s trailer, then you’ve probably seen the android Data. He’s playing a key role in this season of the series. The fact is, the relationship between Jean-Luc Picard and Data has always been amicably powerful. A very strong bond unites them.
The Data Commander, the android aboard the Enterprise. // Source: Paramount
In To Be or Not to Be, a scientist wants to disassemble Data to study it and replicate it in large numbers. The big question then arises: is it a form of life endowed with consciousness and, consequently, with inalienable individual rights? This episode is crucial to Data’s place in Star Trek and to the Captain. To be or not to be is also a reminder of Picard’s values and his democratic, peaceful, open vision of the Federation. A must-see episode before watching Star Trek Picard.
Little bonus: Concerning Data, you can continue with “Paternity”, episode 16 of season 3. In this one, he creates a new android that he considers his own daughter.
- To read: Star Trek Picard: who are the cult characters in the trailer?
This double episode closes season 3 and opens season 4. The Best of Worlds contains many interesting ingredients for understanding the plot of the new series centered on Picard. In The Best of Worlds, the captain is assimilated by the Borg, a cybernetic species whose method of conquest is to assimilate the spirits and melt them into their global computer network. This event is a turning point in Capt Picard’s life.
In this double episode, Picard is assimilated by the Borg, a cybernetic species // Source: Paramount
The Family Episode is the direct continuation of the double episode mentioned above. In a sense, it represents “the calm after the storm”. In order to recover from the trauma experienced during his assimilation by the Borg, Jean-Luc Picard decides to return to Earth, to France, to his family and to the famous vineyard that you see in the trailer of the new series. No interstellar exploration, no space battles, this episode is an introspection into the very personal life of the captain.
This episode is the embodiment of what has always motivated Picard and his crew to explore space: discovering, understanding and trying to communicate with other species. Even if they are sometimes radically different from everything we know. Episodes like this one remind us how much Star Trek represents benevolent exploration and how much Picard embodies this utopia.
It must be said that Darmok is quite symbolic of this approach, since the discovered humanoid species is only able to express itself through metaphors. Even the universal translator created for the space fleet (and very useful for many scenarios) is unable to do the translation. We will have to look for other ways to communicate.
Spock is Vulcan, but not all Vulcans are… Vulcans. Some of them have moved to another planet. They’re Romulans and there’s a political division between the two planets. It turns out the Romulans will be central to the new Picard series.
Spock appears for the first time in The Next Generation via this episode // Source : Paramount
The double-episode Unification has several advantages: it reminds us of the great stakes linked to the Romulans and their status vis-à-vis the Federation in a very political episode; it offers a nice return to the origins with an appearance of Spock; and it allows us to see all the diplomatic skills shown by Jean-Luc Picard.
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A character not belonging to the series The Next Generation will be present in Picard: it is Seven of Nine, a major member of the crew in another series, Star Trek Voyager. Originally a human, she was captured by the famous Borg as a child. Years later, Janeway, captain of the Voyager, made a deal to free her.
To end your binge watching in preparation for Picard, we strongly advise you to watch Scorpio, episode 26 of season 3 of Voyager, as well as the next episode. It is through this plot that Seven of Nine arrives in Star Trek and we get to know it. You can then complete with Episode 6, The Raven, where we learn even more about her.