Star Trek: Picard season 1 premiere review: Old friends and new faces

Pictured: Patrick Stewart as Picard. Photo Cr: Matt Kennedy/CBS ©2019 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Pictured: Patrick Stewart as Picard. Photo Cr: Matt Kennedy/CBS ©2019 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

Star Trek: Picard‘s season premiere,”Remembrance,” is a promising start for the series that combines old friends with new faces in an engaging hour of television.

It’s been almost 20 years since Patrick Stewart filled the shoes of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, so to say that Star Trek: Picard is a highly anticipated series would be a gross understatement. Crafting a worthy follow-up to Star Trek: The Next Generation, a show which revitalized the Trek franchise and immortalized Stewart’s performance as one of the most iconic of all time, is no small feat, and we’re glad to report that if “Remembrance” is any indication, Star Trek: Picard is set to be a strong successor.

Picking up 20 years after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis, the series finds Picard (now a retiree with the rank of Admiral), living a quiet, secluded life overseeing his vineyard, Chateau Picard, with the aid of his beloved dog “Number One,” and a pair of Romulan housekeepers. Picard resigned from Starfleet after an incident in which a group of rogue synthetics destroyed Mars, resulting in 90,000+ casualties and mass Romulan displacement. The Picard we meet in “Remembrance” is haunted by these events, as well as frequent dreams that feature his old friend and crewmate, Commander Data (Brent Spiner).

Although he’s only present via dream sequences, Data seems to be playing a significant role in this season’s story — a young woman named Dahj (Isa Briones) comes to Picard for help and is eventually revealed to be Data’s “daughter,” made to look virtually indistinguishable from humans via a method developed by Commander Maddox.

The plot itself is very cinematic in scope and seems reminiscent more of the Star Trek films than a narrative taken from an episode from The Next Generation. Adding to the large-scale feel of the episode is the frequent use of visual effects and the surprising number of fight scenes, which were typically far and few between on TNG. 

These stylistic changes can mostly be written off as the show’s way of updating to feel more in line with the superhero-centric media landscape we’re living it, but the elements are also very reminiscent of Star Trek: Discovery, a show which is also helmed by Picard executive producer Alex  Kurtzman.

While the increase in scope and action sequence doesn’t hurt the show thus far, Picard‘s greatest flaw is one it shares with Discovery-clunky dialogue. Although it’s easy to forgive when being delivered by Patrick Stewart, who (as always) is stellar as Picard, many of the supporting characters deliver lines that often feel awkward or out of place. Allison Pill’s Dr. Jurati, particularly, has an introduction that falls particularly flat and feels odd considering the rest of the show’s tone.

In terms of new characters, however, it seems preemptive to judge virtually any of the other cast members, as most of Picard’s crewmates featured in the series trailer have yet to make an appearance. However, there is one cast member who appeared in this episode who’ll be a series regular, although seemingly not in the role she played in the first episode.

Isa Briones has almost as much (if not more) screen time as Stewart in her role as Dahj, the aforementioned synthetic daughter of Data. Dahj’s life is turned upside down when her boyfriend is murdered before her eyes during an attempt to kidnap her. However, we don’t get much of a chance to get to know her, because Dahj is seemingly killed off at the end of the episode.

Not to worry, though, because it is revealed by Dr. Jurati (and by the least subtle piece of plot-related jewelry in Trek history) that Dahj has an identical twin sister, also played by Briones. The sister, Soji, is shown at the end of the episode to be working on a Romulan facility inside what looks to be a Borg cube, which raises more questions than it answers.

The Romulan/Borg connection has yet to be explained, but it does seem to point to how Jeri Ryan’s Seven of Nine may be connected to the story. “Remembrance” is an episode chock-full of exposition that at points weighs the story down, but the episode, on the whole, is an undeniable success. It’s a difficult task to balance the creation of an entirely new and intriguing plot while also properly using and paying homage to well-loved characters, but so far Picard seems to be doing an admirable job.

Although it at times feels like Jean-Luc Picard is playing second fiddle in a show that’s named after him, “Remembrance” is a strong first entry that sets the stage for what could turn out to be one of the best shows in Trek history.

Next. 5 characters we want to appear in Star Trek: Picard. dark

Have you seen Star Trek: Picard? What characters from the original shows would you like to see return? Sound off in the comments below.