There was a time when seeing an actor return to the role that made them famous meant their career had stalled and they needed the money, and what they did with this return usually reflected this. But no more. Just as Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill made triumphant returns in the recent Star Wars movies, so too did Patrick Stewart when he again took up the mantle of Jean-Luc Picard for the streaming show Star Trek: Picard, which has just been released on Blu-ray, DVD, and limited edition Blu-ray steelbook, all of which do this show justice.
Set in the same timeline as the original series,
The Next Generation, Deep Space 9, Voyager, Enterprise, Discovery, and their corresponding movies (whew!), the ten episodes of Star Trek: Picard shows what happened to the good captain, Starfleet, and the Alpha Quadrant after the destruction of the Romulan home world (which, of course, ultimately led to the other timeline of the recent movies). Long retired, and running his family’s vineyard, Picard finds himself drawn back into the realm of galactic action when a mysterious woman shows up at his house, seeking his help.
What follows in the 10 episodes of Star Trek: Picard: Season One is an exciting adventure that’s as good as the best Next Generation episodes, and thus almost as good as the ones during the original show, DS9, and Discovery. Doubly so since this isn’t just a follow-up to Next Gen, it also ties in nicely to DS9 and Voyager in ways I won’t spoil.
It’s also decidedly more like the later runs of DS9 (and the two seasons of Discovery) in that it tells one long sprawling story, and isn’t a space adventure of the week like Next Gen used to be. It also helps that Stewart is better here as Picard than he ever was in the show, more relaxed and vulnerable while still being commanding, and his co-stars are as interesting and engaging.
Granted, Star Trek: Picard does get a bit weak as it nears the end, but even so, it’s still a rather satisfying sci-fi space opera story, and a worthy successor to the triumvirate of Next Generation, DS9, and Voyager.
Of course, anyone thinking of buying the Star Trek: Picard: Season One Blu-rays or DVD isn’t just looking for the episodes. They’re looking for the extras as well. And in this regard, all three versions of this seasonal set do a good job of including what fans want, and where.
As you would hope,
the Star Trek: Picard: Season One Blu-rays and DVD has a featurette called “Make It So” in which the writers, producers, and Stewart all explain how this show came to be, including how the latter worked with the others to make it something worthy of his return.
The Star Trek: Picard: Season One Blu-rays and DVD also have a number of making-of episode-specific featurettes, starting with short but engaging ones for every episode. As with similar featurettes on other TV show’s seasonal sets, they’re informative and interesting, and boast a good mix of cast and crew interviews with behind-the-scenes footage. They’re even, helpfully, located in the individual menus for each episode.
This is also where you’ll find the show’s deleted scenes. Well, for the four episodes that have them, that is. And while none would’ve radically changed anything had they not been cut, they’re still interesting.
The first episode of Star Trek: Picard, “Remembrance,” even has an optional running commentary by the producers, though without any of the stars, especially Stewart, it seems a bit lacking.
As for featurettes about making the series as a whole, the Star Trek: Picard: Season One Blu-rays and DVD have a handful, all of which are as engaging and enlightening as the episode-specific ones. In “The Motley Crew,” for instance, the cast and crew introduce us to Picard’s new coworkers (some of whom you may recognize). There’s also “Aliens Alive: The XBs,” which centers on the make-up effects of the [NO SPOILERS]; the self-explanatory “Picard Props”; and a tour of the sets by Production Designer Todd Cherniawsky called “Set Me Up.”
on the Star Trek: Picard: Season One Blu-rays and DVD is “Children Of Mars,” the prequel short that was released alongside the series. It even has its own commentary track, though, again, without any of the actors.
And, of course, the Star Trek: Picard: Season One Blu-rays and DVD ends with a gag reel, which is nearly eight minutes of Stewart and friends showing that even the most accomplished of actors fuck up once in a while. Or more than once in a while.
As good and comprehensive as the extras on the Star Trek: Picard: Season One Blu-rays and DVD may be, though, they’re not complete. And not just because they didn’t invite the stars to join the commentaries. For one thing, there’s only the one commentary on the first episode; the other nine are left bare.
The same can also be said, sadly, for the deleted scenes, which do not have their own commentary tracks, nor anything else to indicate why they were cut or from when in the episode (though it’s usually fairly apparent).
The Star Trek: Picard: Season One Blu-rays and DVD also don’t have the original trailers for the show, or anything on Una McCormack’s tie-in novel, Star Trek: Picard: The Last Best Hope, or Kirsten Beyer and Mike Johnson’s prequel graphic novel, Star Trek: Picard: Countdown, though there is a slip of paper in the packaging letting people know these things exist.
Despite these slight missteps, though,
Star Trek: Picard: Season One is still a solid seasonal collection for a show that does a great job of expanding the Star Trek saga in ways that (I hope) will serve as the blueprint for when the captains from Deep Space 9, Voyager, and Enterprise decide to make their return.