New “Star Trek: Picard” unlike the older series

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Tribune News Service

“Star Trek: Picard” promotional photo.

Krista Olson-Lehman, Staff Writer

Star Trek is a beloved franchise that goes back 54 years. Even if you’re not a fan, you likely know of Star Trek and its huge fan base. “Star Trek: The Next Generation” was the first show to branch off the beloved original series and followed a new ship, also called Enterprise with a new captain, Jean-Luc Picard. Since the debut of “The Next Generation,” many television series and a reboot of the original movies have come out.

While there may be a great history behind the character Picard—seven television seasons and four feature films, to be exact—none of that matters to the casual viewer of “Star Trek: Picard.” If you come into the show with no idea who Picard is, plenty of clues about his past and character are given. The setting is 20 years in the future from the last feature film. While the pilot episode gives a lot to the loyal fan who sees a long-deceased character on a long-gone ship, Picard doesn’t spend its time mired in fan service. New viewers and old fans alike get caught up on the events that have transpired in the life of the now retired Star Fleet Admiral. There are plenty of small moments peppered in for the old fans of the show, but they are mere moments. The show stands on its own.

The show’s look and feel are much different than its predecessor and different than even newer shows from the franchise. “The Next Generation” featured a Federation of Planets that always strive to be the absolute best of all the different species it entailed. It came with a moral message and an imperfect but infallible hero. It could come off as stuffy at times, even to a longtime fan like myself.

Picard is shot in a different light. The pilot episode brings us to the world of the retired admiral, who tends to his family’s vineyard, far away from the adventures of space. Even in such an aged setting, we see the use of advanced technology. The show is shot with warmer tones than the cold, stark light of “The Next Generation.”

In this new series, the Federation of Planets isn’t so morally superior, and Picard is not so infallible. The series deals with facing one’s own mortality, the potential eradication of a civilization after a star goes nova, the aftermath of artificial life, and the fear of those who are unlike us. Picard isn’t the captain of a ship of polished officers; he is merely a tagalong with a group of somewhat broken people who are on a mission for their own personal reasons. Picard isn’t flying in a flagship of the Federation; he’s a passenger on a transport.

If you are a longtime Star Trek fan, this is unlike the Star Trek you’re used to. Yes, you will see beloved characters, familiar scenes, and some great one-liners. The new reboot movies and series like ‘Discovery’ have been bringing a level of action into the franchise, and while Picard focuses heavily on drama and characters, it still has the slick effects we’ve seen in recent releases.

The show revisits a few of the old characters from Picard’s past but shows us the development of a new cast of characters, each with an unexpected twist. The strength of this show is the development of those new characters, and the fact that it can be enjoyed by someone who is new to “Star Trek.” You don’t need an encyclopedic knowledge of the history of each show in order to sit down, watch, and enjoy.

This show has action, emotion, and depth. It carries a moral message about how we should not fear those who are different from us but learn from those differences.

The entire first season has been released and is now available. Right now, CBS streaming is offering a free month subscription. They’re also offering student rates for their subscription service, making it a bonus to watch this spectacular show for free.