As I sip on my tea, Earl Grey, hot. I promise this will be mostly spoiler free. I'll assume you've seen a trailer or two.
Star Trek Picard opens with a whimsical scene of fan service. A welcome mat for fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation that may have tuned out of Discovery. I dare say it will pull at the heart strings of many NextGen fans. I'm pleased to say the appearance of Data is not just some token cameo.
Any reading about Picard during the run up to the series premiere mentions Patrick Stewart having more influence on the production than he had back in the NextGen days. Sir Patrick Stewart has taken up the cause of rescue dogs, specifically pit bulls. We are quickly introduced to Picard's four legged companion, Number 1. Whom we get to see plenty of, Picard even speaks French to his dog!
Next is the opening credits and theme music. A departure from standard five year mission productions. The orchestral music and imagery is soft. Giving us little hint of the dangers ahead, more about the narrative of fixing a broken man. This Picard is broken. A broken old man of diminished physical ability. Living in fear that his spirit is rapidly diminishing. All while projecting grace and dignity in public. A public figure, a living legend preferring to hide at his vineyard.
Patrick Stewart created a minor controversy while doing press to promote his new series. Saying that Star Trek Picard will tackle the issues of "Trump and BREXIT". Which promptly offended half the internet. That statement of Stewart's is backed up with a scene of a tense television interview with the retired Admiral. Star Trek has a rich history of discussing issues worthy of debate through it's sci-fi lens. This scene carries on that tradition giving us one of the more powerful performances of Stewart in the episode. Frankly, the scene is done well, some people will choose to be offended.
River Tam...excuse me Dahj (Isa Briones) shows up at Picard's vineyard chateau looking for safety. Safety that only Picard can provide. This is when we're introduced to the core element of the series. Picard begins to realize he may have purpose other than tending to vines, other than counting down the days to his bed ridden death.
We then get to see some of Star Fleet headquarters in a beautiful 24th century San Francisco that has solved the homeless problem. We get another powerful scene with Picard and River Tam...apologies Dahj. This exciting scene nearly tuckers out Old Man Picard.
As the episode begins it's conclusion Picard just starts to grasp the notion he'll need a Firefly class starship and a crew to man it. We then get a scene introducing new characters aboard a Romulan Reclamation site. The dialog is a little hokey but the visuals will have the NextGen fan exclaim whaaaaat???
I think the first episode can carry the person who normally doesn't seek out sci-fi. For the NextGen fan you're all in.
4 stars out of 5.
We get a preview of upcoming episodes. Picard puts together a rag-tag smuggler's crew! Fat married Riker! Picard plays with a Rubik's Cube! 7 of Nine is back kicking ass and taking names! Yeah, I'll keep watching.