Picard has been different, and not just because it’s the return of a familiar and beloved character—its reach has gone lightyears beyond the fandom, and much of that is because of Patrick Stewart. In the eighteen years since the last TNG film, Nemesis, he’s become a huge celebrity, but it’s the kind where his real-world persona has become as important, if not more than, his roles: his presence on social media, his charitable work, his talk show appearances, his friendship with Ian McKellen, his knighthood. Virginia, who is not what you’d call a Trekkie, was giggling over that country music video of Stewart’s to the point where she actually bought the CD.
That’s exactly the sort of thing I mean. On the one hand, stage work aside, Stewart is ensconced as a genre actor now; he doesn’t make as many non-SF/F movies as he used to (Conspiracy Theory, LA Story, Jeffrey, etc.), but because his reach has extended deep into the mainstream, he has transcended Trek and genre in general in a way only William Shatner, and arguably George Takei as well, has done.
The difference, I think, between Stewart’s fame and Shatner’s is the former appears more selective in the projects with which he involves himself. No one will remember Shatner for things like $#*! My Dad Says or War Chronicles, but I think Shatner’s motivated very differently. Between the acting, the writing, the spoken-word CDs, the commercials, and more, he seems determined to do it all. Stewart doesn’t strike me that way.
|Who is this mystery girl and what’s her connection|
to Data, who died in Nemesis?
Picard picks up the plot threads from Nemesis and the events of the 2009 film, in which Romulus was destroyed. The Federation had been mounting a relief effort on the Romulans’ behalf when something happened that led to them having a change of heart. This pissed off Jean-Luc (an admiral now) enough for him to leave Starfleet. Plus he’s still sad over the death of Data. Then he encounters a young woman with ties to his past, and to Data, and the things he learns as a result force him to come out of his self-imposed exile to uncover a secret plot within Starfleet itself.
|Jean-Luc will assemble a new crew for a new mission,|
but not as Starfleet officers.
There are a number of precedents within Trek for the Federation and Starfleet being the antagonists—the movie Insurrection, for example. Still doesn’t feel right, but Stewart, an executive producer on the show, has said Picard would reflect current events. My initial thought was that Section 31, the secret black-ops group within Starfleet, might be the source of the problems. I hope they are, though I have a sinking feeling it won’t be as simple as that this time...
|As of this writing, the TNG gang hasn’t appeared yet,|
but they will. Seven of Nine too.
Why does smoking exist in Picard? One character does it because she’s been in a deep depression for years, one exacerbated by Jean-Luc’s presence in her life again. I can understand that—but another does it for no reason that I can tell. I really find this disappointing to see. I had thought humanity had outgrown this habit in the future.
I like Picard overall, certainly more than Discovery, and I know Trek in general can’t go back to the way it was circa 1993 anymore, but that’s a hard pill to swallow.