As a self-confessed Star Wars fanboy, I wasn’t really interested in Star Trek: Picard, so writing a review could have ended up biased. However, having watched the first episode on CBS All Access, it’s impossible to come away and not want to watch more.
Two things to know about this review:
- We aim to be 100% spoiler-free.
- This review is based on the first episode only.
Here’s a link to the opening episode, which is available to stream for free on YouTube for a limited time.
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Looks better than expected
Star Trek: Picard has some beautiful settings. For example, Jean-Luc’s vineyard is both vibrant and expansive. However, what stands out is the mix of reality and futuristic technology. It’s fantastically cool. This mix happens across most locations visited during the first episode, keeping this reviewer’s curiosity piqued.
It’s almost perfect until large visual effects dominate the screen. It’s in these rare moments that Star Trek: Picard doesn’t hold up visually against some of the recent super-big-budget shows. It is a minor issue, yet it can occasionally break immersion.
The first episode: Almost perfect
Despite this visual issue, my enthusiasm for the show grew throughout the episode. At this point, I can’t help but think the 45 minutes spent watching Picard was a better use of time than the six-plus hours I wasted on the latest Star Wars trilogy.
My biggest takeaway from Episode 1 is that Patrick Stewart makes this a must-see show. It’s understandable why Star Trek fans put the actor on a pedestal; he has depth and likeability on-screen. His old man full of guilt performance is top-draw, and the science fiction story surrounding him makes it a compelling pilot episode.
Patrick Stewart carrying the show?
There’s no doubt Star Trek: Picard Episode 1 is a home run. It titillates visually (for the most part), and it introduces the start of a story arc that science fiction fans will want to see more of. It definitely makes me, a Star Wars fan, want to watch at least Episode 2.
The concern I have for Star Trek: Picard is that it’s reliant on Patrick Stewart to a fault. His costars seem to be delivering performances on the TV soap side of acting. For instance, Isa Briones, who plays a key role in the episode (and show probably), is fantastic in the action scenes, but has moments that reminded me of Joey Tribbiani’s “smell the fart” acting. This is adequate while Stewart is on screen, but what about episodes when he’s not on screen 90 percent of the time?
Unfortunately, Star Trek: Picard is only streaming in HD with 5.1 sound. There is no 4K version available with HDR, Dolby Vision, or Dolby Atmos currently.
Star Trek: Picard Season 1 verdict: Binge
- Streaming on CBS All Access
- Created by Alex Kurtzman, Akiva Goldsman, Michael Chabon, and Kirsten Beyer
- Starring Patrick Stewart, Santiago Cabrera, and Alison Pill
This reviewer gives the first episode of Star Trek: Picard a big thumbs up. I do have a genuine concern that this show is resting on the shoulders of an 80-year old and it doesn’t have the budget it needed, yet in terms of a science fiction season opener, it is almost perfect.
My original preconception about Star Trek was, except for the rebooted movies starring Chris Pine, it looks like a cheesy Star Wars on a shoestring budget. Consider this prejudice trashed.
Check out the Star Trek: Picard official trailer below.
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