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Star Trek: Picard Season 1 Blu-ray review: “An ambitious, exciting series that takes Trek to another level”

Paramount Home Entertainment and CBS All Access original series, Star Trek: Picard Season One, beams onto Blu-ray, DVD, Limited Edition Steelbook (and to Download and Keep) in the UK on 25 January, and today we take a closer look at the series, and have also been delving into a wealth of Special Features!

Returning after a ridiculous 18 years, and I mean how time flies, Jean-Luc Picard is an undoubted television character icon, so this new Picard series had huge anticipation for all Star Trek fans and, to be honest, even Trek aficionado’s who have dipped in and out of different series’ over the years. Picard takes the best of Trek, with solid characters and profound narratives, and heads somewhere new, enticing in old fans and welcoming newbies, who might be apprehensive about what to expect.

The series itself embraces a new level of grandeur, expanding individual worlds and respecting what went before and going beyond. Actors new to the franchise all bring something fresh, with Alison Pill, Isa Briones, Evan Evagora, Michelle Hurd, and Santiago Cabrera, stamping their mark along the way. They even found time to weave in important roles for some classic ST names in the shape of Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis, Brent Spiner, and Jonathan Del Arco, plus a great role for Jeri Ryan’s iconic Seven of Nine from Star Trek: Voyager, without making it too cheesy or obvious.Where Picard succeeds, never disregarding Sir Patrick by the way, is the scale and vision for their ambition, and the door is left open enough to suggest even more adventures in Season 2, which we’d love to see, if it can happen.   

Back to S1 for the moment, Picard offers wonderful cinematography, don’t watch it on your laptop, get it on the biggest screen you have, yet keeps its story close to its chest, with little reveals just when you need it. Granted, Picard isn’t all perfect, I still raise concerns over the strength of Harry Treadaway’s villain, who involuntarily over-sold it from time-to-time, and I never found his placement that scary (and not always convincing), so I’m hoping they get the chance to ramp up in future ventures.

They cover practical dream sequences, subtle homages, and outstanding fight sequences. They’re not afraid to explore the mistakes of Starfleet and the depths of those decisions, which was really interesting. To be truthful, there’s an awful lot going on here, so you can see why Patrick returned. Back at the Premiere of Picard in London, it was great to listen to him talk about his character, and the reasons why he returned:

“In a sense I feel like I’ve been preparing to shoot Star Trek: Picard for the last 30 years. He has a quality about him unlike any acting experience I’ve ever had. The last thing I wanted or needed was to return…Two days later 35 pages turned up [of the new script] and I was [sighs] hooked…They were talking about a vision of Star Trek I had never imagined before.”

And this is the thing. Picard has the adventure but it also deals with situations that were left in the balance, and goes places that Star Trek probably wouldn’t in the past. Even from the opening gambit in episode one, we’re witnessing Jean-Luc’s deep guilt over losing Data and a reminder of the sacrifice made at the end of Star Trek: Nemesis. If you haven’t seen it yet, I won’t throw out any other spoilers, because there’s still a lot to learn across the timelines and a good space for you to work out where we are, between the alternative Kelvin/Prime timeline/universe(s).

As you might have realised by now, I really enjoyed it and believe it’s a fine addition to the Star Trek world, and then some. And now, as promised, a deeper delve into those special features:

● MAKE IT SO – The co-creators and Patrick Stewart discuss bringing the iconic character back to the screen, including what was compelling enough to warrant it and the obstacles they had to overcome to make it so.

As well as lots of other insightful chat, they explain how different they wanted to do each episode, how they wanted to change that world and go beyond they’d been before, thankfully! Stewart talks about being the writer’s room, listening to them ‘flashing ideas around the room’ and striving for new ideas.

We listen to Akiva Goldsman, Kirsten Beyer, Alex Kurtzman, Michael Chabon, and Patrick Stewart, talking about the progression and the need for the connection to Data, and how much it meant to everyone in the story.

● THE MOTLEY CREW  – Working outside of Starfleet, Picard gathers his crew from across the galaxy. This special feature looks at the actors and characters that will travel aboard the La Sirena.

The difference with Picard is how they built their crew in a vastly different way to usual Star Trek. Which made it a bit more unknown, they’re a motley lot but they’re eager to learn together, well, most of them in certain ways. It’s interesting to hear more about the real people behind the characters, how Isa Briones’ journey was especially interesting and listening to Patrick talk about his relationship with her in the story, and how vital that was to make the series a success. The excellence of Alison Pill, and her always-impressive range and approach. Obviously then Sir Patrick Stewart, who knows no introduction but will never be underestimated. And, of course, the rest of the cast including Michelle Hurd, all of Santiago Cabrera’s characters (ha-ha!), and the physicality of newcomer Evan Evagora, and (of course) Jeri Ryan.

● ALIENS ALIVE: THE xBs – A look inside the creative process behind the xBs of Star Trek: Picard, alongside Lead Creature Designer Neville Page, Vincent Van Dyke and his prosthetics studio team, as well as Make-Up and Prosthetics Department Head James MacKinnon about the process from start to stage.

This is a lovely insight into the Borg make-up and changing imagery, from how they originally looked, to what they’ve become in Picard. There’s an even better extended setup with Jeri Ryan and James MacKinnon, on how they’ve worked with her as Seven of Nine, and the friendliness behind-the-scenes there!

● PICARD PROPS  – Property Master Jeffrey Lombardi takes fans on a tour of the many props created for Season One of Star Trek: Picard. 

Jeff welcomes us to the Props department, with a full rundown of all the updates guns, and general looks. They’ve literally pushed it forward in time, so it fits the situation that it should. Work with ‘Doc’ in the props room and all the designs they went thru, even to get that Cuddly Toy! Romulan tarot cards and games, and even the insides that soccer ball that ends up becoming something else entirely. You’ve got to admire the detail, there’s always a lot more there than you even realise, or how long it takes to get something right. Oh, and Château Picard of course, if anyone wants to send me some of those bottles, I’m open!

● SET ME UP – Production Designer Todd Cherniawsky serves as the tour guide for the main stages of Star Trek: Picard, including the La Sirena, Picard’s study, and the Borg Cube. Cherniawsky, Supervising Art Director Iain McFadyen and Set Decorator Lisa Alkofer also discuss the various designs for the show. 

A delve into the tones, the individuality of Picard with Todd. Exploring the ridiculously impressive sets, the warehouse-style of La Sirena, and how the Federation gear they had found its way into the ship itself. And let’s face it, it’s a lovely ship! Good to have our JLP back.

● GAG REEL

Yes, and it’s a superb EIGHT minutes of outtakes and moments, including interventions from Frakes and Akiva during filming. Felt like a fun set. Let me know if anyone from CBS is reading this and I’d be happy to be an extra!

● STAR TREK: SHORT TREKS: CHILDREN OF MARS – Twelve-year-old classmates Kima and Lil find themselves at odds with each other on a day that will change their lives forever.

● COMMENTARY: STAR TREK: SHORT TREKS: CHILDREN OF MARS – Executive producer and co-writer Alex Kurtzman, and co-writers Jenny Lumet and Kirsten Beyer, discuss the featured Short Treks episode.

● COMMENTARY: EPISODE 101, “REMEMBRANCE” – Executive producers Alex Kurtzman, Akiva Goldsman and Michael Chabon, supervising producer Kirsten Beyer, and director Hanelle M. Culpepper provide commentary about episode one of Star Trek: Picard.

● DELETED SCENES – Too many to mention quickly, but lots to explore!

Star Trek: Picard S1 is available to order now on Blu-ray, DVD, Limited Edition Steelbook

One thought on “Star Trek: Picard Season 1 Blu-ray review: “An ambitious, exciting series that takes Trek to another level”

  1. Pingback: Win Star Trek: Picard Season One on DVD! | critical popcorn

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