Star Trek: Picard

Star Trek: Picard is an American television series created by Akiva Goldsman, Michael Chabon, Kirsten Beyer, and Alex Kurtzman for the streaming service CBS All Access (later rebranded as Paramount+). It is the eighth Star Trek series and was launched in 2020 as part of Kurtzman's expanded Star Trek Universe. The series features a retired Jean-Luc Picard, who has been deeply affected by the death of Data in the film Star Trek: Nemesis (2002) and the destruction of the planet Romulus in the film Star Trek (2009).

Star Trek: Picard
Over a white background the words Star Trek are written in yellow letters above the word Picard in black, with the A in Picard replaced by the Starfleet logo.
Genre
Created by
Based onStar Trek: The Next Generation
by Gene Roddenberry
Starring
ComposerJeff Russo
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes10 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
Production locationsSanta Clarita, California
Running time45–60 minutes
Production companies
Budget$8–9 million per episode
Release
Original network
Picture formatHDTV 1080p (2.39:1)
Dolby Vision
Audio formatDolby Digital 5.1
Original releaseJanuary 23, 2020 (2020-01-23) –
present (present)
Chronology
Preceded byStar Trek: Discovery
Followed byStar Trek: Lower Decks
Related shows
External links
Official website

Patrick Stewart executive produces the series and stars as Picard, reprising his role from the series Star Trek: The Next Generation as well as other Star Trek media. Alison Pill, Isa Briones, Evan Evagora, Michelle Hurd, Santiago Cabrera, Harry Treadaway, Jeri Ryan, Orla Brady, and Brent Spiner also star. The series was first rumored in June 2018, and was officially announced that August. Stewart had previously said he would not return to the franchise after Nemesis. The series is produced by CBS Television Studios in association with Secret Hideout, Weed Road Pictures, Escapist Fare, and Roddenberry Entertainment, and was designed to be slower and more character-focused than previous series in the franchise. Filming takes place in California, which granted the series large tax credits. Chabon served as showrunner for the first season, with Goldsman and Terry Matalas taking over for the second and third seasons.

Star Trek: Picard premiered on CBS All Access on January 23, 2020, and its first season ran for 10 episodes until March 26. The second season is set to debut on Paramount+ in February 2022, with the third premiering in early 2023. The series was met with positive reviews from critics, who praised Stewart's performance and the focus on character over action, though some criticized the series' slow pace. Several tie-in projects were created for the series, including an episode of the companion series Star Trek: Short Treks.

PremiseEdit

The series begins 20 years after Jean-Luc Picard's last appearance in Star Trek: Nemesis (2002),[1][2] and finds the character deeply affected by the death of Data in that film as well as the destruction of the planet Romulus in the film Star Trek (2009).[3][4]

EpisodesEdit

SeasonEpisodesOriginally released
First releasedLast releasedNetwork
110January 23, 2020 (2020-01-23)March 26, 2020 (2020-03-26)CBS All Access
210[5][6]February 2022 (2022-02)[7]TBAParamount+
3TBA2023 (2023)[7]TBA

Season 1 (2020)Edit

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
11"Remembrance"Hanelle M. CulpepperTeleplay by : Akiva Goldsman and James Duff
Story by : Akiva Goldsman & Michael Chabon & Kirsten Beyer & Alex Kurtzman and James Duff
January 23, 2020 (2020-01-23)
22"Maps and Legends"Hanelle M. CulpepperMichael Chabon & Akiva GoldsmanJanuary 30, 2020 (2020-01-30)
33"The End Is the Beginning"Hanelle M. CulpepperMichael Chabon & James DuffFebruary 6, 2020 (2020-02-06)
44"Absolute Candor"Jonathan FrakesMichael ChabonFebruary 13, 2020 (2020-02-13)
55"Stardust City Rag"Jonathan FrakesKirsten BeyerFebruary 20, 2020 (2020-02-20)
66"The Impossible Box"Maja VrviloNick ZayasFebruary 27, 2020 (2020-02-27)
77"Nepenthe"Doug AarniokoskiSamantha Humphrey and Michael ChabonMarch 5, 2020 (2020-03-05)
88"Broken Pieces"Maja VrviloMichael ChabonMarch 12, 2020 (2020-03-12)
9–109–10"Et in Arcadia Ego"Akiva GoldsmanTeleplay by : Michael Chabon & Ayelet Waldman
Story by : Michael Chabon & Ayelet Waldman & Akiva Goldsman
March 19, 2020 (2020-03-19)
Teleplay by : Michael Chabon
Story by : Michael Chabon & Akiva Goldsman
March 26, 2020 (2020-03-26)

Season 2Edit

CBS officially announced a second season renewal in January 2020,[8] with production taking place from February 16 to September 2, 2021.[9][10] Michael Chabon wrote two episodes of the season,[11] and Jonathan Frakes returned as a director.[12] Lea Thompson also directed for the season,[13] as did Michael Weaver who directed the tenth and final episode.[10] The season is set to premiere in February 2022.[7]

Season 3Edit

The series received an informal third season green-light by January 2020 to allow the second and third seasons to be developed together and filmed back-to-back.[8] Production on scenes for the third season began during filming of the second, by April 2021.[14] Production on the third season began in full after filming ended for the second on September 2,[10] and it was officially announced shortly after.[7] The season is set to premiere in early 2023.[7]

Cast and charactersEdit

ProductionEdit

DevelopmentEdit

BackgroundEdit

In June 2018, after becoming sole showrunner of the series Star Trek: Discovery, Alex Kurtzman signed a five-year overall deal with CBS Television Studios to expand the Star Trek franchise beyond Discovery to several new series, miniseries, and animated series.[27] One of these new series was reported to star Patrick Stewart, reprising his role of Jean-Luc Picard from the series Star Trek: The Next Generation.[28][29] Kurtzman and Akiva Goldsman (who worked on the first season of Discovery) were attached to the project.[29] When CBS had first approached him about making more Star Trek series, Kurtzman believed Picard was the greatest Star Trek captain and included a series featuring the character on his wish list,[3] despite Stewart having said that he did not want to return to the franchise.[15] While developing ideas for the short form companion series Star Trek: Short Treks, Kurtzman and his team developed a story that would have featured Nichelle Nichols reprising her original Star Trek role of Uhura. The short would have seen a young Picard visit Uhura in hospital and receive a mission related to the Borg. The short did not move forward, but it led to discussions of a short starring Stewart as an older version of Picard.[30][31]

After developing the older Picard story, the team decided that they had enough to pitch a full series focused on the character to Stewart;[31] Kurtzman and Goldsman contacted the actor before January 2018 to discuss this idea, and met with him along with Discovery writer Kirsten Beyer at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.[3][31] Stewart took the meeting with the intention of turning the project down, but after Beyer convinced him to reconsider he agreed to read a four-page document outlining their ideas.[3][31] At that time, Goldsman invited novelist Michael Chabon, a friend, to work on the project as well and the four ultimately produced a 35-page document that they sent to Stewart.[3][31] Stewart asked to meet with the group again in March 2018, where he expressed his approval of their pitch.[3] Stewart said the pitch felt like "something very unusual, and I was intrigued."[32] While deciding whether to join the project, Stewart asked Kurtzman that the series be "so different" from previous Star Trek stories, "both what people remember but also not what they're expecting at all, otherwise why do it?"[3] He was also concerned that the series would be "jokey", but received assurances from the project's creative team that it would not be.[32]

Announcement and creative teamEdit

On August 4, 2018, Stewart made a surprise appearance at the annual Las Vegas Star Trek Convention to officially announce the series and confirm that he would star in it. He explained that after last portraying the character in the 2002 film Star Trek: Nemesis, he felt his role in the franchise "had run its natural course", but in the years since he was humbled by stories of the impact the character had on the lives of fans and so was now happy "to research and experience what comforting and reforming light he might shine on these often very dark times". In addition to starring, Stewart was also set to executive produce the series alongside Kurtzman, Goldsman, Chabon, Discovery's James Duff, Heather Kadin of Kurtzman's production company Secret Hideout, and Rod Roddenberry (the son of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry) and Trevor Roth of Roddenberry Entertainment. Beyer also remained part of the creative team, serving as supervising producer for the series.[15] The series was set to premiere in 2019.[33]

"It is a show with a nearly 80-year-old actor playing a 94-year-old man who is if not in the final stages of his career, in the latter stages of his career, who has a period of great dismay and disillusionment in his immediate rear view, who has allowed himself to let ties that were formerly very important to him slip or fade away, and who has now re-engaged with the greatly changed world in which he finds himself. ... It was not ever going to be The Next Generation Part Two in any way."

—Co-creator and initial showrunner Michael Chabon on the story the writers and star Patrick Stewart wanted to tell[34]

Kadin revealed in October that the series was intended to be ongoing rather than a limited miniseries, and said that its release dates would not overlap with Discovery or any other new Star Trek series. Kurtzman added that the Picard series would be "its own thing",[35] later elaborating that where Discovery is "a bullet", the Picard series is "a very contemplative show" with its own rhythm and more of a real-world feeling.[36] CBS CCO David Nevins confirmed in December 2018 that the series was intended to debut on CBS All Access at the end of 2019, after the full release of Discovery's second season and several Star Trek: Short Treks shorts.[37] Stewart revealed a month later that the series would consist of 10 episodes, and reiterated that the intention was for it to continue for multiple seasons,[32] adding in February that "we are set up for possibly three years of this show".[38] A production listing in March gave the series' title as Star Trek: Destiny, which CBS had trademarked in 2018.[39] However, the official title was announced to be Star Trek: Picard at CBS's upfront presentation that May.[40] At that time, Kurtzman said the series was being "shepherded" by a larger creative team rather than having a traditional showrunner.[41]

In late June, Chabon was named sole showrunner of the series to work closely on the day-to-day production with Kurtzman and Goldsman.[42] A month later, the series was scheduled to premiere in January 2020.[17] It was reported to have a budget of $8–9 million per episode.[43] In October, Kurtzman said a second season of the series was "already in the works".[44] Chabon signed an overall deal with CBS Television Studios in early December to create several new series for the studio, which meant he would be exiting as showrunner of Picard in 2020 though he would remain involved in a potential second season as an executive producer.[45] CBS officially renewed the series for a second season a month later and revealed that Terry Matalas had joined the series as an executive producer to fill the void that would be created by Chabon's planned departure.[8] Goldsman and Matalas took over as showrunners once Chabon left.[23] The series was also reported to have an informal green-light for a third season that would be developed at the same time as, and filmed back-to-back with, the second. This was to save costs and simplify scheduling,[8] and was officially confirmed in September 2021.[7] By then, CBS All Access had been expanded and rebranded as Paramount+.[46] Goldsman said the creative team had discussed a three-season plan and a five-season plan for the series, but ultimately would just keep making it until Stewart wanted to stop.[47] He added that though each season tells a separate story, he saw the three seasons as being "of a piece".[48]

WritingEdit

The series is set 20 years after Stewart's last appearance as Picard in the film Star Trek: Nemesis (2002).[2] Kurtzman revealed that the series would find the character "radically altered" by the destruction of Romulus several years after the events of Nemesis, as depicted in the film Star Trek (2009),[3] and explained that the mandate for the series was to make it "a more psychological show, a character study about this man in his emeritus years". He noted that it was rare for a television series to star an older actor like Stewart. In the series, the character must find his way back to Roddenberry's original optimistic vision for the franchise, which Kurtzman hoped would reinforce that original vision while allowing the character to "go through deep valleys".[41] In July 2019, Goldsman said the series would not be a direct sequel to The Next Generation and would be more character-focused than that series. He described Picard as "slower, more gentle, more lyrical" than previous Star Trek series,[17] and specifically compared the tone of Picard to that of Discovery by describing the latter as a sci-fi action-adventure series while Picard is a sci-fi drama series that tells dramatic stories within an otherworldly setting.[49] Stewart compared the series to when he reprised his X-Men role of Professor X in the film Logan (2017), where he was the same character but the franchise's world and tone was "blown apart".[4]

CastingEdit

 
Patrick Stewart reprises the series' title role from previous Star Trek media

With the series announcement in August 2018 came confirmation that Stewart would star as Picard.[15] At the start of March 2019, Santiago Cabrera and Michelle Hurd were both set to co-star in the series, with Cabrera being one of the most sought-after actors during the 2019 television pilot season and choosing this series over other offers.[50] Later that month, newcomer Evan Evagora was cast in another series regular role.[51] In April, Alison Pill, Harry Treadaway, and Isa Briones joined the cast.[52] Characters for the new cast members were announced in July, with Briones as Dahj, Pill as Agnes Jurati, Cabrera as Cristobal "Chris" Rios, Hurd as Raffi Musiker, Treadaway as Narek, and Evagora as Elnor.[17] The series reveals that Briones portrays several androids: Dahj, who dies in the first episode; her twin sister Soji Asha;[18] and Sutra, an older android model.[19]

While developing the series, the creative team discussed not bringing back any other characters from The Next Generation to allow Picard to stand alone and not become reliant on nostalgia. Part of this was to allow newcomers who had not seen the previous series to enjoy Picard. However, the writers wanted to be respectful to longtime fans of Star Trek and felt they were missing opportunities by not including certain characters, so they decided to add some returning guests who organically served the new story.[53] Several actors from previous Star Trek series were announced as guest stars for Picard in July 2019, including The Next Generation's Brent Spiner as Data, Jonathan Del Arco as Hugh, Jonathan Frakes as William Riker, and Marina Sirtis as Deanna Troi, as well as Star Trek: Voyager's Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine.[17] In January 2020, Stewart said it was his hope that all of the main cast of The Next Generation would appear on Picard before the end of the series,[54] while Kurtzman said if Michael Dorn reprised his Klingon role Worf in Picard he would appear as he did in The Next Generation and not be changed to match the new Klingon designs in Discovery.[55] At that time, Whoopi Goldberg agreed to appear in the second season of the series as her The Next Generation character Guinan.[56]

In June 2020, the entire main cast of the series was confirmed to be returning for the second season, except for Treadaway.[57] In April 2021, Ryan, Spiner, and first season guest star Orla Brady were revealed to also be main cast members for the second season, with John de Lancie appearing in the season as his Star Trek character Q.[23] That July, Voyager's Robert Duncan McNeill revealed that he had been in discussions to reprise his role as Tom Paris in both seasons of the series, but scheduling conflicts had prevented this.[58]

DesignEdit

Several members of the design team from Star Trek: Discovery returned for Picard, including production designer Todd Cherniawsky and creature designer Neville Page of Alchemy Studios.[59][49] Christine Clark served as costume designer for the series.[60] Acknowledging that the series would be set further in the future than any previous Star Trek film or series, Kurtzman explained that the production was aiming for a "grounded" approach rather than having things like "crazy floating skyscrapers and all the cliches of science fiction".[61] The opening title sequence for the show was created by Prologue, the company that created the Discovery opening sequence.[62]

FilmingEdit

The series is filmed at Santa Clarita Studios, California, under the working title Drawing Room.[39] It received large tax credits from the California Film Commission for the production to take place in California, rather than in Toronto, Canada, where Star Trek: Discovery is filmed.[63] Location shooting for the first season also took place around California, including at Sunstone Winery in Santa Ynez Valley to depict Picard's French vineyard,[64] at long-time Star Trek filming location Vasquez Rocks in the Sierra Pelona Mountains in Los Angeles County where Raffi's home is found in the series,[65] and in the Malibu area for the planet Coppelius.[66]

Visual effectsEdit

Visual effects for the series are provided by Pixomondo,[67] DNEG,[68] Crafty Apes,[69] Ghost VFX,[70] Gentle Giant Studios, Technicolor VFX, and Filmworks/FX.[71] with Jason Zimmerman returning from Discovery as visual effects supervisor.[72] Pixomondo worked with the series' production design department to help flesh out their designs into 3D assets, and then shared those assets with the other vendors. For the first season, these digital models included the Borg Cube, La Sirena, and the Romulan ships.[70]

MusicEdit

Star Trek: Discovery composer Jeff Russo was revealed to be composing the score for Picard in July 2019.[73] Russo's relationship with Star Trek began as a fan of The Next Generation, and he asked Kurtzman if he could work on Picard after seeing Stewart's announcement of the series at the Las Vegas Star Trek Convention. Kurtzman took time to consider this before officially asking Russo to score the new series. Russo noted that his prior work on Discovery served as his audition for Picard. Russo wanted his music to remain truthful to previous Star Trek scores without repeating them, and especially wanted to avoid his music for Discovery to differentiate the two series. Russo felt that Picard was a more intimate story than Discovery and wanted to take a more personalized approach by featuring more solo instrument performances in his score for Picard.[74] Russo's music for Picard is recorded at the Eastwood Scoring Stage at Warner Bros. Studios in California, where his score for Discovery was also recorded.[75]

Russo had several ideas in his head when he began work on the main title for Picard, but the first melody that he played became the idea that he associated with Picard and the series.[76] He then had to fashion this into a theme that matched the tone of the show, and went through several different iterations: a "swashbuckling" version, a "'space' show" version, a darker and more contemplative version, and finally a more emotional and stirring version which became the actual theme.[74] It is bookended with a piccolo, which Russo felt sounded similar to the fictional Ressikan flute that Picard played in the Next Generation episode "The Inner Light", while the main melody is played on a cello which Russo often uses since it "fills that same harmonic space as the human voice".[76][74] Additionally, Russo uses Jerry Goldsmith's theme from Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) to connect the story back to The Next Generation, as that series used Goldsmith's theme in its main title, while Russo also references Alexander Courage's original Star Trek theme to "evoke the idea of Star Trek in general". He felt that using these previous themes was "not technically necessary" but appreciated how meaningful they are to fans.[74]

A soundtrack album for the first half of the first season was released on February 7, 2020,[77] followed by a complete soundtrack album covering the full season on April 3.[78][79]

ReleaseEdit

Season Home media release dates
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
1 October 6, 2020[80] TBA TBA

The first season of Star Trek: Picard was released on the streaming service CBS All Access in the United States.[17] Like Discovery before it, each episode of the series is broadcast in Canada by Bell Media on the same day as the All Access release, on the specialty channels CTV Sci-Fi Channel (English) and Z (French) before streaming on Crave.[81] Amazon Prime Video streams the episodes within 24 hours of their U.S. release in over 200 other countries and territories around the world; this is separate from Discovery, which is released internationally by Netflix.[82] The deals with Amazon and Bell were made by international distributor arm CBS Studios International.[82][81] The first season remained on the rebranded Paramount+, where future seasons are being released.[83]

ReceptionEdit

ViewershipEdit

A week after the series premiere, CBS said that Picard had set a new record for the total streams of a CBS All Access original series by its subscribers, with 115 percent more total streams than the previous record set by Star Trek: Discovery. CBS also partly attributed the premiere of the series for the month of January 2020 breaking the service's record for the most new subscribers in a month, helped by the week of Picard's premiere being the second-most new subscribers in a single week for the service.[84]

Critical responseEdit

For the first season, the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported an 87% approval rating with an average rating of 7.63/10 based on 67 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "Anchored by the incomparable Patrick Stewart, Picard departs from standard Starfleet protocol with a slower, serialized story, but like all great Star Trek it tackles timely themes with grace and makes for an exciting push further into the final frontier." The average rating for each of the first season's individual episodes is 85%.[85] Metacritic, which aggregates reviews using a weighted average, assigned a score of 76 out of 100 based on reviews from 27 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[86]

AccoladesEdit

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2020 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Period and/or Character Hairstyling "Stardust City Rag" Nominated [87][88]
Outstanding Period and/or Character Makeup (Non-Prosthetic) Nominated
Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup for a Series, Limited Series, Movie or Special "Absolute Candor" Won
Outstanding Sound Editing for a Comedy or Drama Series (One Hour) "Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2" Nominated
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (One Hour) Nominated
2021 Costume Designers Guild Awards Excellence in Sci-Fi/Fantasy Television Christine Bieselin Clark (for "Absolute Candor") Nominated [89]
Critics' Choice Super Awards Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Series Star Trek: Picard Nominated [90]
Best Actor in a Science Fiction/Fantasy Series Patrick Stewart Won
Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards Best Special Make-Up Effects in a Television Series, Limited or Miniseries or New Media Series James MacKinnon, Richard Redlefsen, Alexei Dmitriew and Vincent Van Dyke Nominated [91]
Motion Picture Sound Editors Awards Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Dialogue and ADR for Episodic Long Form Broadcast Media Matthew E. Taylor and Sean Heissinger (for "The Impossible Box") Nominated [92]
Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Sound Effects and Foley for Episodic Long Form Broadcast Media Matthew E. Taylor, Tim Farrell, Harry Cohen, Michael Schapiro, Clay Weber, Darrin Mann, Alyson Dee Moore and Chris Moriana (for "Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2") Won[a]
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series Hanelle Culpepper (for "Remembrance") Won [93]

Tie-in mediaEdit

Star Trek: Short TreksEdit

When the first season of the Discovery companion series Star Trek: Short Treks was being released in December 2018, CBS CCO David Nevins stated that there would be more shorts released before the premiere of Picard.[37] In February 2019, Kurtzman said future shorts could tie directly into series other than Discovery.[94] At San Diego Comic-Con 2019, Kurtzman announced that the second season of Short Treks would include a "teaser" for Picard set 15 years before the start of the series.[95] The episode, titled "Children of Mars", was released on January 9, 2020, and depicts the synthetic attack on Mars from Picard's backstory but from the perspective of two school children.[96][97]

ComicsEdit

In September 2019, CBS announced a new three issue comic book titled Star Trek: Picard – Countdown, to be released beginning that November by IDW Publishing. Written by Mike Johnson and Picard supervising producer Kirsten Beyer,[98] the comic is set in 2385, and depicts Admiral Picard's actions during the evacuation of Romulus.[99]

NovelsEdit

In September 2019, CBS announced a new novel written by frequent Star Trek author Una McCormack to be published by Simon & Schuster in February 2020. Titled The Last Best Hope, the novel leads directly into the events of the series and introduces several new characters that are featured in the first season.[98] A second prequel novel, Dark Veil by James Swallow, was published in January 2021 and follows Riker and Troi aboard the USS Titan a year after Picard retired from Starfleet.[100] Yet another prequel novel, Rogue Elements by John Jackson Miller, was released in August 2021, and tells the backstory of Cristóbal Rios.[101]

AftershowsEdit

The Ready RoomEdit

In January 2020, CBS All Access announced that The Next Generation actor Wil Wheaton would host a new season of the Star Trek aftershow The Ready Room, to stream after the release of each Picard episode. Wheaton replaced Naomi Kyle, who hosted the series for its first run after episodes of Discovery's second season.[102]

Official podcastEdit

After the series premiere on January 23, 2020, Deadline Hollywood released the first episode of the Star Trek: Picard Podcast, a weekly podcast sponsored by CBS All Access and hosted by Deadline's senior editor Dominic Patten and genre editor Geoff Boucher. Each episode of the podcast features interviews with the series' cast and creative team.[103]

ReferencesEdit

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  1. ^ Tied with The Queen's Gambit.

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