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‘Star Trek: Picard’ is the perfect Star Trek show for non-Star Trek fans

Anyone unfamiliar with Star Trek’s lore can easily adapt to this show

Pictured(l-r): Jamie McShane as Zhaban; Sir Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard; Orla Brady as Laris; of the CBS All Access series STAR TREK: PICARD.
Jamie McShane, left, as Zhaban, Sir Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard and Orla Brady as Laris of the CBS All Access series “Star Trek: Picard.”
Matt Kennedy, CBS

I never really watched Star Trek movies or TV shows. I dabbled in “Deep Space Nine” one summer but only a handful of episodes. I saw the first two rebooted movies from J.J. Abrams (“Star Trek” and “Star Trek: Into Darkness”). But the original series? Nope. The recent CBS reboot “Star Trek: Discovery”? No way. “Star Trek: The Next Generation”? Nah. The core projects of the Star Trek universe remain a mystery to me.

But “Star Trek: Picard” is the Star Trek project I’ve been waiting for — one that brings me into the universe and makes me want to stay there for the long haul.

“Star Trek: Picard” follows the iconic Jean-Luc Picard, a former captain of the USS Enterprise starship. Years after the adventures seen on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” Picard lives on his own in a vineyard called Chateau Picard. He is approached by a mysterious woman, named Dahj (Isa Briones), who needs his help understanding her identity. Interestingly enough, she has a connection to his past.

The show’s opening episode just evolves from there. We see hints at Picard’s past — there are certainly details and easter eggs in the episode that I don’t understand since I never saw “The Next Generation” or any of the live-action films with Picard — as he looks to understand Dahj’s identity. We get twist after twist inside the 44-minute episode. We see blaster fights with Romulans and super futuristic tech at the Starfleet archives. We get an epic cliffhanger that warns of a space war to come with something called a Borg?

I honestly didn’t understand the majority of what I saw on the show in terms of Star Trek lore and backstory. But that’s the beauty of “Star Trek: Picard” — it’s dropping me in toward the end of Picard’s overall arc. There’s a rich character history for Picard that exists with “Next Generation” and those subsequent films. There’s even more Star Trek lore with all of the spinoff series.

There is so much Star Trek content out there that I can consume to make me understand this more. And Picard is the show that has inspired me to dive in.

So here’s a message to all of us newcomers to Star Trek: this is the Star Trek show we’ve been waiting for.

It’s not just that there is a tremendous backstory for Picard — but there’s one I want to learn. I want to know why he’s so jaded about Starfleet. I want to know what Lt. Cmdr. Data did to save Picard’s life, as Picard mentions in the first episode of this new series. I need to know what a Borg is and why that’s so significant. What is this supernova? How does that tie into other Star Trek properties? What happened to this Federation? What was it like before?

“Picard” did enough to hook me into watching its series. The show hints at tragedy and epic battles and crazy stories that I never got to see.

But the show also hints at an amazing future. “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” was a true example of a franchise using fan service to, well, serve fans. “Picard” hinted at the past whole also exploring a future. I may never have watched any of “The Next Generation” films or “Star Trek Nemesis” but it’s clear from one viewing that the show is using older ideas and storylines to expand the universe. This Data character seemed like a big deal. And for him to have a daughter seems like a bigger deal! For Picard to involve himself in all of this drama again seems like a big deal, too. The show is using the results and history to bring about a new future. Building on what was known to create something fresh and new.

As the show progresses, I hope to understand the series a little bit more and come to learn about these characters. Maybe I’ll run through “The Next Generation” with an epic marathon. My reviews will focus more on the show itself, too, and the themes of the episode. But for now, I can fully say this show hooked me.

For years, I’ve put off Star Trek. I’ve avoided watching it for the sake of other franchises. But I chose to explore a new idea. I embraced something unfamiliar and unknown — something that Picard himself does in this episode. A mystery rises around him and he fully embraces it. Like Picard, new Star Trek fans watching this show have so much to learn about the past and lore of the Star Trek universe. But it will only build a better future — one full of understanding and knowledge.

Embracing the unknown is a worthwhile venture.