Another Trek Begins

The latest addition to Star Trek became available this week and there's quite a buzz around the show given that it centres around arguably one of the most well-respected characters in any work of fiction known to humanity: Jean Luc Picard. Today I had the opportunity to watch the first episode of the series and, I've got to say, the show has all the markings of something imminently enthralling. There are layers to the story, depth to the characters, and a certain level of realism that simply wasn't possible in the early 90s when Star Trek The Next Generation was in production.

Star Trek: Picard

One of the many things I appreciate about this new Trek is the complexity that it offers. While growing up I would watch the episodes and read the books with aplomb, imagining myself as a member of the crew rather than as a spectator. This was generally easy because the structure of a 44-minute episode or a 350-page book was always the same. It wasn't until I was in my mid-20s that I started to see the repetition and lack of complexity for what it was, which pushed me away from investing the time in "keeping up". Some time around 2012 I started reading the books again, though, and found that most of the authors had adopted a different structure that allowed for a better story to be told. The same problem-struggle-twist-complication-resolution pattern was present, as it is with a lot of mass-market sci-fi, but the nuance and depth added to the characters, places, and cultures gave the book more weight. The books went from being suitable for a 12 year-old to suitable for an adult with a little awareness of recent history1. Star Trek Picard strikes me as being the same.

As the show will not suffer from the same constraints that afflicted Discovery2 the writers should have a great deal of flexibility to create an updated universe3 that explores how the political powers have evolved and what that means to the citizens of those star-spanning nations. More than this, though, it will be interesting to see how the famed captain of Starfleet's flagship pulls himself out of retirement to solve yet another mystery that is closely linked to people from his past.

  1. Compare and contrast the books written by Peter David with those from David R. George III.

  2. Prequels create so much mess in the canon and unnecessary complaining online.

  3. Not sure why people talk about the Star Trek Universe when everything is limited to the Milky Way galaxy; and a segment that doesn't even cover half of it!