Sir Patrick Stewart has received praise for reprising his role as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: Picard, which began airing in January 2020 around 26 years after Star Trek: The Next Generation ended. With Stewart back as Picard, the show features a certain direct chronology that other Star Trek spin-offs didn’t. They could be part of the wider universe, but were more self-contained, whereas Picard is seen by many as a direct sequel. It’s always difficult reviving a series that will be following in some huge footsteps – so how does Star Trek: Picard compare to Star Trek: The Next Generation?
— Star Trek on CBS All Access (@startrekcbs) February 13, 2020
To Boldly Go Where No Star Trek Series Has Gone Before
Producer Akiva Goldsman stated that they deliberately ensured they didn’t make an actual sequel to TNG. The main difference is that the stories are more character-driven in Picard and focus more on hope for a better future, whereas TNG could have been seen as darker and more fast-paced. Telling stories that resonate with viewers and in keeping with the brand of Star Trek is crucial and using a well-liked character such as Captain Picard helps ground the series in its heritage.
Picard is very much ‘of its time’ as TNG was – given how cultural and societal values and the problems we face have changed from the 1990s to the 2020s. The show will be a response to the ‘darker time’ we are living in, according to executive producer Alex Kurtzman. But, it won’t be dated by the zeitgeist.
Gaming: The Final Frontier
While some casual fans have just tuned back in, more involved Star Trek fans haven’t just had the series and reboots of the movies to dive into, they have also engaged with Star Trek themed games while waiting for new content. Star Trek: Bridge Crew gave us a VR Star Trek game that simulated what it might be like to be part of the action. While now-discontinued mobile game Star Trek Adversaries utilized the wave of popularity from mobile gaming to offer something to gamers who were fans.
Star Trek: The Next Generation is also available as a slot game online. This easy overview outlines which online casinos have the slot, and which offer welcome bonuses for new players who are looking to engage with the material from TNG in a different format. The slot game takes the aesthetics and motifs of the classic show and fuses them with slot gameplay. This shows the enduring appeal of Star Trek across a wide range of different types of fans.
Live Long, Prosper, and Don’t Disappoint the Diehards
The challenge for Picard was to be a new entity. It needed to appeal to fans of TNG, but given that 25+ years had passed, there would be whole new audiences that came to the show late or only recently became fans of Star Trek. So, the show needed to appeal to diehard trekkies as well as those who were interested in serialized sci-fi and wanted something new and exciting to watch and engage with. Picard represents classic Star Trek, but he also represents idealism and a moral compass that we can use in our own lives.
Picard’s first season will comprise ten episodes, with a further ten having being ordered by CBS before the first episode had aired. The network and the fans are hoping for the best with Picard and, so far, reviews seem to show that the decisions the franchise has made and the direction it has taken have been the right ones.