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PARAMOUNT

SERIES INFO
Creators:
Kirsten Beyer, Akiva Goldsman, Michael Chabon, Alex Kurtzman
Cast:
Patrick Stewart, Alison Pill, Isa Briones
Writing Credits:
Various

Synopsis:
14 years after he retired from Starfleet, Captain Jean-Luc Picard returns to action after a woman asks for his help.


MPAA:
Rated TV-MA.

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English

Runtime: 488 min.
Price: $47.99
Release Date: 10/6/2020

Bonus:
• “Story Log” Featurettes
Short Treks Short
• “Make It So” Featurette
• Video Commentary for One Episode
• Deleted Scenes
• “Aliens Alive” Featurette
• “Picard Props” Featurette
• “Set Me Up” Featurette
• “The Motley Crew” Featurette
• Gag Reel


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

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RELATED REVIEWS


Star Trek: Picard - Season One [Blu-Ray] (2020)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 22, 2020)

Outside of some video game voiceover work, we last saw Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard in 2002’s Star Trek: Nemesis. With 2020’s CBS All Access series Star Trek: Picard, Stewart comes home to the role that made him famous.

With this Blu-ray set, we find all 10 episodes for Season One of Picard. The plot synopses come from the series’ official website.

Remembrance: “At the end of the 24th Century and 14 years after his retirement from Starfleet, Jean-Luc Picard (Stewart) lives a quiet life on his vineyard, Chateau Picard. When he is sought out by mysterious young Dahj (Isa Briones) in need of his help, he soon realizes she may have personal connections to his own past.”

Whereas the typical pilot episode needs to establish characters and situations, that task becomes less crucial for Picard. Honestly, fans eager for more Jean-Luc would love this show if we saw nothing more than our captain as he sipped Earl Grey.

“Remembrance” does half-and-half duty, as it introduces new characters and updates us on Picard himself. The latter is really enough, but the show offers some fresh intrigue that makes it a good launch to the series.

Maps and Legends: “Picard begins investigating the mystery of Dahj as well as what her very existence means to the Federation. Without Starfleet's support, Picard is left leaning on others for help, including Dr. Agnes Jurati (Alison Pill) and an estranged former colleague, Raffi Musiker (Michelle Hurd). Meanwhile, hidden enemies are also interested in where Picard's search for the truth about Dahj will lead.”

Picard brings a backstory of “synthetics” that caused harm toward humans, a theme that will remind many of 1986’s classic Aliens. Of course, in the latter, that society continued to use “artificial people” whereas the Trek universe didn’t, but this still seems awfully similar to me.

That said, I don’t mind this narrative choice, as it provides intriguing possibilities, and other aspects of “Maps” push along the season’s burgeoning story line well. This becomes a good show.

The End Is the Beginning: “Completely unaware of her special nature, Soji continues her work and captures the attention of the Borg cube research project's executive director. After rehashing past events with a reluctant Raffi, Picard seeks others willing to join his search for Bruce Maddox, including pilot and former Starfleet officer Cristóbal Rios (Santiago Cabrera).”

Though three episodes into the season, “End” feels like an expository show, as it largely revolves around the organization of Picard’s crew. This offers needed development, but the episode itself seems a bit dull, mainly because the new characters don’t immediately endear themselves to the audience.

Absolute Candor: “The crew's journey to Freecloud takes a detour when Picard orders a stop at the planet Vashti, where Picard and Raffi relocated Romulan refugees 14 years earlier. Upon arrival, Picard reunites with Elnor (Evan Evagora), a young Romulan he befriended during the relocation. Meanwhile, Narek continues his attempts to learn more about Soji while Narissa's impatience with his lack of progress grows.”

The best parts of “Candor” relate to the 14-years-earlier flashback and the relationship between Picard and Elnor. Actually, those scenes seem schmaltzy in the flashback, but they pay off well. While other aspects of the episode sputter a bit, these developments become enough to sustain it.

Stardust City Rag: “The La Sirena crew begin an unpredictable and lively expedition on Freecloud to search for Bruce Maddox. When they learn Maddox has found himself in a precarious situation, a familiar face offers her assistance.”

With Rios dressed like a pimp from an episode of Starsky & Hutchand a more comedic bent than usual, “Rag” gives us a respite from the series’ usual more melodramatic tendencies. This threatens to misfire, but it usually works and provides a nice change of pace.

The Impossible Box: “Picard and the crew track Soji to the Borg cube in Romulan space, resurfacing haunting memories for Picard. Meanwhile, Narek believes he finally found a way to safely exploit Soji for information.”

Picard’s time as “Locutus of Borg” and its aftereffects created some of TNG’s strongest moments, but those seem diminished here, as I can’t help but feel Picard develops them for gratuitous reasons. Some decent story points develop but “Box” becomes a semi-lackluster episode.

Nepenthe: “Picard and Soji transport to the planet Nepenthe, home to some old and trusted friends. As the rest of the La Sirena crew attempt to join them, Picard helps Soji make sense of her recently unlocked memories. Meanwhile, Hugh and Elnor are left on the Borg cube and must face an angered Narissa.”

We’ve gotten a smattering of “old friends” in prior episodes, but “Nepenthe” ups that particular ante with two of the biggest. While fun to see them, their presence points out a weakness of Picard, as the use of old pals reminds us how little we care about the new roles.

Since we’re only a little past the season’s halfway point, it’s possible Soji and the others become more interesting before S1 ends, but so far… meh. “Nepenthe” acts as an enjoyable update on two TNG mainstays but it doesn’t become all that interesting otherwise.

Broken Pieces: “When devastating truths behind the Mars attack are revealed, Picard realizes just how far many will go to preserve secrets stretching back generations, all while the La Sirena crew grapples with secrets and revelations of their own. Narissa directs her guards to capture Elnor, setting off an unexpected chain of events on the Borg cube.”

As the end of S1 approaches, “Pieces” advances toward the grand finale in an effective way. It sums up the season’s overall narrative to get the whole package on track, and it comes with intriguing subdomains. Throw in the fun use of multiple Rios-based hologram characters and “Pieces” works as a good set-up for the two-part climax.

Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1: “Following an unconventional and dangerous transit, Picard and the crew finally arrive at Soji's home world, Coppelius. However, with Romulan warbirds on their tail, their arrival brings only greater danger as the crew discovers more than expected about the planet's inhabitants.”

When I review two-part shows, I save commentary for the conclusion. So go there!

Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2: “A final confrontation on the synthetics' homeworld, Coppelius, pits Picard and his team against the Romulans, as well as the synths who seek to safeguard their existence at all costs.”

With the two-part “Ego”, S1 ends with a bang – or an attempted one, at least. “Ego” offers some big space action and wraps up the year-long narrative in a reasonable manner.

That said, the episode doesn’t quite pack as much of a punch as I’d hope, probably because S1 proved semi-erratic. I enjoyed my time with Picard and look forward to Season Two, but S1 never came together as much as I – or probably most other Trek fans – hoped.

Face it: the return of Jean-Luc after all these years came with enormous expectations, and it seemed unlikely the series could live up to them. Maybe I should feel happy Picard is merely kind of good rather than the disaster it might’ve become.

Still, I feel S1’s “kind of good” status still makes it a minor disappointment. While the show keeps us with it and shows promise for S2, the opening season doesn’t click as consistently as hoped.


The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus B-

Picard appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The series came with appealing visuals.

Sharpness consistently worked nicely, as the shows offered accurate information. The occasional interior felt slightly soft, but these instances remained infrequent and minor.

No signs of jagged edges or moiré effects occurred, and I saw no edge haloes either. Source flaws failed to materialize.

Despite a moderate emphasis on the usual teal and amber, Picard managed a mix of other hues. These added breadth and the tones seemed pretty full and rich.

Blacks came across as deep and full, while low-light shots appeared smooth and clear. I felt pleased with this well-rendered collection of shows.

In addition, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 fared well. Indeed, though created for TV, the audio bordered on feature film quality.

This meant sounsdcapes that appeared more involving and active than usual for TV. With a lot of space-based material, the soundfields opened up well, and the occasional action sequence used the five channels in a lively, compelling way to put us into the battles.

Audio seemed strong, with speech that remained natural and concise. Music was dynamic and bold as well.

Effects played a good role, and those elements came across as accurate and vivid, with nice low-end to boot. The audio complimented the shows well.

Each episode comes with a Story Log. These fill a total of 58 minutes, 52 seconds and feature comments from series creators Alex Kurtzman, Michael Chabon and Akiva Goldsman, director/co-executive producer Hanelle Culpepper, executive producers Trevor Roth, Heather Kadin and Eugene Roddenberry, actor/director Jonathan Frakes, executive story editor Nick Zayas, and actors Harry Treadway, Evan Evagora, Jeri Ryan, Marina Sirtis, Brent Spiner, Isa Briones, and Michelle Hurd, Santiago Cabrera, and Alison Pill.

The “Logs” look at story/character areas, cast and performances, sets and locations, the work of various episode directors, props, and general thoughts. Across these, we get a semi-superficial but still moderately informative collection of notes.

Four episodes feature Deleted Scenes. We get clips for “Remembrance” (1 scene, 2:43), “Broken Pieces” (2, 1:02), “Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1” (2, 1:08) and “Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2” (1, 0:37).

Don’t expect a whole lot from the scenes, as they tend toward minor exposition. A few decent bits of exposition emerge, but these remain largely forgettable.

On Disc One, we get a video commentary for “Remembrance” that features director Hanelle M. Culpepper and series creators Alex Kurtzman, Akiva Goldsman, Michael Chabon and Kirsten Beyer. All four sit together for this running, screen-specific discussion.

When I say the participants “sit together”, they do so virtually, as all chat via video measures recorded during the pandemic. The presentation mixes solo shots of them with whole group panels.

I’ve always thought video commentaries felt like a pointless gimmick, and that proves true here. The visual side of the discussion adds little to nothing.

As for the actual commentary itself, we hear about the series’ origins and path to the screen, cast and performances, sets and locations, effect, story/characters, and various challenges.

Overall, the discussion seems informative. Though it occasionally lapses into too much happy talk, the participants usually keep matters focused and useful.

Also on Disc One, we get a Short Treks film called Children of Mars. It runs eight minutes, 21 seconds and offers a tale about two adolescent girls whose parents work at a Martian facility.

Largely set to Peter Gabriel’s cover of David Bowie’s “’Heroes’”, Children plays more as a moody music video than an actual narrative. Though it offers a link to Picard, it doesn’t really go anywhere, so it won’t help viewers connect to the series.

We can watch Children with or without commentary from Kurtzman, Beyer and writer Jenny Lumet. They discuss the short as well as its place in Picard, music and related elements. This becomes a good overview.

Disc One concludes with Make It So, a 10-minute, four-second featurette that offers notes from Kadin, Beyer, Goldsman, Kurtzman, Chabon, and actor Patrick Stewart.

“So” tells us more about the series’ development, cast, and story/character areas. We find out a bit more about the season’s narrative arc as well as Stewart’s involvement, so this turns into a fairly informative reel.

Disc Three comes with a few additional programs, and Aliens Alive runs 12 minutes, 34 seconds. It presents comments from Ryan, makeup & prosthetics department head James McKinnon, lead creature designer Neville Page, prosthetics Vincent Van Dyke and actor Jonathan Del Arco.

“Alive” looks at design and execution of the series’ Borg characters. We find a nice nuts and bolts examination of the subject matter.

With Picard Props, we find a 13-minute, 20-second piece that features property master Jeffrey Lombardi, Makeup & Effects Lab COO Paul J. Elliott, special effects artist Jordan Schultz, and head prop designer Daren Dochterman. Lombardi gives us a tour of the series’ various props in this fun program.

Set Me Up fills 14 minutes, 30 seconds with info from production designer Todd Cherniawsky, supervising art director Iain McFadyen, and set decorator Lisa Alkofer. As Cherniawsky gives us a tour, we learn about sets and production design in another quality featurette.

Next comes The Motley Crew, a 19-minute, 10-second segment that provides remarks from Chabon, Evagora, Goldsman, Briones, Stewart, Kurtzman, Pill, Hurd, Beyer, Ryan, Del Arco and Cabrera.

As implied by the title, “Crew” looks at the actors and characters aboard Picard’s ship. It leans too hard on happy talk to become especially informative.

Finally, a Gag Reel occupies seven minutes, 56 seconds with the standard goofs and giggles. That’s a lot of mistakes, though some of the friendly bickering between Stewart and Frakes amuses.

Burdened with expectations nearly impossible to meet, Season One of Star Trek: Picard inevitably disappoints to a degree. Still, erratic as it may be, the show generally works and hopefully will live up to some of that promise in Season Two. The Blu-rays come with very good picture and audio as well as a pretty decent set of supplements. S1 doesn’t dazzle, but it offers a reasonably enjoyable year.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main