I vividly remember watching the debut episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1987. I was in Boston at that time, recently graduated, and living with my great pals Pete (Hoff) Hoffman and Hans (Hadji) Rempel. I was the guy deepest into comics, but they each had their favorites and Pete, especially, was a big Trek fan. In fact, we had grown up together in the same little town and watched the original Star Trek series reruns every Saturday night on WPIX. And then, we’d go out and get into the usual high school mischief. Both activities were baked into the core of who we are.
So it was perfectly fitting years later that we were watching Star Trek on another Saturday night before we went out to find more mischief in Boston. Star Trek: The Next Generation was a different Trek from what we were used to. I will be the first to admit that I thought of the original series as the adventures of three friends who wandered about, broke the rules, and sometimes met exotic beauties along the way. TNG, in contrast, was much more disciplined. It seemed to be all about working in teams and overcoming obstacles with creativity. I remember one episode in particular, where Commander Ryker was trying to motivate Lt. Commander Data to manage a planet-side situation, and it was exactly what we had been talking about in my MBA management class that week.
Fast forward to last Saturday night, and my wife and I watched the debut of Star Trek: Picard. How come we all got so much older since the last outings, but Patrick Stewart is ageless? The message is clear – we all really must drink more Earl Grey.
The show seemed to be a lot of fun. After being disappointed with the recent Star Trek: Discovery, I went into this one with trepidation. But I liked it.
The experience continues. The IDW prequel series, Star Trek: Picard Countdown are a lot of fun. They provide the backstory that reveals the hero’s motivations in the new CBS streaming series. The first two issues are already out and the finale of the three-issue mini series comes out today January 29, 2020.
I miss the days when comic fans had an edge on the general public when it came to movie and TV show’s premieres. We would read the adaptations and be so much more up-to-speed than the average Joe. We’d gobble up the novelizations or comics before the show’s debut.
“You’ll love this one, Ed,” he said.
“I know; I already do. Tatooine and the rebel alliance and all that,” I replied. He was shocked!
“How did you know that?” he asked incredulously. Back then, the first few issues of Marvel’s Star Wars predated the movie.
One of the nice parts of the IDW series is that it is so natural to play the actors’ voices in your head as you read it. Kristen Beyer and Mike Johnson are on-point with their depiction of familiar characters. It’s all the now-it-can be revealed story of Picard on the U.S.S. Veracity. We don’t get a sense of the crew, but there’s a new 2nd in command and she seems like a lot of fun.
Angel Hernandez’ art is solid. He gets the characters likeness right and the star-ships too. I’m less enamored with his thick, chunky inking, but I think that’s just me. I’m not as thrilled with the abundance of photo covers. On the other hand, I think the high-water mark for Star Trek covers will always be Jerome K. Moore’s for DC Comics. So, maybe it’s better to not compete with those beauties anyways and just run photo covers after all.
I’m not sure if I’ll stick with this new series. I was encouraged with the big NY Times article on Michael Chabon’s involvement. And in general, seeing an older Picard focused on a new adventure is fun and inspiring. How lovely to see an old friend again, and he’s looking good. And he’s still got it.
Of note: A forgotten classic I always loved was Robert Burnett Meyer’s movie Free Enterprise. He’s a Hollywood veteran who knows his Trek and understands the entertainment industry. And I really enjoy whenever he joins John Siuntres on the Word Balloon Podcast and they talk Trek.
Also find Mike Gold’s impression of Star Trek: Picard here