Star Trek: Picard – First Season
Understatement is insufficient to describe the anticipation surrounding Picard. I was fortunate enough to be present at Star Trek Las Vegas 2018 when the return of Sir Patrick Stewart was announced, the atmosphere was electric with the explosion of cheers and joy from every Trekkie in the room.
In a daring move, Picard presents our hero in an unfamiliar light – discontented and terrestrial. The decision to ground the initial portion of the 10-episode season on Earth was audacious and revitalizing.
It provided viewers the opportunity to acquaint themselves with the new cast members, a mix of experienced actors and fresh faces, all of whom displayed impressive performances alongside Stewart. While the primary threat of the season being yet another malevolent AI was somewhat predictable, the narrative journey was consistently engaging.
The Blu-ray Package
The series and the bonus features are distributed over three Blu-ray discs. Each disc is labeled with the episodes it holds, and a complete list is provided on the inside front/back of the case.
The menus display a sequence of scenes from the inaugural season, momentarily halting on the Picard season one title card playing in the background.
Picard is a visually stunning series, boasting impressive production quality. The show builds upon the enhancements made in Star Trek: Discovery season 2, with superior cameras, anamorphic lenses, and cinematic techniques.
Hanelle M. Culpepper, the director of the first episode, established a unique and contemporary style for Picard that still fits perfectly within the new CBS Trek universe, with steady camera movements and the rich palette of a fall vineyard – vibrant greens, reds, and yellows.
The increased bitrate of the disc offers an image quality that surpasses streaming, adding sharpness and revealing details that might have been overlooked in the streamed version.
As anticipated, the episodes come with losslessly compressed DTS-HD MA 5.1 channel soundtracks, a standard for TV series releases. Picard delivers excellent audio; with this being the third installment of the new Trek, the producers and sound engineers appear to be at their peak performance.
Bonus Features (Blu-ray and DVD) Short Treks “Children of Mars” The loosely connected prequel to Picard’s first season, Children of Mars, which was not part of the Short Treks home video collection, is included in the Picard set. For viewers outside the US and Canada, this will be the first official viewing of the short.
Documentary segments Segments of these have been released online in parts, but much of the content is fresh for the home video release. Most of these are 10-20 minute features. Personally, I found the sets, props, and Borg makeup features most intriguing.
Picard Props – Propmaster Jeff Lombardy takes us through the process of designing and updating the late-24th century for Picard. Featured is Head Illustrator Daren Dochterman, talking about designing Squoodgy among other things. Also included is the creation of the Golem body and the re-designed year 2399 Starfleet phaser rifle.
Aliens Alive: The xBs – An exploration of the creative process behind the revamped and augmented Borg makeups for the xBs. Creature Designer Neville Page talks about conceptualizing the appearance of former Borgs, while James MacKinnon showcases the transformation process of Jeri Ryan into Seven of Nine.
Set Me Up – Production Designer Todd Cherniawsky provides a tour of the primary sets for Picard, including La Sirena, Picard’s study, and the Borg Cube. Supervising Art Director Iain McFadyen and Set Decorator Lisa Alkofer also share their insights.
The Motley Crew – Season one showrunner Michael Chabon introduces us to the characters of Picard. The featurette includes a peek at the actors, with snippets of audition tapes, and their characters that make up the “motley crew” of La Sirena.
Video Commentary for “Remembrance” – A video commentary for the first episode of Picard by Executive producers Alex Kurtzman, Akiva Goldsman, and Michael Chabon, supervising producer Kirsten Beyer, and director Hanelle M. Culpepper. This takes the form of a video conference, displayed on the right side of the screen while the episode plays.
For most viewers, this Blu-ray provides the optimum way to experience Picard, making it ideal for those seeking the best audio-visual quality. It’s also suitable for collectors, and those wanting a physical copy of the series; including individuals who cannot or do not wish to stream the show, and those with concerns about the ephemeral nature of streaming rights