TV Party Tonight! #81

TV Party Tonight! #81

Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Star Trek
Picard Movie & TV Collection
[Blu-ray box set]

Here on Ground Control we plan on going where no man has ever gone before – to cover the entire Star Trek series home releases for your enjoyment. Well, not really, but we are terribly excited about the new Picard series debuting on CBS. Star Trek has a long and rich history, and though it’s had many ups and downs, it’s probably most known for the Next Generation series with Captain Picard. Yes, the Original Series came first, and it’s most definitely a favorite, but the Next Generation is where the franchise started taking itself seriously, and the cast and characters it assembled were simply magical. Now, almost 25 years since the series ended, we are revisiting the character of Picard, and in preparation for that, CBS has released this interesting box set which compiles the Next Generation movies and some vital Picard episodes from the Next Generation series.

Produced almost 20 years since OTS (and approximately 80 years after it chronologically), the Next Generation sought to both update and reinvent the franchise for a brand new audience.  I was a bit hesitant with this new cast and all new dynamics, but after several episodes, it felt like riding a bicycle and I was once again curious to find what adventures each episode would hold for the Enterprise. The storytelling and narration of Star Trek lets you feel like you’re sitting right there with the crew. And the crew is an important point here, because while TOS dealt mostly with Kirk, Spock, and McCoy as the executive, logistic, and “human” element, TNG brings a whole new level of dynamics to the deck of the Enterprise. Though with so many new players, it was hard to keep in line who the different personalities and perspectives are, that soon subsided. This time we are again dealing with familiar personas (Data is the logical element and Dr. Crusher is full of passion for human life), but things get complicated when we factor in Worf (and his alienation and sense of honor and duty), Guinan (as a mystical oracle), Troi (able to sense emotions), and even Captain Picard himself instead of being an executive is more of a mediator and usesf Ryker to get his hands dirty for him.  So as one would expect, as the times change, so does the complexity of the series, which is all a plus in my eyes, since it would be sort of worthless not trying something new with the series after so long.

TNG is also able to highlight each of their characters in their own episode (one almost knows within the first few minutes who the episode is about), developing their backstories and complexity. Sometimes it works such as the case with Data and his quest to become more human and understand his origin, and sometimes it’s a miss like with LaForge and my lack of interest in this character even so far into the series. This of course is mixed in with great exploration of very real and human problems (which TOS did so well) such as wars, adaptation, alienation, crumbling empires, linguistics, family duties, racism, science vs. religion, our search for the self and what makes us human, evolution, and our roles as explorers, just to name  a few. In addition, one great thing TNG does differently is the use of an overarching plot to hold each season together. All of them involve some imminent threat and require the crew to work together to overcome it.

So, it would only make sense that this beloved series would be revisited so many years later. It’s exciting for so many reasons. It lets us revisit this beloved character, of course, but it’s also the first time that we continue the timeline of Star Trek after Voyager. There have been Star Trek series after Voyager but they dealt with humanity’s first exploration of space, or the Enterprise’s first missions. Now with Picard we get to move the timeline forward and see where we are decades after the events of Voyager. It’s a monumental event, and an event like this should be celebrated and prepared for. This is why CBS has released this collection.

The Star Trek Picard Movie and TV Collection collects the shows Best of Both Worlds and Chain of Command from the TNG series. It also collects all four TNG movies: Generations, First Contact, Resurrection, and Nemesis. Rewatching them so many years later it’s interesting to note just how cinematic TNG was able to be when it wanted to. This is high quality story telling we’re dealing with here whether we’re talking about the TV show or the movies. Most importantly, these are the perfect shows to get first time viewers started: the stories are engaging, high stakes, exquisitely written, self contained and don’t require too much backstory to follow. This is just top quality stuff.

This collection presents these movies and episodes in gloriously remastered high definition and loaded with extras like writer/director commentary on all the features, tons of behind the scenes featurettes, making-ofs, character profiles and much much more. It’s simply the definitive collection of these episodes and movies and the highest quality they’re available in at the moment.

Star Trek Picard Movie & TV Collection is the perfect way to revisit this character and this world. It’s a reminder of how powerful this stories and characters have been for so many years and serves to drum up even more excitement for what’s to come.

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