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Star Trek: Picard

A sequel series starring Jean-Luc Picard from The Next Generation and picking up twenty years after the events of Star Trek Nemesis, the last installment to feature him. Much has happened in the intervening decades, including Picard resigning from Starfleet.

Episodic or serial?

Serial. While individual episodes may focus on specific characters or events, each season is a single continuous story.

However, the seasons are effectively episodic. There is technically continuity between them, but they have considerably different tones and focuses and they vary in their casts as well. While there are characters who carry over, in general the events of a given season are not important to be aware of in following seasons. They are effectively three different shows.

Idealistic or cynical?

Mixed. The moral core of the series (inasmuch as it has one) is an exploration of how (and whether) Picard’s idealism works in a universe that’s become more cynical since the era of The Next Generation.

Worth watching?

Not particularly. The first season is oddly-paced and a bit underwritten but overall passable if you like the idea of seeing more Jean-Luc Picard and are okay with the show very much not being a direct continuation or reprise of The Next Generation. But the second season is an incoherent mess that tries halfheartedly to be about too many things and ends up being about nothing at all, while throwing away basically everything the first season managed to accomplish. The third season also discards anything built by its predecessors to make way for a weak and insubstantial homage to The Next Generation.

Anything else that should be watched first?

A lot, actually. This series has many callbacks to characters and events from previous installments.

The first season draws on specific episodes of both The Next Generation and Voyager as well as Star Trek Nemesis and Star Trek (2009). At a bare minimum, you should have a good sense of who Picard is, who Data is, who the Romulans are, and who the Borg are. Various websites have put together more complete lists, with this one being my favorite. Maybe eventually I’ll make my own list as well.

The second season also makes a number of references to The Original Series and Deep Space Nine but anything plot-important gets explained. It would, however, be good to have a sense of who Guinan and Q are.

The third season is a direct sequel to The Next Generation and its films and you’ll need to be familiar with them to get anything at all out of this season. It would also help to have a basic understanding of the Dominion War from Deep Space Nine.

What should be watched after this?

This series has no direct follow-up, but if you’re going in order, Lower Decks came out next.