The Star Trek spin-off series Picard (available to stream on Amazon Prime) is a blast, starring the beloved Patrick Stewart in his most iconic role. Three episodes in, Travis Johnson lists five things we’d like to see in the show going forward.
The hotly anticipated final voyages of Star Trek: The Next Generation’s legendary Captain Jean-Luc Picard (absolute treasure Sir Patrick Stewart) sees the now-aged galactic explorer putting together a ragtag crew to take to the spaceways, in search of a solution to the mystery of a race of biological androids that have a connection to the late Commander Data (who died in the pretty dire Star Trek: Nemesis back in 2002).
So far it’s a blast! Stewart is nailing the role, his Picard a man at odds with his own legacy and the role of the Federation of Planets in galactic politics. The central mystery is intriguing and, while connected to the established continuity, isn’t so dense as to be unreadable for new viewers. Old viewers are well-served too, with plenty of fan-fave elements (Romulans! The Borg! Data!) playing a big part in the unfolding drama.
We want more of that, frankly. So far Picard has done a grand job of threading the needle in terms of pleasing the old fans and making the show accessible to new converts and if they can continue doing so, here’s some old favourites we’d love to see crop up in the series…
1. More Borg
We’ve already seen one Borg Cube in Picard, and one thing we know about the Borg is they tend to travel in packs – Collective Drones don’t do too well running solo. The idea presented – that the Romulans are effectively running an archeological dig on a “dead” Cube, mining it for technology and information – is a brilliant one.
Still, that’s gotta come back to bite ‘em in the ass, though, right? The Borg are the signature villains of the Next Generation period and Picard’s personal nemesis. Remember, he was indoctrinated into the Borg Collective in the classic two-parter Best of Both Worlds. Their re-emergence as a threat is almost certainly going to be a key part of Picard going forward. We already know that Jeri Ryan is reprising her Voyager role as Borg apostate Seven of Nine, so more Borg shenanigans seems like a safe bet.
2. The Fallout from The Dominion War – and More Politicking While We’re At It
Picard has, to at least some degree, followed the trend of depicting the Star Trek universe’s nigh-utopian Federation of Planets in general, and their military arm Starfleet in particular as less than perfect, with some morally dubious acts being performed to keep the interstellar civilisation going.
In the new series we’re told that the Federation’s failure to support efforts to rescue Romulan refugees after the destruction of their home world (a plot point that also influences 2009’s Star Trek reboot, if you’re keeping count) is what led to Picard resigning from Starfleet, which is a timely comment on the West’s failure to compassionately handle the growing refugee crisis. But the real elephant in the room is the fallout from the Dominion War that raged through the back half of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. This sees the Federation lead all the major races of the Alpha Quadrant in a fight for survival against the Changeling-led Dominion of the Gamma Quadrant.
It’s the biggest war in Star Trek history, rewriting the political map completely. Some kind of acknowledgement of the cost of victory and the ongoing repercussions of the war would be welcome.
3. Vash – or at Least Some Kind of Love Interest for Picard
Look, it’s all very well for the great Picard to be retired to rural France with his Romulan bodyguards, but it seems like a lonely sort of life. Surely, after saving the universe so many times, the good Captain deserves some loving? Picard’s love life has been lightly explored in the past and his, ahem, “connection” with Dr. Beverley Crusher (Gates McFadden) is a well-established part of Trek lore. But if a ghost from his past is going to come back with the implied promise of a less lonely dotage, it should be roguish antiquarian Vash.
Played by Jennifer Hetrick, Vash showed up three times in total across both The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. Her less-than-above-board approach to acquiring weird alien artifacts provides an interesting contrast to Picard’s staunch moral foundation. She’s a thief, an opportunist, and an adventurer who once took off to travel the universe with the omnipotent Q because, hell, when is that opportunity going to come up twice?
Vash challenges rather than reinforces Picard’s ideas about the way the world should work, and that’s a big part of why he fell for her. Bringing her back, even for a small cameo, would let our hero think deep thoughts about the happiness he’s turned his back on in the course of becoming the legendary captain he is now.
Yes, Q, the impish, all-powerful cosmic entity played by John de Lancie who booked-ended the original run of Star Trek: The Next Generation by appearing in both the first episode, Encounter at Farpoint, back in ’87, and the final two-parter, All Good Things…, in ’94. In between them he popped up every so often to give Picard and the gang some kind of cosmic lesson about mankind’s place in the universe, or just to mess with them for his own amusement. He also showed up in Deep Space Nine and Voyager, because when you’re a being on unlimited power, you owe it to your public to share yourself around the franchise.
Folding Q into Picard would add a nice it of symmetry to the proceedings, the alien god once again meddling in the affairs of man to the chagrin but eventual betterment of our hero. De Lancie has been mainly doing voice work recently, but a chance to step back into the shoes of Star Trek’s mischievous trickster is surely not one he’d turn down.
5. The Enterprise
The iconic USS Enterprise, no matter what letter-designation they’re up to (the NCC-1710-E is the last one on official continuity, as seen in First Contact, Insurrection, and Nemesis), the Starship Enterprise is the living heart of the Star Trek Franchise: setting, vehicle and iconic, thematic core all rolled into one. It would be weird not have the latest iteration of the ship show up in Picard. However, the first three episodes of the new show largely dealt with Jean-Luc’s efforts to procure a ship and crew of his own, so where is the Enterprise?
In pursuit, of course! Picard’s out on his own in this series, pursuing a mission outside of the aegis of the Federation, so it stands to reason that they’d dispatch a vessel to run him down once he starts ruffing feathers. What better ship than the new Enterprise? And who’s in the captain’s chair? Well, we could be wrong but given that Jonathan Frakes is already confirmed to be appearing in Picard, it makes sense that our old buddy Will Riker would be running the show on Starfleet’s flagship.