The series has been warmly welcomed by fans for the most part…
Jean-Luc Picard first appeared on our screens in 1987 in Star Trek: The Next Generation with star Patrick Stewart going on to reprise the role across numerous seasons and movie spinoffs. It had been some time since we saw him in action, though, which is what made his TV return such an exciting prospect.
The Picard series is under the wing of CBS All Access, the same American streaming platform that hosts Star Trek: Discovery, with Discovery‘s Alex Kurtzman overseeing the project, and it’s officially struck gold for the team and the service.
The first episode of the show reportedly gave CBS All Access a record-high number of new subscriber sign-ups, and also set a new record for total streams, with Picard up more than +115% and +180% over Star Trek: Discovery‘s premieres.
“We’ve seen tremendous continued growth in the service, and the new records we’ve experienced due to Star Trek: Picard, the Grammys and a fantastic season of football are a phenomenal way to kick off what will be a fantastic year for CBS All Access,” said Marc DeBevoise, Chief Digital Officer, ViacomCBS, and President and CEO, CBS Interactive. “CBS All Access continues to build upon its great mix of programming – from original series, to sports and special events – and we’ve strategically programmed 2020 to bring subscribers an ‘always on’ calendar of must-watch series and events.”
Stewart said he had initially ruled against stepping back into Picard’s shoes.
“I explained to them all those elements of Next Generation which belong in Next Generation, and why I didn’t want to go near them again,” the actor told Variety. “But they talked about it in such an interesting way. And they talked for a long time.”
Getting back into TV at all was a huge decision for Stewart, who would have probably preferred to work on smaller projects at this stage of his life and career.
“This is just stupid, doing something like this,” Stewart admitted. “It’s so insane. I could have found other things to do that were not so enormous as this. But I chose it. Sixteen years have passed, and the world is a different place from when I last did it. F—, it’s different.”
Stewart also explained that Star Trek‘s United Federation of Planets has become ‘isolationist’ after the destruction of Romulus.
“In a way, the world of Next Generation had been too perfect and too protected. It was the Enterprise. It was a safe world of respect and communication and care and, sometimes, fun,” he said, adding that Picard “was me responding to the world of Brexit and Trump and feeling, ‘Why hasn’t the Federation changed? Why hasn’t Starfleet changed?’ Maybe they’re not as reliable and trustworthy as we all thought.”
Alongside Stewart, Star Trek: Picard stars Alison Pill, Michelle Hurd, Evan Evagora, Isa Briones, Santiago Cabrera and Harry Treadaway.
The series has already been renewed for season 2.