Star Trek: Picard mostly manages to boldly go where no Star Trek show has gone before
Here are JOE's thoughts on the new show's first three episodes.
It has been 18 years since Captain Picard and his crew had their last big screen adventure, in the critically-damned Star Trek: Nemesis.
Since then, the world has moved on, both in terms of Star Trek - we've had those new movies that rewrote the entire history of the series - as well as, you know, the real world.
And so now we've got a retired Picard, and with it, Patrick Stewart returning to a much-loved fictional father figure (see also: Logan), a changed man in a changed world.
We discover that Picard was part of an operation to save the Romulans home planet, hoping to save billions from an impending black hole, an event that took place in the recent, rebooted Star Trek timeline. However, that humanitarian (Is it still called humanitarian if it doesn't involve humans? Discuss.) mission was pulled when a group of androids working on Mars turned on the humans there, resulting in many deaths much closer to home, and the Federation to close ranks.
It is years after these events that we catch up with Picard, now the owner of a vineyard in France, but called back into the action by the arrival of Dhaj (newcomer Isa Briones), a total stranger who has some hidden connections to Picard and his past.
This sets in motion the cogs of several different but connected mysteries, including the hidden past of Dhaj, what caused the androids to attack the Mars base, and what the Romulans are up to now.
Over the course of the first three episodes, Star Trek: Picard does a good job of fleshing out the new order of things, and Stewart does an amazing job of adding some much-needed shading to the character. It helps that he is added by some episode writers and series executive producers that clearly have a lot of love for the Star Trek lore, and they mostly mix the new mythology with some big budget bombast.
It doesn't always land perfectly, as a very Bourne Identity-esque subplot feels like an excuse just to up the action quota, and while the Blade Runner'y android uprising is clearly one of the intriguing highlights, that the lack of answers or investigations into it so far feels manufactured to keep the mystery alive longer than common sense would normally allow.
Still, based on this first few hours, the show is definitely inviting to fans new and old, and if the overarching plots can maintain interest without petering out or not making sense, then there is a huge amount of potential for it to be the closest the Star Trek has been to "event TV" since, well, The Next Generation.
Star Trek: Picard launches on Prime Video on Friday 24 January.
Clip via Prime Video UK