The Star Trek franchise on the small screen will get even bigger in 2020 with the premiere of Star Trek: Picard. Starring Patrick Stewart in a return to his iconic Star Trek: The Next Generation role, Picard will clue viewers in on what happened to Jean-Luc Picard since the credits rolled on the Star Trek: Nemesis film back in 2002. Spoiler alert: he has a dog.
Since Picard will be a continuation of a Next Generation character's story but produced for CBS All Access like Star Trek: Discovery, a big question has been whether the new show will be more like one series than the other. Will Picard feel like more of The Next Generation, or just a version of Star Trek: Discovery starring Patrick Stewart?
Well, the new show won't premiere to allow viewers to judge for themselves for another several months, but CBS All Access Executive Vice President of Original Content Julie McNamara shared how Star Trek: Picard will actually be a "hybrid" of Discovery and The Next Generation. Here's how she put it:
I would say that it is in production sort of size and scope of more similar to Discovery. In terms of the characters and the nature of the storytelling, probably more like Next Generation. But of course, we're a number of years later now and so there are some shifts in the storytelling style. I think it's a really nice hybrid of the two.
Julie McNamara's comments at the 2019 Summer TCA Press Tour promise the best of both worlds of Star Trek: Discovery and The Next Generation for Picard. Fans of The Next Generation may need to adapt to changes to what made the original show so special to them, but considering that the prospect of Patrick Stewart reprising Jean-Luc Picard for an ongoing series would have seemed impossible just a few years ago, there's a lot to be excited about!
It doesn't come as a huge surprise that the characters and storytelling of Star Trek: Picard will be like those of The Next Generation. After tantalizing rumors circulated about the cast of Picard, San Diego Comic-Con finally revealed that a bunch of The Next Generation characters will return to the Trek universe for new adventures, and Picard won't require recasts the way that Discovery did for characters like Spock and Pike.
Star Trek: Picard will bring back Jonathan Frakes (as he teased earlier this year), Marina Sirtis, Brent Spiner, Jonathan Del Arco, and Jeri Ryan. Spiner has already revealed that Data "is a story point" but will not be in every episode and doesn't qualify as a major character. Still, he's optimistic about the "great story." Fans should be optimistic about Picard's chances of a healthy run on CBS All Access as well; the show is reportedly already looking at Star Trek vets to appear in Season 2.
It's not shocking either that production of Picard will be more similar to Discovery than The Next Generation. On top of sharing a platform and part of their production teams, Picard and Discovery can produce the kinds of special effects that few could have imagined back when The Next Generation ended in 1994.
For now, you can find Star Trek: Discovery on CBS All Access. As for Star Trek: The Next Generation, you can find the series streaming on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. The Next Generation could probably tide non-binge-watchers over until Picard premieres next year, but if watching Picard in action on his original series isn't appealing, there are plenty of other TV options now and in the not-too-distant-future.