I was fortunate to be able to go to the Star Trek: Picard red carpet event and series premiere in Los Angeles on January 13th at the Arclight Cinerama Dome (a great place to see any movie, by the way). I went as a member of the Star Trek Los Angeles and San Diego Away Teams, local fan clubs who secured a limited number of invitations to the event.
In attendance: Sir Patrick Stewart, of course, with Picard castmates Jeri Ryan, Jonathan Del Arco, Brent Spiner, Marina Sirtis, Michelle Hurd, Alison Pill, Isa Briones, Santiago Cabrera, and Evan Evagora. Behind-the-scenes creatives included Michael Chabon, Kirsten Beyer, Alex Kurtzman, Heather Kadin, Akiva Goldsman, Hanelle Culpepper, James MacKinnon, and Jeff Russo. TNG’s Gates McFadden also came by to support her pals, and so did ’90s Trek head honcho Rick Berman. Roddenberry Entertainment’s Rod Roddenberry and Trevor Roth were there, as was Star Trek: Discovery‘s Wilson Cruz.
We were given a special area at the end of the press line at the red carpet, where many of us were able to get autographs and selfies with cast members. Once all of the cast and crew were inside, we were ushered into the theater to our assigned seats up front for the screening where we watched the first three episodes of the series—what I would call the “first chapter.”
Overall, the reaction to the screening was very positive. While we can’t post a review or spoilers, I surveyed some of the other fans, asking them where they thought the Picard premiere ranked among other Star Trek series premieres.
Here are some of their answers:
Dan Twombly: “I’d rank it in the top 3 below ‘Emissary’ and ‘Caretaker.’ Above ‘Broken Bow,’ ‘Farpoint’ and ‘The Vulcan Hello’.”
Dan Davidson: “I really think it may be the best I have ever seen. It blew away all my expectations.”
Ryan T. Husk: “I still put DS9 as (easily) the best pilot/first couple. Possibly Enterprise second. Voyager and The Next Generation set the series up better, but Picard was just a better written set of episodes all around.”
Robin Casares: “I thought it was one of the strongest premiere episodes of any Trek. They threw a lot of story at us, but it flowed seamlessly. This show is truly cinematic, from the writing and acting to the art direction, it feels like watching a very well-crafted movie. The fight choreography is STUNNING. I’m a Discovery fan, but the writing in these first few episodes is much tighter and just…better than Discovery‘s initial episodes. It might be in part because Patrick Stewart is just a fantastic actor, but everyone else in the ensemble cast definitely holds their own too. I can’t wait to go back and watch each episode again so I can let it soak in a little more and be able to process everything that’s going on, because it’s a lot. But I can’t wait to see where they go with it. I would put it in the #1 spot on the strength of its writing and acting, with the caveat that this is the first series that brought back a beloved character that we already know, so as viewers we’re already somewhat invested in it.
William Smith: “Ummm…I don’t think it’s the best. I do think it’s way ahead of ‘Farpoint.’ For me, I’d say third behind ‘Emissary’ and ‘Caretaker’.”
Matthew Cheung: “I would have to rewatch some of the other pilots, but I definitely think it was better than TNG’s! I would remember liking Enterprise‘s pilot episode a lot, but I’d have to rewatch it. Picard has an advantage in that we already know who Picard is and have 30 years of backstory, so in some ways, this pilot hit the ground running and could be really economical with its exposition. So maybe this was the smoothest of the pilots?”
Michael Flood: “I say it was the best premiere episode of any Trek series.”
Daniel Baruela: “I rank the first episodes as the following, from best to worst:
Deep Space Nine
The Original Series
The Next Generation”
Audra Lynn Atkins-Reeves: “I’d put it first.”
Nathan Adams: “From 1 to 8. 1 being best, I would say a close 2. TOS was 1.”
Jenny Arzate: “Patrick Stewart wouldn’t have reprised Picard unless he felt the writing and story lines were going to be exceptional. I believe the first episode delivers this expectation and then some. As Jeri Ryan said in an interview, it’s indeed very cinematic and feels like you’re watching a movie. However, the cinematography doesn’t take away from the plots that are being established. For me, this would probably rank as #1 because not only is it beautiful to watch, but I’m already fully invested in the characters and can’t wait to see what happens next!”
David Cheng: “The first three episodes that premiered at the red carpet viewing was perhaps the most engaging pilot and had the highest production values with the exception of Discovery‘s pilot.”
Fan reactions from the London premiere:
Two days after the Los Angeles Premiere, many of the cast and crew were in London for the UK Premiere. Star Trek: Picard will stream on Amazon Prime there. The London screening was for only the first episode, but the reactions on Twitter were very positive.
What a line up and what a show. Easy five stars for #StarTrekPicard. Patrick Stewart, not unexpectedly, is a class above everything and compelling too. Stream on Amazon Prime from next week pic.twitter.com/2ODmugCKMK
— David Stephenson 📺 (@TheTellyRocket) January 15, 2020
I was lucky enough to see the first episode of @StarTrek #picard #StarTrekPicard it will blow your mind, it’s not what you expect but it has an gripping story and some lovely nods to its history, whilst having the warp drive set to full power, warp 9. @PrimeVideo pic.twitter.com/iIS775Yn18
— Alexander Baylis (@3AYLI5) January 15, 2020
Had a great evening at the premiere of #StarTrekPicard thanks to @primevideouk No spoilers from me but a good first episode with you left wanting more. The premiere itself was good fun! Welcome back Jean Luc, its been too long….. pic.twitter.com/8b8wnvDxC2
— Michael Clark (@mclark1701) January 15, 2020
— Dan B (@danbullock) January 15, 2020
— Trekkie Girls (@TrekkieGirls) January 15, 2020
Star Trek Picard is beautifully filmed. That is all. 😍 #StarTrekPicard
— Clara M Cook (@ClarajeanMC) January 15, 2020
Well episode 1 of #StarTrekPicard was intriguing – we genuinely can't wait to see where this season goes!
— We Have a Hulk (@wehaveahulkpod) January 15, 2020
— Trekkies Guide (@TrekkiesGuide) January 15, 2020
#StarTrekPicard is something truly, truly special. This is NOT a sequel to TNG – it is the next chapter of Picard’s life. There’s a nostalgia play but this is really about charging forward. I couldn’t be more excited about #StarTrek’s future. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/VU5htb8uGx
— Carlos Miranda (@doublemacc) January 15, 2020
— Chris Allen (@chris_allen) January 15, 2020
We’re all quite emotional, our minds are whizzing away with questions and have been left in awe by that premiere! Time for a cast & producers Q&A for #StarTrekPicard. “Never in my wildest fanboy dreams..” Yeah we’re really feeling @michaelchabon right now! #PrimeVideo pic.twitter.com/SfaFQB18Xv
— Trek Central (@TheTrekCentral) January 15, 2020
Well I've watched the first episode of #StarTrekPicard at the UK premiere at Leicester Square with @primevideouk all I will say is 'You do not want to miss this!' #bringiton #PicardPremiere pic.twitter.com/2COs8SORM1
— Instazadi – 🔜 Star Trek the Cruise 2020 (@instazadi) January 15, 2020
— TREKNEWS.net (@TrekNewsNet) January 15, 2020
Have just seen the first episode of #StarTrekPicard . No spoilers but oh wow it was fantastic. It's everything and more. It's worth the wait.
— Trekcatcatcat 🔜 Star Trek the Cruise 4 (@trekcatcatcat) January 15, 2020
Having now seen the first episode of #StarTrekPicard, the only word I can use to describe every part of it is: beautiful.
It’s a love letter to Star Trek.
— Kyle West (@kylethomaswest) January 15, 2020
Some souvenirs, including swag:
Star Trek: Picard will premiere on January 23, 2020. It will be available on CBS All Access in the USA and on the CTV Sci-Fi Channel and CraveTV in Canada. It will premiere on Amazon Prime Video for the rest of the world on January 24. Episodes will be released weekly.
Keep up with all the Star Trek: Picard news at TrekMovie.