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STAR TREK: PICARD S02 | E01 “The Star Gazer” Review

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This review contains spoilers

Star Trek Picard season 2 marks the successful return of Jean-Luc Picard played by the legendary Sir Patrick Stewart. Now on Paramount Plus in the States and debuting today March 4th on Prime Video in the UK and internationally. In season one we saw a new side to the character after being absent on screen for over 20 plus years. It featured Picard now retired from Starfleet following the destruction of the planet Romulus and living on his family’s vineyard comfortably with his loving dog named Number 1 and his staff assistants. Picard is drawn into a new adventure and season two promises for more to come. Picard has a new crew, each a lost cause. They have a ship and a whole galaxy to explore the second season boldly goes where no man has gone before. 

Star Trek: Picard returns to our screens with an explosive episode titled “The Star Gazer” which debuts with familiar friends, old enemies, and the road not taken. 


Synopsis

Starfleet must once again call on legendary Jean-Luc Picard after members of his former crew – Cristóbal Rios, Seven of Nine, Raffi Musiker, and Dr Agnes Jurati – discover an anomaly in space that threatens the galaxy.

Photo Cr: Trae Patton/Paramount+ ©2022 ViacomCBS. All Rights Reserved.

Review

The long-awaited return of the Star Trek spinoff series has officially landed and along for the ride are quite a few friends, both old and new. Some of those friends, in fact, go way back to the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation. As Picard launches its sophomore voyage, the first episode slightly appears to be a reset of the series, considering the time jump, everything has evolved around them even the characters to some degree. There are ties and progressions to the first season but this season looks to have gone in an entirely new direction, and because I was lucky enough to have watched the first three episodes thanks to Prime Video UK, the new direction the show has taken is a very good one indeed. 

“The Star Gazer” was truly an excellent opener, offering us rich and rewarding character moments with an action-packed entrance as an intruder alert causes chaos on a Starfleet ship suffering an overloading amount of system failures. As a security team struggle to access the bridge we find a distressed Rios (Santiago Cabrera) now a captain, and Dr Jurati (Alison Pill) onboard the newly refurbished USS STARGAZER. The ship and crew encounter a rift in space and time that is sending out two signals, one a request to join the federation, and two a call for help which Jean-Luc Picard can only answer. 

Photo Cr: Trae Patton/Paramount+ ©2022 ViacomCBS. All Rights Reserved.

Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) who also answers to this odd abnormal rift in space, now commands Rios’ ship the La Sirena. We find her fending off a gang of thieves who are looking to steal her medical supplies, luckily she gets a hand from Rios’ virtual assistant. All board the USS STARGAZER disaster strikes as an unidentifiable masked lady with robotic limbs starts taking over the ship and pauses to address Picard directly before he orders and initiates self-destruct. 

We then flashback to two days earlier where it’s a sunny day at Chateau Picard and the grapes are perfectly ripe for picking but in the future, they beam up straight from the vines. And as Picard contemplates over the change of seasons with Laris (Orla Brady), the two pour one out to toast successful growing and to their lost comrade Zhaban. She asks him why he’s chosen to be alone for all these years, and whilst she leans in for a kiss. Jean-Luc pulls himself away. As Laris wonders what from Picard’s past made him want to turn her down. 

Photo Cr: Trae Patton/Paramount+ ©2022 ViacomCBS. All Rights Reserved.

“The Star Gazer” showed that it’s about the choices Picard made in his life that led him to become a Starfleet captain, and Laris, hopeful, pushes him to realise that it’s not too late for him. The flashbacks are done incredibly well as we learn the real reason why Picard sought the stars, it is also the most grounding and relatable subject in that Picard’s parents’ marriage was not perfect. His mother taught him to look towards the stars as a distraction from all the fighting. 

Picard is still mulling over Laris and the relationships he’s pushed back. All this over a bottle of Saurian Brandy, however, he reminisces with a very familiar listener. Picard keeps himself separated from those under his command, so that leaves very few people in his life with who he can be totally open. This marks the long-awaited return of Guinan, the former bartender and confidant to Picard, who he goes to for some much-needed advice on relationships. Whoopi Goldberg’s return to me felt like she is effectively driving the overall plot in season 2, she is able to call him out and pry’s some uncomfortable truths out of Picard. Her return for me was full of warmth and pure nostalgia and I do hope she’ll have a bigger purpose this season. 

Photo Cr: Nicole Wilder/Paramount+ ©2022 ViacomCBS. All Rights Reserved.

Though Winemaking is Picard’s part-time occupation, he has now returned as an Admiral and heads up Starfleet Academy, where he gives his impactful speech, sharing his sentiment wisdom with the young cadets, he speaks of second chances and that “the true final frontier is time”. He also brings up his mother’s words to “look-up”. Raffi (Michelle Hurd) is there as a teacher and Elnor (Evan Evagora) as a cadet, the first Romulan one. Both are heading off on an assignment. seven is keeping her distance from a frustrated Raffi as, during the time jump, their relationship got complicated, crippled by their competing needs and commitments. Michelle Hurd and Jeri Ryan are bringing such common ground to their characters and are such strong-minded with how they’re able to truthfully react, and dive into a relationship. 

Photo Cr: Trae Patton/Paramount+ ©2022 ViacomCBS. All Rights Reserved.

Now with Picard being reinstated and briefed on the strange request from the rift in space, Picard takes the first shuttle over to the USS STARGAZER and reunites with his crew. Onboard he is treated with the utmost respect whilst Seven feels an uncomfortable welcoming as this new reincarnation of a ship was apparently built using technology from the Borg cube in season one. In response to Picard’s hail, we see the space rift crackle as a gigantic triangular diamond-shaped ship appears which unfortunately is operated and occupied by Borgs who want to begin negotiations by transporting what we believe to be the Queen onto Stargazer’s bridge. All hell breaks loose as the masked emissary takes control and assimilates not just the USS STARGAZER but also the entire fleet. We then catch up to what we saw at the beginning of the episode where Picard orders a self-destruct before hearing the Queen telling him to “look up”. 

Despite the Stargazer exploding, Picard finds himself alone back at his Chateau. Dressed in an unfamiliar looking black uniform and the chateau itself has taken on a spartan/warrior appearance. Laris is nowhere to be seen and in her place is a synth named Harvey. He wonders aloud what’s happening, and this is where I kid you not, chills ran down my spine as a familiar voice replies “An excellent question, Jean-Luc”. Of course, it’s Q (John de Lancie), who politely snaps up to Picard’s age. Picard’s longtime foil is perfect for a season that is clearly about time, as the extra-dimensional fan-favourite being is back to mess with Picard. John de Lancie’s return is everything I hoped for.

Photo Cr: Trae Patton/Paramount+ ©2022 ViacomCBS. All Rights Reserved.

He tells Picard that humanity’s trial still has not ended and the circumstances Picard has found himself in is truly the very end of the road not taken. 

Verdict

Star Trek: Picard season 2 marks the successful return of Jean-Luc Picard
in his most personal & intimate series to date. It’s a time-twisting, mind-
bending adventure that reflects on personal matters as characters are thrown into turmoil. What awaits them is a mischievous game, a trial that has begun, & a clock that is
ticking.

Episode one comes from writers Akiva Goldsman and Terry Matalas and director Doug Aarniokoski

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The Boys Unleashes the Brutal and Bonkers  Official Season Three Trailer 

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Today, Prime Video gave fans a look at the highly anticipated third season of The Boys, with the release of the head-poppingly diabolical official trailer and key art. The Emmy-nominated drama will return with three gripping new episodes on June 3, followed by one additional episode each subsequent Friday, and ending with a wicked season finale on Friday, July 8. The eight-episode season will stream exclusively on Prime Video in more than 240 countries and territories worldwide.

The Boys is a fun and irreverent take on what happens when superheroes—who are as popular as celebrities, as influential as politicians, and as revered as gods—abuse their superpowers rather than use them for good. Intent on stopping the corrupt superheroes, The Boys, a group of vigilantes, continue their heroic quest to expose the truth about The Seven and Vought—the multibillion-dollar conglomerate that manages the superheroes and covers up their dirty secrets. It’s the seemingly powerless against the super-powerful.

Season Three of The Boys stars Karl Urban, Jack Quaid, Antony Starr, Erin Moriarty, Dominique McElligott, Jessie T. Usher, Laz Alonso, Chace Crawford, Tomer Capone, Karen Fukuhara, Nathan Mitchell, Colby Minifie, Claudia Doumit, and Jensen Ackles.

Prime Video also released new Key art which is a new poster for the upcoming season.

The Boys is based on The New York Times best-selling comic by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, who also serve as executive producers, and developed by executive producer and showrunner Eric Kripke. Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, James Weaver, Neal H. Moritz, Pavun Shetty, Phil Sgriccia, Craig Rosenberg, Ken F. Levin, Jason Netter, Paul Grellong, David Reed, Meredith Glynn, and Michaela Starr also serve as executive producers. The Boys is produced by Amazon Studios and Sony Pictures Television Studios, with Kripke Enterprises, Original Film, and Point Grey Pictures.

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PARAMOUNT+ Reveals UK Launch Date, Pricing, Distribution Partners & More

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Paramount+, the global streaming service from Paramount Global, will launch in the UK and Ireland on 22 June 2022. After countless months of waiting It was announced by the company reporting their first-quarter earnings call on 3 of May, during which Paramount’s President and CEO, Bob Bakish, outlines global expansion plans for the streaming service. 

The ongoing momentum of Paramount+ will also see the service launch in South Korea in June, with further launches planned in Italy, Germany, France, Switzerland and Austria in the second half of the year. Additionally, in 2023, Paramount+ will launch in India in partnership with Viacom 18, as part of a recently announced agreement, and is poised to participate in this fast-growing market. 

“Paramount is known for its leading portfolio of premium entertainment brands and a robust content engine that fuels our rapidly expanding streaming service, Paramount+. This year will be monumental for our streaming strategy as we accelerate our global ambitions, rapidly expanding Paramount+ in Europe beginning with the UK, Italy, Germany, France and more by the end of this year and debut in Asia with South Korea in June, followed by India in 2023,” said Raffaele Annecchino, President and CEO, International Networks, Studios and Streaming, Paramount Global.  “With an already expansive global footprint and a strong, long-term market-by-market strategy, we are well-poised to continue our positive momentum.” 

Maria Kyriacou, President, Australia, Canada, Israel and UK, Paramount, said, “The addition of Paramount+ to our strong portfolio of free-to-air, pay-TV and streaming services will broaden the range of choice available to our audiences in the UK and Ireland. Paramount+ will be a one-stop destination for Paramount’s biggest brands, where fans of all ages can find exclusive original premium content, global hits, and discover a world of favourites from Paramount’s vast catalogue.” 

PRICING AND DISTRIBUTION

In the UK, Paramount+ will be available online at

https://www.paramountplus.com/

and on mobile and a wide range of connected TV devices via the Paramount+ app, via broad direct-to-consumer distribution through Apple, Amazon, Google, Roku® and Samsung, with more platforms to be announced in the coming months. Users will be able to sign up to the service for £6.99 per month/£69.90 per annum in the UK, after a free seven-day trial*.   

Paramount+ will launch on Sky platforms in the UK, Ireland, Italy, Germany and Austria in 2022 as part of a new multi-year distribution agreement that also includes the extended carriage of Paramount’s leading portfolio of pay TV channels. Sky Cinema subscribers will get the bonus of Paramount+ included at no extra cost. 

ROBUST CONTENT SLATE

Paramount+ will launch in the UK with a broad content slate of more than 8,000 hours of content for the whole family, spanning new and exclusive Paramount+ originals, hit shows and popular movies across every genre from Paramount’s world-renowned brands and production studios, including SHOWTIME®, Paramount Pictures, Comedy Central, MTV and Nickelodeon.  

In addition, Paramount+ is home to some of the world’s most beloved franchises in the world. Audiences in the UK will have access to the Star Trek universe; and the library and new seasons of Taylor Sheridan’s critically acclaimed Yellowstone series. South Park and the MTV Shores 

will also be available, and kids and families franchises, this include SpongeBob SquarePants, PAW Patrol, Rugrats plus new originals based on Nickelodeon’s most beloved characters such as Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years.   

PARAMOUNT+ ORIGINALS

Some of the most anticipated Paramount+ and SHOWTIME® originals from the US, UK and other international markets will be available in the UK and Ireland when the service launches, including HALO, 1883, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, The Offer, Mayor of Kingstown, Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber, The First Lady, The Man Who Fell to Earth, Queen of the Universe and Jerry & Marge Go Large. 

These will join premium international scripted Paramount+ originals produced by VIS – the international studio division of Paramount Global – in association with independent production companies in the UK and around the world. Previously announced original UK dramas heading to Paramount+ include Sexy Beast, A Gentleman in Moscow, Flatshare, The Burning Girls, The Ex-Wife and The Blue. 

Scripted originals from around the world include

Los Enviados (The Envoys) (Mexico) and Cecilia (Mexico) – both of which have been renewed for a second season; Simon Beckett’s Chemistry of Death (Germany); The Signal (France); Bosé (Spain); Fallaci (Italy); At Midnight (Mexico); and more.   

Hours of original factual titles from the UK production community will also be available, including Haunted, The Box, Rise of the Tech Titans, MH370: The Lost Flight, Chalet Girls, LA Hairdressers, Fashion House, Pervert: Catching the Strip Search Caller and Girl Taken. 

KIDS AND FAMILY

Thousands of hours of Kids and Family content on the service will include Paramount+ Original series Fairly Odd Parents: Fairly Odder, iCarly S1 & S2, the reimagined Rumble and Big Nate. They will join original TV movies, including Honour Society, Promposal, Little Wing, Snow Day, Nicole From Last Night and Blue’s Big City Adventure. 

BLOCKBUSTER MOVIES

Paramount+ will offer unlimited access to blockbuster movies with new releases like

Scream 5, time-proven classics such as Grease and Star Trek, and family-friendly selections like PAW Patrol: The Movie, Clifford The Big Red Dog and more. 

EXCLUSIVE PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

Also coming to the UK service this year are Paramount+ exclusives The Thing About Pam and Victoria’s Secret: Angels and Demons. They join other exclusive titles including South Park: Post Covid and South Park: Post Covid: The Return to Covid, as well as Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber, The First Lady and The Man Who Fell to Earth.  


Paramount+ is a global digital subscription video streaming service from Paramount that features a mountain of premium entertainment for audiences of all ages. Internationally, the streaming service features an expansive library of original series, hit shows and popular movies across every genre from world-renowned brands and production studios, including SHOWTIME®, BET, CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures and the Smithsonian Channel™, in addition to a robust offering of premier local content. The service is currently live in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean, the Nordics, and Australia.   

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The Man Who Fell to Earth | Showtime

An alien (Chiwetel Ejiofor) arrives on earth with a mission: to learn to become human and find the one woman (Naomie Harris) who can help save his species. Together they discover that in order to save his world, they must first save ours.

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Genre:

Sci-fi

Release Date:

April 24, 2022

Creators:

Alex Kurtzman, Jenny Lumet

Cast:

Chiwetel Ejiofor, Naomie Harris, Clarke Peters

Plot Summary:

An alien who arrives on Earth at a turning point in human evolution and must confront his own past to determine our future.

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