Programming continues to grow on Paramount+
Another golden age has started for “Star Trek.”
Fans have been impressed with “Discovery,” which took “Star Trek” boldly to a place it hadn’t been before (the 32nd century), and “Picard,” which provided even more insight into the former Enterprise captain.
The new shows, plus all of the previous series, are streaming (or will stream) on Paramount+.
“Picard” will return for its second season next year, and fans are excited about the return of Q (John de Lancie), the powerful being who loves to tease Picard (Sir Patrick Stewart). Yes, Q is intriguing and funny and played brilliantly by Mr. de Lancie, but don’t forget this is the being who introduced the Enterprise to the Borg. His presence means trouble, and a trailer suggests Q is messing with the timeline.
“Picard” has a great local connection. Chateau Picard is actually the villa at Sunstone Winery in Santa Ynez, which magically becomes La Barre, France. Who knew Europe was so close?
This season, fans can expect Jeri Ryan back as Seven of Nine, the ex-Borg who discovers something startling in the trailer. It won’t be spoiled here.
Last season, “Picard” starred Alison Pill as Dr. Agnes Jurati, Isa Briones as Dahj, Evan Evagora as Elnor, Michelle Hurd as Raffi Musiker, Santiago Cabrera as Cristobal Rios and Harry Treadaway as Narek. The fascinating storyline last season involved Dahj’s discovery that she was an artificial life form based on Data (Brent Spiner).
Paramount hasn’t announced the cast list for the second season.
“Star Trek: Discovery” will be back for its fourth season, but the release date is uncertain. Fans shouldn’t expect it any sooner than late this year. A trailer promises it will start in 2021. Filming on the series, based in Toronto, appears to be wrapping up.
The good news is that Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green, recently seen playing NBA star LeBron James’ wife in “Space Jam: A New Legacy”) is finally the captain of Discovery. She will lead the crew during efforts to rebuild the United Federation of Planets.
Still aboard the ship are Anthony Rapp as recently promoted Cmdr. Paul Stamets, Mary Wiseman as Acting First Officer/Ensign Sylvia Tilly (a great character!), Wilson Cruz as the resurrected Dr. Hugh Culber and David Ajala as Cleveland “Book” Booker. Cmdr. Saru (Doug Jones) is on the Kelpien home world to help the Kelpien rescued during last season’s finale.
And fans are happy to hear that Grudge, Book’s really big cat, will be back.
During this season, the Discovery crew will work with various planets and, according to media reports, will deal with something they can’t sit still for: a gravitational anomaly. And Dr. Culber will be working to help Gray (Ian Alexander) achieve a corporeal form. He’s the Trill who can only be seen by his lover Adria (Blu del Barrio), and he exists because of the Trill symbiont inside Adria.
Fans are eagerly awaiting the new show “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds,” which is set in the era just before Capt. Kirk and company. Capt. Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) commands the USS Enterprise. Also on board are Spock (Ethan Peck) and Number One (Rebecca Rominjn).
Like the original “Star Trek” series, “Strange New Worlds” reportedly will be episodic. In other words, stories will wrap up in a single episode. In theory, if you miss last week’s show, you won’t feel lost this week. But there could be some season-long arcs.
“When we said we heard the fans’ outpouring of love for Pike, Number One and Spock when they boarded ‘Star Trek: Discovery,’ we meant it,” said Executive Producer Alex Kurtzman in a news release. “These iconic characters have a deep history in ‘Star Trek’ canon, yet so much of their stories have yet to be told.”
A release date hasn’t been announced.
“Star Trek” also has its animated side. The second season of “Star Trek: Lower Decks,” a “Next Generation” era show about junior officers on an unimportant ship, will start Thursday.
This writer has found the comedy to have some good plot twists and homages to “Star Trek,” but the loud arguments among the characters get tiresome. Maybe they and the show will mature for the second season.
The “Lower Decks” voice cast consists of Tawny Newsome (Ensign Beckett Mariner), Jack Quaid as Ensign Brad Boimer, Noel Wells as Ensign D’Vana Tendi, Eugene Cordero as Ensign Samantha Rutherford, Dawn Lewis as Captain Carol Freeman, Jerry O’Connell (“Sliders”) as Cmdr. Ransom and
Beckett is a great character. She’s the captain’s daughter and has leadership potential, but dislikes authority. She doesn’t like following or giving orders, and she prefers being on the lower decks.
But she’s often the smartest person on whatever deck she’s standing on, even the bridge. And she’s often the one solving the crises on away missions. When a leader is needed, she steps up.
Brad likes doing things by the book, but whines too much for this writer’s ears. If he and Beckett would argue less, the show would soar.
According to a news release from Paramount+, “Season two will follow the adventures of our favorite Starfleet support crew in the USS Cerritos as they deal with changes in group dynamics, chasing promotions and tons of sci-fi missions.”
Like “Picard,” “Lower Decks” has a local connection. On “Lower Decks,” ships are named after California cities. Hence, the main ship is the USS Cerritos.
Last season featured the guest appearance of the USS Solvang.
Meanwhile, the galaxy is big enough for two animated “Star Trek” series. Another one, “Prodigy,” will feature young alien outcasts who discover a starship and an emergency training hologram: Capt. Kathryn Janeway (voiced by Kate Mulgrew, of course) of the USS Voyager. It’s a Nickelodeon series that will stream, like the other “Star Trek” shows, on Paramount+.
The young aliens are voiced by Rylee Alazraqui, Brett Gray, Angus Imrie, Jason Mantzoukas, Ella Purnell and Dee Bradley Baker.
“Prodigy” is slated to premiere later this year as the “Star Trek” universe continues to expand.