Sunday, 11 April 2021

First Contact with the Following...

The announcements didn't disappoint on First Contact Day with Picard, Discovery, Lower Decks and Prodigy all getting their moment in the limelight. But first...

After an absence of what will be 7 years from cinema screens, Paramount have now pencilled in the arrival of the next Star Trek movie for 2023. Aside from the date of June 9th for its release, there's no other news. Odds are that the writer will be recently announced Kalinda Vasquez but could it be Star Trek 4 and a return of Chris Pine and the Kelvin Timeline - or something else that ties more definitely into the current franchise expansion. Certainly this is more of a possibility with all parts now sitting under one roof.  

Now, over to last week's events...

Starting with Picard, the teaser absolutely maxed out on teasing. The tracking shots through Picard's chateau picked out his combadge as well as the painting of the Enterprise-D from that ship's Ready Room, the Mintakan tapestry draped over his desk chair, a lingering pan over the golden USS Stargazer model and the glass-boxed Complete Works of Shakespeare. However, look a bit further and there were some more interesting details - the plough and ox statue from the fireplace of the same house in Family and even the golden Enterprise-D model from the Enterprise-E observation lounge.

But one more thing before THAT final reveal; what appears to be the Bajoran tablet from DS9's The Reckoning. It's about the first thing we see in the trailer and not something you would expect there - although it could be tying in Jean-Luc's love of archaeology. Might this also suggest the inclusion of something orientated around DS9? Would there be the possibility of a visit to the station? Could the rumours of Avery Brooks being tempted back as Sisko be a reality rather than a Reddit whisper?

But hey, there is one thing we DO know and that comes from the disintegrating Queen of Hearts playing card that is accompanied by the voice of John de Lancie (who also appeared in the announcement cast) - Q is back. This falls in line with that earlier news that Guinan will also return for Picard season 2 and therefore (if all goes as we would like) would be the first time the pair will be onscreen together since Q Who in 1989.

It's an all-in season for the show after a real mixed bag for its first year. The Q connection has one that fans have discussed long into the night and this might be the signs that the producers are listening to the fanbase and giving them some of what they are asking for. I'm positive for this coming season as it indicates a move in the right direction.

Over on Discovery there was more of a standard trailer introducing us to the big problem for the season which is coming in the form of a four light year wide gravimetric distortion that's heading in the wrong direction. Cue some scenes of utter devastation.

The headline for the series though has to be the choice to ditch off the grey uniforms the crew donned for the final moments of season 3 to be replaced by the familiar red, blue and gold system. The uniforms don't look quite as cool as those First Contact versions but at least it's a step up and they don't resemble cast offs from Babylon: Crusade

Saru is shown with a last shot handshake that makes it clear he's going to be back in uniform at some stage of the year. Book and Grudge will also be back as are the Vulcans.

My favourite reveals have to come from the Lower Decks trailer. Season two is due at the end of August and if it's as good as season 1 then I'm sold. The 30 second intro reveals that Boimler is still on the Titan commanded by a jazz-obsessed Riker while his friends on the Cerritos are comng face to face with multi-headed serpents, a giant Mugato and even suiting up for a round of Ambo-Jitsu. Blink and you'll miss the arrival of Lower Decks' take on the Cardassians (there are FOUR lights in that room) and a suped-up Miranda class.

Of all the reveals for First Contact Day, Lower Decks was the one I was anticipating the most and it didn't fail, mixing in the tone of the first year with some new and old takes on the franchise. I can't wait for this one.

Finally, Prodigy didn't need to do much to excite fans. So how about showing off the new CG version of Captain Janeway that will be appearing. News has it that this will be a hologram that the kids discover hence why she's dressed in the black one-piece when the series is set after Voyager has returned home. 

All four shows have made the right noises, the right nods to the past as well as the push to the future. The big test is can this all be pulled off over the upcoming seasons. Picard is biding its time and of the four it has the most to risk especially bringing back Q and Guinan. Discovery looks to be testing the waters with another Big Mystery to solve and may well play it safe this year to stabilise itself in the 32nd Century. The jump forward so far was huge and season 3 didn't deliver on its promise of a more optimistic year. Indeed, season 2 was a stronger story thanks in no small part to Captain Pike. Y'know, they should give him his own series. That would work...

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