Roush Review: 'Picard' Rejoins the 'Star Trek' Universe

Matt Roush
Review Trae Patton/CBS

“For a relic, you’re in excellent shape,” a Starfleet doctor declares after examining Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart, 79)—and so, it would seem, is the 53-year-old Star Trek franchise with its latest spinoff, Star Trek: Picard.

While I wish it didn’t take three full episodes of heavy exposition (all that were available for review) to get the fabled Next Generation captain, later admiral, into space, the crew of rogue fellow travelers he assembles over the first few weeks is promising. Stewart clearly relishes playing this stalwart leader as something of a rebel, who's restless and at odds with Starfleet (from which he resigned) ever since they banned synthetic androids following a sudden revolt that destroyed Mars 14 years earlier.

'Star Trek: Picard': Patrick Stewart on Why He's Reprising the Iconic Role Now

'Star Trek: Picard': Patrick Stewart on Why He's Reprising the Iconic Role Now

Jean-Luc, Data, Riker, and the 'Next Generation' crew are back on the bridge! Inside the new 'Trek' series with the cast and creators.

Picard dreams of his beloved Data (Brent Spiner) in reveries at his family's French chateau, and when a mysterious young woman named Dahj (Isa Briones) seeks him out to reveal a special and secret connection, the veteran space explorer is roused to action, realizing, "I haven't been living. I've been waiting to die."

(Trae Patton/CBS)

And so he sets out to enlist a ragtag crew that will include Dr. Agnes Jurati (The Newsroom's Alison Pill), the world's leading expert in synthetic life forms; an estranged ex-colleague Raffi Musiker (Blindspot's feisty Michelle Hurd), who's also no fan of current Starfleet; and a cocky pilot, Cris Rios (Heroes' Santiago Cabrera), who can't quite hide how starstruck he is to be in such august company. We know how he feels.

Revisit Picard's Words of Wisdom From 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' (VIDEO)

Revisit Picard's Words of Wisdom From 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' (VIDEO)

Relive the U.S.S. Enterprise captain's more eloquent moments ahead of the CBS All Access series premiere.

With Romulan spies and assassins tracking their every move, the danger is real and the stakes are high. And yet there’s a twinkle of Trek humor for the eagle-eyed fan who might spot a sign aboard an inactive Borg vessel: “This facility has gone 5843 days without an assimilation.” It's also fun to hear Picard insist, “I never really cared for science fiction. I guess I just didn’t get it.”

Speak for yourself, sir.

Star Trek: Picard, Series Premiere, Thursday, January 23, CBS All Access