Star Date Somethng Something: CBS has announced that Sir Patrick Stewart will return to his role as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in a new Star Trek series that will air only on CBS All-Access, a streaming network so named because it is accessible to all . . . who can afford yet another subscription in addition to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and Spotify.
The 78-year-old Stewart will star in the new series, the plot of which has not been revealed other than that it will “tell the story of the next chapter of Picard’s life.”
However, a number of early episode synopses have been leaked onto the web, and I have obtained them to share with my readers.
Pilot Episode: “The Borg Are (Is?) Back”: It is the year 2399, and the hive mind seeks revenge on Picard. The Borg invade the Starfleet Home for Old Officers (SHOO) only to find the aged captain in the lobby, enjoying a performance of Beatles songs played on electric keyboard with auto-rhythm. “Come with us,” says the Borg. “Resistance is futile.” “Well, okay,” replies Picard, “but you’ll have to sign me out at the front desk.”
Former Enterprise-D Commander Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes) is brought out of retirement to lead a galaxy-wide search for his old captain. Picard is eventually found in a Denny’s on Rigel-Alpha 5.
“Dead Planet:” Picard feels homesick and hitches a ride aboard Starfleet’s USS Carnival Cruiser to return to Earth, only to discover that his home in France no longer exits. Neither does France, it turns out, or most of Europe. Over the centuries, global warming has dramatically changed the planet, first covering most of the surface with water and then, as temperatures rose and the water evaporated, leaving behind isolated land masses that were mostly lifeless except for some cockroaches. One of the now-dry land masses happens to include what used to be Riverside, Iowa, the hometown of James T. Kirk. Picard goes there (“to smell the legend,” he says) and discovers a ramshackle structure, inside of which is Kirk’s old sports car, in relatively good shape for a 400-year-old automobile. With the help of a couple of crewmembers from the Carnival Cruiser, Picard gets it running, and off they go for a joyride. “There are no other cars,” says one of the young crewmembers. “You can go faster than 25.” “May I remind you,” Picard replies, “that you are wearing red shirts.”
Returning to space, almost the entire crew of the Carnival Cruiser gets a stomach virus, leaving Picard in his old, familiar position on a Starfleet bridge, just in time to notice that there is a Romulan ship close behind them. “Sir, we need to go to warp speed,” says the navigator. “I don’t think so,” says Picard. Instead they stop short and the Romulans go zipping past them in the right lane while raising a finger. Picard saves the day.
“Wesley Crusher Returns:” If ratings are not good, we propose one of the weirdest crossover episodes in television history. Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton reprising his Star Trek: The Next Generation role), has been wandering the cosmos, looking for his true calling, and has found some sort of time travel porthole (we’ll make up the specifics later). He comes to SHOO to ask Picard to join him on a new adventure, because, well, we’ll make that up, too. The pair travel back in time to 2019, where Crusher and Picard meet Wil Wheaton, the recurring character on The Big Bang Theory (also played by Wheaton).
In Part II (a BBT episode), Sheldon and Leonard have to figure out if a character meeting the actor who played him and who is now on a show in which he plays himself–an actor who played the character–constitutes a time travel paradox that will destroy the universe.
“Worf of the Worlds:” Worf, the crewmember from ST:NG, also resides at SHOO and is playing tri-dimensional Bingo next to his old captain. While they play, Worf reveals that the medical staff at the home would like to “finally do something about his skin condition” and wants to send him out for expensive surgery which can be billed to Medicare. “I told the head nurse I was a Klingon,” Worf tells Picard, “and she replied that she was a Jamaican and she’d take good care of me.”
Picard suspects something is amiss and investigates. It soon becomes apparent that the dermatologist is a descendant of a “disgraced American president from generations ago” who wants to wipe out all immigrants.
“All Holo’s Eve:” Picard has a secret. Each night he secretly accesses the SHOO’s holodeck and runs a program only he knows about that lets him visit with an even more decrepit Captain Kirk (William Shatner, age 87), who, in reality, has been dead for well over a century (Kirk, not Shatner). Over a shared bottle of Saurian brandy, the two old captains recall their old adventures, shown (cheaply) using footage from ST:NG and the original series. At the end, Picard asks Kirk to yell “KHAN!” for old time’s sake.
Those are all the write-ups I could find, which leads me to believe I won’t be subscribing to CBS All Access anytime soon, unless I get a sudden urge to binge watch old CSI episodes.
See you soon.
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