Star Trek Guide

Things We Saw Today: Are These the Episodes of Star Trek You Should Watch Before Picard?

A new video sets out to chart the course to Picard for us. How much Star Trek do you need to watch to prep for the new Sir Patrick Stewart show?

With Picard warp-speeding its way to CBS All Access on January 23rd, 2020, WhatCulture has put out a video where they list the ten episodes of Star Trek they see as essential pre-Picard viewing. As the video breaks down, several of these are two-parters, plus they recommend a few of the films, so it’s not really a round ten episodes, but this is still a great place to start.

While many of us like to rewatch whole series, that isn’t always possible or practical—and it may be that you have a friend or partner or relative you’re trying to lure into watching Picard who hasn’t signed their soul away to Starfleet (yet). So it’s helpful to have this crib sheet of what to watch that can ensure they get the gist of where Picard will be boldly going. Here are the episodes WhatCulture suggests, unsurprisingly heavy on The Next Generation:

10. “Measure of a Man” (TNG) Picard, Data (Brent Spiner will reprise his role in some fashion on Picard), and the rights of the individual, no matter if ye be human or android.

9. “The Best of Both Worlds” parts 1 &2 (TNG) The stunning, shocking arc where Captain Jean-Luc Picard becomes Locutus of Borg, this sets up so much that will come to be vital plotting afterward for both the Star Trek universe and for Picard himself. It’s unmissable Star Trek content, period.

8. “Family” (TNG) A character study where Picard visits his family on Earth at Chateau Picard. It seems he’ll be living there at the start of Picard.

7. “Unification” parts 1 & 2 (TNG) Romulan and Vulcan politics come to the fore, and also Leonard Nimoy plays Spock, so that’s all you need to know to watch.

6. “I, Borg” (TNG) Jonathan Del Arco will return as Hugh the Borg on Picard, and this is where we first meet the young Hugh, a Borg who suggests individualism may still be possible within the Borg collective.

5. “The Face of the Enemy” (TNG) An episode that follows Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis will also be on Picard), this one is heavy on Romulan politics and tactics, which look to figure largely into the new show.

4. “Descent” (TNG) Hugh is back, some Borgs rebel, and Data’s evil brother Lore is here looking fabulous.

3. “All Good Things …” parts 1 &2 (TNG) The end of The Next Generation is vital viewing for Picard’s history with characters across the TNG timeline (and time), thanks to Q, of course.

2.  “Scorpion” parts 1 & 2 (Voyager) Finally, some Voyager makes the cut! Jeri Ryan will return for Picard, and this marked Seven of Nine’s debut as well as plunged Voyager into Borg territory.

1. “The Gift” (Voyager) Seven’s severing from the collective, in WhatCulture calls this the definitive episode of Star Trek that deals with Borgs as individuals. They believe that “AI and humanity might as well be the hashtags for [Picard],” so it’s important to see the ways these themes have been developed within Trek.

I think this is a fantastic list overall, and I might even run through it myself to get myself back into the spirit for Picard. While I’m sure the new show will take pains to exposit what’s going on for Star Trek newbies, there’s also bound to be endless easter eggs in there for those of us who have been watching this for decades.

I agree with some YouTube commenters that the movie Generations is an additional good one to watch for more Picard development (WhatCulture recommends First Contact, Nemesis, and the 2009 Star Trek reboot to wrap your head ’round the Kelvin timeline). We should have far more of John de Lancie’s Q on here, too, and, of course, the TNG episode “The Inner Light,” for gorgeous Picardian melodrama and flute-playing. I’d also throw in the finale of Voyager, “Endgame,” which is important for the Borg and Seven and Starfleet going forward. Is there any essential Picard-related viewing you think the video leaves out?

(via WhatCulture, images: Paramount)

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