Comic-Con 2020: 'Picard' or 'Discovery', which 'Star Trek' show did a better job at reviving franchise?
Following 2005's 'Enterprise', 'Star Trek' was a series that had largely been left in the past. However, the 'Star Trek' reboot films renewed interest in the franchise, and it wasn't long before a new 'Star Trek' series made its way to television. Unlike the films, 'Star Trek: Discovery' and 'Star Trek: Picard' did not reboot the expansive series, but instead built on existing continuity. The question is, which show was more responsible for the revival of the franchise?
Though 'Discovery' came a few years before 'Picard,' the latter show had one major advantage: It brought Patrick Steward to the role of Jean-Luc Picard, a role he hadn't taken up since 'Star Trek: Nemesis' film. Patrick Stewart wasn't the only actor making a return — several actors from 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' and 'Star Trek: Voyager' made their way onto the show. The difference between the two series — though 'Picard' is set in the future, it builds on existing 'Star Trek' nostalgia, while 'Discovery' attempts to forge something new.
'Discovery' is a prequel to the original 'Star Trek' series. It is a darker take on the original series' utopian exploration of space and it made some controversial decisions in regards to changing continuity within the 'Star Trek' universe. While it cleared some canon from the original series up, it complicated plot points. Most importantly, it changed Spock in significant ways. Known for cold, dispassionate logic, the Spock of 'Discovery,' played by Ethan Peck, is quite different. A much younger version of Spock than has ever been seen before, complete with a sexy, new bearded look, this version of the character was hard for some fans to get used to. In addition, Spock was revealed to have a previously unmentioned sister, the series' protagonist, Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green).
'Picard', on the other hand, stuck fast to established canon. In fact, the series dove deep into its lore, bringing back the Borg, elements from the Artificial Intelligence debate that was featured on the series, and continuing off of stories established in 'Star Trek: Nemesis'. While 'Picard' was also a much darker tone than 'Star Trek' has traditionally been, it is the show that's closer to the series' original ideals. Picard attempts to find his way back to the Utopian ideal that he believes Starfleet has abandoned, as he fights for the rights of synthetic beings.
While 'Discovery' stirred up conversation about 'Star Trek' again in a way the series hadn't been discussed for years, and paved the way for 'Picard', Patrick Stewart's return to the 'Star Trek' universe is undoubtedly the more popular series. CBS reported that the premiere of “Picard” marked a new record for total streams. In addition, the show was responsible for the highest volume of subscribers to stream a CBS All Access original series the streaming site had ever seen up to that point.
Fans seem to agree that 'Picard' is the superior show in terms of writing, and acting. Of course, bringing back 'Star Trek' veterans gives the show a significant leg up. Despite its headstart, 'Discovery' failed to capture the attention of 'Star Trek' fans in the same way that 'Picard' did. Part of the success of 'Picard,' of course, comes from sheer star power, but beyond that, the series also explores new facets of stories that have had significant impact to the 'Star Trek' universe over its long history.
While 'Discovery' may have gotten people talking about the 'Star Trek' universe again, it's safe to say that it's 'Picard' that has not only brought the franchise forward, but has brought the majority of its fandom back, giving new life to the franchise. Both 'Star Trek: Discovery' and 'Star Trek: Picard' are available to stream on CBS All Access. Both shows will feature during the Comic-Con@Home event on July 23, from 10 AM to 11 AM. You can find additional details here.